Owncast is a self-hosted live video and web chat server for use with existing popular broadcasting software. Point your live stream at a server you personally control and regain ownership over your content.

About The Project #

In 2020 the world changed when everyone become stuck in their homes, looking for creative outlets to share their art, skills and themselves from inside their bedroom.

This created an explosion of live streaming on Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Instagram, and Twitch. These services provided everything they needed, an easy way to live stream to the world, and a chat for users to be a part of their community.

But in a world where many were previously finding ways to rely on the big internet service companies less, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic made everyone run right back to them.

And as soon as people started streaming their DJ sets, movie watching parties, and themselves just sitting around listening to music the big companies came to mute their streams, remove their recordings or ban these users all together.

That’s when I wanted a better option for people. Something you could run yourself and get all the functionality of these services, where you could live stream to an audience and and allow them to take part in the chat, just like they’ve been used to on all the other services. But instead of handing control over to somebody else, you run it. You won’t get shut down, and you own it all, just like it should be.

I figured you can install Wordpress and self-host your blog, or install Megento and self-host your e-commerce site. You can install Icecast and have your own internet radio station. Spin up an instance of Mastodon and you have your own social media site that you control. You can even install Nextcloud and have your own personal productivity service replacing Dropbox and Google Docs. There’s an open-source alternative to all the big services that you can run for almost everything, but I couldn’t think of what the live video streaming equivalent was. There should be a independent, standalone Twitch in a Box.

Keep in mind that while streaming to the big social companies is always free, you pay for it with your identity and your data, as well as the identity and data of every person that tunes in. When you self-host anything you’ll have to pay with your money instead. But running a self-hosted live stream server can be done for as cheap as $5/mo, and that’s a much better deal than selling your soul to Facebook, Google or Amazon.

Getting Started #

The goal is to have a single service that you can run that works out of the box. Visit the Quickstart to get up and running.

Contributors #

License #

Distributed under the MIT License. See LICENSE for more information.