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How to Setup and Use OBS WebSocket?

Discover how to use OBS WebSocket for remote control and automation in OBS Studio. Learn about installation, configuration, practical use cases, and troubleshooting.

Introduction to OBS WebSocket

OBS WebSocket is a powerful plugin designed to enhance the functionality of OBS Studio, the popular open-source software for video recording and live streaming. This plugin enables users to remotely control OBS Studio through the WebSocket protocol, making it possible to automate and manage streaming activities from any device connected to the network.
One of the standout features of OBS WebSocket is its seamless integration with OBS Studio version 28 and above, where it comes pre-installed. For earlier versions, the plugin can be downloaded and installed separately. By leveraging the WebSocket protocol, OBS WebSocket allows for real-time, bi-directional communication between OBS Studio and various client applications, opening up a world of possibilities for remote control and automation.
With OBS WebSocket, users can remotely manage scenes, control transitions, adjust audio levels, and much more, all from the convenience of their preferred device. Whether you're a professional streamer looking to streamline your workflow or a hobbyist aiming to add more control to your setup, OBS WebSocket offers a robust solution to meet your needs.

Getting Started to Use OBS WebSocket

Getting started with OBS WebSocket is straightforward. First, ensure you have OBS Studio installed on your computer. For OBS Studio versions 28 and above, the WebSocket functionality is integrated by default. If you're using an earlier version, you'll need to download the OBS WebSocket plugin from the official

GitHub repository

.

To download and install the plugin

  1. Visit the

    OBS WebSocket release page

    .
  2. Download the appropriate installer for your operating system (Windows, Mac OS, or Linux).
  3. Run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
After installation, restart OBS Studio to enable the WebSocket server. This plugin supports multiple platforms, ensuring that users on Windows, macOS, and Linux can benefit from its features.

Enabling and Configuring OBS WebSocket

Once the plugin is installed, you need to enable and configure the WebSocket server within OBS Studio. Follow these steps:
  1. Open OBS Studio and navigate to Tools > WebSocket Server Settings.
  2. In the settings dialog, check the option to enable the WebSocket server.
  3. Set the server port (default is 4455) and configure authentication settings. It is recommended to enable password protection to secure the connection.
  4. Click 'OK' to save your settings.
To access the WebSocket server settings at any time, you can use the command line with flags such as --websocket_port, --websocket_password, --websocket_debug, and --websocket_ipv4_only to override the default values. This flexibility allows advanced users to customize their setup according to specific needs.

Connecting to OBS WebSocket

Connecting to OBS WebSocket from client applications involves setting up a WebSocket client to communicate with OBS Studio. Many client software options support this protocol, including Touch Portal, Streamer.bot, and custom scripts using various programming languages.
For instance, using the obs-websocket-js library, you can establish a connection with a few lines of JavaScript:

JavaScript

1const OBSWebSocket = require('obs-websocket-js');
2const obs = new OBSWebSocket();
3
4obs.connect({ address: 'localhost:4455', password: 'your_password' })
5  .then(() => {
6    console.log('Connected to OBS WebSocket');
7    return obs.send('GetVersion');
8  })
9  .then(data => {
10    console.log('OBS WebSocket version:', data);
11  })
12  .catch(err => {
13    console.error('Error connecting to OBS WebSocket:', err);
14  });
This code connects to the OBS WebSocket server running on the local machine, authenticates using the specified password, and retrieves the version information. Various programming languages, including Python, Rust, and Go, have libraries available to interact with OBS WebSocket, making it accessible for a wide range of developers.

Practical Use Cases and Automations

OBS WebSocket enables numerous practical use cases and automation possibilities. Here are a few examples:

Remote Control

Control OBS from a mobile device or tablet using client applications like Touch Portal or Streamer.bot. This allows streamers to manage scenes, transitions, and audio levels without being at their computer.

Automated Scene Switching

Automate scene changes based on specific triggers. For example, you can use a foot pedal to switch scenes while gaming or presenting. This can be set up with third-party tools like Node-RED, which uses visual programming to create automation flows.

Overlay Management

Dynamically update stream overlays based on the current scene or external data. For instance, you can change the overlay graphics when you receive a new follower or donation. This can be achieved using custom scripts that listen for WebSocket events and update the overlay accordingly.
Here’s a basic Node-RED flow for automation:

JSON

1[
2  {
3    "id": "1",
4    "type": "inject",
5    "z": "flow1",
6    "name": "Switch Scene",
7    "topic": "",
8    "payload": "{\"request-type\":\"SetCurrentScene\",\"scene-name\":\"Scene 2\"}",
9    "payloadType": "json",
10    "repeat": "",
11    "crontab": "",
12    "once": false,
13    "x": 150,
14    "y": 120,
15    "wires": [["2"]]
16  },
17  {
18    "id": "2",
19    "type": "websocket out",
20    "z": "flow1",
21    "name": "",
22    "server": "ws://localhost:4455",
23    "client": "",
24    "x": 350,
25    "y": 120,
26    "wires": []
27  }
28]
This flow sends a command to switch scenes in OBS when triggered, showcasing the ease of automation with Node-RED.

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Security Considerations

Security is crucial when using OBS WebSocket, as it involves remote control capabilities that could be exploited if not properly secured. Follow these steps to enhance security:
  1. Enable Password Protection: Always set a strong password for the WebSocket server. This can be done in the WebSocket Server Settings within OBS Studio.
  2. Use SSL/TLS: For an added layer of security, use SSL/TLS to encrypt WebSocket traffic. This requires setting up a reverse proxy with tools like Nginx or Apache to handle SSL termination.
  3. Firewall Configuration: Ensure that only trusted devices can access the WebSocket server by configuring your firewall to restrict access to the port used by OBS WebSocket (default 4455).
  4. Regular Updates: Keep OBS Studio and the OBS WebSocket plugin updated to the latest versions to benefit from security patches and new features.
By following these steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access and ensure a secure streaming environment.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Despite its robust functionality, users might encounter issues when using OBS WebSocket. Here are some common problems and solutions:

Connection Errors

If you cannot connect to the WebSocket server, ensure that OBS Studio is running and the WebSocket server is enabled. Check the server port and authentication settings.

Authentication Failures

Verify that the password is correctly set and matches the client application configuration. If issues persist, reset the password in the WebSocket Server Settings.

Lag or Delays

Network latency can affect performance. Ensure that both the client and server are on the same local network to minimize delays. For remote connections, optimize network settings and use a wired connection if possible.

Incompatible Tools

Some third-party tools may not support the latest OBS WebSocket protocol. Ensure that your tools are updated or consider using the compatibility version of OBS WebSocket (4.9.1-compat).
For additional support, users can refer to the OBS forums or join the dedicated OBS WebSocket Discord server where community members and developers can offer assistance.
This detailed guide should help you get started with OBS WebSocket, utilize its powerful features, and troubleshoot common issues effectively.

Conclusion

OBS WebSocket is a transformative tool for anyone using OBS Studio for streaming or recording. Its ability to enable remote control and automation of OBS functions opens up numerous possibilities for streamers, content creators, and technical setups. By following this guide, users can easily install, configure, and utilize OBS WebSocket to enhance their streaming experience. Whether you're automating scene switches, managing overlays, or controlling OBS from your mobile device, OBS WebSocket provides the flexibility and power to make your streaming setup more efficient and professional.

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