Never Host Videos on own Website - loading progress bar

Video content is essential for your business marketing strategy because it brings your brand to life. Unlike text-based content, video appeals to multiple senses: sight, sound, and feel. It is a great medium for delivering your branded value proposition. More businesses are allocating resources to video marketing. It is estimated that by 2019, 80% of online content will be done through the medium of video.

However, quality of content is not the only key to the success of your video marketing strategy. Where you upload your video likewise plays an important role in whether it will support your brand or compromise your marketing goals. As valuable as video content is, you should never host it on your website.

7 Reasons You Should Never Self-Host Videos

  1. Limited bandwidth will affect download speed.
  2. You will exceed available storage space given by web host.
  3. Slow loading video will give users poor experience with your site.
  4. You will need different versions of your video to fit various formats.
  5. It will affect the quality of the video.
  6. It will not generate the desired traffic for your video.
  7. Your video might get pirated by several websites.

Our preceding advice might sound counter-intuitive. In our article, “What Type of Website Does Your Business Need”, we summarized the many benefits of having a website for your businesses. If you want to capitalize on all the opportunities that are available on the Internet, you need a place to transact business.

We’ve described the website as your online business address. Think of it as your office on the Internet. If you are into e-commerce, selling fashion apparel, the website’s home page is like your store front window. People who click on your link would want to know what your business is all about and what your products and services are.

Therefore, given the advantages of video content that we discussed earlier, it should make sense to have a video placed on the home page.

That is correct. The videos that you find on the home page of a website are called explainer videos. The objective of the explainer video is to present the key selling points of your business in a condensed, video format; in short, a sales pitch.

According to a study by Internet Retailer, 85% of consumers purchase a product after watching an explainer video.

So yes, you should have video content positioned on your website home page. What you need to decide on is whether you should embed or self-host the video.

Embedded Videos vs. Self-Hosted Videos

There are two ways you can place a video on your website. The first approach is to embed a video which requires a two-step process:

  1. Find a Video Streaming Service – YouTube will probably come to mind right away. It is the Internet’s largest video streaming service and is the second biggest search engine after Google. You can upload videos to YouTube simply by opening a channel on the service.
  2. Copy and Paste – Find a place on your website where you want your YouTube video to appear. Copy the code from YouTube and paste it into the desired website location.

With an embedded video, you are using the streaming service’s servers instead of the server where your website is hosted.

In contrast, a self-hosted video means exactly that. You upload the video to your website the same way you would an image.

If you want to have a video appear on your website, we strongly recommend embedding the file through a third party streaming service provider rather than self-hosting or uploading it directly on your website.

7 Reasons Why You Should Never Host Your Own Videos On Your Website

You may have experienced some of the reasons we are about to discuss when you tried to play a video on a website. If you’re lucky, it may just take a while before it plays. In some case, the video will just keep buffering. For the rest, it may end up a frustrating experience as the video will not play at all.

Ask yourself how you felt when this happened to you. Were you frustrated? Disappointed? How did you feel about the website? What thoughts entered your head about the website?

Now switch roles and imagine it was your website which failed to play the video.

WordPress has features that allow you to upload videos to your website. However, just because you can does not mean you should.

An aluminum pan loaded with freshly-baked oatmeal cookies looks and smells good. It does not mean you should touch it right away because the pan itself could be scalding hot.

Self-hosting videos on your website is an easy process and seems like the best thing to do. After all, it is your video. It is only right that it should be uploaded to your website.

However, as we will explain, self-hosting videos will present problems that could be detrimental to your website and consequently, your business.

1. Limited Bandwidth

As we discussed in our article, “How To Choose Your Web Host”, there are five factors you need to consider before signing up with a web host service provider:

  • Type of security
  • Number of hosted email addresses
  • Type of data you will be storing and transmitting
  • Anticipated volume of traffic
  • Budget

These five factors will play a role in the amount of bandwidth the web host services provider will allocate for your website. Remember that a web host is like an apartment complex manager. You are just leasing space from him. And you are not the only one.

Videos are large files. Video files on HD format can easily check in at 100MB. What do you think will happen if different people click on your video at the same time?

Web host service providers have limited resources at their disposal. Other websites may also have self-hosted videos. Multiple requests for your video plus those of others on the server will stretch out those resources. Self-hosted videos will wreak havoc on the web host’s performance.

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2. Restrictions On File Size And Storage Space

Many web host service providers impose restrictions on the size of the file you can upload. Most will set the limit at 50MB per file. Right away, this restriction will prevent you from uploading a 100MB HD file or one of longer duration.

Your web host may also have included conditions in your agreement that keep you from uploading large video files. By attempting to upload videos that exceed the allowable file size, you may be in violation of the agreement’s provisions. As a result, you may find your website shut down.

If you frequently upload videos on your website that fall within the allowed file size, you will eventually exceed the amount of storage space allocated by your web host service provider.

Finally, the more self-hosted videos you have, the longer it will take to backup your website files.

3. Poor User Experience

As our scenarios played out, it can be a frustrating experience for users if the video they clicked on does not play right away or if at all.

On a single server, your website will only be given limited bandwidth by the web host. When someone clicks on your video, it will take some time for their PC or mobile device to download the file.

This will lead to unwanted pauses which come out as “buffering”. The issue will be made worse if the user has poor Internet connection.

User experience is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. If the search engine sees that people are clicking out of your website more frequently, it will penalize you in the search rankings.

4. Tedious Video File Conversion Process

People stream videos in different ways. There are those who prefer to stream videos from their PC or laptop because they want the complete experience: widescreen and HD.

Then there are those who watch videos on their smartphones. They are probably waiting for the bus or for an appointment and just looking to pass away the time.

You will have to convert your video into formats that can accommodate the streaming preferences of your audience. Not only will this be a tedious process but your site will have a difficult time knowing which user it will send a specific file to.

5. Compromise Video Quality

This is related to the previous section. If you decide to self-host videos on your website, you’ll have to convert the file so it can accommodate different formats.

There are a number of software apps you can use to convert the file for you. Unfortunately, when converting a video file to suit different formats, you will need to use more than one software app.

Each app will have its own video file-conversion process. This means the resolution of the video; its clarity and overall quality will come out different from one browser to another.

So while your video may look great in Google Chrome, it may come out grainy in Firefox.

6. Generating Traffic and Visibility Will be a Challenge

As we mentioned earlier in the article, YouTube is the largest video streaming service on the Internet. It is also the second largest search engine; right behind its owner, Google.

By posting a video on your YouTube channel and embedding the link on your website, you can capitalize on its popularity and massive following. If you are able to consistently produce high-quality, engaging, usable and relevant video content, more people will be subscribing to your channel. Eventually, many of them will find their way to your website.

Google also included YouTube as a ranking factor in its revised search algorithm. This is another enticing reason why you should just embed videos from your YouTube channel unto your website.

If you self-host videos on your website, you will be relying on your organic and paid marketing efforts to generate traffic and enhance its visibility on the Internet.

7. Risk of Video Getting Pirated

Unless your self-hosted video files are protected from being copied, they can be pirated and illegally re-distributed on various file-sharing websites. It will be fairly easy for anyone to just copy your video’s URL, download it to their PC, where it can be re-distributed according to the needs of the cyber-criminal.

You can probably find a software app that can prevent the source code from being copied. However, you will remain at risk if the app is not frequently updated.


The risk of video piracy also exists when you use a publicly- accessible, video-sharing platform such as YouTube. If piracy is a big concern, there are other third- party video streaming service providers with features that prevent your content from being pirated.

All told, the advantages of embedded videos far outweigh its disadvantages. For the seven reasons mentioned above, it is a better option than self-hosting videos on your website.

If you want to know more about embedding video content on your website, you can give us a call or send us an email inquiry. We have embedded videos for a good number of clients and we can certainly do the same for your website.

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