For webcam chatting, you need fast internet, a computer and a webcam. That is basically it. It is advisable to pay attention to lighting. Next to that you will need a bank account, a valid passport or ID and you have to be at least 18 years old. Obviously a secluded place with some privacy will also help. ;)

Fast Internet

First of all you need a stable fast internet connection. Because you will be streaming real time video the most important restriction will be your upload speed.

Usually if you have an internet connection at home you have a high download speed and a lower upload speed. For instance and old fashioned ADSL connection may have a download speed of 2 Mb/s (2,000,000 bits per second) and an upload speed 256 kb/s (256,000 bits per second). More up to date connections may have 8 Mb/s download and 1 Mb/s upload speed, or 20 Mb/s download and 2 Mb/s upload or faster. With a connection like that you can already stream reasonable quality video. In some countries 60 Mb download with 7 Mb upload will be normal and connection speeds of more than 150 Mb/s are available. You can check your subscription for the details of your connection or do a speed test on one of the many websites available for that.
There is no fixed minimum upload speed you need to have, but higher speeds will give more possibilities. On a slow connection you may only manage to broadcast a low quality cam image with slow changing pictures and no sound. On a faster connection you can broadcast a HD quality signal with good video quality and good sound. On even higher speed connections you can broadcast multiple HD quality streams with good quality sound. That makes it possible to broadcast on a number of websites simultaneously. Investing in a better internet connection may be the first thing you want to do to improve the quality of your broadcasts, and with that the posssibility of sufficient earnings.

Wifi sometimes causes problems. All kind of circumstances can cause a wifi connection to perform below standard. The distance from the router for instance is important, but more people sharing the same wifi or neighours using the same channel can also decrese performance. In many cases you best use a network cable instead.

Computer

Webcam chat sites do not require a lot of performance from your computer. You need a computer for it, but not a very big one. Any new pc or laptop you buy today will have sufficient performance to allow for webcam chatting in high quality. Some computers may have performance problems that come to light when you try it, but they are the unfortunate exceptions. In principle any decent pc or laptop of less than 10 years old should be powerfull enough to do it. If you can play youtube videos and use skype or zoom you should also be able to use the computer for webcam chatting. A big screen is convenient if you want to be in several chatrooms at the same time, but is not absolutely necessary. Some websites are optimized for mobile devices but compared to a normal pc a mobile device will have llmitations.

MS Windows will surely allow you to chat on most, if not all, websites. iOS and Android wll in many cases also work fine.

Webcam

You need a good webcam. Many computers have a built in webcam, often of moderate or bad quality. If you do not have a lot of money to spend you should not bother too much about that. You can start with a low quality cam and try to save up money to buy a better quality cam later. Cams come in different qualities and a wide price range. A very cheap cam will cost you only about $10, the best consumer quality cams will cost about $200.
Some performers use their phones as a cam. Often that works fine but sometimes there are performance issues.

If you want to make money and work in a semi professional way it is advisable to buy a top range consumer cam. Some have full HD (1080p) quality and software that adjusts the light so your face will allways be well lit and well visible.

Many professional cam studio setups use basically these high end consumer / (semi) professional webcams. Above that you can get even better quality webcams, conference cams or video cameras with an optical zoom lense and remote control. But they will be more expensive and difficult to buy. You have to ask yourself if you really need a thing like that.

Light

Professional studios often use studio lights that are quite affordable and achievable. A good option to use will be a ring light. That is a led light in the shape of a ring. It can be placed behind or around your cam. That will give a clear view of everything in the cam range and no visible shadows on your face or body. For some advise on how to use light look at the Tips & Tricks page.

ID and bank account

All websites with a payment system we know require subscribers to be at least 18 years old. Most will ask an identification somewhere in the process. Be it when you subscribe, or when you want to cash the money you made. Sites who do not require an explicit age verification are often more difficult to enter by younger broadcasters than sites who do. They want to be on the safe side. Therefore broadcasters who are old enough but look younger may be banned from the site without appeal.

Obviously to cash tokens you need a bank account. Some (american) sites will send you a check, but there are also other methods of transferring the money to your bank account. Costs of international transfer and exchange to your local currency are usually for you. So depending on the payment method and your location, cashing $500 worth of credit may get you only $495 or $480 (or less?) worth of local currency.

Being female helps. Most sites will allow men, women, transgenders and mixed gender couples and groups to broadcast. So technically your gender does not really matter. But if you are female the chances of making money are highest.

Special Software

You do not have to buy special software to chat. Most webcam chat sites run on a normal internet browser with HTML 5 support. A recent version of any regular internet browser like Firefox or MS Edge should be sufficient. Some chat sites require special software for broadcasters.

Normally you can only use your webcam in one program at a time. If you want to be active on more than one website simultaneously you will need cam splitter software. The most well known cam splitters are ManyCam and SplitCam. Both ManyCam and SplitCam have free versions available. Both are very good and in most cases more than sufficient to allow you to do what you want.

Some webcams will have accompanying software that allows you to use the features of the cam to a higher extent.
Some chatsites may have special software you need to install to allow you to run your chatroom. They will have instructions available on their websites for you to install it, for instance OBS software for streaming. OBS is open source software and free to use and install. It is very complicated to set up. It may require a bit of figuring out before you have your cam stream properly running in OBS.


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