Video has been gradually taking over the internet. More people than ever before engage with videos, with users racking up billions of hours of consumption every day.
If you want to use video on your WordPress website, to tell a story, communicate with your audience or to help market your venture, now is a great time to do it.
How can you get a video online and make it available for all to see? Who hosts it? How does it all work?
This article will explain everything.
We’ll cover what video hosting is and the benefits it brings. We’ll also outline what to look for in a video host and then include some reasons why we think you should include video in your marketing efforts.
What Is Video Hosting?
Video hosting is a service that allows you to upload a video to a third-party so it can be played online. You can then embed or link to it on your own website, social media or within your marketing content.
The idea is to offer video content on the internet without overloading your WordPress website.
As many of us want to use most of our hosting server’s resources to deliver great performance for users, hosting video elsewhere ensures your website isn’t slowed down by video.
Why Shouldn’t I Host My Own Videos?
If you’re only planning on using a couple of short videos on your blog, you can host them yourself. WordPress is easily capable of managing a couple of short videos.
As soon as you want to offer more, or longer videos, WordPress will not be up to the task. Neither will your web hosting plan.
Video files are large. Even if you use MP4 format, you’re looking at:
|Video resolution||File size per minute|
|Ultra HD or 4K||3840 x 2160||320 MB|
|Full HD||1920 x 1080||149MB|
|HD||1280 x 720||105 MB|
|SD||720 x 480||26 MB|
As you can see, an HD video requires 105Mb per minute of storage space. While SD has a smaller file size, who shows video in SD anymore?
Video isn’t just storage space, it’s also about bitrate.
Video bitrate describes the bandwidth used by video when being viewed. The higher the bitrate, the higher the quality of video the visitor sees.
Most standard web hosting plans won’t be able to cope with video playback at the desired bitrates.
Bitrate combines with resolution and the frame rate to deliver the quality experience the audience demands.
Frame rates describe the speed at which video frames are replayed, expressed as FPS, Frames Per Second. The higher the frame rate, the smoother the video. Internet videos are typically 24 fps but can be between 30 and 60 fps.
|Video resolution||Required bitrate|
|Ultra HD or 4K||3840 x 2160||35–45 Mbps|
|Full HD||1920 x 1080||8 Mbps|
|HD||1280 x 720||9 Mbps|
|SD||720 x 480||5 Mbps|
As you can see, a full HD video requires around 8 Mbps bitrate to be able to be viewed at maximum resolution without buffering.
Not many web hosting plans will be able to cope with several of those going at once!
To learn more about video bitrate, check out this blog.
Hello! My name is Sujay and I’m CEO of Astra.
We’re on a mission to help small businesses grow online with affordable software products and the education you need to succeed.
Why Isn’t YouTube Enough?
YouTube is great for hobbyist videos, showcasing gaming or dancing skills. It is not really suitable for anything more serious.
If you’re new to video content hosting and want to grow an audience, YouTube is a good way to start. You will want to move on once you have your audience though.
- Distractions – Watch any YouTube video and you’ll see ads, placements for other videos and be on a screen advertising other videos. You want your audience to watch your video, not be tempted away by others!
- Professional persona – YouTube is great but it isn’t a professional platform. When you want your audience to consider you a professional, you’re going to need to be seen as one.
- Branding – If you want to host company videos and use your own branding, having it compete with YouTube’s own branding is a distraction. Professional video hosting won’t make your brand compete with theirs.
- Support – While video hosting is simple, there may be times when you need a little help. You’re mostly on your own with YouTube, but pay for content hosting and you should get premium support as part of the package.
- Analytics – When it comes time to measure the performance of your video, YouTube’s basic tools simply aren’t going to be enough.
- Audience segmentation – If you want to offer paid access to videos, offer videos for subscribers only or segment your audience another way, you’ll need more than YouTube.
- Accessibility – Many company, college and school firewalls block YouTube. If you want your videos to be accessed by the widest possible audience, this simply won’t do.
Here are what we think are the best video hosting platforms around right now. The list includes free video hosting options as well as premium content hosting, so every situation is covered.
YouTube is the most famous video hosting platform in the world. It counts it’s users by the million and video minutes played by the billion.
If you’re planning on launching video to grow an audience, this is where you start.
It has basic tools to upload and prepare videos, basic analytics so you can see who watches and when and earn a little money while you do it.
With iframe, you can easily embed YouTube videos to WordPress or any type of website.
The platform isn’t ideal for companies or those wanting to use video more professionally but is definitely a way to get started.
Features of YouTube:
- Free to use
- Audience of millions all ready to watch
- Unlimited video file storage
- Supports a wide range of video formats
Pros of YouTube:
- Existing audience that could turn into fans
- Your video may be promoted on other videos
- Free to use
- No file storage limit
Cons of YouTube:
- Little control over copyright and little copy protection
- Ads for other videos will be embedded within yours
YouTube is free to use.
YouTube is the world’s largest video hosting platform and has almost 2 billion users. That’s a huge potential audience for new video producers.
However, you get little protection for your videos, DMCA notices are common even when you don’t use copyrighted material and you have very little control over advertising that features on your video.
Vimeo is another well-known content hosting platform that has been around for years. It doesn’t quite have the reach or the audience of YouTube but it isn’t competing with YouTube.
Vimeo was originally launched with creatives in mind. A place to showcase work to other creatives. While that original intent is still true, Vimeo has shifted to a more business-oriented model and is where professionals go to see videos from other professionals.
If YouTube is Facebook, Vimeo is LinkedIn.
Features of Vimeo:
- HD streaming
- DRM tools to protect videos
- Control over ads and video embeds
- Vimeo Create offers tools to help make videos
Pros of Vimeo:
- Excellent security and DRM options
- No ads in your videos unless you place them
- Video download option
- High bandwidth and bitrate
Cons of Vimeo:
- Smaller audience than YouTube
- Costs money for better plans
Vimeo has a basic free video hosting plan plus five premium plans. Premium costs from $7 per month for 5GB of bandwidth per week up to $75 per month for unlimited streaming.
Vimeo is a very polished product that makes it easy to create as well as host your videos and showcase them to the world. It has excellent security, DRM options, privacy controls and collaboration tools for teams.
It’s ideal for those looking to engage with the B2B audience or other creatives.
3. Bunny Stream
Bunny Stream, despite the cute name, is a serious contender in the video hosting market. It’s a complete video hosting solution that includes transcoding, security, global CDN, a video player and cloud storage.
While Bunny Stream is very good on its own, combine it with Presto Player and you create a rich media powerhouse that combines the high performance video hosting services of Bunny Stream with the efficiencies of the powerful video player from Presto Player.
We don’t typically recommend two services together but in this case, we’re making an exception!
Features of Bunny Stream:
- Full video hosting service including transcoding and storage
- Global CDN to deliver videos anywhere quickly
- DRM, security and content protection built in
- Works seamlessly with Presto Player
Pros of Bunny Stream:
- One service for all your video hosting needs
- Offers distributed video hosting for fast performance
- Transcoding and security included for free
- Built-in monetization options
Cons of Bunny Stream:
- No specific WordPress integrations (which is where Presto Player comes in)
- No muted autoplay option
Bunny Stream Pricing
Bunny Stream doesn’t have the simplest pricing structure. You pay depending on where in the world you are, ($0.01/GB in US), plus extra for bandwidth, extra for Edge Storage and extra for Bunny Optimizer.
Presto Player costs from $69 per year up to $299 for a lifetime license.
Opinion of Bunny Stream
Bunny Stream is a powerful video hosting solution that offers fast performance, built-in security, global CDN presence and fast speeds. It doesn’t have WordPress integration and isn’t the lightest video player, which is why we pair it with Presto Player.
The combination of the two provide everything you need to offer fast, high quality video on your WordPress website!
Did you know that Jetpack offers video hosting? We didn’t either until we began researching this piece! We use the Jetpack WordPress plugin for a bunch of functions but had never considered it for content hosting, until now.
Jetpack has its own Content Delivery Network (CDN) that supports video. It also has its own unbranded video player you can embed on your WordPress pages to play videos too.
Subscribe to the premium plan and you’ll have access to the Jetpack Video Block which you can use in Gutenberg to place video anywhere on your page. You’ll also get analytics and reliable playback too.
Features of Jetpack:
- Part of the Jetpack premium plan
- Unlimited file storage on the Jetpack CDN
- Unbranded video player can be embedded with a block
- Reliable video playback
Pros of Jetpack:
- Comes as part of Jetpack and is enabled with a premium plan
- Uses the familiar dashboard most WordPress users are familiar with
- Unlimited video storage
- Unbranded video player keeps the message simple
Cons of Jetpack:
- No advanced analytics
- No existing audience to leverage
Video hosting is part of the Jetpack premium plan that costs between $9 and $45 per month.
If you’re a WordPress user, you’re likely already familiar with Jetpack and perhaps are even already using it. The plugin has a lot of very useful functions and offers great value.
If you’re already a premium plan subscriber, video hosting is a value-add. We wouldn’t necessarily say the Jetpack CDN is worth subscribing for on its own but if you have it already, it’s a no brainer.
That is, as long as you’re happy building your own audience rather than leveraging an existing audience like YouTube or Vimeo.
Wistia is a video hosting platform but that’s not its focus. The platform is more a video marketing tool than just a host and you get a lot more bang for your buck if you’re using video for marketing.
Wistia is a well-known platform that offers high quality, high bitrate video hosting with some powerful tools. Those tools include embeds, video editing tools, marketing tools and branding options.
Upload a video to Wistia and you can add lead capture embeds, calls to action, promote your other videos and a whole lot more. You can also use your CRM alongside the platform.
Features of Wistia:
- Fully customizable video player you can embed anywhere
- High quality playback
- Lots of marketing tools available
- Video editing tools on the site
Pros of Wistia:
- More of a pro level content hosting platform
- Lots of lead capture and marketing tools to use
- Playback is excellent
- Embed the unbranded video player anywhere on your website
Cons of Wistia:
- It’s expensive
- You’ll need to build your own audience
Wistia has a basic free video hosting plan with the ability to host 3 videos or podcasts. Pro plans cost from $99 per month for up to 10 videos while Advanced plans are POA.
The quality of Wistia’s offering is beyond question. It has all the marketing tools you’re likely to need, playback is of a very high quality and the dashboard is very straightforward to use.
The pricing will put it out of reach of all but the largest or most video-centric websites though.
Vidyard is more like Wistia than YouTube or Vimeo. It’s a video marketing platform that offers a range of tools for businesses to create and share video messages, market videos, share them online, track who watches them and when and a whole lot more.
You can embed videos on your website, in email, enable video sharing on social networks and use them however you like.
The service also automatically creates SEO transcripts, allows you to control users, password protect videos and analyze their performance down to the tiniest detail.
Features of Vidyard:
- High quality video streaming
- Flexible video player that can be embedded
- Password protection for videos
- Lots of marketing tools
Pros of Vidyard:
- A holistic approach to video marketing
- Lots of tools to use to promote videos
- Email video is a neat touch
- Excellent security
Cons of Vidyard:
- Dashboard isn’t the most intuitive
Vidyard offers a free video hosting plan for individuals and three premium plans that cost from $15 to $1250 per month.
Vidyard has a lot going for it. It provides a wide range of tools to help you promote through video and widen your market reach. There’s a lot going on and once you get used to the user dashboard, you could be utilizing its power in no time.
That price though!
Facebook isn’t known as a video hosting platform but video definitely plays a part in this social network.
It’s the only platform here with a comparable audience to YouTube and has the same downsides. It isn’t geared up for video hosting and has a much more casual audience. That might work for some uses but not for others.
While capable of video content hosting, that’s not the primary purpose. Therefore, marketing and promotion tools are limited. The potential audience is huge though so it could be used alongside a primary hosting platform if you wanted.
Features of Facebook:
- Unlimited video hosting
- Basic analytics tools
- Opportunity to use Facebook marketing tools to promote videos
- Opportunity to go viral
Pros of Facebook:
- Huge existing audience
- Unlimited video hosting and playback
- Easily embed videos on your Facebook page
- Easy to use
Cons of Facebook:
- Ads will be played along with your videos
- Basic editing and marketing options
Facebook offers free video hosting.
If the purpose of your videos suits the main use and demographics of Facebook, it’s an excellent option. Perhaps not as your sole video hosting choice but definitely as part of the mix.
Instagram offers free video hosting as part of its social media offering. If you’re looking to share video via social media to build a brand or a following, it is definitely worth checking out.
The app has basic video tools, hashtags and Reels and allows you to insert videos into feeds for your fans. For those reasons, it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for somewhere with free video hosting for short videos.
Features of Instagram:
- Free video hosting for short clips
- Massive user base ready to watch
- Can include video in feeds
- Some tools for businesses
Pros of Instagram:
- Huge user base across all demographics
- Easy to upload and publish
- Can leverage existing audiences while gathering more
- Well known social network
Cons of Instagram:
- Basic video editing tools
- Minimal privacy and security
Insta offers free video hosting as part of the social network.
Instagram is primarily for images but video works here too. The audience is huge and very diverse which lends itself well to engagement. It isn’t a dedicated video host though so we would recommend this as part of a marketing mix rather as a complete solution.
TikTok is the highest profile social network around right now and it’s centered on video. So, while it isn’t a video hosting solution, it does have potential for promotion or video sharing to an audience of millions.
TikTok is exceptionally popular with those under 25, so if this is your target market, you know where to go. All videos are short and all can be created and then uploaded by phone.
Some businesses shoot professional videos with studio-standard equipment and upload them, but the majority are mobile. That makes TikTok a very accessible social network for marketing and sharing.
Features of TikTok:
- Makes it easy to shoot and upload video
- App has some editing capabilities
- Short video clips help prevent boredom
- Huge potential audience
Pros of TikTok:
- The app is super-simple to use
- Shoot, edit and upload on your phone
- Huge audience of under 25s willing to engage
- Opportunity to go viral
Cons of TikTok:
- Limited options for monetization
- Only viable for that younger audience
TikTok offers free video hosting as part of the social network.
If your target audience is under 25, you have to be on TikTok. It shouldn’t be your only video hosting solution but should definitely be part of the mix. It’s simple, engaging and accessible to anyone with a smartphone. But effort is definitely required to stand out from the crowd!
If you’re looking for video content hosting for courses, check out Uscreen. It’s dedicated to online learning and is an alternative to the many online learning portals out there like Udemy.
Where Udemy enables you to build entire courses, Uscreen is all about the video. It allows you to upload, manage, organize, monetize, stream live and analyze videos in a range of ways.
There are also tools to create your own video apps, market your videos, monetize them with ads and other features and rent or offer subscriptions for videos. If you’re looking to make money from video, this is definitely a platform worth checking out!
Features of Uscreen:
- Extensive marketing and monetization tools
- Live streaming tools
- Sell, rent or subscribe options for video
- Enhanced security to protect your content
Pros of Uscreen:
- Easy to use with great documentation
- Lots of opportunities for marketing and monetization
- Includes a video CMS and video player
- Lots of analytics
Cons of Uscreen:
- The price
Uscreen is a premium video content hosting solution. It has three plans that cost from $49 per month upwards plus charges an extra $0.50 per subscriber.
We enjoyed our brief time with Uscreen. It’s well designed, has a lot of powerful video tools, lots of marketing options, monetization tools, live streaming and help whenever you need it. Pricing places it out of reach of most of us though, which is a shame.
Brightcove has seemingly been around forever. Its Video Cloud product is their video content hosting offering and delivers exceptional performance across the board.
This is an enterprise-level solution with the tools, support and pricing to match. It is used by some of the world’s biggest brands for video hosting, marketing and monetization and works incredibly well.
You get a suite of editing and publishing tools, you can live stream, use the video CMS, protect your work with DRM, utilize APIs, SDKs, and different transcoding options too. Whatever you want your video to do online, Brightcove can do it.
Features of Brightcove:
- Enterprise-level video editing and publishing tools
- Marketing and monetization options
- Video analytics and DRM
- Lots of integrations with other platforms
Pros of Brightcove:
- Every video tool you could possibly need
- Great documentation and training materials
- Simple video and content management
- No max file sizes
Cons of Brightcove:
- All these options introduce complexity
Brightcove’s pricing structure is a little complex and the company isn’t exactly up front about pricing. From what we can tell, plans start at around $199 per month.
Brightcove is a high performance product better suited to larger businesses and enterprise. It’s the most feature-rich video content hosting option around but that comes at a price. We are always suspicious when a firm isn’t upfront and transparent about its pricing and this is a case in point.
Spotlightr, formerly vooPlayer, is another video content hosting solution designed for businesses. It’s more about hosting and marketing than growing an audience but there are lots of tools to help you manage and promote your videos too.
Spotlightr provides cloud or hybrid video hosting and offers marketing tools, monetization options, strong security, analytics and integration with leading CMS and CRM.
It’s a decent option with lots of tools to add buttons, overlays, sales funnels, links, embeds and other features.
Features of Spotlightr:
- High performance cloud server infrastructure
- Lots of tools for marketing and promoting videos
- Publishing and analytics tools
- Supports external sources like YouTube, Vimeo, Amazon, Dropbox, Facebook and others
Pros of Spotlightr:
- Powerful in the hands of marketers
- Lots of monetization tools
- Analytics are insightful
Integrate with social media and external sources
Cons of Spotlightr:
- Learning curve for inexperienced marketers
- Emphasis on marketing videos rather than creating, editing and hosting
Spotlightr has a free video hosting tier plus a premium plan that costs $24 per month.
Spotlightr is an excellent option if you want to market and monetize your videos. It straddles the fields on having an existing audience like Facebook or Insta with the powerful hosting tools you need.
SproutVideo is a small outfit with big ideas. It offers video hosting for small to medium sized businesses as well as a range of tools to market and monetize.
SproutVideo supports video hosting and live streaming while delivering smooth playback with a simple, no-nonsense video player. It also provides marketing tools including lead capture, CTAs, post-play screens, video SEO and other neat tricks.
SproutVideo also offers a type of video website builder platform with its own themes and designs. Something not many other video content hosting platforms offer.
Features of SproutVideo:
- Well thought-out video hosting
- Lots of marketing options for businesses
- Strong security to protect your videos
- Detailed analytics
Pros of SproutVideo:
- Simple, no-nonsense approach
- Helpful with good documentation
- Exhaustive marketing opportunities
- Integrates with CRM and other apps
Cons of SproutVideo:
- No pre-existing audience to leverage
- Marketing options can quickly become complex
SproutVideo is a premium content hosting provider with four plans costing between $24 and $499 per month. There is a free trial though.
SproutVideo has a cool vibe and a lot to recommend it. Hosting is smooth, it supports most video formats, there’s live chat support and a range of security options to protect your video. It’s an excellent option for experienced marketers!
Dailymotion is a video sharing platform like YouTube with a very definite social element. It has an audience of hundreds of millions, has an instantly familiar layout and offers the chance to upload your own videos to feature on the site.
Dailymotion is often used by creatives and startups wanting to build an audience. It has lower editorial standards than YouTube so you’ll see a lot more variety in terms of content subjects and quality.
The platform provides simple upload and publishing tools that work for anyone along with some basic DRM tools too.
Features of Dailymotion:
- Part social network part video hosting
- Simple process for upload and publishing
- Existing audience of hundreds of millions
- Minimal content restrictions
Pros of Dailymotion:
- Huge existing audience to help grow a following
- Will accept a much wider range of content than YouTube
- Copyright tools to avoid DMCA
- Popular with creatives and younger demographics
Cons of Dailymotion:
- No monetization or marketing tools
Dailymotion offers free video hosting as part of its core features.
Dailymotion is a free video hosting solution ideal for those into video sharing rather than monetization. It has lower editorial standards which works both for it and against it. If you’re targeting a younger, edgier demographic, this could work. If your audience is more mainstream, it might not.
15. JW Player
JW Player is an enterprise video hosting platform designed for medium to large businesses. It focuses on speed and advertising revenue as it’s USPs and seems to deliver.
The player itself is well designed and lightweight. It provides seamless playback and can be embedded almost anywhere online.
Features of JW Player:
- Fast and reliable video content hosting
- Multi and adaptive bitrate streaming for seamless playback
- Technical support for customers
- Advertising and monetization options
Pros of JW Player:
- Very reliable player that works anywhere
- Seamless playback thanks to adaptive bitrate streaming
- Tools to monetize videos
- Smart video recommendation engine
Cons of JW Player:
- Time limit on live streams
JW Player is a premium video content hosting platform with plans starting at $10 per month. There’s a 30 day free trial too.
JW Player’s strength is its speed and flexibility. It has one of the best video players around that can be used just about anywhere. Monetization options are okay too, while the dashboard is relatively easy to get to grips with.
The Rise of Video on the Internet
Video has been steadily taking over the internet for the past few years. More people are watching video online and more people than ever are creating video content to feed this appetite.
Here are some statistics to illustrate just how powerful video is on the internet:
- We watch an average of 16 hours of video content per week
- Videos can generate 1200% more shares than other content
- Video is many times more effective at communicating a message than written content
- 96% of internet users have watched how-to videos to learn more about a product or service
- 86% of internet users want to see more video content
- Marketers who use video enjoy 34% higher conversion rates
With this rise in video for conversion, education, entertainment and learning, it makes sense for every business to include it in their own content mix.
Brainstorm Force, the people behind Astra have their own YouTube channel full of how-to videos, news, updates and more. Check it out!
How Video Helps Marketing and Engagement
There are several benefits of using video for marketing. Here are just a few of them.
More People Are Watching Video
YouTube alone logs around 2 billion visits each month by logged-in users. That doesn’t include occasional visitors who don’t log in.
YouTube plays around 1 billion hours of video per day and reaches more people than every TV network in the US combined.
Videos Help Build Trust
Visual mediums, where we can see who is talking to us, help convey trust and authority much more than written content. Being able to see a face behind the brand isn’t quite equal to looking them in the eye but it’s the next best thing.
Videos Show as Well as Tell
Some people can learn well from books while others can learn from doing. Many of us can learn from seeing, which is where video comes in. You can show a product or service, showcase it in action, show how to fix it or get the best out of it.
Video is far superior to written content in this regard, which is one of the many reasons it is so popular.
It’s a Flexible Medium
Video offers a lot of flexibility in terms of content, topics, styles and platforms you can host it or feature it on. Interviews, how-to videos, showcases, webinars, round tables, news, reviews and more all work incredibly well on video.
It’s a Passive Medium
Video is easy to access and requires very little from the viewer. Where reading an article like this takes patience and concentration, you need very little of either to watch a video.
While passive, watching a video still allows you to learn, to absorb messages and to build trust in the brand who made it.
Video Is Great for SEO
Finally, video is very good for SEO. Whether you upload to YouTube or not, you can embed links to help engagement, video can appear in Google results and video transcription adds yet another opportunity to feature on the results page.
Video is on the rise and isn’t even close to its peak. We often recommend WordPress users integrate video into their websites and blog posts but not to upload it directly.
If you want to include video in your marketing or on your WordPress site, don’t host it yourself. Use a video hosting solution and embed it onto the page. Your audience will appreciate the flexibility and your website won’t slow down when your videos go viral!
Do you use a video host? Have any others to suggest? Any thoughts on the video hosts we featured? Tell us your thoughts below!