Twenty-four-hour live streams are a growing trend on YouTube. There are channels dedicated to providing constant live content to their viewers, Channels like Lofi Girl have been streaming live for years and have built huge followings. And you can too. Creating a twenty-four-hour stream is surprisingly easy.
The nice thing about live streams is that the average watch time is significantly higher than it is for most videos. This is because people usually use these streams as background music. So if you’re looking to monetize your YouTube channel, this is certainly a way to do that.
There are two parts to creating a twenty-four-hour live stream. The YouTube aspect as well as the backend server that plays the video. The basic idea of setting up a live stream is to play a video on loop on a virtual server, then connect that live stream to YouTube.
The first thing you’ll need when creating your live stream is a video file you can loop over. I’m not going to go into this, because I’m not a video editor. But here are some best practices. Most people use these types of streams as background noise. So make sure you have a longer video that won’t get repetitive.
The Remote Server
There are a few different services that do this, but the cheapest and easiest one to set up is Linode. What you’ll want to do is go to Linode and create an account. Once you’re in Linode, you’ll want to create a Linode. Do that by clicking on “Create” and then selecting “Linode.”
After that, you’ll reach a screen with a ton of options. Go to Marketplace, and then search for “Ant.” And select the “Community Edition.” Ant servers are optimized for hosting and sharing media. And since we want to broadcast and stream videos, it’s perfect. The added bonus is that the Community version is free. It’s a great services
Once you select “Community Editon,” you’ll be able to scroll down, and you’ll have a ton of different options to choose from. DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING. The default settings will be good enough for what you want to do. But there are a few options you need to select.
First you’ll need to select a region. Depending on your audience pick something centrally located. So if you’re in the United States, I recommend Dallas.
Next, you’ll want to pick your Linode plan. You have a lot of different options here. If you know what you’re doing, then pick the option that works best for you. If you aren’t sure what you’re doing, click on “Shared CPU.” These are cheaper and provide plenty of power. And you’ll need to pick the instance you need. The streams I’ve created all had larger video files, so I used the “Linode 4 GB” instance. They work great for me. If you want to go with a cheaper option you can, but I can’t speak about their performance.
From there, scroll down and name your Linode server and select a password.
At this point, you’ll scroll down to the bottom and select “Create Linode.” This process will take a few minutes, but once the Linode is up and running go back to your dashboard to take a look at it.
Accessing Your Server
Now that your server is up and running you need to log in and upload your video file(s). You do this by taking the IP Address. and adding “:5080” to the end of it, and entering it into your address bar. For example, if your IP address was 123.45.678.90. You’d type “123.45.678.90:5080” into your search bar.
At this point, you’re going to be prompted to create an account. Do that and then log into your Ant Server.
That main screen is a dashboard that shows you all the usage stats for your server. Since you just started this server, your numbers should all be low.
On the left, there will be a menu and select LiveApp.
LiveApp is where you will make your video playlist that will play on a loop. On the right, click on the “New Live Stream” button and select “playlist.”
Feel free to name your playlist whatever you want. I usually leave the stream ID blank, since it will automatically assign you one. Then click “Create.”
The next thing to do is to upload your video files to the Ant Server. Click on “VoD” at the top of the page and then click the “Upload VoD” button.
Upload your files like you would any other file on the internet. Now you need to add this video to a playlist. This is where you need to be precise. Selecting the video file is the only part of this process that is not straightforward.
First, you’ll need to get the location of your video file. You do this by taking you IP address we used earlier. In this case 123.45.678.90:5080, and you’re going to append some information to it. First, you’re going to add “/LiveApp” then “/streams” then “VoD Id” and then wrap it up by adding “.mp4”. So the address should look something like this:
A few notes. “LiveApp” is case-sensitive. And you can get the VoD Id from the VoD section of the Ant Server under the VoD name.
With that address, you can now add it to your live stream. Go back to the “Live Streams” section and click the pencil icon next to the live stream you created. Click on “Add Playlist Item.” Then add your file address to the form that appears. Keep clicking on “Add Playlist Items” as needed. The click on the “Save” button.
Now we need to go to YouTube to get this server connected to the live stream.
On YouTube, at the top right, you’ll see the “create” button. Click on it and select “Go Live.” Don’t worry it won’t instantly make you go live. It will take you to the control room. You’re going to need to fill out a lot of the information like the title, the description, and a bunch of other settings. I won’t get into that, I assume you can handle this portion.
For the sake of getting everything set up. I would leave the visibility as “unlisted.”
Once you get past that, you’ll be in the control room, and you’ll have a bunch of different options in front of you. The important stuff is all under Stream Key.
At this point, you’re going to combine some of the information on this screen to create a link. Take the Stream URL, add a “/”, and then add your Stream Key. When you’re done, you’ll have a link that looks something like this. This is your RTMP endpoint.
You’re going to take this link back to your Ant Server. Click the hamburger to the right of the playlist you created. And select “Edit RTMP Endpoints.”
Add your address to the window that pops up. Once you’ve added it, you’re ready to start the broadcast. Go back to the Hamburger of the playlist you want to live stream, and click on the “Start Broadcast” option. And that’s it. Go back to YouTube, and your live stream should start playing shortly.
It’s pretty easy.
One Last Point
If you are looking to create a stream that will stay live for days on end. What you’ll eventually want to do is create a backup. To do that, you’ll do everything the exact same way you did before. Except you’ll want to use a different RTMP endpoint. YouTube provides you with another RTMP link to use for just this reason.
Use the second RTMP link YouTube provides and set it up, so it looks something like this:
And then just let it run. If there are any network issues, YouTube will automatically switch the streams, and you’ll stay live.