How to Create Live Streaming App: Tech Stack, Features, Cost

Updated on
March 27, 2024
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Considering that the live streaming market is expected to reach $224 billion by 2028, it is only natural that you’ll want a piece of the lucrative industry. However, to build a live streaming app is a challenging task that requires meticulous planning.

Many decisions must be made along the way, including deciding which platform is most viable for streaming content.

I have been working as a Product Manager at Uptech for over 5 years. My main focus is delivering successful project outcomes to Uptech clients. I ensure that the team completes projects on time and within budget. It all requires precise planning and problem-solving skills that I develop on each project. I have worked on projects from various industries like social, real estate, e-commerce, healthcare, and fintech.

In this article, I’ll explain how to create a streaming app in 6 steps and guide you through the whole process. But first, let’s explore what a live video streaming app generally is.

build live streaming app

What is a Live Streaming App?

As the name implies, live streaming apps are software that allows users to record and broadcast video simultaneously. Thanks to high-speed internet and advanced camera technologies, such apps have grown in numbers in recent years.

Live video streaming apps have fueled influencer marketing, entertainment, business marketing, and the way people interact over the internet. Here are some live streaming apps that are highly popular among users:

  • TikTok
  • Facebook Live
  • YouTube Live
  • Twitch
  • Instagram Live
  • Periscope
  • Kuaishou
  • Douyu
  • Bilibili
  • 17
how to create a live streaming app

Twitch, YouTube Live, and TikTok are probably the most popular live streaming apps out there, yet each has a different target audience focus. Facebook Live and Instagram Live are no stranger among social media users, while Twitch is a well-known platform for gamers to broadcast their gaming sessions. Meanwhile, Douyu is the Chinese alternative version of Twitch, which boasts a higher number of active users.

Interesting Live Streaming Market Statistics

  • The global live streaming market grew from $1.24 billion in 2022 to $1.49 billion in 2023. Also, it's forecasted that the live streaming sector will reach $3.21 billion by 2027, experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.2%.
  • China had 765 million live streaming users in 2023.
  • 80% of people prefer live video over blog articles.
  • The total number of hours people watched live streaming content across all streaming platforms as of Q3 2023 was 7.6 billion.
  • There are 158 million live stream viewers in the United States as of 2023
  • Approximately 34% of Generation Z have shown interest in live streams, especially on social platforms.
  • Companies that use video features grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.

3 Types of Live Streaming Apps

When it comes to live streaming apps, most users and businesses normally think of video live streaming software. While considered synonyms, there are a few other types of live streaming apps out there. So before you start to develop a live streaming app, you’ll need to know which types it belongs to. Here are 3 common types of live streaming apps.

Live broadcasting apps

Live broadcasting apps are arguably the most popular type of live-streaming apps. The app allows users to broadcast live recordings of videos and sound to others who have access to the stream. These apps have given birth to scores of internet influencers and celebrities.

Examples: Popular live broadcasting apps are Twitch, YouTube Live, Livestream, and Periscope.

Audio streaming

Take a video out of the picture, and you’ll have an audio streaming app. With an audio streaming app, you get to listen to audio that is transmitted over the internet in real time.

Examples: Pandora, Spotify, and Apple Music.

Video-on-demand streaming

This type of live streaming app allows users to schedule and watch their favorite TV shows online as and when they wish.

Examples: Common VoD apps are Hulu, YouTube TV, and Amazon Prime Video.

How to Create a Live Streaming App in 6 Steps: Guide for Startup Owners

In this part, we will focus on the video streaming app development process for startup and potential startup business owners. Check out 6 key steps on how to create a live streaming app.

how to create a live streaming app

Step 1. Define your audience and their needs

You don’t want to create a live streaming app that is based on assumptions. Instead, you’ll want to learn and define the actual needs of users who will be using the app. Plan and hold interviews with the users to identify challenges early on.

The early feedback will set you on the right path when building the live app. Besides, you may already secure your first group of beta users.

Step 2. Choose monetization strategies

Ultimately, you’ll want to monetize the live streaming app, and here are 3 most popular ways to do so.

  • Paid app — charge the users a fee for downloading the app.
  • Freemium — offer the app for free, but with some features accessible to paying users.
  • Advertisements — run ads on the app to generate advertising fees.

However, it’s a rare case when a product uses only one monetization model. Usually, it’s a mix of two or three because it’s more stable and safe. In our dedicated article, you can learn more about these monetization strategies and how free apps make money.

For example, Twitch – one of the most popular live streaming applications –  makes money in at least 3 ways: subscription, advertising, and a cut of the payments for the animated "bits" that users buy to add some punch to their comments and reward their favorite players.

TikTok makes money through three different avenues: advertising, in-app purchases, and ECommerce offerings.

Another example is Livestream. Now owned by Vimeo, a mobile live streaming app allows streaming content to various platforms, including YouTube Live and Facebook Live. The Livestream app is free for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. However, users must have a paid Livestream subscription to use the app.

Step 3. Use a reliable platform for live streaming, hosting, and storage

You’ll then need to decide which platform is most viable for streaming, hosting, and storing the content. Choosing the cheapest provider is rarely a wise choice.

You could escape by sacrificing quality for cost in the beginning, but the inferior performance becomes obvious when users and traffic grow. Users have no tolerance for laggy streams or low-resolution videos, which will demise the app.

For hosting and storage, you can go with options like Google Cloud Platform (GCP) or Microsoft Azure, which offer scalable and secure cloud services. For live streaming, you might look into specialized services such as StreamShark or Vimeo Live – both are designed to deliver high-quality, reliable video content to large audiences. These are just a few examples of many that provide a good balance of quality and scalability, essential for growing user bases and increasing content demands.

Step 4. Create great UI/UX design

Now, it's time for the UI/UX design of your live streaming app. As highlighted in our blog post about the product design process, you must prioritize simplicity and intuitiveness because they directly impact user retention and satisfaction.

Here’s what you should pay attention to when designing your live streaming app:

  • implement a clean, minimalist layout that shows live content and interactive elements like chat and reaction emojis to encourage viewer participation;
  • use clear, responsive buttons for users to be able to start and stop streams;
  • make sure the navigation for finding live and archived content can be easily found on the screen;
  • test designs with real users to identify and eliminate any friction points.

Remember, in terms of UI/UX design for a live streaming app, user experience is directly tied to the immediacy and quality of the interaction.  

design for live streaming app

Step 5. Build and test an MVP for your live streaming app

You could have dozens of ideas that you’ll want to implement in your live video streaming app, but the best way to test it out is to build an MVP. An MVP stands for a minimum viable product and it is a lightweight version of the app that only contains the essential features needed to function. It’s simple and allows you to get feedback from users with ease.

At this stage, you need to consider such things as the tech stack of a live streaming app. Just like with any other app, you’ll still need to decide on programming languages, databases, messaging queues, and other live streaming app development elements. However, 3 areas deserve your special attention: you will have to choose a fitting streaming protocol, platform, and content delivery network (CDN). Of course, as a business owner, you won’t have to do all these things by yourself: You either delegate the task to your in-house team or outsource the job to a software developer like Uptech. However, you should be aware of the key moments in regard to this part of the live streaming app development process.

Streaming protocol

There are two common protocols to stream video, namely:

  • RTMP protocol
  • WebRTC Protocol.

RTMP protocol (stands for Real-Time Messaging) is used for high-definition streaming. Live streams at concerts and conferences are broadcast via RTMP. The top advantage of using RTMP is that you’re able to transmit high-quality audio/video.

However, this comes at the cost of longer processing time where there’s a delay of 10-20 seconds between the screen capture and the viewer’s screen.

WebRTC is a popular protocol that focuses on real-time communication. You’ll find it on video-call platforms like Google Hangouts, Zoom, and BeLive. While WebRTC is superior in terms of speed, it will negate the transmission quality if the bandwidth is inadequate.

Streaming platform

We’ve mentioned that it’s important to decide on a platform that’s viable for content streaming. In this case, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is an ideal solution. It provides the necessary tools to manage streams, host the application, and deliver content to the users.

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Choosing the right CDN ensures the availability and performance of the live stream for the users. AWS CloudFront is an option that’s powering various streaming services, such as Netflix AWS MediaLive.

You can also use Amazon Chime for real-time WebRTC video rooms. is an ideal solution for interactive real-time streams, particularly if AWS does not deliver the required speed.

Nothing is set in stone when it comes to choosing a tech stack for live streaming apps. What’s more important is to define the problems that you intend to solve and adjust the stack accordingly.

Step 6. Release, maintain, and improve

Finally, all the time and effort you have spent on discovery, testing, and MVP development come to one rewarding outcome – the product’s launch. The experienced team will definitely do what’s required at this point, but here are a few important things to keep in mind.

The launch normally begins with a beta version to gather crucial feedback from users and refine your app if needed. For this, platforms like TestFlight for iOS and the Google Play beta feature for Android are often utilized.

Prior to the official release, you'll need to submit your app to the appropriate app stores. Here, it's important to ensure your app adheres to Apple's App Store Review Guidelines and/or the Google Play Developer Policy Center guidelines.

Both app stores will review your app to confirm it meets its quality standards before it becomes available for download.

With the product’s launch, the work is not finished. Once the launch is completed, you should start to track the analytics of users’ behavior on your live streaming app. Usually, at this point, most of the important insights come up.

So it is essential to take them into account, test, and implement what works to the existing functionality.

live streaming app tech stack

How to Build a Live Streaming App: DIY Approach for Developers and Tech-Savvy Individuals

Our guide primarily navigates startup owners and businesses through live streaming app development. For software engineers and those with a more technical background, building a live streaming app might require a hands-on approach. Here are a few important points to consider.

Technical stack

In terms of the right technical stack, you must select tools that can provide good performance and scalability for your app.

  • Research and choose the right streaming protocols, such as RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) for live video streaming or HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) for delivering content efficiently over the web.
  • As for the server side of live streaming apps, explore server solutions like Wowza or Red5 for streaming server capabilities, and consider using cloud services like AWS (Amazon Web Services) or Google Cloud so that your live streaming app can be scalable and reliable.
  • Select a fitting CDN (a few examples are Akamai and CloudFront by Amazon) to reduce latency and get that flawless content delivery across different countries.
  • Consider the use of programming languages and frameworks that support real-time data processing and are scalable enough for your purposes. These can be Node.js for the backend and React for the front-end development. But not necessarily these solutions.
  • You can use databases like MongoDB or PostgreSQL to store user data and content metadata.

Security and compliance

Another important point is to implement all required security measures to protect user data and comply with regulations like GDPR or COPPA, to name a few. Implement security measures using tools like OAuth for authentication, SSL/TLS for data encryption, and regular security audits to ensure data protection. It’s also advisable to use secure transmission protocols like HTTPS, good authentication mechanisms, and regular security audits.

As for compliance with data protection laws,  the technical side involves more than just checkboxes. You'll need to design your data architecture to support the right to be forgotten, ensure that data collection mechanisms are transparent and consent-based, and encrypt sensitive data both in transit and at rest. This could also mean that you need to reevaluate your database schemas, implement more granular access controls, and possibly introduce data anonymization techniques in your analytics.

User interface and experience

It’s not a secret that the success of any app – a live streaming app is no exception – heavily relies on its UI/UX design. With it, you should aim for simplicity, intuitiveness, and responsiveness.

To achieve a responsive UI that works well across different devices, consider using frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue.js. For example, React's virtual DOM feature optimizes rendering and enhances the app's performance, which is critical for live streaming apps. You can implement conditional rendering and media queries within React components to ensure your app's layout and elements adjust to various screen sizes.

A good idea is to integrate real-time interactive elements, such as live chats or polls, to boost user engagement. For live chats, for example, you can employ WebSocket technology. For polls, there are state management solutions like Redux that help manage and update your app's state in response to user interactions.

In case, you know little about the design part, you can always find and hire UI/UX designers on freelance platforms or on an outsource basis.

Feature set expansion

If you want to distinguish your app from a bunch of similar products, you must go beyond basic streaming capabilities and integrate advanced features. You can add multi-platform support, VR or 360-degree video capabilities for immersive experiences, or AI content recommendation systems.

So how to approach that, and what technology is needed?

Cross-platform development: If you want to reach a wider audience across different devices, tools like React Native and Flutter are worth exploring. React Native equips you with the capabilities to build mobile apps using JavaScript and React and share code across iOS and Android platforms for faster development cycles.

Flutter, developed by Google, helps create natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. It’s well-known for its set of customizable widgets and fast development speed.

More on native vs cross-platform development you can read in our blog post.

VR and 360-degree video: If your live streaming app aims at creating immersive environments, you can look in the direction of tools such as Unity and A-Frame.

With Unity, you will have a comprehensive ecosystem to develop different VR experiences with extensive support for various VR devices.

On the other hand, A-Frame offers a more accessible entry point with its web-based framework: It allows you to create VR scenes using HTML-like syntax.

AI-powered content recommendations: TensorFlow and PyTorch are two solutions that stand out if you want to enhance your live streaming app with personalized content. TensorFlow has a flexible architecture that makes it possible to deploy computation across various platforms. PyTorch offers dynamic computation graphs that enable more natural coding of complex AI models.

Testing and QA

A comprehensive testing strategy is essential if you want your live streaming app to be reliable and perform well.

You might want to look into tools like Jest for unit testing with JavaScript, which will help you test the app's individual components. Cypress – another JavaScript testing framework – can offer you the simulation of real-user interactions with an app for your integration testing tasks: This should be done to ensure all parts work together as planned.

Additionally, consider load testing with tools like Apache JMeter or Locust to evaluate how your app performs under heavy traffic, a common scenario for live streaming platforms.

If you want to learn more about how to set up a QA process in a development company, we have an article dedicated to this subject matter.

Iterative development and feedback loop

An agile development approach allows you to continuously iterate your live streaming software based on user feedback and changing market dynamics. Here we mean that you can regularly release updates, test new features in smaller segments of your audience, and be more receptive to user suggestions.  

Frameworks like Scrum and Kanban can greatly help you with structuring your development cycles and reassessing priorities based on the received feedback.

As for the tools, there are a lot of different task management solutions: The popular options are Jira and Trello, with which you can track all of your live streaming app development tasks and manage them accordingly.

While these points do not cover a complete process of live streaming app development from the tech perspective, they provide some general knowledge on what to look for and where to start. With this in mind, let’s move on to the features a good live streaming app should possess.

Must-Have Features for a Live Streaming MVP

To build an MVP for a live streaming app, you'll need these basic features:

User sign-up/sign-in

An inevitable part of any software, there must be a simple registration form for the users to create an account and log in to the app with the credential.

Live streaming

This functionality is the heart and soul of the app as it allows the user to record and broadcast a live stream to members who have subscribed to the creator’s channel or the public.


A search box lets users search content by topic, popularity, trending, channel, location, or interests. This feature significantly improves user experience as it enables quick access to desired streams. As a result, you get increased content consumption and user retention.

User profile

The key purpose of the profile is to show the user's personal info and profile picture to friends and subscribers. This feature is also helpful because it enables users to manage their privacy settings and control who can view their information. In this way, your app receives an extra layer of security and personalization.

User gallery

The gallery stores and organizes recorded videos on the user's profile. It comes as a digital archive so the users can revisit their favorite moments and share their content portfolio with others. The user gallery feature enhances content discoverability and user engagement within the community.

Commenting/Rating system

Live streaming apps thrive on social engagement. Therefore, it's important to include a commenting/rating system to allow users to leave feedback on the video.

live stream app features

Nice-to-Have Features for Live Streaming App

Once you have an MVP that’s accepted by the users, you can build a live streaming app with these features to improve user experience.

Social sign-up

This feature allows users to sign up with their social media accounts in a single touch and skips the tedious form-filling. Incorporating social media account integration for sign-up processes helps to streamline user onboarding and allows for a one-touch registration that bypasses conventional forms. You can also add an email sign-up option to the social media ones.

Extended user profile

You can go beyond the basic name and profile picture by adding in advanced fields like interest, preferences, location, and personalizations. This detailed profiling makes the platform more engaging and ensures more meaningful connections within the app's community by aligning users with similar interests.

Extended streaming features

You can consider adding features like filters or screen sharing, which unlocks more innovative ways of using the app. These more advanced functionalities cater to diverse user needs, reach that aesthetic appeal, and make collaborative live sessions simpler.


Adding a chat function helps the streamer to communicate with the audience in real-time. Such an interaction adds up to the streaming experience thanks to the immediate feedback, Q&A sessions, and a more dynamic engagement.

Extended search features

Increase the available parameters for search. For example, users can search for videos within a limited radius of his/her location.


Include a more interactive feed, where users have more control in personalizing the types of content delivered. In this way, users can tailor their feeds appropriately to show more of what they like or discover new content based on their interactions and stated preferences.


Introduce various types of subscriptions and allow users to manage them easily from the app. For example, you can provide discounts for those who subscribe to the platform for 3 or more months.


Show related content to the users based on their preferences and viewing history. Implementing an AI recommendation engine that analyzes user preferences and viewing habits to suggest relevant content can significantly enhance content engagement and user retention. This engine can analyze what streams a certain user has watched, compare this behavior to what other users with similar tastes prefer, and provide tailored recommendations.


This functionality allows the app to send push notifications to the user if interesting content is being streamed. Or, for example, a user can get alerts if they get the answer to a question from the community.

features for live streaming app

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Live Streaming App?

The average cost of building a live video streaming app is from $26K to $48K. However, it’s the sum for only one platform. Get ready that you need to pay more if you want to create both Android and iOS apps. Also, the price will go up if you want to create a web version of the app.

Here’s a table for the development cost estimate for 1 platform with an average rate of $50 per hour but also additional works like design, QA, project management, and others that may be added by request.

Feature Description
(what may be included)
Approx time, hours Approx cost
Sign in / Sign up - Sign in / Sign up using email, phone number, social media
- Reset password
- Log out
60 - 100 $3,000 - $5,000
User Profile management - Edit info
- Upload photo
- Change password
50 - 80 $2,500 - $4,000
Home screen - Description
- Videos
- Menu
80 - 120 $4,000 - $6,000
Search - Basic search
- Autosuggestions
- Filtered search
- Displaying search results
- Sorting
100 - 160 $5,000 - $8,000
Live Streaming - Record a video
- Broadcast it
- Share to subscribers / Public
140 - 300 $7,000 - $15,000
User Gallery - Store user's videos
- Organize them by folders
40 - 80 $2,000 - $4,000
Commenting / Rating system - Comments (simple or nested)
- Rate the video
- Rate the comment
50 - 120 $2,500 - $6,000
Total 520 - 960 $26,000 - $48,000

There isn’t a fixed amount, nor can you build a live streaming app for free. The cost of building a live streaming app or MVP depends on the scope of work, the number of hours involved, and the design complexity.

Use our App Development Cost Calculator to receive an estimate of your app.

How We at Uptech Can Help You Develop a Live Streaming App

At Uptech, we have experience building a functional live streaming app – Yaza. It’s a real estate app for recording and sharing video home tours. We passed all stages of product development, starting from Discovery to product launch. So it's safe to say that the Uptech team knows how to make a live streaming app.

Take a quick look at how it was.

Yaza - location-enforced video sharing app

We helped Yaza, bring a real-time video streaming app to life.

how to create a live streaming app

Yaza helps users to create, share, and react to video content, and it has a chat function that connects users. Our team rendered services in:

  • Discovery stage
  • Design
  • PM
  • QA
  • iOS Development
  • Backend development.

Live-streaming interactive game show

Our team has also developed a multi-faceted app that combines mobile gaming, live video, and TV-style game shows as part of an interactive entertainment network. The app allows users to watch original shows and the opportunity to win cash prizes on both Android and iOS devices.

live streaming app experts


Now, you’ll have a better idea of which platform is most viable for streaming content and the process it takes to build a live streaming app. It’s an industry where there’s a delicate balance between business goals and user experience.

Often, you’ll need an experienced streaming app developer to guide you along. Talk to our team to learn more about building a live streaming app MVP.


How do you create your own streaming app?

For a startup owner, here are 6 key steps to create a live streaming app:

  1. Identify your target audience
  2. Select your monetization strategy
  3. Choose a platform for live streaming, hosting, and data storage
  4. Create a UI/UX design
  5. Develop and evaluate an MVP
  6. Release and maintain your live streaming app

Is video streaming application development different from video streaming platform development?

Yes, video streaming application development is about creating a software application for end-users to access video content, while for video streaming platform development, you need to build the whole backend infrastructure and services to host, manage, and deliver video content to applications or end-users.

Should you invest your time and money in your own live streaming system design or go with an off-the-shelf solution?

A basic live streaming system development might take 2-6 months, with costs ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. More complex live streaming software systems could take 6-12 months or longer to develop, with the pricing tag hitting $100,000 and more, depending on the features and scale. Things are going to be much cheaper if you choose ready-made solutions like Wowza Streaming Engine or IBM Cloud Video. However, you will not get the required level of customization in this case.

Should I also create a live streaming website?

Yes, adding a website to your app is a smart move, similar to platforms like TikTok, which replicates app functionality online, or Twitch which offers a full-fledged website experience alongside its app. This approach broadens accessibility and enhances user engagement.

Is streaming app programming harder than coding other apps?

In general, yes: live streaming app development is more complex due to the need for handling real-time data transmission, optimizing for various network conditions, and ensuring video and audio synchronization. The process also requires the knowledge of streaming protocols and potentially scalable infrastructure management, which makes the whole thing more challenging than coding standard apps.

Is a video streaming app builder a thing?

Yes, there are video streaming app builders like Appy Pie and BuildFire, to name a few, that offer user-friendly interfaces and ready-made templates to create such apps. However, custom live streaming development is commonly better due to flexibility, unique features tailored to specific needs, and better optimization for performance and scalability.