Why Hosting Your Own Videos Can Harm Conversion Rates
Adding visuals to your website or blog posts can certainly add value to your content. Using video on your site will likely increase the engagement rate amongst your users. However, most website owners use third-party hosting sites such as Vimeo or Wistia to upload their videos. Although you have the ability to host videos on your own website we don’t recommend you to do that. In this article, we will discuss why you should never upload videos to your WordPress or self-hosted website.
Embedding vs. Self-Hosted
Before we discuss the reasons why you shouldn’t upload videos to your website, we must first explain the difference between embedding and self-hosting.
Embedding means that you host your video on a third party website like Youtube. You’ll then be provided with an embed code that you can insert into your blog posts. This way the video appears on your site but it is actually being streamed from a third party server.
On the other hand, uploading a video to your own site requires you to host them on your own server. If you are using WordPress, it is the same process as uploading an image. There are times when it is ok to host your own videos but for the most part, we recommend embedding.
With that cleared up, here are the reasons you should never host your own videos
You don’t want your videos to look grainy so you decide to upload in HD. The size of a 1-minute, high definition video can be 130MB. That is a lot of bandwidth to use every time a user plays the video. Now amplify that by 50 users watching your video at the same time. If you allow people to share your videos then it is still streaming from your server. Using even more bandwidth. Even if you have ‘unlimited bandwidth’ there will likely be a fair usage policy in place.
No Standard Web Video Format
When it comes to cooperation, browsers can be quite stubborn. Each one likes to do its own thing from time to time which can be frustrating. In terms of file formats, there is no one specification that browsers should use. This has resulted in browsers not be able to play certain files.
<video poster="movie.png" controls="controls" width="300" height="150"> <source src="movie.mp4" type="video/mp4" /> <source src="movie.ogg" type="video/ogg" /> <source src="movie.webm" type="video/webm" /> <p>Your browser does not support the video tag.<p> </video>
Take the code above for example. Notice how we need to provide three sources for our video files. This is because Safari and Internet Explorer will play MP4 files but not ogg or webm. The other two major browsers, Firefox and Chrome support all file formats. This wasn’t always the case. All of this may change in the future but you have to consider backwards compatibility issues.
So to be on the safe side you would need to upload three different files to your host to make sure everyone can play the video.
Your website needs to be fast or users will leave. This is true for both desktop and mobile versions of your website. For this reason, if you host your own videos, you’ll need to serve different versions to each user based on their device. A desktop user with a fast internet connection would expect to be able to view a full HD-quality file. On the other hand, a mobile user with a slower connection might not be able to play such a large file. In this case, you would need to provide a smaller size file to increase the speed of your website.
By using a third-party host, users can normally choose what definition they want the video to play. In many cases, video players such as Youtube will detect the devices connection speed to play the video at the appropriate frame rate.
Choose to Embed
One of the benefits of embedding your videos is the ability to then share that video easily amongst other sources. Uploading videos to your own server would require a third party host if you want to share those videos as well on social media. Third party sites also provide video analytics which is valuable for visualising your videos performance.
There is the odd occasion where you will want to upload videos to your own site. Hero sections with background videos are a good example of this. You’ll still want to ensure that you have tested the video on each browser. You should also keep the video as short as you can.
We have written a blog post discussing a few of the hosting sites to use for your business.