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How to Use OBS to Stream Live on YouTube

OBS, Open Broadcaster Software, is a free platform that has allowed millions of people to stream video content. It’s a stable program that has a lot of flexibility. Today, we’ll dive into connecting OBS to your YouTube channel.

The process is relatively easy, and you can run more than one YouTube channel from OBS by creating additional profiles.

NOTE: This tutorial is for OBS 30.0.0.

Why Use OBS for YouTube?

OBS Studio is a robust streaming and recording platform that a lot of streamers use to drive their success. Aside from its ease of use, it can be expanded through hundreds of plugins for a range of purposes.

From adding polls to including Google Slides integration, OBS is quite flexible for virtually any purpose.

Recording Videos

I’ve been using OBS to record videos for a few years now. From gaming to website development tutorials, it has provided most of the functions I’ve needed and has consistently added more.

In fact, I stopped using XSplit Broadcaster recently due to the addition of managing more channel profiles in OBS. Back in the day, you had to manually change the streaming key every time you shited to a different YouTube channel.

Regardless, OBS can record videos in a variety of file types that are compatible with most video services on the Internet.

Going Live

As of the latest versions of OBS, it is easier than ever to connect and go live. You can do everything from the dashboard without having to log into YouTube directly from a web browser.

What’s more, is that you can go live on more than just YouTube. There are many options to choose from for different online platforms regarding live streaming.

Very Versatile for a Free Program

Perhaps one of the best parts of OBS is that it has a lot of flexibility for being a free program. It compares incredibly well to paid programs such as XSplit Broadcaster and Streamlabs OBS, which is OBS with a Streamlabs twist.

The bottom line is that you can get a lot of bang without spending the buck with OBS Studio. It is well-developed and has a large supporting community.

How to Use OBS On Your YouTube Channel

By connecting OBS to your YouTube channel, you can essentially control every aspect of your stream directly from OBS Studio. This includes the chat window as well as creating the broadcast.

This means you don’t have to open YouTube in a separate browser window to manage your streams.

For this tutorial, I’m going to assume you already have OBS installed and have a YouTube account ready to go.

Below are the TL;DR steps to connect OBS to YouTube, but I’ll go into further details if you need them.

  1. Open Settings in OBS

    Click on the Settings button on the right side of OBS. It’s located under the “Controls” window.

  2. Access the Stream Options

    On the left side of the dashboard, click the “Stream” option.

  3. Change the Service to YouTube

    Use the drop-down box and select YouTube.

  4. Connect Your YouTube Account

    Click the “Connect Account” button on the Stream settings screen and follow Google’s directions to connect to the YouTube channel.

  5. Save Your Settings

    Click the “OK” or “Apply” button to save your connection.

  6. Manage Broadcasts (Optional)

    Click the “Manage Broadcast” button to manage your YouTube streams.

  7. Start Streaming

    Click the “Start Streaming” button and have fun!

Step 1: Select Settings in OBS

Open OBS and click the “Settings” button on the right side of the dashboard.

Open OBS Settings

In the settings screen, you can change the language, theme, output optional settings, and much more. You don’t need to change any of these as the default settings are usually good to get you started.

However, feel free to experiment and make adjustments to fit your specific needs.

Step 2: Open Stream Options

On the left side of the screen, click the “Stream” option.

Open Stream Settings

OBS has the ability to stream to a long list of online services. You can access any of them at any time from this window.

Step 3: Change the Streaming Service to YouTube

By default, your copy of OBS Studio might have Twitch set as the service. Since we’re using OBS for YouTube live streams, we’re going to change that.

You’ll have two different protocols for YouTube, which include HLS and RTMPS. The one you choose is up to you and your specific needs and requirements.

With RTMP, you’ll have lower latency issues because it is a constant stream to YouTube. However, most online platforms nowadays are moving to support of HLS as it is better for 4K videos. Unfortunately, there is more latency involved because it delivers the video in 10-second segments.

I would suggest trying both at some point and keeping an eye on which one is working best for your streams. You can change the service at any time, so it’s worth experimenting to find the one your channel will use most.

Usually, I keep the setting at RTMP as I’ve never needed anything more and I don’t have a decent camera for 4K anyway.

Click the “Service” drop-down window and select the YouTube service from the list of available platforms.

Select YouTube Services

NOTE: My list has been expanded to show all that are available in OBS. However, the condensed list will display the most popular for the platform, which includes YouTube. You’ll have to click “Show All” for YouTube HLS to be displayed.

Step 4: Connect Your YouTube Account

There are two ways you can connect your YouTube account to OBS. You can either connect it directly by authorizing OBS from your Google account. Or, you can use the Stream Key of the specific YouTube feed.

To keep this tutorial simple, we’re going to use the recommended option. However, I’ll go into further detail about the Stream Key a bit later.

Click the “Connect Account” button under the Primary YouTube ingest server type.

Connect Account Option

A new window will pop up requiring you to access your Google account. If you’re already signed in, you’ll see a list of your YouTube channels associated with that account. Click the YouTube account you want access to in OBS.

Google will launch a permission window to allow OBS access to that channel. Click the “Allow” button to continue.

Allow OBS to Access YouTube

Step 5: Commit Your Changes and Save

Once Google connects to OBS Studio, click the Apply or OK button to save.

Save YouTube Connection

You’ll notice that OBS now has a connection screen and a chat window ready for your live stream. Sign into Google as you normally would. This will entail the security message that will be delivered to your phone.

Sign Into Google

After signing into Google, OBS will show you the control panel for YouTube Studio. From here, you can manage your live streams in real-time instead of accessing the backend of YouTube directly.

OBS Showing YouTube Live Studio

This is incredibly helpful for those who don’t have the best computer systems. It’ll reduce the number of resources your computer is using to help improve the quality of the stream.

For instance, Chrome can take more than 500 MB of memory just to show the YouTube Studio screen in a browser. If you’re worried about RAM usage, OBS can help.

Step 6: (Optional) Manage Broadcasts

If you have streams already set up and scheduled on YouTube, you can manage them directly from OBS. This is perhaps one of my favorite functions of the newer versions as I don’t have to open a new tab in a browser to manage anything on YouTube.

From the OBS Studio dashboard, click the “Manage Broadcast” button.

Manage Broadcast

Creating a New Broadcast

In this new window, you can create an entirely new stream including the title, video description, privacy setting, category, thumbnail, and more.

You can also have OBS remember the settings for future use in case you don’t want to type and set everything every time you stream.

Create New Broadcast

Coincidentally, the option to create a new broadcast will appear if you try to stream to YouTube without having one chosen in OBS.

After adding all of the details in OBS, you can either create the broadcast or create the broadcast and start streaming.

NOTE: You won’t be able to create a broadcast unless you select the option of whether the video is “made for kids.”

Select Existing Broadcasts

The second tab of this window allows you to access and use any saved live broadcasts you have in YouTube Studio. You can then use those instead of creating whole new stream details.

Select Existing Broadcast

This is usually for those who have scheduled live video events for the channel.

For example, I stream every Monday night for my writing channel. I’ll set up the entire stream on YouTube several hours in advance. When it’s time to go live, I select that broadcast from the option in OBS.

Once you click on an existing broadcast, you can either open it up directly in YouTube Studio, select the broadcast, or select the broadcast and start streaming.

Step 7: Start Streaming

Now that OBS is connected to your YouTube channel and the broadcast is ready to go, all you have to do is click the “Start Streaming” button on the right of the dashboard.

Start Streaming from OBS

Using the Stream Key for YouTube in OBS

The above method is by far the easiest to manage when connecting to YouTube from OBS. However, you can also use the Stream Key instead of signing directly into Google.

This requires you to have a scheduled live stream ready to go.

Go to the live stream you have ready on YouTube.

Click the “Copy” button next to the Stream Key field of the video’s Stream Settings.

Copy YouTube Stream Key

Once the key is copied, go back to OBS Studio.

From the Settings screen of OBS, go to the Stream option on the left. Then, click the “Use Stream Key” button.

Use the Stream Key

Paste the key into the Stream Key field of OBS.

Stream Key Field of OBS

Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the screen.

Save Stream Key Settings

From here, you can start streaming or connect to Google to launch the Live Control Panel. If you don’t want the Google access on OBS, just click the “X” on the window to close it out.

FAQs About Using OBS with YouTube

How do I schedule a live stream to YouTube from OBS?

By managing your broadcasts in OBS, you can create a new stream without going live. That way, you can choose when to stream at your leisure. However, if you plan on scheduling a stream several days in advance, it’s easier to set the stream up in YouTube Studio as you can manage the date and time.

How do I enable the chat screen from OBS?

To enable the chat screen while streaming in OBS, go to the “Docks” option on the top toolbar and select “Chat.” It will show a checkmark next to it when the Chat window is enabled.

Can you use OBS for recording videos instead of live streaming?

OBS Studio gives you the option to live stream OR record video files directly to your computer. You can record video from your camera, browser windows, full-screen applications, game detection, and more.

Can you manage more than one YouTube channel from OBS?

You can manage as many YouTube channels as you want all with different settings for live streaming and recording. You can do this by going to the “Profile” option from the top toolbar and clicking New. Then, add the new channel and connect it.

Can you change Scenes in OBS while live streaming to YouTube?

You can change scenes anytime you want during a livestream. Just keep in mind that some of the sources for other scenes might not be available depending on how they are set up. If you use scene transitions such as the Fade, you can actually create quite a few nice visual effects during your livestream.

7 Ideas to Get the Most Out of Your Live Streams

Streaming to a live audience is a dream career for many. For others, it could merely be a way to socialize, especially if you live like a hermit. Either way, live streaming can offer quite a few rewards outside of monetary gain.

However, it’s not always the easiest to get started. You could go several weeks or months before attracting a large audience on a regular basis.

So, what are a few ideas to get you started with live streaming?

Create VOD Content

Perhaps one of the most effective ways to market your live streams is by making regular videos. When people subscribe to your channel and click the notification bell, they’ll receive a message when you go live.

Not to mention that video views and watch time contribute to YouTube’s monetization requirements of 1,000 subs and 4,000 hours in a 12-month timeframe.

Also, keep in mind that you could get a lot of views and subs from videos that don’t necessarily watch live streams for various reasons. For instance, my live streams on Monday nights are usually pretty late for most of my subscribers.

In other words, most of them are in bed or winding down their night.

Embed Streams and Videos Into Your Blog

I often gain quite a few viewers and subscribers by embedding videos and live streams into my blogs. That way, anyone visiting the site can watch the content if they choose.

The best part is that if your security plugins don’t interfere with how YouTube collects data through JavaScript, you’ll also gain watch time for monetizing your channel. However, this is often a pain to adjust as every plugin for security is different.

In any case, you’ll still gain a few subs by embedding the video content.

Keep an Eye on Your Analytics

Never underestimate the value of good data. YouTube collects a lot of information that can be ultimately helpful when setting up live streams from OBS or when recording videos.

Perhaps you notice not enough views on one type of video and a lot on another. If that happens, you know what kind of content to double down on to increase views and watch time.

There are a lot of points of interest in YouTube analytics, so don’t be shy about diving into the numbers.

Create Clips of the Best Parts

During your live streams, you can clip some of the best parts and turn them into videos or Shorts. This is what’s called “repurposing content.” Instead of just having that one moment buried in a show, you can make it stand out with its own video.

You can do this by going back over the live stream or video and click the “Clip” button under the video feed in a web browser. YouTube will launch another window where you can select certain segments to turn into its own piece of content.

Share on Social Media

Sharing on social media has the potential to rack up a few extra views, depending on your following. I’ll often include relevant hashtags and such to engage those whom I think will find the live stream enjoyable.

To reach several social outlets simultaneously, use the “Share” button on YouTube, copy the live stream’s URL, and paste it into something like Buffer. Then, it’ll be shared across the different social sites you have connected.

Stream to Multiple Platforms

You can stream to more platforms outside of YouTube from OBS at the same time. Although OBS doesn’t currently have this feature built-in, you can use the Multiple RTMP Outputs plugin to make it easy on yourself.

Multistreaming, or simulcasting, can help you reach a wider audience across various platforms to expand your community.

Have Fun

Lastly, don’t forget to have fun. While many streamers take it seriously, the underlying element that causes many of them to be successful is the fun they have with their audience.

Sure, there will be the occasional troll who stumbles across your channel. But as long as you’re engaging with your core audience and having a good time, success will follow…eventually.

OBS Makes YouTube Streaming Easy and Affordable

OBS Studio makes it easy to set up and start streaming on YouTube. The hardest part is figuring out what video content to make next. Are you a gamer? Do you talk about books and writing? Will you dive into becoming a fitness influencer? There are a lot of paths you can take.

It all comes down to you and your target audience. Be unique and give them a show that they’ll enjoy.

How much do you plan to stream on YouTube?

Michael Brockbank

Michael Brockbank

Michael has been managing YouTube channels for the better part of a decade. He's continuously working to find the best methods that work for various types of content from gaming to website tutorials.

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