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Hosting Videos on Your Site vs. Externally


Companies and webmasters alike often question the best place to host video: is it on an external server or server such as YouTube, or on your very own site’s used servers to stream from the company page? If you’re a more advanced webmaster and resources aren’t as much a big deal to you, self-hosting may be what you’re looking for. However, if you’re a novice user and seeking something that just gets video on your pageanyway, anyhow—the best option may be to toss your video on YouTube and let them take care of all the technical headaches and maintenance.

Let’s go over the pros and cons of each option to determine the best solution for you.

Hosting Externally

This hosting method refers to actually hosting a video on another company/organization’s servers such as YouTube. With this option, they take care of all the technical labor and issues that arise. You just embed it on your site.


The greatest benefit of hosting your video externally is the fact that it is open to the public, which gives it a higher chance to go viral. The Dollar Shave Club, for example, started off with one hilarious commercial that suddenly went viral, according to Entrepreneur. Had the video been only on their website, it most undoubtedly would never have gone viral. By hosting it on YouTube, they were able to have the greatest reach, leading to over 1 million customers, which according to Bloomberg, “[…] spend about $7 million each month to get razor blades and other grooming products in the mail.”

Most hosting sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Sprout Video, and others, often rank well on search engines, including the all-powerful Google. According to a post on Adobe’s Marketing Blog, video hosting sites also make it easy for users to share the videos on social media or embed the video onto their own website. Hosting on a video site is also a lot less maintenance because you are not expected to code anything. Instead, you just upload your video and enter an optimized description.

Hosting on a video hosting site also allows you to use their bandwidth, not yours. Many hosting solutions are charged/rated by bandwidth utilization. If you stream videos from your web servers, it will count against your bandwidth utilization, which can be a huge downfall, especially for smaller/growing businesses on a budget.


Unfortunately, hosting your video on a video hosting site does have some downsides. The worst of which is the fact that any videos uploaded onto a free video hosting account are subject to ads, and potentially even competitors’ ads playing before your video. You’ll also be at the mercy of the host website’s updates, which means if the look, feel, and experience changes, your viewers will also experience the change. Another issue is that the analytics information provided by these video hosting websites may not be detailed enough to benefit your company’s marketing department.

Hosting on Your Own Site

This option refers to hosting the video content on your own web server. If you have the bandwidth and the coding ability, this is a good option worth considering.


There are a few benefits to hosting video onto your own website. One of the greatest benefits is the SEO value gained. In fact, both Search Hosting Watch and Moz, recently featured discussions about how the SEO value from self-hosted videos can be a determining factor when choosing between hosting sites and self-hosting.

Along with the SEO value, self-hosting videos can also allow for better customization. Self-hosting ensures that your marketing team will get the most analytical information possible and can offer sharing buttons and codes to increase sharability. This can also help your website gain backlinks from other websites. Another benefit of self-hosting is the fact that you are able to control any advertising and landing pages on which the videos live. This prevents your competitors from feeding off of your prospects.


Unfortunately there are some cons to self-hosting. Along with utilizing your bandwidth, you are also responsible for fixing all technical issues that arise. A major issue with self-hosting is the fact that you have to take into account all of the major browsers that your prospects and customers use. Otherwise, not everyone will be able to view it!

Each option offers its different pros and cons. Do some research and figure out what scenario would work best for your platform. Consult someone and do your homework; it will pay off in the long run!

Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.

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