How to Stream on Twitch

As a new streamer, you may be asking yourself how to start a live stream on Twitch? You may even ask yourself which platform you should stream on. While there is no right answer, Twitch is continually breaking records and the most-watched platform compared to YouTube and Facebook.

We recommend getting familiar with each platform. If you already have an established community on Facebook or YouTube, start there. You may find it helpful to Multistream at first to see which platform gets traction.

In this blog, we are going to focus on Twitch. The platform allows for a ton of customization and has tools to help you create and establish a unique brand.

Setting up a Twitch stream can seem like a daunting experience. In this blog, we are going to discuss several key factors you should consider before going live on Twitch.

Before we begin, it’s important to remember there is no secret to success. If you’d like to become a full-time streamer, hard work, dedication, long hours, and a deep commitment to creating engaging content is required. For many people, becoming a full-time streamer isn’t necessarily the end goal, and that’s okay. Either way, these tips will help you create a great Twitch channel.

How to create a Twitch account for streaming

Setting up an account on Twitch is easy.

1. Reference community guidelines.

Before you start creating content on Twitch it is a good idea to reference the community guidelines. Any content that is deemed inappropriate or legal is grounds to get your account on Twitch and Streamlabs suspended. So read them carefully, and make sure you are streaming approved content for the website.

2. Create an account.

On a desktop computer, simply click the “sign up” button and fill out the appropriate information.

3. Enable two-factor authentication.

Before you can start broadcasting you’ll need to enable 2FA. On a desktop computer, log into your account, navigate to security settings, and enable 2FA.

Download Streamlabs Desktop

Download Streamlabs Desktop here. Once installed, launch the program, and it will ask you to sign in, so it knows what channel you’re going to stream with. Click Twitch and fill out your login credentials. This information is only used to link your account and authorize streaming from the Streamlabs software.

Connect Paypal and Create a Streamlabs Tip Page

Setting up a Streamlabs tip page is one of the easiest ways to start earning an income from streaming. Setting up a tip page is entirely free and will never take a cut of the money you receive. Setting up your tip page only takes a few seconds, so let’s dive into it.

  1. Log in to the dashboard on Click on ‘Settings’ in the lower left-hand corner.
Create Your Tip Page in the Settings
Your tip page URL is found here

Manage Tip Page Settings

You can manage a range of tip page settings from the Streamlabs dashboard. Not based in the US? You can choose which currency you’d like donations to appear in. Set the minimum amount required to donate, and even adjust the recommended amount that appears for a user when they visit your tip page.

Create a Consistent Brand

You may find that creating a unique look or aesthetic for your channel is a good way for people to remember you. The best ways to create a unique brand include:

  • Social media
  • Overlays
  • Twitch Panels
  • Alerts

Social Media

Your brand starts with social media. There are many social media platforms to choose from, but we recommend starting with Twitter because that is most popular in the creator and gaming space. Start communicating with the world about your stream. Promote your social channels when you stream. Plug your handles when you are live. Include links in your about section. Social media acts as a way to amplify your reach when you stream and gives your community a place to interact with you.

Stream Overlays

Stream overlays make it easy to grab people's attention while showing off your personality and unique style.

Twitch Panels

Panels help keep your brand cohesive and consistent throughout your channel. Panels provide viewers with links to important websites that you want them to see. This can be everything from your Twitter, Instagram, tip page, and anything in between.

TimTheTatman’s About Section
Twitch Panel Icons Available in Streamlabs Twitch Panel Editor

How to Add Live Stream Alerts

Having alerts is a crucial element of any live broadcast on Twitch and helps you stand out from the crowd, keep viewers coming back, and encourage others to interact with your live stream.

Add an Alert Box Widget

The first thing you want to do is add an Alert Box widget to your live stream. Widgets are features you can add in Streamlabs Desktop to help you interact and engage with your community. You can learn more about the top widgets we recommend adding to your live stream by watching our video here.

Our default alert will appear after you add an Alert Box widget

Pre-Made Alerts

If you don’t want to use the default alert, Streamlabs offers pre-made alerts created by top designers in the industry like Nerd or Die, Visuals by Impulse, and OWN3D. You can visit our Alert Box Themes page to browse the full collection of alert themes.

Featured Alert Box Themes

Create Custom Alerts

If you don’t want to use a pre-made alert, you can manually customize your own by navigating to the Streamlabs dashboard and clicking on “Alert Box” on the left-hand side.

Choose to edit your General Settings or specific alert types here

Alert General Settings

General Settings apply to every alert type. You can edit the alert delay, mod approvals, profanity filters, add custom bad words, etc.

General Settings that apply to every alert

How to Customize Specific Alert Types

To customize an alert click on the specific event type you wish to edit. In the example pictured below, we are editing alerts for new Twitch followers.

How to Add Alert Variations

Alert Variations allow you to play exclusive alerts if a viewer meets certain conditions. For example, you can play a different alert for a $10 tip vs. a $5 or $1.

  1. Click on “Open Alert Variation” and add a variation with default alert settings or your custom alert settings
Gordon in all of his glory

How to Get The Best Streaming Settings on Twitch

Having settings that are too high for your computer’s hardware can cause performance issues for your live stream. For new Twitch streamers, Streamlabs Desktop has an Auto Optimize feature that automatically scans your internet speed and computer hardware to give you our recommended settings. Access this feature by opening Streamlabs Desktop, navigating to Settings > General. It’s a fantastic way to jump right in without having to mess with the finer details.

Quality and Resolution

The output of your video resolution can have a significant impact on the quality of your live stream and the performance of Streamlabs Desktop. For example, streaming at 1080p vs 720p will double the number of pixels, meaning your computer will be using more resources.

Choose your Encoder

When it comes to encoders, there are two types: software (x264) and hardware (NVENC). The software encoder (x264) will use your CPU to encode video, while hardware encoders like NVENC utilize a dedicated encoder in the GPU, allowing you to play and stream without compromising game performance. If you are using an NVIDIA graphics card we recommend you stream with NVENC.

Change the CPU Usage Preset

To change the CPU usage preset, navigate to “Output” in the settings window.

Enable Dynamic Bitrate

In a recent update to Streamlabs Desktop, we included a feature called Dynamic Bitrate. This feature allows our software to automatically adjusts your bitrate based on network conditions to prevent dropping frames.

Edit Bitrate Manually

You can also manually edit your bitrate. Below is Twitch’s own recommend specs for NVIDIA NVENC depending on the resolution and fps you’d like to achieve.

1080p 60fps

  • Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Bitrate: 6000 kbps
  • Rate Control: CBR
  • Framerate: 60 or 50 fps
  • Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds
  • Preset: Quality
  • B-frames: 2

1080p 30fps

  • Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Bitrate: 4500 kbps
  • Rate Control: CBR
  • Framerate: 25 or 30 fps
  • Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds
  • Preset: Quality
  • B-frames: 2

720p 60fps

  • Resolution: 1280x720
  • Bitrate: 4500 kbps
  • Rate Control: CBR
  • Framerate: 60 or 50 fps
  • Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds
  • Preset: Quality
  • B-frames: 2

720p 30fps

  • Resolution: 1280x720
  • Bitrate: 3000 kbps
  • Rate Control: CBR
  • Framerate: 25 or 30 fps
  • Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds
  • Preset: Quality
  • B-frames: 2
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