How to Host Someone on Twitch

There are many ways to host channels on Twitch and a lot of benefits in doing so

A woman playing with her children in front of a computer showing a Twitch stream

Lifewire / Coleen Tighe

Hosting is a popular way for Twitch streamers to broadcast another channel's live stream to their own audience. It's usually done as a way to help promote other Twitch users but it also doubles as an effective strategy in keeping a channel active while the owner is not broadcasting their own content.

How to Start Hosting Another Streamer

Via Chat: To begin hosting another channel, simply enter /host into your own channel's chat followed by the target channel's username. For example, to host the official PAX Twitch channel, you'd enter /host pax. The hosted channel can be changed up to three times every half hour. To turn off hosting, type /unhost.

Twitch App: Hosting can also be activated from within the iOS and Android Twitch apps by clicking on the gear icon on the selected channel and choosing the Host option from the drop-down menu.

Auto Host: The most common way to host a channel is to auto host it. This is done by added a variety of channels to a special list which your channel will automatically select from when you go offline. This auto host feature can choose channels on the list randomly or via their order (which can be customized).

Setting up auto hosting is as easy as going into your Twitch Channel Settings, turning it on, and then adding as many or as few Twitch channels to your host list as you want. Special care should be taken not to forget to save your changes every time you update the setting or the channels on the list.

Why You Should Host Another Channel

Hosting another user's stream is completely optional and is not required at all to be an active member of the Twitch community. There are several reasons why hosting can be a good idea though.

  • It's a great way to show your audience what sort of streamers you enjoy watching.
  • Hosting can offer a certain degree of free promotion for your channel, however, this will depend on the target channel's layout (does it display the names of the hosts onscreen?) and if the streamer is the sort of person to verbally mention those who are hosting. Often hosts get little credit if any at all for sending another channel viewers. Hosts names will always appear in a special message with the target channel's chat.
  • Hosting another channel can be a fun way to end your own stream. Many Twitch streamers manually begin hosting someone else as soon as they end their broadcast and often encourage everyone who has been watching them jump to the hosted channel's chat and say hello and follow them. This is referred to as "raiding" and is a very common practice on Twitch.
  • Being a host for another channel will also keep your account prominently displayed within the Live Hosts category of the Twitch website and apps. This can lead to new users discovering your account and potentially following you.

Why You Shouldn't Host Another Channel

Despite the benefits of hosting, there are also a variety of reasons many choose not to host other users.

  • When hosting another Twitch channel, any away message you have designed for your channel will be hidden and replaced with the video of the broadcast being hosted. This means that any message you may have written to your regular audience will need to be posted somewhere else on your profile, in a less-prominent position.
  • Hosted channels can't be chosen by game or subject. Only the user. This can be a problem when one of the channels you've selected to host chooses to play a game that might be a bad match for your audience. This could be a game aimed at older audiences when your followers are used to family-friendly titles or simply even choosing a game from a radically different genre. You're essentially entrusting the content of your channel to another user when hosting and there's no way to control what they play.
  • While some streamers may appreciate you hosting their channel, a better strategy for building your own audience can be to implement Twitch's VOD (Video-On-Demand) feature instead. VOD works in much the same way hosting does but plays a recording of one of your previous streams. This can keep your channel active 24/7 with content created purely by you. Users can also download the VOD to keep in their personal library.

How to Get Other Twitch Streamers to Host You

Since being hosted on Twitch is a great way to gain more exposure, it's worth encouraging other streamers to host you on their channels. Here are the best ways to do this.

  • Add a host list to your Twitch layout. By adding a dynamic list of people who are hosting you to your stream, viewers will be encouraged to host your broadcast as a way to promote their own account. This can be set up very quickly via free services such as StreamLabs.
  • Ask your friends. While asking complete strangers to host you could be considered spam, most friends would be more than willing to host your channel when they're not streaming.
  • Ask your viewers. In addition to reminding viewers to follow and subscribe during your broadcast, make a point of asking them to host you as well. Many Twitch users are very passionate about the streamers they follow and would love to support their favorites in as many ways as possible. They simply need to be reminded of how to do so.