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15 Top Live Streaming Platforms for All Uses in 2024 (Free & Paid)

Ready to go live? Explore the top 15 streaming platforms of 2024 to find the one that's perfect for your needs.
Kendall Breitman
Social Media & Community Expert
Published:
April 30, 2023
Last Updated:
December 26, 2023
15
min
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

Live streaming is a great way to engage with an audience in real-time.

Plenty of successful businesses, gamers, influencers, and entrepreneurs live stream. It’s no wonder why. Live streaming is more engaging and can keep viewers attentive 10-20 times longer than pre-recorded content. But you may struggle to go live without the right live streaming platform. 

That’s where we come in. In this post, we’ve got all the details on the best live streaming platforms you can use today. Whatever your use or budget, there’s sure to be a great option here for you.

What is a live streaming platform?

A live streaming platform is software for broadcasting videos to an audience in real-time. In other words, your audience watches you as you create your video. The footage shown is unedited and shared over the internet to viewers with access to the stream.

Some platforms are free, while others require payment. On certain platforms, you can restrict who has access to your live stream, while others allow you to broadcast to the general public.

Types of live streaming platforms 

Live streaming platforms come in a few varieties. You can access websites from your browser, apps for tablets and phones, or downloadable software that you can use to broadcast yourself.

Social media platforms are an increasingly popular place for live streams. They have a broad outreach and host live streamers sharing all kinds of content, from motivational speaking to gaming, music or just chatting.

Some platforms cater to specific content. For example, LinkedIn Live is a great place for business-minded live streams. On the other hand, Twitch offers a more casual space for gamers and other content creators.

15 Top Live Streaming Platforms for 2024

Live streaming platforms are improving in terms of the features they offer and the size of the audience they can reach. But there are a lot of options out there, which can make it hard to choose the right platform.

That’s why we’ve brought together and categorized the best live-streaming platforms available in 2023. We’ll cover free and paid platforms for all kinds of content from gaming to podcasts. Read on to find great options for each category.

Best live video streaming platforms

 Brightcove

Birghtcove streaming platform
Brightcove

Price: Pricing specific to each user

You can use Brightcove for live streaming and as a host for your videos on demand. The Brightcove experience varies depending on your user needs. The different streaming types available cater to media organizations, businesses, marketers, and more. Viewers can enjoy ad-free live streams while creators can still monetize their content. 

Key Features:

  • Server-side ads 
  • In-depth analytics insights
  • Closed captions
  • Steam to social media channels
  • CRM integration

Dacast

Dacast streaming platform
Dacast

Price: From $39/mo

Dacast is one of the few options on our list that offers no free plans. However, the service is useful for those wanting to stream ad-free while being able to monetize content. In particular, Dacast is a solid choice for anyone wishing to share restricted content. With Dacast, you can share a live stream to your website and keep the broadcast password-protected. 

Key Features:

  • Restrict stream viewers 
  • Password-protect streams
  • Host VODs online
  • Markers for video chapters
  • Analytics insights

LinkedIn Live

LinkedIn Live streaming platform
LinkedIn Live

Price: Free; paid plans from $29.99/mo

To broadcast on LinkedIn Live, you’ll need to be a Member or have a Page with more than 150 followers. This platform is a great way to connect with fellow professionals. Although you cannot live stream directly from LinkedIn, broadcasting yourself on the platform puts a face to your brand or business. To go live on LinkedIn, you’ll need a third-party broadcast tool or a custom stream (RTMP). 

Key Features:

  • Integration of live videos with events
  • Create LinkedIn Live events to advertise your broadcast 
  • Add a registration form for event attendees to share details with you
  • Advanced analytics 
  • Schedule streams in advance 

 Vimeo

Vimeo Streaming platform
Vimeo

Price: Free; paid plans from $12/mo

Vimeo supports live streaming in up to 1080p so you can broadcast high-resolution video. You can stream ad-free and even add your own branding to your video. Vimeo has a Livestream Studio to access more detailed features like mixing audio. You can get real-time feedback on the success of your stream with the health monitoring feature so you can stay on top of its performance.

Key Features:

  • Customizable logo and on-screen graphics
  • Livestream Studio for audio mixing and switching between feeds
  • Preview the stream
  • Create password-protected streams for privacy
  • Stream health monitoring

Best social media streaming platforms

Instagram 

Instagram

Price: Free

Instagram is a photo and video-based social media platform. It’s available as both a browser page and an app for iOS and Android. With over 2.35 billion active monthly users, Instagram offers a huge potential audience for live broadcasters. With the Live feature you can start a real-time video, and Instagram will automatically notify your followers. Your live stream will appear alongside Stories at the top of the homepage. 

Key Features:

  • Schedule live streams
  • Add moderators
  • Download the stream to your gallery
  • Chat function during live stream
  • Live icon on your story to show you are streaming      

Twitter

Twitter streaming platform
Twitter

Price: Free

You can go live on Twitter via the iOS or Android app by tapping the live option beneath the camera icon. Live streaming on Twitter from a desktop or laptop is a bit trickier: you’ll need access to the Media Studio Producer and a third-party encoder. Twitter is handy for conducting Q&As, interviews, or introducing a new product to your followers.

Key Features:

  • Save your stream
  • Invite up to 3 guests to join live video
  • Automatically tweet out your live stream
  • Viewers can send hearts and talk in the chat section

Facebook

Facebook live streaming platform
Facebook

Price: Free

Any Facebook user can go live from their page, profile, event or group. This makes the Facebook Live feature very versatile. Brands can use it to promote products, or individuals can set up a casual Q&A session. Features like live polls help you make the most of interacting with your audience, and you can share your live broadcast directly to your Facebook Story to reach more viewers.

Key Features:

  • Viewers can like, share and chat during the stream
  • Publish a stream recording to your page afterwards
  • Tag friends, include a location, add a feeling or activity.
  • Live polls for real-time feedback
  • Add featured third-party links

TikTok

TikTok streaming platform
TikTok

Price: Free

Many of us have TikTok, but did you know this social media platform has a live streaming option? You can use TikTok’s live feature on your phone, PC, or laptop, as long as you meet the streaming requirements. You must be over 16 years old with at least 1,000 followers to go live on TikTok. The good news is that if you meet the criteria, going live only takes a few taps!

Key Features:

  • Go live with up to 5 guests
  • Add moderators and filter comments
  • Creators can flip their camera, add stickers and effects
  • Chat feature for viewers to interact 

Best podcast live streaming software 

Riverside

Riverside

Price: Paid plans from $15/mo

Riverside is a recording platform with an easy-to-use, multi-purpose live streaming feature. It’s easy to go live on Riverside and stream your podcast, webinar, interview, Q&A, gaming, and more. 

Stream in high-quality 720p video with Riverside and use local recording to maintain your recording quality even if your internet connection dips. You can download tracks of up to 4K resolution afterwards, giving you professional results.

You’ll receive separate audio, video and screen sharing tracks for each participant to give you more editing control. If you’d like to capture a presentation in top-quality, our Business plan comes with a Presentation recorder. You can upload slides, assign a presenter and receive a local track of your presentation.

If you want to grow your reach, you can also use Riverside’s multistream to stream directly on the Riverside platform and various broadcasting sites simultaneously. You can even use a custom RTMP.

After you go live, you can touch up your recording in the text-based Editor so you can repurpose your content for social media. The Editor works with AI transcriptions so trimming your video is as quick as deleting text in your recording transcript. You can add video captions, customize your layout and even fix up audio in a few quick clicks with our automated tools. And, if you want to take things further, repurpose your recording into short, shareable highlights. Our Magic Clips tool uses AI to pick out key moments in your recordings and transforms them into short clips ideal for social media.

Key Features:

  • Multi-platform streaming to YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and more, broadening your potential audience
  • Text-based video editing so you can edit your streams as easily as editing a text-document
  • Magic Clips tool to effortlessly repurpose your live stream recordings into short shareable social media posts
  • Invite a behind-the-scenes producer to help you
  • Live stream with up to 7 remote guests
  • Chatbox for viewers to express their thoughts
  • Audience call-in feature so viewers can interact with you live
  • Live screen share to show a tutorial, presentation or more
  • Presentation recorder to capture your presentation slides and save them in high-quality

ListenApp

ListenApp streaming platform
ListenApp

Price: Free

ListenApp is a pretty unique platform, offering an audio-based space for podcasters and their audiences to interact. This app is ideal for smaller podcasts with specific or niche focuses, as you can invite viewers to discuss their thoughts. With ListenApp you can create live podcast events where an audience can listen to your broadcast. You can also set up discussion groups for feedback and even make money from viewers subscribing to you.

Key Features:

  • Generate revenue through monthly subscriptions
  • Podcast host and listeners can chat in hangout spaces
  • Create podcast snippets and audio stories
  • Listeners notified when you post new episodes
  • Interact with listeners and other podcast hosts

PodBean

Podbean

Price: Free; paid plans from $9/mo

PodBean is a podcast hosting platform with live streaming capabilities. You can produce and monetize a podcast on PodBean. Creating a live stream on your desktop or via the PodBean app is quick and simple, and you can share your live show on social media. Your live stream can earn you new followers and PodPoints, a virtual currency you can convert into real money.

Key Features:

  • Get a recording of your podcast
  • Add background music and audio effects
  • Enable listener call-ins for live questions
  • Add admins to your live stream

Best gaming live streaming platforms 

Twitch

Twitch game streaming platform
Twitch

Price: Free

Twitch is a popular entertainment live streaming platform. Though you can stream talk shows, special events, and more on Twitch, it has a reputation as a hub for gaming enthusiasts. The platform supports live, long-form broadcasts, enabling you to stream for up to 48 hours. Streamathons, goal setting, and live interactions with viewers are all possible with Twitch, helping you grow your follower base.

Key Features:

  • Subscription model to monetize streams
  • Partner program to increase revenue
  • Affiliates and partners can make custom emotes
  • Save streams as VODs  
  • Customizable overlays

YouTube Live

YouTube

Price: Free

Going live on YouTube is quick and simple, and you can choose to broadcast your stream from a computer or mobile phone. If you use the mobile app, though, you’ll need at least 50 subscribers to go live. According to statistics, YouTube is the second most popular live streaming site for gamers - only just beaten by Twitch. You’ll need to request access to YouTube Live, which can take up to 24 hours. After that, you’ll be free to broadcast yourself.

Key Features:

  • Create clips from the livestream
  • Track your stream health and real time analytics
  • Premiere a new video with live chat
  • Promote a YouTube Live event with a trailer
  • Monetize the stream with ads and Super Chats

Discord

Discord streaming platform
Discord

Price: Free; Nitro subscription $29.99/yr

With Discord you can stream whatever you’re playing to friends and members of your Discord server. This is a great way to build your streaming confidence, share your gaming with those you’re close to, and begin branching out to a broader audience. Discord’s compression quality allows you to stream high-resolution videos, and you can communicate with others through voice chat.

Key Features:

  • Screen sharing
  • Create voice and video calls
  • Go live on desktop, or with the iOS/Android app
  • Live chatbox  

Bigo Live

Bigo streaming platform
Bigo

Price: Free

Bigo Live is a live streaming platform owned by a Singapore-based company. While you can broadcast almost anything from the app and website, Bigo Live focuses on gaming. With Bigo Live you can broadcast from anywhere as long as you’re over the age of 16. The virtual currency Bigo beans can be used by streamers to send virtual gifts or to convert them into real money. 

Key Features:

  • Earn Bigo beans which convert to USD
  • Live chat for viewer interactions
  • Share clips and screenshots of your stream on the app
  • Create your own 3D avatar
  • Manage groups with the Communities feature

How to choose the best live streaming platform:     

With lots of options to choose from, it can be hard to take your pick of live streaming platforms. The best way to decide on a platform is to consider your preferences. What will you be live streaming? Which features of a live streaming platform matter most to you?

To help you pick a live streaming platform, read through the features we’ve listed below. You’ll need to think about which of these features are priorities for you, and check which platforms offer them. This way, you can be sure to find a service that meets your needs.

Streaming resolution

High-quality streams with clear video and crisp audio are essential. Your streaming resolution significantly impacts the viewing experience, so it’s important to optimize quality. A streaming resolution of 720p is usually best to balance internet speed with high quality.

Overlays

Stream overlays are visual features that you can layer on top of your live steam video. They commonly include animations, widgets, text, follower count, and trackers for goals during the live stream. Some platforms offer highly customizable overlays, allowing you to share different graphics with your audience.

You can place the overlay over the top of any footage that you show on screen, so it’s always visible to the viewer. Because of this, a stream overlay is a great place to add a call to action, chat widgets, goalposts, and more. These features help your viewer feel involved and up-to-date with your stream.

Media board

A media board is a handy feature for any live streamer to edit in real-time. Media boards allow you to insert audio and video clips into your live stream.

Some platforms with a media board capability will allow you to upload recordings to your board and play them when you like. Others have a library of audio and video clips premade that you can insert into your live stream.

Media boards are great time savers. Instead of adding clips in post-production, you can play them live.

Recording capabilities

Recording your live stream is a no-brainer. Having your live stream footage saved takes no extra effort and opens the doors for you to repurpose your content. Not all platforms have a live stream of recording feature.

Some, like Riverside, have local recording capabilities. This means that your video records locally to your computer, rather than over the internet. So, even if your connection flags, you can still record a stream in high resolution. With Riverside you can download your live stream in up to 4k video resolution and your audio at up to 48 kHz. With a high-quality recording, you can repurpose your live stream footage as YouTube videos, social media clips, and more.

Remote guests

If you’d like to invite remote guests to join your recording, it’s important to choose software that will support this. Live streaming platforms with remote guest capabilities can capture multiple people’s video and audio at the same time.

Unlike having guests with you physically, remote guests need special access to join your stream. With some software this is as simple as sending them an invite to join you. There are often limits on how many remote guests can join your live stream, so think about how many participants you will have.

 Which platform is best for live streaming?

While it’s impossible to name one platform that’s best for every kind of live streaming, we have some great recommendations. 

If you’re looking to livestream a podcast, interview or brand launch then Riverside has you covered. This live streaming software is not only advanced, high quality and chosen by professionals, it’s simple to use. 

With Riverside you can stream high-quality 720p videos and save your broadcasts afterward. Repurposing footage is easy with the Editor tool. While live, you can invite guests to join you to share opinions, drive discussions and answer questions posed by the live chat.

For gamers wanting to share their activities in real-time, Twitch is a popular option. This platform has a large user base, and offers features like custom overlays and monetization. 

Plenty of people enjoy going live on social media. It’s a great way to share what you’re up to with friends and followers and bring engagement to your profile. With Riverside’s multistreaming feature you can broadcast yourself across different platforms simultaneously. Or you could go live from apps like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram.

FAQs on Live Streaming Platforms 

Where can I stream live for free?

Some live streaming platforms are available to use for free. They include Riverside, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Check out the information above for more free platforms and information on their key features. We’ve got you covered with a variety of free and paid resources for your broadcast.

What equipment do you need to live stream?

 You can live stream with very minimal equipment. Anyone who has a device with a live streaming platform, camera and microphone can technically go live. With a live streaming app, you could start broadcasting straight from your phone.

 If you want to upgrade to some equipment that will improve your live stream quality, we requirement using some dedicated equipment. These include a high-quality external camera and microphone, headphones or earphones, and lighting. You may also need to find editing software to adjust a recording of your live stream footage.

 What is the best free live streaming app?

There’s no one-size-fits-all for live streaming apps, as every user has different needs. Because of this, it’s important to check out your options. Some popular social media apps like Instagram and Twitter have live streaming capabilities. There are also apps, including Podbean which offer video hosting and live streaming.

Apps like Riverside that offer multistreaming give you a lot of broadcasting freedom. Riverside allows you to direct your broadcast to multiple different platforms. You can go live on sites like YouTube and Twitch simultaneously from your Riverside Studio. 

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What’s a Rich Text element?

What’s a Rich Text element?

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

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