How to Choose the Right Upload Speed for Streaming

If you want to stream live video on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, or any other platform, you need to have a good upload speed. But what is a good upload speed for streaming? And how can you test and improve it? In this post, we’ll answer these questions and give you some tips to optimize your upload speed for streaming.

Understanding Download vs Upload Speed

good upload speed for streaming

Upload speed is the rate at which your device can send data to the internet. It is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). The higher your upload speed, the more data you can send to the streaming platform, and the better the quality of your stream.

Upload speed is different from download speed, which is the rate at which your device can receive data from the internet. Download speed is important for watching online videos, but not for streaming them.

Upload speed is one of the most important factors that affect your streaming performance. If your upload speed is too low, you may experience buffering, lagging, or dropping frames, which can ruin your stream and frustrate your viewers.

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What is a good upload speed for streaming?

Different platforms have different recommendations for the minimum and maximum upload speed for streaming. The resolution and frame rate you stream at also affect your upload speed requirements. Generally, the higher the resolution and frame rate, the higher the upload speed you need.

Twitch Recommendation

  • When streaming on Twitch, the ideal bitrate for 720p video at 30 frames per second is 3,000 Kbps, requiring an upload speed of 5 Mbps.
  • For 720p video at 60 frames per second, set the bitrate to 4,500 Kbps, and make sure your upload speed is at least 6.2 Mbps.
  • Similarly, for 1080p video at 30 frames per second, the bitrate should be 4,500 Kbps, with the same required upload speed of 6.2 Mbps as 720p at 60 frames per second.
  • For 1080p video at 60 frames per second, the recommended bitrate is 6,000 Kbps, and the upload speed should be 7.4 Mbps.

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YouTube Recommendation

  • YouTube recommends a bitrate range for 720p video at 30 frames per second between 1,500 and 4,000 Kbps, corresponding to an upload speed of 2 to 5 Mbps.
  • For 720p video at 60 frames per second, the suggested bitrate range is 2,250 to 6,000 Kbps, requiring upload speeds between 2.9 and 7.4 Mbps. If you’re aiming for 1080p video at 30 frames per second, the bitrate range is 3,000 to 6,000 Kbps, with required upload speeds between 3.8 and 7.4 Mbps.
  • For 1080p video at 60 frames per second, set the bitrate between 4,500 and 9,000 Kbps, and ensure your upload speed falls between 5.6 and 11 Mbps.
  • Moving up to 1440p video at 30 frames per second, the bitrate range is 6,000 to 13,000 Kbps, with recommended upload speeds between 7.4 and 15.8 Mbps.
  • For 1440p video at 60 frames per second, the bitrate range extends from 9,000 to 18,000 Kbps, translating to upload speeds between 11 and 21.8 Mbps.
  • If you decide to push the limits and live stream 4k video at 30 frames per second, you’ll need a bitrate between 13,000 and 34,000 Kbps, corresponding to upload speeds between 15.8 and 41 Mbps.
  • For 4k video at 60 frames per second, aim for a bitrate range of 20,000 to 51,000 Kbps, requiring upload speeds between 24.2 and 61.5 Mbps.

Facebook Live Recommendation

  • For video on Facebook, it’s recommended to use a bitrate between 3,000 and 6,000 Kbps. The audio bitrate should stay under 128 Kbps.
  • If you aim for a maximum resolution of 1080p with 60 frames per second, ensure your upload speed is 6 to 7 Mbps.
  • However, keep in mind that most accounts are limited to 720p resolution, so for 720p video at 30 or 60 frames per second, target an upload speed of about 3 to 4 Mbps.

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How Can I Test The Speed Of My Live Streams?

good upload speed for streaming

Before you start streaming, you should test your upload speed to make sure it is sufficient for the resolution and frame rate you want to stream at. You can use a free online tool like Speedtest by Ookla to check your upload speed. Just click on the “Go” button and wait for the results.

What Factors Affecting Upload Speed?

You should also test your upload speed at different times of the day, as it may vary depending on several factors.

The right upload speed for streaming depends on several factors, such as:

  • The platform you stream to
  • The resolution and frame rate you stream at
  • The type and complexity of your content
  • The encoding settings you use

The type and complexity of your content also influence your upload speed needs. For example, streaming a fast-paced action game requires more upload speed than streaming a slow-paced puzzle game, as the former has more changes and movements on the screen.

The encoding settings you use also impact your upload speed demands. Encoding is the process of compressing your video and audio data to make it suitable for streaming. The main encoding settings you need to consider are:

  • Bitrate: The amount of data you send per second. Higher bitrate means higher quality, but also higher upload speed. You can use a bitrate calculator to find the optimal bitrate for your stream.
  • Encoder: The software or hardware that performs the encoding. There are two main types of encoders: software and hardware. Software encoders use your CPU or GPU to encode your stream, while hardware encoders use a dedicated device or chip. Hardware encoders are usually faster and more efficient than software encoders, but they may cost more and have less customization options.
  • Preset: The level of compression and quality of your encoder. Higher presets mean higher quality, but also higher CPU or GPU usage and higher upload speed. Lower presets mean lower quality, but also lower CPU or GPU usage and lower upload speed. You can choose from different presets, such as ultrafast, veryfast, medium, slow, etc.

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What Upload Speeds Should I Aim For?

Ideally, you should test your upload speed when you plan to stream, as that will give you the most accurate results. But you can also check on these recommendations for straters:

Upload Speed for Live Streaming on Facebook

  • Facebook suggests a maximum format of 720p (1280 x 720) at 30 frames per second.
  • If aiming for a resolution of 1080p at 60 fps, consider an upload speed between 6 to 7 Mbps.
  • For a maximum resolution of 720p at 30 or 60 fps, aim for an upload speed range of 3 to 4 Mbps.

Recommendation Upload Speed for YouTube Live

  • For 720p video at 30 fps, aim for 1,500 to 4,000 Kbps which is around 2 to 5 Mbps in terms of speed
  • For 720p video at 60 fps, the recommended bitrate range of 2,250 to 6,000 Kbps which is over 2.9 and 7.4 Mbps speed-wise
  • For 1080p video at 30 fps, the range is 3,000 to 6,000 Kbps which comes out to be 8 to 7.4 Mbps
  • For 1080p video at 60 fps, the platform recommends a bitrate range of 4,500 to 9,000 Kbps which roughly converts to 6 to 11 Mbps
  • For 1440p video at 30 fps, the bitrate range is 6,000 – 13,000 Kbps, which is between 4 to 15.8 Mbps
  • For 1440p video at 60 fps, the video bitrate range varies from 9,000 to 18,000 Kbps, which is around 11 to 21.8 Mbps in upload speed
  • If you want to go beyond that and experience extreme high-level live streaming then you can pick 4k video at 30 fps which will require a bitrate of around 13,000 – 34,000 Kbps or 8 to 41 Mbps in terms of upload speed
  • For 4k video at 60 fps, the recommended range is 20,000 to 51,000 Kbps which means an upload speed of 2 to 61.5 Mbps

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Upload Speed for Live Streaming on Twitch

  • 720p at 30 fps: The recommended bitrate for smooth streaming on Twitch is 3,000 Kbps, equivalent to about 8 Mbps.
  • 720p at 60 fps: To ensure optimal performance, aim for a bitrate of 4,500 Kbps, requiring a 6 Mbps upload speed.
  • 1080p at 30 fps For this resolution, Twitch mandates a 4,500 Kbps bitrate, corresponding to a 6 Mbps upload speed.
  • 1080p at 60 fps: Achieving optimal streaming quality at 1080p and 60 fps necessitates a 6,000 Kbps bitrate, roughly translating to a 4 Mbps upload speed.

Remember, to choose the right upload speed for streaming, you need to balance these factors and find the best settings for your stream. A good rule of thumb is to have at least twice the upload speed of your bitrate, and leave some headroom for fluctuations and other internet activities.

How to get a good upload speed for streaming

If your upload speed is not enough for streaming, there are some things you can do to improve it, such as:

Upgrade your internet plan

The simplest and most effective way to increase your upload speed is to upgrade your internet plan to a faster one. Contact your internet service provider and ask for the available options and prices.

Use a wired connection

A wired connection, such as an Ethernet cable, is more stable and reliable than a wireless connection, such as Wi-Fi. A wired connection can reduce latency, interference, and packet loss, and improve your upload speed. Try to connect your device directly to your router or modem with an Ethernet cable, and avoid using extenders or adapters.

Close or limit other applications

Other applications that use your internet connection, such as browsers, games, or downloads, can reduce your upload speed and affect your stream. Close or limit any unnecessary applications that may consume your bandwidth, and use a network monitor tool to check your network usage.

Change your streaming settings

If you can’t improve your upload speed, you may need to lower your streaming settings to match your upload speed. You can try to reduce your resolution, frame rate, bitrate, or preset, and see if that improves your stream quality and performance. You can also try to change your encoder or platform, and see if that makes a difference.

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Conclusion

Upload speed is a key factor for streaming live video. To choose the right upload speed for streaming, you need to consider the platform, resolution, frame rate, content, and encoding settings you use. You also need to test and improve your upload speed to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted streaming experience.

We hope this post helped you understand how to choose the right upload speed for streaming. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment below.

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