5 Steps for Getting Started With Wowza Streaming Engine Configuration
January 10, 2018 by
Here at Wowza, I've spent a lot of time speaking with users. One of the most common statements I hear from people new to Wowza and streaming is, "I think everything is set up right, but something isn't working." While our great repository of support articles, forums, videos and tutorials get most folks up and running quickly, I thought it would be helpful to walk you through the five main steps involved in Wowza Streaming Engine configuration.
One important note: This post will assume you're using the free Wowza Player, since it's the easiest way to get started and test your streaming. While Wowza Streaming Engine supports a broad range of playback formats and advanced players, these steps will favor AppleHLS playback.
#1: Check Your Port Configuration
Wowza Streaming Engine utilizes ports for management, administration and streaming. If these ports are not configured properly, or are shared with other applications/services on your network and firewall, you will be unable to steam. This being the case, proper port configuration is one of the first things to check when setting up your Wowza Streaming Engine instance(s).
Most people won't have to adjust any of the port configurations. However, a few important things to keep in mind are:
- Wowza cannot share these ports with other applications—so if you have configurations that share ports with other applications, they will not function properly.
- Installation with the most common cloud providers (e.g., Microsoft Azure, AWS, Alibaba or Google) generally doesn't require any special port configuration—especially if you use the Wowza Streaming Engine images pre-configured on those providers, either with a license you obtained through Wowza or through the provider.
How will I know if I have a port configuration problem?
Conditions that indicate an issue with port configuration include:
- Trouble signing into the Wowza Streaming Engine Manager user interface (UI).
- An error indicating that Wowza Streaming Engine is unable to validate your license.
- Inability to stream.
- Failure to connect with outside services.
For more information, see the port and network troubleshooting support articles.
#2: Enter Your Source User Name and Password
When signing into Wowza Streaming Engine Manager for the first time, the Source User Name and Password form is one of the first screens you'll see. It looks like this:
Sometimes people get in a hurry and skip steps when installing software—especially during a trial, but it's a good idea to at least temporary credentials here so that you'll be able to connect an external live source.
#3: Configure Your Applications
In Wowza Streaming Engine, applications are the part of the workflow that controls the packaging of streams into various formats and resolutions for delivery. Here's how to configure them:
Accessing Application Configuration
The most straightforward approach is to launch the Wowza Steaming Engine Manager UI in a web browser. Use the URL http://[wowza-ip-address]:8088/enginemanager, where the [wowza-ip-address] is the IP address or domain name for the Wowza server. (If you are running Wowza locally on your laptop or desktop, the URL is simply localhost:8088).
NOTE: When you are deploying Wowza Streaming Engine on your favorite cloud or virtualized infrastructure, make sure to use the public IP address of the server to communicate or build streaming URLs (more on this later).
Configuring a New Application
Wowza Streaming Engine provides almost unparalleled range of streaming scenarios. You can configure a new application completely from scratch, but to make it easier to get started, we've provided some sample applications. I would suggest starting with a simple live stream using the sample live application.
From the home screen in the Wowza Streaming Engine Manager UI, go to the "Applications" drop-down menu at the top, and select “Live" to access the default live-streaming application:
From inside each application, you can configure the formats and resolution of your stream (also known as "transrating") to accommodate the type(s) of devices and network(s) you expect your audience to use when viewing your streams. For example, if you expect a significant portion of your audience to be viewing on iOS devices across both WiFi and mobile networks, you would want to configure a multiple bitrate HLS stream. If you aren't sure, AppleHLS provides broad compatibility across device types and networks.
When you open the live application, you'll see the default selections for playback type and options. While it's not necessary, you may want to de-select some of the default streaming types in order to cut down on processor consumption. To turn playback types on and off, simply click , de-select the playback types you don't want and hit .
#4: Configure Your Transcoder
NOTE: If you have installed Wowza Streaming Engine on a Mac, you will NOT be able to access the Transcoder functionality. You will need to install on a Windows or Linux system in order to do this.
When configuring streams with Wowza Streaming Engine, you have the ability to control virtually every aspect of transcoding. This can be done through manual profile setup, including changing codecs, bitrates and formats and building SMIL files for adaptive bitrate and scheduled live-linear streaming. That being said, Wowza Streaming Engine includes a great function called Stream Name Groups. This enables you to quickly and easily deliver adaptive bitrate streams—without needing to do things like align keyframes or know the exact video and audio data rates of each resolution.
To access Stream Name Groups, go to your live application, select Transcoder from the menu on the left and enable Transcoder. This will prompt you to restart the application.
After enabling Transcoder, you will be able to enable and use Stream Name Groups to configure adaptive bitrate delivery.
Within Stream Name Groups, you'll see default configuration templates called "mobile" and "all." Edit one of these default groups, or create your own.
With your Stream Name Groups enabled and configured, you can now construct URLs for players to use, with elements including:
- The IP address of your Wowza Streaming Engine server.
- The name of your stream (e.g., "Live").
- The title of your Stream Name Group (e.g. "all" or "mobile").
For example, the AppleHLS playback URL that uses the Stream Name Group "all" would look like this:
Stream Name Groups will deliver adaptive bitrate playback for other protocols. The AppleHLS template above is recommended as a broadly compatible option when getting started.
#5: Configure Your Player
Wowza Streaming Engine is comparable with most commercially available players. Regardless of which one you're using, player configuration is pretty straightforward.
You'll generally need only two things:
- Your credentials and/or license key to log into the player you're using.
- The playback URL for the stream you've configured in Wowza Streaming Engine.
If you don't already have a preferred player, you can access Wowza Player for free with all trial and commercial Wowza accounts. Just use the same account credentials you used to request a trial or purchase Wowza Streaming Engine.
NOTE: The credentials for your Wowza account and your Wowza Streaming Engine instances are not necessarily the same. If you have trouble logging into your account or forgot your credentials, you may need to reset your password.
When using Wowza Player with Wowza Streaming Engine, you have a couple of options for playback configuration:
Option 1: Go to the Wowza Streaming Engine Manager and select your application. By selecting the Wowza Player option in the left-side menu, you can populate your playback URL and launch Wowza Player.
Option 2: You can launch Wowza Player in a separate browser window, and populate it directly into the stream source space.
When you log into Wowza Player with your credentials, your license key should automatically populate. If it doesn't populate, you can find your license key in the email you received when you signed up for Wowza Streaming Engine.
With the stream URL populated, you can play your stream within the Wowza Player window. You can also use the embed code generated by Wowza Player to add the player to a website.
Wowza Streaming Engine offers a robust set of software tools and streaming capabilities, which currently power some of the largest and most innovative video and audio delivery solutions on the planet. While this provides you with unparalleled flexibility, the capabilities can be a bit overwhelming to those just getting started. We hope these steps, in conjunction with some of our tutorials, will help you start streaming quickly.
For even greater ease of use, sign up for a free trial of Wowza Streaming Cloud. Wowza Streaming Cloud is a fully managed, pay-as-you-go live streaming service, built with Wowza Streaming Engine at its core.
Additional Resources for Setup and Configuration:
- How to deploy Wowza Streaming Engine in Docker containers
- How to use Wowza Streaming Engine Modules
- How to Improve lower-latency AppleHLS streaming with Wowza Streaming Engine
- Setting up streaming server logging with Sawmill
- How to leverage SRT Streaming with Wowza Streaming Engine
- Wowza Streaming Engine REST API documentation