Technical Tips

Mike’s Technical Tip: Why You Should Avoid Hosting Your Own Videos

It’s tempting to assume that the best way to display videos on your website is to host them yourself (i.e. upload them to your webhost/server) but that’s far from the truth. In reality, that’s one of the worst ways to display your videos. Here are a few reasons why, and how you should be handling them instead.

An excellent article on this subject entitled “10 Reasons Why You Should Never Host Your Own Videos” describes in detail the problems you’d invariably face with self-hosting, including:

  1. File size, storage, and bandwidth limitations
  2. Videos could load slowly or freeze completely
  3. File format incompatibility, forcing you to convert and upload several versions
  4. You might be required to know some coding
  5. Different browsers or devices could display videos in differing qualities

The article goes on to explain the proper way to display videos, which is to upload them to dedicated video hosting sites such as YouTube or, preferably, Vimeo. You then embed the video onto your site. The main advantages of taking this route are:

The embedded video player will automatically detect the user’s device, browser, and Internet connection speed, and then serve the appropriate version of the video file to them. Nothing to install on your site. No plugins to keep up to date. No tricky code.

Video hosts also employ massive networks of redundant web servers all around the world. When you upload a video, it is automatically replicated on every server on their content delivery network (CDN), which means when a visitor to your site requests a video, it will be served from the node that is nearest to their location, ensuring smooth playback and an enjoyable viewing experience.

Read the full article for more information, but the above is enough to clearly indicate there’s a right way and a wrong way to display website videos, and self-hosting is the wrong way.

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