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Why Videos Should Never Be Uploaded to WordPress

Video content can make a website a lot more interesting by adding additional value to a site's content or by increasing the chance of readership interaction through comments and/or the sharing of your content links. While videos can certainly be uploaded to your WordPress blog and hosted on your hosting account; HostGator highly advises against this practice for several reasons that will be explained throughout this article.

Resource Reasons

Video Issues

Though there are several reasons why you should avoid hosting your own videos on HostGator's shared servers, do not despair as there are some alternative options. These options will not affect your server resources nor the video's integrity.

Risks & Resolutions

Resource Reasons

While HostGator does provide unlimited bandwidth and disk space on our shared hosting accounts, it is still not a good idea to host your own videos, as it could inflict a great amount of stress to the shared server by having a 100MB (or larger) video being viewed by hundreds of people at the same time.

Server Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred to and from your hosting account in one month. Each time someone downloads a 10 kB file from your website, they use 10 kB of bandwidth from your account.  The same theory applies for videos hosted on your site.

Too many requests on the server for a single large file could potentially exceed the limits of the server where your site is hosted and cause resource issues on the server as a whole. This could result in your site being temporarily being suspended until the issue could be resolved, as we can not allow one site to affect the other sites sharing the same server. 

More information can be found in the following article: 

Inode Limits

Hosting video files could very easily cause the inode limit to be exceeded on your shared hosting account.  An inode is a data structure used to keep information about a file on your hosting account. The number of inodes indicates the number of files and folders you have. This includes everything on your hosting account including emails, files, folders and anything else stored on the server.

Unlike images or audio files, video files can be very large in size. A high definition video can quite easily be as large as 100MB or more - unlike images or audio files which are generally measured by mere kilobytes in comparison.

More Information about inodes can be found in the following article:

Video Issues

When using a shared server, most users assume that only the server takes a beating however, that is not the case. Most of the time, the video and your viewers can suffer as the video lags or even refuses to play due to the lack of file uniformity or video quality.

Slow Loading Video or Unexpected Pauses When Streaming

If a video file is being served from a shared server, visitors may experience a lag or unexpected pauses when trying to view the video.  This is because the site is hosted on a shared server and while HostGator does not limit bandwidth on shared hosting accounts, it is a resource that is still being shared among all of the users on that same server. This issue can be compounded if there are other hosting accounts serving video files or if a site visitor has a slow internet connection as well. 

No Standard Video File Format Available

With the current HTML5 specification, there is no 'standard' video format in use by all browser types. The major browsers each support a different video format, which means video files would have to be converted into multiple formats and have multiple videos to upload and host on your hosting account to meet the needs of each site visitor and their particular browser. 

For your conveinance we have listed the current browsers in use and the video file types that are supported by each:

  • FireFox - .Ogg and .WebM, but not H.264 (.MP4).
  • Internet Explorer & Safari - H.264 (.MP4), but not .WebM or .Ogg.
  • Chrome - will play all major video formats.

Videos Will Need to be Converted

Chances are the majority of your site visitors will be viewing your videos from their laptop or desktop computer with a high speed internet connection. These site vistors would expect to see a large, high definition video that can be watched in full screen mode, if desired.

To do this, a 1080p or 720p file at a high streaming bit rate of between 5000 to 8000 kbps would be needed in addition to smaller, lower resolution versions of your video would then need to be encoded so that they can be played back on mobile devices like tablets and phones, as well as for those with slower internet connections.

This results in the need to have multiple versions of the same video file for playback on all of the possible browsers and viewing platforms and there is no way to know which video needs to be served based on your visitors browser and/or device.

Quality Varies Across Browsers

Software applications would be needed to convert the videos into various formats and sizes to handle the conversion of all file types that would need to be available.  Due to how each app handles the conversion process differently, your video files could result in variations of quality. Meaning that your file may look great when viewed as an .Ogg file in FireFox, but may look somewhat grainy when viewed as an .mp4 file in Internet Explorer.

Risks & Resolutions

When hosting your own video files, the video paths are usually exposed in the source code of your website and makes it easy for anyone to simply copy the URL of the video file's location, download it to their own computer, and possibly even redistribute it as their own. To protect your files and your site, it might be easier to use the following options listed within this article below.

Video Plugins

There are certainly video plugins that can be used to play videos on your WordPress blog,  however they come with their own set of risks. These third party plugins generally require you to create cumbersome code known as 'shortcode' which has to be placed inside of your post and can be used to tell the video player which formats of video have been created as well as their location on the server.

While WordPress 3.6 will offer built in video support, you will still need to construct a short code comparable to this to embed into your posts:
[video width="800" height="400" ogv="movie.ogv" mp4="movie.mp4" webm="movie.webm"]
The above code allows for playback of the following video file types: .ogv, .mp4 and .webm. However, the quality of the video may be an issue.

Third Party Video Distributor

The best possible option for sharing videos on your site would be to use a third party service that specializes in video sharing, and embed their code into your WordPress post or page. These sites will optimize the video into all of the needed formats and sizes, as well as make sure the resolution is the correct one being called by each browser.  Another added bonus to using one of these third party services is that your hosting account's bandwidth is not being used.

Some third party video hosting sites that offer this free service are:

After uploading the video to one of these services all that's required is to paste the URL that is provided by the distibutor into your WordPress page or post.  An added bonus to using a distributor is that the uploaded videos also include links so that they can be shared on the major social media platforms, which can help reach out to a wider audience and bring more potential visitors to your website.