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Why you shouldn’t host video on your website

Why you shouldn’t host video on your website

February 9, 2024

Our friends over at Quickfire Digital love building websites as much as we love making animations and video productions. That’s why we asked them why you shouldn’t publish video on your website.

Knowing why will make a big impact on the amount of time, money and effort you spend on managing videos, not to mention improve the experience people have on your website and help with SEO.

Let's get straight to the point

The first thing we tell people is one very simple thing: do not host videos directly.

“But we can upload video to our media library in WordPress and play from there.” Says Nathan Lomax.

Yes, you can – but don’t. There are numerous reasons why you should not self-host your videos. Let’s look at a few.

It will slow your site down

In these days of Ultra HD, your audience wants their videos to be of a certain quality. That’s fine – but hosting HD video will be a big drain on your server bandwidth.

This will likely cause your website to slow down, annoying visitors and leading to them leaving before they’ve watched the full video – and preventing them from buying what you’re selling.

Slow websites have poor conversion rates and are likely to see a negative impact on their SEO efforts. Conversion technology specialist Crazy Egg reports: Just a one-second delay in page load time yields: 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction and a 7% loss in conversions.

Customers with slow internet connections will simply be unable to play the video and if the video is hosted alongside your website on just a single server then there’s a good chance it’s going to freeze at random points.

So all of that hard work you’ve put in to create a video you’re incredibly proud of? Rendered pointless.

It will cost you more

You’ll be paying a company for hosting. Increase the amount of content you’ll be hosting and you’ll be paying more.

Plus most hosting providers limit the size of files you can upload to 50MB which means you won’t be able to run a video for more than a few minutes.

On top of that you run the risk of hitting your maximum storage space. Videos are big and bigger is not always better.

It will take time to do properly

Different web browsers support different video formats so you’ll need to prepare yourselves to convert your video into multiple formats.

Hang on though…it doesn’t stop there. You’ll also need to create different versions for different devices. You’ll want to create HD videos for desktop at 1080p or 720p so users can watch full screen but you will also need to create lower-resolution versions for phones and tablets and for those with slower connections.

Oh yeah…you’ll also need to create some code to tell the video player all the formats you’ve created.

Now you’ve got multiple videos to host in different formats and sizes – taking more of that bandwidth – and you need someone to sort all of that.

Have you got that time to spare?

There is a simple solution

Hopefully now you’re convinced what not to do. So, what’s the answer? Simple: embed your videos.

Still create your stunning videos; still amaze your audiences; still sit back and admire your work.

Just upload them to a third-party platform and embed them on your website. They deal with the hosting, challenges around formats and you just need to select the platform that’s right for you.

Option 1: YouTube

No introduction is needed to the world’s largest video platform – but some businesses are put off by the slightly frivolous content on there and others aren’t keen on seeing the “related videos” message at the end of their video.

The latter can be overcome by unlisting your video but that also means it won’t appear on your YouTube channel or in search results. With YouTube being the second largest search engine – behind its parent Google – by marking a video as unlisted means you’re missing out on one of the big reasons to use YouTube.

Option 2: Vimeo

The next option up is to use Vimeo which looks more professional than YouTube but might cost you a little bit, particularly with a Vimeo Pro account.

This will allow you to publish (not host) the video only on your own site thus providing you with a greater level of control. Vimeo also does not run video adverts, a staple of YouTube’s offering.

Option 3: Wistia

For a deeper level of integration, turn to Wistia. Your videos will look super professional, you can add logos, change controls and brand the platform in your own colours.

You get some cool interactive tools such as adding calls-to-action, annotations and email gates – but you will pay that bit extra for this level of control.

Bonus option: Cloudinary

Cloudinary is a CDN (a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content) which has started automatically doing a lot of the aspects that the other platforms do, but it also has a healthy free tier so might be the best of both worlds.

One of the other major benefits of using a third-party is that captioning can be handled automatically although it is recommended to review these and edit where necessary as these are created through machine learning and might not always be 100% right.

The Takeaway

When publishing videos on your websites, the recommendation is clear – embed, don’t host.