YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for gaming streams. The top gamers on YouTube have tens of millions of followers and make a living playing and commenting on games. Open Broadcast Software (OBS) is one of the most popular tools to record everything you need to stream live on YouTube, from game footage to voice-over audio.

YouTube Tips and Ticks

Getting started with OBS can be a bit intimidating, however. To help you learn how to stream live on YouTube with OBS, we put together a step-by-step guide. We also have a few handy tips and tricks like how to verify your channel and change your YouTube name.

Let’s get started!

Get Your YouTube Stream Key

Step 1: Create a YouTube account if you haven’t already. Check out our step-by-step guide (listed above) on how to do so.

Step 2: You can’t stream live on YouTube until you verify the account with a linked mobile number. Head to the verification page, log in to your account and follow the on-screen instructions.

YouTube Create New Stream

Step 3: Once verified, head to the YouTube Studio dashboard. Next, click the red camera Create icon located in the top right corner. After that, click Go Live in the small drop-down menu, as shown above.

YouTube Set Stream Settings

Step 4: On the following screen, select Stream on the toolbar. A form appears to enter the stream’s name, set its privacy mode, its description, and category. Be sure to select an age limit (if any) and then click Create Stream to continue.

YouTube Get your Stream Key

Step 5: With your stream created, you’re presented with a control panel providing a preview window and tabs for stream settings, analytics, and stream health.

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The Stream Settings tab is open by default. Look directly under the label to find the stream key you need for OBS. Click Copy to send the 16-character string to the clipboard. You can also click the Reveal eyeball button to expose the string for ten seconds and enter them manually in OBS.

Whatever you do, keep this number secret. You don’t want anyone else having it given they could stream on your account without your permission.

Link OBS to YouTube

Step 1: Download OBS from the official website and install it as you would any other program. Run it as administrator and head into the Settings panel using the relevant button located in the bottom-right corner.

OBS Settings button

Step 2: In the following pop-up screen, use the Video and Output tabs to select your chosen frame rates, resolution, and bit-rate. They control your audio quality. To see the ideal settings for YouTube, check out Google’s relevant support page.

Step 3: Go to the Stream tab using the left-hand menu and select YouTube/YouTube Gaming from the Service drop-down menu.

OBS Enter YouTube Key

Step 4: In the Stream Key field, type or paste your YouTube Stream key. That links OBS with YouTube so the software streams straight to your channel.

Step 5: Click Audio in the left-hand menu. Each device on that page represents one potential audio source in your live stream. If you want viewers to hear in-game or desktop audio, set one of the Desktop audio device settings to your system’s audio output. If you want your viewers to hear you, select your microphone from the drop-down next to Mix/Auxiliary Audio Device.

OBS Change Audio Settings

Step 6: Exit the settings panel by clicking Apply, followed by OK.

Step 7: In the main window, click the “+” icon under the Sources heading towards the bottom. If you want to stream game footage, click Game Capture listed on the pop-up menu.

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OBS Create Game Capture

You have a few different options for capturing your footage. You can capture any full-screen application, a specific window, or a foreground window. You can also force scaling, capture third-party overlays, and more. Click OK to complete.

OBS Game Capture Properties

Want to add your headshot using an external camera? Click the “+” icon under “Sources” again, but this time select Video Capture Device. Select your camera from the list of options under the “Device” drop-down and decide on its quality and FPS. When finished, click OK.

Start Streaming

With all of the above settings in place and your YouTube channel configured to accept your stream, there’s only one thing to do: Start streaming! If you want to start right away, click the Start Streaming button located in the bottom-right corner.

OBS Start Streaming Button

On your YouTube stream’s dashboard, click the red Go Live button in the top left corner. Once YouTube receives the OBS broadcast, video and audio appear in the dashboard’s preview pane. The feed then moves over to its public page 10-20 seconds thereafter due to a slight delay.

When you’re finished streaming, say goodbye to anyone watching and click the Stop Streaming, button in OBS.

Stream Issues

If you’re experiencing issues with your PC’s performance and the resulting stream, you can upload and analyze the OBS log. Click Help on the toolbar, select Log Files in the drop-down menu followed by Upload Current Log File or Upload Last Log File on a secondary menu. A popup window appears with a URL to your uploaded log. Click the Copy URL button to send it to your clipboard and then click OK to finish.

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OBS Upload Last Log File

Next, go to the OBS Log Analyzer and paste the URL into the text box. Click the Analyze button to see what is causing your performance and streaming issues. For instance, your stream may be choppy because your game’s FPS and/or resolution is set too high on the PC end, overloading the GPU.

Here are a few sources to help get your stream flawless:

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