So you have a Twitch account setup, you want to launch a FIRE stream, but first you want to check to make sure everything works; well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article I’m going to show you exactly how to do a test stream.
One of the most important aspects of streaming is looking good. No, you don’t need to be any kind of supermodel, but your video and sound quality should be decent. And that’s why it’s a smart idea to do a test stream before you go public. Let’s take a look at exactly how to do this:
How To Do A Test Stream On Twitch
Here are 9 steps to do a test stream on Twitch:
- Login to your Twitch account
- In a new tab, go to https://inspector.twitch.tv and click on the “Run a stream test” button
- Go to your Twitch dashboard
- Copy your “Primary Stream key”
- Open your streaming software, preferably OBS, and open up the settings
- Click on the stream tab located on the left and then from there click the “use stream key” button
- Paste your stream key and add the code: ?bandwidthtest=true to the end of it. Hit the “apply” then the “ok” button in the bottom right
- Now go and click the “start streaming” button on OBS and the live green box will appear showing you are live
- Go back over to https://inspector.twitch.tv and make sure everything looks good. You want to give it a minute or two to make sure everything is loaded properly. If it looks good, you’re good to go
Below is each of these steps laid out in greater detail and with super fancy, kinda fancy images:
Step One – Open a browser and log into your Twitch account.
Step Two – In a new tab, go to the URL https://inspector.twitch.tv and click on the “Run a stream test” button (circled in red in the following image).
Step Three – After you have clicked on the “Run a stream test” button, the following screen popup will appear. I recommend next you right-click on the link to your Twitch Dashboard and open it in a New Tab.
Step Four – Hit the “Copy” button for your primary stream key. This will copy your key to the clipboard.
Step 5 – Next, you will need to open your streaming software. I recommend OBS software as this is sort of an ‘industry standard’ for streamers. In the bottom right, you will want to open up the Settings.
Step 6 – Click on the Stream tab on the left. You will see the service selection bar (mine came up automatically showing Twitch). Now click on the “Use Stream Key” button.
Step 7 – Now that you’ve copied your streaming key and opened the steam key bar, click Ctrl plus the letter V to paste your stream key into the bar.
But now you need to add a bit of code to the end of the stream key so type in ?bandwidthtest=true after your stream key. It should look something like the following image. Once this is done, hit the “Apply” button in the bottom right, followed by the “Ok” button, also in the bottom right area of the window.
Step 8 – Now you will need to go and hit the “Start Streaming” button on OBS. This is over on the right-hand side of the window, as shown in the following screenshot. You should see that the live green box appears on OBS at the bottom right.
Step 9 – Now, your window with the Twitch Inspector should change within a moment or so of starting the stream on your OBS software. You should let it run for several minutes. Then you can hit the stop streaming button on the OBS software. You are looking to make sure that no unstable events are shown. If this is the case, you should be good to go.
Why You Want to do a Test Stream Before Your Stream?
Whenever you are going to do a live stream, you want to make sure that everything is working properly first. There would be no point in streaming without sound, or without a good video. Or maybe you are doing the common practice of filming a screen within a screen and only one of them is working.
No matter the setup, doing a test stream prior to launching publicly is a good idea. You wouldn’t want to have a broken premiere broadcast, now would you? It would be lame to have to relaunch your stream due to technical difficulties so better to take care of all the technical issues before going live.
Best Practice for Test Streaming on Twitch with OBS
When you run your stream test, you will want to also run whatever game, cameras, mics and other equipment/software that you intend to use for the eventual live stream.
Why would you want to do this? Well, the test stream should be using all the live games, equipment, software and so on that you will be going live with. Doing this will stress your system so you know if things are going to get glitchy before sending out your live broadcast.
Another really good idea is to make sure you are using a computer that is hard-wired to the internet. This is especially important if you are playing a live streaming game like Fortnite, where you and other players are battling in real-time. The last thing you want is for the wifi to go down and you won’t be able to stream with any kind of quality.
Okay, so you’ve run your test stream on Twitch, but is that it? Just look for unstable events? No, that isn’t all you should do. I like to do a few more tests so I can optimize my OBS settings.
First, head on over to https://r1ch.net/projects/twitchtest and download the latest version of the free testing software (currently available for Windows). Go ahead and install that.
When you run it, a simple window opens and there is a bar to insert your stream key and then you can choose your server location to test.
Once you have input your stream key, go ahead and hit the start streaming button on your OBS software. Now, for this test, you won’t want to have anything else running like games or any other browsers. Nothing that runs online over the internet.
The bandwidth test software will take a bit to run. It will run a series of tests with your broadcast and check the servers you have selected.
Once the test is completed (and even while it is going), you’ll see some results starting to populate on the Twitch Bandwidth Test window.
What to Look for in a Twitch Test Stream? (Quality, Internet, etc.)
So, you’ve done your test, but what do the numbers mean? There will be three distinct results showing on your Twitch Bandwidth Test. Each is explained below.
The bandwidth test is what bandwidth the testing tool was able to sustain on the server. This will never go over 10mbps because that is the tool’s limit. However, Twitch recommends a minimum of 6mbps when you are streaming. Anything above 6mbps (6000 kbps) is better than what Twitch recommends, so you are doing well if this is the case.
Also known as Round Trip Time, this is a measure of how long it took to establish a connection with the server. Note that servers far away will have a greater value due to the obvious greater physical distance.
The quality metric is an overall score to tell you how your stream will rate in terms of smooth performance, at each of the server locations you chose. An ideal result is above 80. Below 80 and there could be bad results for someone trying to watch a live stream far away from your physical location.
When you run a test stream, you want to look to make sure things are running smoothly. So, when you see that you are dipping below 80, you might want to make sure your hardware is up to the task.
Another way to quickly check quality is to use the free speed test tool at https://www.speedtest.net/. This quick test will tell you what your basic upload and download capabilities are over your internet connection.
I ran my tests and got 31Mbps download and 10Mbps upload. Remember that Twitch wants 6Mbps minimum, so as long as you’re above that, you have more than enough internet speed to run streaming.
How Long Should Your Test Stream Last?
When you are running a test stream on the Twitch Stream Investigator tool, it is best practice to run the test for between five and ten minutes. And remember, that’s while streaming with OBS and also running whatever game and web cameras you want to use for live broadcasts.
I find that it’s fairly easy to kill five to ten minutes for the test and just play around with the game that you will stream. Given that length of time, it is likely that the test will be fairly accurate and indicative of the sorts of results your live broadcast will achieve.
When you are running your Twitch Bandwidth Test, the length of time varies. The test will finish when it is done, so there’s no need to try to only test for a certain period of time. The more servers you choose, the longer it will take. For example, I chose to test my stream on all North American servers. The test took approximately 4 minutes to complete.
Are Twitch Test Streams Done Offline?
The two main types of tests done are both done online and cannot be tested offline. You will require an internet connection in order to complete both tests. However, you do not have to be live on Twitch to test these things.
What can I test offline? Well, you can test recording and setting up your OBS software. You won’t be able to test stream functionality unless online, but you can always test via the recording function of OBS. This is good to start with in order to get your screen, camera, and any logos or overlays all setup.
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
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Test streams are important to make sure everything is looking and acting properly before you jump into a live stream.
Remember, look good, stream good, play good. I actually just made that up but you get the gist. Don’t neglect to do a test stream before you go live.
“PSA: You can test your stream to twitch servers”, Reddit, https://www.reddit.com/r/Twitch/comments/58d70z/psa_you_can_test_your_stream_to_twitch_servers/, Accessed June 18, 2020.
“How to stream on twitch: an expert guide” Cellular News, https://cellularnews.com/mobile-games/how-to-stream-on-twitch-an-expert-guide/, Accessed June 18, 2020.
“How to stream to twitch”, Toms Guide, https://www.tomsguide.com/us/how-to-stream-to-twitch,news-21077.html, Accessed June 18, 2020.
Twitch Inspector Tool, https://inspector.twitch.tv/#//, Accessed June 18, 2020.
Twitch Test Tool, https://r1ch.net/projects/twitchtest, Accessed June 18, 2020.