Everything You Need to Know About Twitch Subscriptions

How to subscribe & unsubscribe, why you should, and all about the sub tiers

Woman in blue shirt working on a laptop computer with a glass jar of money next to her
Twitch subscriptions are a popular way to make money for streamers. JGI/Jamie Grill / Blend Images

Twitch subscriptions are a monthly payment made to Twitch Partners and Affiliates as a way for viewers to support their favorite channels. Subscribers are given a variety of premium perks such as special emoticons (emotes) to use in a stream's chatroom while the streamer gains a recurring source of income that can help pay their streaming and living expenses. Subscriptions are one of the more-popular ways to make money on Twitch.

How is Subscribing Different Than Following?

Following a channel on Twitch will add it to your follow list and will also display it on the front page of the Twitch website and apps when it is live. It's similar to following accounts on Instagram or Twitter and is completely free.

Subscribing, on the other hand, is a way to support a Twitch channel financially by opting-in to regular monthly donations. Subscribing and following on Twitch are not the same thing.

Twitch Subscription Benefits: Viewer

While most viewers subscribe to channels mainly to support their favorite streamer, there are also several tangible benefits to opting-in to the recurring monthly payment. Many of these benefits vary from channel-to-channel however so it's always worth reading a Twitch streamer's channel page in full before subscribing to make sure you know exactly what you're getting. Here are all of the potential benefits.

  • Emotes: Emotes are specially designed emoticons (or emoji) that are unique to individual Twitch channels and are only available for subscribers of that channel. Subscribers of one channel can use that channel's emotes in any other chatroom on Twitch. In general, the more subscribers a channel has, the more emotes are made available for its subscribers to use. Emote creation is entirely the responsibility of the channel creator (i.e. the streamer) so the number of available emotes will vary from channel to channel.
  • Badges: Subscriber badges are special icons that display alongside a subscriber's name within the respective channel's chatroom. The default badge is that of a star however streamers have the option to customize it if they so choose. Streamers can also add custom badges that change depending on how many months a viewer has been subscribed for as a way to reward loyalty and encourage more viewers to subscribe.
  • Special Alerts: After beginning a Twitch subscription, a special Share button will appear in that channel's chatroom. When pressed during a live stream, a special alert will appear to all viewers announcing the new or renewed subscription along with the subscriber's Twitch username and the number of months that they've been subscribed for. The subscriber is also able to send the streamer a customized message for them to read.
  • Exclusive Chatroom: Twitch Partners and Affiliates have the option to create a sub-only chatroom for their streams that is only accessible to paying subscribers. This can be useful for popular channels who have thousands of followers commenting all at once in the chat which can essentially render it useless. Not all channels have these special chatrooms as it is up to the streamer to create them or not.
  • Exclusive Competitions: Many Twitch streamers hold special competitions for their subscribers or give them more entries in a contest that's open to all of their viewers. Prizes can range from small objects such as mugs and t-shirts but can also include larger prizes like video games or consoles.
  • Ad-Free Viewing: A lot of streamers choose to reward their subscribers with an ad-free viewing experience. This removes all pre, mid, and post-roll video ads from their stream. Some do choose to keep ads enabled though so this isn't a guarantee.

Twitch Subscription Benefits: Streamer

Subscriptions are available to streamers on Twitch who are either a Twitch Affiliate or Partner, statuses that are rewarded to users who actively broadcast several times a week and have a consistent and loyal viewership.

Subscriptions are incredibly important for streamers as they provide them with a source of recurring income that snowballs month-over-month as more viewers opt-in to subscribe.

Are Twitch Affiliate and Partner Subscriptions Different?

While Twitch Partners tend to have more features in general than Affiliates, the subscription feature is identical between the two account types and works in the same way. The only difference between the two account types in regards to subscriptions is emotes. Twitch Partners can create more.

How Much Does a Twitch Subscription Cost?

There are three tiers for Twitch subscriptions, all of which are designed around a monthly payment schedule. When the feature launched, the default subscription amount was $4.99 but in mid-2017 Twitch added two additional tiers for $9.99 and $24.99. Subscriptions can be payed monthly or in bulk payments at three or six month intervals.

How Much of the Subscription Fee Does the Streamer Get?

Officially, Twitch Partners and Affiliates receive 50% of the total subscription fee so for the $4.99 tier, the streamer would get around $2.50. Twitch has been known to increase this amount for popular streamers to encourage them to remain on the Twitch platform with some being upgraded to anywhere from 60 to 100% of the monthly fee.

How to Subscribe to a Twitch Channel

To subscribe to a Twitch channel, you need to visit it in a web browser on a computer. Note that it's not possible to subscribe to a Twitch channel via any of the official mobile or video game console apps and only channels which are run by Twitch Partners and Affiliates will display a subscribe option to viewers.

  1. On the channel page, click on the purple Subscribe button located above the video player in the top-right corner.
  2. A small box will appear with options to subscribe via Twitch Prime (more on that below) or with a payment.
  3. The default monthly subscription fee is set at $4.99. Click on See More Sub Options to choose the $9.99 or $24.99 payment options. A list of perks for each subscription tier will appear under each amount when clicked.
  4. Once the chosen amount is selected, click on the purple Subscribe Now button.
  5. The next screen will display both the credit card and PayPal payment options which can be completed the same as they would on any other online store. Clicking on the More Methods button however will display a wide variety of alternative payment options ranging from gift cards, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and even cash.
  6. The Twitch subscription will begin as soon as the chosen payment method is processed.

How to Subscribe with Twitch Prime For Free

Twitch Prime is a premium membership that provides members with an ad-free viewing experience across all Twitch channels, exclusive emotes and badges, and free digital content for video games. A Twitch Prime membership also gives members a free monthly subscription to the Twitch Partner or Affiliate of their choice valued at $4.99. This subscription is completely identical to a paid $4.99 subscription however it must be manually renewed each month by the subscriber.

To redeem this free Twitch Prime subscription, simply follow the steps for the paid subscription mentioned above but instead of clicking on the money options, choose the Prime tab and click on the purple Subscribe Free button.

How to Unsubscribe From a Twitch Channel

Twitch subscriptions can be cancelled at any time by choosing not to renew them on the dedicated subscriptions page on the Twitch website. The cancelled subscription will remain active for the remainder of the paid period but will cease when the next payment is needed. Users are unable to manage their subscription from within any of the Twitch video game console or mobile apps.

  1. Once logged in on any page on the Twitch website, click on the drop-down menu in the top right corner.
  2. Within the second-last group of menu items should be the option for Subscriptions. Click on it.
  3. You should now be taken to a page that will list all of the Twitch channels you're subscribed to. If you're not subscribed to any channels on Twitch, you will simply be greeted with a white screen and a message telling you as such as well as a friendly reminder to subscribe to Twitch channels that you want to support.
  4. If you are subscribed to a channel, it will display on this page along with its avatar, header image, subscription benefits, and channel emotes. To the far right of all of this information is a text link called Payment Info. Click on it.
  5. After clicking on this link, a small popup box will appear with the next date you'll be charged for the subscription, how much you'll be charged as well as how frequently, and a link called Don't Renew. Click on this link.
  6. You'll then be taken to a new page to confirm your cancellation. You'll also be provided with an opportunity to offer feedback and explain why you're cancelling your Twitch subscription. Filling in the feedback form is optional. When you're ready, click on the purple Don't Renew button to initiate your cancellation.

Subscriptions can be restarted at any time after a cancellation has taken place (i.e. after the final renewal date) but must be done so within 30 days for a user to maintain their subscription streak with a channel. If a subscription is renewed after 30 days have taken place, it will display as a completely new subscription with no history.

How to Change a Twitch Subscription Amount

A Twitch subscription's price can be changed to or from any of the $4.99, $9.99, and $24.99 rates at any time however the change will take effect immediately as a new charge and there are no refunds given for any days left on the original subscription period. Users are encouraged to wait until the last few days of a billing cycle to change their subscription rates.

Here's how to change the subscription amount. Note that like the other Twitch subscription management options, this can only be done from within the Twitch website in a web browser.

  1. Go to the page of the subscribed Twitch channel you wish to change.
  2. You should see a green Subscribed box on the far right of the top menu, to the left of the chat. Click on it.
  3. A white box will appear that lists the current rate of the subscription. Under this information will be the heading Change Your Subscription and the three available rates. Your current one will have a green star next to it.
  4. Click on each option to see their available subscriber perks (exclusive emotes, etc).
  5. Once you've decided on your new subscription rate, click on the purple Subscribe Now button. This will cancel your previous subscription and begin your new one at the changed amount immediately.

Your subscriber streak will carry over with the new rate even though you're paying a different amount. For example, if you had subscribed at the $4.99 rate for three months and then switched to the $9.99 rate, the following month will show you having been subscribed for four months.

When is a Twitch Subscription Renewed?

A monthly Twitch subscription is renewed on the same day that the first payment was made every month. If the initial payment was made on January 10th, the next would happen on February 10th, then March 10th, and so on. A Twitch subscription being paid on a three month cycle would begin on January 10th and be renewed on April 10th.

Should You Subscribe to a Twitch Channel?

Subscribing to a channel on Twitch isn't required to watch Twitch streams or to become a part of the Twitch community. It's a purely optional feature that many simply choose to partake in. While there may be some added perks for opting-into the monthly donations, the main reason to do so is to support a streamer that you wish to see succeed and everything else attached to it should be considered a bonus.

Do you have a favorite Twitch streamer that you want to support and have some extra cash lying around? Subscribing to their channel (if they're a Partner or Affiliate) could be a great way to help them. But remember, it's not compulsory.