Back to all

A Beginner’s Guide to Video Hosting

With the growing number of video hosting services available, like YouTube and Vimeo, choosing the right  solution can be difficult. This post will teach you a little about hosting videos online and help you choose the best hosting service for your business.

What is video hosting?

Video hosting is now common practice, as evidenced by the millions of corporate videos hosted online today. Hosting allows you to upload and store your video on a third-party website. Viewers can access the video by visiting the host website directly (e.g., or you can use what is called embed code to add the video to your website.

What are the benefits of hosting?

Like most cloud-based services, using a remote video hosting service simplifies the hosting process and eliminates the storage and bandwidth costs associated with self hosting. You no longer need to have an advanced degree in programming to host a video online. Just upload your video, add some details (like a title and description) and copy the link or embed code provided.

Which service should I use?

It depends. If you’re simply looking to showcase some home videos of karaoke night with the neighbors, a free service like YouTube or Vimeo should be more than adequate. However, if you run a business and are sensitive to details like branding, analytics, support and security, it may be in your best interest to look in to a premium hosting package. Here are a few services worth checking out (both free and paid):

  • YouTube (free)

    Pros: The king of online video, YouTube is free for all and has some great features. It’s easy to use, easy to share and embed videos and supports video in high definition (HD).

    Cons: Embedded videos are branded with a YouTube logo. Videos link directly back to YouTube, and a playlist of “related” YouTube videos shows up once yours is complete. Upload times can be significant, which means you may be waiting a while for your video to go live.

  • Vimeo (free/paid)

    Pros: Vimeo is a great service with a clean user interface, and is very popular among creatives. Their free plan allows you to upload up to 500MB of video each week, and one video in HD. Vimeo’s Premium service offers player customization and statistics.

    Cons: Like YouTube, videos embedded using Vimeo are branded on the player bar. Upload times can also be significant, but you can get rid of most limitations by upgrading to their Premium plan for $9.95 per month, or $59.95 per year.

  • Wistia (paid)

    Pros: Wistia is the host of choice here at Demo Duck (make sure to check out our Wistia deal for startups). In addition to a clean, user-friendly interface, Wistia has professional, unbranded players, great video analytics (for tracking viewership) and a feature called SEO Sitemap, which helps make sure your video gets listed in the search engine results, like Google.

    Cons: If you’re looking for a lot of fancy features, Wistia may not be the tool for you – they like to keep it simple. Starting at $79 per month, Wistia isn’t the cheapest tool out there, but if you’re a business looking for a professional solution, we suggest at least taking a look.

  • Brightcove (paid)

    Pros: From what we’ve seen, Brightcove may have the most robust hosting service on the market today. In fact, we’re not even quite sure everything it’s capable of, but take our word for it, it’s a lot (here’s an overview from Brightcove). From custom styling and mobile support to distribution and advertising, Brightcove is a strong contender for business and enterprise level video hosting.

    Cons: Brightcove starts at $99 per month and goes up to $499 and beyond. In our opinion, they are getting dangerously close to feature overload, but it really depends on what you need.

  • Cincopa (paid)

    Pros: Billed more as a media hosting platform than specifically for video, Cincopa can really be a one stop shop for multimedia producers. For the pricing levels and applicable offerings, it feels like a good option for companies looking to churn out a lot of media content.

    Cons: Better customization options are only available at the Enterprise plan at $399/month so make sure you like their more standard layout and formatting.

What hosting service do you use? Let us know your experience and what you would recommend!

Additional Resources

Written by Andrew Follett
Andrew is the Founder of Demo Duck, a video production agency. He lives in Chicago, loves startups, and enjoys traveling. You can follow him on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.