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Requirements

VideoWhisper Software Requirements
RTMP Hosting Explained on Adobe.com
These high end features (web based live video streaming and interactions) have specific software and hardware requirements compared to a regular website.

This advanced software requires 2 types of hosting server capabilities (compulsory) usually on same server / host:

  1. a Web Server for the regular website features (HTTPS) and
  2. a Streaming Server relay for live video streaming (RTMP/HLS/WebRTC/RTSP)

This architecture makes it 100% web based and very easy to run for your website users, without software downloads and installations, on multiple device and browsers. Streaming technologies involved depends on each solution (specific requirements apply to each implementation depending on technologies used).

  • HTML5 Streaming Server Requirements
    Latest solutions implement HTML5 interfaces and and require HTML5 live streaming capabilities (WebRTC, HLS), as Flash plugin support is being terminated by Adobe and major browsers.
    HTML5 live streaming is implemented using these server requirements (included with VideoWhisper complete hosting plans from $50/mo and turnkey license + hosting bundles):
    • Wowza Streaming Engine - $125/mo licensing, with special requirements:
      - VideoWhisper solutions involve a custom module library for Wowza SE and specific configurations that need to be deployed for installation. This is included with our turnkey hosting plans and possible only when running own server (not cloud streaming services with default configurations and no possibility to add own libraries).
      - As WebRTC is new technology, latest Wowza SE version is required for best reliabilit and support. Versions older than 4.7.7 don't support WebRTC at all and early support is limited and less reliable.
    • Session Control functionality in module for Wowza SE - $19/mo licensing
    • SSL (preferably StreamLock available with Wowza SE license) configured on streaming server
    • Configuration for WebRTC, HLS, MPEG-DASH on streaming server
    • FFMPEG with HTML5 codecs on web host
      Streaming server administration can be provided for 3rd party servers at $80/mo for a minimum of 6 months.
    • Warning: Standard web hosting servers and plans don't include the required specific live streaming server capabilities, server software licensing, tools and configurations or administrators experienced with such features.
      - In most scenarios, best option for a fast reliable setup at best price is to move website or point a subdomain to our fully compatible turnkey managed streaming hosting plans or dedicated servers.
      - If you have own dedicated server or premium hosting with FFmpeg, remote streaming is possible with some feature limitations, if rest of requirements are available on web host.
      - If you need to use a specific dedicated server in a certain location with different provider, our administrators can assist with setup of requirements and server administration for additional fees. This involves having own licenses, for own server: $125/mo Wowza SE, $19/mo stream session control, WHM or similar web hosting tool.

      - Using VPS, cloud instances for a live streaming server is not recommended for performance reasons and also does not make sense economically considering fixed server licensing costs and capacity limitations related to server streaming bitrate. Virtualized server environments may not be able to keep system clocks and live stream packets in perfect synchronization, causing issues like video & audio being out of sync or broken session recordings. A powerful dedicated server with high speed (1Gbps or bigger) internet connection is recommended to host the live streaming.
  • Hosting Web & Streaming on Same or Different Physical Server
    RTMP/HLS/WebRTC can be used remotely but many solutions also involve web scripts accessing files on rtmp server (like video files, streaming configuration) or additional requirements like FFMPEG for analyzing streams, generating snapshots, transcoding.
    Installations that don't involve script access to recordings / videos / configuration on rtmp server and involve only Flash based apps can be hosted on different physical web and rtmp servers. This works in most situations for Video Conference, 2 Way Video Chat.
    Recording, Archiving, VOD, Scheduled Playlists, Re-Streaming / IP Camera: When website scripts / integration requires access to video recordings/archives/streaming configs for management, conversion to HTML5 formats, both web and rtmp parts must be hosted on same physical server so web scripts have access to videos saved by rtmp. This is available with our turnkey complete plans. For recording/archiving/mobile distribution we recommend Wowza RTMP server.
    Streams from HTML5 WebRTC, re-streams, external encoders like OBS require FFMPEG with involved codecs to generate snapshots, analyze streams, transcode if necessary. Most web hosting providers do not provide such capabilites. If web hosting includes FFMPEG with necessary codecs, and other advanced features are not required, a streaming only plan could be used.
  • Turnkey Managed Hosting
    For full functionality we provide managed plans and dedicated servers that include everything required to run this software (web + rtmp) at optimum performance. Our staff can also assist with transferring existing sites from other providers. These include functionality like recording/archiving, mobile delivery of streams (hls, mpeg-dash), transcoding support, rtmp session control for 3rd party encoders and players and other extended functionality.
    If you just need basic rtmp functionality for live streaming or video chat Flash based apps to use in addition to a 3rd party web host, remote budget rtmp clould hosting options are available. This type of rtmp hosting does not include support for archiving/recording, mobile delivery, vod, transcoding or other extended functionality.

Server Software (Hosting Requirements)

  • HTTP Web Hosting
    Recommended: CPanel based web hosting with suPHP enabled.
    • HTTPS - recent browsers equire using HTTPS (and a SSL certificate) for enabling webcam publishing.
    • PHP (The PHP implementation is simple so it can be migrated to other scripting languages like ASP or JSP). 
      Provided php sample scripts require these default php settings:
      • error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE & ~E_STRICT (on PHP 5.4+, 7+)
        error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE (on PHP 5.3 or less)
      • short_open_tag On
      • safe mode Off (if using older php, as function is deprecated in PHP 5.3 and removed in PHP 5.4)
      • open_basedir restrictions should allow accessing CMS configuration and libraries (depending on integration)
      • scripts require write permissions on certain files and folders (to store snapshots, chat logs, sessions) depending on edition
    • MySQL (not required for the php only stand alone simple integration, strict mode must be disabled)
    • FFMPEG (required only for video conversions and transcoding, with Flash and HTML5 HLS, WebRTC codecs including H264, NellyMoser, Speex, AAC, Opus).
    • Document conversion tools (required only for setups that involve importing PDF, PPT, DOC, XLS, like Video Consultation slide import):
      • Apache_OpenOffice
      • ImageMagick
      • unoconv
  • Streaming Server Hosting
    VideoWhisper rtmp application is developed and supported for these types of streaming servers:
      • Wowza Media ServerWowza Streaming Engine [recommended, for HTML5 and Flash apps]: RTMP, WebRTC, RTSP, HLS, MPEG-DASH 
        • recommended for recording/archiving (on same server with web scripts)
        • recommended for heavy streaming volume and reliability
        • compulsory and powering advanced features like
          • WebRTC publish/playback ( requires configuring a SSL certificate) for HTML5 (inc. mobiles)
          • HLS / MPEG DASH playback (also requires a SSL certificate HTTPS setup) for HTML5 (inc. mobiles)
          • playlists scheduler (schedule videos as live stream channel)
          • restreaming IP cameras or other streams
          • RTMP Session Control for external encoders like OBS, GoCoder, players, WebRTC streams
          • RTMPS (also requires configuring a SSL certificate)
  • HTTP Web and RTMP Streaming on same server: required for solutions that involve conversion of video archives, streaming of uploaded videos, scheduling playlists, restreaming IP cameras and similar advanced features that require both web and rtmp to have access to certain files.
  • Clean Domain Nameservers
    If you use a name server optimizer (ex. CloudFlare) certain protocols, ports and services may not work with default settings, including RTMP. You can use rtmp addresses based on IP to fix this or configure exceptions for RTMP (TCP port 1935).
    Additionally, such services may alter output or force cache for scripts that communicate with flash applications, which can break parameters and functionality.
    Session Control requires streaming server to make requests to web server and these are disabled by default CloudFlare setup.
    Other malfunctions from such services can occur in form of timeouts, restrictions on uploads, disabling certain requests or site features, showing site as offline when is online, showing outdated output or wrong formats for adaptive interfaces, extra latency on requests (including visible delays for interactions and chat).
    Such services are designed for static content and often cause malfunctions for live content sites, when using default plans and settings.
    VideoWhisper recommends against using such services that add an extra point of failure, extra latency and malfunctions for live content features.
  • WebRTC - Some solutions implement streaming using WebRTC protocol for compatibility with HTML5 browsers that lack Flash plugin support. WebRTC streaming is done trough media server, as relay, for reliability and scalability needed for these solutions.
    Conventional out-of-the-box WebRTC solutions require each client to establish and maintain separate connections with every other participant in a complicated network where the bandwidth load increases exponentially as each additional participant is added. Broadcasters need server grade connections to live stream to multiple users and using a regular home ADSL connection (that has has higher download and bigger upload) causes real issues. These solutions use the powerful streaming server as WebRTC node to overcome scalability and reliability limitations.

For most integrations that involve video recording and archiving, HTTP and RTMP must be hosted on same physical server so web scripts have access to the video files saved by rtmp server for management and conversion.

Server Software / Hosting F.A.Q.

  • Can I use a different RTMP streaming server type with Videowhisper solutions?
    Solutions involve RTMP side functionality (managing interactions, stream info, session control, chat, users list) that is only available as extra module for listed servers.
    Most advanced features like RTMP Session Control required to manage other stream sources and transcodings are only available for Wowza SE.
    Some other streaming servers may allow implementing such rtmp side features but that involves custom development.
  • Can I run solution on current web host that does not meet the requirements?
    Only if using a remote RTMP hosting service for plain videochat and live streaming functionality based on VideoWhisper web apps configured to connect to remote RTMP server.
    For most advanced features site needs to be fully deployed on a compatible host that includes all requirements. Some features require specific tools on web hosting server and some other features require the web scripts to interact with files (videos, streaming configuration files) on streaming server.
  • Is there any other option to run solution with advanced features, other than moving my existing site to compatible hosting?
    You can point a subdomain using A records to a compatible hosting plan where solution can be deployed. In example video.yoursite.com . You can then link or embed features from existing site (live streams, video conferencing rooms).
  • Why not use P2P?
    As standard WebRTC implementations utilize peering networks, there still has to be a nearby node to help distribute the stream to other local hosts. Peering across a global network can be incredibly difficult.
    Broadcasters would need server grade connections to live stream to multiple users and using a regular home ADSL connection (that has has higher download and bigger upload) causes real issues.
    While testing with 2 or few users works fine in demos and small load trials, WebRTC limits often show in production mode: becomes unusable when many users are watching same HD stream and broadcaster connection is regular.
    All startups hope their streaming applications will become a huge success, with thousands of viewers watching. A performer streaming a full hd video at 6-8 Mbps directly to 100 viewers in various world locations would require up to 600-800Mbps upload connection which is unlikely to achieve for a retail home connection. A streaming server in a well connected datacenter will do the job. Above average home ADSL connections have under 100Mbps upload allowing streaming such video to a maximum of 12 users.

Recommended

For production sites with intense streaming where service stability is a priority or recording/archiving/transcoding is needed, we recommend Wowza Media Server hosting. Considering running such website usually requires a full dedicated server (vps/cloud not recommended and reseller/shared host don't usually provide/allow RTMP setup) and Wowza license alone is $125/month, we provide very affordable plans for our clients that start from $50/month and include all hosting requirements (web + rtmp).
This hosting type supports all features and can be scaled as necessary to higher plans or dedicated servers.

Server Power

The hardware configuration depends very much on the number of website members and visitors and also on website settings and target, so we cannot give you exact requirements.

The most important feature for video streaming is rtmp server connectivity.
We recommend servers with dedicated 100Mbps or 1000Mbps ports in well connected data centers (that have gigabyte connections with several providers).

A dedicated 100Mbps connection can host in theory a maximum of 200 streams at 512kbps each (for an average quality 320x240 video). High resolution streams require 1Mbps (360p) to 8 Mbps (Full HD).

Number of streams consumed for each user connected to server depends on communication logic. For 1 way broadcasts each user consumes 1 stream.
If there are 2 way private video chat rooms where each user sees 1 other video and transmits 1 video, 2 streams per user will be required.
If there are video conference rooms where each user transmits 1 video and sees other 3 videos, 4 streams per user will be required.

To host hundreds or thousands of streams simultaneously, servers with 1000Mbps connection and at least 8 Gb RAM are required (16-32Gb recommened if hosting both web and rtmp).
It's important to have the server in a reputable data center with high connectivity so all your users can connect to the server at good speed, from their different networks and providers.
For good performance and reliability average use should be maintained under 35-60% of maximum connection capacity.
In example a dedicated server with 1000Mbps connection should be allocated when 500 Mbps streaming is expected. Why that when theoretical connection is 1000Mbps? Because there's additional data used in addition to streaming, like other interactions, networking packets info, connection management traffic, often other services like web/mail/dns on same server.

To evaluate server and network capacity when choosing a server, consider monthly transfer available.
In example, VideoWhisper dedicated streaming servers are setup to allow 100Tb/month data traffic which means around 308Mbps average continuous transfer.
A provider selling servers with 10Tb/month is ready to handle around 30Mbps average transfer and if server allows only 5Tb/month your project should not require more than 15Mbps average transfer.
On high traffic events, servers could handle spikes up to double or more of this average bandwidth only if network load is low at that moment. Reliable services should be planned based on provider network capacity.

For transcoding, video conversion CPU is also important. A video card with good GPU can greatly increase video processing power.

VPS / Reseller / Cloud vs Dedicated Server

A VPS (Virtual Private Server) can be used for live video streaming project development and testing but is not recommended at production times.
Dedicated servers are recommended.

Virtualized server environments may not be able to keep system clocks and live stream packets in perfect synchronization, causing issues like video & audio being out of sync or broken session recordings.

Multiple VPS (Virtual Private Servers) share same server with same hardware (disk, CPU, memory, connection).
While resulting performance issues are not visible when serving http pages, frame loss/latency/temporary freezing can occur in live streams on a VPS, depending on how the other VPS on same server use the shared physical resources and temporary lock these.
When 4-12 VPS share same 100Mbps server connection, that can limit number of simultaneous users to 10-20. You should avoid using a VPS for production mode.

Altough it seems counter intuitive, a shared hosting plan on a server that runs a rtmp service can be better than a VPS because in the first case, the RTMP service (process) has full access to all dedicated server resources and distributes these to clients with designed streaming fluency.
On a VPS, the RTMP service is installed on a fraction of the server and resource allocation/balancing is done above the RTMP server. This can cause visible streaming interruptions, latency or server crashes due to throttling and resource cutting applied to rtmp service process.
We recommend using a RTMP service installed directly on a dedicated server, even if service is shared. We don't recommend a RTMP service installed on a server share.

Reseller accounts (setup with WHM/CPanel) are accounts that can manage multiple CPanel accounts. Multiple reseller accounts are usually hosted on a VPS or dedicated server and have less resources and priority than a VPS.
Usually reseller hosting providers don't include rtmp hosting due to management and resource allocation hassle.

Cloud instances are similar to VPS and have similar limitations (there are multiple instances on a server and each one can grow and occupy available free resources). Reference: AWS CDN Instance connection limit, EC2 Bandwidth Limit .

No Budget Hosting

Budget hosting usually means hundreds of sites or dozens of VPS / reseller accounts hosted on same server. That's how budget shared plans start from few dollars when a server costs hundreds per month and budget hosting companies still make profit.
All accounts on a server share same physical resources (disk, memory, CPU, connection) and often when others use the server there is latency or huge slow down because of resource bottle necks.
On regular http requests it's not an issue if host does not respond for 1-3s but for rtmp live streaming it's a big issue because of dropped frames and live latency.

Live video streaming and interactions it's a premium feature that usually requires a dedicated server.
Regular budget hosting does not provide rtmp because of high resource demands and also VPS often have performance issues (latency, frame loss) because of other clients locking the physical resources and causing stalls.

That's why we recommend plans designed for such use or dedicated hosting on 1000Mbps connected servers (so 10x more users can be connected at same time compared to regular providers).
Due to high connection and processing allocation demanded for such shared plans, server costs are divided among much fewer clients and prices are higher based on this ratio.
Also such service requires increased costs related to rtmp servers (administration and special licensing for certain rtmp server types).
Considering these, costs for live streaming hosting can be 10x higher than for budget hosting.

RTMP / Streaming Server Options for Own Dedicated Server

RTMP / streaming hosting uses lots of resources, so regular providers will not allow this with shared web hosting plans.
You will usually need a Dedicated Server.

VideoWhisper RTMP side applications are developed and supported in versions for these flash media servers:

  • Wowza Media ServerWowza Streaming Engine / Media Server [recommended]
    Wowza SE is a commercial, high-performance, extensible and a fully interactive RTMP media server.
    Buy Wowza Streaming Engine / Media Server license or get the Wowza developer license limited to 180 days and 3 inbound / 10 total connections by registering on their website.
    Considering Wowza license is $125 month, you should also consider getting the VideoWhisper Wowza Streaming Engine hosting plans that include everything starting from $50/mo.
    VideoWhisper licenses Wowza SE for using on own servers with custom setups specific to advanced features required by VideoWhisper apps.
    For using Wowza SE on own servers, VideoWhisper also provides the RTMP Session Control advanced support for 3rd party apps (that's included with VideoWhisper plans and can be licensed for 3rd party servers). This functionality is required for advanced features related to external encoders like OBS, streams published with WebRTC, transcoding, snapshots.
    Required for HTML5 streaming like WebRTC, HLS, MPEG-DASH.
  • Red5 Open Source Media ServerRed5 Open Source Server [limited, for older Flash apps]
    Support for older Flash apps was discontinued as no longer supported in major broswers. Use the new HTML5 options.
  • Flash Media Interactive ServerFlash Media Interactive Server [limited, for older Flash apps]
    Support for older Flash apps was discontinued as no longer supported in major browsers. Use the new HTML5 options.

Disclaimer: RTMP servers are not developed, supported or documented by VideoWhisper.com . Documentation is available from their official websites listed above. VideoWhisper staff can assist with installation of rtmp servers (on request, for additional fees), limited to existing experience with these.

Client Software (User Requirements)

  • Latest HTML5 based implementation require a HTML5 capable browser (most browsers, updated to latest versions). For mobiles iOS Safari, Android Chrome. Updated to latest versions.
  • For legacy Flash based apps web browser with latest flash plugin is required. To get latest flash player plugin version, download latest flash player from http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ . For developers and site owners we recommend flash player debugger versions.
    Most mobile devices don't allow such plugins and direct access to camera from browser, so special mobile video solutions are required.
  • Decent internet connection (for streaming bandwidth requirements). Because a regular video stream uses 50kb/s (400kbps) or more at least a stable 1Mbps symmetric connection would be required to participate in a 2 way video chat session (upload a stream and download a stream). For ADSL a very good connection is required to stream video due to lower upload rate - read more about ADSL broadcasting issues.
  • Firewall settings (if a firewall is enabled): Clients need to be able to make connections over these ports:
    • 1935 TCP = RTMP/E : Flash Player and AIR clients make RTMP connections to a Streaming Server over port 1935 over TCP.
    • 6970-10000 UDP = WebRTC streaming.
    • 1936 TCP = HTTPS HLS, MPEG-DASH and WebSockets (secured).
    • 3478 UDP = WebRTC STUN/TURN discovery. Other: 5349 for TLS, 19305/19307 Google STUN server.
    • 1935 UDP = RTMFP : Flash Player and AIR clients make RTMFP connections to a Streaming Server over port 1935 over UDP.
    • 19350-65535 UDP = RTMFP : Clients connect to the server over 1935 and the server redirects the client to a port between 19350 and 65535. Allow inbound UDP traffic on 1935 and outbound traffic on ports 19350 - 65535. Not required if P2P is disabled (recommended for reliability). If you want to test P2P, check with RTMFP tester .

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