Building a Personalized Streaming Platform with Owncast

Building a Personalized Streaming Platform with Owncast

Welcome to another edition of the Independent Creator podcast. I'm your humble host, Josh, and I believe you guys on an adventure of journey of exploring alternative platforms, independent creator shenanigans and whatnot. I don't know exactly where I was going to go with that opening, but I'm going to keep it. Tonight, we're actually going to be talking about Owncast, which is a free and open source live video streaming that is efficient.

If you ever been on Twitch, which I know many have, this is basically take that aspect and you have full control over exactly what you do with it. It's your own private live streaming service that you can control and set up on your own. So I'm going to go ahead and walk you through exactly what owncast is, what is capable of, how to set it up and how to customize your own instance quickly, easily in tonight's episode of independent creator.

Now, Owncast is actually is a great platform. It's been around for a couple of years now, and it's kind of like, you know, the diamond and rough. Well, let's say, yeah, diamond and rough because it offers you so much for very little. All you need to do is have the hardware to host it yourself. Or if you don't have that, you can go ahead and find a host or online like Digital Ocean or Hetzner or Linode or any other place if you have a virtual private server or anything like that, that you can easily upload this to and control it very easily. So what I'm gonna show you is different ways of how to get things set up, but let me first show you exactly what owncast is. And by that, let's go ahead and pop over to the screen share. Now you can easily go to owncast .online. I'll have all these links and then descriptions and available for everybody to find out and get it started on your own journey with owncast. But like I said, it's a free and open source live video and web chat server that you can use with your popular broadcasting software, which means if you use OBS, you can stream to your owncast server or like I am. I use Ecamm, which all I got to do is set up an RTMP server and or connection to my owncast server and Bob's your uncle. So anything that you can do to use an RTMP connection with your software, you can easily connect it to your own cast server. So own cast, like I said, it's been around for a couple of years now. It's a completely free open source that you can add whatever you want to it because again, it's open source and there's a lot of people that are working on it. And I got to give a shout out to Gabe. He - They're the ones that pretty much started this. And of course, the lovely people that continue to make improvements and work on building owncasts from its humble beginnings to what it is now, which is actually a really strong live streaming service that you can use for yourself. Like I said, I'll keep saying this over and over. You control exactly what you post on or stream to it.

You don't have to worry about there if there's any corporate overlords because unless you yourself is a corporate overload overlord, well, I'm sorry, but that's your own problem. But for, you know, regular, uh, regular people like me and you guys as well, it's completely optional that you can use this. You have full control over everything that you post out here. Again, you don't have to worry about, you know, censorship. Uh, you can set up a not safe for work stream, that's perfectly fine. You have the capability. Owncast is not going to say, hey, you can't do that on our service because, and essentially they're not running the service. You are. Your basis create the bib, the bibbity bobs, the bits and bobs that make up Owncast. You host it on your hardware or your rented, hosted hardware. And that's pretty much it. They do offer a directory that shows what's live right now. It's pretty much all the servers, Owncast servers that are opting into showing or being or who want to be displayed on the directory. They'll show up here. As you can see, there is plenty. There's a wide variety of people that play with it, that stream using Owncast anywhere from like church services to, you know, radio show call ins.

People who are showing off DRM free or copyright free movies and TV shows from the olden days, music channels, Rick Ashley, I don't know, whatever. So there is, and of course you got everybody here. These are these other channels that are not live, but you know, they do opt to be shown in the directory and they have available that you can look into what, you know, let's say, uh, at next place and go in here. And of course they're offline, but you can hit the follow button and get a reminder or a notification next time they go online to tune, tune into their live stream. And it's a great way to actually get involved with the free and open source community because everything, all you see here is also can be tied into. Mastodon or the Fediverse. That's a nice thing because.

If you're watching or if you're lurking or says tuning in, I put it on Mastodon post a going live post on my Mastodon account. And then I share it out because it's a different, it sets it up as its own account on a Fediverse. So it's kind of, it's a little weird that way. It's kind of hard to explain, but you get the general gist of it. It says, all you gotta do is to follow your server and then just repost when the going live post goes out.

So it's a one way to continue. Yep, that's that guy. Hey, Owncast also. Thanks for that. Thank you. But this is where it shows up. Is this right here? It gives you, this is completely optional. You don't, if you're a server, if you don't want this to be going out like that, I'll show you how, when we get to that part, but it's completely optional that you don't have to have this at all. Again, everything is completely optional. It's...completely up to you and how you want to run your own instance. But it's again, it's all connected to the Fediverse. So again, if you're part of this community that likes, it actually enjoys the openness of federated universe, like Mastodon, Owncast, you got Limi, you got K -Band, especially with the Reddit alternatives, PixelFed for the Instagram.

There's so many different things that are all tied together within the Fediverse that, you know, even Owncast has, has a tendrils into the Fediverse as well that you can easily utilize to help get your live streams and get your streaming out there to a wider assortment of people that are in that particular community that you like. So I would definitely take a look at what Owncast now. I do have to say it's not for everybody. Not everybody has this. Don't take this the wrong way. Not everybody has a skill set of setting up a server and getting this installed and going through the whole motions of getting this all taken care of. It's completely fine. It's that's okay because you know, not everything is built for everybody. That's the nice thing about life. But I do say that Owncast is actually very easy, but I should say easier to set up like other instances of, let's say, PeerTube. PeerTube is kind of more of a pain in the butt set up. And then the whole trying to keep the maintenance on it and updates. It's it's really, really difficult. And you have to be, you know, knowing exactly what to do and how to go about it. But with Owncast, it's I'm not going to say it's stupid, easy. It's it's easier. It's easy that you can get a server up and running within, what is it, like two or two -ish minutes or so. Let's say 10 minutes, less than 10 minutes. You can get a known cast server up and running. And you know what? That's the best thing because it's very streamlined. It's very lightweight, especially if you're running on a Hetzner server. I know I feel like I'm a shill for Hetzner, but this is what I've been experiencing is that I had own, this owncast instance on DigitalOcean. And I found that it wasn't performing as, as well as I thought it could be. It's just because of the hardware limitations of DigitalOcean. So I was like, let me check out Hetzner. I've heard of them before. So, and they have a one -click install, I'll show you as well, that it makes it a little bit easier to get up and running real quick. So, and I find I can run a two feeds. I have watching the feed at source, which is at 1440 or 1080 and also have a lower bandwidth feed for you know, people watching on mobile devices or if you don't have the bandwidth that you're from your internet provider. So you can those my. See my actual policy, where did I put it? My actual hardware is around 30 percent running those two streams right now. And that's, I was like, holy moly, that is pretty freaking awesome. And it doesn't take up much memory. There's really no disk -based utilization except for, you know, just doing the video aspect of it. But the CPU usage is lightweight, especially on Hetzener. I can't say anything about Linode because I haven't set a server up on Linode. I don't know how how that reacts, but you know what? This is a lot better than it was on DigitalOcean. I'm not knocking DigitalOcean, it's just that their hardware wasn't up to snuff for my use case scenario of how I use Owncast. Because if I had just the one stream, it was at the source feed, it was around 80%. And if I wanted to...bump up the quality a little bit. All of sudden I'm pegging out the CPU and it was just slogging. It was just a non -starter for me. So I was like, I had to look for alternatives. And luckily for me, there is a lot of alternatives. Now that is Owncast and pretty much in a nutshell is that it's a free open source. You can control everything about it and your stream, whatever you want on it. 

So, If you're looking for an alternative, if you're tired of the corporate controlled or the closed source controlled services and platforms that are out there, then you do have alternative solutions for you. You have Owncast. Now, I know because you have alternatives. You have Twitch, there's YouTube streaming. If you really want to Facebook. Not not good, but. You got LifeSpace, which is a good alternative to Twitch. If you don't want to go own cast route, if you don't want to feel like you're not up to the skill level that you think you can run a server, that's okay. It's perfectly fine. There's SharePlay coming out hopefully soon. I believe that might be it as far as, oh, there's Trovo.

And so there's variable alternatives to just the big guys out there. So you don't have to just stream on Twitch because, you know, there's other platforms and services that you can use. Now, let's, I'm going to go through and set up a server on Hetzner and show you pretty much the ways to go about it. Of course, there's going to be a couple of things where I'm not going to show you because, you know, IPs or password and stuff like that, but I'll show you the quick way of how to go about things. Let me go ahead and change to here and get this all ready for you guys. Now, the nice thing about Hetzner because they have a one click install. So you really don't need to do much of anything. Just click a button and sit back and relax, right? Of course, the one thing you got to do is make a account on Hetzner and sign up for their services. So all you gotta do is when you go in through Hetzner, you'll go ahead and set up your server list. You go through, you set up your project. It's a simple, just like click a button, title with whatever you want. Actually, what I should do is go over here first and click on add server. Now, of course, depending, this all depends on where you are in the world. So for me, the Ashburn, Virginia location is closer to me. And here's the important bit. You want to click right here where it says apps, this tab right here. And they have their own section for Owncast. So you want to make sure you have that selected. Go through and you can either do shared CPU, virtual CPU, or you can have a dedicated. It all depends on your price budget and how much you want to spend. But for my use case scenario I go for the shared VPU, or virtual CPU. And as you can see, you can set this up for $7 .55. That's around $7 .50, $7 .60 USD, or depending on whatever currency that you are using. So it's relatively inexpensive to get an own cache server started up. And...This is more than enough headroom than what you can usually need for a simple owncast. I mean, you got three virtual CPUs, you got four gigs of RAM, storage at 80 gigs, that's way more than enough. I mean, Owncast takes up a tiny little bit of that, so you don't have to worry about that at all. Traffic is 20 terabytes. You can bump it up depending on if you start, you know, need some more space or some more ter, some more CPU and stuff like that. If...If the need arises, if you become one of those very large own cash streamers, congratulations. That's pretty awesome. But you know, for everybody else like us, the three, four and 80 is perfectly fine. So make sure that is selected. You go to networking. You can set up the IPv4 or six. You can do SHH keys. I know words are hard today.

You can set up volumes. I'm just quickly going through this. It's upon, depends on your level expertise and how secure you want to make this. Again, like I said, for this particular scenario, this is going to be a quick up and down. This server is not going to be long running. So you go to placement groups, labels, cloud config. And what I'm going to do here is go ahead and call this my two -tone waffle. own cast because I'm going to set it up on my domain name or my URL. Of course, it's going to take a little bit of time, not much, just like a minute or less than five minutes before our server is fully spun up and ready to go. Now what's going to happen is that I'll get everything set up. What I want do is take this IP address. I want to go ahead and copy it because I want to actually go through the actual domain I want to use and change my domain name or my IP address that my domain name is going to point to. And it all depends on what domain hosting that you use. If you use like Hover or Namecheap or GoDaddy, all you got to do is go into your zone records and change out the A type to the IP address that your particular server is showing or is using. So that's what I'm going to do right now.

Save record. Okay. Now it's usually a good idea to go ahead, get this started. So DNS, you know, cycle through it will have enough time to go through and your domain name is pointed to that particular IP address. So before you continue on with installation, because I'll show you with installation. Oh, I also have to go into my email because I need the, cause for this, it's not very secured. I would suggest going with SSH keys so you don't have to do any kind of like password memorization or anything like that. It helps if you learn how to spell at Google. Go and get my information here. And what Hetzner is going to do, it's going to give you, it'll say your server is created. It'll give you a temporary password that you want to copy. All right, so it's showing that it is ready to go. Let me open up PowerShell. If you're using Windows, I would suggest using PowerShell, Linux, of course Terminal, and of course Mac is the same thing with Terminal as well. I find that Windows PowerShell is a little bit more capable than just the regular command prompt. Let me go ahead and log in. What was the IP? There's the IP. Yes, I do want to connect because it's going to give you a warning. So what I did is I set up a fingerprint for...My SSH. Wow. I don't know how, why that's such a hard thing for me to say. It's like a thing. It's like, it's too many words. Marine can't comprehend. All right. You're required to change your password, current password, new password. All right. So this is what you're going to get after spinning up a new server with a one click over on Hetzner. You get this configuration, the Owncast configuration in this process.

A TRIFIC proxy. Hopefully I said that right. Sorry, Gabe. OCAS and Watchtower will be set up accordingly together with all necessary dependencies. You will only need to set your desired domain and email, which will be used to configure the reverse proxy and to obtain Let's Encrypt certificates. Make sure your domain exists first. That's an important part is you want to make sure that you have set up your domain name first. You don't want to get too here and be like, oh crap. What domain should I use? Bob .com. Oh, it's taken. You don't want to get into that kind of predicament. So make sure you have your domain name. Also make sure it's being directed. You add the server IP address as an A name, or A name, as your domain is pointing to. I know I'm doing a horrible job trying to explain this. I'm sorry. Hopefully you guys are following along.

Um, so after you do all that, make sure you get that done first, wait a couple of minutes, and then get started with the rest of this details. Now this is going to go, this is going to go pretty quick. So what I'm going to do is enter my domain name, which is at tutonwaffled .com. That's the domain I want my own cast instance to be on. Click okay, or hit enter, enter email address. Cause this is important for the letter encrypt. Cause this is It's very, you don't want, this is kind of like web development website, admin 101. You don't want a website as on it's unsecured, especially nowadays. So make sure you have that SSL. And this is the best way to do it with the Let's Encrypt, because you know what? It's free. A lot of the stuff that I'm talking about, it's free. All you're paying for is the server infrastructure and that's.

Less than 20 bucks. It's like at most, I think I was around like $11. No, because I've run two Owncast instances, like 17 and change. So that's on Hetzner. And that's actually pretty cheap. So it's going to be half that if you just have one. So your email address is going to be twotonwaffleatindecreator .com. And this is going to set up your Let's Encrypt. So is this the domain? Is this making sure? Is that what you put in? Is this what you want to do? Yes. Email correct. Look over to tutonwaffle at anycreatorhub .com. Of course, it gives you a very generic admin and passwords. So if I go to tutonwaffle, first thing after logging in, go right to configuration, server setup.

Change your password. And of course, for some odd reason in Firefox, you get this kind of problem. That's a little bug that creeps in. There's nothing going on with your instance. It's just Firefox. And for some odd reason, why? All right. It kind of freaks out for some odd reason. OK. As you can see, perfectly fine. I just had to go to a Chrome based browser. So this is your admin side of your particular instance. So this is pretty much where you are going to make all the magic happen for your instance. You can do your customization. You can set up your streaming, the titles, all the good stuff. Getting your install up and running, that was, let's say, less than 10 minutes from starting up for an account on Hetzner, collecting or setting up, they're clicking all the things that you need to do, all your boxes and titles and stuff for the one click install. And as you can see, less than 10 minutes, you can have an owncast server up and again, once it is up and running and you go to your site and it has the owncast, you go to, if you see this, go to waffle, my go site. If you see this, That means your server is up and running. And it's very imperative. Once you do that, they go into the admin, change your password from the generic default. Because if anyone has that default, they can easily get into your admin side of things. And that's not good. Now, what you also want to do is go back into configuration, go to service setup. And this is very important, too. If you are using OBS or any kind of streaming software is you want to set up your stream key. And what you want to do is, of course, go into admin, go to configuration, go to server setup, and then go to stream keys. Right now it has just a default stream key. I'll go ahead, click the plus sign that is right below it. And of course, yeah, go ahead. Add that. I'm going go ahead and change my view. So I'll delete that key. And so you guys won't start streaming on my account. I know you guys aren't going to do that. I can't tell. I can't say for the rest of the internet, they'd be on their best behavior. All right. So go back here. So you got your new key. It's ready to go. All you got to do is copy, paste it in your OBS or whatever encoder that you use. I would go ahead and delete the default because you're not going to use it. And go ahead, set it up on OBS the same way as you would set up any kind of R &T MP. Now, one other thing you might want to check out is your video settings here, because right now out of the box, it gives you the stream output as a default medium CPU usage. It's 1200 KBP8s. I butchered that. Whatever. I mean, you can go ahead and keep it.

You can also put in a new variant where it's a higher quality, but also more CPU intensive. But with Hetzner, it's more than capable. I would start with this first, then do a test stream and see how that works over, let's say about 10, 15 minutes. Then what you want to do is go ahead and add another one. Stream again, actually shut down and start your stream up again with the two outputs and see how your hardware is fairing. If it's working less than 30, 40 percent, great. You can add a third if you really want to. So you have the option. So when people go into your your server, of course, is not online. If I go to mine, you have the option here. Go ahead, mute it. If you click on the little gear icon here in the bottom right, it comes up. Usually that's where you can set that up or you can change your viewing status, but it'll show up here. But it's minimize latency, experiment latency, experimental. So you can go through that there. But you also have I've popped out my chat. So I have that monitor above me. So at least I can keep an eye on that. Pause that. I don't need to do the bathroom mirror, infinite mirror syndrome. But as you can see, I kept this As default for a reason, because I can make changes. Live for you guys that are watching live for if you guys watching the episode later on. If you really want to take part of the live stream, it's a good thing to come here on Tuesdays, 9 PM. On cast YouTube, which. So you guys are getting first flavor of what actually I'm going to be doing here and showing how to customize your actual instance. And it's real, it's a process, but it's an easy process. It all deals with CSS. So I know some people will be like, oh, CSS, oh, I'm out, I'm done. I can't do this anymore. You don't even need to do that really. All you got to do is just add a, I keep losing my, I'm way over here. No, I am over here I keep losing track of my tabs. So what you want to do, if you want to actually put some flavor text and some flavor on your instance, the best way to do it is by going to, of course, your admin settings again, go to configuration and go to general. And here is where you can configure your instance name. What was your instance going to be called? It's totally up to you. It's your instance. Name it whatever you want. Also put in the server URL. It should carry over from the install. So make sure that is there. Also, you probably want to fill out the about section because it kind of gives people what your server is about, really. If you just leave a blank and be kind of like, what's this person's server about? I have no idea. As I look through the directory, and I'll show you if you want to.

Opt into the directory as well. So yeah, you can go ahead, fill this stuff out. Keep it. Keep a nice summary as short little blurb about. What your instance is. The about also shows up in a profile on federated platforms. Very good point. Thank you. Yeah, if. When you look on the federated, the Fediverse and your your instances out there, it gives not just your name, but also your about. It's a good option or a good idea to have that filled in so you give people an idea what you're all about. When you're offline, let me drag this over here. When you're offline, you would get this message right here. It says the general, the stream is offline, be notified the next time new own cast server goes live. And you can click on that and get notification. You can allow or block, especially for browser notifications. That's totally up to you. But if you want to change that, to something a little bit more spicier. I don't know. You can change it right here. It's your offline message. It's like, it's not going to show up because I'm online. So you'll get the idea. So whatever you type in there is going to show up when your stream is offline. So you can include like say, thanks for stopping by. Unfortunately, I'm offline, but you can check out the links down below to get notified or click here to get notified. You know Something along those lines, you know, just to keep people, you know, hey, I'm offline. If you didn't notice, there's no stream going, but yeah, here's a good way to get notified. You can also add a logo. You don't have to. It's just, you know, a good way to, you know, add some spice, some flavor to your instance. So of course there's many programs out there a lot for free too that you can easily, you can go into Canva for free and set up a logo real quick and go about that for just in the meantime, just to have something like that because the default is just the own cast logo, which hey, it's okay. It's not you, it's own cast. You want this instance to be you, right? So try to get a logo.

You don't have to do it right now. Or whenever you start it up, it could be anytime. So all you gotta do is there is a upload right here. Press that, find wherever you saved your logo in your computer and then press OK. If you also want to make sure it's there is a max size of two megs and also a size that is a square of a 256 by 256. So keep that in mind. You don't want like a big, you're not making a podcast cover artwork, and that's like 3000 by 3000 and a couple of megs in size. No, you want something nice and small and make sure it's readable, that your instance name or, you know, initials or whatever you want to go with it, or just your picture. Hey, it's, yeah, like I'll keep saying this is your server do with it what you want. You can also hide a viewer count. What that means is if you don't want on the live stream right now,

There's a viewer count. Sometimes some people don't want that to be shown. That's perfectly fine. It's a good live streaming advice that to not have a number of how many people are watching because it kind of gives it sets up anxiety for the streamer. If if you're just starting out, it was like, oh, I don't have anybody watching or just one person. Oh, it's bumped off to 60. Oh, my God. What do I do? And it's just like talk to like.

There is a hundred people there, even though there's nobody watching. That's, it's perfectly fine. If no one's watching, no one's watching. But if you're sitting there, especially for, if you're, if you're a game streamer and you're just playing a game and you're just sitting there like dead silence, you look, you kind of look over every once in a while, keep playing as, as that's not a fun stream to watch truthfully. So I, in my mind, I would say turn this off. That's just, you know, if you're comfortable with knowing how many people are watching and having it known, that's okay. It's completely personal preference. You can have it on or off. You can also, this right here, if you don't want search engines to index your site, which if that's your prerogative, if you don't want search engines to index your site, you completely want to be off the grid, so to speak, turn it on. But if you keep it off, Google, Bing, the rest of them will index your site. And you know what? That's pretty cool. Is it? I mean, it'd be great for SEO and, but you know, it's okay to get the spiders in every once in a But again, it's completely up to you. You don't have to do anything with it or you can turn it off. And here's the big one. Do you remember in the directory, you see all these people that are, hey, it's Walt Disney.

Now that's Vincent Price. Wow, take my my nerd card, please. I have totally destroyed it. It's Vincent Price, not Walt Disney. All these guys, all these people here have turned on the directory listing. That's what this enable directory means is that your instance is able to be shown or be viewable within the directory. That's all it really is. If you don't want to be showing up in the directory, turn it off. And here is also if you produce NSFW content, you know, you do a little spicy content here and there, or that's part of your stream. Might want to turn that on. Because if you plan, like I said, if you plan to stream explicit or adult content, please respectively set this flag so uninspected eyes won't accidentally see it in the directory. Which is a good thing because you don't want some kid or, you know, somebody who doesn't want to see spicy content accidentally pop into your stream. That's okay. It's the internet. Deal with it. But it's just kind of like, hey, label, if you don't want to see this kind of spicy stuff, don't come in. It's kind of a warning. If you still come in, that's on you and welcome on in. Now here is a, I'm not going to say your meat and potatoes, but this is where you can change this flavor text here. So right now it's just the default what comes part of the package. So if I go in here and I want to go ahead and just remove this part, hit save, and I do a refresh. Oh no, it's gone. And look, two -ton waffle joined the chat. Because I hit refresh. Oops. Anyways. but you can do whatever you can. It's a good idea to post up exactly what, to go more in depth of what your own cast server is all about, what your server is going to give to viewers. So in this case, it's going to be like alternative platforms, independent creator, content creator, live streaming kind of content here on any creator hub. So that is what I'm going to put in here. I'm not going to it right now.

Because I forgot to do the writing out bits so I can copy and paste, but I wanted to keep it as a default until this episode aired. So you see what it looked like when it first with a fresh install. So it's kind of like, you know. And again, you don't want if you don't want to change this, that's perfectly fine. You can leave it as is. And this is all with Markdown syntax. So if you're not really up to speed on what Markdown is, it's not a wissy wig. What you see is what you get. You do have to have, kind of remember what kind of syntaxes are for like bold, italics and stuff like that. But it gives you a link to the syntax. So it gives you help. Say, okay, this is what the syntax is. If you want the heading level one. You got to put open and close H1 and at the end, the open and close with the closing H1. I forget the exact terminology, but bear with me. OK. And then, of course, you got alternative syntax. You got all different kinds of examples. Like I said, bold, italics, listing. You got bold best practices, italics, bold and italic. Block quotes. You can do that nested again, listings, ordered listings, unordered elements, code, image, horizontal links, URLs, going on and on and on. So as you can see, there's a lot there that you don't, I should say don't feel overwhelmed because help is right there. Just take it slow. One thing I have to stress is like, just because you got your server up and running, and it's ready to go. Take some time, get comfortable, do some test streams where keep the directory off, test some streams by itself, see how it goes, change a couple of things if it's not working. You don't have to fill this in real quick. You can take your time. Really get to know the product of owncast and get to know all the intricacies of what you're getting into because it can be daunting for someone who is just getting into it for the very first time and is just jumping feet first, I want to do this. But no, take some time, get to learn your setup. And again, this is all just the simple stuff that's to get started and just to see what exactly is involved of setting up your own cast server and customizing it. And you can also go into chat. You can go into chat settings. This is where you can turn on and off chat. So if you just want to do live streaming system video aspect and if you want to have, let's say, I know there's some instances where you want to have set up your live streaming video through own cast, but you want to do the chat through a say Discord or Guilded or even Matrix.

That's perfectly fine. And just have, you know, the link to your video live stream and it's just chat away in your community server. Perfectly fine. So you can turn off chat. You don't need it on or off. It's up to you. Join messages. If you're watching a live stream, you can set it up where I might turn this off because this is my personal opinion. When someone comes into a live stream, it kind of announces that, oh, hey, this person came in and then they're lurking. But it kind of like called action or called them out. Say, hey, this person started in. OK, as you know, I don't really call this, but I don't say, hey, welcome in, because it's. In my personal opinion, I don't like being called out if I just want to go to a stream and lurk and just to get my my feet wet and see what the stream is all about before I say anything. So I might turn this join messages off just to have that capability. And if you want to say anything, hey, type in chat, welcome on in. If you want to lurk, even better because as long as you're happy with the content or even if you're not happy with the content, it's okay. My flavor of how I do my live streams and everything like that might not work for everybody.

That's perfectly fine. You can also set up established users only. What that means is only users who have previously been established for some time may chat. So this is good if you're, for example, let's say if you're a spicy streamer or if you have, that's your hot take streamer or anything like that, you're very, like it's a very hot topic type of content that you push out there and you don't want some random person that just came into the stream and started typing, no, no, no, what you're saying is wrong. You saw it, blah, blah, blah. You can have this up where the person, your community, your chat members will have to have been part of your community for whatever time period that you set up. It's just can't have this random person come in and spout nonsense or it's also good that combats, you know, spamming anything like that.

So it's a good, it depends on what kind of content that you're producing or if you have any kind of things where something might happen that, yeah. St. Clinton says, one of the things that I enjoy with Trovo is the ability to lurk. Yeah. I know when Trovo first came out is that they had that option was on by default for, hey, St. Clinton popped in the chat. Hello. And it calls you out. It's like, ooh Can we turn that off, please? I don't think it was at the time when it first came out. You did not have that ability to turn it off. So thankfully, they made that decision to have a toggle switch, which is great. A welcome message. Welcome messages are really good because you can set this up. Say, hey, welcome to the chat. If you want to change your name, look to the upper right for the dropdown and do it pretty much It kind of help people direct to where if you want them that haven't been to it on Cast's live stream before kind of direct them to where to go to get used to the service because it is a little bit different. It's it's up a little bit different, but it's the same. It's the same. But different. But the same. I know that was horrible. I'm sorry. You can also set up forbidden username. So if you don't want people coming in.

You can set up a blocked list of offensive names or names that you don't want people to use for, you know, usernames. You can set this up here, forbidden names to not be available for the general public that's coming in or your chat teams. I have this, I love this little feature with Owncast because it's the default name generator. It's kind of like, we saw it at the beginning where you had people coming in, it's like random word with another random word. Let's see, what was, I know I'm calling out lurkers. Inspiring Zelda. It's not a lurker because they start talking. Inspiring Zelda. So it's kind of like, you know, random word generator. It's a nice thing to have if you have your join messages remaining on. So there's that.If we take a look at social, oh, before I go anywhere, go back to server setup. I mean, general, sorry. you can add tags of what your content is about. So right now I have it just, you know, the default it's owncast and streaming. I almost wish you could set the first word and second word list separately. Yeah, that's a good idea to send over to the GitHub page for owncast as a suggestion. And I'm sure it's probably down the line. Gabe and everybody else who's working on this might implement it. So tags Is where you can set up, you can say, hey, I do any games. I play titles from just Bethesda games or I do content creation type of talking or alternative platforms. So this is where you can fill in your tags and let them know within a directory as well. I think Gabe is probably retired. I know what I don't think Gabe, they're they're actually pretty cool.

They're very patient. I've watched every once in a while through the Rocket Chat, because nice thing with Owncast, they have a Rocket Chat server set up for kind of like a help. It's like a level one type of help system. If anything else, go to the GitHub and then do an issue over there. Because I had to do that too, because I had before version 1 .1, 0 .1 .1. is we had the issue with the chat stuttering because of the CSS or whatever, you know, the dark magic of coding. Yeah, definitely. If you use Owncast and you have any kind of issue or anything like that.

The Rocket Chat is a great resource for help. If it's something a little bit bigger that needs to be explained a little bit more or anything else, Gabe is definitely will direct you over to the GitHub repository. So don't feel like, oh, this is going to be six times today. I feel like I'm a bad influence. No. That's what Gabe is there for. They're pretty cool, pretty chill.

Unless you're, unless you're a jerk and yeah, then all bets are off. Is it RocketChat Developer Access Channel or more of a Owncast? It's, it's actually, you can go here to Owncast .online. You'll see the link to, it's just basically, it's like a, like I said, level one help. I actually, I did have a lot of help when I moved my owncast instance from DigitalOcean over to Hetzner. I was having some issue where because it's based in Docker and I was trying to bring the data folder over and it didn't work. And I forget exactly who it was. Really, really helpful of going through the process and figuring things out. We weren't able to get it taken care of, but was able to figure out that, okay, everything's working fine. I just have to start from scratch, but it's okay. It's all right.

But yeah, it's definitely if you have like level one type questions, like I have a problem. It's not connecting. My Owncast is not connected to my OBS. Any kind of issues like that. And sometimes they go into a little bit higher levels. But again, Gabe would definitely say, hey, this is actually can you post this over on their GitHub page? So they'll definitely let you know if it's something that needs to be pushed over. Oh, yeah.

That's the thing is like a lot of people really don't. It's not. I try to, you know, hey, if you need help, go to the rocket chat. It's it's a great service. It's it's another free account that you sign in. Oh, no, you probably have a discord, Guilded, Matrix, Facebook, Twitter. No, not Twitter. Messes on blue sky threads, all sorts of different accounts. What's one more right? But social handles here is where you can actually post your, uh, cause right now, actually here you go. GitHub slash github .com slash Owncast slash Owncast. That is the GitHub page, but you don't have to have that in there. You can hit delete, get it out there. I know that's, this is my set, my instance. Only my stuff goes in, but you can add a social link and it has a lot of stuff already pre -populated. Like you got Bandcamp, Discord, Facebook, Fediverse, GitHub, GitLab, Instagram, Kofi, Libre, LinkedIn, Mastodon, Matrix, Odyssey, Snapchat, SoundCloud, Spotify, if you're a musical streamer, this is a good thing if you have a Spotify, TikTok, Twitch, XMPP, YouTube, and other. So if you have a website, that's more likely it goes in other. So pick your poison and then copy and paste your URL into here.

There are a few Fediverse activity pub, instance admin rooms and Matrix for different services. Yeah. I was looking everywhere for one for Owncast, couldn't find one. Actually, I think there was one for Owncast, but it's not used. Just so you know, I see that the honking giant rocket chat. Hey, we all been there and that voice break.

Well, through puberty, we all been there where say looking around is like so frustrated working on for like two hours, trying to get something simple fixed. Like what the hell? Why is this not working? It's like, oh, you look at it. Oh, it's right there. Click on it or enter just a one item. Hey, everything's working. It's like that's two hours wasted. Yeah, I constantly tell people I guess I get the same way. It's like again, like I said, two hours trying to figure out why this is not working. And this is very simple procedure or as a button right there that I've been. looking over, passing over for the entire time. So you're not the only one. A lot of other people do it. If they say they don't, they're lying. So yeah, it's, the social handle is really great because if I go to, I have my other, the indybasement .live. This is my other, this is on my other instance of owncasts. I have this for the gaming side of stuff, like indie games and stuff like that. So I have my Mastodon. I have a my links to my websites have a Ko -fi page and I can add also all my tags are set up here as well. And I changed out a couple of things here because I was able to find someone I posted. I'll have to find this again, a CSS file or the code, the CSS code to make your instance kind of Twitch like. Excuse me. It just has that flavor.

So it kind of has that flavor of Twitch, but it's not the smell. So I have it set up. I have all my things all set up, ready to go. Or not ready to go, but it's all here. So this is what it looks like with an unedited version of an instance, Owncast instance.

Your mileage may vary. You can have something completely different. Also, like I said, your offline message is completely different. So it's like, while we're not live right now, you can join the community by clicking on the social links below and right here. So that's one version of, I can probably close that tab, of what your instance can look like. And if you're very well versed in CSS, you can do so much because you had that capability if you go into. All you got to do is go to your configuration tab, click on a general, then click on appearance and you can change your instances color range. You can put in the check colors so you can do different colors if you want. You can also do how rounded the corner should be. You can also do custom CSS and I know on a GitHub page is probably I know.

There are some instances or some entries for custom CSS like theming that you can copy and paste. And that's where you can paste it into is right here and change the entire look of your instance. Now, you can also do custom script as well. I haven't really got into this myself, but you can use JavaScript. You can also add third party scripts into it to give more of a interactivity. I was going to say interactivity ability. That's not a word though, but you can do a lot of stuff with all the things that Gabe and everybody else that's been working on own cast for these past couple of years. And each iteration exists gets better and better and better and adds new things to it. So they've made this capability easier to do because I'm from my understanding is that you would have to go into the actual server. uh, put the code in there and it's kind of like a little bit harder to do. So that's what my understanding, but here it's kind of, if you get the know how, put your script in it. Okay. Good to go. Let's see here. So we got a chat. We have forbidden names and trying to go through social features. Oh, social. So if you want to go into configuration social, you want to configure social features because it provides the ability for people to follow and engage with your instance. It's a great way to promote alerting, sharing, and engagement of your stream. Once enabled, you'll alert your followers when you go live, as well as gain the ability to compose custom posts to share any information you like. So it's a good idea to have this on. Again, totally up to you. You can have this off if you just want like a completely private and you only give the link to people want to view your own cast server or your own cast instance. So again, it's up to you. You can also privatize it. Follow request will require approval and only followers will see your activity. So you can have it kind of like a, let's say as a nightclub, you had the bouncer out front instead of just an open door policy. So right now I have an open door policy. Everybody can come in, join in chat. Hey, it's great. If you want to put a bouncer in front of the door and say, um, want to follow. I have to I have to allow it. OK, you're on the list. Come on in. This was pretty much what it is. And also says potentially NSF turn this on if you plan to stream explicit or adult content. So previews of your stream can be marked as potentially sensitive. So as you saw in the directory. If you go to the directory directory, you have like a preview image of what's going on here. So if you're doing any kind of spicy content. and you don't want this to show up, you can turn on that toggle switch and it'll block it from people who shouldn't be seeing that prying eyes. So you also got your username. So this one is very important. So the username used for sending and receiving activities from the Fediverse. For example, if you use Bob as a username, you would send messages to the Fediverse from at Bob at your server.

Once people start following your instance, you should not change this. It's a good idea to, if you feel like you're gonna change it, it might break people's link and they're like, I don't know who this person is anymore. Who is this? And then unfollow. That's something that you have to think about for a long term. So think of a good name. I just put my name because, hey, what else? That's where I go, bye. Now live messages. You can constantly change this and I do this every time.

Well, I should say I try to remind myself to do that. So I put this in for going live now, and you can also put the show engagement. So that means if you turn it on, any following, liking and sharing will appear in a chat feed. And we saw it. So you got a couple of followers. Thank you again. Much appreciated. So you can turn this off if you don't want that capability in the chat, if you don't want that to be shown. So again.

All of these options are available for you to do with what you will. You can also, since it's on the vetiver, so you can block instances or block domains. So you can block a specific domain from interacting with you. Let's say if I don't want the calling you out, ETY, if I don't want anyone from the hive .institute to interact, I can put that domain in there. Sorry. You're perfectly fine. You are perfectly fine people.

It's OK. I was just using it as an example because I can see you. So you can have that if you're if you're noticing that you're getting harassment from a certain instance or certain domain and you'd be like, well, you know what? I'm going to block everybody on that domain. Good riddance. Goodbye. You lose. Good day, sir. You can post that right there in the block domains. Notifications.

I haven't really played around. I want to start experimenting with the Discord alerts notifications. It all goes through a web hook, so I have to play around with that a little bit more. But yeah, I haven't really done much with it. I just on my my not laziness, I just have way too much to do. I got so much on my plate, but you can do set up browser alerts or you can enable browser alerts. So when you go live.

This one has our browser alert active. This is what shows up here. And you can customize that as whatever you want, or you can turn it off completely. You can also build your own notifications by using custom web hooks. You can also do Fediverse social. Enabling the Fediverse social features will not just alert people to when you go live, but also enable other functionality, which means what you just saw was like the going live notification, not this one.

But that will your. Now live posting. That's what that's what it means or refers to. I hope I got that right. Is going down the bullet list here. And that is pretty much for customization. You can do integrations like if you go scroll here on the left hand side of your your listing, you can put in for like web hooks. You can if you are.

Like minded if you have the capability and the knowledge, I should say to mess around with web hooks. This is the best place to put it. Access tokens, same thing. Third party tools. External actions. So if you again, third party UI display embed into your own cast page when a user clicks on a button to launch your action. So you can do I think. Hatsnik has that on theirs. I forget who it was, but someone has a button that opens up another page you can click on. It's pretty cool. I believe that is it for customization. But of course you can go through, you got your viewer list here. You got, thank you for everybody who is watching the stream live. Thank you. It's much appreciated. I do appreciate each and every one of you. So you have your viewer info here. So all time max is 10, which is pretty freaking amazing. The current viewers is six. So you also have chat messages. So you have a chat log.

So in case you want to say, I want to go ahead and hide this message. I click that, it says, yeah, your message, no one should see it. I can click it back in. So you got a lot of customization, custom ability, customizability that you can use for your own cast that is really, really great that, you know, hey, someone just came in. said some naughty words, some naughty gamer words. You can highlight their text. All right, this is where you can also select multiples and then hit hide and hides there. You can also update your emojis. I haven't added any new emojis is the other instance I did, but it's simple. Just clicking by uploading new emoji, go to wherever you have your emojis. Let's say, let me go into my drive, content. uh emotes. I have a couple here. Let's go. Holly. Upload my emoji and now Holly is inside my chat. So if I go here, should show up. I might have to refresh the page and yeah refresh does the trick.

And now you've got a new custom emote. So you can do that to further customize your own cast server to make it more yours. And it's great that you're not restricted by emote slots. As you can see, there's a whole bunch here. And unlike, let's say, Twitch, you don't have the capability to add emotes unless you go to the affiliate status. That's a whole nother bag of worms and you only get so many here. You pretty much have an unlimited supply. So it's a good thing. It's a great thing. Yeah, thanks. So, you know, so check out your followers in block. Like let's say somebody came in, that's harassing you. You post, they're posting up bad gamer words and just being a complete less subhuman.

Okay, you got rid of their chat messages, but before you did that, you ban them or you get rid of them or you block them. You can hit remove. I'm not going to remove. Don't worry. Don't be, don't be, but you can also block people as well. So you had that capability. Let's see. That is pretty much it for what is on cast setting up your instance and customizing it. I know we run long, but that's okay.

It's perfectly fine. I knew I warned you guys in advance at the beginning and everywhere else beforehand that this is going to be a long stream. Yeah, I'll hover over that funny button. Watch out. BAM! BAM HAMMER! But yeah, if you guys have any questions, go ahead, post it up in chat. I know some of you are probably already well versed in owncast, but if you're watching either on YouTube or Twitch side of things, if you have any questions, go ahead, put them in chat.

And I'll try to get answering as quickly as possible. To finish out this episode of the independent creator, I want to say thank you for coming out. I do release the edited version of this episode the week after. So this episode will be showing up next Tuesday on either on YouTube. It's going to be on the podcast over there, podcast feed I should say.

Also, you can listen to it if you don't want to watch my mug. You can also listen to it on Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Spotify, pretty much RSS feed, pretty much wherever you get your podcast. Player of choice is totally up to you. It's out there for availability. It's completely free. I don't charge it. I don't charge for it. I do have a link if you want to give me money. That's OK. I don't.

I don't push that. I'm not a salesperson. I know that's probably to my detriment and to what I do, but you know what? That's not who I am really. But the options are out there. So yeah, definitely. So after this episode, I'll be having like a little Q &A before we finish things out. But I want to say thank you for coming out and listening or watching the live stream. If you want to watch.

I do these episodes every Tuesday, 9 p .m. Eastern on the Owncast channel, YouTube and Twitch. So if you want to catch the live recording of these episodes, do be sure to come on by and be part of the atmosphere, the live studio audience as it were. But until next time, catch you later and have a good night.