As a producer of online content you have probably decided to take advantage of the ever growing appetite for online video content and produce your own online videos. Once you have your product all ready to go you can just upload your video to your WordPress site the way you do images, right?
Well, yes you can, but that does not mean you should. There are several problems you can encounter if you attempt to host your own video content, on any website, especially if your site is being hosted on a shared server.
We’re going to take a look at the difference between self-hosting video and embedding video content, and why the latter is always the better option.
What is the difference between self-hosting and embedding video content?
If you self-host your video content it means that you upload the content on your own site, so that content is being hosted on the same server as your website. If you use hosting solution, you upload the content to a third party provider and are then provided with a small amount of code.
You then reproduce this code on your website and the video is displayed there but is actually hosted by the third party provider. Now let’s take a look at the problems you will encounter if you opt for self-hosting.
Server bandwidth and storage space restrictions
One of the biggest problems you will face is space, or lack of it. Web hosting providers provide a certain amount of bandwidth on each server, which does not account for the uploading of large files.
This is especially the case if your website is being hosted on a shared server. If you start to upload video files then you are at risk of crashing not just your site but also those that share the server.
Many web hosting providers also limit the size of files that can be uploaded to 50MB. This means that you only ever be able to upload very short videos to your site. If you upload large files you may also be at risk of violating the Acceptable Use Policy. This could be extremely bad news if your site is shut down as a result.
Problems with playback
Choosing to self-host your video content on a single server can mean that your viewers experience problems during playback. Content can be slow to load or can be subject to breaks during playback.
This obviously is not the experience you want the viewer to have especially if it happens after huge marketing efforts and costs.
High volume of files requiring download
One of the big problems with self-hosting video content is that it’s not as simple as just uploading one file for one piece of video content, here’s why:
- Chrome is the only browser that supports all types of video file so if you want your content to be available to the maximum number of viewers you have to upload versions in formats like H.264 (MP4), WebM and Ogg. By doing so you are trebling the amount of file size you are uploading.
- Different viewers view content in different ways. Some view via desktop on a high-speed Internet connection; for these viewers you will want to provide a high quality HD file. Some viewers will watch on mobile devices so you will need a lower resolution version for them. Others have low-speed Internet connection so you will need to provide different bit-rates.
Again, you are increasing the amount of files for upload. It’s also important to note that even when you have converted your content to all formats it may still not play with the same level of quality across all browsers. Even after all the hard work your content may still not look how you want it to look.
Complications of video players
Video players are pieces of software that recognise who is requesting to view your content and provide it to them in the best possible format. They are not hard to find but they can be tricky to implement.
You need to negotiate the short code required in order to tell the video player which formats you are using and where they are located on the server. This is another task which takes time and effort.
You have seen the problems you can encounter from self-hosting and can see why using a third party is a better idea. Here are another couple of points to consider that make using a third party the preferred option.
Greater protection against piracy
The last thing you want to happen is for your video content to be pirated. It is not that difficult for those individuals who want to do so to get access to the source code for your videos and re-distribute them.
Using a third party provider takes this worry off your shoulders and offers you greater protection like tokenization, geo-restrictions, multi-device detection etc. This is especially important for content you want to sell via ppv or subscriptions.
There are many online video platforms today which you can use to host your online content. Each of them provide the hosting service with differences in quality, support, price, live stream option, security etc. To name a few: Ooyala, Brightcove, JW Player, Kaltura, Piksel as most widely used.