RTMP server guide: How to set up a free RTMP server

What is a streaming protocol?

A streaming protocol is a standardized method of transmitting video or audio content between devices over the internet.

What is an RTMP server?

RTMP streaming protocol features

  • Audio Codecs: AAC, AAC-LC, HE-AAC+ v1 & v2, MP3, Speex
  • Video Codecs: H.264, VP8, VP6, Sorenson Spark®, Screen Video v1 & v2
  • Playback Compatibility: Not widely supported anymore
  • Limited to Flash Player, Adobe AIR, RTMP-compatible players
  • No longer accepted by iOS, Android, most browsers, and most embeddable players
  • Benefits: Low-latency and minimal buffering
  • Drawbacks: Not optimized for quality of experience or scalability
  • Latency: 5 seconds
  • RTMP: The plain TCP- based protocol
  • RTMPS: Uses a secure SSL connection to minimize the risk of cloud-based streaming.
  • RTMPE: Uses Adobe’s proprietary security encryption and is a lighter-weight encryption layer than RTMPS.
  • RTMPT: Encapsulated with HTTP to bypass firewalls and corporate traffic filtering.
  • RTMFP: Uses UDP instead of TCP

Benefits of an RTMP server

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of the RTMP server.

Low latency

The biggest benefit of streaming through the RTMP server is the low latency it offers. The latency in RTMP is not more than 5 seconds and maybe even lower. That means from the moment a video is captured at your end it does not take more than 5 seconds to stream on the viewer’s screen.

Minimal buffering

RTMP minimizes buffering at the viewers’ end, which means less annoyance for them. Hence, your audience sticks to your live stream for longer.

Adaptive Bitrate Streaming (ABR)

RTMP can compress the data and change the video quality to match the user’s bandwidth, so they continue to receive a continuous stream. This is known as Adaptive Bitrate Streaming. This way, your viewers can enjoy uninterrupted streaming even with low bandwidth.

RTMP alternatives

Though RTMP is an excellent solution for live streams, since 2017 Adobe pulled the plug on the Flash Player, ending RTMP as a last-mile or play protocol. It is still used as a first-mile delivery or ingest protocol though.

HLS (HTTP Live Streaming)

CMAF (Common Media Application Format)

WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication)

Where to get a free RTMP server for live streaming?

Why to choose the Ant Media Server

  • Adaptive Bitrate Streaming
  • Highly scalable, real-time streaming to millions of viewers and publishers
  • Free live streaming software development kits for iOS, Android, JavaScript, Flutter, and Unity
  • Live video monitoring and surveillance using IP cameras

Ant Media Community Edition License for free RTMP Server

The biggest benefit you enjoy with Ant Media is our Community Edition license. With Community edition, you can install RTMP Server easily and for free.

  • Low latency of 8 to 12 seconds
  • RTMP and WebRTC ingesting
  • RTSP, RTMP, and HLS pulling
  • Live playing with HLS and MP4
  • Live recording with MP4
  • VoD and IP Camera capabilities
  • Community support

Who needs the Ant Media Enterprise Edition license?

The Enterprise Edition License is a paid self-hosting solution. It has three different plans, starting from $49 per month per instance.

  • Ultra-low end-to-end latency of 0.5 seconds
  • Scalability with cluster support
  • Adaptive Bitrate Streaming
  • Hardware encoding
  • RTMP and WebRTC ingesting
  • Playing with WebRTC, RTMP and HLS
  • Free SDKs for Android and iOS
  • Direct support from Ant Media

How to set up Ant Media server as an RTMP server for free

1. Download Ant Media Server

Download and save the Ant Media Server Community/Enterprise Edition to your server.

  • Community Edition can be downloaded from here.
  • Enterprise Edition can be downloaded on your account after you get a license on antmedia.io

2. Open Terminal and go to the directory

Open a terminal and go to the directory where you have downloaded the Ant Media zip file.

cd path/to/where/ant-media-server....zip

3. Download the installation script

Download theinstall_ant-media-server.shshell script

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ant-media/Scripts/master/install_ant-media-server.sh && chmod 755 install_ant-media-server.sh

4. Run the installation script

For a clean new installation:

sudo ./install_ant-media-server.sh -i [ANT_MEDIA_SERVER_INSTALLATION_FILE]

5. Control the Service

You can check the service if it is running.

sudo service antmedia status
sudo service antmedia stop
sudo service antmedia start

6. Install SSL for your Ant Media Server

cd /usr/local/antmedia
sudo ./enable_ssl.sh -d {DOMAIN_NAME}

7. Accessing the web panel

Open your browser and typehttp://SERVER_IP_ADDRESS:5080to go to the web panel. If you’re having difficulty accessing the web panel, there may be a firewall that blocks accessing the 5080 port.

Summing up

In this article, We explained RTMP, RTMP server, other protocols, and how you can set up a free RTMP server. Hopefully, you got a good understanding of what is an RTMP server, how to use a free RTMP server, how it can support your live streams, and what the current alternatives are.



Ant Media Server, open source software, supports publishing live streams with WebRTC and RTMP. It supports HLS(HTTP Live Streaming) and MP4 as well.

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Ant Media Server

Ant Media Server

Ant Media Server, open source software, supports publishing live streams with WebRTC and RTMP. It supports HLS(HTTP Live Streaming) and MP4 as well.