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Is Twitch Really Free to Use? The Ultimate Guide for Streamers

Hey friend! As a fellow streamer and Twitch expert, the biggest question I often get asked is: is Twitch really free to use?

The short answer is yes – Twitch is free for viewers to watch streams and free for broadcasters like you and me to stream. But there‘s a bit more nuance when it comes to making money on Twitch as a streamer.

In this ultimate guide, I‘ll break down exactly what‘s free on Twitch, various ways we can monetize our channels, revenue numbers from subscriptions and ads, and pro tips to maximize your income. Get ready to learn all the insider info on how Twitch streaming can become a profitable business!

What Parts of Twitch Are Completely Free?

The main functionality of Twitch is 100% free. Anyone can:

  • Create a Twitch account
  • Customize your channel‘s design
  • Stream using Twitch‘s built-in streaming software or tools like OBS
  • Chat and interact with other viewers
  • Follow channels and get followers
  • Build up a community of fans

For viewers, all streams on Twitch are free to watch without even needing an account. This makes it super easy for new viewers to discover your channel!

So the core experience of streaming and watching streams has no hidden fees or costs. This sets Twitch apart from other paid platforms like Netflix or Hulu.

How Can Streamers Make Money on Twitch?

While the basics are free, there are a few popular ways broadcasters can monetize our channels and turn Twitch into a business:


Fans can subscribe to your channel for a monthly fee of $4.99, $9.99 or $24.99. As a streamer, you earn a portion of that subscription revenue. More on the numbers later!


Viewers can purchase Bits (virtual goods) to cheer and support you during streams. You earn money based on the number of Bits spent on your channel.

Advertising Revenue

Once you reach Affiliate status, Twitch shares ad revenue with you based on the ads played on your streams.


Popular streamers often get sponsorship deals from brands relevant to their audience and content.

Fan Funding

Services like Patreon allow fans to support you with monthly donations separate from Twitch subscriptions.


Sell shirts, hoodies, mugs and other branded merch to loyal viewers.

With consistency and creativity, you can leverage these tools to turn Twitch into a full-time business! Now let‘s dig into the subscription and advertising numbers…

How Much Do Streamers Earn from Subscriptions?

Subscriptions are a huge source of revenue for many partnered channels. Here‘s a breakdown of the subscriber tiers and streamer payouts:

Subscription Tier Monthly Price Streamer Revenue Share
Tier 1 $4.99 $2.50
Tier 2 $9.99 $5.00
Tier 3 $24.99 $12.50

As you can see, the streamer revenue share starts at 50% of the subscription price. So for a Tier 1 sub, we earn $2.50 per month.

Twitch takes the other portion of the fee. But Partnered streamers with higher viewership can negotiate an increased revenue share up to 100% for subscriptions.

To put it in perspective, here‘s an estimate of how much subscribers can earn you per month:

# of Subs Income w/ 50% Share Income w/ 100% Share
100 $250 $500
500 $1,250 $2,500
1,000 $2,500 $5,000
5,000 $12,500 $25,000

Growing your loyal community and subscriber count is crucial to scale up subscription revenue over time.

Advertising Payouts for Affiliate & Partner Channels

Once your channel reaches Affiliate status, you become eligible to earn money from video ads played on your streams.

However, ad revenue makes up a smaller portion of income compared to subscriptions. Based on public data, streaming ads generate an average of $3-5 per 1,000 ad impressions.

That means for a streamer with 100 average viewers, you may earn only a few dollars per day from Twitch ads. So don‘t expect to earn a living from ads alone.

But every little bit counts when combined with other monetization methods! Maximizing viewership also boosts your CPM rates over time.

Pro Tips to Make Streaming Profitable

If your goal is to turn Twitch into a full-time business, here are my top pro tips:

  • Stream consistently – The more hours you broadcast, the faster you grow your audience. Minimum 3 streams per week is best.
  • Offer value to viewers – Whether it‘s entertainment or education, give your community a reason to tune in and engage.
  • Run promotions – Periodic subscriber challenges, donation incentives and Bit drives convert viewers into paying supporters.
  • Reward your fans – Give back to top supporters with prizes, moderator status, shoutouts and other perks.
  • Diversify income streams – Relying only on Twitch is risky. Build income from merch, sponsors, Patreon, etc.
  • Analyze metrics – Use Twitch analytics to make data-driven decisions on growth.
  • Collaborate with others – Hosting other streamers is a win-win way to cross-promote.

The most successful channels turn streaming from a hobby into a business by providing consistent value, engaging fans, and diversifying income sources.

Twitch Offers Streamers the Tools for Success

As you can see, while Twitch starts out 100% free, they provide all the tools we need to build both a community and business around our passions as streamers.

With the right strategies, any dedicated broadcaster can follow in the footsteps of today‘s top creators earning a full-time living from their Twitch channels.

The journey isn‘t always easy, but incredibly rewarding when you build deep connections with your fans and get paid doing what you love! I hope this guide gives you lots of ideas and motivation to grow your streaming channel.

Let me know if you have any other questions. I‘m always happy to offer advice to aspiring streamers. Just stop by my channel sometime and chat me!