Why hosting video on your web hosting is a very bad idea

hosting video

hosting video

“I have in mind a new blog where each entry includes photos and videos of around 1 to 4 minutes in MP4. My question is what hosting do you recommend to hosting video?

This is a real comment that came to the blog at the time, but it is just an illustrative example of many variants of the same basic question that come to this blog in the form of comments or queries in the contact form.

I am surprised by the number of these queries because there have been specialized video sites like YouTube or Vimeo that allow you to upload videos to them for a long time, and for free.

However, it is seen that a high number of people do not know that, in addition, these videos can be embedded in any web page and when they think of having their own websites with their videos, they automatically assume that both things have to be in the hosting that they have contracted for the web.

But it turns out that hosting video on your hosting is usually a very bad idea for many reasons. You would not only be overloading your hosting, but also giving up a lot of added value that specialized video platforms can provide.

That is what we will talk about today a little more in depth.

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A “normal” web hosting is not designed to host video

The key issue in all of this is simply the fact that videos are real hogs of resources , both space and bandwidth.

To give you an idea:

A basic HD video of 1280×720 pixels resolution (720p), consumes bandwidth (often called transfer in hosting terminology) around 2.5 – 6 Mbits per second .

In comparison, a normal web page, well optimized, should not exceed 1-2 Mbytes in weight, which is equivalent to 8-16Mbits (1byte = 8bits) in total.

How much bandwidth of your hosting does a video consume?

Let’s suppose then that we have a video that consumes 4Mbits per second on average compared to a website whose pages weigh about 1.5 Mbytes on average, which would be 12Mbits if we convert it to bits (the unit used as a rule when talking about widths of band).

If we have a user who watches the video for 10 minutes, he would have consumed 10 * 60 * 4Mbits = 2,400 Mbits or what is the same, about 2.4 Gbits.

How many page views does that correspond to?

Easy: 2,400 Mbits / 12 Mbits (size of one page) = 200 pages.

That is to say, that a person sees that video corresponds in bandwidth consumption to browsing no less than 200 pages .

If you had moderate success with your videos, let’s say you get 500 views per month, we would be talking about the equivalent of 100,000 web pages viewed (which are already big words).

In terms of bandwidth we would have consumed 2.4 * 500 = 1,200 Gbits.

If we pass that to Gbytes (which is usually the metric with which hostings indicate their monthly bandwidth cap) we would be talking about 150 Gbytes .

A figure that in many hosting plans would have already meant exceeding the limit of the plan. And in others with supposed “unlimited” disk space and bandwidth resources, I assure you that it would have caused you a touch for excessive resource consumption with the threat of suspending your account. And it is that “unlimited resources” is in hosting is a bit unrealistic in practice, but it is already another topic that we will talk about another day.

On the other hand, what I have just said should be qualified in the sense that for various reasons (caching effects in the users’ browser, etc.), the real bandwidth consumption of web pages is much lower than in this theoretical calculation. But not so with videos.

In other words, 150 Gbytes usually give in practice for much more than 100,000 pages. In our case, for example, that we have already exceeded 250,000 , the bandwidth consumed this month is 109 Gbytes , much less than in the example that I have given.

But in any case, it does not matter for this exercise that we have done. It was about giving you an idea of ??how tremendously excessive the bandwidth consumption of a video is when compared to what a normal website without videos needs.

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How much disk space on your hosting does a video consume?

But it’s not just bandwidth that’s a problem with videos, it’s also disk space consumption.

Here I am going to make a comparison again with a “normal” website, in this case, a WordPress -based website , an increasingly popular option not only for blogging, but also for creating websites of all kinds.

The space occupied by a video with the previous format (720p) depends largely on the quality parameters with which you record it.

In order not to get confused, I am going to take as a reference the videos that we publish on our YouTube channel and that use precisely this basic high-definition format.

These videos occupy around 4-5 Mbytes per minute. In other words, a 10-minute video like the one in the previous example would occupy about 40-50 Mbytes.

Comparison with the space consumed by a typical WordPress-based website

We are going to compare that with the space that a “normal” website needs in a hosting.

The space consumed by a typical WordPress site is very variable, but I think it is also something interesting to know, so I will detail a little more how you can estimate it roughly for your project.

A blog or website based on WordPress consumes disk space on these four fronts basically:

1. The WordPress installation

These are the WordPress files that you install on the hosting, initially approximately 20 Mbytes.

This space increases slightly as you install plugins, although it is worth taking a look at the plugins folder in the hosting (wp-content/plugins) from time to time in case one of them goes too far. Generally it shouldn’t go much beyond 100 Mbytes over time.

2. The images

The images are, without a doubt, the lion’s share, except on sites that use very few images, obviously.

And here the most important question is whether or not you optimize the images you upload. This is another topic that needs to be discussed at length, I refer you to this reading so that you understand the problem and see how to optimize your images before uploading them to your website:

The post is already somewhat “old” (one of the first published here), but it is still valid today. In addition, we have been updating it.

The question is this: if you optimize your images well for use on the web, they should not occupy much more than 100-150 Kbytes on average, except for special cases.

To this we must add that WordPress internally creates resized variants. But in short, an average of 500 Kbytes, or what is the same, 0.5 Mbytes as an average per image, would be reasonable.

3. Download files

Here I am thinking of things like websites that, for example, make eBooks available to your readers in PDF form or allow you to download software, etc. This already depends 100% on your particular case, it can be zero or many Mbytes if you offer lots of downloads.

4. The WordPress database

In WordPress, the text of the contents is stored in the WordPress database, along with other information such as author information, tags, categories, etc.

The posts and pages usually occupy very little because they are basically pure text (which occupies very little). In general, there will be very few posts or pages that exceed 10Kbytes of space.

A key point here is that WordPress saves revisions every time you edit a post. It is advisable not to accumulate many so as not to multiply their space and for this a plugin such as Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions can be very useful .

If you do that right, the consumption of this part will be almost negligible. In our blog, for example, with almost 400 posts and pages, and generally very long compared to the average. With this we are at 109 Mbytes for the entire database (optimized).

Calculation definitive example

Overall, taking all this into account, a typical blog with, let’s put 3 images per post, on average and 100 published posts and reasonably well optimized, could typically occupy on your hosting disk:

  • 50 Mbytes of installation + plugins.
  • 150 MB of images
  • 10 Mbytes of various download files
  • 25 Mbytes of database

Total: 385 Mbytes

This is reasonable and that is why in many hostings they indicate disk space limits of one to several Gbytes that are usually more than enough for a normal website or even to set up several under different domains.

However, if we think about videos, things change:

With what our website occupies, we would have barely managed to host 10 videos of 10 minutes in length.

As you can see, by hosting video, you can quickly accumulate large space needs. In addition, the best quality hosting, for example, Webempresa , put the emphasis on using very fast disks (SSD) that are also expensive, and therefore, they have to look at the space since it costs them dearly.

A Better Alternative: Embedding Your Videos

Video hosting sites usually all offer a very simple mechanism for displaying your videos on any web page: they offer code that can be copied and pasted into the page code so that the video is displayed alongside a player seamlessly integrated into the web page. the page. That is what is called embedding a video.

On platforms like WordPress it is even more trivial. WordPress, for example, allows you to put the video link directly in the text , it automatically recognizes that it is a video and shows the corresponding player.

The grace of the system is that the video is apparently part of the page, but in reality it continues to “pull” the original site. That is, the YouTube videos that you can see below in this post, for example, are not downloaded from the hosting of this blog, they are downloaded from YouTube.

For this reason, our hosting is not affected in the slightest because it is your web browser that is integrating everything, the video is being taken from YouTube and the rest of the content from the Shaz Vlog, Webempresa , everything pulling from your server correspondent.

As you can see, it is an issue that can be solved in a trivial way. In fact, if the only thing you want to know is how to use videos well on a website, reading the post this far is enough for you ?

Other very important reasons to embed videos

With these examples you should already have enough reasons to convince yourself that it is not a good idea to host videos on your hosting, but there are still some more that are also extremely important and of which you should be aware.

So let’s do a quick review of five of the most important reasons not to host videos on your hosting:

1. You would be burdened with a lot of technical problems

The current web page language specification, HTML 5, does not specify which video formats a browser must support. As a result, the major web browsers have gone their separate ways.

Internet Explorer and Safari, for example, understand the H.264 (MP4) format, but not WebM or Ogg. Firefox backwards: supports Ogg or WebM videos, but some versions don’t support H.264 and so on.

In short, if you want to support the main browsers, you will have to convert the video into multiple formats: .mp4, .ogv and .webm (with the consequent increase in space consumed on your hosting). Also, you will need a smart player that knows which one to use in each case.

But it doesn’t end there, playing a video takes a lot of science since the actual bandwidth available (especially on the user side) is highly variable. Your videos are likely to suffer from stops and jerks.

A good video service insulates you from all this. To begin with, they have their own infrastructure with a lot of output bandwidth and their players are already highly refined, they know how to modulate the quality of the video depending on the bandwidth available to the user, they know what format to use depending on which browser they are using playing the video, etc.

So you simply limit yourself to uploading the video and people see it, which is their thing. The platform and its tools do the rest.

2. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world

Many people don’t know that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world .

In other words, having a presence on YouTube means that you have access to enormous search traffic and when a video goes viral, the thing can shoot up to unsuspected limits.

Without going any further, on our YouTube channel (which we have a bit abandoned, really…), we have many videos with more than 100,000 views , we even have one that right now reaches almost 2 million (!).

The vast majority of these views come from YouTube searches . Imagine where we would be if we had continued to post videos at the rate we did at the time…

Therefore, in the particular case of YouTube, having a presence on this platform means being able to reach many more people and add many additional visits and followers to your project that do not reach your website in this other way.

3. You have very detailed usage statistics

On the other hand, specialized video platforms provide you with a wealth of analytical information that you cannot have if you host them on your own in your hosting.

I am no longer referring to basic things such as views, but to much more advanced things such as knowing, for example, what percentage of retention a given video achieves over time.

In other words, YouTube, for example, you can know, for example, what % of users continue to watch it every second, information that can reveal a lot about which parts of the video work better and which work worse (a large % of users abandon it). people).

4. You have advanced privacy controls

Another very interesting example of added value that even free video platforms give you is privacy controls.

Coming back to the most popular platform, YouTube, here are three modes that should be enough for almost any user:

  • Public : This is the default way how videos are uploaded to YouTube and it means that they are visible to everyone and can be found through the search engine and the list of videos on your YouTube channel.
  • Private : With private you can restrict the viewing of the video to certain users. The requirement is that these users have a Google account (a Gmail account, for example). It is worth mentioning that in Vimeo you can do the same thing with a password, without the requirement of the Google account.
  • Hidden : In this case there are no restrictions regarding the users who can see the video, but you have to know its URL since the video will be “hidden”, nor will it appear in the search engine, nor on your YouTube channel. So that someone can see the video, you have to pass the link or embed it in your blog, for example (if you want them to only be seen publicly from the blog, for example).

As you can see, even in free accounts, you have quite complete privacy control that will be more than enough in 99% of cases.

5. You can monetize in a very simple way

And finally, in the case of YouTube, you have a functionality that allows you to automatically insert AdSense advertising in the videos if you wish.

As we have already mentioned, AdSense is, in general, one of the worst ways to monetize online for the miserable amounts that are usually earned. But it is also surely the most immediate and easiest. It’s as simple as creating an AdSense account, linking to YouTube, configuring on YouTube which videos you want to show ads and which ones you don’t, and that’s it.

It is difficult to specify economic amounts because it depends on the theme of your videos, but in many cases (including ours), the amounts are around €1 per thousand views.

You see why I say that you earn a pittance, you have to get huge amounts of traffic to reach amounts that are not ridiculous, but it is also true that, except for the initial configuration of the accounts, it costs zero work.

But mainly I mention this topic for one reason: the psychological effect of depositing your first money online, even if it is only a few cents, is tremendously motivating . And in that sense, much more important than the money itself, which will be little, is the motivational boost from that first experience of generating income online and passively.

Where should you host your videos and why?

As you can see, given all this, it can be considered almost outrageous that you host your videos on your own hosting. I could still go on with more reasons and more examples, but I think this has been enough for you to have it clear.

However, there are always exceptions and special cases. If this is your case, I encourage you to comment on it in the comments, it will be very interesting to meet you.

And to finish off, I leave you with a very illustrative video by Caleb Wojcik , the “DIY Video Guy”, a video expert who works with top bloggers worldwide such as the authors of Fizzle or Pat Flynn .

In this video he makes a comparison of the most important video platforms on the market such as YouTube , Vimeo , or Wistia . This should help you decide which might be best for you.

The video is in English, but remember that in the YouTube player’s wheel (settings) you can activate the subtitles along with their automatic translation. It’s not amazing, but enough to understand the video reasonably well.

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