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Written by
Travis Bernard
Creek > Streaming for $5/mo and free set-up       Streaming

Streaming for $5/mo and free set-up

Written by
Travis Bernard

This tutorial provides an easy way to create open source Internet radio streams. These streams, built with Icecast and DigitalOcean, cost far less than big-name streaming companies, but are just as solid and reliable.

Also see our in-depth guide to setting up Icecast, if you have experience with Linux and the command line.

How do I create my stream?

  1. Sign up for DigitalOcean: Sign up with $10 coupon
    • If you use this coupon, we will get a $25 credit in a few months. Thanks for supporting our project!
  2. Add a valid credit/debit card to the account.
  3. Send the account's email and password to:

Once we have the info, we'll set up a server for you, and send you all of the information for your stream.

What kind of stream do I get?

You get to host your own Icecast stream. We have simplified this into a very easy process that anyone can do — no technical experience or Linux skills needed.

These streams are also just as solid and reliable as those from big-name streaming companies, but for a fraction of the price, since you are using open source software.

Your stream (that uses Icecast) will be installed on its own Linux virtual private server at DigitalOcean, in your own account. You will also have full access to all configuration files, log data, and more.


For $5.00/mo

Each of DigitalOcean's server sizes have different pricing levels.

The $5/mo server size is more than enough to host a stream for the majority of community, college, and LPFM stations.

  • 500 max listeners. Up to 500 listeners can be connected at any one time.
  • 1.0 TB per month of data transfer. Data transfer overage costs $20/TB ($0.02/gb), unless you pay for a larger server. (See larger servers below.)

Data transfer, instead of "listener slots"

If you host your own Icecast stream, you are not stuck with a low "slot" number of listeners, or a low limit on the maximum number of listeners. Instead, the servers have a limit on data transfer.

This means that it keeps the server price low, while still giving you plenty of room (500 max) for spikes in listeners if you have a special event, or surprise publicity and traffic.

The $5/mo server is plenty for the vast majority of stations out there, and probably yours, too. (But if you need more room, see "Larger stream servers" below.)

You can use any stream quality that you want. Just keep the data transfer in mind.

How do I calculate data transfer?

Try the data transfer equation on Google.

For a 128kbit/s MP3, here is our equation:

1TB / (128kbit/s * 31 days) = 23.335 constant listeners on average.

Larger stream servers

If you do expect a lot of listeners, the prices are still low if you host your own stream on DigitalOcean.

For $10/mo:

  • 2.0 TB per month of data transfer.
  • 47 constant MP3 listeners.

For $20/mo:

  • 3.0 TB per month of data transfer.
  • 70 constant MP3 listeners.

For $40/mo:

  • 4.0 TB per month of data transfer.
  • 94 constant MP3 listeners.