There are literally hundreds of places to host online video, but how do you know which service is the best? In this post, we’re going to take an inside look at 6 solid options for hosting business video online.
Your Site vs. Off-site
The first question you might be asking yourself is whether you want your video to be on your own website exclusively or hosted with other online services. The issue with hosting a video on your own website is that you will need some technical knowledge to convert your video to an appropriate format and install a player on your website that can handle it. In addition, you will need a great hosting service since the bandwidth for each playback will be on your own server. While it can be done, it might be more work than it is worth. Plus you would be missing out on hosting service perks like access to a larger audience through the video hosts network and advanced statistics about your viewers.
Having your video on an online video service isn’t always the best option for everyone. Some free services have the right to place unwanted ads and related videos (possibly from competitors) on the video player your video is playing within. Plus there are privacy concerns – do you want people to only view your video on your website or do you want it available to the public from other websites? Depending on your needs, you may have to go with more costly options which we will discuss with some of the following options.
If you want to learn more about the pros and cons of hosting your own video vs. using a video hosting service, be sure to see these in-depth articles from SEOmoz on Creating an Online Video Strategy and An SEO’s Guide to Video Hosting and Embedding.
Public Hosting Options
If you want your video to have a home on both your website via embedded video player as well as on a video hosting service with a built in audience, then the following are two popular options to consider.
The first video hosting that almost always comes to mind is YouTube, and for good reason. It is globally the third most popular website, according to Alexa. And you can’t beat it for search optimization – since it was acquired by Google in 2006, videos from YouTube seem to be the most highly ranked for almost any keyword search that can be linked to a video. If you use Google’s video search, you will likely see mostly videos from YouTube.
So if having your video discovered on a highly trafficked network is your goal, YouTube is the solution. There are some cons to using it as your video hosting service. These include how YouTube tends to add advertisements within the video player as well as recommendations to other videos which may or may not be yours and are out of your control.
While the pros and cons seem to be balanced evenly, YouTube does offer one more advantage that you may not find elsewhere. They now offer advertising options for businesses to make sure your video is seen by an even larger YouTube audience. You can learn more in the following video.
While Vimeo may not be the #3 site in the world, they do currently hold a global ranking of 122 according to Alexa with an estimated traffic volume of 57 million people in the US alone per month according to Quantcast. They also have fairly good visibility in search results for videos optimized for particular keyword phrases.
Vimeo offers a lot of great features for free users. However, since you are a business user, and your video is most likely commercial in nature, you will need to upgrade to Vimeo Pro for $199/USD per year. With Vimeo Pro, you have access to more advanced features such as commercial hosting, no bandwidth caps or time limits, advanced statistics, priority uploading, and third party player support. You can learn more about their pro features in the following video.
Professional Video Hosting Options
If you want your video to live exclusively on your own website, but do not want to handle hosting the video on your own server, the following are professional video hosting options to consider.
Wistia offers professional video hosting and analytics, including heatmaps, embeddable video players, private video sharing, mobile support, and much more. They also offer video SEO options that will lead search traffic to your website and not a third-party site. You can learn more by visiting their homepage and watching their introductory video, or see this video on how Wistia video hosting works.
Pricing on the Wistia network depends on the number of videos you will be hosting with them as well as the amount of traffic your videos generate. You can start with a free plan that includes up to 3 videos and 15GB of bandwidth (traffic) per month. Premium plans start at $23 monthly for up to 6 videos and 50GB of bandwidth per month to $239 monthly for unlimited videos and 1TB of bandwidth per month.
Brightcove is another popular professional hosting service used by well-known brands including Discovery Channel, Macy’s, Electronic Arts, and Phillips to name a few. They offer content management, custom styling and branding of video players, secure delivery, mobile optimization, live streaming, blended distribution strategies to expand your audience, and advanced analytics. You can learn more about the features they offer in this video.
You can try Brightcove with a plan starting at $5 per month per video, or select from express plans starting at $99 monthly for up to 50 videos and 40GB of bandwidth per month. Professional and Enterprise pricing plans are also available for businesses who need a customized usage package and more than 10 users or 5 accounts.
Vzaar is a video platform that offers customizable and affordable options for businesses. Their features include customizable video players, video security, an easy-to-use interface for content management, analytics, and compatible publishing of your videos to any device. You can see their promotional video and others in their video showcase.
Pricing for their hosting services starts at $29 monthly for up to 250 videos and 100GB of bandwidth per month and goes up to $499 monthly for up to 2,000 videos and 5TB of bandwidth per month. They also offer custom packages.
Last but not least on our review of video hosting services is Vidyard. Their service offers features such as YouTube or Vidyard hosting, A/B split testing to see which video screens get the most clicks (very cool!), 10 player skins, video syndication, full compatibility, call to action overlays, and real-time analytics. You can see how their service works in this video.
Pricing for Vidyard starts at $5 per month per video with basic features. For more advanced features, pricing starts at $79 monthly for up to 20 videos and 10,000 minutes of video playback per month. They also offer packages for enterprise users that expect heavy usage and need custom implementation.
These are only a sampling of the top options in third-party video hosting. What hosting service do you use for videos and what were your results?
Hi Andrew, we use Oculu.com which starts at $19. a month.
Thanks for the tip Robert, I’ll check it out!
Youtube is a great place to host videos. Your information is incorrect about Youtube.
You can change the embed code on a Youtube video to NOT allow related videos to play after your video has played. Advertisements are only put on videos if Youtube picks you as a candidate to monetize your videos.
If you have a WordPress site, there are many plugins that can make Youtube videos look customized by having cool players and getting rid of the Youtube logo.
Hope that helps.
Good point Dianna, thank you!
I’ll start with a disclaimer – I’m a long time partner for product video platform http://treepodia.com, so I’m obviously biased towards them, that said I think they give the best value for money for ecommerce sites that want to get into video.
Treepodia is a Content Delivery Network, but moreover it’s a platform that automatically creates product videos from existing on-site media (images, descriptions, pricing data, reviews, etc.)
The platform is geared towards ecommerce so analytics provided include conversion rates from videos, above the usual stuff. It even supports automated A/B testing for videos, testing to see which video versions generate the most sales.
Pricing starts at $140/month for up to 1,500 generated product videos, and there’s no commitment ( – not bad when you consider the cost of producing even a single video the “traditional” way…)
Hope this helps online vendors out there!
Sounds like a slick tool for ecommerce, thanks for sharing!
Another point about YouTube. It has a content id system that can effectively block your video for using unlicensed content, such as background music. For a composer like myself this is a good thing :) but that requires the video makers to be extra vigilant when choosing the music for their videos. As far as I know, Vimeo is moving in this direction as well.
Here are some common mistakes that may get your video muted or blocked:
1. thinking that simply giving credit is enough to use any music track
2. Using music that is available for free download (it may be free for listening but using it in video is a different thing)
3. Assuming that non-commercial videos can freely use any music as long as they don’t make money
you can read more here: http://www.miksmusic.com/5-music-licensing-mistakes-make-your-video-disappear/