Is Upload or Download Speed More Important for Streaming? Explained

Nov 13, 2021 - Views: 3530

Rating:5.0 - 51Votes

If you’re a big fan of streaming, you probably know how fast internet connection is critical to your experience. So is Upload or Download Speed More Important for Streaming? How much Internet speed you need for streaming? This article will provide a clear explanation about when uploading and downloading matter to streaming, the minimum upload and download required speeds for live streaming in multiple platforms.

Which is more important download or upload speed?

Download speed is the speed that data is retrieved from your connection while upload speed refers to the speed at which data is sent from your devices to the internet.

internet for streaming

Download speed vs. Upload speed

Fast download speed is frequently advertised when you purchase internet packages. Generally, internet download speeds are ten times faster than the speed of your uploading because the majority of your activity is dependent on them. For instance, downloading files, streaming live video need Mbps download speeds. Upload speeds, on the other hand, are only used when a user uploads a file to social media. However, this doesn’t mean download speed is more important than upload speed. They are measured in megabits per second Mbps.

Most internet users are concerned with download speeds, so is upload speed important? Yes, of course. To answer the question “Is download or upload speed more important?”, we need to think about what you use the Internet for. 

If you need to download large files to your computer or stream Nexflix videos, then download speed really matters. But if you try to upload files to social media or broadcast content on Twitch, then upload speeds are more important.

What’s a good download speed and upload speed?

A good internet speed is at least 25 Mbps, broadband speed for most households, but to determine how much internet speeds you may need, some factors should be taken into accounts such as individual needs, the number of people connecting to the home network, and the location of where your services are needed. 

internet for streaming

Good internet connection

Specifically, if you do remote work, you may need download speeds ranging from 5 to 25 Mbps. If you live stream videos, surf the internet or check social media, then the suggested internet speed is between 1 and 8 Mbps. If there are multiple devices staying connected to your connection, higher download speeds are required for heavy-internet online activities. Perhaps you'll want to spring for those fabled gig speeds—roughly 1,000 megabits per second.

Generally, though upload speeds are slower than download speeds, it is important to some activities like uploading files, live streaming, etc. Slow upload rates can make connecting to the server difficult if you want to live stream.

Although upload rates do not need to be as fast as download speeds, if you intend to stream, you should aim for at least 3Mbps, if not more.

Is upload or download speed more important for streaming?

Which is more important download or upload speed? It depends.

To put it more specifically, when you watch videos or listen to music, you are downloading. Upload occurs when you are live streaming or engaging in a video call. 

Good internet for streaming

Good internet for streaming

If you're watching a stream, you'll be using download, but if you're live streaming yourself on platforms like Facebook, Youtube or Twitch, upload speeds will matter more to you.

Good Download and upload speed for Streaming

When it comes to streaming, a buffer of jitter are the most annoying issues that can ruin your experience. The speed requirements for streaming will vary depending on the quality of videos you’d like to stream and which platform you’re streaming on. 

Streaming standard-definition video: At least 3 Mbps to 4 to stream

  • Streaming high definition video requires a good upload speed of 5 to 8 Mbps

  • Streaming Ultra HD 4K videos:  At least 25 Mbps on Netflix,  20Mbp on YouTube, and 16Mbps on Hulu.

You'll also think about how many devices will be watching at the same time. 50Mbps is plenty for one or two people, but if three or four people are streaming, you'll need to go higher.

How important is upload speed to streaming? 

Is upload speed important for streaming? When you're live streaming, your upload speed influences how others see and hear you. In many cases, unstable upload speeds lead to freezing displays and low-quality audio. So if you experience any of those inconveniences while streaming, it could be a problem with your upload speed.

Upload speed for streaming

Upload speed for streaming

The upload speed requirements are different on different platforms. However, if multiple streams are on your broadband connection at once,  at least 50 Mbps upload speed is required. 

Below are the minimum recommended speeds for three services:

  • YouTube recommends 2 to 7.4 Mbps upload speeds for streaming 720p video, 3.8 to 11 Mbps for 1080p videos, 15.8 to 61.5 Mbps for 4K videos.

  • Facebook Live recommends 3 to 4 Mbps for 720p video and 6 to 7 Mbps for 1080p video.

  • Twitch suggests 3.2 to 6.2 Mbps for 720p video and 5.6 to 7.4 Mbps for 1080p.

It is advised that you have an upload speed that is 10–15 Mbps faster than the minimum needed for the better quality of content that you are trying to upload.

Is upload or download speed more important for gaming

Many online games with high-definition graphics require a download speed of approximately 3 megabits per second and an upload speed of approximately 1–2 Mbps. However, it’s crucial to take the number of players into account. For instance, if your game requires 4 Mbps but there are 3 people joining it, the minimum speed you need to play the game is 12 Mbps.

These are minimum speed requirements for game systems:


Download speed

Upload speed

Xbox One

3 Mbps

5 Mbps

Nintendo Switch


3 Mbps

1 Mbps


2 Mbps

2 Mbps

Nintendo Switch


3 Mbps

1 Mbps

When it comes to online gaming, there are several questions related to Internet speed like “What is more important upload or download speed?” “Is upload speed important for gaming?” “How important is upload speed for gaming?”

Because games are interactive, you must also consider the upload speed at which the data travels from your computer or console travels to a remote server. Even a weak connection may generally match the required speeds, which is why upload speed is sometimes overlooked in favor of other critical aspects.

Furthermore, streaming your own material on networks like Twitch necessitates a faster upload speed than is required for a conventional online video game. To amass a sizable online following, your stream must be of good quality, as well as consistent and dependable. Viewers tend to leave quickly if your feed is interrupted or cut off frequently.

For 1080p broadcasting, Twitch recommends a minimum upload speed of 5 Mbps. If you're a potential streamer, we recommend only using an ISP that can guarantee this upload speed.

Upload speed for gaming

Upload speed for gaming

Apart from download and upload speed, ping is also critical to your gaming experience. Ping or latency is the time it takes for a message to get from one location on the internet to another and back. Almost everything that can go wrong with your internet can have an impact on latency or ping. High ping can cause you to perform an action in-game slowly.

How to check upload and download speed?

There is a bunch of online tools that can help you find your current internet connection and latency.

You may also track outages and log your speeds on different days and hours using the free services indicated below.


  • Ookla Speedtest

  • MySpeed

  • SpeedSmart

  • Internet Health Test

If you find any problems with your connection, contact your internet service provider.

In conclusion

The question “Is Upload or Download Speed More Important for Streaming?” has been fully solved. Once again, both download and upload speeds are crucial, depending on your needs. Knowing the minimum internet speed for streaming will help you find the right Internet service for you and have an amazing experience without any interruption.

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