Most of us spend our time working primarily with text, images, and document files on our websites, but occasionally, you may need to add a video. Embedding a video from a third party featured on YouTube is easy enough, but what if you have an original video you need to feature on your website? Here are three approaches to getting that video on your Powerful website.
Upload your video to the Media Library
Adding a video this way is nearly the same as adding images — you can just upload and embed using the Add Media button while editing a page or post. This method is low friction. No need to sign up for a YouTube account or learn new procedures — you can just start uploading. It even supports adding captions, which are important for accessibility.
While this is the most direct approach, we recommend against it.
- Hosting limitations can reduce website performance for you and others when hosting videos on your website.
Our shared hosting plans include a specific amount of overall storage space and a limit on bandwidth usage per month. If a high number of site visitors are streaming video from your website, the overall performance of your website could suffer. This could also affect our other utility organizations hosting on the same server, which we don’t believe is fair. We also set upload file size limits, which means videos over a certain file size simply can’t be uploaded.
- The embedded web player always plays the original video file.
Even if you were able to upload a multi-gigabyte video file, visitors with low speed internet connections may struggle to play the high quality video file. WordPress does not generate lower quality fallback files, so stuttering and buffering may occur as visitors attempt to stream the original video file. This can also mean additional strain on the resources of the web server.
Upload your video to YouTube
Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with YouTube, but there are a few things you should consider when uploading your video.
- Go Unlisted.
If you don’t already maintain a YouTube channel and have no interest in doing so, it would be wise to make your video Unlisted. An additional step would be to disable comments to keep things clean and controlled should people visit the video page directly on YouTube.
- YouTube is a good option for uploading very large videos.
Both high resolution (1080p and 4K) and long duration increase file size. If your internet connection is interrupted partway through a long upload time, YouTube actually allows you to resume the upload where you left off. Additionally, once you verify your YouTube account, you can upload videos up to 128 GB in size. This far outstrips typical hosting file upload and storage limitations. Perhaps most importantly, it leverages Google’s world class network to send your video to visitors, taking all the load off of your web hosting server.
- Even visitors with a slow internet connection can stream your video from YouTube.
Unlike the embedded video player, YouTube is adaptable. It will detect the most suitable resolution of video for a smooth streaming experience and deliver that to your website visitor. YouTube also maintains copies of your video on servers around the world, keeping the video streaming smooth regardless of visitor location.
- YouTube offers a free, machine learning generated captioning service. Video captions are an important accessibility feature. While professional level human captioning is the best option, not everyone can afford the time or money for it. Having automatic captions is better than having no captions. With a clean audio signal YouTube’s automatic captioning is often shockingly good, but we highly recommend that you always review the automatic captioning generated for your video to ensure it does not contain any offensive or grossly incorrect transcriptions and correct the errors you find.
- Embedded YouTube videos will always show a grid of suggested videos after the video ends
If your site visitor is logged into YouTube, these videos will be likely be picked from videos tailored to them and feature channels they are familiar with. If your visitor is not logged into YouTube, they may see other videos from the same channel and other related content. They may also see suggestions of other videos from YouTube. In any case, you risk the suggestion of content that clashes with your website, is off brand, or even offensive to your visitors. If you choose to embed your video with YouTube, be sure to get a sense of what suggested videos will be shown at the end of your video
- It’s free.
All of YouTube’s upsides come at no monetary charge, even for business use. Advertisements will only be shown with your videos if you join the Partner Program and turn on ads
Upload your video to Vimeo
Vimeo is a video site more focused on high quality video hosting than the community aspects YouTube offers.
It shares many features with YouTube. These include:
- Adaptive streaming to accommodate viewers’ internet connection speed
- Caption support (no automatic captioning)
- Unlisted videos and restrictions on where the video can be embedded
Embedded video players from Vimeo allow for much more control.
Strip down the player by hiding items such as your account name, video title, like buttons, Vimeo logo for a more professional look. Add a call to action button at the end of your videos or simply end with a black screen.
You must pay for business use.
The Vimeo Basic (free) and Vimeo Plus ($5/mo) plans prohibit business use. You subscribe to at least the Pro plan ($20/mo) to use Vimeo for business purposes, with the narrow exception of showcasing creative work.