Guide to Independent Video Hosting

Sef-Hosting or Video Service

What is the difference between using a video service and self-hosting your own video?

Using a Video Service involves uploading a video file to a service like YouTube, Daily Motion or Vimeo. Your viewers will normally watch your 'channel' on the website of the service. 

Self-hosting a video means that you upload the video file to your website or some other webspace you are renting.   

Advantages to Self-Hosting Video

Let's compare self-hosting to using YouTube. 

No Length Limits: You do not have a default length limit of 15 minutes.

No Takedowns: When YouTube removes one of your videos (a takedown), the process can be quite random and often difficult to reverse. Hosting your own video allows you to keep your video online and deal with any legal issues directly.  


Less Blocking: Many companies and some countries block YouTube viewing. You may be able to avoid this blanket blocking.

No Adverts: YouTube has 'pre-roll' ads, overlay ads, banner ads and more ads in 'related videos', 'promoted videos'. Self-hosting avoids this distraction from your message. 

Choice of Images and Design: Self-hosting gives you a lot of flexibility when choosing how your video content is displayed. encourages viewers to make a donation to the filmmakers
in the way the page is laid out

Show Video in Context: The freedom to be able to display your videos in the context of other video content and other contextualising information is a huge advantage. You can design your pages to offer additional resources, including text, audio and information about relevant campaigns and supporting organisations.  

The video website has many options to view by categories, areas and keywords
making it very suitable for a video archive

No Account Shutdowns: YouTube can shut down or suspend your account at any time and there is limited customer service to be able to dispute or reverse this decision.

Membership or Restricting Viewers: You may have reasons to restrict viewing of certain videos. Self-hosting allows you to do this with greater flexibility than any of the limited options offered by YouTube and similar services.

Barriers to Self-Hosting Video

Bandwidth Costs and Limits: YouTube and similar services are free and remain so even if your video is very popular. When you are self-hosting content, you will have to pay for the bandwidth (data transfer) and for a successful video this could be significant.  

If your self-hosted video 'goes viral' then you may exceed your bandwidth limit.  

Audience Searchability: Good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can make your video content visible for web searches. However, it must be remembered that YouTube is the second most popular internet search engine.

Multiple Encoding of Videos: To effectively distribute your video to a wide range of different devices and users with varying internet connections, it is advised to encode your videos to different resolutions and formats.

A playlist view on YouTube

Limited Embedding Options: YouTube has done a lot of work to allow you to make it easy for users to embed videos in blogs and social media outlets. You can alter the player dimensions and embed playlists or entire channels.