The best free video hosting providers and premium solutions

For years, video and moving image content has been the type of content that attracts the most attention from users. To make sure that large video files don’t affect a website’s performance, video hosting is a good choice. We present free and paid premium solutions for video stream hosting.

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Why not host videos yourself?

Hosting videos yourself puts much more strain on a server than videos embedded via link or as an iframe. While image and text files are often only a few megabytes in size, even low-resolution videos are usually several hundred megabytes in size. This means that video files take up a large amount of a server’s bandwidth and can therefore also have a negative impact on the performance (loading speed) of a website. This is one reason why it’s advisable to use video platforms. This is especially advisable if the host of a server limits the available bandwidth to a certain level.

Tip

Having your own website as a figurehead is important for interacting with customers. Web hosting from IONOS is perfect for getting a website online in just a few steps.

Overview of the best video hosting platforms

  Maximum size per video Maximum length per video Maximum resolution Available memory Cost per month
YouTube 256 GB 12 hours 4K (3,840 x 2,160) Unlimited Free of charge
Dailymotion 2 GB 1 hour 4K (3,840 x 2,160) Unlimited Free of charge
Vimeo 500 MB Unlimited 8K (8.192 × 4.320) 5 GB Free of charge
Wistia 8 GB 2 hours 4K (3,840 x 2,160) 3 videos Free of charge
SproutVideo 100 GB Unlimited 8K (8.192 × 4.320) Unlimited From $25
Vidalytics 3,5 GB Unlimited - 10 to 100 videos From $25

Status of data: April 2022

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What is video hosting and what are the benefits?

Video hosting or video stream hosting uses platforms that allow users and companies to publish and distribute various video files. Among the best-known video hosting platforms are companies such as YouTube or Vimeo, which also offer a large community.

There, users can search for specific videos and play them directly on the providers’ sites. In addition, YouTube and Co. also offer the generation of links of the uploaded videos, which can then be conveniently embedded on other websites.

The advantage: Even with free video platforms, partly unlimited storage options are available, such as videos in high-resolution quality and file sizes in the gigabyte range can be uploaded there and subsequently hosted. Website operators relieve the load on their own servers by using these video hosting platforms, which in turn can have a positive effect on the performance of their own website.

Regardless of whether you choose free video hosting or paid. This third-party solution is ideal for all websites that want to embed large video files or a large number of smaller videos. For example, as part of a blog to enrich texts or as part of product presentations or tutorials.

Large video platforms such as YouTube or Dailymotion ensure additional distribution of moving image content and offer extensive analysis options for the number of views, average length of views or comment functions. This allows for direct and indirect interaction options with potential target groups. Various content management systems, including WordPress, offer practical functions for embedding moving image content. With WordPress embed YouTube videos work in just a few steps.

Tip

WordPress as a content management system is perfect for creating websites and blogs where videos can be embedded. With IONOS WordPress-Hosting up to three domains can be hosted for free.

Free video platforms vs. premium video hosting platforms.

When comparing video hosting platforms that provide their features for free and video hosting via premium providers, the difference lies mainly in the features set and specifications related to a single video file. YouTube, for example, is completely free for video hosting, but includes advertising, some of which is placed directly in front of a video.

The most important features of video hosting in comparison

The comparison of free video stream hosting and paid providers partly shows big differences. For example, free video hosting is usually limited to the upload and distribution options for videos, including basic analysis tools.

Paid providers also offer additional functions for lead generation and conversion-optimization. They charge for the service monthly. The motto here is: The more expensive a package, the greater the scope of functions or the more videos or data can be stored with the provider.

Use free video hosting websites: The best providers

YouTube: The largest provider for video content distribution.

YouTube is probably the best-known platform for searching and hosting and streaming videos worldwide. More than 30 billion visits are recorded by YouTube in one month alone, and the most clicked videos reach hits in the billions. YouTube thus offers video content creators not only a free hosting option but also access to an audience of billions, which in turn helps them to obtain comprehensive analyses of their own videos and thus adapt content to the needs of many users.

In terms of the amount of available storage and bandwidth, there is no limit on YouTube - individual videos can be up to 25 gigabytes in size and/or up to 12 hours long. Embedding is child’s play. Simply upload YouTube video and integrate it into your own website using the embedding function, for example via iframe.

However, if you embed videos via HTML hosted on YouTube into your website, they will always appear in the YouTube design. While this is now the standard on many websites, it’s not always the desired way for businesses to display them. In addition, YouTube displays ads before videos - this cannot be turned off.

Advantages Disadvantages
Unlimited memory Automatically playing ads.
All common video formats are supported No direct download option
Most video hits worldwide  

Dailymotion: The free YouTube competitor

Dailymotion seems to have set out to challenge YouTube. The platform is currently the network with the second most hits worldwide. The proximity to YouTube is also evident in the storage: Just like there, Dailymotion allows an unlimited number of videos to be uploaded.

The first difference becomes apparent when looking at the specifications for individual files: In the free version of Dailymotion, videos with a maximum length of 60 minutes and a file size of 2 gigabytes per video can be uploaded. As with YouTube, advertisements within the videos are an integral part of this.

Advantages Disadvantages
Unlimited memory Automatically playing ads.
All common video formats are supported No direct download option
Large video community Video scope limited in length and size

Vimeo: Limited free video stream hosting and sharing.

Among the best YouTube alternatives, is the video service Vimeo. Vimeo, as a free video hosting option, is designed for video hosting. Unlike other providers that focus on social networking, Vimeo tends to target creatives and businesses to create, manage and distribute videos.

In addition to the free basic variant, Vimeo offers different plans on a weekly basis, which can be used to expand cloud storage, for example. With the free variant, 500 MB of video material can be uploaded weekly, with a limit of 5 gigabytes. Larger amounts of data, up to unlimited storage, are chargeable.

This makes Vimeo particularly suitable if there are no regular uploads and if the videos serve as a fixed component of existing website content. For example, as an additional source of information.

Advantages Disadvantages
Professional platform for creatives Free storage limited to 5 GB
All common video formats are supported Restrictions on weekly upload or available storage
Resolutions up to 8K possible  

Wistia: Video hosting for free with a limited scope

In addition to the big names, there is another provider that offers free video hosting. The scope of Wistia puts a strong focus on online marketing and related additional features such as A/B testing, branding customization and analytics. It’s no coincidence that the provider describes itself as a solution for B2B marketing.

The free version of Wistia only supports the upload of a total of three videos. For the distribution of the videos, the provider supplies its own channel with a suitable link for embedding in websites.

Wistia charges a lot for upgrading the functions: $99 per month allow the upload of up to 10 videos. With this plan, customization of the video player is also possible - with the free plan, one must resort to a Wistia-branded player.

Advantages Disadvantages
Extensive analytics capabilities. Limited range of functions in the free version
Easy linking with other tools, e.g. Mailchimp Upgrade is quite expensive
No advertising in videos  

Video hosting platforms with costs: The best premium solutions

SproutVideo: Video stream hosting for small businesses

SproutVideo is not only aimed at large companies regarding the monthly cost, self-employed individuals and small businesses also get a variety of features at a moderate price with the provider’s video hosting solution.

As expected from a paid service, the upload options are more than sufficient, both for individual videos in terms of storage. This ensures continuous embedding of videos on websites and in newsletters. The latter is particularly interesting because SproutVideo includes forms for lead generation.

In this way, target groups can be built up over the long term, which can be addressed via various marketing activities and promote the sale of services and products.

Advantages Disadvantages
Lead generation through videos No community as with YouTube or Dailymotion.
Video analysis for controlling marketing activities Complex functions can overwhelm beginners
Individual customization of the video player  

Vidalytics: Video hosting for conversion optimization.

Like other providers, Vidalytics advertises numerous functions that go beyond the mere upload and distribution of videos. For example, users get connectivity to marketing automation solutions or lead generation elements that can be embedded in videos.

The basic package is available for $25 per month, which can host a total of 10 videos. As package costs increase, the amount of bandwidth available and the maximum number of videos that can be hosted expand. However, except for premium encoding to reduce the bandwidth used per video, all important features are already included in the basic package.

Advantages Disadvantages
Lead generation through videos No community as with YouTube or Dailymotion.
Integration in a CRM via marketing automation possible More expensive packages don’t offer significant additional functions

Conclusion: Video hosting must fit existing requirements

If you are only looking for a basic way to relieve the load on your own server, you will already find what you are looking for with free video streaming platforms. Unlimited data storage, the integration of all common video formats and embedding via link or iframe make it easier to distribute videos on websites or in newsletters.

For all those who would like to draw additional benefits from video content or use videos as sales support, it makes sense to compare the paid providers. These score points with simple integrations of call-to-actions or forms for lead generation.

Tip

For users who rely on WordPress as a website CMS, there are several plugins that allow you to embed a video in WordPress.

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