YouTube is the go-to destination for millions of people to upload, watch, and share videos. YouTube has a monopoly in these areas, which is why so many content creators desire to be successful on the platform. Success on YouTube equates to users earning hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. I have a YouTube channel with about forty videos, and I receive a cheque every month from the monetization of my videos. My earnings aren’t enough to lead to early retirement, but it’s another stream of passive income. Furthermore, it’s another touch point and traffic source for my website.
Example of a video from YouTube courtesy of Elegant Themes.
Suppose you want to feature several videos on your website–WordPress or other–instead of building a YouTube channel. These could be product, corporate, commercial, app, explainer, how-to, and testimonial videos. You choose YouTube to host your videos because it’s free. After you embed your videos, the appearance and limited privacy options don’t fulfill your needs. Also, YouTube’s branding, lack of customer support, and the ability to click-through to their platform are not what you want. You’ve worked hard on your videos and want to ensure they’re helping to grow your business, not Alphabet’s–YouTube’s parent company. You decide to explore alternatives.
The above scenario is what many individuals experience and want to avoid. It’s one thing if you’re a content creator and wish to showcase videos from your channel on your site to drive the growth of each. It’s another thing if you only want to feature videos on your website to grow your company and increase sales.
YouTube faces competition in the video hosting market for private and business use. They are an excellent hosting solution, but it depends on your goals. When searching for alternatives, consider the following:
- Video player appearance and options such as colors, branding, and call-to-action.
- Storage: number of videos or bytes allowed.
- Privacy and permission settings: the ability to control who sees your video and password-protect videos.
- Analytics: the data and reporting corresponding to views, watch time, shares, and engagement.
- Integrations: the ability to connect with other marketing and sales tools and services.
- Customer support channels and satisfaction.
- Plans and pricing.
Free and Paid Video Hosting Sites
Facebook needs no introduction. Billions of people use Facebook’s family of apps including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. Facebook entered the video landscape a couple of years ago to compete with YouTube. They support almost all types of video files, and file sizes up to 10 GB. Videos must be less than 240 minutes long. They recommend uploading videos using MP4 format and a resolution of 1080p or less. Facebook videos and live videos can be added to your site in three steps:
- Pick the URL of a Facebook video you want to embed.
- Paste the URL to the code configurator and click the “Get Code” button to generate your embedded video player code.
- Copy and paste the snippet into the HTML of the destination website.
The embedded video player has several settings that you can change including screen mode, autoplay, width, text, captions, and language.
Example of a video from Facebook courtesy of Fiverr.
Flickr is an online photo and video hosting, management, and sharing application. Flickr helps people make their photos available to others and enables new ways of editing, organizing, and sharing pictures and video. They recently changed hands again when photo-selling site SmugMug acquired them from Verizon’s Yahoo division. Every Flickr account has a minimum of 1 TB of storage. They support several video formats including MP4, WMV, MPEG, and more. Each video can be up to 1 GB, and video playback is constrained to the first three minutes. Flickr offers three plans including free, monthly, and annual.
Example of a video from Flickr.
Vimeo is a video-sharing website in which users can upload, share, and view videos. Over 70 million people and businesses use Vimeo. In content creation circles, Vimeo is usually the first platform thought of after YouTube. Unlike YouTube, they never put ads before, during, or after your videos. Vimeo has five plans ranging from free to premium. Their free plan is on par with YouTube except for storage limitations. If you want priority support, more storage, advanced privacy control, player customization, or interaction tools (like cards and calls to action in the embedded player), you’ll need to upgrade. Learn more about their plans and features.
Example of a video from Vimeo courtesy of TransferWise.
Wistia provides professional video hosting for businesses. They help companies to add their videos to the web, track their performance, and find new ways to build and engage with their audiences using online video. They provide tools to customize your video, so it matches your overall web brand, increase website traffic through video SEO, and generate new, engaged leads for growing your business. Wistia has three plans: free, pro, and advanced. Their free plan is limited to three videos. Learn more about their plans and features.
Example of a video from Wistia.
Two more video hosting companies that you can explore are vzaar and SproutVideo. If you want video hosting services to create online courses, check out Teachable and Thinkific.
Uploading Videos to WordPress
WordPress users should not upload videos to their sites. WordPress is primarily website software, not video software even though users can upload videos. Uploading videos to your website can cause bandwidth issues since too many requests to view a large video file can quickly exceed web server limits. Also, most web hosts limit the maximum size of uploaded files to 50 MB or less, which prohibits you from uploading video files that are longer than a few minutes in duration. Video quality, format, freezing, page speed, and responsiveness are other possible drawbacks. Using third-party platforms that specialize in video hosting and management is more efficient.