What should my upload speed be for streaming?

What should my upload speed be for streaming?

When it comes to live streaming there isn’t usually one single answer for most questions due to how many factors that can influence the answer. This also runs true for deciding what a good upload speed is for live streaming.

“In a nutshell, the answer to this question depends on what resolution you’re streaming at and what content you’re streaming.”

In this guide we’ll take you through the steps to determine what upload speed you require for streaming.

1. Don’t use your entire upload capacity!

The first and most important rule to follow is to not use your entire upload capacity to live stream. It’s extremely important to leave some headroom for your upload as if your upload is completely saturated it can impact your download speeds (and many other things) which can cause issues with streaming.

The general rule of thumb is to have double the available upload bandwidth that you wish to stream at. E.g. If you’re streaming at 3000Kbps, make sure you have at least a maximum upload capacity of 6000Kbps.

If you don’t have sufficient upload bandwidth, you can experiment with a smaller upload buffer. Just make sure you do thorough testing before going live!

2. Determine your maximum upload speed

By determining your maximum upload speed, we can work out the theoretical maximum resolution at which you can stream. If you run an upload speed test, it will give you a maximum upload speed.

If your upload speed doesn’t seem very fast, we recommend testing with your computer cabled into your router/modem, as this will eliminate any potential wifi issues.

3. At what resolution do you want to stream?

Now that we have your maximum upload speed, we can determine at what resolution you can theoretically stream.

The table below gives you a rough idea on what kind of resolution you can stream depending on your maximum upload speed. Additionally, you can check out our optimum bitrate calculator over here.

ResolutionMinimum Upload SpeedStreaming Bitrate
1080p12Mbps6000Kbps (6Mbps)
720p6Mbps3000Kbps (3Mbps)
480p2Mbps1000Kbps (1Mbps)

4. Work out what kind of content you’re streaming

If you’re live streaming a fast paced action game you’ll need a higher bitrate as each video frame will contain much more visual information. However, if you’re live streaming a presenter in front of a static background, you can have a lower bitrate as the majority of the video frame will remain the same.

In the case of content which is fairly static, then you could potentially lower the bitrate by 35% to 50%.


Upload speed and bitrate isn’t the be-all and end-all to determine a successful stream. However it’s a foundational aspect to streaming that’s important to consider.

Remember, a stable stream is better than a buffering stream, so if you need to sacrifice video quality for stability, then that’s the better choice!

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