What upload speed do I need to stream on twitch?

Video resolution and internet speed are critical to fluid streaming on Twitch. However, understanding internet speed and its significance to streaming can be confusing. Once you know what you need to stream, especially upload speed, and its relevance to bitrate, the whole process becomes easy.

Streaming is when you are uploading an already captured video or audio to the internet. That means your upload speed for streaming (not the download speed) is a crucial factor to look at before you begin uploading your video.

Are you asking yourself ‘what upload speed do I need to stream on Twitch?’ Well, you have to understand the following first:

Upload speed and bandwidth

Upload speed refers to the rate at which a broadcaster can transmit data over the internet. In this case, the data is in bits which are small packets of information.

Your upload speed will depend on your bandwidth and file size. If you are streaming on Twitch, the file size of your video will depend on its quality.

For example, HD video with a vertical resolution of 1080p has many pixels. As such, it requires more data to upload to the internet.

If you have lots of packets of information to stream, you will need a higher upload speed.

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Bandwidth is your network’s capacity to upload or download data. If you have a large request of information, you will need greater bandwidth.

Since streaming means uploading lots of data, low bandwidth will cause stoppages. It will also slow down the transfer of your captured video to the internet.

So, as much as you need a higher upload speed, you also need greater bandwidth to streamline the process.

Before streaming on Twitch, test your network equipment and internet speed for streaming. If it is insufficient, you will have to tweak some settings like lowering your video’s:

  • Vertical resolution
  • Framerate
  • Bitrate

But what is the recommended upload speed for streaming on Twitch? Here is a look at various video resolutions and their minimum speeds for broadcasts.

High-Definition streaming

  • 1920x1080p – minimum upload speed 3.5mbps
  • 1280x720p – minimum upload speed 1.8mbps
  • 720X480p – minimum upload speed 1.2mbps

Standard Definition streaming

  • 720x480p – minimum upload speed 350kbps
  • 640x480p – minimum upload speed 300kbps
  • 320x240p – minimum upload speed 200kbps

Ideally, the best upload speed you should have for streaming on Twitch is 5mbps. The speed will allow you to broadcast any video quality. You can use the speed to stream a video with a vertical resolution of 1080p at a framerate of 60fps.

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Children gaming

At the minimum, you should have an upload speed of 3mbps. With this speed, you will stream HD videos that have a vertical resolution of 720p at a framerate of 30fps. If your speed is less than 3mbps, your live stream will pixelate.

Upload speed is the most critical component of streaming on Twitch. You are essentially uploading a video in real-time.

The higher the quality of your video, the more bandwidth you will need to establish a steady stream. HD video with a resolution of 854x480p at a framerate of 30fps requires a minimum of 1.6mbps upload speed for streaming.

While it is possible to stream a video at a vertical resolution of 1080p, it is best to stick to 720p. If you go with a higher resolution of 1280x720p at a framerate of 30fps, with everything constant, the minimum upload speed you will need is 3.6mbps.

When trying to achieve the best upload speed to stream on twitch, understand that speeds are never constant. Therefore, either broadcast at a lower resolution or buy an internet plan with a minimum upload speed of 5mbps.


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About the Author
Walter Allen
Streaming Media expert and technology writer. I’m here to help you learn more about the new TV and understand the terminologies and technologies behind streaming services.

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