Should I self-host my own video?

In our previous posts, we talked about the use of YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia as video hosting services for your business’ or charity’s promotional video. In another blog, we talked about why those are so important for marketing your ideas. In this blog, we are going to focus on the do-it-yourself technique, self-hosting video content. Some people are just too cool for school …or any of the mass video hosting platforms. We don’t judge them at all… although, here at Invisible Harness we seldom recommend it, the DIY approach certainly does have it’s perks:

The Pros of Self-hosting Video Content

  • Privacy and Control
    • If you don’t want others to be able to download/steal your fancy new explainer or company promo video, this is a better way to protect from that. Also, nobody can delete or ban your videos.
  • More Professional looking than some other options (and more control over appearance)
    • No Youtube or Vimeo logos on your page looks more pro
    • Fully customizable colors/look
  • Keep visitors on your page (and control where they go)
    • No ads or suggested videos at the end of the video to distract or lure your customers away from your site.
    • When embedding your video, you can actually link them back to your site, taking a trick from the Youtube and Vimeo playbook.
  • It’s free, as long as you have enough space included in your current website hosting service.

As you may have noticed, control plays a big role in self-hosting. You get a whole lot of that as opposed to some of the other options. However, as Uncle Ben told the noob Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.” We don’t anticipate you will have to sling yourself wildly from buildings or fight crime in effective yet humane ways… we’ll leave that to Spider-Man. We do anticipate, however, that you will have to confront different, more subtle types of evil:

The Cons of Self-hosting Videos

  • Longer page load times
  • More server space (and speed) required
    • Videos tend to be very large files, so if you are planning on self-hosting video after video on your site, you might end up paying a premium for hosting space. Also, if multiple people try to watch your video at the same time, your hosting server needs to be fast enough to handle that about of bandwidth.
  • Slower, less reliable playback
    • Mega video hosting platforms like Youtube and Vimeo use cutting edge, complex servers that are able to handle many viewers watching at the same time. Your weak little server space might choke at the thought of more than 20 people watching at the same time, as mentioned above, resulting in visitors not being able to watch your video at all, or getting frustrated by playback stopping periodically. Our spidey sense tells us that if you want a lot of people watching your video, having this problem will be a significant pain in the butt.
    • Those mega platforms are also pretty dialed in when it comes to making sure that the video will start playing quickly and won’t stop playing until it’s done, regardless of the user’s internet speed.
    • Not all web browsers are compatible with all video formats. Your video might play fine in Chrome, but have issues in Firefox or IE. The Mega-platforms like Youtube, Wistia, and Vimeo do the work behind the curtain to make sure that your video will play with all major web browsers, including cellular web browsers.
  • No additional promotion outside of what you provide
    • YouTube and Vimeo expose you to other users of that platform, so many potential customers can organically stumble upon your video, find their way to your site, and give you their money. Self-hosting video content can cause you to miss out on this advantage.
  • More hassle
    • If you want to give people different playback quality options, you’ll need to encode multiple versions of each video and upload all of them. That takes a lot of time. Time is money. Time is limited. Time is your friend. So if you’re short on time and you plan on putting more than one or two videos on your site, Self-hosting video content might not be a good idea for you.

Closing Thoughts about Self-Hosting Video Content:

In my humble opinion, self-hosting video content is rarely the right answer. Unless you are an advanced coder and you want more customization than any of the other video hosting sites out there offer, it really makes more sense to go with a video hosting service like Wistia, Youtube, or Vimeo. The detailed analytics, exposure, paid marketing options, behind-the-curtain optimization, and simplicity of use that can be provided in varying degrees by these video hosting services make them an easy choice over self hosting.

If you have any questions or you would like more information about having a promotional or explainer video made for your organization, please hit us up! That’s what we do!

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