UPDATE 1/4/2018: This article has been updated to reflect feedback and updates to the original five software options, as well as add a sixth option.
Eager potential event attendees are often hindered by cost, distance, or lodging concerns. Despite their desire to attend, they just aren’t able to make the trip.
Luckily, technological advances mean that various types of event software let event planners broadcast events over the internet, helping you capture all attendees, both in-person and remote.
If your business’ event budget doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room to add an online component, don’t dismiss the livestreaming idea out of hand. There are multiple free tools available online as alternatives to paid options such as Livestream.
To get you started on your quest to find an affordable event livestreaming option, we’ve collected six free tools that your business can use to host and broadcast your event online.
The below tools (presented in alphabetical order) were chosen based on their free tier offers, paired with their ability to work on multiple platforms, such as mobile and desktop.
Facebook Live screenshot.
Facebook is great at finding new ways to keep us connected at all hours of the day. One such recent development is its livestream functionality. Using Facebook Live, you can share what is happening in front of you the moment it’s happening.
This feature allows not only host pages but also attendees and fans to go live at your event and broadcast their experience straight from their mobile devices. The tool lets you choose your audience, receive real-time feedback in the comments section of your stream, and track how many viewers your livestream brought in at various points.
Facebook Live is an easy to use livestreaming tool that is great for event planners looking to jump right into streaming without the complexities of traditional livestreaming platforms.
Have you used Facebook Live? Be sure to leave a review!
Multiple camera streaming (via Live)
Live is a livestreaming app that works on Windows and Mac computers, iOS devices, and internet-capable cameras (including GoPro). Live lets users run simultaneous streaming sessions; you can host a Facebook Live session and YouTube stream at the same time through a central dashboard, making it easier to reach multiple audiences concurrently.
So far, Facebook and YouTube livestreaming are offered for free. Live’s simultaneous streaming feature is offered for a one-time $9.99 payment.
This tool is great for businesses looking to broadcast their event over multiple channels through a single program, rather than managing multiple livestream services.
Have you used Live before? Be sure to leave a review!
OBS is available for multiple platforms
Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is a free and open source option for live video streaming and recording. OBS markets itself to gamecasters and online webcam broadcasters. The software is available on Windows 7, 8, and 10, Mac OSX 10.8 and above, as well as Linux, if you’re still into that.
The one downside to OBS is its lack of formal tech support. In the open source software world, support often takes the form of asking for help on community forums.
This option is great for event planners that need software flexibility. The open-source nature of this software allows users to alter the source code to fit their needs so long as they have the programming know-how.
Have you used Open Broadcaster Software? Be sure to leave a review!
4. XSplit Free
Two versions of XSplit
Marketed as broadcasting software for both livestreaming video and video gameplay, XSplit is a solid choice for broadcasting your next event.
Although XSplit offers several paid options (with enhanced features such as professional broadcasting tools and custom script plugins), the free option offers everything you need to set up a live HD broadcast in a pinch.
If you ever decide to upgrade, the personal package is $4.95 per month, while the premium package clocks in at $8.95/month.
XSplit is great for event professionals looking for tools and plugins to clean up the audio and video of their livestreams.
Have you used XSplit? Be sure to leave a review!
Livestreaming dashboard on YouNow
Marketed toward a younger, indie crowd, YouNow is a versatile, free app for your computer, Android, iPhone, iPad, and now-vintage iPod.
Going live on YouNow exposes your event to a younger crowd and lets you add a personal touch by using the handheld broadcasting capabilities on your smartphone or tablet.
Creating and hosting your event broadcast is as simple as creating a searchable hashtag, taking a snapshot, clicking to share, and hitting the “Go Live” button. Another way to think of the service is as video Twitter, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice!
This tool is great for event planners looking for easy search capabilities with the hashtag system as well as versatility with the amount of compatible devices.
Have you used YouNow? Be sure to leave a review!
6. YouTube Live
Broadcasting on YouTube Live
YouTube Live is a free tool offered to all Google and YouTube users that allows up to ten broadcasters to participate simultaneously. Once you go live, anyone with the link can view your livestream.
Other features include viewing invitations, chat room capability through live comments, and event scheduling.
This platform is perfect for livestream events looking for a simple setup with a massive audience potential thanks to YouTube’s video streaming market share.
Have you used YouTube Live? Be sure to leave a review!
Other free and open source event tools
Free and open source software is a great option for recently founded or cash-strapped event management firms. If you still aren’t sure where to start, dig around Capterra’s event management blog for other software tips and tricks to help you and your business be the best you can be.
I collected a few other free and open source software and tool lists to get you started:
- 7 Free and Open Source Digital Signage Software Options for your Next Event
- 8 Free and Open Source Event Registration Software
- The Top 11 Free Event Management Software
Have you used any of the options listed here for your events? How did it go? Are there any free livestreaming tools that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
Looking for Event Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Event Management software solutions.