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How to Stream on YouTube With OBS – Short Guide

by Mrinal Saha
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In our previous article, we saw how to go live on YouTube from your phone. However, the native YouTube live feature doesn’t let you use custom layouts, display your desktop screen, and most importantly, you cannot go live with more than one person. Thankfully, you can bypass all of these limitations by using an encoder like OBS. Here’s everything you need to know about streaming on YouTube with OBS.

Before You Go Live

Make sure your channel has at least 1,000 subscribers. Also, you need to verify your channel which is easy enough to do. And finally, check if you have had no live stream restrictions in the last 90 days.

What Is OBS

If you are using OBS (short for Open Broadcaster Software) for the first time, you might find it a bit complicated. In simple words, OBS is an encoder that digitizes videos and sends them to YouTube to be live-streamed to your viewers. OBS is not the only encoder out there, you also have Wirecast, Stage Ten, Streamlabs OBS, and much more. However, OBS is the most popular encoder for going live on YouTube. We use OBS for our SNL with TechWiser live stream too.

Steps for Live Streaming on YouTube Using OBS

To make things easier for beginners, we have broken down the procedure into 3 simple parts.

1. Setting Up YouTube

Assuming that you have already had 1000 subscribers and verified your channel as mentioned at the starting of this article, follow the steps.

1. Go to studio.youtube.com, click on CREATE button in the top right corner and then select Go live.

go live option in youtube studio

2. If you are going live for the first time, you will see a couple of popups asking When do you want to go live? Select an option that’s suitable for you. For this instance, I’ll choose Right now.

go live settings in youtube studio

3. In the next step, YouTube will ask you to Pick the type of stream to begin. Since we will be using an OBS here, select Streaming software.

After a recent controversy, YouTube now asks Is this video made for kids? before you publish a video or live stream. Unless you are running a YouTube channel for kids, most creators need to select the second option which is No, it’s not made for kids and then click on Save button.

youtube studio third-party option

4. Next, you will see the live streaming setup page of YouTube. Think of it as a control panel of your live stream. It shows you a preview window, setup metadata, analytics, stream health, and more stats. Let’s set it up one by one.

On the top, you will see the Edit button. Click on it.

youtube studio edit live stream option

5. Next you need to enter a Title and Description of the video and select a Visibility setting. We recommend you select Public, but if you want to test it first, you can also keep it Unlisted. However, do note that unlisted can be viewed by someone who has the direct URL of the live stream.

Click on Save and you will be inside live dashboard.

youtube studio live stream option

6. Next, in order to link your OBS with YouTube, we’ll need a secret key called Stream key. You can find the stream key at the bottom of your YouTube live dashboard. Simply copy and paste the stream key into a notepad. We’ll need it later.

youtube studio stream key

Our work on YouTube is done, for now. Let’s move to OBS.

2. Setting Up OBS

1. Next, download OBS and install it just as you install any other program. We recommend using a Windows PC for a smoother experience and make sure you run it as an administrator. If you are on Mac, again, give all the necessary permissions by going to Security and Privacy menu found under System Preferences. You might have to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

installing obs studio

2. Once you have successfully installed OBS, click on the Settings button in the bottom right corner. Here, you can customize the audio/video settings and also enter the stream key you copied in step 6 of part 1 above.

3. Go to the Stream tab on the left side and select YouTube -RTMPS from the Service drop-down menu.

In the Stream Key field, paste your YouTube stream key from the notepad. This will link OBS with YouTube. There’s no need for entering your YouTube credential in the OBS app. Just make sure that the key in your encoder matches the one you see in your Stream Settings or else the stream won’t start.

youtube stream key in OBS studio

4. Under the Video and Output tabs, you can choose frame rates, resolution, and bit rate. We recommend 4K or at least 1080p using an ethernet cable. If you are on Wi-Fi, make sure you use the 5GHz network for a jitter-free experience.

video output settings in OBS studio

5. Next, select the Audio tab. Now, if you want viewers to hear desktop audio, set one of the Desktop Audio settings to your system’s audio output. If you want your viewers to hear you instead, select microphone from the drop-down menu next to Mic/Auxiliary Audio. For Mac, it’s not easy to share desktop audio due to Apple’s restrictions. So you will have to use a workaround. Also, this is the reason why we recommend using a Windows PC.

When you’re happy with the changes, exit the settings panel by clicking Apply and then click OK.

audio settings in OBS studio

6. In the main window, click the Plus icon under Sources. From the pop-up menu, select the option you want. If you just want to go live on YouTube from your webcam, select Video Capture Device. If you want to stream game footage, select Game Capture and so on.

For this instance, I want to capture webcam footage, so I’ll choose the Video Capture option.

video capture device in OBS Studio

7. Give a name to your webcam and then click on OK to save changes.

3. Start streaming

Once you have updated settings, it’s time to go live on YouTube.

1. Click the Start Streaming button in the bottom right corner of OBS dashboard. Once a signal is received, you’ll see a preview in the YouTube Live control room. Do keep in mind that there will a 20-second delay between your live stream and the public page where your viewers are watching.

live streaming on youtube

2. To Stop the stream, click on End Stream button on the top right side of YouTube.

stop streaming on youtube studio

Wrap Up: Stream on YouTube With OBS

There are other apps too that allow you to connect your YouTube Studio account and stream but OBS is the most popular. Why? Because it is easy to use and simply works. You can also go for the official YouTube Studio’s default option but it lacks customizations. Happy streaming!

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