Videos, text, and images behave in very different ways on the internet. It’s easy to host text and images which require relatively little in resources and bandwidth to serve. That couldn’t be further form true with video.
Video are a bandwidth hog and that’s putting it lightly. It not only uses a lot of bandwidth, it can take even a great server down if you try to host it like a text or image file. Not only that for text and images there’s one version that needs to be served to users no matter what. Sure you sometimes have to serve responsive images but it’s still not like videos.
A video file needs multiple different versions that serves to a user’s device depending on their device size and bandwidth. If you tried to serve a video up on your website server then you’ll be serving one version and it likely won’t be optimized for your user. That means they have a bad experience and you could be unecessarily hard on your server.
That’s why a video hosting platform is the best solution for websites and and course platform.
The Best Video Hosting Solutions
While it’s difficult to say that there’s a best video hosting solutions, there are better options than others. If you’re using a hosted course platform then you likely get a built-in solution and if you’re hosting your own course platform then you likely need to use an external video solution.
I’ll go over what each of these are and what your best option is. No matter what option you choose, a solution developed just for videos is better than nothing at all. Don’t ever think you can upload a video to WordPress and be just fine. It won’t be just fine even if your website is raw HTML.
Built-In Video Solution
If you’re building your course on a course marketplace such as Udemy or a hosted solution like Thinkific then you likely have a built-in video solution. Many of these course platforms also have a video hosting solution that they integrate with or it’s built right in.
Udemy for instance has a video hosting platform built in that serves the right video for each user. It’s better optimized than no video solution but relatively feature poor. You can’t compare the power of YouTube to the power of Udemy for video.
For a hosted platform such as Thinkific, they host their videos on the Wistia platform which is an excellent video hosting platform. If you’re using a course marketplace then you have no choice but to use their video hosting solution.
If you find that a hosted course solution is what you require then just be sure whatever platform you choose uses a great video hosting platform. Unfortunately with a hosted course solution you don’t really have a choice.
Just be sure that using a hosted solution is really your best option. Keep in mind that there are many limitations with a hosted course platform that will hinder you from sharing your knowledge how you’d like.
With an owned course platform then the choice is yours where you host your video content and it can be changed with relative ease.
External Video Solution
When you build your own course platform or have someone like Course Platform Developers create your course platform then you have lots of options. You aren’t stuck with one video hosting solution and you can even switch video hosting platforms with relative ease.
In other words, you have the options to choose where your videos live so you can find the solution that best fits your needs. An owned course platform requires that you do host your videos somewhere because you can’t host a video in the same place your text and images are hosted.
Luckily there are many great options for hosting your course platform that range a great deal in price. You can go the free route or you can go with one of the premium options.
We are happy to chat with you to find the best solution for hosting your course video content. Every solution is different and there are many that can fit your budget.
This isn’t an exhaustive list but it at least gives you some great options for hosting any video content you have for your courses.
Wistia has a free plan that lets you upload three videos. That’s not very many videos and for more videos it can get expensive relatively fast (from free to $99/month with nothing in between).
Another downside to Wistia is that it can be pretty complex and limiting for embedding videos in your course. I’m not a huge fan of working with Wistia videos but their player is great.
So, it’s difficult for you but easy to use for your students.
If free is your budget for hosting video content then YouTube is a great option. It’s fast, the infrastructure can’t be beat, and people are already familiar with it.
You can remove a lot of the YouTube branding and distractions but you can’t remove it all. In fact, YouTube can show ads on your content even if you haven’t set up ads for yoru videos.
Another downside with YouTube is that your content isn’t protected. Anybody can ultimately find and access your content as well as it can be shared. Even if you set your video to private or unlisted it’s still possible to have your videos leaked by your students.
YouTube is extremely easy to embed so that’s a huge benefit. Embedding a YouTube video in your hosted course is usually as easy as pasting the link in a module.
This is one of my favorite options for hosting video at a reasonable price while also being able to keep it somewhat secure. Your students could still figure out how to share the video content outside of your course but it’s not quite as easy as YouTube.
One of the great things about Vimeo is that you can start out on their free plan which is very generous (upload 500 MB per week free up to 5 GB). As you grow your needs then their service is reasonably priced starting at only $7/month when billed annually).
Vimeo is also really easy to embed and comes with minimal branding with the free plan and you can even customize the player with a paid plan.
Spotlightr is a great platform for hosting vidoes and embedding a lot of features in the videos. It’s on par with Wistia for features but that means like Wistia it’s created more for marketers rather than course creators.
You can put things like calls-to-action, contests, social share widgets and more right in the video. It’s kind of overwhelming and maybe a bit much for a course platform.
But, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great option for more videos at a reasonable rate. The free plan is somewhat limited with only five videos and many limits. But, the paid plan starts out at only $24/month which will likely cover more than your needs unless you’re making a ton of money from your courses anyway.
It’s really easy to completely customize your entire player with Spotlightr and then embed it in your course. While it’s not as easy as Vimeo and YouTube to embed, pasting the code they give you isn’t a big deal. It’s still more versatile than Wistia.
Your Best Video Hosting Choice
Of all the options out there to choose from for video hosting, what you select will be highly dependent on your budget and whether keeping your videos secure is essential.
Even with the most secure video hosting solution can lead to your videos getting stolen I’m not a big fan of trying to lock my content down. Maybe I’ve just resigned myself to allowing it to go wherever or maybe it’s just not worth that much.
Either way, If someone wants to steal something, they likely will figure out a way to do it. Also, if youre content is available to the public are they really getting the same value out of it as your course? Your course content is curated in a highly valuable way which makes the videos on their own essentially useless in many cases.
So, if you think along the same lines as I do then YouTube is an amazing option for hosting your videos for free. Not only that but your videos can be made public if you’d like to drive people to your course content through your videos. That can be very valuable to you if your courses is more unique and offers more value than individual videos.
If security is a bigger deal to you then Vimeo is your best choice. Vimeo is one of the most affordable video hosting platform and it’s really easy to embed in any course on WordPress.
Good video hosting is essential to a successful course. Many course platforms have it built in but you give up the option to choose for yourself. Not only that but many course platforms have half-baked video hosting platforms.
A video platform that’s built specifically is nearly always better than any built-in video hosting platform on hosted course platforms and course marketplaces.
If you own your course platform then you have the power to choose your video hosting platform. That means you’re free to choose what’s best for you, can switch any time, you get to customize the experience for your students, and will always get the best option for you rather than what the course platform chooses for you.
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