How to Start Live Classes on YouTube? A Step-by-Step Guide

The landscape of work and education has drastically changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Working and taking classes from home is now becoming the norm! This doesn’t mean you can’t give a lesson in real-time. In this article, we will look at how you can go about starting a live class on YouTube.

To present live classes on YouTube, you will need the right audio and video equipment and a verified account to start streaming. Once your account is verified to stream, you will be able to set up your live stream on YouTube, which will generate a key. This key is used to link your stream to a verified hardware or software encoder, which you will use to start your live class. 

If you’re looking to offer online classes via YouTube, there are a few easy steps to take before you begin teaching. If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be able to start presenting live classes on YouTube in no time!

Starting Live Classes on YouTube

If you’re looking to start giving live classes via YouTube, these are the steps you’ll need to follow!

Step 1: Create an Account or Log in to YouTube

In order to use YouTube to start and present live classes, you’ll need a YouTube account. You can either log into and use an existing account or create a new account. If you’re a teacher with a Google account, you can use that to log into the platform, too.

The account you decide to use for your live classes is up to you! If you’re an artist providing live drawing lessons, you might prefer to use an existing account. If you’d prefer to keep your live classes separate from your personal account, you can make a new account for the purpose of your live classes.

Step 2: Enable Live Streaming from Your Account

If you’ve never live-streamed from your YouTube account, you’ll need to verify your account in order to access this feature. Luckily this will only take 24 hours! To do this, simply click on the camera icon in the top right-hand corner of the YouTube landing page and select ‘Live Stream’. If you have not been verified, it will take you through the process.

Step 3: Ensure You’re Ready to Begin Teaching Live

A teacher always needs to prepare for their lesson and have the right materials ready. When it comes to doing this online, there are a few additional aspects you need to check before you start teaching online. While you wait to be verified for live streaming through YouTube, you’ll want to ensure you’re ready to start your live classes.

To do this, you want to ensure that you have a stable connection to the internet that will allow you to stream live video. You’ll also want to ensure you have a working webcam and microphone, whether these are built-in to a laptop or are external devices.  

Step 4: Install an Encoder

Once you’ve been verified to do live streams on YouTube and have all the equipment needed to do that, you’re another step closer to starting your online classes. However, first, you need to decide whether you’ll simply be streaming through your webcam and microphone or using a multi-camera/multi-mike setup. If you use multiple cameras or mics, you’ll need a hardware encoder, while if you use one webcam and mic, you can use a software encoder.

Software Encoder

A software encoder allows you to convert your webcam and microphone stream into an online stream. This is the simplest option, and there are many free software encoders to help you. This option is great for beginners and those wanting to do simple lessons using a webcam and microphone. On their site, YouTube lists verified encoders that are compatible with their platform. 

Hardware Encoder

If you utilize an advanced setup for your live class, you might need a hardware encoder. A hardware encoder is a physical device that will allow you to use more than one external camera and mic in your online class. These setups can even include audio and video mixers. YouTube has listed hardware encoders that are compatible with their platform on their site.  

Step 6: Set Up Your Class for Live Streaming

Like in Step 2, you’ll want to click on the camera icon in the righthand corner of the YouTube home page. Once you’ve been successfully verified, this will open the Live Control Room. From here, you’ll want to select the tab that says ‘Stream’.

You’ll be able to edit the details of your stream. Make sure to include a relevant title for your live class. In the description field, you’ll be able to add information about your class and any helpful links to resources for the lesson. In addition to this, you’ll be able to upload a thumbnail for your class that should have a resolution of 1280×720 pixels. 

Through the Live Control Room on YouTube, you can schedule your stream for a specific time by going to the Manage tab in the Live Control Room. While scheduling your live class is not necessary, it can give you more time to share a link to the stream or inform those who wish to attend your live class.

Once you’ve created your stream, you will also generate a stream key. You need this key for the following step!

Step 6: Connect Your Encoder to Your Stream

Depending on which one of YouTube’s verified encoders you use, whether it’s software or hardware, you’ll need to connect it to the stream you are setting up. To do this, you will need the YouTube stream key that was mentioned in the previous step.

How to do this will vary on the encoder you use, but each will come with its own specific instructions, which may vary slightly. However, this process typically involves linking the encoder to the YouTube stream by entering the stream key into the encoder’s program where instructed.

You only need to link the stream key to the encoder for the first live stream you do. After this, your settings will be automatically loaded by YouTube when you go to the Live Control Room to start a stream (as discussed in Step 6).

Step 7: Start Your Live Stream

You will need to start your stream through your encoder. Once you have linked the YouTube stream key to your chosen encoder, you’ll be able to start streaming through your encoder. When starting a live stream through your encoder, a watch page is created on YouTube for your stream, and you will now be live.

If you scheduled your live stream for a specific time, you would still begin your live stream through your encoder. In the Live Control Room, you will see a preview of your stream feed from your encoder to ensure it is working properly.

To end your live class, you should select ‘End Stream’ on your encoder.

Step 8: Access Your Previous Streams

Once you’ve stopped your stream through your encoder, you’ll be able to access footage of the stream via YouTube. By going to the Live tab in the YouTube studio, you will be able to access your previous and upcoming live streams.


Offering live classes is a great way to connect to others and reach students and participants. This is truer now than ever before, especially in a time when staying home means staying safe. In this article, we looked at the simple steps that need to be followed in order to successfully create and present a live class on YouTube.


Glen Brown

I am a Technical Trainer and Manager with over 20 years experience in IT, Education and Business. I have multiple qualifications on each topic including post graduate qualifications. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and using technology to do this. If you would like to know more about me please see the about page of the website.

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