How to Embed a YouTube Live Stream in WordPress

UPDATE (Summer 2023): Unfortunately, Google has recently removed their YouTube API feature that used to support channel-based live streams. It appears they won't change things back. However, you do have a couple of choices:

  1. Use "Direct link" live streams. The trade-off is that you will have to manually post and take down your future live streams every time they start and when they end, respectively.
  2. Or upgrade to Pro, which has a solution that brings back all the "set it and forget it" features of channel-based live streams. We spent a significant amount of time developing a stable, long-term solution around YouTube's limitations, so we are releasing this effort exclusively to our Pro customers.

Our YouTube plugin supports a couple of options for embedding livestreams in WordPress. At the very basic, you can take an active or pending YouTube livestream link and embed it just like it’s a standard YouTube video link. You can also enter it into our wizard and customize it like a standard YouTube video.

The plugin, however, offers even smarter options. Firstly, with the livestream wizard option, you can embed a channel url and the plugin will automatically retrieve the “countdown player” of the next scheduled livestream. That player will be shown when users visit your page and let them know when the stream actually goes live. Once that livestream is over, the plugin will automatically look to see if there’s another scheduled livestream in the channel and begin displaying the “countdown player” of that next one. You don’t have to do anything!

If you embed a pending livestream, the plugin also gives you the power to define your own custom “not live” content to display instead of the default “countdown player”. To actually customize the “not live” content and override the "countdown player", go to the YouTube plugin's settings page as you’ll see in the latter half of the video below. Note that the "not live" content can be pretty much anything -- plain text, image(s), video(s), etc. You get a familiar WordPress editor box to define whatever you want. This feature also works for channel-based embeds to prevent a blank screen from showing when there is no scheduled stream yet.

Now you can Add more interaction to your YouTube live stream embed by also embedding the YouTube live chat box with the player.