Last updated on 25th October 2023
After all the time, money, blood, sweat, and tears you’ve poured into creating your video, finding a video hosting site probably feels like just one more mountain to climb before you can reap the delicious rewards of video marketing.
Luckily, we’re here to turn that mountain into nothing more than a molehill. In this article, we’re going to look at the 10 best video hosting sites in 2023, including the pros and cons, main features, and the pricing structures, to help you find the best place for your video to set up camp on the world wide web!
What is video hosting?
Before we get started, it’s important to know exactly what video hosting is and why it is important.
Video files are large, and so hosting one directly on your website is likely to devour your bandwidth and storage space. This often results in playback errors and quality problems when people try to watch your video, particularly on mobile devices. And with over half of all video content online being viewed on mobile, that’s a big no-no.
To get around this you can use a video player that plays different size and quality versions of your video based on the users bandwidth and device size. But this means saving out a bunch of different versions of your video in advance which can get confusing.
Hosting videos on-site could also decrease page speed, as your player is unlikely to be optimised for streaming, which is a major ranking factor (on mobile as well as desktop), in turn impacting your organic search ranking.
Hosting your video using a dedicated video host eliminates those problems and simply provides you with an embed code that you can use to add your video to any web page.
When it comes to video hosting sites, there are many options to choose from, and the one you choose will depend on what you want to achieve with your video content. Some platforms are better for exposure, others are useful if you want access to analytics.
It’s also worth thinking about cost here. Video hosting sites vary in price, ranging from free to a three-figure monthly subscription fee, and while on the surface the free video hosting sites may seem like a no-brainer, both have pros and cons. For example, a free video hosting platform may place ads around your video (they have to make money somehow!), but business video hosting sites will make your content the main focus for viewers. This is extremely important if you’re a business and you want to keep people on your site to enquire or make a purchase.
The best video hosting sites
- JW Player
It’s impossible to think of online video without thinking of YouTube. Ever since the first video was posted to the platform over ten years ago, it has gone from strength to strength, snowballing in size. According to Medium, 6 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube every month–it’s difficult to wrap your head around!
Just in case you are an alien from the planet Zargon (in which case, Hi!), we’re going to go through the main features of YouTube. From a viewer’s perspective, it is very easy to use. The tab down the left-hand side lists categories that can be clicked on to view videos that fit that description.
Whenever you are watching videos, there is also a recommended videos section on the right-hand side that suggests similar videos you might like based on your previous behaviour on the site.
As a video hosting platform, it is also easy to use. You just need to sign in with your Google account (assuming you have one already) and click the ‘Upload Videos’ icon to start hosting your videos on YouTube:
- Reach –YouTube has over 1 billion active users, which gives marketers a huge potential audience for their videos.
- Engagement – People are more likely to watch a video on YouTube than they are to read an article or blog post. This makes YouTube an ideal platform for engaging with potential customers.
- SEO – YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, so optimizing your videos for YouTube can help you attract more viewers.
- Analytics – YouTube does offer some basic video analytics to track such as engagement and reach–which is great when you consider the platform is completely free.
- Competition – There are millions of videos on YouTube, which means it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd.
- Lack of flexibility – Use YouTube, and you’re limited to the branded YouTube player, which – while ubiquitous enough to be totally inoffensive – also screams ‘We didn’t pay for hosting.’ It’s not a huge problem but it’s something to keep in mind.
- Suggested videos – If you host videos on YouTube then you can easily grab an embed code and embed the video on your website, so viewers don’t need to visit YouTube to watch your video.
However, you need to be vigilant of YouTube’s agenda. YouTube wants people to stay on YouTube, or if they are on your website then YouTube wants to lure them away.
If a viewer has the ‘autoplay’ feature switched on, then moments after your call to action appears on screen, YouTube is going to start playing the next video. This will take viewers’ attention away from your brand, product, or service.
Even without the autoplay feature, Youtube still suggests videos that the viewer might be interested in watching next, and this again takes attention away from your business and product.
Ads – Additionally, ads will sometimes appear next to your video, like this one:
You have no say in what appears here, but YouTube always tries to make ads relevant to users. This means if your competitors are paying for PPC ads on YouTube then these could appear right next to your video!
Who it’s for
YouTube has the most users of any video platform. Therefore if you’re looking for views or brand awareness then upload your video to YouTube. However, if you’re trying to educate people about your product or service, and want people to stay on your website, then use a paid business video host. This will keep people on your site so they can take the next step in your buying journey.
Vimeo is like YouTube’s straight-laced, older brother (surprisingly, it is actually 3 months older than YouTube). This platform is for people who are serious about video content, and this makes it a great place to host yours.
There are never any ads around your content, and comments are usually constructive in nature, unlike YouTube where it seems anything goes. You can also embed Vimeo videos to your website by simply grabbing an embed code:
Many people prefer the cleaner look and feel of the Vimeo player over the YouTube alternative.
While being similar to Youtube in many ways, Vimeo receives considerably less traffic. But traffic isn’t everything. When it comes to making videos for your business, it’s not always about the volume of viewers, it’s about the quality of those views. You want views from people who are interested in potentially purchasing your product or service, not views from people who are looking for ‘funny fail’ videos.
As you can see from the chart below, YouTube receives a lot more direct traffic, but Vimeo trumps it in other sources, including search, social media, and mail.
Vimeo does have a free plan called ‘Vimeo Basic’, but if you want access to better features like unlimited bandwidth and customer support then you should probably sign up for one of their plans. Plans start from $6/month for 250GB of yearly storage and increase to $70/month for the premium package that includes 7TB of total storage.
All of these plans give you access to analytics, although the less expensive your plan is, the less impressive your analytics will be. The ‘Plus’ plan only offers a stats dashboard that includes social stats and custom reports, whereas the ‘Premium’ plan boasts all of that and includes engagement and duration graphs as well as Google Analytics integration.
- Community – First and foremost,Vimeo offers an incredible community of filmmakers and creatives, which makes it a particularly good choice for people in these creative industries (although the benefits of this are pretty negligible for marketers)
- Features and tools – Vimeo offers lots of helpful features and tools. It’s particularly useful to be able to embed videos on your website without showing ads.
- Excellent customer support – The team at Vimeo are very responsive and offer excellent service if you do get stuck and need to contact them.
- Reduced reach – Not as widely used as other video hosting sites like YouTube.
- Marketing and promotion – There’s no getting around it, Vimeo does offer fewer marketing and promotional features than other sites.
- Interface – Some users find the interface confusing and difficult to use
Who it’s for
If your video is artsy, or if you feel the Vimeo audience is aligned with your brand, then Vimeo is for you. You can also use Vimeo to embed videos on your website as they don’t show ads.
Wistia is a video hosting platform that is specifically for businesses. It doesn’t display your videos publicly, but it does make it easy for you to host your videos on your site. All you do is copy and paste an embed code, and your video will play in a customised player with no ads!
The lack of a public-facing side could be seen as a con, but Wistia makes up for that by being extremely focused on the business-side of video marketing, i.e. analytics and business-specific functionality.
Their analytics dashboard is very advanced, but at the same time it is easy to interpret. Among other stats, the dashboard shows average engagement, play rate, and even a heatmap view:
You can even hone in on how engagement differs from second to second:
There are three different plans, including a free one for businesses that are just getting started with video. The free plan is very basic, with a three video limit and Wistia branding across all videos. The ‘Pro’ plan is $99/month and for that price you can remove the Wistia branding from your videos and also add as many videos as you want (the first 10 are free and the rest are charged at $0.25 each per month). If you’re super-serious about video, then you’ll probably want the ‘Advanced’ plan. You need to contact Wistia to discuss pricing, but included with that are 100 videos, A/B testing functionality, and access to priority support.
Wistia support is really worth shouting about. They have a great reputation for taking care of their users. In an interview with Jeff Vincent, the Director of Customer Happiness at Wistia, he reported that the most important metric for his support reps to aim for is, funnily enough, happiness!
- Business focus – with a clear positioning towards businesses, Wistia has a rich tool set geared towards helping you achieve specific goals – and great analytics that help you understand how your videos perform against a range of metrics.
- Beautiful player – for our money Wistia offers the most minimalist, best-looking player window on the market.
- Ad free videos – clearly, as a paid tool for businesses, there’s not an ad in sight.
- Customisation – Wistia is highly customisable and very user-friendly, so you can really make it work for your specific needs.
- Pricing – as you’d expect, the quality comes at a premium. The costs of Wistia can quickly add up, especially if you’re looking to host a lot of videos or use some of the more advanced features.
- Reduced reach – Wistia exclusively offers hosting – by definition, videos are private. This means that there’s no community or social element to the site.
Who it’s for
If you want people to watch videos on your website then Wistia is a great solution. It lets people watch videos in a beautiful player with no ads. It also provides a lot of data so you can make informed video marketing decisions. Wistia is a great option for businesses and marketers who are looking for a reliable, feature-rich platform on which to host their videos. Yes, it has its drawbacks, but the positives far outweigh the negatives – making it a great choice for those in need of a top-notch video hosting solution.
Like Wistia, Vidyard are also more focused on the business side of video hosting. In fact, hosting is just one of their many features. Their main focus is increasing the value of your video, whatever that may mean for you, e.g. increasing conversions, engagement, and so on.
Vidyard lets you upload, download, and store unlimited assets, and share them anywhere for maximum viewership. They guarantee 99.99% uptime and are already supporting the likes of 4K and 360 videos.
Vidyard isn’t currently transparent with its pricing online, so you will have to contact them to discuss your needs. It seems that all plans are custom-built in a ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ style, allowing you to select the features you want and disregard the ones you don’t–meaning you only pay for what you need.
Some of their most impressive features include: A/B testing, real-time analytics, and CRM integration.
- Powerful features – Vidyard gives you the ability to track viewer engagement, add calls-to-action, and use video analytics to improve your campaigns.
- Integrations – Vidyard integrates with a number of popular marketing tools, making it easy to share videos across your various channels.
- Affordable – with plans starting at just $10/month, you won’t need to break the bank to afford a Vidyard subscription.
- No free plan – Vidyard doesn’t offer a free plan, so you’ll need to factor in the cost of a subscription when budgeting for your video marketing campaigns.
- Learning curve for new users – The platform can be a bit tricky to navigate for first-time users. There’s a bit of a learning curve involved in getting the most out of Vidyard.
Who it’s for
Overall, Vidyard is a great platform for hosting and sharing video content. It’s user-friendly, packed with features, and integrates with a number of popular marketing tools. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there is a cost involved in using the platform, and it might not be the best option if you’re looking for advanced features.
Over the past couple years, Facebook has been steadily increasing its interest in video and some even believe it will overtake YouTube soon. Like YouTube, it’s free to host your video on Facebook and you will also gain access to a basic analytics dashboard.
If you want to embed your Facebook video onto your website, all you need to do is click the 3 dots under the video and click ‘embed’ to grab the code:
Although over one billion people scroll through Facebook’s news feed every single day, videos still default to playing silently. So if you’re hosting your video on Facebook, you should make sure it can be understood without sound. In addition to that, organic reach on Facebook has declined steadily over the past year, so you may want to invest in the platform’s impressive ad targeting as a way to capture the attention of viewers.
In fact, one of the biggest benefits of hosting your video on Facebook is that it is easy to monetise your content. Facebook makes it easy to put ads before your video and even create ad breaks in between, however, when it comes to explainer videos, engagement should be more important than ad revenue.
- Huge Audience – Facebook has over 2 billion active users, so if you’re looking to reach a large audience with your video content, Facebook is definitely the place to do it. Facebook is taking video content increasingly seriously as it aims to compete with YouTube.
- Easy to Use – Uploading videos to Facebook is quick and easy, so you won’t waste any time getting your content up and running.
- Low Engagement Rates – Although Facebook has a huge user base, engagement rates (likes, comments, shares) are relatively low compared to other social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram. This is particularly the case for organic reach.
- Limited Customisation Options – Facebook offers limited customisation options for videos, so you won’t be able to make your videos stand out as much as you can on other platforms.
Who it’s for
Facebook has a huge audience of people ready to watch your video. However the lack of organic reach means you’ll need to use Facebook ads to get it in front of your target audience.
Boasting clients such as Ford, Dunkin’ Donuts, and even the BBC, with Brightcove you know you’re in good hands.
Unlike other platforms, Brightcove plans are broken down into uses rather than prices. There’s one for marketing, one for enterprise use, and one for monetisation.
Brightcove is very focused on helping users to increase the revenue of their videos, with options for ad integration and a subscription-based business model.
Brightcove also differentiates itself from other video hosting sites by claiming to have the best HTML5 player in the industry (70% faster than any other video player!), as well as robust live-stream functionality.
In addition, the platform integrates with an impressive number of MAPs (marketing automation platforms) and CRMs, including Hapyak, HubSpot, and Wirewax.
- Rich Feature Set – Brightcove offers a lot of features that can be helpful for marketers, including the ability to create and edit videos, add captions and subtitles, and embed videos on your website.
- Easy to Use – Brightcove is easy to use, even if you’re not a video editing expert. The platform has a simple, user-friendly interface that makes creating and editing videos a breeze.
- Affordable – Brightcove is one of the more affordable video hosting platforms on the market. It offers a variety of pricing plans to fit any budget, and its most basic plan is free.
- Limited Storage – One of the biggest downsides of Brightcove is its limited storage. The platform only offers 500 MB of storage for free users and 2 GB for paid users. If you have a lot of videos, you’ll quickly run out of space.
- No Live Streaming – Brightcove does not offer live streaming online videos, so if you want to stream your videos live, you’ll need to use another platform.
- Ads – Brightcove displays ads on free videos. If you don’t want your viewers to see ads, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Who it’s for
Overall, Brightcove is a solid video hosting platform that offers a lot of features that can be helpful for marketers. However, it has its downsides, including limited storage and no live streaming. If you’re looking for a platform that offers more storage and live streaming, you may want to consider another option.
Vzaar is a hosting platform without a public-facing network, but it prides itself on not only being a place to host your videos, but also a place to manage and organise them. You can organise your videos by categories, labels, and playlists so they are always easy to find.
As far as pricing goes, it isn’t the most expensive platform, but it isn’t free either. Plans start from £166/month (billed annually) for 1000 GB of storage and 1000 GB monthly bandwidth. There is a small charge if you go over your bandwidth, so you will need to monitor that closely. If you need to scale up, other plans are also available:
Like other sites on the list, Vzaar also has a fully customisable player, advertising capabilities, and functionality for adding email capture forms to videos to increase conversions.
In addition to this, the platform can integrate with Google Analytics and there is also a unique video playability index (VPI). The VPI gives your videos a rating out of 1000–the higher the score, the higher the chance of the video being played.
- Affordable plans – Vzaar has a number of different plans to choose from, all of which are very affordable. This makes it a great option for small businesses or startups that are working with a tight budget.
- Easy to use – Vzaar is very easy to use, even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy. The platform is intuitive and user-friendly, so you’ll be able to get your videos up and running in no time.
- Good video quality – Vzaar offers high-quality video encoding, so you can be sure that your videos will look great on the platform.
- Limited storage: One of the biggest downside of Vzaar is that it offers limited storage. If you have a lot of videos, you might quickly reach your storage limit and have to upgrade to a more expensive plan.
- No live streaming: Vzaar does not currently offer live streaming, so if that’s an important feature for you, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
- Not as widely used as other platforms: Vzaar is not as widely used as some of the other video hosting platforms out there, so you might have a harder time getting people to watch your videos.
Who it’s for
If you’re looking for a business video host but don’t feel like Wistia is right for you then Vzaar is definitely worth a look. They also offer a bunch of unique features.
Sprout Video is all about growth, as their name and branding suggests. The website is easy for new users to navigate and they currently have a free trial available that gives users access to their extensive list of features for 30 days.
If you want to sign up after your free trial, there are three plans to choose from. All of these are broken down into neat tables with fun names that relate back to the brand:
As you can see, the least expensive plan is $59.99 and offers considerably less features than the more expensive packages. It’s also worth noting that all plans are limited to 500 GB bandwidth, although there is the option to pay extra for more. And with one minute of HD video using almost 30 MB of data, you probably will end up paying for more.
Continuing with the interest in growth, Sprout Video already supports ultra HD videos (up to 8K) and the analytics they track are very impressive. You can see which countries your video is being viewed in, as well as which domains. You can also track individual viewers to see exactly how they have interacted with your videos.
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth – With playback up to 8k, this makes Sprout Video a great option for those who need to host large video files.
- Marketing features – In addition, Sprout Video offers a number of features that can be helpful for marketing purposes, such as the ability to password protect videos, add watermarks, and create custom thumbnails. Their analytics are also powerful and incredibly useful.
- Price – On the downside, Sprout Video can be more expensive than some of the other video hosting platforms on the market.
- No free trial – Those who are interested in trying the platform will need to pay for a subscription.
Who it’s for
If you need a business video host that offers up to 8k video playback then Sprout Video could be the solution for you!
Just like YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook, Dailymotion has a customer-facing side, giving more people a chance to find and watch your video(s). Users can search for videos with the search bar at the top of the page, or by scrolling through categories like ‘Featured’ and ‘Topic of the Moment’.
Another similarity between Dailymotion and the other sites mentioned is the fact that it is free. Instead, it relies on monetisation through ads (like YouTube and Facebook), and it encourages users to monetise their videos with pre-roll and in-stream ads.
With over 300 million users from around the world watching an estimated 3.5 billion videos every month, Dailymotion is a huge site–perfect for increasing brand awareness.
- Huge audience reach – With over 300 million monthly active users, Daily Motion is one of the largest video sites in the world. That means your marketing videos have the potential to reach a huge audience.
- Excellent video quality – Daily Motion offers high-quality HD videos, so your videos will look great on the site.
- No ads or branding – Since Daily Motion is a free service, there are no ads or branding on your videos. This can be a big plus if you’re trying to build a professional image for your brand.
- Limited video customization options -While Dailymotion offers some basic video customization options, they pale in comparison to what’s offered by paid video hosting platforms like Vimeo and Wistia.
- No built-in analytics – Dailymotion does not offer any built-in analytics, so you’ll need to use third-party tools to track your video views and engagement metrics.
- Difficult to embed videos on other sites – Dailymotion’s embed code is not as user-friendly as other video hosting platforms, making it difficult to embed your videos on other websites.
Who it’s for
Although YouTube is the undisputed king of online video, Dailymotion is a worthy competitor. If you’re looking for more visibility then you might just get that through Dailymotion.
10. JW Player
Whereas Brightcove claims to have the best HTML5 player, JW Player insists on having the fastest, with videos rendering ‘reliably and beautifully on every screen’.
Plans are reasonably priced, with the ‘Starter’ plan working out at just $5/month (when billed annually). For this, users can upload 50 videos and accrue a generous 15,000 views. Users also gain access to the following core features:
As you can see, users on the ‘Business’ and ‘Enterprise’ plan can access more advanced features, namely real-time analytics. However, engagement analytics are still available for those on the first plan.
- Compatibility – One of the main advantages of JW Player is its compatibility with a wide range of devices. Marketers can host their videos on the platform and then embed them on their website or blog, or share them through social media channels without having to worry about whether or not they will work on the reader’s device. This can be a big advantage over other video hosting platforms that may only work with certain types of devices.
- Customisation – The platform offers a number of ways that marketers can customise the look and feel of their player to match their brand. This can include changing the colours, adding logos, and even incorporating branding into the video itself. This can be a great way to ensure that your videos stand out from the competition and help you build brand awareness.
- No built-in SEO features – This means that if you want your videos to be found by search engines, you will need to utilize other video SEO techniques.
- Lack of analytics – Additionally, JW Player does not offer any kind of analytics that can help you track the performance of your videos. This means that you will need to rely on third-party tools to get this information.
Who it’s for
If you’re after a customisable player that you control then JW Player is a great option.
The right video for the right video hosting service…
Congratulations! You did it. You climbed the mountain. And hopefully now you have a better view of the video hosting website you want to use.
One more thing that’s worth mentioning: you don’t have to stick to one. You can host your video on a variety of different video hosting websites. In fact, the more places, the better! Stick your video on YouTube to appeal to the masses, Facebook to boost your social presence, and then host it on Wistia to gain access to those juicy analytics and that beautiful player window! The choice (or choices!) is yours.
For more tips and advice on all things video creation and promotion including advice around video length and video formats, check out our blog page.