If you want to store videos online, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the choices given to you. Should you host your content on your website or a streaming platform such as YouTube or Vimeo?
Both of these options have their pros and cons. While self-hosting offers more freedom over the overall video presentation, it can potentially slow down your website’s performance. Thus, picking the right hosting plan is a must.
On the other hand, external hosting sites make it easy to store and embed videos on a website. However, this method does come with its limitations, such as in-video ads, or quality restrictions because of compression.
If you’re not sure which option to take, don’t fret. This guide covers all there is to know about self-hosting or using video streaming services to upload videos. We’ll show you the best platforms for each option to help you make the right choice.
Benefits of self-hosting your videos
Self-hosting means uploading the files directly to your web server. You can either do this with a content management system or an FTP client.
Self-hosting is best for projects where more control over the content is needed. It provides full ownership over your videos, and there’s no need to comply with third-party rules to make them accessible.
Not to mention, you can customize the viewing experience as you like. There will be no ads or branded elements that will distract viewers from the videos. Plus, with a bit of work or through the use of plugins, it’s possible to configure the video player’s appearance and controls.
Despite the benefits, there are some disadvantages to consider as well. For instance, videos can take up a lot of storage space and bandwidth, putting a heavy load on your server. Without the proper hosting environment, they can compromise your website’s speed.
As an example, consider that the average file size of a one-minute 720p video is 256MB. Ten of these alone could take more than 2 GB of a disk space, which is significant for a cheaper shared hosting plan.
What’s more, you might need to use additional software or plugins to convert those videos for certain browsers, as not all of them support the same file formats.
Benefits of using a video hosting site
Using this method you will be uploading files on video sharing platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo. These platforms will then provide an HTML embed code, which you can add on your web page to make the video appear on the site.
Using a video hosting site can significantly lessen the burden on the server resources. Though embed codes can add some weight, they’re nowhere as large as a self-hosted video. Thus, you can focus entirely on making your content, no matter what hosting plan you use.
Additionally, most video platforms will handle all of the hard work for you, including the beforementioned content optimization for different browsers and devices. They also come with other features, such as video analytics, annotations, and social media integrations.
Admittedly, all these benefits come at a cost. Some sites may allow video hosting for free, but they might place ads on your videos. If you’re making educational content, for example, such ads could potentially ruin the entire viewing experience for your students.
Meanwhile, most ad-free video platforms charge a monthly subscription fee, which can get expensive over time.
Top hosting providers to self-host video
A capable hosting provider can do wonders for your site performance, which is doubly true when videos are involved. Granted, when self-hosting videos, performance won’t be the only thing on your mind. Videos take a good chunk of disk space, especially the high-quality ones, and that can ramp up quickly. If you’re not careful, you’ll run out of space quickly and you’ll need to either remove some videos or reduce the video quality, neither being a particularly good option. That’s why it’s important to pick a good provider with adequate disk space and bandwidth, among other things. Even better, use a third-party service that specializes in videos, like YouTube. Read on to check out the best hosting providers to self-host videos and the best third-party video hosting sites.
Top third-party video hosting sites
YouTube is the perfect place for those who want to build their following. With over two billion monthly active users, it’s a platform designed to reach audiences from all around the world.
When it comes to storage and bandwidth, YouTube is rather forgiving. You can upload as many videos as you like using the popular file formats, as long as they are up to 15 minutes long. For verified users, that limit reaches 12 hours in duration or 128 GB in size.
YouTube Studio is another strong feature, including a dashboard that comes with a built-in video editor and in-depth analytics tools for your channel and videos. Plus, the music library provides royalty-free music for you to choose if needed.
Unfortunately, the embedded video player is its major drawback. It includes a branded watermark and will show ads alongside external recommendations at the end of playback.
That said, there is no cost to using this popular video hosting platform, so you can upload and embed videos risk-free. It might even provide you with a new income stream if you’re eligible for the YouTube Partner Program.
Just like its competitor, Dailymotion is free to use, offering unlimited bandwidth and storage. All videos can be uploaded up to 4K, as long as they’re below 2 GB in size or less than 60 minutes long. If you’re not interested in making long videos, this should pose no problem for you.
Dailymotion’s privacy settings are quite impressive. You can hide videos from search engines and make them available via links only. Enabling password protection is also possible.
Though Dailymotion’s basic features are sufficient, its Partner program is where its true potential lies. Unlike YouTube, the process is much faster and easier.
As a Dailymotion Partner, you can customize the video player for embedding purposes. Feel free to edit its appearance, turn on scroll-to-play, manage the Up Next queue, and more. Additionally, all Partners can access analytics features and disable in-stream ads.
Vimeo works similarly to YouTube and Dailymotion, but it offers four premium plans in addition to the free version. As such, Vimeo can support itself while being ad-free, making it the go-to option for marketers and creative professionals.
In short, the free plan should suffice if you have only a few videos to upload. It provides 5 GB of storage, video conversion features, and some privacy controls. There are no file size or duration limits.
On the other hand, the paid packages come with increased storage, a custom video player, and advanced analytics. They start from $12 per month or $7 per month if billed yearly.
The other two more expensive plans allow hosting commercial content and gives access to marketing tools. There’s an email capture feature that allows you to set up custom forms, CTA buttons, and Vimeo’s professional video editor. These plans range between $50 and $75 when paid annually.
Wistia is a top pick among businesses and enterprises as it provides additional marketing solutions on top of its video hosting features. There are loads of lead-capture tools are at your disposal, such as overlay mailing list forms, clickable CTAs, and an A/B testing feature.
Wistia’s built-in SEO features also make videos searchable from the get-go, so your content could get more exposure from Google. What’s more, there is an accessibility checklist that you can use to ensure your videos are more user-friendly.
Unfortunately, Wistia limits the number of videos you can host. Users using the free account can only upload and embed up to free three files, while the Pro plan allows you to embed up to ten videos for $99 per month, but you can pay $0.25 for every additional file.
If you’re in need of a more personalized solution, Wistia offers an Advanced plan as well, but you’ll need to contact Wistia’s representative to do that.
No matter what content you want to host, Sproutvideo has got you covered. This video hosting platform offers plenty of useful features, including options for live video streaming, tools for a more efficient collaboration process, and robust privacy controls.
Sproutvideo’s marketing toolkit is quite powerful as well. It can even generate a landing page for every video you host with your own branding. Furthermore, the custom post-play screen feature allows you to add additional content at the end of playback to keep visitors engaged.
There’s no free plan, but a 30-day free trial is available. Their premium packages start from $24.99 up to $499.99 per month, and include the core standard features and support via email or live chat.
All of Sproutvideo’s plans come with 500 GB in storage and bandwidth, which is more than what many paid hosting sites are able to offer. There are no duration restrictions, but the file size cannot exceed more than 100 GB.