In this article, I have discussed the 9 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Host Videos on Your Own WordPress website.
It is beyond doubt that multimedia content enriches the publications on your website since it is more than proven that it is the format that most users prefer when consuming learning or entertainment content.
In addition, including video in your content increases the time spent on them, which incidentally improves search engine positioning.
In addition, including a video in a publication with WordPress is very simple, you just have to insert a video block and upload your own video, or an embedded block and serve the video from one of the most common video platforms, and here comes the big question:
Is it better to upload my own video or host it on a platform and embed the player?
What is best for the user? What is more compatible? Which one will look better? How does one or the other decision affect the speed of the page? What is better for SEO?
In this article, I want to explain the main reasons why it is ALWAYS worse to upload a video and host it on your server, and incidentally why it is better to embed your video player hosted on a specialized platform.
Does it have any advantage of self hosted videos on your website?
Well, although later we will see all of its disadvantages, some individual advantage does have to host your videos on your server.
- Faster process: Uploading a video directly to your website, hosting it on your server, is a quick and intuitive process, you just have to drag and drop or use a video block to upload it and it will be available. On the contrary, hosting it in an external service always entails more steps, more waiting times for processing.
- A greater degree of control over how your content is used: Depending on the hosting configuration you choose, your video content, and how that content is used, may become the property of the platform you use. Own video hosting allows you to maintain complete control over your videos and how they are shared.
- More control over the look and branding of your videos: Some third-party hosting platforms, such as YouTube or Facebook, do not offer the option to remove their brand. Businesses that want to be able to fully brand their own video content can choose to host their own.
- Cache: Any content hosted on your server can be stored in your own cache or on a CDN, thus reducing the loading times of these very heavy video files.
- Generate more direct traffic to your website: When you host your own videos and embed that content on your website, you make sure that anyone who views your content stays on your website instead of being sent to a different site.
While these benefits are reason enough for some businesses to address the problems, difficulties, and enormous costs of self hosting videos website, most find that the benefits don’t sufficiently outweigh the negatives.
Disadvantages of self hosted videos on your website
But now we are going with the inconveniences and problems of hosting videos websites directly on your website instead of embedding a player and using external third-party services.
Bandwidth is the maximum data transfer rate allowed by your web hosting service to view your website.
Video files can easily be large, usually more than 100MB, without looking for special quality. In such a scenario, you can expect your website visitors to get frustrated while watching the video due to excessive buffering.
If you host several large videos and a few dozen people are trying to watch the same video at the same time, you may be consuming a huge bandwidth than what your provider assigned.
Your provider gives each server a specific amount of bandwidth and resources, using average traffic rates that do not include streaming large media files to multiple viewers at the same time when calculating that number.
If your video servers are sent too many requests for a single large file, it will quickly exceed the limits of the server your website is hosted on and in all likelihood your provider will stop your site immediately.
File size and server space limits
To keep the demand for shared servers low, web hosting providers limit the maximum size of uploaded files to 50MB or less, which will prevent you from uploading video files that are longer than a few seconds.
Additionally, large media files may violate the terms of your hosting provider’s acceptable use policy and cause your hosting account to be closed.
If you can upload large video files to your server frequently, you could eventually exceed the amount of storage space provided by your hosting account, especially if you regularly back up your site.
In addition to the amount of disk space your video files will take up, backups will start to take much longer to run. More data requires more disk space and backup takes longer.
Inordinate hosting and bandwidth costs
Still wanting to take on the above two problems, higher bandwidth usage and higher demand for space, performance and speed will inevitably lead to skyrocketing server costs.
If you need to continue to keep your self hosted videos library by your hosting account, you will soon need to migrate to a dedicated hosting service with great resources.
In most cases, a website costs about € 9 per month or less for a basic WordPress site. For a site with a self hosted videos library the costs can increase to at least 50 times this amount, and all this without a guarantee that the server will not be saturated if there are concurrent views of your videos.
And you will still have the bandwidth problem, as most services limit their bandwidth to a range of their IP addresses when they detect any unusual activity.
You could think of hosting your videos on your own on high-performance cloud servers such as Google or Amazon WS, but again, as soon as your videos have little success, the costs can go through the roof, never better.
Video file format compatibility and conversion issues [never host videos]
The current HTML5 specification does not specify which video formats browsers should support. As a result, the major web browsers have each thrown their way, and each supports a different format.
Safari will play H.264 (MP4) videos, but not WebM or Ogg. Firefox will play Ogg or WebM videos, but not H.264. Fortunately, Chrome will play all major video formats, but if you want to make sure your video plays on all major web browsers, you will have to convert your video into various formats: .mp4, .ogv, and .webm at least.
You now have at least three different video files to upload, each potentially hundreds of megabytes in size.
In addition, in these conversion processes quality may be lost, and you will have users who will see your video in its expected quality, while those who use other browsers could see it grainy or simply at low quality, generating a bad viewing experience.
Problems with file sizes for different devices in self hosting videos websites
The file format is not the only factor that varies between different browsers and devices when streaming videos. The size, the dimensions, of a video is also very important.
The size of your video file directly affects its resolution. Resolution is determined by the number of pixels or dots per linear inch.
If your video is streamed on a mobile device, you will need it to have a resolution of approximately 480p for a quality streaming experience. On the other hand, if your video is to be played on a PC, it must have the ability to stream in 1080p HD.
Not only do you need to adjust the size (and therefore the resolution) of your video for different display devices, you also need to adjust it for different user preferences.
All this requires the creation of different versions of your video file, which will again generate more need for server space and bandwidth consumption.
But you will also need to create a smaller, lower-resolution version for mobile devices like phones and tablets, as well as deliver it to users with slower internet connections.
That means for every video, you will need a half dozen or more video files of various sizes and formats to ensure that your video can be viewed on all major web browsers and devices. But also, how will your site know which of those files should serve each person?
As you will see, this is a huge problem.
It is true, on the other hand, that both WordPress with its player, as well as the main themes, will try to adapt your videos uploaded to the device, but in a process of resizing the window, never changing the size and/or resolution, and therefore Nor of the weight of the file.
It does not matter if you use a plugin or the integrated WordPress player, you will have to create a bit of code to tell the video player what formats you have created, as well as their location on the server. It could be something like this …
"<video poster = "movie.jpg" controls> <source src = "movie.webm" type = 'video / webm; codecs = "vp8.0, vorbis" '/> <source src = "movie.ogg" type = 'video / ogg; codecs = "theora, vorbis" '/> <source src = "movie.mp4" type = 'video / mp4; codecs = "avc1.4D401E, mp4a.40.2" '/> <p> This is alternative content </p> </video>"
Even with built-in video support in WordPress, you will have to create a build shortcode like this …
And, after all this effort, your video still won’t look the same in all browsers, due to the issues we’ve seen above.
Loss of visibility, traffic, and outreach opportunities
The extra visibility and traffic will always be a waste of opportunity when you self host videos website yourself.
When you host videos your videos on an external platform like YouTube or Vimeo, you benefit from their inherent popularity. Not only will you get viewers of your website, but users of these platforms also have a high probability of finding your videos and ending up visiting your website.
Even better, hosting your videos on a platform like YouTube can be good for SEO considering that Google’s algorithm considers YouTube to be one of its 200 ranking factors.
When you self host videos website, you miss out on all these opportunities for additional visibility and traffic, and you will depend on your organic marketing efforts and paid advertising to drive traffic and improve your visibility.
Piracy and content theft with host videos website
Prepare for the theft of your videos if you self host videos on your own server, this is always the case. You can add watermarks to them, but you can’t stop someone from downloading and reusing them, reselling them or whatever they want to do with them.
In self hosted videos, it is always much easier to access the URLs where they are hosted from the source code, no matter how many protection measures you apply.
Let’s not say the problem that this can generate if your videos are part of a membership system, and anyone who accesses once can download and resell them as their own material, or that of third parties without any ethics.
On the contrary, platforms like Vimeo Pro allow you to discriminate even the reproduction that is only possible in the domains that you specify, thus preventing cybercriminals from taking advantage of your content, even if they eventually manage to download or capture it in some way.
Slow web loading with self hosting videos websites
To all of the above, it must be added that, although you can cache or copy your video content to a CDN, you will continue to upload several megabytes of files for each video you have on your site.
If you have self hosted videos on a single server, that means that all queries for your content are sent to the same place. So if you have a dozen users trying to watch the same video, that’s 12 individual queries sent to the same server.
To this, you have to add the already overload of your server, both in terms of performance and bandwidth, let alone if there are several users watching the same video, which will generate a bottleneck that will always slow down the loading of the entire site. , and sometimes it will tear down the entire web due to lack of resources.
And all this without even thinking about the users of mobile devices, with limited Internet connections, consumption costs per “megabytes”, processors, memory, features and players of all kinds and qualities.
Any user who visits your site with a mobile device will be having a limited experience of viewing your videos, in addition to generating higher memory consumption, device heating and battery consumption, by having to process the video directly.
On the contrary, by hosting your videos on specialized platforms there is no risk that the video load will slow down or that these super servers where they are usually hosted will crash. The weight of your pages will be minimal since you will only add a few bytes of the embed code and also mobile device users will additionally enjoy the integration that these services already usually bring by default in most platforms and operating systems.
Where should I host my videos?
Given the above, I don’t think you have any doubts that it is ALWAYS better to host your videos on specialized platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo.
If what you are looking for are broadcasting and SEO, your clear choice will be YouTube, and if your priority is brand protection and your content, then you should host your videos on Vimeo Pro or similar professional platforms.
Checkout this post for SEO
WordPress is fully compatible with the main professional self hosting videos platforms and embedding its player is as simple as copying and pasting the URL of the video you want to display.
And what about Core Web Vitals and the WPO?
If you are obsessed with Google’s main web metrics, known as Core Web Vitals, it is possible that they will show you some warning regarding videos hosted on external platforms, totally true.
These notices usually warn you that since they are external resources you cannot cache them, something unnecessary because they are already served directly from the high-performance caches of the fastest and most powerful cloud servers on the planet: Google and Amazon.
And they can also indicate that you are generating calls to external resources that can slow down the display of elements of your pages until they are not loaded, but this has technical solutions that with WordPress are very easy to apply:
- Preload the DNS of the resources – This can be done with all the good optimization plugins, such as Autoptimize, SG Optimizer or WP Rocket.
- Preload the specific resource – You can prefetch, preload or pre-connect with any resource to speed up its display on your website.
- Lazy loading video – Similarly, you can lazy load your own or external videos using the native WordPress property or optimization plugins.
But, above all, the user experience as a whole, reviewing all the inconveniences that we have seen of the self hosting videos website, will always be much better through externally hosted video players than with videos uploaded to our server, and that we can summarize in …
- Full compatibility with all devices, sizes and resolutions.
- They do not consume excess resources of mobile devices (processor, battery, memory)
- Consistent playback across all operating systems, platforms, and devices.
- No adaptation codes.
- Zero hosting costs.
- Zero bandwidth consumption problems.
- You remove tens of megabytes of weight from your pages.
- Better load times and resource consumption by not requiring huge server and bandwidth consumption.
- Greater possibilities of visibility and diffusion.
Remember that the objective of web optimization and Core Web Vitals is to improve the experience of the user who visits your website, and that is a set of efficient consumption of resources and fast and adequate visualization of your content in all kinds of situations and devices.