Web Analytics

Shoutcast, or Icecast Streaming on a VPS

A VPS or a Virtual Private Server is like a virtual computer or machine. It operates and functions as a second physical computer. It has the same privacy as a personal computer and can run server software. The advantage of using a VPS is that it allows you to stream audio and video while protecting your computer from harmful viruses. When you purchase a VPS you are buying a portion of a larger server hosted by an internet hosting company which provides maintenance and guarantees up time on the internet. Your VPS or your piece of the server space allows you to stream media via this process: you record video or audio and upload it to your laptop or PC; this information goes to an encoder; the encoder then sends the information to the entry server; from there the data goes to the VPS player where viewers can watch and listen to your content.


In order to set up streaming on a VPS you would first need to buy VPS space from an internet hosting company. Generally, a company can setup your VPS rather quickly (e.g. within 48 hours). After your VPS is ready to go the next step is selecting an operating system or an OS. If your VPS has hypervisor then you can chose which ever OS you prefer, if not then you will have to us the OS dictated by your VPS server. Next you would need to setup your OS. After that you can download applications for audio and video streaming. Some video applications are Realplayer, QuickTime, and Windows Media Player. Some applications used for audio are Broad Wave Audio Server, icecast.org, and Shoutcast. After you install video and audio applications compatible with your OS you can finally upload your video and audio files to your VPS.

Be sure that your files are in the right format for the applications that you are using, otherwise streaming would be impossible. For instance, video can be in FLV, WMV, ASF, or ISMA format. Audio is typically in MP3 or MP4 format.

Some examples of operating systems include Windows, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Suse, and Linux (such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux). CentOS is becoming popular. People use it with cPanel, a control panel that simplifies hosting a website. The pitfall of using cPanel is that it is only compatible with CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CloudLinux, and FreeBSD. Installing CentOS with cPanel is rather easy. All you have to do is download their CentOS DVD, burn it to a CD or DVD, and then run it on you server (cPanel is installed in the background). This makes OS setup rather simple. You can visit the cPanel website to read the installation guide for CentOS and other OSs (http://docs.cpanel.net/twiki/bin/view/11_30/InstallationGuide/InstallingOs).

Installing video and audio applications can be simple as well. Installing Realplayer is easy for example. Visit http://www.real.com/realplayer and follow the instructions for a free download. Realplayer can play all video formats and can transfer video to a cell phone and convert video to MP3. You would also need to choose an audio application to install. Shoutcast seems to be popular. You can read a full step by step guide for installing Shoutcast on CentOS here: http://darkspace.co/blog/8-linux/12-installing-shoutcast-server-on-centosrhel. It is recommended that you don’t start out running the DNAS but create a Shoutcast user instead.

Code: adduser shoutcast
Then you can update the password:
passwd shoutcast
And now login as a new user:
su – shoutcast
Create a directory shoutcast:
mkdir shoutcast
cd shoutcast

See the above link for more in depth instructions.

When you have your OS setup and your video and audio applications installed, the last thing you need is to have your video and audio files in the correct format. You can pay an online service to convert files for you (e.g. www.zamzar.com) or search around and learn to do it yourself. For example, to convert FLV to WMV you can get free instructions from http://www.arcsoft.com/topics/flv/convert-flv-to-wmv.html.

Virtual Private Server Hosting

A Virtual Private Server is often recommended for music blogs or streaming platforms. It’s often better to directly speak with someone who can confirm that their systems are able to handle your expected traffic. @JulianaP16 on Twitter often handles such enquiries when refering clients to InMotion Hosting, A company well known for their range of software platforms compatable from their VPS Hosting which comes prepackaged with a Cpanel License to help you with your installations.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *