Tips for troubleshooting your livestream

As is the nature of tech, from time to time, things don’t work right when you need them to. Livestreaming isn’t exempt from this rule. 

When things do go awry with your setup, you want to be able to quickly and methodically troubleshoot your issues so you can get back up and running quickly. 

The better informed you are on how to do this, the more calmly you can work through it when it happens. Trying to fix an issue while feeling increasingly stressed is a surefire way to encounter further problems. 

Thus, here we are. These are some hot tips for troubleshooting your livestream when something goes wrong. But, more importantly, some of the checks you can conduct before you go live. 

Nothing will serve you as well as being prepared.

Internet Connection

Having a fast and reliable internet connection is a tenet for live streaming effectively. You want to have a direct connection (ethernet) to ensure no dropouts happen. 

If you connect wirelessly, you run the risk of your connection breaking.

Output Resolution

In OBS, your Output/Base Canvas should be 720p – unless you’re running a really powerful computer, anything higher than that will put strain on your CPU which could lag your stream.

Speed Test Your Internet Connection

Before you get going, it’s great for peace of mind (or discovering issues) to get some hard data in front of you. You can use this site to test your upload vs download speed. 

Update Chatbot 

If you need specific automated chat responses in your Twitch chat, whether it be Streamlabs or Nightbot, make sure that you don’t have any content from past streams that will trigger when doing a new stream. 

Secondary Display

Interacting with the chat while livestreaming is important. It keeps your audience engaged and provides the ‘live’ element. 

Make sure you have a secondary display at your disposal that is dedicated to this. It can be another laptop, or a tablet, or even your phone. If it can be used to view the chat, it’s good to go.

Final Test

Before takeoff, do a final checkover. Pull your stream up in the incognito mode of your browser (or from a burner channel if you have one) to get a third-person perspective of how it’s looking. 

Twitch Inspector

Twitch Inspector will show how the video data is flowing into Twitch servers, and shows some of the common errors, as well as if a broadcast has periods of instability. Most problems will appear in the Bitrate Graph displayed on Inspector. From there you can see where your problem is, and quickly amend it. This is a great tool to use as your last checkpoint before going live. 

Important note: getting comfortable with streaming is the real tenet of executing great live content. Creating a burner account and getting some decent practice under your belt is going to pay dividends down the track when you’re streaming to a bigger audience.

Good luck, and have fun with it.