While it's totally possible to broadcast on Twitch using nothing more than a video game console and an internet connection, there are loads of third-party services that can not only improve your stream quality but can also make it much more entertaining for yourself and your viewers.
Here are five of the best services that Twitch streamers of all levels should be using when they stream. All of them are free to use and each one is fairly easy to integrate into your streaming setup whether you're a Twitch beginner or a streamer pro.
OBS Studio for Customizing Your Stream
OBS Studio is the program that most Twitch streamers use to take their hobby to the next level. With OBS Studio, streamers can change the location of their webcam and video game footage windows, add custom graphics and backgrounds, as well as connect to third-party services for custom alerts and widgets.
One of the reasons why so many streamers prefer to use OBS Studio is because it allows users to create a truly professional level stream. This program supports multiple cameras, visual layouts, and a variety of transition effects for switching between each setup. It really can do anything a media broadcast could want.
OBS Studio is available for Windows PC and Mac and can be downloaded for free from the official OBS Studio website.
Stream Labs for Twitch Alerts
If you've ever watched a Twitch stream with animated notifications, odds are you've seen Stream Labs in action. This free service provides streamers with a number of features designed to enhance broadcasts such as alerts (or notifications), donation pages, donation progress bars, tip jars, follower and subscriber lists, and chatboxes.
Stream Labs lets streamers fully customize all of their features. For example, alerts can be customized to use a specific animated gif or sound while the text and font within the chatboxes can be changed to suit the streamer's overall design aesthetic.
Setting up a Stream Labs account is completely free and can be done simply by logging into the Stream Labs website with a Twitch account. To use any of its features though, you will need to be using OBS Studio. Stream Labs won't work for those performing a basic stream directly from their gaming console.
PayPal for Accepting Donations
PayPal remains one of the more trustworthy methods of sending and receiving money online. The payment service is relatively secure and is accepted in over 200 countries and accepts 25 different forms of currency. PayPal also provides users with simplified options for receiving money from complete strangers via its apps and streamlined PayPal.me web service.
Because of its reliability and convenience, PayPal has quickly become one of the best ways for Twitch streamers to accept donations from viewers and is a highly recommended tool for those just getting into streaming and looking for a way to support their hobby financially.
It's free to set up a PayPal account however there is an 18-year-old age restriction. Underage Twitch streamers may want to ask a parent or guardian for permission to use their account which can then be run together under the legal adult's name.
Nightbot to Enhance Your Twitch Chat
Nightbot is a special third-party service that adds a load of extra functionality to your Twitch chat. Not only can it enhance the level of moderation in the chatroom but it can also be used to schedule recurring messages, let viewers select songs to play in the background, and even for selecting winners during a competition.
Nightbot is a free service that anyone can sign up for via the official Nightbot website. Arguably one of the best things about Nightbot is that it's entirely hosted on its own server and does not require the use of additional software such as OBS Studio. It can be used by basic console Twitch streamers too.
Twitter for Promotion and Networking
Twitter may not connect directly to Twitch but it's a service that's of vital importance to many Twitch streamers. The social network gives streamers a way to not only stay in touch with existing followers and subscribers when they're offline but it can also be used to promote their channel to new potential viewers, remind followers of upcoming streams, answer viewer questions, and even connect with brands and industry insiders for future collaborations.
Creating a Twitter account only takes a few minutes and is completely free. It's also open to teenagers as well as adults. Most streamers encourage viewers to follow them on Twitter verbally during a broadcast while also adding a link to their Twitter account in their Twitch profile and displaying their username on their Twitch layout.