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Why Is My Twitch Stream Lagging and How to Fix It

by Jayant

No one wants to watch a laggy stream on Twitch. The audience will not mind watching your competitor who is streaming similar content but without lagging. For retaining & growing your audience on Twitch, you need to provide them smooth, buffer-free streaming experience. If you are asking why my Twitch streaming is lagging, we have a checklist that can help you in fixing the laggy Twitch stream.

Simply go through every point mentioned below and by the end of this article, you will have smooth Twitch streaming for your audience.

Also See: Best Gaming Laptop under $1000

Why is My Twitch Stream Lagging?

In the first part of this article, we are going to give you reasons why your Twitch stream is lagging. There are a lot of things that go at the backend and if anything goes south, your Twitch stream will lag.

1. Poor Upload Speed

The base of any LIVE streaming is the internet. No matter how expensive your rig is, if your ISP is providing you with inconsistent internet speed, you will not be able to stream on Twitch. When we talk about internet speed while streaming, we are more interested in Upload speed rather than download speed.


Basically, you are uploading data on the internet in the form of video and audio. For lag-free Twitch streaming at 720p resolution, make sure you have at least 5Mbps upload speed. You can use tools like Speedtest.net by Ookla or Fast.com by Netflix to check the internet speed or upload speed to be precise. If your Internet has poor upload speed, your Twitch stream will lag.

2. PC/Laptop is Not Powerful Enough

Streaming is a hardware-intensive task that requires high-performance CPU, RAM, storage, and GPU. If your PC doesn’t have the required hardware for streaming at a certain video quality, your Twitch stream will lag. The laptop or PC you are using for Twitch streaming must have a powerful CPU with additional cores, high-performance RAM, and a dedicated GPU for handling all the graphics and stream encoders.

See Also: Best Laptop for Music Production

Twitch has its own basic requirements that must be fulfilled to even start streaming. Any incompetent hardware in your rig will not be able to provide smooth buffer-free streaming.

3. Over or Under optimized Stream Settings

If you have a powerful PC/Laptop and high-speed internet connection but your Twitch stream is constantly buffering and lagging, there must be some error in the stream settings. Your stream settings might be over-optimized or under-optimized which is causing lag in your Twitch stream.

When we talk about LIVE stream settings for Twitch, we mean video bitrate, audio bitrate, encoder preset, stream server, FPS, video resolution etc. There is no one set number for bitrate or stream server that is suitable for everyone. You have to test it out according to your internet speed, and PC/Laptop configuration. For beginners, we have already shared a preset stream setting below in this article that you can start with.

Also See: Maono DM30 USB Microphone Review

4. Unreliable Wifi Connection

Wifi is a revolutionary tech that has changed the way we connect to the internet but when it comes to stability, consistency, and reliable connection, Wifi is still struggling. That is why make sure you are not using a Wifi connection for Twitch streaming. There would be latency issues and unreliable internet speed which are causing lag in your Twitch stream.

5. Slow HDD on PC/Laptop

If your PC or laptop is running on Hard Drive Disk, you are going to get a laggy Twitch Stream no matter what. The hard disk drives used a mechanical arm to read and write which makes them slow. Every data in your computer is stored in HDD which directly affects the read and write speed. The streaming software requires a lot of resources to process and if HDD is not providing the data at the optimum speed, we can’t expect our stream to be smooth.

See Also: How to Get More Storage on Macbook

6. Anti-Virus & Other Programs running in Background

I hate the fact that Anti-Virus automatically blocks a lot of programs, and processes in the background and streaming software deprived of using those resources, leading to a slow, laggy stream. Not just blocking, Anti-Virus also consumes a lot of RAM and CPU resources due to which streaming software struggles to get the complete resource required for smooth streaming.

Apart from Anit-Virus, make sure there is no other program running in the background when you are LIVE on Twitch. These programs also consume the CPU, RAM, and power which directly affects the number of resources available for Twitch streaming.

These are some of the most common reasons why your Twitch streaming is lagging. It is time to fix it for a buttery smooth stream on Twitch.

How to Fix Stream Lagging on Twitch

Once you debug the issue that is causing the lag or constant buffer in your stream, you can easily fix it by using the following solutions. Here is how to fix laggy Twitch streaming.

1. Update the Internet Connection

Go to Speedtest.net and check your upload speed. As we discussed above, if you are streaming at 720p resolution and the upload speed is less than 5Mbps, you need to upgrade your internet connection. Just ask your ISP to upgrade your current plan that can give you consistent upload speed or switch to another ISP that promises consistent upload speed.

In case you want to upgrade your stream quality to Full HD 1080p resolution, you need at least 10-12Mbps of bandwidth. So upgrade accordingly.

2. Use Ethernet Port

Talking about Internet connection, before you upgrade your current internet plan, make sure your PC or laptop is connected via RJ-45 Ethernet port instead of Wifi. Wifi is only good for casual surfing, streaming music or videos on Youtube but when it comes to Streaming, you need a consistent, reliable connection which is possible only with an Ethernet port.

A lot of modern laptops don’t have an Ethernet port but you can still connect an Ethernet cable to it. If your laptop doesn’t have Ethernet Port, here is how to connect Ethernet cable to the laptop without LAN port. Use CAT8 or at least CAT7 LAN cable for the best possible internet speed.

3. Upgrade PC/Laptop

If you are using an outdated PC or laptop with outdated hardware, it is time to upgrade your PC or laptop for streaming. We have already shared the list of best laptops for streaming on Twitch that you can use for quick recommendations. Make sure your new PC/Laptop has at least 11th Gen or the latest Intel Core i7 8 Core or higher processor with 16GB RAM and 6GB RTX Series GPU like RTX 3080, RTX 4090, etc.

If you are wondering why you need GPU for Twitch Streaming, well, it is required to encode the streaming otherwise your CPU will get overloaded and it will distribute its resources for gaming, encoding, and then streaming it, leading to excessive heat, poor performance and ultimately laggy stream. You just cannot expect gaming and streaming on Twitch without a powerful GPU.

4. Optimise Stream Settings

This is very important if you don’t want your stream to lag. There are a few things that you should keep in mind before going LIVE on Twitch. If you are using OBS, which is the most preferred streaming software for streaming, you can follow the below-mentioned stream settings.

  • Bitrate

Bitrate is the number of bits transferred from your computer to the Twitch server in a second. More bitrate means more video audio data which means better streaming quality. If you are streaming at Full HD 1080p at 60FPS, make sure the bitrate is 6000Kbps and if you want to stream at 720p 30FPS, you can lower the bitrate to 4500Kbps.


The video quality of the stream depends on bitrate and you can adjust it according to your internet connection. The Bitrate directly depends on your Internet speed. You can do some test streams starting with 6000Kbps of Bitrate (if you have 6-7Mbps upload speed). If you have an Upload Speed of 10Mbps, you can increase the bitrate up to 10000Kbps but make sure you test run this bitrate.

While choosing the ‘Stream Base Resolution’ to 4K or Full HD resolution, make sure you have a capable monitor with the same resolution. Here are some monitor recommendations for you:

Here is a quick Bitrate summary:

Stream Video QualityBitrate Required
720p at 30FPS4500kbps with 5 Mbps Upload Speed
1080p at 60FPS6000Kbps – 8000Kbps with 10-15 Mbps Upload Speed
1440p at 60FPS10000Kbps – 20000Kbps with 20-30 Mbps Upload Speed
4K at 30FPS35000kbps-50000kbps with at least 70-100 Mbps upload speed
  • Encoder

An Encoder is another important thing you need to optimize for lag-free, smooth streaming on Twitch. If you are using Nvidia GPU, you must be using the NVENC encoder. On the other hand, if you are using AMD’s GPU, you should be using AMF Encoder for recording and streaming the Live gameplay.


If your PC or laptop doesn’t have any GPU at all, you will see ‘Software x264’ which means that OBS or any other screen recording software is going to depend on your CPU for all the encoding which is not good at all. This will overload your CPU and ultimately affect the performance of other important tasks going in the background while streaming and gaming.

Apple Macbook comes with both hardware and software-based encoders which are good for light streaming but not suitable for gaming and streaming. That is the reason why you need to upgrade your PC or laptop’s hardware in the first place.

  • Encoder Preset

Just like Encoder, you also select the Encoder Preset. Encoder Preset is the term used to tell how fast Encoder should process. ‘Ultra Fast’ Encoder Preset will ruin the video quality but it is good for the CPU as it doesn’t overload the CPU. On the other hand, the ‘Fast’ Encoder Preset will increase CPU usage and gives you the best video quality streaming.


You don’t need to select CPU-based Encoder Preset simply because it will utilize a lot of CPU resources and it can halt the whole system if you are gaming and LIVE streaming it at the same time.

That’s where NVENC Encoder Preset came into the picture which is Nvdia Encoder Preset. There are dedicated Encoding Chip on Nvidia’s GPU that does all the video encoding so that the CPU and even the GPU can take care of other important things like rendering graphics.

If you got these settings right, you are going to have lag-free, smooth Twitch streaming without any kind of issues, considering you have a competent PC or Laptop connected to a reliable internet connection.

5. Upgrade to SSD

In case you were using HDD, it is time to upgrade to SSD. It will not only improve the streaming but also improve the overall performance of your computer. While HDD has a reading speed of ~80Mbps to 150Mbps, SSDs have a reading speed of 200Mpbs to 500Mbps.

The new gen M.2 SSD has a reading speed of up to 3Gbps to 7Gbps which is insanely fast. All the new-gen laptops are equipped with NVMe M.2 SSDs for the best possible performance.

If you don’t want to upgrade the inbuilt HDD to SSD, you can get portable external SSD from Western Digital, SanDisk or Seagate.

6. Close all the Running Programs

Before you finally go LIVE on Twitch, make sure you close all the unnecessary programs running in the background. Once you close all these programs, it will offload the CPU and RAM and you will be able to utilize its resources for smooth Twitch streaming without any buffering.

To close the running programs in Windows, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc and it will open Task Manager or simply right-click on the ‘Start’ button on Windows and go to ‘Task Manager’.

In the Processes tab, you will see a list of programs that are running. Close all the programs that you don’t need for gaming or streaming. Here are more ways you can try to boost your Windows PC speed and performance.


If you are using Anti-Virus, make sure you disable it before going Live on Twitch or just uninstall it completely. Some Anti-Virus also comes with Gaming Mode and you can activate it so that it doesn’t block anything while streaming and gaming.

No More Stream Lagging on Twitch: Final Words

Now you have everything using which you can debug the stream lagging issue on Twitch. You also got the easy solutions to fix the stream lagging on Twitch. There is no hard and fast rule for smooth streaming. You have to follow the ‘Hit & Trial’ approach for getting the best settings and hardware requirements for smooth Twitch streaming.

Just make sure you have a strong basic architecture that includes a powerful PC/Laptop and a high-speed internet connection. Once you have these 2 things, you can easily optimize the OBS or any other streaming software for lag-free streaming on Twitch.

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