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Top 5 Free Tools to Live Stream Your Event Online

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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.

free live stream tools

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.

1. Facebook Live

Facebook livestream screenshot

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!

2. Live

Sample of Live's multiple camera streaming option

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!

3. Open Broadcaster Software

Breakdown of Open Broadcaster Software's platform offerings

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

Free live streaming tools - Xsplit

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!

5. YouNow

YouNow's livestreaming dashboard

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

YouTube Live livestream screenshot

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:

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.

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About the Author

Nick Morpus

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Nick Morpus is a Content Writer for Capterra, a free resource that matches buyers and sellers of business software. He has a background in politics, economics, and journalism, which he dedicates his off-time to contributing his thoughts to other political sites. In his free-time he enjoys reading, drawing, photography, playing guitar, writing, and cooking.

Comments

Just for your information Nick Morpus, regarding your “Didn’t know you all still existed” comment about Linux. About 80-90% of the internet is run on Linux, this website you are writing on is run on Linux. There are more Linux users today than ever. The future is Linux. Catch up.

Hey B H. Thanks for reading and for the feedback.

Obviously, Linux still plays a huge role in the way we work and communicate, and I didn’t mean to bash on it. There’s definitely a kernel of truth in what you’re saying, but I think the Linux-as-desktop-environment is still just a small slice of the overall pie.

While the details were gnu to me, a quick glance online suggested <5% for the average user and around 25% for developers regarding user base.

We love open source and the broader developer community here at Capterra. I hope you can look past the Linux shade and still enjoy the piece.

Adding to the blog’s turmoil around Linux, please be aware that most smartphones run on Linux (Android is a Linux distro), most of the rest run on a variant of its cousin OpenBSD (the primal ancestor of ios). The relevance of Linux to OBS users is probably far beyond the stats you brought after “a quick glance”, considering that many other open source video tools such as Blender et al. are available only on Linux.

Thanks, great overview! Blender is available on Windows and Mac. Going to try OBS here and see how it goes!

Broadcastmyelf apps can be used with SAM4 for PC and laptop…….its free version is enough for me to use it on the online radio station which I’m involve with.

Although I have not done any real live event broadcasting, I have been experimenting with OBS. I am not a pro broadcaster by any means, but OBS is very impressive software and is worth the time to learn. It handles multiple cameras both locally and remotely. I even got my Nokia Windows phone to broadcast remotely! It took some work but it did work!
I also was able to use my PC webphone as well as an Android Tablet as broadcasting cameras.

I highly recommend you try it out. Download at https://obsproject.com/

We started using OBS to broadcast our school events on YouTube recently. It works well for our simple need. So far, we only have used it for 2 events. The set up was relatively not hard but not worry free either.

We use a Dell i5 laptop to run OBS, connecting to 2 Sony HandyCam cameras via HDMI cables and HDMI to USB converters. The laptop then wirelessly connects to YouTbue through our school network.

We run into some problems during set up. The program, sometimes, cannot detect one of the two cameras. We would have to restart it and reconnect the camera. Once it sees both cameras, sometimes, we have very low frame rate. For this, we would have to restart OBS again. We don’t really know for sure what the real problem is. It might not even be the OBS problems. We would love to be able to know and fix the them but we don’t have enough time and knowledge to figure out the real source of the problems.

One other thing that we would like to be able to do is to wirelessly connect our cameras but that is a different task.

You can also try on premise R-HUB live streaming servers. It provides secure live streaming for internal all-hands meetings and enhances message effectiveness by displaying entire desktops and HD video.

Anyone else noticed the “Top 5 Free Tools to Live Stream Your Event Online”, has 6 tools listed? Not busting chops, just something I noticed. Thanks for the info, Nick.

bambuser is closing its doors so shouldnt realy be in any ranking

Open Broadcast Software Doesn’t Install Properly. Why! I don’t Know.

What was this?? “as well as Linux, if you’re still into that”

Which of these apps support

1 – PPT import
2- 32bit or luma key for name caption overlay

I prepare names in PPT and use keying feature to superimpose over live video. Also has back/next slide buttons.

vMix supports these but I want a free alternative. Thanks

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