Live video platforms act as the connector between video content creators and viewers, making them a vital component of online video publishing. And with the constant rise of live streaming, more and more of these platforms are sprouting left and right, giving us more options.

While it’s great having more choices, it can also be quite overwhelming. That’s why we came up with this article to help you choose the right streaming services for your needs.

How to Choose the Best Live Stream Platform for You

Streaming platforms are a dime a dozen, but not all are created the same. To help you decide which one works best for you, we’ve listed some of the things you need to consider when choosing a live stream video provider.

  • Reliability. Reliability is the most important thing to consider. Not knowing if your live stream will work on the scheduled date can be quite nerve-racking. That’s why your choice of platform should work when you need it to.
  • Privacy controls. If you want to limit viewership to paying members, you need to find a live stream service that lets you lock your stream with a password.
  • Ease of use. Unless you’re a tech wiz with a lot of time on your hands, we suggest you go for a streaming platform with a straightforward and intuitive interface, which you can easily figure out on your own.
  • Streaming software compatibility. There are lots of online video streaming platforms. Unfortunately, not all of them work with most third-party streaming software. Some would even require you to buy their encoders—among other things. So it’s important to choose a live stream service that’s compatible with popular streaming encoders.
  • Customer service. Technical glitches happen all the time. But when you’re live, you don’t have time to be transferred from person to person. In the live stream industry, where timing is vital, excellent customer service is a must to pull off a successful broadcast. Of course, this is more applicable to paid service.
  • Price. There are plenty of popular streaming platforms you can use for free, such as YouTube Live and Facebook Live. But if your niche is very specific with an equally specific target audience, you may want to consider a paid service like Vimeo. Paid live stream services vary widely. Check the features they offer carefully versus their asking price.

What are the Best Live Streaming Websites?

Looking for the best video streaming platform to reach your target audience? We’ve curated six streaming services worth considering.

Here are our top favorite live streaming services.

1. Twitch

Twitch is undeniably one of the most popular live stream platforms on the internet. In fact, a total of 6.34 billion hours were watched on this platform globally—and that’s just in the first quarter of 2021. You can use it to stream directly on your computer or console.

It’s known for having a huge community of game enthusiasts, but anyone (in any niche) can join this platform. Unlike most other streaming services on our list, Twitch offers the most monetization options. But you need to be a partner to qualify.

Reasons to use Twitch:

  • Live stream analytics
  • Different monetization options for qualified users
  • Wide range of topics
  • Global audience

Features:

  • Chat moderation using bots
  • Create custom emotes for your chat
  • Store previous broadcasts for replay
  • Play pre-recorded videos during a live broadcast
  • Automate offers to your viewers using bots
  • Receive gifts and subs when live
  • Stream pre-recorded videos live

Monetization:

  • Subscriptions
  • Badges
  • In-stream, display, and native ads
  • Bits
  • Emotes
  • Donations
  • Gifted subs

Price:

  • Free
  • Turbo: $8.99/month

2. YouTube Live

With over 2 billion monthly active users, YouTube is another popular video-sharing site you need to explore. People from different age groups worldwide flock here to watch live and on-demand videos. What’s even more interesting is that YouTube channels with weekly live streams got 40% more subscribers and a 70% increase in watch time. So if you’re not using this platform, you’re missing out.

Reasons to use YouTube:

  • Global reach
  • Different monetization options for qualified users
  • Go live on the go with its mobile app

Features:

  • Live chat replay
  • Live automatic captions
  • Super chats update
  • Stream pre-recorded videos live
  • Built-in analytics tool
  • Powerful tools to help you moderate your chatroom
  • Live streaming available on its mobile app
  • Live streams are saved on the platform after the live event as on-demand videos

Monetization:

  • Super chats
  • Super stickers
  • In-stream ads
  • Memberships

Price:

  • Free

3. Facebook Live

Like YouTube, Facebook appeals to a wide range of demographics, with millennials making up most of the users. But, unlike YouTube, Facebook is more than just a video-sharing site. It’s the largest social media network in the world, giving you global reach. It’s a great live stream platform, especially if you’re just dipping your toes in the live broadcasting world.

But since it’s free, it poses a few challenges when it comes to monetization and video streaming time limits. Despite those technical restrictions, Facebook Live is still one of the best free streaming services for connecting with new and existing audiences.

Reasons for using Facebook Live:

  • Global reach
  • Largest social media network in the world
  • Different monetization options for qualified users
  • Broadcast directly to your platform pages either through mobile or desktop

Features:

  • Excellent analytics tool
  • Live streaming available on its mobile app
  • Followers are instantly notified once you go live
  • Schedule and stream pre-recorded videos live
  • Go live on a group, page, or your personal profile
  • Live streams are saved on the platform after the live event as on-demand videos

Monetization:

  • Ads
  • Stars
  • Fans subscriptions for gaming creators

Pricing:

  • Free

4. Instagram Live

Instagram is more than just your favorite photo-sharing app. You can also use it to share live and on-demand videos here. Your followers will get notified once you start your live stream so they can tune in. IG will also save your videos on IGTV after your live event.

Although Facebook owns Instagram, they target different demographics. Instagram appeals to a younger audience. About 59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use this platform—and many of them follow a business account. This just proves that brands can dominate on this platform.

Reasons to use Instagram Live:

  • Global reach
  • Can monetize live videos

Features:

  • Live streaming is only available on its mobile app through stories
  • Automatic live chat moderation
  • Save videos to IGTV after your live event
  • Direct messaging tools
  • Pin a comment when you’re live or turn off comments

Monetization:

  • In-stream Ads
  • Donation badges (ranging from $0.99 to $4.99)

Pricing:

  • Free

5. Tiktok Live

Tiktok has been around for quite some time, but it’s only recently that it saw a massive spike in popularity. It’s currently present in 141 countries and pulls a younger generation of viewers. In fact, most of the members are Gen Zers or those aged between 16 to 24.

It’s primarily used for sharing short video clips. But if you qualify, you can use Tiktok Live and engage your audience in real-time. It’s easy to go viral and build a loyal following here, making it a great place for growing your online presence.

Reasons to use Tiktok:

  • Global reach
  • Easy to go viral

Features:

  • Highly controlled live broadcasting tools
  • Add filters
  • Accept gifts
  • Beautify features
  • Live stream analytics

Monetization:

  • Donations or virtual gifts

Pricing:

  • Free

6. Vimeo Live

Vimeo is a video-sharing site. It’s very similar to YouTube both in appearance and features but has more advanced features which let you customize your videos. The videos here tend to have better audio and video quality. Plus, they have a more artsy vibe since most video publishers here are professional or amateur filmmakers.

It has a free version, but you can only go live on the Premium plan. It has less traffic than YouTube, but it has a more active and engaging community, making it an equally good place for growing your brand. All the paid plans have a free trial. We suggest you take advantage of that to get a feel of this platform before committing to a monthly subscription.

Reasons to use Vimeo:

  • Robust infrastructure
  • Video analytics
  • Different monetization options for qualified users
  • Reach the right audience

Features:

  • Password protection
  • Post-analytic tool
  • Customizable privacy settings
  • Live Q&A tool
  • Live chat
  • Stream to multiple destinations

Monetization:

  • Subscriptions
  • Rentals
  • Pay-per-view

Pricing:

  • Basic: Free
  • Plus: $7/month
  • Pro: $20/month
  • Business: $50/month
  • Premium: $75/month

Paid services provide more advanced features and control over your live streams, helping you achieve your goals faster. But you don’t always need to pay to get the results you want. You can still succeed as a live streamer even without paying a single cent. Free live stream platforms offer great exposure. In fact, even big organizations and companies are using these free services to promote their brand.

Let’s take a look at the differences between free and paid live stream services.

Free streaming services

The most popular free live stream platforms include Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and YouTube Live. They all have different features and cater to different demographics, but they have some things in common. Here are just some of them.

  • Higher discoverability
  • Free cloud transcoding
  • Free use of powerful servers
  • High-quality streams
  • Analytics tracking

If you’re okay working with limited stream durations and having little control over served ads, a free live stream platform should be enough for you. Of course, you can always move to a paid platform anytime.

Different paid live stream platforms offer different features—and not all of them will be useful to you. Here are some of the features we like that most paid services offer.

  • Ad-free streaming
  • Customer support
  • Analytics tracking
  • Wide range of content use
  • High-quality streams
  • Customizable video player
  • Reliable global delivery

Wrapping Up

Tons of live stream services fight to stay relevant by adding more features on their platforms. Many of them are quite useful, but others you probably won’t be using much. So when choosing a platform, choose the ones that align with your needs and goals as a live streamer.