Since I can think, video hosting is a big issue and has always been quite a problem. In the past, for example, traffic* was usually so expensive that no one could afford videos on the Internet. It simply wasn’t worth it.
Then there were smaller providers for videos and suddenly YouTube was there, which is why all of them uploaded their videos on the Google platform. But is YouTube, which is the last surviving video platform today, really the best way to include videos on your website?
My experiences and also my opinion I would like to explain to you in today’s article. Because video hosting is not quite as simple and obvious as it sounds to many people.
Video player or HTML 5?
At the beginning the question arises whether you want to integrate videos with your own player or simply via HTML 5. The former allows many additional functions, but also requires a corresponding script in the background, which causes loading time. The latter is the fast native method, but then only delivers the standard player of the respective browser. Forwarding, slow motion and special reloading or buffering are of course not so easy to implement.
However, I would always recommend the native HTML 5 player. The video players always look very fancy, but are basically only ballast and in most cases not necessary. If you’re not building a gigantic portal, so you need a lot of own functions and connections, an own video player is simply not necessary. Exactly these are the advantages of HTML 5, because such things don’t have to be inserted manually anymore, they already work natively in the browser.
The first tip when it comes to videos on your own website would be to stick with a simple technique like HTML 5. Also because I already had more than one video player causing problems, which would not have been possible with HTML 5.
Video Hosting, but where and how?
Then the already mentioned question arises, where exactly the own video should be hosted. The simplest method would be to simply upload the video file to your own server. But this doesn’t seem really clever, because the download rate at the hoster is usually limited and the server isn’t meant for lightning fast delivery.
So if you need more than one short clip, you need a Content Delivery Network for your videos, a CDN that is specially designed to deliver content as fast and stable as possible. But that costs money again, and a lot of money, because video files are big and it’s not only users who retrieve files, but also many bots.
Brief info on the side: Have a look at the logs of your server to see how much traffic you are currently causing per month. Compare the number afterwards times with the actual visitor numbers and already it is clear that something does not fit there. Most of the traffic doesn’t come from your visitors.
Because nobody likes to pay money, many people just use YouTube. Simply upload the video and embed the embed code into your website. However, the latter is no longer quite as easy because of the DSGVO, which is why it is currently recommended to download the videos only by clicking. That requires then again its own Script or Plugin and then videos can be hosted also directly.
The big problem with YouTube
But YouTube has other problems beyond the DSGVO. The YouTube Encoder, which converts uploaded videos into formats optimized for YouTube, destroys all the details in the clips. Film a 4K cornfield blowing in the wind and upload it to YouTube. What’s left is more or less pixel pulp.
Another problem with YouTube is that the video can be viewed anywhere. If it’s about a video for your website, but that shouldn’t happen, it should only be available on your website. While there is a way not to publicly list videos, this does not stop the competition from using a video for their own purposes, or from using a video for other purposes.
Niche sites like to do this and add product introductions from YouTube that they didn’t create themselves. A watermark won’t help, because people don’t care anyway.
So YouTube works well, but in that sense it’s not a video hoster. It’s a platform for everyone who doesn’t want videos to be uploaded just for their own website. The conversion destroys many a video and in general YouTube may be practical, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense.
What everyone used to love, most people now see more critically. YouTube has become very commercial, the content is not necessarily positive and in many areas it works more like a community. Not necessarily where videos are stored for a website, but rather another channel for marketing.
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Vimeo & Wistia
Real video hosting, without CDN and in simple, is available at Vimeo and Wistia. With Vimeo I always had a corresponding premium account myself. You can get it there for 6 Euro per month, which is incredibly cheap for what Vimeo offers you.
On the one hand the quality of Vimeo is much better. This is about the video, not about providing especially short loading times for the masses. So the quality should be maintained and that has always been the goal. Vimeo was therefore used for short films or art right from the start, but has now become a pure hoster.
From the pro membership on there are also direct links to the respective video file on Vimeo, so that you can integrate videos with your own player or natively via HTML 5. Thus Vimeo becomes a pure video hoster, which makes the administration very easy thanks to a practical admin. In addition, embeds from Vimeo can also be regulated so that they can only be embedded on the previously defined domains. So if someone wants to embed your video on their website, it simply won’t work.
This is how video hosting works: Tips and tricks for videos on your own website
There are many more advantages with Vimeo, because Vimeo is really limited to video hosting. Even live streaming is now offered.
Wistia is very expensive from my point of view, but is also aimed at companies that need a lot of bandwidth in the end. There are CTAs on the videos, very detailed analyses and the player can be freely adapted. The free version is free, but includes a branding. Otherwise you will have to pay a few hundred Euros per month if you want to use Wistia’s video hosting effectively. But the hosting is also qualitative and the player loads really lightning fast and offers an excellent video quality.
Which video hosting is the best?
If you need a short introduction video for your website, you can host it on your own server without any problems and without paralyzing your whole website. Only when there is more, a dedicated video hosting is necessary, because otherwise visitors will have problems loading the video fast enough.
YouTube is the wrong choice as a pure hoster. That’s what I think. It is a platform, like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, should be used accordingly. If you understand the channel concept, deliver regular content, interact with the community etc. YouTube is great, but as a pure video hoster you have to criticize the quality.
Vimeo is great because it can be used as an inexpensive video CDN. That’s fantastic, especially thanks to many features. Also the restriction of embeds to the domains or the direct link to the videos, which can then be integrated with your own player, is quite successful. I can only recommend and use it myself again and again.
Wistia is usually too expensive for webmasters. There is a lot on offer here, the player is slim and fast, but this is only interesting for companies and usually only if you want to present a handful of fixed videos, so do not have masses of uploads.
Oh, and then you could of course set up a CDN yourself, upload videos and embed them accordingly. But that’s a lot of effort, you have to optimize and convert the video files accordingly or create a process that does all this automatically. For most people it’s unrealistic.
The big question you have to answer is in my opinion only: Should my videos be publicly findable and usable? YouTube can be great for unboxings or Let’s Plays to celebrate views and successes there as well.
But if you only produce videos for your website, you should make sure that they don’t appear on YouTube and can’t be embedded and reused by everyone else. And that can usually only be done with a real