First, what is an RTMP server, and even before that, what is RTMP?
RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) is an application-level protocol owned by Adobe. It was originally designed for delivering on-demand media and live media (i.e live audio, video, and data) over the Internet between a Flash player and an RTMP Media Server. For example, we have the HTMP protocol, which is the sites that you can see on the browser, so the HTMP protocol is for the website. While the RTMP is for media, it allows media files, like video, audio, images, to be easily transferred or streamed by other users.
So an rtmp server is a normal server, or a vps, which has an rtmp software which can then be used to transfer this media files.
Now the important thing on all this is what is this software? And the main softwares that create the RTMP are
1- Flash Media Server, now changed to Adobe Media Server.
3- Wowza, now called, Live Streaming Engine.
And these are the 3 main RTMP servers or software, there are others like Nginx, but not so well known and not really used for production purposes.
How it all started, the RTMP?
It started with Adobe, they the ones who created this software with flash media server, it is a high quality software and it is very expensive, $4500 for the license.
But we must explain the issues with the RTMP, it is very popular some years ago, 2010 and about, every one wanted to make video chats, the problem is that flash is going to be disabled at the end of this year 2020 and video chats with flash will stop working.
But the RTMP has one incredible advantage, it is very fast between servers, a delay of 1 or 2 seconds of latency.
So RTMP will not go out soon because we can use it for live streaming from the broadcaster to the server, using the RTMP and then on the server it is distributed on any device using instead of RTMP using HLS, which means HTTP Live Streaming.
The latency now is 20-25 seconds, so it cannot be used for video chats but is perfectly alright for live streaming and on-demand video streaming.
Then we have Red5, which now has two versions. The paid version is called Red5 Pro, and it is also expensive, difficult to manage, but it can be used for live streaming and for video chats.
Hosting Marketers uses the free open-source software on all our servers, and it was the first shared hosting offering this service.
It is still used on some video chats but not sure what will happen after 2020….
You can read more about red5 on our old blog post “What is the use of Red5“
Then we have Wowza, which is the one we mostly use on our RTMP servers, it is very stable, easy to manage and very high quality.
There are many reasons for using Wowza to provide HLS streaming services compared to a generic web server. You’ve essentially listed them yourself, though to provide a few specifics; Wowza’s HLS implementation includes robust DRM functionality, timed data events via ID3 tags, alternative audio tracks. More are listed here.
I would recommend reading our Quick Start Guide which covers the concepts involved. For more detail around the HLS capabilities, I’d suggest you try our rtmp free trial account, on our site.
We also use it for live streaming on sports and Church services with live streaming, we adjust the server to reduce the latency, we can reduce it to 5-6 seconds by making some adjustments.