7 reasons why you should never host your own videos
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The power of video
Having videos on your website is a great way of attracting, and retaining visitors.
You give people content rich experiences.
Often videos are much better at getting the point across when compared to text, and generally have a greater retention as well.
There are a host of great reasons why you should have video content on your site.
93% of marketers who use video say that it’s an important part of their marketing strategy, up from just 78% in 2015.
86% of video marketers say video has increased traffic to their website.
Why not self-host – what could possibly go wrong?
First off what do I mean by host?
This is referring to where your video lives, and while it is possible to upload videos to your own website (self-hosting) there are a number of important reasons why this is not a great idea.
The main one, and I’ll touch on others later, is the playback may be slow, or worse still your video may not work at all.
You may have spent ages creating your video, spent ages uploading it, spent ages testing it to see if it works, and then been left with a bit of a nasty surprise.
While it seems to work fine for you, someone lets you know that for them it’s not working properly.
If one person has let you know, what about all the others who tried, had a bad experience, and moved on without saying anything or having the chance to see the rest of your amazing content?
Top reasons why hosting on your own website is a bad idea
1. User experience
As I mentioned above, it may well be you videos just don’t work, and that is a terrible user experience.
Think about what you’d do if you went to a website and decided to watch a video there, but it didn’t play properly, or at all. Would you stay, would you return?
The truth is that most people host their websites on shared hosting. A certain amount of bandwidth is allocated to each of the sites that share the hosting, and if your site is resource heavy (videos can be BIG) then this is one reason they may stop working for people. You’ve simply run out of resources.
2. Storage space
Did I mention that videos can be big?
Most web hosting will limit your upload file size, usually to around 50MB.
To give a bit of context an HD video file can easily weigh in at more than 100 MB.
Given that you may find it impossible to upload your video in the first place.
But, let’s say your hosting allows for larger uploads, as some do.
That sounds like a good thing right? Not really, you could eventually exceed the amount of storage space provided by your hosting account, especially if you regularly back up your site. In addition to the amount of disk space your video files will occupy, backups will begin to take significantly longer to execute. More data requires more disk space, and takes more time to backup.
3. File formats
Just to make things even more annoying there’s the issue of file formats to also consider. There’s no standard.
The good news is chrome supports all the video file formats. The bad news is not everyone uses chrome.
The current HTML5 draft specification does not specify which video formats browsers should support. As a result, the major web browsers have diverged, each one supporting a different format. Firefox will play Ogg or WebM videos, but not H.264. Safari will play H.264 (MP4) videos, but not WebM or Ogg.
You want your videos to play back on all the major web browsers, so you’ll have to convert your video into multiple formats: .mp4, .ogv, and .webm
This just compound your storage space issue, you’ve just trebled the amount you need per video.
4. Video versions
So far it sounds like a bit of a nightmare, large video files in 3 different formats taking us huge chunks of space on your hosting.
But it gets worse.
Your beautiful 4K HD video someone is watching on their super high-res giant monitor is just too much for a smaller device such as a tablet or a phone, especially if someone is using data to watch.
For this reason, you’ll want to make different versions of each video, an HD version and a lower resolution versions for people with smaller screens or slower internet.
Not only is this taking up even more space, it’s sucking up your time as well producing all of this.
Thankfully there are tools out there which will detect which device is being used, the browser, the connection speed and deliver the right version.
However, these tools need to be setup, and configured, more work added to your ever growing list of jobs to tackle.
5. Fiddly setup
Depending on the solution you use you are going to have to work a bit to get your video to show up.
You may have to write bit of code, like this….
<video poster=”movie.jpg” controls>
<source src=”myMovie.webm” type=’video/webm; codecs=”vp8.0, vorbis”‘/>
<source src=”myMovie.ogg” type=’video/ogg; codecs=”theora, vorbis”‘/>
<source src=”myMovie.mp4″ type=’video/mp4; codecs=”avc1.4D401E, mp4a.40.2″‘/>
<p>This is fallback content</p>
Or if you’re in WordPress using the built-in support then you’ll need a bit of shortcode, like this…
[video width=”960″ height=”540″ mp4=”myMovie.mp4″ ogv=”myMovie.ogv” webm=”myMovie.webm”]
Typo prone and fiddly.
6. My videos look different in different browsers!
After all the effort of rendering out different sizes, making different formats, uploading them all (if the file upload size is large enough), and finally going to the effort of getting them to be visible and play (smoothly if you’re in luck), you find out they look different in different browsers!
Each web browser handles video playback differently. So, the exact same video file may look fantastic in one browser, but horrible in another.
There is a way of making things look consistent and keeping the quality high, but it can mean a lot of trial and error in whatever video editing package you are using. More hassle….
If you do decide that you are going to host video you’ll also need to ensure your video files can’t be downloaded by anyone and then redistributed illegally on file sharing sites. More work, more hassle…
So what is the best way to add a video to your site?
The easy answer is, don’t. Well, at least don’t host them on your own site. You can still have a rich video experience for your visitors, and without all the downsides I’ve talked about above.
And the way to do this is to upload your videos to someone else’s site, a site where they have sorted out all of these issues, and then embed the video back on yours.
I am talking of course about services such as Youtube and Vimeo.
There is also another massive advantage to doing things this way, and that is visibility.
Did you know YouTube is the second largest internet search engine? It is only surpassed in the number of daily searches by Google.
Having your videos hosted on dedicated video hosting platforms gives people even more opportunity to find your awesome content, and head over to your website to find more.
I hope you’ve found this article useful and you can see the benefits that come from hosting your videos on places like Vimeo and Youtube.
We use Vimeo pro on our website, as we have found it to be flexible, affordable and easy to use. You can hide your videos from the public, and then specify a particular domain on which the video may be embedded. This ensures your videos can only be embedded on your own site and nowhere else.
You can find out more about how to configure Vimeo by heading over to our article How to embed Vimeo Videos.
If you’d like to have a chat with us about helping you out with any video related website work, or indeed anything else web related then get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
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