How to Connect OBS to YouTube for Live Streaming

YouTube is one of the largest video platforms on the Internet. And many gamers have made it their home for streaming what they love. Today, I’m going to show you how to connect OBS to YouTube and start building your channel.

It takes a bit more of a setup than using other gaming platforms, but it’s not overly difficult.

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Connecting OBS to YouTube

I’m going to assume you have the latest version of OBS installed and a YouTube channel set up and ready to go.

NOTE: New YouTube channels need to wait 24 hours before being able to stream live once hitting the “Go Live” button.

Set Up the Live Stream on YouTube

There are two ways you can do this: immediate live stream or scheduling. For this tutorial, I’m setting up an immediate live stream. However, the scheduling aspect works similar with the only real difference being able to set a specific time.

From the YouTube Channel Dashboard, click the “Create” button on the top right.
YouTube Create

Click the “Go Live” option from the drop-down window.
Go Live Option

The new YouTube Live Control Room will give you a couple of options. You can choose to stream “Right now” or at a “Later date.” Click the start button for “Right now.”
Start Right Now

The next screen lets you use YouTube’s own built-in streaming software. It will use your webcam and microphone should you choose this option. But since we’re streaming a game from OBS to YouTube, click “Go” for Streaming Software.
Streaming Software Option

Edit the Stream Settings

From this next screen, you can change the title of your stream, what game you’re broadcasting, privacy, and more.

Click the “Edit” button to make your changes.
Edit Settings

In this area, you can change all the information in your video such as the title, description, your thumbnail image, what game you’re playing, and whether it’s made for kids. Make your adjustments and then click the “Save” button.
Save Settings

Copy Your Stream Key from YouTube

Once your settings are adjusted, you’ll need the stream key to add to OBS.

Click the “Copy” button next to the Stream key field.
Copy Stream Key

Add the Stream Key to OBS

Now that we have the stream key, we need to add it to our broadcasting software.

In OBS, go to File and click, “Settings.”
OBS Settings

Click on the “Stream” option on the left.
Stream Option

Make sure the “Service” option is set to YouTube/YouTube Gaming. Also, make sure the server is set to “Primary YouTube ingest server.” It’s doubtful that you’ll ever need to use the backup server when streaming from OBS to YouTube.

Double-click into the “Stream Key” field to highlight it and paste the key from YouTube. Or, you can simply delete what is there and paste the key that way, which ever is easier for you.
Paste the Key

Once you’ve pasted the key, just click the “OK” button on the OBS settings window to close it.

Start Streaming

Now, when you’re ready to go live with your gameplay, click the “Start Streaming” button on OBS.
Start Streaming OBS to YouTube

Your broadcast is now running live on YouTube.

Using a Scheduled Stream

So, what if you scheduled a stream? Well, there is one extra step to streaming from OBS to YouTube. After you hit your “Start Streaming” button on OBS, you need to go back into the YouTube Creator Studio for the scheduled broadcast.

Click the “Go Live” button to start broadcasting.
Go Live

If you set up a scheduled event on YouTube, it will not broadcast live until you click the “Go Live” button.

Why Would You Schedule a Stream?

There’s nothing wrong with going live immediately. A lot of gamers will just hit the button and play without having a set schedule.

However, creating a schedule has several benefits. Once you set up a scheduled event, it’s saved on your YouTube channel with its own thumbnail, should you add one. It begins a countdown timer advising anyone who sees it that your show will go live at a specific time.

Some of the benefits for using a scheduled broadcast include:

  • Creating a video page that you can share on social media so people can visit and set reminders.
  • Helps you target a specific audience who relies on an exact time slot to enjoy your content. It’s kind of like how television shows broadcast at the same time every day.
  • Gives you a chance to make sure your stream, settings, sound, and game are all perfect before going live.
  • Can help you stay motivated as you already shared with everyone that you plan on streaming at a specific time.

Personally, I rather like the schedules. This is because my day is pretty full as it is and scheduling lets me assign specific time frames for playing and interacting with my audience.

In reality, though, it’s completely user preference. You don’t need to stick to a schedule to have an impactful stream.

Is YouTube Better than Twitch?

Streaming from OBS to YouTube is relatively easy. But is using YouTube better than Twitch?

That is a topic worthy of its own blog post. And I do plan on writing one up eventually. But for now, let’s just go over some of the quick and easy points.

Easier to Monetize Twitch

If you’re looking to make money streaming games, it’s far easier to do so on Twitch. YouTube has a very large requirement before you can monetize your channel. For one thing, you need 1000 subscribers. On Twitch, you only need 150 followers.

You’ll need 4,000 hours of watch time throughout the entire year on YouTube. Twitch just wants 8 total hours streamed in a month with an average of 3 viewers per hour…which is incredibly easy to achieve.

Building a Library on YouTube

When you stream live on YouTube, the video is automatically saved and added to your channel. You can then choose to add it to certain playlists, edit the description and tags for searchability, and fine-tune it for appearing better on YouTube as a whole.

Such as uploading a more engaging thumbnail.

It’s also easier to push the video out to your social accounts, subscribers, and followers.

Using OBS with YouTube is the Easy Part

Although there are a few additional steps to connect OBS to YouTube, it’s not all that difficult of a process. Just grab your stream key, put it into OBS, and you’re good to go.

However, it’s still on you to be able to engage your audience, interact, and provide a good experience. Because in the end, being able to stream live on any platform really doesn’t matter if you’re not able to hold the attention of your viewers.

Michael Brockbank
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Michael Brockbank

Michael developed ColoradoPlays to help various charities through his favorite pastime. Since then, the blog and Twitch channels have donated several hundred dollars to Extra Life, Geeks of Grandeur and Operation Supply Drop to name a few.