The best video hosting providers give you the ability to add video to your website in order to create a much more engaging experience for your visitors.
Videos can add a whole new dimension to your website. If you’re trying to build your reputation and create a brand, video testimonials add much more value than a text-based quote on your site. If marketing is the goal, the visuals of a well-executed video will do much more to capture the attention of a prospective customer than a simple text and image-based page ever will.
If you want to help your visitors solve a problem, a video walkthrough can give them a far better chance of success than a step-by-step written guide.
The problem with using video on your website is how to host it. You can upload a video to your web server and host it from there. However, no one recommends this. Not only will you use up a lot of storage, but you will quickly consume your bandwidth allowance each time someone watches one of your videos.
If you do plan to add video content to your site, it’s recommended that you use a dedicated video hosting provider then embed the videos into your web pages.
So if you’re new to hosting video content, this guide will help you navigate the various offerings so you can find the best video hosting plan for you.
What is Video Hosting?
Video hosting is similar to other types of file and media hosting. When you sign up for a hosting plan, you are allocated space on a server, given account credentials to log in with, a set amount of bandwidth and a control panel to make things easier to manage.
Video hosting has some specific requirements that make this type of hosting a bit different. Videos are the largest file types you are likely to ever host. Even a short video is going to take up a large amount of storage space. These large files also mean that quite a bit of bandwidth is going to be consumed when they are played over the internet.
The best video hosting plans offer servers, like those from SproutVideo, that can easily handle these large files. But that’s not the only difference.
Video hosting companies also provide APIs and video players that allow customers to embed their hosted videos on other sites. This allows them to store their videos on the servers equipped to handle multimedia files while still having the ability to display them on their website that’s hosted by another company.
Video hosting eliminates the need to upload the video files to the actual web server and therefore, helps avoid the problems with taking that approach.
Who is Video Hosting For?
There’s a large market for video hosting these days.
Social media has become an integral part of people’s lives. Nowadays, most people own a phone with a video camera more powerful than early camcorders. Therefore, it’s easy to see why the consumer market for video hosting is so popular.
Businesses and professionals, on the other hand, have different needs, although they also make use of video.
Most business sites host videos to help enhance their content offerings. While sites like YouTube may help with marketing, for other needs a professional video hosting platform may better serve their purposes.
If there’s a need to track analytics, social video hosting isn’t going to provide the granular data needed. Also, many organization’s block access to free, social video hosting. If there’s a chance that their audience may find their content blocked, YouTube is not the best video hosting choice.
Bloggers and smaller websites can also benefit from using dedicated video hosting. One way is to embed videos into their posts and pages to help diversify their content. Other ways include creating video tutorials and walkthroughs to give their audience a visual demonstration of what they are teaching. Either way, videos help attract visitors and help establish credibility.
Pros of Video Hosting
We have said it already, but the number one advantage to video hosting comes down to performance.
1. Improved performance
By using the best video hosting providers you are able to display videos on your website without having to worry about performance issues. You also avoid running the risk of generating overage costs from consuming too much bandwidth or storage as the videos are not stored, or played, on your web hosting server.
2. Access to analytical data
For websites that use videos to drive traffic or enhance their marketing campaigns, going with a subpar host leaves a lot of information out of the equation.
The best video hosting providers will offer an excellent set of analytical data to their customers. This information shows who is watching videos, which videos are the most popular, which videos help drive calls to action and much more.
3. Improved functionality
Finally, the best video hosting platforms make uploading, embedding and playing videos easy. Using their control panels, customers can easily get their videos online and embedded into their websites and other platforms. By using a dedicated video host, you also get more control over who can access your videos.
Cons of Video Hosting
Video hosting is not cheap. Since the storage space and bandwidth requirements are usually large, costs tend to mount up rather quickly. These fees are also in addition to what you are paying to host your website.
1. Limited cheap and free plans
Another drawback to video hosting is the fact that free plans, and some of the lower cost options, limit features and analytical data. This can hamper the benefits that these plans offer over the social video hosting services.
2. Branding issues
Finally, these introductory plans offered by video hosts often include display branding on the video or the player itself. If you’re a business trying to establish your identity and credibility, having someone else’s branding can raise eyebrows.
However, these downsides of video hosting can all be overcome by choosing the right provider.
Things to Look for When Choosing the Best Video Hosting Provider
When looking for the best video hosting provider you’re going to want to make sure that your partner offers a few very important things:
1. A customizable video player
You should ensure that you’re able to brand the actual player by matching it to the colors and style of your website. It will look out of place if you’re limited to the default player settings.
2. Security and privacy
It might be the case that not all of your videos are meant for public viewing. You may have internal communications or training videos that you don’t want to be freely available on the internet. You may also want to ensure that your videos are only displayed on your website and nowhere else.
Having the right security and privacy settings prevents others from accessing your videos and stops them from being embedded on other sites.
3. Mobile video player
With so many people accessing the internet on their mobile devices these days, you need to make sure that your videos are accessible to mobile visitors. Simply scaling the standard player to a smaller size may hurt the way your video looks. Make sure a mobile-friendly video player is part of the service.
4. Useful analytics data
The best video hosting providers will offer a range of analytical data. Make sure that the information you can get about your videos will help you make better decisions and tell you more about your viewers.
What to Pay Attention to When Choosing a Video Host
Support and service are always two of the most important aspects of a good hosting provider. The best video hosts are no different.
However, there are some unique things to pay attention to when choosing a video host. The first thing that you should look at is what integrations the provider offers.
If you are using videos for marketing, you may need to integrate with outside applications such as Pardot or HubSpot. Other needs may require integrations with other platforms. Make sure that your video host either supports direct integrations with platforms you use or has an API that is capable of allowing you to build these.
Another thing to pay close attention to is the pricing model of your hosting plan. Video hosting isn’t cheap and some plans charge extra when you hit a certain number of views, uploads or other metrics. This is not uncommon, but don’t get caught by surprise when it comes time to pay your bill. Read the fine print and understand your pricing model before you sign up.
If you plan to use videos on your website, or even in your business, then a dedicated video hosting provider is a must. Luckily, there are not as many video hosts as there are web hosts so finding the best video hosting partner will not be as hard.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you can get away with not doing your research. Find the host that will best meet your needs and provide you with the services and features that will help you make the most of your online videos.