Building a Church Website and Live Streaming Services (in 2016)


I’m asked pretty regularly about websites and streaming solutions for churches. Here is are my recommendations for both.

Live Streaming

If I were to start fresh with what I know these days, I would start by checking out Facebook Live ($free). It’s new so I’m not 100% sure what it offers but since the majority of church members are on Facebook it should be easy to get people on board and watching. I’m not sure the monetization plan for this yet so we’ll have to keep an eye out for what happens there.

More info: https://www.facebook.com/help/1636872026560015

If that doesn’t work I would look to YouTube Streaming: ($free). This is what we currently use. We use vMix to connect our PowerPoint slides from another computer and mix it with our video. If you already host your on-demand videos with YouTube then this saves a great step in that the videos automatically go into your account after you finish streaming.

More info: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2853700?hl=en

Then I would use Ustream. ($99+ per month). We used to use their producer software because it allows us to output the stream to the web and also send it out through our building to our foyer and nursery areas. This feature is actually what is keeping me from switching to one of the options above at the moment. We tried using Ustream’s free service but it constantly interrupts with commercials (which you have no control over) and that just doesn’t work for the middle of worship.

Lastly, I would look into LiveStream ($42 per month). Good service and tools. We used them a long time ago and I would look into them again. They have recently gotten into some interesting hardware offers so this is definitely one to checkout.

Website Builders

The biggest platform on the web right now is called WordPress. It used to be just blogging but now is a full website creation software. If your tech person knows about hosting and setting up a website, they can download the software from WordPress.org and install it to a server for free. If they don’t, you can go to WordPress.com and simply start the site without having to worry about hosting the site.

There are several WordPress themes and plugins for Churches. Here are some to check out:

churchthemes.com
themeforest.net/category/wordpress/nonprofit/churches
wpforchurch.com

If you decide to go with WordPress, check out this great explainer article about building church websites with WordPress.

After WordPress, I would recommend SquareSpace. They have great looking themes and the builder is user-friendly.

After those two I would look at:

Apart from these, I don’t know much about anything else. There are tons of options (big and small) out there, but these seem to be the ones that keep rising back to the top.