Live streaming has found its place in the business world, and it’s serving a multitude of purposes. Some businesses offer paid streaming solutions for events, and others use website streaming as a way to build online communities to support their brands.
While it’s possible to use Youtube, Facebook, Twitch, and other third-party social media platforms to live stream, there is value in setting up your own live streaming website and integrating with a live streaming platform. It gives you more control over your content and comes across as more professional when done right.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through the steps of choosing the right online video platform (OVP) and setting up live streaming websites. We’ll also identify what sort of streaming equipment is right for the job, encoder setup, how to embed a video player, and how anyone can start streaming in 6 easy steps.
*Note to our readers: We have updated this article to reflect the latest information as of April 2021.
Let’s get into it.
Table of Contents:
- What is a Live Streaming Website?
- Why Create Websites with Live Streams?
- Preparing Your Live Streaming Website
- How to Set Up a Live Streaming Website
- Invest in Recording Equipment
- Choose an Encoding Software
- Secure a Reliable Internet Connection
- Choose a Video Streaming Site Platform
- Generate an Embed Code
- Embed Your Video Player
- Setting Up a Live Streaming Site with Dacast’s Expo Video Gallery
Let’s get into it.
What is a Live Streaming Website?
A live streaming website is a site that houses live streams. This is where broadcasters embed their video players for viewers to access their content. When it comes to online streaming, viewers must have an internet connection to access content that is being broadcast in real-time.
With the support of a professional video player and access to a website’s HTML, just about any site can be made into a live streaming website.
Why Create Websites with Live Streams?
Live streaming is beneficial to businesses for several reasons. Aside from generating revenue and broadcasting live events, one of the main uses of streaming live video is raising brand awareness.
There are many benefits to streaming from your own website, such as giving you total control of what is going on around the video player. That means that you don’t have to worry about distracting third-party branding or advertisements that don’t align with your brand’s values.
Using a live streaming website to house your online video player also gives you more control over the broadcast itself. You don’t have to worry about content restrictions or time limits on live streams. You also maintain total ownership of your content, which is not necessarily the case if you stream via free platforms, like YouTube.
When you create your own website with a live streaming platform, you can also curate the other content on the page to drive your intended conversions. You can use calls to action (CTAs) to direct your viewers to join your email subscription list, purchase your offer, or sign up for another virtual event.
Preparing Your Live Streaming Website
In order to set up live streaming on your website, you must decide whether you’ll add your live streams to an existing business website or one that is dedicated to housing your live streams. Which way you go will depend on your specific goals.
For example, if you’re using live streams to build brand awareness, it’s a good idea to add a new page to an existing site. That way, viewers will have the opportunity to browse through your other content.
If you’re using the streaming as a service model or if you’re hosting paid virtual streaming events, you’re likely better off building a new site.
Although there are platforms that make it easy to build a “drag and drop” website, hiring a designer with brand strategy and web development experience will yield more professional results.
Creating and launching live streaming websites is certainly a process, so you want to get it right from the start. Before we go any further, there are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself:
- What sort of content will you be streaming?
- Who is your intended audience?
- Do you plan on monetizing your streams? If so, how?
- What sort of live stream plan fits your budget? How much are you willing to invest?
- What happens when my broadcast fails, how do I troubleshoot my live stream?
Use the answers to those questions to develop your website in a way that makes sense in terms of your target audience and your live streaming goals.
With your website in place and a general idea of what you want to do, you’re ready to get started on setting up live streaming video on your website.
How to Set Up a Live Streaming Website
Setting up a live streaming website is very straightforward, especially with the support of a professional online video platform like Dacast. We’ve outlined the process with 6 simple steps to make it even easier for you to set up live streaming video on a website.
Are you ready to set up your live streaming site? Let’s get started.
1. Invest in Live Recording Equipment
Creating professional-grade video content requires an investment in the proper live streaming recording equipment.
Webinars, training sessions, and other simple broadcasts are fine with a simple camera setup, but when more advanced broadcasts call for more professional setups with TV-grade equipment.
For the best quality video, look for a camera with an HDMI connection, since HDMI-compatible cameras typically produce the highest quality stream.
You’ll need some kind of audio recording equipment, as well. While built-in camera microphones may suffice, we don’t recommend relying on that option. The best high-quality audio comes from external microphones worn on the lapel or held just outside the camera frame.
2. Choose and Encoding Software
One challenge that many live streamers face is that most cameras are designed to record rather than to live stream. That’s why you’ll need to choose a hardware or software encoder that works with your camera of choice.
Encoding changes your video from a format that is optimized for recording and storage to one designed for transmission over the web. This ensures that your viewers can access your live streaming video without issue.
Hardware encoders are dedicated devices that let you bypass the need for a computer. This physical alternative to encoding software is useful in some professional broadcasting contexts.
Hardware encoders are typically used by advanced broadcasters given their high price points. They are designed specifically for encoding, which gives them an advantage over software encoders.
Software encoders, on the other hand, are usually much more affordable than hardware. Small-scale producers generally prefer this alternative to hardware encoders. You can even opt for free and open-source software or RTMP encoders that utilize the RTMP (real-time streaming protocol) to deliver video content or ingest HLS.
OBS Studio is a good option for broadcasters who are new to the game because it is easy to use and it’s absolutely free.
Pro-level RTMP-enabled encoders like Wirecast Pro and vMix, however, are better options in terms of features and quality. Please note that paid encoding software packages do require a computer with a fairly fast processor. You want a reliable machine that can encode video in real-time.
3. Secure a Reliable Internet Connection
Broadcasters also need a reliable, fast internet connection to produce a high-quality live stream. Most cable internet speeds are sufficient for live streaming. Wi-Fi is another option, but it isn’t as reliable, so we recommend only using it if you have no other options. However, both of these options are superior to cellular data.
There are some minimum upload speed requirements related to internet connection based on the video quality you’re aiming for. If you want a higher video quality, you need a faster internet connection. We recommend an upload speed of at least half the quality at which you plan to stream. For example, if you are doing an HD, 3 Mbps stream, you will need a 6 Mbps upload speed.
At lower speeds, your video quality could be pixelated, lagging, and potentially unwatchable. Make sure your internet service isn’t prone to disruptions or fluctuations in speed. Interruption of an important broadcast is the last thing you want.
Furthermore, don’t accept the advertised upload speed from your internet service provider at face value. Your internet service provider will likely quote you a peak speed. Your actual average speed will most likely always be lower. We highly recommend checking your true internet speed on testmy.net before you start streaming.
Also, you should avoid streaming while other users are using the same live streaming server’s bandwidth for other activities as this could cause issues.
4. Choose a Video Streaming Site Platform
In order to fully own the rights to your video content, you’re going to need to invest in a professional-grade video streaming site or platform. YouTube is the most popular and easy-to-use streaming video host, but unfortunately, free, consumer-grade platforms like YouTube and Facebook Live pose serious limitations for live streaming video. Those services are designed for uploading videos, rather than for live streaming and management of video content.
Using streaming solutions via a dedicated white-label video streaming platform such as Dacast, IBM Cloud Video, or Livestream is highly recommended. You can check out our comparison of the top live streaming platforms for more information on these solutions.
Additionally, these platforms provide a better live streaming video service and give you more control over video placement, monetization, branding, privacy, recording, and more.
Pay close attention to the features of your chosen platform before committing. If you need a lot of bandwidth, viewing hours, and storage for advanced VOD and live event streaming, make sure that you choose an enterprise video platform that supports these needs.
The live streaming software solution you choose will also provide you with specific information related to your live channel. You’ll need this information to set up your encoding software or hardware to access the video host website for live streaming. That way, you can ensure a secure video upload for your viewers.
You’ll want to test out your streaming setup before you launch your first broadcast to ensure that everything works smoothly with your streaming solution.
Here is a short video tutorial using Wirecast 8 to give you a little more insight.
5. Generate an Embed Code
Once you have chosen the equipment and tools that you’ll use to create your live stream videos, you’re ready to move on to the second phase of this process. It is time to generate an embed code and to prepare your website for your first live stream broadcast.
This is a relatively simple process.
To get started, you have to navigate to the admin dashboard for your live streaming video host. Once you’re there, schedule a live stream event for the time your event will begin. After you schedule it, you should be able to access the embed options.
It doesn’t matter which of these you choose unless you have an audience with specific needs. You will want to test both on your website to make sure they work. WordPress sites, for example, require the iFrame code.
Once you choose one of these two embedding options, select the code in the box and copy it to your clipboard.
6. Embed a Live Stream Into a Web Page
The next step is to embed your video onto your live stream website. To do so, you need to access the HTML editor on your website’s management dashboard. This looks a little bit different on every website hosting platform.
For example, if you’re using a WordPress site, you’ll proceed as follows:
- Click “Edit” on your chosen post or page
- Click the tab for “Text” to enter the code editor view
- Paste your video code from your clipboard on a new line
- Click “Update” or “Publish” to save your changes
It’s truly that simple. Please note that most other website editors have similar tools for embedding HTML code quickly and easily, so the general process will be the same.
Setting Up a Live Streaming Site with Dacast’s Expo Video Portal
In the past year, Dacast has rolled out a feature that saves our broadcasters time and money on setting up a live streaming site.
Our Expo Video Portal tool allows you to create a custom landing page with a gallery to display your video library to your viewers. This tool is free to Dacast users on every plan.
Expo pages are very easy to set up, and users can create as many as they want. How it works is users curate a collection of content to display on the page. The idea is to create a gallery-like the ones you’d find on Netflix or Hulu.
The Expo pages are completely white-label and brandable, and the layout is sleek and professional. Additionally, the feature works seamlessly with our secure paywall and advertising tools.
You can set up an Expo gallery in four simple steps. Here’s how it works:
- Select “Expo” from the menu on the left-hand side of your Dacast dashboard
- Select “Create Expo” (purple button on the top right)
- Name your Expo
- Click “Create” to save your changes
Please check out our Expo Video Portal article for additional information on adding videos to and customizing your Expo.
Conclusion: Start Live Streaming Today
After you square away your filming and encoding equipment, test your internet speed, generate your embed code, and then embed the video, you’re ready to start broadcasting live streaming video. The only thing left to do is start filming.
If you need additional information about live streaming, we’ve got you covered.
You can find a step-by-step walkthrough as an introduction to live streaming on the Dacast blog. You’ll find tons of links to helpful resources for video broadcasting.
At Dacast, we help a wide range of businesses get started with live streaming. For more details, you can check out our live streaming pricing plans and customization options.
Are you ready to try our streaming solutions for yourself? Just click the button below to sign up for a 30-day free trial (no credit card required). We’ll have you up and streaming in no time.
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Please note that this post was originally written by Max Wilbert. It was revised in 2021 by Emily Krings to include the most up-to-date information. Emily is a strategic content writer and storyteller. She specializes in helping businesses create blog content that connects with their audience.