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

Self-hosted

  • 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.

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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.