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How to Live Stream on YouTube [XBox One, PC, PS4, Switch]

Last Updated on Mar. 8, 2024 – by David Morgan
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How to Live Stream on YouTube for Free

Whether you’re a gamer, influencer, entertainer, or marketer, YouTube is among the most valuable platforms for streaming content and interacting with your audience.

Initially, learning how to live stream on YouTube might seem like a daunting task. However, you can create professional content in real time without having to learn complicated software. 

This guide takes an in-depth look at how to live stream on YouTube using your PC, gaming console, or mobile device. We also discuss everything you need for your YouTube streaming setup and answer frequently asked YouTube streaming and content-editing questions.

If you need YouTube streaming software make sure to check out 15 Best Streaming Software for Gamers & Content Creators [Twitch/YouTube]. If you’re in a hurry, download our #1 choice for live streaming software, PowerDirector, by clicking the link below and follow along.

What is YouTube Live and What are the Benefits of Going Live?

YouTube Live is a YouTube streaming service. Users with a verified YouTube channel can interact with viewers in real time while streaming music performances, tutorials, gaming videos, and much more.

YouTube Live officially launched in 2011 but was only available to a few select partners to air major live events, such as the Olympics. Now it is the second most used live streaming platform (Twitch, the popular gaming live stream site is number 1). 

Below are some benefits of going live on YouTube.

  • YouTube Algorithms - There are currently more than 2 billion active YouTube users, which is a third of all internet users. It is also the second-most visited site, (with Google taking the top spot), and 5 billion YouTube videos are watched every day. Therefore, YouTube streaming can bring a lot of eyeballs to your streams, and ultimately subscribers to your channel. It also means YouTube knows what it is doing and its algorithms work! YouTube algorithms will direct the appropriate audience to your live streams and help create repeat viewers.
  • Event Viewing - Live streaming turns regular videos into events. It’s the difference between watching a concert on TV or attending it live with thousands of screaming fans.
  • Audience Interaction - Fans of your channel can interact with you and other fans in real time. It’s as if you threw a giant get-together of like-minded souls. Typically viewers will watch a video, leave a comment, and hope that you will even read it, much less respond. Going live on YouTube, viewers can get an instant response, and even see your face and hear your tone of voice as you read their comments. 

How to Go Live on YouTube?

Follow these steps to learn how to live stream on YouTube with a PC:

  1. Open YouTube using your Chrome browser and log in to your YouTube account.
  2. Click the Create button on the top right of your screen, which looks like a video camera with a plus sign.
  3. Select Go Live.

To stream on YouTube from a mobile device, follow these steps:

  1. Open the YouTube app on your phone.
  2. Tap the + icon at the bottom of your screen.
  3. Tap Go Live.

What Do You Need to Start Live Streaming on YouTube?

The type of equipment you need depends on the type of content you want to create. For example, if you want to stream a talking head commenting on a live chat, all you need is a computer with streaming software and your built-in webcam.

However, suppose you are a gamer looking to add multiple audiovisual elements to your YouTube streaming. In that case, you might require a more extensive setup consisting of a gaming console, PC, multiple cameras, and a mic.


While it’s possible to stream directly from YouTube, we recommend using software for optimal streaming functionality. For example, if you want to bring on a guest, connect a gaming console, or share your screen, responsive software will give you all the tools to perform those tasks.

In the “How to Live Stream on YouTube Using a PC” section below, we provide a step-by-step guide on streaming live video using PowerDirector video editor and Screen Recorder 4. You can click the button below to download it for free and start streaming on YouTube.

*Note: The free version of PowerDirector doesn’t include Screen Recorder. Please download Screen Recorder for free separately here.

Video Sources

A camera is the foundation of any YouTube streaming setup. While your computer’s webcam might be suitable for informal and short streams, investing in a quality camera with a high video resolution will help make your content look better.

Audio Sources

Quality audio is critical if you want to stream on YouTube and sound professional. External webcams typically feature a built-in microphone, which is often sufficient. However, consider an external microphone connected to your computer via USB if you want to upgrade your setup.

Gaming Console

If you want to go live on YouTube with gaming content, you can incorporate a gaming console, such as Xbox One, PS4, or Nintendo Switch, into your setup. Some consoles, such as PS4, can stream directly to YouTube.


An encoder converts real-time video into a suitable format to live stream on YouTube over the internet. You can use a hardware encoder, an external device, or a software encoder that you install on your PC. 


An essential part of YouTube streaming is proper lighting. If you don’t have the budget for a full lighting setup, a ring light will suffice. 

Software such as PowerDirector will give you the ability to edit your stream recordings and enhance your video, offsetting the effects of insufficient lighting.

How to Live Stream on YouTube Using PC

You need responsive and professional screen recording software to live stream on YouTube using your PC. Screen Recorder 4 is a versatile tool for video recording, streaming, and editing video. You can even incorporate a feed from your gaming console into your stream using this software. The product is a component of PowerDirector, a robust software you can use to edit and enhance your stream recording or any other video.

To learn how to live stream on YouTube using your PC, click the button below to download PowerDirector, and launch it on your PC.

*Note: The free version of PowerDirector doesn’t include Screen Recorder. Please download Screen Recorder for free separately here.

  1. After launching PowerDirector, open Screen Recorder under the Plugin menu.
  2. Plugin - Screen Recorder
  3. Click the Record tab. Choose which part of your screen you wish to record: Full Screen, Game, Lock to App, Custom, or Device.
    Under each option, you can configure the individual settings, such as recording mouse clicks and your video’s resolution.
  4. Screen Recorder - Record Tab
  5. Click the Down Arrow next to the Webcam icon to add webcam footage to your stream. You can also add a Microphone and Video Overlay effects.
  6. Screen Recorder 4 - Stream Overlays
  7. Click the Stream tab next to the Record tab, and then select YouTube from the streaming platform icons. Follow the on-screen instructions to log in to your YouTube account and give access to the platform.
  8. Stream - log in to your YouTube account
  9. Click the Gear icon to open Settings, then enter a title for your stream and select your privacy settings.
  10. Screen Recorder - privacy settings
  11. Go back to the Stream tab to select the video resolution and frame rate. If you want to share your stream on social media, you can also copy the live URL from the Stream tab.
  12. Screen Recorder - video resolution and frame rate
  13. Check the box next to Save Streamed Video to Disc then click Go Live. A countdown timer will appear, and then whatever is on your computer screen will appear live on YouTube. When you have finished your stream on YouTube, click Stop.
  14. Screen Recorder - Save Streamed Video to Disc

How to Live Stream on YouTube With a Gaming Console

How to Live Stream on YouTube With Xbox One

Xbox One doesn’t allow you to stream on YouTube directly. However, you can stream Xbox One to YouTube using your computer, Xbox Console Companion, and Screen Recorder 4.

To live stream on YouTube using your Xbox One, click the button below to download Screen Recorder 4 for free and follow along.

  1. Start by installing Xbox Console Companion to your computer from the Microsoft Store, launch the app, and sign in to your Microsoft account. Click on the Hamburger icon on the top left of your screen, select Connection, and click Add a Device.
  2. Next to My Xbox Device, click Connect. If your console doesn’t appear, make sure it is on. You might need to enter your console’s IP address. Click on Stream above the Now Playing panel, and your Xbox feed should appear on your computer screen.
  3. Screen Recorder - Go Live
  4. Click the Full-Screen icon at the top right of the application screen. This icon looks like two arrows pointing at each other.
  5. Open Screen Recorder4. In the Record tab, select Game, then choose Xbox Console Companion from the Application drop-down menu.
  6. Select the Stream tab, choose YouTube as your streaming platform, and go live on YouTube.

How to Live Stream on YouTube With PS4

Your PS4 lets you stream directly to YouTube, which is handy if you don’t want to add additional video elements.

  1. Start by turning on your PS4, and selecting Settings from your console’s main menu. Under Account Management, select Link with Other Services, and select YouTube. Follow the on-screen sign-in instructions to connect your YouTube account to your console.
  2. Open the game you want to stream. Then, tap the Share button on your controller once, opening the Share menu. Select Broadcast Gameplay and select YouTube again.
  3. Next, you can configure your video options, add a title to your stream, and select your video resolutions. If you have a PlayStation Camera, you can stream a video of your face as well.
  4. To start YouTube streaming, select Start Broadcasting. After finishing your stream on YouTube, press the Share button on your controller, and select Stop Broadcasting.

How to Live Stream on YouTube With Switch

Like Xbox, Nintendo Switch doesn’t offer a built-in live streaming capability. However, you can broadcast your gameplay on YouTube using a capture card and software encoder.

To learn how to live stream on YouTube using your Switch, click the button below to download Screen Recorder 4 for free and follow along.

  1. Dock your Switch and connect your dock output to your capture card via an HDMI cable.
  2. Next, connect the capture card’s output to your monitor using an HDMI cable, and connect your capture card to your PC via USB.
  3. Launch Screen Recorder 4 on your PC, click Video in the Preferences menu, and check the Enable Hardware Encoding box. Select the capture card from the drop-down menu in the Device section under the Record tab.
  4. Screen Recorder - Device Capture Card
  5. Head to the Stream tab, and then select YouTube as your streaming platform. Connect to your YouTube account before you go live on YouTube.

Do’s and Don’ts of YouTube Live Streaming

Learn the best practices for how to live stream on YouTube by following our do’s and don’ts below.


  • Follow YouTube’s Community Guidelines
  • The YouTube Community Guidelines that apply to uploaded videos also apply to going live on YouTube. YouTube streaming content that is dangerous, hateful, or sexually explicit will earn you a restriction, and you will be unable to participate in YouTube streaming for 90 days. Too many restrictions and your channel could be permanently banned.

  • Prepare
  • Live streams are different than other YouTube videos because, well, they are live. You can’t edit out mistakes or pause filming while you think of something to say. While a live stream on YouTube doesn’t have to be scripted, you should at least have some talking points ready in case your mind goes blank when that red light turns on. Your audience scheduled time to log in and join your stream, so don’t disappoint them with rambling nonsense or dead air.

  • Have fun
  • If you feel super nervous or awkward, your viewers will feel tense too! Relax and have fun. If something goes wrong while you are live on YouTube, laugh about it with your viewers instead of getting upset.


  • Ignore your audience
  • The appeal of going live on YouTube is real-time interaction. Ask questions, take a poll, and respond to comments. This will keep viewers engaged and get them to hang around. Besides, the comments could be telling you something important - like your mic isn’t on!

  • Share personal or private information
  • When you go live on YouTube, you can’t go back and edit out personal information you accidentally disclose. Protect yourself by making sure your YouTube streaming location doesn’t disclose anything you don’t wish to share with an audience, such as your address.

    That also goes for anything you might say while YouTube streaming. Once it’s out there you can’t take it back!

  • Create low-quality streams
  • With so many entertainment options available, why would anyone choose to watch a live stream that looks and sounds bad? Nowadays, it is easy to get high-quality video from a phone or webcam, so spend your money on a good microphone and lighting.

    It’s also a good idea to test all of your equipment before you go live on YouTube to check sound levels, lighting, how your hair looks on camera, etc. Have batteries and chargers on hand, as well as backup USB and HDMI cables to avoid any prolonged technical difficulties.

Download the Best YouTube Live Streaming Software for Free

YouTube is among the most popular platforms for broadcasting live videos and interacting with your audience. YouTube streaming lets you showcase your unique talents, market your business, or entertain your followers. As a novice content creator, you can create professional live streams without breaking the bank, provided that you have a computer and the right software.

Using the Screen Recorder 4 plug-in of PowerDirector, you can capture video and audio feed from your screen, an app, or an external device, such as a capture card. Learning how to live stream on YouTube with this software is incredibly easy. It also lets you stream directly to YouTube, and you can set up your streaming feed and go live on YouTube in minutes.

You can also save your stream to your computer and use PowerDirector to cut highlight reels of your streams before you upload them to YouTube or other platforms. Download PowerDirector with the Screen Recorder 4 plug-in for free today by clicking the button below.

*Note: The free version of PowerDirector doesn’t include Screen Recorder. Please download Screen Recorder for free separately here.

How to Live Stream on YouTube FAQ

1. Can You Live Stream for Free on YouTube?

Yes. It does not cost anything to live stream on YouTube.

2. How Do YouTube Live Streams Work?

Going live on YouTube allows streamers to interact with viewers through chat. Users can go to YouTube Live and see the trending streams from their country on the main page. Your stream may appear on a viewer’s feed if they have subscribed to your channel, have previously watched one of your streams, or have watched streams that are similar to yours.

During a live stream on YouTube, the audience can leave comments and ask questions. Streamers with a large audience will often assign a moderator to help monitor the chat and expel anyone who is being disrespectful to the streamer or other viewers.

3. How Many Subscribers Do You Need to Go Live on YouTube?

You can start YouTube streaming with any number of subscribers if you are using a desktop computer. Subscriber number restrictions are only if you live stream on YouTube with a mobile phone or tablet.

If you plan to start YouTube streaming using your mobile device, you must have at least 50 subscribers. If you have under 1,000 subscribers, YouTube will limit the number of viewers and your stream will automatically be set to “Private.”

4. What Are the Requirements to Stream on YouTube?

Streaming on YouTube is prohibited for anyone aged 13 and under unless an adult is visibly present. 

Also, you cannot set up a stream on YouTube if your channel isn’t verified, you’ve reached your daily limit, or you’ve received a Live Streaming Restriction in the past 90 days. The following actions can earn you a Live Streaming Restriction:

  • Not adhering to YouTube Community Guidelines
  • Your live stream on YouTube has received a Content ID claim or closely copied another channel 
  • Your live stream on YouTube includes copyrighted material 
  • Someone in your live stream on YouTube is holding or handling a firearm 

Once your channel is verified, it can take up to 24 hours for going live on YouTube to be enabled. 

5. How Much Do YouTubers Make for Live Stream?

Only YouTube channels that are part of the YouTube Partner Program can monetize live streams. These YouTubers can make $0.10 - $0.30 per ad view, meaning 500 ad views could pay out $50 - $150. 

Streamers can also make money by enabling Super Chat and Super Stickers. These are features that viewers can purchase to help their comments stand out, such as elevating their comments to the top of the live chat. YouTube pays streamers 70% of what they take in for these features. 

The final way to earn money through YouTube streaming is by selling channel memberships. Your members pay a monthly fee for perks, such as custom emojis and members-only live chats.  

6. How Do I Save YouTube Streams?

You can save YouTube live streams with the Screen Recorder 4 plugin of PowerDirector. Simply check the Save Streamed Video to Disc box under the Stream tab. 

Screen Recorder 4 will automatically download the video to the folder you selected in the preferences window.

7. How Do I Stream Live From My YouTube?

Log into your YouTube account and click the Create button, then select Go Live

For more detailed instructions on how to go live on YouTube, see the “How to Live Stream on YouTube Using PC,” section above.

8. How Do I Record and Edit Gameplay?

The process for recording gameplay is similar to the process for live streaming. However, you don’t need to connect to a streaming platform with gameplay recording. 

Record gameplay with Screen Recorder 4:

  1. Connect the video capture device
  2. Adjust device capture settings
  3. Adjust webcam settings
  4. Adjust microphone settings
  5. Add any video overlays
  6. Record

Edit gameplay with PowerDirector:

  1. Import footage into PowerDirector
  2. Add footage to the timeline
  3. Edit footage
  4. Add titles and transitions
  5. Export

9. What Is the Best Video Editor for Cutting Gameplay Videos?

PowerDirector is among the best video editors for cutting and editing your gameplay videos. The software has an intuitive interface with comprehensive video-editing capabilities.

The gameplay-editing toolkit you get with PowerDirector includes:

  • Advanced motion tracking
  • Speedy no-freeze rendering
  • Direct sharing to YouTube and other platforms, such as Twitch

With PowerDirector, you also get access to voiceover options, creative special effects, and extensive royalty-free music, images, and motion graphic title libraries. 

10. What Features Should I Look for in Streaming Software?

Stream on YouTube with the following essential features:

  1. An intuitive interface
  2. Direct streaming to YouTube and other streaming platforms
  3. Feed importing from cameras, microphones, applications, and external devices
  4. An automatic saving feature
  5. Video resolution and frame rate options
  6. Live URL sharing to social media

To go live on YouTube with software that checks all of these boxes, we recommend PowerDirector with Screen Recorder 4.

11. Should I Pay for Live Streaming Software?

If you are a beginner, you may not be ready to shell out big bucks for streaming software. However, paying for high-end streaming software is likely a worthy investment. With tools such as PowerDirector and Screen Recorder 4, you can get all the streaming, screen recording, cutting, and editing tools you need to create engaging content.

If you still aren’t convinced, you can try out all the features in both PowerDirector and Screen Recorder 4 for free before you commit.

12. How Do You Live Stream With Someone on YouTube?

Currently, the only way to invite guests to your YouTube streaming is by using 3rd-party software. Check out our article, 15 Best Streaming Software for Gamers & Content Creators [Twitch/YouTube] to learn about the best streaming services on the market. 

In March of 2022, YouTube launched a small test pilot of a feature called Go Live Together, where streamers can send a link to guests and have them join the live stream. In November 2022, they opened it up to a select group of content creators, but only on mobile. 

Until YouTube opens up the feature to all users, using 3rd-party streaming software is the only solution.

13. How Long Can I Stream on YouTube?

Technically you could be YouTube streaming forever. However, if your live stream on YouTube is longer than 12 hours, it may not be captured for you to save and post later. YouTube will automatically archive any streams that are under 12 hours. 

YouTube does have daily limits for the number of live streams you post in 24 hours. This number goes up the more your channel is verified (proving identity with an ID will allow you more YouTube live streams than only providing your phone number), and if your channel doesn’t have a lot of strikes.

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