What Causes Buffering When Live Streaming Videos?

# Last Updated On: October 11, 2021 #

No one likes buffering. It wrecks your streaming experience and watching a video via websites like YouTube and Netflix becomes a pain rather than a source of relaxation and rejuvenation.

While buffering takes many forms, the most prevalent one is where your internet speed just doesn’t hold up and you don’t get the data transferred (which is required for you to live stream videos) in a reasonable amount of time. Most of the time, your device will essentially stop the video for a while and then download the data which is required to play a certain portion of the live streaming video without any lag.

Your video will not play if your internet connection hasn’t allowed you to download the required amount of data for live streaming videos. Depending on how badly you are suffering from buffering, it can last from a second or two to eternity.

Top Causes of Buffering When Live Streaming Videos

Slow Internet Connection

This is possibly the most obvious cause. If you don’t have a fast enough internet connection you are bound to suffer from buffering issues. There is no complicated theory behind it either.

Streaming without experiencing buffering issues requires your internet connection to have the capacity to preload all the metadata related to the video into your internet-enabled device memory. Not only that, it has to do that for a good portion of the video that is ahead of the viewer’s current position in the video.

A slow internet connection will not do that fast enough and hence the user has to wait for a bit before all the required data is pre-loaded and streaming can continue without interruptions.

To help with these problems, many streaming services like Netflix and others have started to recommend internet speeds that users should have for smoothing viewing of their content.

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Internet Throttling

It is possible that your internet service provider is throttling your internet connection. By throttling, we mean that your ISP is deliberately slowing down your internet connection speed when you engage in certain tasks on the internet. In your case, live streaming videos.

Unlike other causes of buffering that we have discussed in this piece, fixing internet throttling is easy. All you have to do is use a VPN. For a more complete view, you should definitely read https://www.privacyend.com/guides/bypass-isp-throttling/ which will go into detail on how to use a VPN to bypass ISP throttling.

High Video Resolution

Just because you have a fast internet connection, it doesn’t mean you won’t suffer from buffering when live streaming videos. Sometimes, your internet speed may be fine but the resolution at which you want to view the video may be too high.

A 20Mbps connection can easily stream 240p or 360p videos but if you change the resolution to 1080p or 4K then you can experience buffering. It all depends on the video resolution and the condition of your internet connection at the moment you are trying to live stream videos.

The Website You Are Visiting Has Low Hosting Capability

You may have good internet speed and no throttling yet still get buffering issues. In such cases, the website via which you are trying to live stream videos probably has bad hosting capabilities. Hosting services, just like any other service, can go through periods of connectivity issues, overloading problems, and hardware failures. This can cause buffering for the end-user.

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One of the lesser-known causes of buffering is the lack of RAM. Granted, it is rarely the primary reason why online live streaming viewers experience buffering but it is, nonetheless, a cause. Whenever you are trying to stream something, the contents of the video have to be buffered into the RAM of your device.

If the RAM is low enough then that can lead to errors while preloading data. Make sure your device has above 2GB of RAM if you want to stream 1080p and above content.

Conclusion –

Buffering issues are quite common while live streaming videos. Fortunately, most buffering problems have simple solutions that do not require much effort or money. The tips we have mentioned above will help you get rid of buffering issues or at the very least, minimize it.

Team BR
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