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Best Free Streaming Software

Streaming software makes it super easy for gamers to capture their gameplay. Free streaming software is even better because well it’s free and this allows you to spend your money on some hardware like a nice webcam or a good mic. 

The traditional method of streaming involved the use of a screen recorder, which had tons of disadvantages. Its limitations proved to be useless in the modern heavy gaming world. 

As a result, streaming software has emerged in the market. The primary benefit of using any streaming software is that not only can players now capture their gameplays more conveniently, but this software also supports other gaming consoles. 

There are several types of streaming software out in the market, but not all are available for free.

So, all the gamers out there need not worry, because you can easily find many good streaming softwares for download that are totally free to use. 

There’s no need to hurt your budget to get a quality streaming experience. But be careful! Not all free streaming software is good. Some of them are terrible

This article will inform you about some of the best and free streaming software platforms. You can learn about the features, benefits, and disadvantages associated with each of them below.

Best Free Streaming Software

Here is my list of the 8 best free streaming softwares:

  1. OBS Studio
  2. Streamlabs OBS
  3. XSplit
  4. Wirecast
  5. vMix
  6. Nvidia Shadowplay
  7. Lightstream
  8. Twitch Studio

Now let’s break them down a bit more.

OBS Studio

The first on the list is OBS Studio. Short for Open Broadcaster Software, the name says a lot about its features. It is a beautiful free to use software used by gamers worldwide to stream their gameplay.

OBS Studio is considered my many to be the best streaming platform because of what it can do. And even better, this software is free to use. 

OBS Features:

  • You can set up multiple scenes, and switch between them using custom transitions. It is very similar to switching between slides in Microsoft PowerPoint and using slide transitions.
  • The equalizer will let you work your magic with the audio part of the recording or stream, as well. It lets you remove or suppress background noise, add voiceovers, etc. as standard abilities.
  • The settings panel has a vast array of settings. It lets you customize almost everything in the entire software. Tweaking the settings is, however, recommended for the advanced users only. 

OBS Advantages:

  • It supports Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.
  • The interface is relatively easy to use so that you won’t have to worry about taking hours to figure out how something works.
  • The cross-platform and open-source features are great. You can contribute your code to enhance this software further.  So, if you’re a coder, have at it!
  • It lets you stream to most of the common streaming video platforms like Twitch, Youtube, etc. with little effort. 
  • There are more than 20 plugins, which enhance its functionality. It has a huge advantage of being open-source.

OBS Disadvantages:

  • It has no support for Microsoft Windows XP or any inferior versions.
  • There’s no way that you can add audio from an external audio file. In other words, it lacks some functionality in the audio domain.  Something that professional programs like Adobe Audition are built to handle (but these aren’t free).
  • The user-interface is relatively easy to use, but some things are harder to find and may be buried in the settings somewhere. OBS is also considered to be more complex when it comes to other platforms and may take some time to figure it out. 

Streamlabs OBS

Streamlabs OBS is yet another open-source streaming software. You can find the source code on GitHub. The link to the same is available on the official website, so there’s no way that it’s fake. 

One of my favorite things about the software is that it has a beautifully simple design and feel. Similar to the appeal of Apple products design, loved by many, its look and feel are considered entirely different from other competitors’ products.  And the same is the case with this software.

This is the software that I use to stream and I really like it. It is good for new streamers because of how simple it is to use. You can easily connect your webcam and mic and be ready to stream in no time.

Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS) is a great platform for people to start streaming on before moving onto more in depth streaming software like OBS Studio.

Let me break SLOBS down a bit more. 

Streamlabs OBS Features:

  • This application lets gamers go live in minutes, even seconds.
  • Most of the procedure is automated, and this lets even the not-so-tech-savvy gamers to stream smoothly.
  • A single click can let you backup all your data on the cloud forever. 
  • There are a lot of free to use stream overlays. If you decide to switch to the paid version, there are plenty more awaiting you.
  • This software will allow you to look professional while streaming. You can stand out from the crowd and show off your gaming personality at the same time with Streamlabs.

Streamlabs OBS Advantages:

  • It’s available for Microsoft Windows, Linux, and most recently Mac OS platforms.
  • It is the most commonly used streaming software out there and so there is a a great community and tons of support.
  • SLOBS is great for beginners because of how easy it is to use.
  • SLOBS has multi-stream capabilities.
  • The highly customizable user-interface is not only a feature but also an advantage too. You don’t have to be stuck with the unappealing front-end, as you can always customize it to what you like.
  • SLOBS offers many free overlays and themes that you can use to customize your stream. 
  • Low system requirements. This software won’t eat up the valuable system resources, as they’re more important for your game quality.
  • Many have shared their love for the freeware version.  And that means that there have been many contributors. Apart from that, the ability to contribute your very own code is also appealing. 
  • It’s cross-platform compatible.

Streamlabs OBS Disadvantages:

  • There are plenty of reported bugs that can cause issues.
  • There’s only a community for troubleshooting. They don’t have a “help team”. If you’re lucky, you might find some good videos and blogs that can solve the issues arising during software use.
  • Although the software is very simple to use, you can do more with other streaming softwares such as OBS Studio. 

XSplit

XSplit is a very famous video streaming platform that offers video-mixing capabilities. The tool is famous worldwide for its gameplay capturing and video recording applications. Due to its freeware license, there’s no harm in trying out this excellent software at least once.

XSplit Features:

  • It has a short setup time. This way, gamers can get started quickly and easily without much hassle. 
  • The user interface is relatively user-friendly. So, you don’t have to spend much time learning the flow of the entire software.
  • There’s a 24/7 support service. So all those who are having troubles can always seek help from the customer support.
  • The settings are optimized for best use. Only advanced users might need to tweak the settings as per their taste and comfort in rare cases.
  • XSplit makes use of the latest branch of artificial intelligence, i.e., machine learning. The entire world is buzzing about this latest technology. The tech giants are thriving to apply world-class machine learning, which isn’t an easy task at all.
  • A lot of processes are automated. For instance, this application eliminates the rendering process. Simply cut, slit, modify, edit, and finally export the recordings within a few clicks—perfect opportunity to save your valuable time.

XSplit Advantages:

  • The customer support won’t make you feel lost at any point. You can always seek help from the experts. The quality of support and a solution is almost guaranteed.  This is a huge advantage over some of the other software available.
  • Bugs are something that can be irritating and frustrating. Thanks to the developers, you’ll rarely run into any buggy code. 
  • You can integrate third-party applications via files and URLs.
  • Even though the software settings are optimized for most users, the ability to tweak them is as easy as eating an apple. Seriously!

XSplit Disadvantages:

  • It doesn’t support any operating system other than Microsoft Windows.
  • This software is not at all suitable for newbies. It means that those who are new to the streaming world may want to avoid using this software. However, it’s an excellent choice for experienced users, as they’ll know what they’re doing.
  • There are no encoding presets.
  • A watermark on the videos will kill your calm. If you’re on the free version, there’s no way you can avoid that nasty watermark on every video export. However, this watermark will be present only on videos, which are over 720p/30 fps.  The saving grace is that the paid version isn’t all that expensive.
  • Even if you decide to switch to the paid version, it’s almost the same as the free version. Although the paid version is inexpensive, you don’t gain a whole lot. 

Wirecast

Developed by Telestream, Wirecast is live video streaming production software. It’s written in C, C++, and Objective-C, which says it all about its quality. Gamers, who are on Windows and Mac OS platforms, can give this free software a try.

Wirecast Features:

  • The interface has an excellent and unique look and feel. This software can produce professional-looking videos even with the free version.
  • Most of the processes are automated within the software. All you have to do is plug in all the necessary hardware, and let this tool start capturing the videos and audios from all sources.
  • Its unimaginable output is comparable to the videos viewed on T.V.
  • Not only is there a free version, but there are also multiple versions designed to suit the needs of every type of gamer.

Wirecast Advantages:

  • Several advanced filters, functions, and features ensure that your videos appear modern and futuristic. You can say goodbye to those old fashioned videos now.
  • Support for both Windows and Mac OS platforms.
  • The quality of customer support is fantastic. Rest assured, you’ll receive service in the best possible manner.
  • This software isn’t dead or stale in any aspect. The developers continuously work hard to release new features, updates, and patches regularly.

Wirecast Disadvantages:

  • Those who are thinking of graduating from the free version to the paid version, think twice. The starting price is $600 per year.
  • It is a heavyweight tool. It’ll take a lot from your computer to run this software, so if you are going to stream with this software you will need a decent PC that can support it. 
  • The free version is a free trial, which is usable only for 30 days. After that, you’ll have to either uninstall the product or buy a license.
  • The software is not designed for Linux O.S. Even if you find one for Linux, it’s wholly fake and a part of cybercrime; please ignore such websites and or links.

vMix

vMix is a trialware software vision mixer designed in VB.NET. It is available for Microsoft Windows users, which doesn’t support any O.S. inferior to Windows 7. 

Gamers, who are seeking a quick start to gameplay streaming, can rely on this software. However, this might not be the best choice because of its many disadvantages.

vMix Features:

  • It has thousands of presets to enhance your videos.
  • You can do a lot of video mixing, editing, and other creative production with ease. 
  • It has specially dedicated buttons to stream directly to the most prominent platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, etc.
  • Slow-motion instant replay for up to 4 cameras.
  • The intent is to add a professional look and feel to your videos and live streaming. vMix doesn’t leave us disappointed in this respect.

vMix Advantages:

  • The customer support is fantastic. You won’t feel left out anytime. Also, the customer care representatives are calm and friendly, always up for the best possible assistance. It is a relatively rare case, unlike other customer care services.
  • A vast array of exciting features will lure you into exploring the library.
  • In the case of the initial trial version, you can continue to enjoy the services for 60 days, as if it’s a paid version. That’s the beauty of a trial version.
  • It’s best suited for gamers and users looking to add some professional look and feel to their exports.

vMix Disadvantages:

  • The paid versions are very costly. It starts at $60 a year, but can go as high as $1,200 for the year. That’s a lot of coin.
  • It has no support for Mac OS and Linux users.
  • Since the program is written in VISUAL BASIC.NET, there’s no way that it’s going to be lightweight. It will be taxing on your PC so make sure you have a system that can handle it.
  • You cannot use the free trial version once the 60 days are up.
  • It doesn’t support operating systems older than Windows 7.
  • It has several reported bugs, that can ruin your project. Make sure you keep saving your work frequently.

Nvidia Shadowplay

Nvidia Shadowplay is most commonly known as Nvidia Share. It is a top-rated tool developed by Nvidia Corp. as a part of its GeForce Experience software. 

It’s a hardware-accelerated screen recording suite, which in no way disappoints its users. Since such a reputed tech-giant develops it, you can always expect a mind-blowing experience.

Nvidia Features:

  • Easily record and capture gameplay without much effort.
  • There’s a dedicated hotkey to record the last 30 seconds of your gameplay. This feature comes into action when you’ve just pulled off a fantastic stunt unintentionally. 
  • Dedicated buttons to share your captures to Facebook and YouTube.
  • The capture quality isn’t bad either; it can go as high as 4k at 60 fps.
  • Since this software is hardware-accelerated, you can leave it running in the background, and it won’t bother you in any manner.
  • Quickly start your broadcast. Within two clicks (as claimed by Nvidia), you can be online on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, etc.
  • Several graphic overlays and filters will ensure that your output and live streaming are best personalized.

Nvidia Advantages:

  • Extremely lightweight. The use of hardware acceleration is not only a feature but a huge advantage too. It means that it’ll consume your computers power in an optimized manner. Many people consider it the smoothest running streaming software for this reason.  
  • Several hotkeys and shortcuts ensure that you can perform tasks and add the queue processes at your earliest convenience.
  • This software uses GPU rather than CPU, unlike other rival applications. Hence, the CPU load quickly shifts to the GPU, which is a huge relief to your processor.
  • Be it a professional requirement or a local requirement, Nvidia Shadowplay is up for every type of challenge in live streaming and screen capturing.
  • It works well with computers that have low and average hardware configuration. All you’ll need is a strong and powerful graphics card from Nvidia.

Nvidia Disadvantages:

  • Since it’s a part of GeForce Experience, this software is shipped only with Nvidia graphics cards. Hence, you’ll need to have a graphics card by Nvidia to use this capturing software.
  • Nvidia graphics cards are not cheap at all. However, you get what you pay for, and Nvidia is considered by many to be the industry standard of graphic cards.
  • It does not support multisource displays, plugins, or other graphic features.
  • Not suitable for low bitrate streaming.
  • This software tends to blur some part of the gameplays at times, which can be extremely frustrating and disappointing at the same time.

Latest Nvidia Recommended Graphics Card Deals:

One of the best graphics cards for gaming that I’ve had the pleasure to mess around with is the EVGA Geforce RTX 2080 Ti  It is a beast of a graphics card with 11 GB of graphics Ram power, and hey, it looks pretty cool.

RTX 2080 Ti Features

  • Ray Tracing in Real-Time means the graphics are cutting edge and even hyper-realistic.
  • Turing GPU architecture is fast. It is really fast.  It’s 6x faster than previous-generation cards, that’s how fast this card is.
  • The dual ultra-quiet fans keep things cool and smooth with minimal noise to bother you while your kicking tail.
  • Customizable LED lighting means you can coordinate with your current rig’s color scheme.

Lightstream

Lightstream is yet another powerful video streaming software that can turn your room into a studio. Its best suited for live streaming and offers a lot of features to make your streaming look professional. 

The only problem here is that you’ll require some basic to advanced knowledge of computers. As such, this isn’t a good choice for newbies.

Lightstream Features

  • This free to use software allows users to go live within minutes. You don’t have to spend a lot of time setting up things to be ready and get started.
  • It’s powered and backed by the cloud.
  • It is capable of direct streaming to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.
  • You can host your live show with guests. So, those guests don’t need to be present physically near you. Take everything to the virtual world.
  • Users have absolute control over the layout and designs.
  • It allows third-party integrations.
  • It works on a browser, being a cloud-based solution. There is no need to download the software. That’s the beauty of the cloud.

Lightstream Advantages

  • It’s free to use.
  • The service is cloud-based. All you have to do is log in from any web browser. You don’t need to download anything, unlike other softwares.
  • Most of the processes are automated. That’ll save a lot of valuable time.
  • Low system requirements, as most of the load, is transferred to the server.
  • There’s live chat support that offers satisfactory customer support service.

Lightstream Disadvantages

  • It contains some reported bugs related to the audio. So you might encounter issues with the sound.
  • Low output resolution. It can only produce videos up to 720p.
  • It is relatively simple, and not in a good way. It doesn’t possess any fancy and strong filters and features. Consider it rather direct, regular, and average.

Twitch Studio

Twitch Studio is yet another major game-changer in the world of live streaming and captured video sharing. It’s considered one of the top 10 free to use streaming softwares. 

This tool’s primary purpose is to allow gamers to capture their awesome gameplays, modify it, and share it directly with the Twitch community. It is one of the best and recommended applications for newbies and advanced gamers alike.

Twitch Studio Features

  • The user interface has an attractive look and feel, which is nice.
  • Most of the processes are automated. 
  • The tool is quite simple to use, and the setup for the microphone and other related hardware is quite simple.
  • Settings are by default set up for the most common purposes. You shouldn’t have to adjust a whole lot to get everything looking and sounding nice.
  • Customizable templates will let you set up the interface as per your taste.
  • It comes integrated with Twitch. So you don’t have to make any additional efforts when uploading and or sharing your content with the Twitch community.

Twitch Studio Advantages

  • It’s lightweight, hence it uses optimized system resources.
  • Easy to use, so you’ll become familiar with the flow within a few hours.
  • This software is extremely user-friendly. Hence it becomes perfect for newbies to enter the world of gameplay capturing and streaming.
  • It has low system requirements (even the downloadable file size is reasonably low).
  • The default settings are all preset for regular users. Only advanced users should end up tweaking the settings.

Twitch Studio Disadvantages

  • The beta version is very vulnerable to bugs and errors. Some people have even said that it has damaged their system.
  • The dark theme is not suitable for well-lighted environments.
  • The look and feel of the user interface are not smooth. Even though your system has enough resources, it may still feel like it’s lagging.

As always, if you have any questions or just want to hang with me, stop by my Twitch channel here and say what’s up!

Interested in Streaming? Check Out My Recommendations

Not Sure Which Streaming Software to Use?

Streamlabs Prime comes with the ability to multi-stream, free overlays and is widely considered the easiest streaming software to use. Use my link here and you get a sweet discount! 

In Need of Emotes, Overlays or Alerts?

OWN3D.TV has everything you need to make your stream stand out ! They have hundreds of options and are who I use for my overlays and emotes. Check them out here.

Concerned About DMCA?

DMCA claims have gotten many streamers suspended and even banned from streaming platforms. In order to avoid getting in trouble, I get all of my music and sounds from Tune Pocket. They have tons of copyright free music for you to jam to.

Looking to Upgrade Your Streaming Equipment?

Below is some equipment that will take your stream to the next level:

For my complete list of recommended equipment click here.

Also, if you are feeling generous, I would really appreciate it if you followed my Twitch channel, you can do so by clicking here. I am trying to grow so that way I can better help you all. I am also up to helping you answer any streaming questions that you may have so feel free to stop by. I really appreciate you all !

And for even more tips, tricks and how tos subscribe to my Youtube channel here. I post two videos a week to help you with your streams. 

Each of the mentioned software for streaming has its own merits and flaws.  But overall, I found that Streamlabs OBS, OBS, and XSplit are my current favorite platforms.  However, Nvidia, Lightstream, and the others are all excellent streaming solutions to choose from for your streaming needs.  

If you have a system that is a beast, then one of the more robust and feature-packed softwares like vMix might be more your speed.  

On the flip side, if your system is a little lacking, then a lightweight or cloud-based solution like Twitch Studio or Lightstream might be the best way to go.

For overall performance, customization, and sticking only with the free version for the long-haul, I like Streamlabs OBS the best.  But again, it’s partially personal preference.

I just like how many add-ons and customizations are available.  It makes it better to stream your own and less like everyone else streams, making it easier to stand out in the crowd.

It comes down to which can offer you the features that you want and need for your live stream.  So, which will you choose?