How to stop stream lag/stuttering

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With the online content creation and live streaming on the rise, nothing can be more frustrating than experiencing stream lag or stuttering. However, there are a few fixes known to stop stream lag or stuttering.

Issues like this can disrupt the natural connection between content creators and audiences, eventually leading to low-quality video despite a quality camera. Whether you are live-streaming on YouTube or Twitch and face the 'dropped frame rates' message and the next moment the stream collapses, you are in the right place since we are going to share with you some practical tips and strategies to troubleshoot and resolve these issues, ranging from optimizing internet connections to fine-tuning hardware and software settings.

OBS Settings
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Credit: OBS
OBS Settings

Stream lag/stuttering solutions

When you face this problem, there are a few options you can try out to fix the stream lag/stuttering problems.

Network Optimisation

Start by testing your internet bandwidth with tools like Google Speed Test. Confirm that your upload and download internet speeds are good enough for streaming without interruptions. If lag persists, adjust your bandwidth settings to meet streaming demands and stop stream lag/stuttering.

Stream Settings Adjustment

Optimise bitrate in your streaming software, such as OBS, to strike a balance between video quality and smooth streaming. Consider the following guidelines based on your upload speed:

  • ~2-3mb/s: 720p @30 FPS, Video Bitrate: 2500-3250
  • ~4-5mb/s: 720p @60 FPS, Video Bitrate: 3500-4250
  • ~6-8mb/s: 1080p @30 FPS, Video Bitrate: 3500-4500
  • ~8-10mb/s: 1080p @60 FPS, Video Bitrate: 4500-5500
  • ~10-15mb/s: 1440p @30 FPS, Video Bitrate: 5000-6000
  • ~20mb/s: 1440p @60 FPS, Video Bitrate: 6000
  • ~25mb/s: 4k @30 FPS, Video Bitrate: 8000 or 6000 for Twitch
  • ~50mb/s: 4k @60 FPS, Video Bitrate: 8000 or 6000 for Twitch

These specific settings help ensure the optimal streaming quality based on your internet upload speed.

Latency Reduction

When aiming to reduce latency in your live stream, thoughtful server selection plays a crucial role. Opt for a streaming server that's geographically closer to your location. This minimises the distance your data needs to travel, effectively lowering latency. Consider conducting latency tests for different servers using tools provided by your streaming platform. Choose the server with the lowest latency to enhance the overall smoothness of your streaming experience.

Upgrade your network devices for improved data processing and better stream quality. Starting with your router, invest in a modern model with advanced features and support for the latest wi-fi standards. Look for routers equipped with Quality of Service (QoS) settings, allowing you to prioritize streaming traffic for a consistently smoother performance. Additionally, consider a wired connection over Wi-Fi for increased stability and reliability in data transmission. This should stop stream lag/stuttering.

Hardware Monitoring and Upgrade

Efficient hardware monitoring is key to identifying potential bottlenecks that could lead to stream lag/stuttering. Regularly check the usage of your CPU and GPU during streaming. Pay attention to any spikes or consistently high usage, as these may be indicative of performance issues.

If your hardware is consistently maxed out, an upgrade might be in order. Opt for a CPU with multiple cores and a high clock speed, particularly made for the resource-intensive task of streaming. Ensure your GPU meets the demands of both gaming and streaming, especially for graphics-heavy content. Moreover, you should avoid running unnecessary background applications, as this can free up valuable resources for your streaming software.

We hope these have fixed your problems with stream lag. So happy streaming.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Guides and Streaming page.