Live streaming events has its upsides, and as businesses invest in their remote work infrastructure, it’s becoming an essential practice.

You can reach people who couldn’t make it to the event due to cost, timing, or logistical limitations. You can expand the audience reach beyond your venue or city and attract digital viewers from around the world. You can also increase audience engagement by allowing viewers to comment and ask questions.
Live streaming also allows you to keep the show running when crises such as the coronavirus outbreak hit. Large-scale events such as the Grammys and Broadway readings can shut down their physical presence and take the show online. Musicians and artists can use it to live stream impromptu gigs and create digital events from scratch.

There are many live streaming tools that can be used to broadcast events online.
However, if cost concerns are keeping you from live streaming, then free live streaming tools are a simple fix to the problem.

3 free tools to live stream your event

Here are the tools we will cover (arranged alphabetically):
  1. Facebook Live
  2. Instagram Live
  3. YouTube Live

But first, what do we mean by “free”? For a tool to be classified as free, it must offer a standalone free version and not a trial version where the product must be purchased after a set period. For more details on how we selected these products, you can read our methodology here.

1. Facebook Live

Facebook Live will help you jump right into broadcasting events online. It comes with dual benefits. Firstly, it bypasses the complexities of traditional live streaming platforms that require hefty hardware setup and complex video rendering capabilities. Next, it taps into an already existing audience base—Facebook friends or Facebook page followers.

A Facebook Live event stream (Source)

What do you need to go live?

✔ A smartphone with the Facebook app installed or a computer/laptop with a built-in/add-on webcam.
✔ A personal Facebook profile or Facebook page for the business/event.

What are the key features of the tool?
  • Toggle the privacy setting to make live streams visible to the public or keep them private within friends/followers. Also, tag people or locations and add filters, writing, and drawing to the videos.
  • Access metrics such as peak live viewers, total views, average watch time, and viewer demographics.
  • Add a personal touch when going live on a smartphone—walk around the event, talk to people, and broadcast from a personal vantage point.
  • Screen-share if using a computer/laptop. However, this requires downloading a screen-sharing extension.
  • Save videos to your Facebook gallery once the broadcast ends so that they can be viewed later.

What should you watch out for when using the tool?

  • Negative comments from any viewer are visible to the entire audience and enshrined in the video.
  • Using Facebook’s built-in publisher to enhance the video quality of the live stream requires technical know-how and third-party tools.
  • Live stream can be also fetched from a video encoder via an API. However, the process requires some technical know-how and screening under Facebook’s App Review policies.

Who is the tool most suitable for?

Events of any size—from a small poetry reading of fifty people to a mega product launch of 5,000 attendants. This is the best tool to leverage a personal or business Facebook presence and reach an audience that has already shown interest in what you do.

2. Instagram Live


Instagram Live is a feature of Instagram Stories that can be used to broadcast events to a digital audience and engage with them in real time. It is quite similar to Facebook Live in its functionalities and user experience. The catch is that Instagram Live allows users to go live only on the mobile version of the tool and not the desktop version.

Starting a live stream on Instagram (Source)

What do you need to go live?

✔ A smartphone with the Instagram app installed.
✔ A personal or business/event Instagram profile.

What are the key features of the tool?

  • Draw, color, tag people, and add location, emojis, gifs, and filters on the live feed in real time.
  • Select between private or public audiences. Whenever a live stream starts, push notifications alert the user’s followers.
  • Engage with the audience as they send likes and comments. A stream of comments is displayed on the bottom of the screen—pin select comments to the top of the comment stream or disable comments entirely.
  • Filter out comments containing offensive keywords, phrases, or emojis by choosing the “hide offensive comments” option before going live.
  • Save videos to Stories so that they can be revisited by viewers for up to 24 hours after a live stream. Saving videos to Highlights on the profile makes them available beyond 24 hours.
  • Go live with another user on Instagram by having them join your stream and request to go live with you. This yields a split-screen interaction that viewers can watch.

What should you watch out for when using the tool?

  • The tool is more accustomed to the portrait view (vertical view with an aspect ratio of 9:16) than the landscape view (horizontal view with an aspect ratio of 3:2).
  • All live videos have to be recorded on smartphones. They can’t be imported from other devices.
  • You can track metrics such as viewer count, likes, and comments during and after live streams. However, an Instagram Business account is needed for metrics such as accounts reached and impressions.

Who is the tool most suitable for?

Events of any size—from a book launch with 100 people to a concert for a few thousand people. For those with a personal or business Instagram presence, this tool will help tap into an existing audience as well as reach potential digital viewers from around the world.

3.YouTube Live

YouTube Live is a live streaming feature on the popular video-sharing platform YouTube. The tool offers a wide range of broadcasting features, apt for anyone from a lone music performer to a full-fledged event with advertisements and promotions. It offers one benefit that no other platform in this list does—the search potential of being on YouTube, such that an event can be located simply through Google search.

Watching a live stream of an event on YouTube Live (Source)

What do you need to go live?

✔ A smartphone with the YouTube app installed or a computer/laptop with a built-in/add-on webcam.
✔ A YouTube account, which can be created with a Google account.

What are the key features of the tool?

  • Add automatic live captions (in English) to event broadcasts to make them more accessible to people with hearing limitations or those watching without audio.
  • Interact with the audience in the chat window and take questions for the event and receive feedback. Follow conversations even after the live stream is over with the Live Chat Replay feature or disable certain chats entirely.
  • Make use of advanced live streaming features such as broadcast delay and automatic recording.
  • Save event broadcasts as videos on your channel. These can be watched by viewers later on.
  • Assess analytical insights such as average live view duration, total view time, concurrent viewer, playbacks, and chat rate through the analytics dashboard and generate reports to analyze and understand the audience.

What should you watch out for when using the tool?

  • User accounts must be verified to go live, which can take up to 24 hours.
  • At least 1,000 subscribers are needed to go live from a mobile phone.
  • You can go live using third-party hardware or software encoders to enhance the quality of the broadcast. However, that will require some technical know-how.

Who is the tool most suitable for?

Events of any size—from a press conference with a few dozen people to a sports event with a few thousand people. For those with personal or business accounts on YouTube, this is the best way to tap into the existing audience as well as attract potential viewers from around the world via Google search auto-integration.

Next steps

Even with all this information, it can be overwhelming to select a free tool to live stream your event. Most of them sound like they offer similar features and the truth is, they do!
So, the question to ask yourself is: Do I have a presence on any of the social media platforms these tools are connected to?
If yes, go with the tool that allows you to tap into the existing audience base. If not, explore each of these tools and see which one feels the most appropriate for your event and gives a comfortable user experience.
Last but not least, here we also introduce a wonderful equipment for you: QIAYA RING LIGHT WITH TRIPOD STAND AND PHONE HOLDER, 9INCH, for live-streaming.

  • DIMMABLE 9” RING LIGHT - 9 inches LED ring light with 3 color mode: white, warm light, warm yellow (Color Temperature is: 3500-6000k). The brightness of each color mode can be easily adjusted in 10 levels by the remote controller. QIAYA selfie ring light aimed that take away all the unflattering shadows to highlight you and darken everything behind you.
  • FLEXIBLE LIGHT STAND & PHONE HOLDER - The ring light has 180-degree lighting angle adjustable light stand & rotating 360-degree cell phone holder with globe head that effortlessly helps you capture different levels of brightness and angles of lighting!
  • 4 LEVEL TRIPOD STAND - Easily-install tripod stand has 4 levels from 27.5 inches to 46.5 inches, just lock it at your preferred height, stand it on the floor and put onto your desk as you need. Besides, the tripod stand can use as a selfie stick itself.
  • 2 IN 1 FUNCTION: Combines the selfie ring light and phone holder together. A perfect fill light for Youtube & Facebook live beauty videos, portrait photography, video chat, selfie, live streaming, product display, etc.
  • COST: US$ 55.99