Are you ready to join the virtual army of nearly 4 million Twitch streamers? In this guide, we’ll show you how to stream on Twitch by breaking everything down step-by-step, including where to get your Twitch stream key, how to go live on Twitch and more.
Learn about the best gaming microphones, webcams and headphones to keep your streams looking and sounding professional, as well as popular streaming software like Streamlabs Desktop and XSplit. Whether you’re into first-person shooters, MMORPGs, battles royal or variety gaming, this guide covers everything you need to know about how to start streaming on Twitch today.
In this blog, we’ll break down the best video game streaming equipment, show you how to stream on Twitch with a PC, and teach you how to create top-quality content that keeps the fans coming back again and again.
Topics in this Guide:
- How To Create A Twitch Account
- Essential Streaming Equipment
- Best Microphones for Game Streaming
- Mic Placement for Streaming
- Microphone Settings for Streaming
- Best Headphones for Twitch Streaming
- Best Webcams for Twitch Streaming
- Webcam Tips and Tricks for Streaming
- Best Streaming Software
- How to Stream on Twitch From PC or Mac
- Finding Your Unique Voice on Twitch
- How to Improve Twitch Stream Quality
- The Best Twitch Extensions
- How to Make Money on Twitch
How To Create A Twitch Account
To sign up for a Twitch account on desktop, navigate to Twitch.tv and select the “Sign up” button in the top-right corner of the page. Complete the form and click the “Sign Up” button at the bottom. Next, you’ll need to confirm your email address using a six-digit code known as a one-time password (OTP) via SMS or email.
You can also create an account using the Twitch mobile app, but you’ll need to use a desktop to find your stream key. After verifying your email address, log into Twitch on a Mac or PC (not the mobile app) and select “Creator Dashboard” from the drop-down menu. From the Creator Dashboard, navigate to the Preferences window in the top-left corner, then click “Channel.”
Click on the “Stream Key & Preferences” page and copy your Stream Key to the clipboard by pressing “Copy” or press “Show” to manually copy your Stream key. Once you’ve copied your Twitch Stream Key, you can use it to verify your Twitch account with your streaming software.
A quality USB microphone like the Blue Yeti is a must-have for any Twitch streamer.
Essential Streaming Equipment
Before you start streaming on Twitch, you may need to level up your gaming rig for best results. In addition to a powerful computer and a stable internet connection, you’re going to need a gaming microphone for chatting, a webcam for live streaming, and streaming software to broadcast your gameplay. Depending on your setup, you may also need a capture card to record video from your console or a dedicated gaming PC.
Sometimes it can feel like a puzzle game trying to piece it all together. In the sections below, we’ll outline everything you need to kit out your gaming battle station, including the best USB microphones, webcams and streaming software.
Best Microphones for Game Streaming
Yeti Nano premium USB microphone for recording and streaming
When it comes to gaming microphones, there are three basic types: USB, XLR and gaming headsets. Each type of microphone offers a unique set of attributes suited for different tasks.
USB microphones like Yeti X and Yeti Nano are quick and easy. Simply plug them into your computer’s USB port and you’ve got a direct connection to gamers all around the world. Most USB microphones include desktop stands that make it easy to find the perfect mic placement. Since they don't require any additional gear, they often include gain controls and headphone outputs directly on the mic itself, and many offer advanced control via remote software.
XLR microphones like Spark SL and Ember offer more flexibility than USB microphones, but require more equipment to set up. In order to use an XLR microphone with your computer, you need a recording interface.
Connect the microphone to your recording interface using an XLR cable, and connect the interface to your computer using a USB or Thunderbolt cable. XLR microphones can also connect to analog hardware devices for additional sound processing. Read more about the differences between USB and XLR microphones to find out which one is right for you.
Gaming headsets like the Logitech G Series and Astro A Series are perfect for in-game communication. Typically used in conjunction with a separate streaming microphone to communicate with fans, gaming headsets provide an all-in-one solution for monitoring in-game audio and chatting with your teammates. Most headsets include high-quality headphones to help you hear crucial audio cues and improve your performance.
Microphone accessories can help improve your sound even further. Shock mounts like Radius and Ringer are designed to isolate microphones from noise, shock and ambient vibrations. Quality mic stands and arms like Compass reduce unwanted noise when adjusting the microphone position. Pop filters like The Pop clamp on to your microphone stand and protect your microphone from hard consonant sounds.
Still not sure which gaming microphone is right for you? Check out our list of the best microphones for Twitch streaming in 2020.
Mic Placement for Streaming
Improve the quality of your Twitch stream with proper mic placement.
You may find that even after upgrading your microphone, you still suffer from poor sound quality. Maybe your voice sounds muffled or distant, or maybe you want to remove the background noise from your video.
In most cases, these issues can be corrected with better mic placement, which can be the difference between your voice coming through loud and clear, or being completely overpowered by the unrelenting clatter of your keyboard. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the ways you can improve the audio quality of your streams.
In order to dial in a radio-ready vocal sound, the first thing you need to determine is which end of the microphone you should speak into. Most condenser microphones are side-address microphones, meaning you speak into the side of the microphone capsule—typically the side with the logo. Dynamic microphones, on the other hand, are usually front-address microphones, meaning you point the microphone directly at whoever is speaking. For more information about the difference between condenser and dynamic microphones, check out our FAQ page.
The actual placement of your microphone depends on what kind of stand you’re using. If you have a desktop microphone stand like the one that comes with the Blue Yeti, simply place your microphone on your desktop, roughly 6 to 12 inches away.
A simple way to ensure you always place your microphone the proper distance away is to remember to hang loose. The shaka sign, commonly used in surfer culture to mean “hang loose,” is a great tool for judging how close the microphone should be to your mouth. Simply put your thumb on your lips and place the microphone at the end of your pinky to ensure proper placement every time.
You may notice, even with your microphone at a proper distance, your recordings still suffer from “plosives” or popping sounds caused by “p” and “t” sounds. To help prevent plosives, point the microphone at a 45-degree angle up towards your mouth. This will provide a more direct sound and help prevent bursts of air from hitting the microphone capsule.
Another option for preventing plosives is to use a pop filter, which provides a protective mesh or metal barrier between your mouth and the mic capsule. These affordable accessories are readily available on Amazon and help eliminate unwanted popping sounds.
Just be cautious of the proximity effect—as the microphone gets closer to your mouth, you'll notice a build-up of low frequencies. This can be helpful to achieve that classic “broadcast sound,” but can also cause vocals to sound muddy and undefined, depending on the voice and the microphone. This method can also be used for front-address microphones with a traditional microphone stand.
For more info on proper microphone placement and how to capture professional-sounding audio for game streaming, check out our blog on How To Improve The Sound Of Your Twitch Streams.
Microphone Settings for Streaming
Yeti X professional USB microphone for gaming and streaming.
No two voices are exactly alike, which is why microphones are equipped with a variety of switchable settings for different sounds. Many condenser microphones feature selectable pickup patterns, or polar patterns, which control what the microphone hears. There are many different pickup patterns designed for different uses, including cardioid, bi-directional, and omni-directional.
- Cardioid is the most common pickup pattern for solo game streaming and reduces unwanted ambient noise by rejecting sound from the sides and back of the microphone.
- Bi-directional mode captures sound from both the front and back of the microphone—perfect for co-op or versus mode.
- Omni-directional picks up sound equally from all directions, which makes it great for LAN parties or tournaments where you want to capture the whole gang.
After setting up your microphone and selecting a pickup pattern, it’s time for soundcheck. Start speaking into the microphone and use the gain control to set your levels so you can be heard clearly without any clipping or distortion. Think of gain as “microphone sensitivity”—the higher the gain, the more sensitive the microphone becomes.
Using low gain settings will only capture sounds that are very close to the mic—everything else will sound very quiet. Using high gain settings can capture sounds very far away from the mic, but they tend to sound distant, while sources close to the microphone are likely to peak or clip, which causes unwanted distortion.
To properly set gain levels, start speaking at a normal volume, and increase the gain knob until the meters in your streaming software are in the green. Next, speak a little louder to make sure the microphone doesn’t peak during loud passages.
Imagine you just died from lag or didn’t get credit for that sweet no-scope headshot you just landed. Turn the gain level down just enough to prevent the meters from going in the red. This should keep your vocals sounding loud and clear without causing distortion.
Best Headphones for Twitch Streaming
Mix-Fi studio-grade headphones with built-in audiophile amp.
You may be wondering; “What’s wrong with my computer speakers? Do I need headphones for streaming?” Good questions!
Yes, you really do need headphones for streaming, and here’s why. Your microphone is going to pick up every sound the speakers make, including the music, sound effects, chat dialogue and even the sound of your own voice captured by the microphone.
This causes an annoying echo effect that no viewer wants to sit through. If the speakers and microphone gain are turned up loud enough, it may even cause feedback, which is an awful squealing sound caused by your voice getting stuck in an infinite loop between the two devices.
Quality gaming headphones also offer great sound isolation and provide highly accurate in-game sounds, enabling you to stay one step ahead of your competition. They’re also designed to be comfortable and durable since streamers typically wear them for several hours each day.
Mix-Fi headphones let you hear every aspect of your stream. They offer superior sound isolation for blocking out background noise, and a built-in headphone amp to help cut through noisy environments.
Best Webcams for Twitch Streaming
Pro Streamer Pack with Yeti USB microphone and C922 Pro HD webcam
With more than 27,000 Twitch partners, there are a lot of options when searching for something to stream. That’s why a webcam is crucial when trying to build a Twitch following. It’s not just about being the best at whatever game you’re streaming, it’s about connecting with other gamers, which is much easier to do when they can see you.
Webcams are ideal for those who want to quickly capture an HD camera feed for their stream. When purchasing a webcam, there are three things to consider: resolution, frame rate and features. For HD quality streams, you need a resolution of 720p or higher. Webcams with 1080p resolution provide a sharper image, while 4K Ultra HD webcams will provide the best image quality.
When it comes to frame rate, 15 frames per second (fps) is the minimum for streaming video on Twitch, although 30 fps is much more common. Webcams capable of 60 fps provide the smoothest video. It’s important to note that most games stream at 30 or 60 fps as well, and streaming a 60 fps game with a 30 fps camera feed can look a little strange.
As for features, many webcams come equipped with auto-focus, which is great for gamers who tend to move around in their seats. This will keep you in focus as you lean in to read your chat window or lean back to take a victory sip. Automatic light adjustment is another great feature for keeping your camera feed looking great all day long, whether you’re up early gaming with the morning sun, or up late grinding in the dark.
Still need some help narrowing it down? Here are some of our favorite webcams for streaming on Twitch:
- Logitech C922 Pro Stream: The C922 Pro Stream lets you stream games in your choice of full 1080p at 30 fps, or HD 720p at 60 fps. Includes a free 3-month premium license for XSplit streaming software.
- Logitech C920s HD Pro: The C920s records in full HD with 1080p at 30 fps resolution. Built-in HD autofocus and light correction help you fine-tune your video feed, while the convenient privacy cover is perfect for when you’re AFK.
- Logitech C930E: The Logitech C930e is perfect for shooting in low-light conditions. And with 1080p resolution, 4x digital zoom and a wide 90-degree field of view, C930e lets you adjust the frame to fit any environment.
- Logitech BRIO: The Logitech BRIO is one of the world’s most technologically advanced webcams. Choose between 4K Ultra HD video at 30 fps, or 1080p at either 30 or 60 fps. BRIO is packed with cool features too—including High Dynamic Range and RightLight 3 technologies that keep you looking good in any light.
Webcam Tips and Tricks for Streaming
Improve the quality of your Twitch stream with these simple webcam tips and tricks.
Webcams are pretty simple devices—just point them at what you want to capture and press record. Getting a professional-looking camera feed for your Twitch stream? Now that’s a different story.
Here are five of our favorite tips for leveling-up your webcam feed while streaming:
Put your webcam at eye level.
No one wants you looking down on them from above your laptop. And you don’t want to look like a little kid sitting in your parent’s chair, staring up at a webcam perched atop a massive monitor. Instead, find a place to set your webcam up at eye level. Try mounting your webcam to a microphone stand and moving it around the room to find the perfect position.
Don’t shoot with a window behind you.
You may think the natural light pouring in from the window behind you will help your aesthetic, but the truth is, you’ll get a better shot with the window in front of you. That way, all that sunlight is illuminating your face instead of the back of your head.
Set up your own lights.
Gamers are notoriously night owls, which makes it difficult to stream without proper lighting. Thankfully, LEDs are pretty cheap these days. You can buy full lighting kits from Amazon for as little as $100.
Adjust your settings.
Don’t be afraid to fine-tune your camera settings. Logitech webcams include free software for adjusting exposure, brightness, focus and more. Spend some time experimenting with these settings to find what works best for your environment.
Set up an interesting backdrop.
No one wants to stare at a blank wall all day. Position your streaming setup so the camera has a good view of something interesting behind you. It could be a bookshelf full of kitschy knick-knacks, your video game collection, or even a cool poster.
Best Streaming Software
Streamlabs Desktop streaming software
Streaming software enables you to capture your gameplay footage and live stream on Twitch. These programs are designed to coordinate your gameplay, camera feed, audio signals, chat windows, subscriber notifications and more for a polished, professional look. Check out some of these popular paid and free steaming software options to trick out your Twitch stream.
Streamlabs Desktop trims some of the more advanced features from the original OBS platform for a more streamlined user interface with improved performance. Custom-designed for game streaming, Streamlabs Desktop can take you from your first stream to your first paycheck. With an intuitive interface, a robust feature-set, and built-in monetization features, it’s easy to see why over 70% of Twitch streamers use Streamlabs Desktop as their streaming software.
For more info on Streamlabs Desktop, check out our blog on How To Use Streamlabs Desktop To Create Next-Level Livestreams and How To Record Livestreams with Streamlabs Desktop.
Designed by a small team of engineers and designers working remotely during the global health crisis, Melon is a powerful and intuitive web-based live streaming app that allows creators anywhere to use the tools they already have to create content, to connect with others, and to build communities. With Melon, you can go live to all of your favorite platforms with just five clicks.
The free version of XSplit Gamecaster includes everything you need to start streaming quickly and easily, including automatic game detection and capture, one-button streaming and templates for in-game overlays. Upgrade to the paid version for advanced features like in-game Twitch integration, an image overlay widget and chroma key support for full green screen effects. A limited-time premium license for XSplit Gamecaster (PC only) is included with the Yeti Streamer Bundle, as well as the Logitech C922 Pro Stream webcam.
OBS Studio is an open-source streaming software packed with powerful features for advanced video production. Edit video sources in real-time, set up an unlimited number of scenes, and mix audio using built-in filters for noise suppression. While this highly customizable interface offers endless experimentation, it can be somewhat intimidating to first-time streamers. Because Open Broadcaster Software is open-source, there are multiple versions of OBS to choose from, like Streamlabs OBS listed above.
How To Stream On Twitch From PC or Mac
Learn how to stream on Twitch from PC or Mac
Streaming on gaming consoles like PlayStation 4 or Xbox One—or even next-gen consoles like the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X—is a great way to get started, but both platforms have several technical limitations in terms of audio and video. For details on how to stream on Twitch using a console, check out our blog on Twitch Streaming on PS4 and Xbox—Demystified.
In order to achieve professional stream quality, you’ll need to use a PC or Mac, which enables you to use external microphones, webcams and software to optimize your Twitch stream.
For minimal lag, you’ll need a quality processor. Most gamers recommend an Intel Core i7 or AMD equivalent for best results, but many streamers are able to use an i5 processor with few problems.
As for Internet speeds, if you want to stream in full HD, you’ll need a minimum upload speed of at least 3.5 Mbps. For 720p resolution, you’ll need at least 1.8 Mbps. You can test your Internet connection speeds for free at SpeedTest.net.
Once you’ve confirmed that your system meets the streaming requirements, it’s time to play some video games!
Here’s our step-by-step guide to streaming on Twitch!
- Log in to Twitch.tv or download the Twitch app and select Stream Manager from the Creator Dashboard menu.
- Click Edit Stream Info and fill out the required fields. Be sure to enter the game you plan to stream in the Category field.
- Launch your streaming software, go to the settings menu and sync to your Twitch account.
- Some streaming applications require your Twitch stream key in order to connect and broadcast to your Twitch channel.
- Return to your Twitch dashboard and select the Stream Key tab.
- Follow the prompts to receive your Twitch stream key.
- In your streaming software, add your game capture source from the main menu.
- Add an additional source for video capture to include your webcam feed.
- Preview your stream and choose “Go Live” to start streaming!
This method works great for streaming gameplay directly from your computer, but what if you want to play some old-school 8-bit games? In order to connect your classic consoles to Twitch, you’ll need to purchase a capture card for your computer, which features HDMI, component and composite inputs for all your retro gaming needs.
Finding Your Unique Voice on Twitch
Pro gamer LoriiPops powers her Twitch stream with Blue.
Creating a successful Twitch channel takes a lot more than just streaming your gameplay. You have to connect with people and give them a reason to come back. Check out these blogs for details on how to make your stream stand out:
How to Improve Twitch Stream Quality
Improve your stream audio by balancing the various audio channels with an audio mixer.
Nothing sends streamers away quicker than bad audio. While Twitch is obviously a video-centric platform, plenty of streamers tune in just to listen—just ask the 2.7 million subscribers of Just Chatting, Twitch’s fourth most popular channel.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your stream audio is to balance the various audio channels using an audio mixer. Most streaming software lets you balance the volume levels between your microphone, game audio, chat audio, sound effects and more. Some streaming software, such as Streamlabs Desktop, even offers advanced mixing effects for tweaking your sound.
For more tips on how to level up the sound of your Twitch stream, check out our blog on 5 Ways to Improve Your Twitch Stream Quality.
The Best Twitch Extensions
The Yeti Streamer Bundle includes six months of free premium access to OvrStream.
When it comes to streaming on Twitch, most streaming software includes everything you need to get started. But if you want to expand your options with image overlays, subscription alerts, chatbots and video streams, you’re going to need some third-party integration. In this section, we’ll detail some of the most popular Twitch extensions.
While StreamLabs Desktop has plenty of advanced features for professional-looking streams, StreamLabs have also created a separate stand-alone Chatbot app. Chatbot connects to your Twitch account and lets you create custom commands that let you quickly trigger chat responses based on user-defined quick keys. Make your chats stand out with built-in timers, quotes, counters, giveaways, sound effects and more.
OvrStream is an automated motion graphics app for streamers with custom graphics, alerts and overlays. Find the perfect look for your stream with an array of professionally designed alerts and overlays inspired by popular games, styles and themes. Animate your alerts and notifications with jaw-dropping 3D motion graphics. You can get six months free premium access to OvrStream for PC with the Yeti Streamer Bundle.
Discord is a free, all-in-one voice and text chat designed specifically for gamers. Discord lets you set up chat servers with streamers, viewers and bots so everyone can join in on the conversation.
Extensions open up a whole new world of possibilities for Twitch streamers. Make your channel more engaging with interactive overlays and panels. Make your stream stand out with heat maps, real-time game data, mini-games, music requests, leaderboards, and more.
How to Make Money on Twitch
Pro gamer DrLupo powers his stream with Blue.
It's every gamer’s dream to earn a living playing video games. But, just like any career, it takes a lot of hard work. In the beginning, the only way to make money on Twitch is by accepting PayPal donations, selling merchandise, or using affiliate link programs. However, with a little dedication, you can work your way up the ranks to become a top streamer and start earning some real cash.
How to Become a Twitch Affiliate
The first step to monetizing your Twitch stream is joining the Twitch affiliate program. Twitch affiliates can start earning an income while building an audience and working towards becoming a full Twitch partner.
Affiliates can earn money by accepting subscriptions from viewers and enabling “Bits.” Bits are a virtual good that viewers can buy to “Cheer” on their favorite streamers in the chat window—and the streamer gets a share of the revenue. Affiliates can also earn revenue from the sale of games or in-game items on Twitch. In order to become a Twitch affiliate, you must meet the following requirements:
- Have at least 50 followers
- Stream at least 500 total minutes in the last 30 days
- Streamed on seven unique days in the last 30 days
- Hold an average of three or more concurrent viewers
How to Become a Twitch Partner
The affiliate program is designed to help gamers earn revenue on their path to becoming a full Twitch partner. You don't have to be an affiliate in order to become a partner, but it’s highly recommended. After joining the affiliate program, you can work your way up to partner status, which enables you to make money through advertisements and even Twitch sponsorships. In order to become a partner, you must meet the following requirements:
- Stream for 25 hours in the last 30 days
- Stream for 12 unique days in the last 30 days
- Reach 75 average viewers in the last 30 days
After completing these goals, you'll see a button to apply to become a Twitch partner.
Check out our blog for more in-depth tutorials and guides for getting the most out of your Twitch streams.