The days of ignoring live streams are long gone. Now, creators and businesses are shifting to live for real-time interaction with their audience, building a loyal community of fans, and increasing brand awareness.
But before you focus on building the ultimate setup for your live video production, consider what is a good upload speed for streaming because different live streaming platforms require different internet upload speeds.
So, this post will take you through the basics of internet upload speed, what is a good upload speed based on the streaming platform, and tips to improve upload speed.
When you go live, you upload or send data from your device to the internet. And the upload speed determines how quick this entire process can get.
Similar to how download speeds impact the sound and video quality of a show you’re watching on your device, the upload speed impacts how better others can hear and see you when you stream live.
The upload speed impacts how better others can hear and see you when you stream live.
A good upload speed sets you free from those annoying video lags and choppy audio.
But how much upload speed do you need to ensure that your live broadcasts run smoothly and without stutters?
Let’s find out.
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Before we get to the recommended upload speeds for live streaming based on different platforms, it’s essential to understand the key terminology related to the world of the internet and live broadcasts.
Upload & Download
Simply put, uploading is sending data from a device to the internet. For example, it could be uploading an image to the web on your favorite social media site or interacting with a potential employer through a web conference on Skype.
On the other hand, downloading is receiving information from the internet to your device. Apart from downloading an image from the web, downloading also consists of watching a video or browsing a landing page.
For a typical internet user, the download speed is more important than upload speed, as browsing the internet or consuming information on the web generally entails downloading. But for content creators and live streamers, upload speeds are crucial as they provide information to the world by uploading it to the internet.
Your connection’s bandwidth is its capacity to upload or download data. The higher the bandwidth, the more data it can transmit online without lags and stutters.
When it comes to live streaming, bandwidth impacts the speed at which you connect with your live viewers and respond to their comments. While many factors influence your bandwidth usage, bitrate and video resolution are two key components that affect the bandwidth.
What is Bitrate?
Bitrate or number of bits per second (bps) is the amount of data transferred over a period of time. The higher the bitrate, the better the video quality and the larger the file size.
Bitrate often includes a prefix, such as ‘kilo’, ‘mega’, ‘giga’, or ‘tera’. One kilobit per second (Kbps) is the equivalent of 1000 bits per second. One megabit per second (Mbps) equals 1000 (Kbps).
What is Video Resolution?
It is the number of pixels forming a video frame that creates the video’s image on the screen. It defines the width of a video by its height and is measured in pixels. For example, a video resolution of 1920×1080 means the video is 1920 pixels in width and 1080 pixels in height.
Even though a high-resolution video consumes more bandwidth than a low-resolution video, it produces higher quality video. And that’s why it requires a faster internet connection. In the absence of high-speed internet, a high-resolution video stream would be choppy.
Now, let’s find out the recommended upload speeds for the most popular live streaming platforms:
YouTube: 4,500 to 9,000 Kbps for 1080p @ 60 fps
Facebook: 4,500 to 9,000 Kbps for 1080p @ 60 fps
LinkedIn Live: 3.5 Mbps to 6 Mbps (3,500 to 6,000 Kbps)
Twitch: 3,000 to 6,000 Kbps
Testing internet upload speed has become virtually effortless with the advent of online speed test apps. You can use such tools to figure out if you’re getting the bandwidth your plan claims and if it is enough to go live.
Here are some of these apps known for consistently offering accurate upload speed test results.
M-Lab’s Speed Test
With live streaming on the rise, the need for a reliable, on-the-go app to check your internet connection’s speed is a no-brainer. And that’s what the M-Lab’s Speed Test offers.
It’s the same test you’d see if you search for “internet speed test” on Google.
A tab at the top will open with a “RUN SPEED TEST” button at the bottom. Tap it, and within 30 seconds, you will get your internet download and upload speed. Pretty simple, right?
Speedtest by Ookla
Internet users often rush to Speedtest by Ookla when it comes to checking their internet speed. And rightly so. Apart from being one of the first online speed test tools, it’s known for its excellent performance and flawless results.
You can run it on a web browser for free. Or download its free app on Android / iOS and use it whenever, wherever you want.
Looking for a quick and ad-free way to check your internet speed? Netflix’s FAST.com is your best bet. While it automatically runs the speed test when you visit the site, it shows just the download speed. To find the upload speed, you can click on the “Show more info” button. It will also share unloaded and loaded latency.
Alright, so now that you know what is a good upload speed for streaming, it’s time you worked on ensuring that you get it.
While a lot of it depends on the service package you take from your ISP, there are a few tricks you can try to improve your internet’s upload speed.
1. Get a wired Ethernet connection!
Don’t get us wrong. We are all in for reducing cord clutter. But when it comes to live streaming, having a wired Ethernet connection takes the lead over Wi-Fi. Reasons? First, it’s way faster than Wi-Fi. Secondly, it’s much more stable and reduces latency – giving you a quick reaction time for your live streams.
2. Take care of the cables
Okay, so we discussed that having a wired connection can help you increase the upload speed, but you need to take care of the cables to let them perform to their full potential. Wires crisscrossing the floor or forming a trap for dust bunnies are a big no. So, get them off the floor and keep them neatly organized to prevent wire damage that may hamper your internet’s upload speed.
3. Turn off background programs and apps
When you go live, ensure that your device doesn’t have excess or unwanted apps running in the background. This one step can help you significantly improve your upload speed by preventing excess apps from consuming your internet bandwidth.
4. Switch to a cloud-based live streaming platform
While you can always download software to live stream, consider switching to a cloud-based live streaming platform to increase your upload speed. And if you stream to multiple platforms at once, then use a multistreaming service provider to take the load off your computer and internet.
5. Don’t overload your network
Chances are your internet connection is shared by multiple devices – either at your home or office. So, before you go live, remove your internet connection from as many devices as possible to prevent speed dilution. You can also try and make your internet connection private and avoid giving access to speed-leeching devices.
As you make live streaming a part of your video marketing strategy, you’ll likely need to know about the upload speed of your preferred platform. We hope this guide will help you create a seamless video strategy for every major social network, considering the upload speed they require to produce high-quality broadcasts.
If you need to find the best cameras that could help you create those perfect-looking live streams, read this: 12 Best Cameras for Live Streaming in 2021 for All Budgets.