YouTube videos vs self-hosted: Which one is better for you?


  • You own the data - The video is hosted on your site, therefore the video data is 100% yours. No one can get your video banned or reported. It’s also harder for the average user to download your video.
  • More direct traffic - If someone wants to share the video, the only place it exists is on your site - this means all the traffic to watch the video will be directed to your site
  • Control over the design - If your video is self-hosted, it means you get 100% control over how the player looks. This means no third-party watermarks.
  • No distractions - It’s all too easy to click through to a video on Youtube and, once that has finished, end up watching videos about a dog that can’t catch food. If the video is on your own site, the user can’t get distracted and can continue to consume your content.
  • No adverts - Video hosting websites are renowned for making the user wait for the content, but having it hosted yourself means people can dive straight in.

Third Party Hosting

  • No worrying about bandwidth usage - Every time someone watches a video, it uses up bandwidth which could be a problem if yours is limited.
  • Small file size - Video uploading and hosting tends to be all these services do so they are excellent at compressing the file to a much smaller size, making the page load lighter and quicker.
  • Device optimisation - Different devices and browsers require different file formats. Third party services are capable of converting and serving the file required.
  • Easy to use - Third party websites make uploading and embedding a video very easy, whereas self hosting requires some coding skills, or your CMS to allow you to upload your video directly.
  • Social traffic - As easy as it is for your user to get distracted after watching your video, the same can happen for others stumbling upon yours while searching for a competitor.
  • Simple player - Most third party vendors allow some customisation over their embedded players. This includes removing most branding and altering colours to match your website theme.
  • Annotations - It’s quicker and easier to add annotations and comments to your videos on a dedicated platform, especially if it’s an afterthought.

As you can see, there are many benefits to either solution and there isn’t a magical answer as to where you host your video. Ultimately, it entirely depends on your situation and requirements. I hope this post has helped clarify which option is best for you.

You might also enjoy

  • Mikestreety's New Clothes

    Posted on 15th April 2020.

    For regular readers, you will notice a fresh new face on the old dog (my first blog post that made the many migrations was from 2009!). This has been a long time coming and is a continuation of an actual theme/consistent design I'm beginning to use across all my projects. For…

  • 2019 In Review

    Posted on 31st December 2019.

    2019 was a strange year, new kitchen, bathroom car and bike. But overall it was good. I enjoyed it.…

  • Reminder: Git, Analytics, Tina and JS

    Posted on 13th November 2019.

    With #ffconf and podcasts, there are a few things I've come across this week that I wanted to make a note of. These include Analytics, Git and a JS Library…

  • How to become device agnostic and what it means for your data

    Posted on 11th November 2019. Written For Liquid Light

    /dɪˈvʌɪs aɡˈnɒstɪk/ Allow the user to view, edit and add to their data regardless of the technology used Last month my phone had to be sent off for repair. For a lot of people, sending off their mobile phone would bring on “the fear”. Worries about losing…

Mike Street

Written by Mike Street

Mike is a front-end developer from Brighton, UK. He spends his time writing, cycling and coding. You can find Mike on Twitter.