No matter if you’re creating YouTube Live content, streaming on YouTube from Xbox, streaming on Twitch or just having a Zoom call, if you have ever dealt with a laggy livestream, you understand how annoying and irritating it can be.
Sometimes lag is basically unavoidable and part of streaming, but there are a numerous of tips and tricks you can try in order to speed up, smooth out and in general minimize all your streaming issues. You don’t necessarily need an expensive setup in order to eliminate lag. With cheap prices there are basically tons of tricks you can try in order to fix the problem.
Plug Directly into the Modem
Even though it seems so obvious, but most of the times Wi-Fi is subpar to a wired connection. It is just basic physics (don’t worry we will not get into here). It is safe to mention that plugging your device directly into the modem always gives your better connection.
First, in case you’re facing a laggy stream, you are either are overloading your PC or having issues with your internet connection, probably. So, if it is possible, please stream wired. You have to plug your ethernet cable from your modem to the device you’re using, be it laptop or PC. It is much more reliable than a wireless connection, and in case that the initial issue was your internet connection, now it won’t be.
If you’re using a new MacBook, in this case you won’t have an Ethernet Port, but don’t worry. You can purchase a Thunderbolt to Ethernet Adapter. It is cheap, it comes less than $30.
In case that your problem is your connection is poor because you are way too far from your modem or router, so far that you cannot get an Ethernet cable in order to reach it, then you can…
Try a Mesh Wi-Fi System
A mesh system will connect to your signal and both extend its range and boost your signal, just like a Wi-Fi Booster or a Wi-Fi extender. But that being said, you are about to spend around $200 for that, so it is not exactly a cheap fix.
Check your Stream Settings
If your internet provider is causing the issues you’re facing, then there is not too much you can do on your end to fix the problem. 4Mbps is the upload speed that you need in order to stream live video in HD. You might want to upgrade your plan if you are not getting that amount of speed from the provider. Choosing a different internet service provider could be another solution.
But I understand that not all of us can afford to upgrade. So just in case that option is not available for you, you can always help things by changing some of the settings on the application you’re using for live streaming. But you should keep in mind that not all the streaming apps will allow you to change the settings.
Just for instance, let’s just talk about OBS, which is a free livestreaming app.
If you’re using OBS and dealing with laggs, you can change your output settings to 720p. I understand that most folks are uploading in 4k nowadays, but to be honest, most of your audience will not notice or be able to tell the difference, at least while livestreaming. Remember, 720p is BETTER than a laggy output, always.
If that fails, you can try to lower the bitrate. This number essentially refers to the data bits you are sending, along with what speed they are being sent. In case you are streaming a video-quality at 720p, you can set our bitrate to approximately 40000kb.
Use the Right Software
Different applications perform better under certain operating systems, so using the right software according to your operating system, is paramount. Getting into all the specs would take a lot of time, but before starting your live streaming go online and do a bit of research on which applications fit better with your platform and operating system, and once you chose your app implement a few changes to make it optimal for your use.
Use an External Drive
Helping your devices drive by running processes and apps from an external drive will do a great help to you. It’s important that you get your hands on a fast external drive, possibly a SSD, then port the software you’re running onto it. If your hardware isn’t optimal for your software, this will help a lot.
Close Other Applications
This needs no explanation because it sounds so obvious. But you will be surprised how many apps are open and running without you even know. If you are using a Mac, you can check the menu bar. How many apps are open? By guessing, more than 10 (at least).
When you are livestreaming, except the app that you use for streaming, you will not need anything else open. The app you use for streaming should be the only app taking up the precious memory, disk space or CPU. All the other background processes that aren’t necessary should be closed.
There you go! A few basic tips that will hopefully help you make your livestreaming better.