How to Set Up a Live Streaming Website in 11 Simple Steps [2023 Update]
Live streaming has found its place in the business world, and today, the live streaming market serves many purposes. Some businesses offer paid streaming solutions for events, and others use website streaming to build online communities to support their brands. It has become common for businesses to offer video streaming over their video website, especially if they’re in the content business or use the content as a critical element of their marketing strategy.
While it’s possible to use Youtube videos, Facebook, Twitch, and other third-party social media video streaming platforms, there’s value in setting up your own video streaming website and integrating with a live streaming platform. Live streaming gives you more control over your content and increases your brand’s sophistication when done properly.
Streaming videos to your website gives your live video stream a professional look and feel.
This article will walk you through choosing the right online video platform (OVP) and setting up live streaming websites. We’ll also identify what streaming equipment is right for the job, encoder setup, how to embed a video player, and how anyone can start website video streaming over the web in 11 easy steps.
*Note to our readers: We’ve updated this article to reflect the latest information as of December 2022.
Let’s get into it.
What is Website Live Streaming?
With a live website streaming solution, anyone can broadcast video online via their website.
Let’s begin by quickly defining what live streaming is. A live stream is content broadcasted in real time over the internet. This content comes in digital video, audio, or both (the latter being the main subject of this article).
A live streaming app or site hosts these digitally broadcasted media. That’s where broadcasters embed their video or audio players for web users to access their content. When it comes to online streaming, audiences must have an internet connection to access the broadcast content in real-time.
With the support of a professional video player and access to a website’s source code, just about any web page can be made into a live streaming website or movie streaming website. Learning how to create your own live streaming website is reasonably easy.
Preparing Your Live Streaming Website
To set up live streaming on your own website, you must decide whether you’ll add your live streams to an existing business website or a new one dedicated to web streaming. Which way you go will depend on your specific web stream goals.
For example, if you’re using live streams to build brand awareness, adding a new page to an existing site is probably a good idea. That way, viewers will have the opportunity to browse through your other content. It’s great if you want the content to drive brand awareness and tie into the rest of your video website.
If you’re using web streaming as a service model or if you’re using professional video hosting for paid virtual streaming events, you’re likely better off building a new video website. For example, if you only want to live stream concerts, you may want to specifically design your website for broadcasting live music events over the internet. That way, you can build your client base for that particular content.
1. Set the Requirements to Create a List of Features
Your efforts to create a video streaming website can end up being pointless if you don’t take the proper steps, so you want to get it right from the start.
Designing the web page is one thing, but making one that successfully live streams content requires a certain level of care and strategy.
Before we go any further, you need to ask yourself some questions regarding:
Content and Niche
What sort of content will you be streaming?
For example, the process will differ if you plan to stream questions and answers with industry experts instead of streaming college football games.
Do you know your ideal audience?
Before you create your own live streaming site, get to know who you’re designing your content for. That’ll help you create relevant content that resonates with your target audience.
The exact nature of your live streams will depend on your ideal audience’s size, language(s), and locations. You want to meet your audience where they are.
The Viewer’s Experience and Video Quality
How vital is streaming quality to user experience?
Some live stream websites need a higher streaming quality than others for streaming videos. For example, although you’d likely want HD quality for product demos, you can probably get away with SD when streaming specific live lectures.
Access to Video Files
Who’ll have access to the streaming services you offer on your own website?
When planning how to create a video streaming website, you’ll need to consider whether or not there will be any barriers to entry to the content (like a paywall or signup page, for instance) and, if so, how they’ll factor into the system’s design and user experience.
Make sure you include all your online media files in this access plan, such as past live streams, and recent streaming data.
Your Online Streaming Goals
What are your short and long-term goals for live streaming video content?
Do you want your website with live streaming to be a source of leads for your business, a side hustle, or a full-time job? Or do you just want to create and publish it for fun?
Your vision should be mapped into a solid plan even before your first live broadcast. The planning stages of setting up your own website should include getting clear on your expectations from your website and content.
Setting goals for your video content and a rough timeline for achieving them will help keep you focused on the bigger picture and give you a general roadmap for your video content strategy.
Your Monetization Strategy
Do you plan on monetizing your streams? If so, what’s your monetization strategy?
Monetizing a YouTube video is more straightforward than thinking up the best monetization strategies for content on your own website.
There are multiple ways to make money from a live streaming website. The exact steps for setting up a live video streaming website will vary depending on your preferred monetization strategy.
What happens when your broadcast fails? How do you troubleshoot your live stream?
Things happen, and you should have a plan for worst-case scenarios. There is more than one streaming protocol option available to broadcast these days for live video streaming. Knowing your options better prepares you to handle any digital curve balls.
Having a plan B in place makes navigating temporary setbacks easier and changing your course of action if your streaming protocol doesn’t go as planned.
Once you’ve given these questions the right amount of thought, you’re ready to start setting up your website for live streaming. Embedding live streaming videos is the first step to broadcasting live content on your website.
2. Choose a Business Model
If you don’t plan to monetize your live streaming website, you might get away with skipping this step.
However, even if you’re just streaming videos of free content to capture qualified leads for marketing, certain business model variations could be relevant to your plan.
If you want to monetize your live streaming website directly, at least a few proven models are currently available.
Once your live streams are over, you can repurpose them as video-on-demand content. That’ll open you up to three popular business models: Ad-Based Video on Demand, Subscription Video on Demand, and Transactional Video on Demand (AVOD, SVOD, and TVOD).
AVOD [Advertising-Based Video on Demand]:
As the name suggests, AVOD generates money through ads. Through this business model, getting your streams in front of as many viewers as possible is important, so the videos tend to be free to access.
Keep in mind that although a large following is nice, there is value in finding a smaller niche audience because you can often charge more per ad. Ads can come from commercials, ad breaks, banner ads on your website, affiliate programs, or sponsored content.
SVOD [Subscription BAsed Video on Demand]:
Through this business model, you don’t need as much viewership as you do with AVOD. You can often make a sufficient amount of income from a small and loyal audience. SVOD offers great scalability options making it a good choice for smaller content creators with big long-term goals.
This monetization model is ideal for broadcasters with more sizable audiences and larger content options as it gives access to a larger viewer base. Viewers can access the entire video library by paying a set subscription fee.
Some examples of SVOD include charging a subscription fee for insider access to live streams with industry experts, product training, and coaching.
TVOD [Transactional Video on Demand]:
With the TVOD or pay-per-view model (PPV), you charge a one-time fee per transaction. In exchange, the viewer gets either lifetime or limited-time access to your content. If you have a smaller audience in a specific category, this model can help you generate revenue from your content.
For example, suppose you’re streaming a masterclass or have managed to get a famous industry influencer to hold a Q&A session with your audience. In that case, it’s common to charge a small fee for viewers to gain access to that exclusive content.
TVOD monetization model can be beneficial for content creators working in micro niches. Viewers are often willing to pay to gain access to videos that are either specific to a certain topic or time-sensitive.
Great news is that you don’t have to pick just one monetization model for videos or your website. Many streaming services are changing the rules and using their own hybrid monetization models to maximize the revenue generated from their content. For example, an SVOD-based video platform can charge a premium fee for movie streaming of the latest releases.
Similarly, many AVOD platforms charge a small monthly fee in exchange for ad-free streaming on their platform. Youtube Premium is a good example of a hybrid monetization model for video content.
Other ways to make money include starting a range of specially designed merchandise and selling your products, advertising your services, and even accepting donations. If you want to know how to start a streaming site and make money, the three options above are just a few of the most common ways to monetize video content.
3. Get Domain Name and Web Hosting
You can likely skip this step if you already have a domain name and web hosting. But web standards and practices sometimes change, so a refresher could help you.
Once you have your requirements and business plan, it’s time to set up a live streaming website.
First, you’ll have to choose a domain name. Your domain name may be your brand’s name moving forward, so give it careful thought.
Next, you’ll need to register your domain name with a web hosting service. Two popular services are GoDaddy and BlueHost. Many web-hosting services now offer a lot of different top-level domain (TLD) options for your website, which are a great and innovative way to communicate quickly what it’s about.
Newer TLD examples include suffixes like .video and .stream (among countless others). If you want to establish a website with a live streaming focus, having a .stream URL is an excellent way to achieve that objective.
Why Work With GoDaddy or BlueHost?
A benefit of GoDaddy and BlueHost is that both work reasonably well with WordPress. WordPress is a popular content management system (CMS) that makes designing and publishing a live streaming website easy for people with all types of experience levels.
Since these websites provide pre-set website templates and a complete content delivery network solution, they take the guesswork out of building your website from the ground up.
Everyone from complete newbies to more experienced veteran developers can use these hosting services to simplify the website creation process. It’s also easy to embed a live stream on your WordPress website, further simplifying the process.
4. Invest in Live Recording Equipment
One element in your overall video streaming website development cost will be the hardware and software you invest in to ensure excellent video streaming service. Investing in professional audio and video filming equipment can improve your live stream quality.
Creating professional-grade video content requires an investment in the proper live streaming recording equipment.
A video camera can be as simple as a webcam or as complex as a 4K ultra-HD professional camcorder, so you must choose the right live streaming camera for your specific job.
Webinars, training sessions, and other simple broadcasts can work perfectly well with a simple camera setup. Still, more advanced broadcasts typically need more professional setups, often with TV-grade equipment.
For more visually engaging content or content in which multiple cameras are needed, you will want to invest in a higher quality camera for your live-steam website content.
For the best quality video, look for a high-quality camera with an HDMI connection since HDMI-compatible cameras can typically produce a professional broadcast-quality stream.
You’ll need some kind of audio recording equipment as well. While built-in camera microphones may suffice on rare occasions, we don’t recommend relying on them. The best-quality audio usually comes from external microphones worn on the recorded subject’s lapel (or similar clothing) or are held just outside the camera frame with a unidirectional (or “shotgun”-style) pickup pattern.
5. Choose an Encoding Software Program
Many live streamers face a prevalent challenge: most cameras are designed to record rather than live stream. That’s why you’ll need to choose a hardware or software encoder that works with your camera.
Encoding changes your video from a format optimized for recording and storage to one designed for transmission over the web. That ensures your viewers can access your web live streaming videos without issue.
Hardware video encoders can convert a live or analog temporal audio-visual event into digital media. They typically take the form of a dedicated piece of equipment that somehow captures and digitizes a video signal.
Hardware encoders typically come with high price points and are thus more commonly found in professional settings. They’re designed specifically for encoding, so their output quality is often, if not always, state-of-the-art.
On the other hand, software encoders are usually (but not always) more affordable than dedicated hardware encoders. Small-scale producers generally prefer this alternative to hardware encoders. You can even opt for free and open-source streaming software or RTMP encoders that utilize the RTMP (real-time streaming protocol) to deliver video content or ingest HLS.
OBS Studio is a good streaming software encoder option for broadcasters who are new to the game of streaming videos because it’s easy to use and free. OBS Studio is an open-source solution that’s ideal if you want to create and publish live streaming videos on a tight budget.
However, pro-level RTMP-enabled encoders like Wirecast Pro and vMix are better options in terms of features and quality. Please note that paid encoding software packages usually require a computer with a relatively fast processor. If you want professional quality and RTMP capability, you want a reliable machine that can encode video in real time.
Part of learning how to set up live streaming video on your website is finding the right encoding software or hardware to convert the format of your live streaming videos for online transmission.
6. Secure a Reliable Internet Connection
Broadcasters also need a reliable, fast internet connection to produce a high-quality live stream.
Most cable internet speeds are sufficient for web streaming. Wi-Fi is another option, but it isn’t as reliable, so we recommend only using it if you have no other live streaming options. However, both of these options are superior to cellular data.
There are some minimum upload speed requirements related to internet connection based on the video quality you’re aiming for when you set up a live stream. You need a fast internet connection if you want high live stream video quality.
We recommend an upload speed that easily renders at least half the quality at which you plan to stream. For example, if you’re doing an HD, 3 Mbps stream, you’ll need a 6 Mbps upload speed.
Your video quality could be pixelated, lagging, and potentially unwatchable at lower speeds. Statistics show that excessive buffering and low video quality can seriously affect your video’s viewing experience and even discourage your audience from continuing to watch your content in the long run.
Ensure your internet service isn’t prone to disruptions or fluctuations in speed. Interruption of an important broadcast is the last thing you want.
Furthermore, don’t take the advertised upload speed from your internet service provider at face value. Your internet service provider will likely quote you a peak speed. Your actual average speed will most likely always be lower.
We highly recommend checking your true internet speed on testmy.net before you start live streaming over the web (especially when doing so to a paying audience).
Also, you should avoid streaming while other users use the same live streaming server’s bandwidth for other activities, as that could cause major quality issues.
Also, ensure that your computer system can work for long periods without overheating or jamming up. Consider the number of programs you will be running simultaneously, the number of guest speakers that might tune in, and any background software needed for a smooth live stream.
7. Choose a Live Website Streaming Video Platform
Videos take up a lot of bandwidth, so find a professional video streaming platform that will host your streaming content on their servers. It’ll help you establish a responsive live streaming website.
The most critical step when learning to put a live streaming video on your website. To fully own the rights to your video streaming business, you need autonomy over your video content. For that, you will need to invest in a professional-grade video streaming site or streaming platform. YouTube live is the most popular and easy-to-use streaming video host for live events.
Still, unfortunately, free and consumer-grade platforms like YouTube Live and Facebook Live pose serious limitations for live streaming video. Those services are not designed for uploading live videos but for live streaming and managing video content.
Another drawback is that these platforms are aimed toward a more mainstream viewer base. That makes it harder to reach audiences most likely to be interested in the video content you create and turn them into a loyal viewer base.
If you want to cultivate a sense of community, creating and maintaining your own streaming solution will give you a better chance of doing that.
Using a video streaming solution with a dedicated white-label video streaming platform such as Mslive, IBM Cloud Video, or Livestream is highly recommended. You can check out our comparison of the top live streaming platforms for more information on these site-streaming solutions.
Additionally, these platforms provide better streaming service and give you more control over video placement, video monetization, branding, privacy, recording, and other factors.
Pay close attention to your chosen streaming platform’s features before committing. If you need a lot of bandwidth, viewing hours, and storage for advanced VOD and live event streaming, make sure you choose an enterprise video platform that supports those needs.
The live streaming software solution you choose will also provide you with specific information about your live channel. You’ll need that information to set up your encoding software or hardware to access the video host website for live streaming. That way, you can ensure a secure video upload for your viewers.
You’ll want to test your streaming setup before launching your first broadcast to ensure that everything works smoothly with the streaming solution for your web page.
Various guides are available to you, as well, based on your specific encoder. For example, the OBS Studio guide and the Wirecast Pro video broadcasting software guide.
Here is a short video tutorial using Wirecast 8 to give you a little more insight:
Why Set Up a Live Streaming Website
You’ve likely considered using a live streaming platform like YouTube or Facebook to live stream. Although these platforms do offer certain benefits, they also have many drawbacks you should think about.
The drawbacks are especially something to consider if you’re operating a business or looking to make money in some way through your live streaming.
For example, a photographer who live streams weddings, or any entrepreneur may enjoy the following benefits:
It simply looks more professional to have a dedicated video streaming website set up for live streams. That way, you can customize everything, so it’s more on-brand than just a plain video streaming website. Alternatively, you’re stuck with their branding and color scheme when you use a platform like YouTube or Facebook.
Free platforms may cause a bit of a hurdle for less tech-savvy audiences. Facebook, for example, requires you to have a Facebook account to watch live streams on their platform.
Using the example of the wedding photographer, they’ll have to give viewers a simple link that will take the viewer directly to the site where the wedding ceremony is being streamed. The audience won’t need to log in or have an account.
When using a live streaming platform like YouTube, you run the risk of your viewers clicking through to a competitor’s channel because of YouTube’s recommendation feature. When viewers are on your video streaming website, you control which videos are suggested.
Additionally, it may be easier to nurture the community of viewers when you create a video streaming site. For example, if your video streaming offers content for yoga enthusiasts, you can more easily collect email addresses to organize events and deepen the relationship. Professional Streaming Platform vs. Free Streaming Platform
Free streaming platforms and video streaming sites like YouTube and Facebook allow you to embed a video onto your video streaming website. However, before you default to this option, there are a few drawbacks you want to think about. Let’s cover some of them.
Live Stream Quality:
Professional platforms and live streaming websites such as Mslive offer various extra features to ensure a reliable and high-quality stream. These features include video transcoding, multi-CDN, multi-bitrate streaming, low-latency streaming, and more.
How to Stream to Multiple Websites at Once
Multi-destination streaming, also known as “simulcasting” or “multicasting,” is a broadcasting technique that involves streaming to multiple destinations simultaneously. Some broadcasters opt to live stream to multiple websites at once to extend their reach.
If you’re planning to stream to multiple video streaming websites, you can embed your video player as normal. Simply copy and paste your stream’s embed code into the HTML or text editor on each site you’d like to stream on.
Make sure to test each video streaming website you embed your code into to ensure that each is working properly before you go live.
Broadcasters can also simulcast to multiple types of platforms at once. That could include a combination of live streaming websites, live streaming apps, and social media platforms.
Simulcasting to different types of platforms requires a slightly different approach than simply streaming to different video streaming websites. It requires the support of a dedicated simulcasting tool, such as Switchboard Live, Splitcam, Wirecast, Castr, and Splitscreen.
You can set this type of software up as an encoder with your OVP to stream to the destinations of your choice. Different simulcasting software options support different destinations, so pay close attention to this as you choose one for your streaming setup.
Setting Up a Live Streaming Site with Mslive’s Expo Video Portal
In the past year, Mslive has rolled out a feature that saves our broadcasters time and money when they set up a live streaming site.
Our Expo Video Portal tool allows you to create a custom landing page with a gallery to display your video library to your viewers. This tool is free to Mslive users on every plan.
Expo pages are straightforward to set up, and users can create as many as they want. How it works is users curate a collection of content to display on the page. The idea is to create a gallery like the ones you’d find on Netflix or Hulu.
The Expo pages are white-label and brandable, and the layout is sleek and professional.
Additionally, the feature works seamlessly with our secure paywall and advertising tools.
You can set up an Expo gallery in four simple steps. Here’s how it works:
- Select “Expo” from the menu on the left-hand side of your Mslive dashboard
- Select “Create Expo” (purple button on the top right)
- Name your Expo
- Click “Create” to save your changes
Please check out our Expo Video Portal article for additional information on adding videos to and customizing your Expo.
Marketing Your Live Streaming Website
When you have your live streaming website set up, you’re ready to start thinking of ways to get traffic. There are various ways to do so, including funneling traffic from social media, email, Reddit, Google search, and ads.
Each avenue has many layers of complexity, but let’s go over each of them quickly:
- Social media: Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok can be great ways to build awareness and drive traffic to your video streaming site. Although these platforms have limitations when it comes to live streaming, they’re powerful platforms when it comes to marketing. A huge bonus is that they all have built-in audiences you can tap into and funnel back into your video streaming website.
- Word of mouth:The best way to gain word-of-mouth viewers is by ensuring your live streams and video streaming website are of the highest quality. If people enjoy your live streams, they’ll tell others about it. Alternatively, if you already have some paying fans, you can consider referral programs where you offer discounts or similar rewards for spreading the word. You may even consider affiliate programs
- Reddit and similar forums: A good way to advertise your video streaming website is by participating in relevant discussions and being strategic about how you mention your video streaming content. You want to ensure you don’t come across as spammy because that can cause more harm than good.
- Google search: Search engine optimization (SEO) is one strategy to market your live streaming app or site. With this method, you’ll have to be strategic about factors like how you name your live broadcast or live video streams and what you write as video descriptions. This method won’t be as fast as the other options. Still, it’s a potent method to invest in for the long run.
- Ads: You can advertise your video streaming website through various types of ads: social media, Google, and display ads on other streaming websites. This route can yield fast results but is often the most costly.
Conclusion: Start Live Streaming Today
Now that you know how to set up your own live streaming site, the only thing left to do is start filming.
After you square away your filming and encoding equipment, test your internet speed, generate your embed code, and then embed the video, you’re ready to start video streaming. The only thing left is hitting record on your camera and filming.
We’ve got you covered if you need additional information about live streaming on your own live streaming website.
You can find a step-by-step walkthrough as an introduction to live streaming on the Mslive blog. You’ll find tons of links to helpful resources for video broadcasting.
At Mslive, we help many businesses get started with live streaming. You can check out our live streaming pricing plans and customization options for more details.
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