A Beginners Guide on How to Make a Live Streaming Website
The ultimate step by step tutorial for beginners that want to build a wordpress live streaming website. Broadcast live online using your own web platform, in this easy to follow guide.
Follow the steps in this tutorial and within less than 30 minutes you will have your own live streaming website up and running. You can even monetize the finished results with a Twitch style business model.
This guide consists of 3 major steps:
- Step 1. Choosing the Platform for your website (the CMS)
- Step 2. Choosing a Domain name & Hosting provider
- Step 3. How to Install your Website Platform, Video Streaming Theme & Basic Setup
Once you have followed this article to the end you will know how to build a live streaming website from scratch. And not only will you be able to stream your own content, but you will also be able to invite your website users to do the same.
Very soon, this could be yours!
So if you’re ready, let’s get to it…
Step 1: Choosing the Platform for your Website
The easiest way to make a live streaming website in 2021 is to build it on top of an established web content platform. These platforms are called “Content Management System (CMS)”.
Why use a Content Management System (CMS)?
There are so many reasons to use a Content Management System we could fill an entire article on the subject. However, the bottom line is speed, efficiency, and security.
Using a CMS is perfect for a beginner because it removes so much of the technical know-how that gets in the way of creating a website.
A content management system (CMS) does all that heavy lifting for you. You just concentrate on creating and publishing your content. Once you have set up your CMS, it will take care of everything else for you.
Let’s take a closer look at what that actually means.
What does a Content Management System (CMS) do?
A content management system provides an intuitive interface from which you create and manage all of your site content.
Just as you log in to your Facebook account to post pictures, written text, links, and updates, the CMS of your website will allow you to do the same.
Once you login to your website you can add pages, posts, images, and text with ease. In fact, you can easily change the entire style of your website by selecting one of the many ‘Themes’ that are readily available.
In the case of a live streaming website you can select an appropriate theme or plugin (more on that below), install that into your CMS, and then have a fully functioning website that will allow you to manage videos, as well as user profiles, submissions, payment methods and much, much more.
The whole system is very easy to use and once you get started is perfect for absolute beginners.
Why choose WordPress to build a video streaming website in 2021?
In our opinion, WordPress is the best CMS for a live video streaming site today. Here are some reasons why:
- It is absolutely free
- It is very easy to use (perfect for beginners)
- There are thousands of templates you can add to WordPress to control the way your website looks
- It is very easy to customize to your own personal needs
- WordPress plugins increase the functionality of your website to accommodate almost any type of online business
- Your site will look great on all screen sizes
- WordPress is continually updated to ensure superior website performance and security
In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a wordpress live streaming website
To do this we will cover the following practical steps:
- How to choose the best Web Hosting for WordPress
- How to register a Domain Name
- How to Install WordPress onto your hosting
- How to Install a Video sharing Theme into WordPress
- How to Upload the first bits of content to get started
Step 2: Hosting & Domain Name
Now that we have decided to use the WordPress CMS, the next stage is to purchase our hosting and Domain name.
Let’s take a moment to describe the terms we have just used there:
- Domain Name – The domain name is the web address people type to find your website; Facebook.com is a famous example.
- Hosting – Web hosting is the service you will use to store all your website content so it is available for people to access online. Every website uses Web Hosting and a domain name.
Note: If you sign up by using our links, we will earn a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you. We use those funds to run Buildasitelike.com as a completely free resource. We aim to continue improving the site, adding more valuable guides, and helping beginners get started online.
iPage provides Feature-rich WordPress hosting with top-notch live support, starting at just $1.99/month. On top of the free first-year domain registration, they also throw in over $500 worth of extras on sign up. It really is one of the best hosting deals on the market today.
So let’s go ahead and purchase our iPage Hosting plan and register our FREE Domain Name.
From here you will need to click the Get Started Now Button.
This will take you to a screen that will give you the option of choosing your free domain name.
For this tutorial I have chosen thisismyexample.com and pressed search to find out its availability.
Excellent, the results page states that the domain is available. (Remember, you have the option to try anything here, however more obvious domain names will often be taken)
If you find what you choose is already gone, you could opt for one of the alternative domains suggested in the results. This will also show you different extensions, (.net .org, etc) that could be used.
Once you have settled on a domain name that is free, it is time to press Next, choose my term.
The next screen will give you the option of a 1, 2, or 3-year term for your hosting plan.
The length of term you choose is very much up to you. If you are on a tight budget you might want to opt for the 1-year plan.
In our example, we have chosen a two-year plan. You will see the full amount calculated in the box on the right side of the screen.
After selecting your hosting duration you can press Next, customize my plan.
Here you will be able to select or deselect various options for your plan.
The options are as follows:
- Domain Privacy – You should select yes here. This will stop spam phone calls, emails, and texts from design agencies that have taken your contact details from the domain registrar.
- Website Security & Daily Backup – This is the easiest way for beginners to keep their website secure and to ensure that daily backups are made. So click yes here.
- All in One WordPress Bundle – This unnecessary.
- SSL Certificate – Say yes to this. From July 2018 Google started to penalize websites that do not have valid security certificates. To have one is important now.
After you have customized your plan, click Continue to Payment. Here you will purchase your hosting plan using a credit card or PayPal account.
(Note, you may have to skip through a couple of pages of extra offers. You can say ‘no thanks’ to all of these as they are not really necessary).
Well done, step 2 is nearly complete!
You will receive a success message stating that your hosting has been successfully purchased. After this, a screen will appear asking you to create your login details for iPage.
After completing this step we will move on to installing WordPress and your live video streaming website theme.
- Related Content: How to create a video sharing website like YouTube
Step 3: Installing WordPress & a Live Video Streaming Theme
i. Installing WordPress Using iPage SimpleScripts
After logging in to your iPage control panel you will see a screen similar to the one below:
First click My Installs (SimpleScripts).
Then locate WordPress from the list and click.
This will take you to another screen where you simply need to leave all the settings as they are.
On this page, Click Install and iPage run the install script on your website so you can use WordPress.
They’ll be one more screen asking you to agree to the terms and conditions, click complete and…
Your WordPress Installation is complete.
You can visit the front page of your website by going to your domain name, for Example mydomain.com.
The default WordPress theme will be the template of your site at the moment. Without any content, things will look very basic indeed.
However, all that is about to change.
We are now going to add your theme so we can turn your website into a live video streaming site like Twitch!
ii. Installing a Live Stream WordPress Theme
With the CMS up and running it is time to look for our WordPress live streaming theme.
First, we will get ourselves orientated with the theme selection area in WordPress.
To do this we will need to login into the WordPress admin panel.
This can be accessed by adding /wp-admin after your domain name. So if your site domain is mywebsite.com the admin URL becomes: mywebsite.com/wp-admin
When you visit this URL you will be asked to enter your username and password; (this is the login for WordPress that you created during the install process).
After successful login, you will be taken to the WordPress Dashboard as shown above. This is the main admin area of your website and is where all the magic happens 🙂
The theme selection area can be found by heading to the left sidebar menu. Hover over Appearance, and click on Themes.
The image above is from the Buildasitelike.com theme selection page. We currently have the latest default WordPress themes installed, as well as our main blogging theme called Sparkling.
These are no good for a live streaming website, however. For that we need something specific, it is time to search for a premium theme that is up to the job.
The Best Place to Buy Premium WordPress Themes
[Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.]
There’s an almost unlimited supply of premium WordPress themes online. This also means there are lots of theme marketplaces to choose from.
However, the quality does vary.
When looking to buy a premium wordpress theme, it is important to use a reputable market place with strict content quality review processes.
In other words, you want to know that the themes they are selling are of high quality and are well tested. After-sales support is also important, especially for a beginner.
In our opinion, the best Premium Themes marketplaces can be narrowed down to the following list:
- Elegant Themes
- Template Monster
- Engine Themes
- Thrive Themes
- Theme Fuse
- Theme Furnace
What’s the best video live streaming template for WordPress?
For the purpose of this tutorial, we will be using a WordPress theme called VideoPro from Cactus Themes. This can be found on a highly reputable marketplace called ThemeForest.
We’ve test-driven a number of live streaming themes and VideoPro came out top on a number of factors.
It has a beautiful, uncluttered design meaning the video stream stands out above all else. It is very easy to integrate live YouTube streams, and with the excellent user login interface, your visitors can stream their live links too.
The theme is also consistently kept up to date by its author and offers great speed, security, and overall functionality.
Everything you need in one, easy to use package basically.
You should now be on the main VideoPro sales page.
Click the Buy Now button to be redirected to the checkout page.
Fill in your First name, last name & email address then click Next.
You will be asked to choose your ThemeForest username and password. Verify the captcha, click the Create Account & Continue Button.
After filling in your billing details, click the Save and continue button.
Available Payment Methods
ThemeForest and the Envato Marketplace offer secure payment options via 3 main methods.
Debit/Credit card and PayPal have a 2$ surcharge, with Envato Credit you can avoid this.
After payment, hover over your username in the top right corner of the screen and click on downloads.
Here you will find the VidoePro theme in your downloads area (as in the screenshot below).
Click the green download button.
This will provide you with two options:
- All files and Documentation – This is a package download (in the form of a .zip file) that contains the theme, license information, and other related documentation)
- Installable WordPress files only – a single .zip file containing your theme.
We will only need to download option two; installable WordPress files only.
Click and download the zip file to your desktop, (and leave it in the zip format).
Next, head to your main WordPress dashboard again (mywebsite.com/wp-admin), and return to the theme selection page, (hover over Appearance and then click on Themes).
Installing the VideoPro theme & Plugins
This is the most exciting part of the whole process.
We are now in the final stages of setting up your live streaming website.
To make it even easier, the VideoPro theme authors have created a very simple installation method.
With your theme zip file at the ready, just follow the video above to quickly and easily, install the theme.
Importing the sample data
Once that is done you will then use the theme’s one-click sample data installer. This will mean your site will look exactly the same as the demo site at the start of this guide.
With the demo content in place, you can begin customizing your website to create a streaming site unique to you.
And creating your first live stream couldn’t be easier; simply add your live stream URL from one of the many live stream platforms available, (Youtube, Facebook, or Twitch for instance) and the stream will automatically embed seamlessly into your site.
All front-end visitors will see your video action, live as it is recorded.
Congratulations you’ve just built your very own live video streaming website!
Extra Learning: The Twitch Business Model Explained
So we have shown you how you can build your first Twitch-style website as a beginner.
It could be that you have entered into this venture just for fun. Setting up a website is a very satisfying thing to do. With the finished results, you could share the website amongst your friends and have them post footage of their gaming activities.
But what about if you wanted to turn your website into a fully-fledged business?
Let’s take a look at how you could go about that.
How does Twitch make its revenue?
Twitch is a very successful live streaming platform. Popular with video gamers, that company has since branched out to cater to all manner of live online streaming content.
Amazon, clearly saw the potential too, after paying just under a billion dollars ($970 million) for the company in 2014.
The Two Main Monetization Methods
So how does Twitch make money, (and how can you do the same with your new site)?
The monetization of Twitch is very simple; advertising and subscription fees make up the bulk of its income.
With users creating hundreds of thousands of hour’s worth of video content, all of that can have traditional internet advertising attached to it.
Ads will appear when you first begin watching a stream and will appear periodically throughout.
Then there is the membership. To have a Twitch account is free.
This is an important distinction to make – Twitch has gone for a freemium model, and you should do the same with your site. By making signing up absolutely free, Twitch has grown its user base to millions.
The paid membership then gives access to custom features, more emoticons, and the ability to switch off many of the ads.
The Target Demographic
Twitch has excelled because it targeted a specific demographic with its platform; young, male gamers. That was the focus at the beginning.
By offering a more laser-focused service than just Youtube, the platform was able to grow its user base (and command the billion-dollar exit it did to Amazon).
Now nobody is suggesting that our guide on building a site like Twitch is going to lead to anything like that, however, there is much to be learned from the approach Twitch has taken – namely, know your target market.
Twitch made it possible (even easier than YouTube) for its content producers to earn money, (learn more about that here); which again encouraged loyalty, high-quality content, and more users and viewers.
What you can do with your live video streaming website
The easiest way to monetize your site in the early stages is simply to display ad networks such as Google Adsense.
Then once you have viable traffic of regular users you can look into increasing the functionality of your site to add free and paid membership levels.
Larger traffic will then pique the interest of a greater amount of advertisers where you can begin to call the shots and enjoy better rates.
First and foremost is traffic, however.
Get your site out there, market it to those that you want onboard and give them a reason to keep coming back.
Good luck and enjoy the journey. We’re sure you’ll have a blast.
- 9 Essential WordPress Plugins for All Beginners
- Cactus Themes YouTube Channel – Tons of helpful guides on how to get the most out of the VideoPro theme.
How was your experience building this Twitch style website? Was this guide easy to follow? Do you have any questions? Post your comments below as we would love to hear your feedback. We answer every single one.
And if you like what you found here please Share it with friends; we want to get the word out so that everyone can understand how to get started online and build a successful website just like… 🙂