Do you have the internet speed for streaming Twitch?

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One of the most important factors for streaming is your upload bandwidth. Find out if you have the necessary internet speed for streaming Twitch or Mixer!

Right out of the gate, we’re going to say something you may not like to hear. 1080P60 is something you can not do while maintaining a high-quality experience for your viewers if your streamed content is high action. The reason is the bitrate limit of 6000 imposed by Twitch. And that is assuming you yourself has the internet upload speed fast enough to do 6000.

The story for this changes a bit if you manage to become a Twitch Partner or affiliate. A Twitch Affiliate has a higher priority for transcoding but does not have the upload limit increase. As a partner, your upload limit increases, and you are then able to stream at a maximum bitrate of 8000. Furthermore, you are given a high priority for Transcoding. We’ll explain below.

First up: What level of internet speed for streaming Twitch do you need?

The first thing you need to do before you even start streaming is to test your internet speed.

Speedtest results of my internet, far exceeding the internet speed for streaming twitch minimums.

The box is rectangular in shape, and is separated into two sections. The top section is a dark-ish pink-purple color, and the bottom is a dark blue-purple color.

At the top, in the lighter section, There is an image of a Speedometer next to the text SpeedTest, colored white. Just below that in a light grey text is @Speedtest by Ookla.

On the right side of that smaller light-purple box is the date : 04/25/2019, which is the date that the speed test was ran.

Below that date is the exact time of the test: 11:00PM GMT.

Below the light purple box, there are three words and numbers separated into three columns.

Image of a lightning bolt-ish design with a line throgh it with the word Ping. | A aqua blue colored circle with a down arrow inside it. Next to that is the word Download in all caps. | on the far right column, another circle, pinkish-magenta in color with a up arrow inside with the same color as the circle. The word next to that image is Upload, in all caps.

The next row, underneath ping is the number 10, and in small text on the right is the letters ms, which stands for miliseconds.

To the right of that, under Download is the number 100.83Mbps Which is the download speed of the tested internet connection.

To the right of that is the number 119.52Mbps, which is the upload speed of the tested internet connection.

In the next row, there are two colums, aligned left to the same position as the number 10. 

In the first column, there is the word "Rating" and to the right of that in the second row is "Faster than 97% of the US".

In the next row is ISP, and to the right of that is "Verizon, 4.5/5 stars, white in color.

On the final row is Host, and to the right of that is "Boston,MA, ~50mi."
You don’t need your internet to be this fast. The upload is what matters for the streamer, while the download speed of your audience limits what they are able to watch

One thing you’ll need to realize is that a vast majority of viewers are on mobile devices, with limited bandwidth at their disposal. 4GLTE download speed under the BEST conditions possible is around 50 Mbps; However, it is far more common to see speeds of around 4 to 12 Mbps. So by streaming at a bitrate of 6000, you are locking out a HUGE portion of your potential viewers from watching your stream. If they try, it will be an unwatchable stutter, wholly unenjoyable content. That is not even considering those still on 3G.

Of course, there is transcoding, which both Twitch and Mixer have…but that isn’t really something you can rely on (There are exceptions, more on that later.). It is a resource that is spread thin by the 4+ million streamers on Twitch. Servers aren’t an infinite resource, and you need server resources for transcoding.

Our Recommended Minimums

The recommended minimum upload speed for streaming on twitch is 8 Mbps. This allows some headroom for anyone within your household to still have access to some upload for things they may need to do, as well as provide you with a small buffer for when they do. There is also a small buffer in consideration that internet connections aren’t necessarily stable.

That said, the cost of internet access isn’t exactly cheap; and is not equal everywhere. One of my friends who lives in Indiana only has access to 3/3 (Short for 3 Mbps upload speed and 3 Mbps download speed) as their fastest possible internet, and it isn’t cheap! Depending on where you live, you could experience even worse, and thus streaming would be near impossible to do.

internet speed for streaming twitch in Indiana choice for one of Mr.Goodhand's  friend.

Image of a grey box with a light grey box shadow. inside the box is titled :

6. On-Ramp Indiana, Inc. 

To the right of the title is a blue checkmark next to "65% available in 41011.(A Zipcode for Indiana) The background color is a darker grey.

Below that title area of the box is a larger white box. It is separated into 4 columns: From Left to Right:

Logo (On-Ramp Indiana) | Connection DSL | Download speeds up to 3Mbps | User Rating : 0 out of 5 Star rating. | A large, Hot pink buton with "View Plans >" in bold text.
Source: Highspeedinternet.com

In that case, we’d recommend taking to YouTube and offering pre-recorded videos that you can upload at whatever rate you can muster. This way, you can still partake in the hobby or job of videography & Content Creation.

Save Money on a new ISP with Honey

If you are in the market for a new ISP, be sure to use honey and check to see if that ISP has any promotional offers to save you money on your subscription.

For Twitch Partners

The rules for the internet speed you need change a bit here. Twitch Partners are highly prioritized for the aforementioned Transcoder option. Transcoding downscales the source feed in bitrate and resolution. As such, they are able to stream at a bitrate of 8000 without worry about their audience with slower connections.

Twitch Affiliate Bonuses for Internet Speed

It is worth it to note that Twitch Affiliates also gain access to the Transcoding. However, it is only available when the server load is low enough to pass it down to an affiliate. If the servers are too busy, you don’t get transcoding.

Due to this fickle nature of availability, we recommend streaming at a lower bitrate than 6000 to ensure your audience can actually watch your stream without major buffering every 10 seconds.

Limit your bitrate maximum

Ultimately, this number will go UP over time, especially when 5G hits the consumer markets. For now, considering the spotty coverage of all users who use their phones to watch Twitch, the fact that transcoding is a limited service, and your upload speed needs to be at least 8 Mbps to stream at a bitrate of 6000; Our recommendation for bitrate is 3800 to 5000 for Non-Twitch Partners.

Streaming at 720p60

We are in the process of writing an article covering encoding options in detail. We briefly cover this subject in this article because it is strongly related to the internet speed available.

The maximum we’d recommend streaming at is 720P60. This only requires a bitrate of 3800 to 5000, as mentioned above. The encoding speed will depend on the processor you have. Here are our settings as an example:

Our output settings in OBS for streaming. The CPU we use is an I7 6700k Skylake CPU, and utilize the built in encoder chip on the x264.

Despite having far more than what is needed for internet speed , We still recommend to stream at 720P60 for twitch, and 900p60 for Mixer.

Image is a large dark grey box containing 7 separate menu styled boxes. The List of options include: "General", "Stream", Selected color is a dark blueish color. - "Output", "Audio", "Video", "Hotkeys, and "Advanced".

In the open window, which takes up the other *roughly* 80% of the image.  There is "Output mode" [Advanced].
Below this option is another miniature menu with four buttons, Selected: Colored dark blue like the other menu "Streaming", "Recording", "Audio", "Replay Buffer"

Within the selected "Streaming" menu is another box, taking up the remaining 70% of the box.

Audio track 1(Selected), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Encoder: [X264]

[Checked] - Enforce Streaming service encoder settings

Rescale Output [Checked] 1280x720

Rate Control: [CBR]

Bitrate: [5000]

[Unchecked] Use custom Buffer Size
Keyframe Interval (in Seconds, 0=Auto) [2]

CPU Usage Preset (Higher = Less CPU Reserved) [Faster]

Profile: [High]

Our processor is an I7 6700k, Which is a fairly powerful midrange CPU and handles up to “Fast” on the CPU usage preset. This setting determines how long a frame sits in the CPU for compression. The longer it is processing the frame, the better quality the image becomes. However, the longer the CPU spends processing the frame, the fewer resources it has for processing other things. For example, the game being streamed. This results in a high percentage of the CPU being reserved for encoding, and since CPU’s are serial in nature (One instruction at a time) this also increases frame time.

If you have a slower processor, we’d recommend putting the setting to “Very Fast”. Processor struggling at these settings? We recommend instead using your video card encoder to stream instead, as you will get a similar-looking result with a near-0 performance impact.

AMD GPU Encoding

For AMD GPU users, such as the RX480 8GB, RX580, or newer, our only option is using the H264/AVC Encoder (AMD Advanced Media Framework).

These settings were the ones that worked best in our testing with an AMD RX480 8gb(You can’t buy them new anymore, the RX580 is the closest you can get):

We’re certain that you could further tweak the many variables to improve it a bit more, but suffice it to say, it looked worse than X264 in every case.

Streaming at 720p30

Say you have a similar processor to us, but your internet connection is closer to 5 Mbps, we’d opt to drop the frame rate to 30. and your bitrate to 2500. Everything else stays the same.

Drop your FPS to 30 in the Settings, Video, common fps value dropdown.
You can get to this window using Settings – Video within OBS

How About the recommended internet speed for streaming Mixer?

The story is much the same, really. Simply adhere to the above-recommended settings for internet speed for streaming Twitch and you should be fine.

We will mention that there is a difference of maximums allowed, specifically 10,000 bitrate maximum, over Twitch’s 6000. We strongly recommend reading this article about what Mixer has to offer you.

For Mixer Partners.

The Exception to the rule is Mixer Partners. The reason for this is that Mixer partners have access to Transcoding, which will downscale your stream at lower bitrates and resolution. As a result of Transcoding, your audience who has these slow connections will still be able to see your content.

Let’s not forget then that you can now stream [email protected],000 for your audience with the bandwidth necessary to watch a stream. They will have a little selector like this:

Quality Selector Available for Mixer Partners.
 Format: Dropdown
< Qualities
A Checkmark next to 720p
480p
320p

Internet speed for streaming twitch or mixer

Why not 1080p60?

Well, the reason for this is that streaming at 1080P60 would require a minimum of 12,000 to look really clear. And yes, many streamers Do stream at 1080P60, and you totally can if you want to. However, we feel you would get better results streaming 900p60 @8,000 if you are not yet a partner. (Or even [email protected])

This video is a bit old, but the info is mostly still accurate!
Final Word:

Streaming has a lot of factors to consider; Our article on the best free vst plugins will teach you how to use VST plugins to improve the quality of your audio. Check it out! 😉

Did you find this post helpful to you? Spread the word to help other content creators!
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