When you add media to your WordPress website, your dashboard probably reads “upload new media.” With only a few clicks, you can upload images as well as videos.
But why choose uploading over embedding your videos? What are the benefits of embedding vs uploading video?
Uploading Video and Why It’s Risky
By uploading video in your WordPress dashboard, you are taking up space on your server. If you upload multiple videos, you could potentially take up too much space, and if many users attempt to view your video, your site load times could severely slow down.
Uploading a video uses your server’s bandwidth, and if other people link to or embed your video in their site, your own site will suffer even more from use of your bandwidth.
There is a file size limitation to video uploading. Your WordPress site will have a much more restrictive file size, whereas third-party sites such as YouTube will allow for much larger sizes.
Shared hosting servers (versus dedicated servers) offer an unlimited amount of bandwidth, but that won’t prevent them from suspending your account should you create enough stress on the server from a video being viewed by hundreds of people at once.
Not only does your server suffer (and everyone else who shares it), but your viewers also feel the pain of your uploaded video. They can experience slow loading, unexpected pauses, and refusal to play. Because bandwidth is a shared resource, this can grow even worse when other accounts on the server are also hosting videos.
The one clear benefit of uploading video is the autonomy it allows. You have complete control as a self-hosting platform. As long as your server is functioning, your video will also operate. But that’s pretty much where the benefit ends.
Embedding Video Is the Best Choice
The risks of uploading video clearly outweigh the benefits. Besides the risks involved with uploading video, embedding video is your preferred alternative for another critical reason: SEO.
Third-party servers that are dedicated to hosting your videos offer the added plus of bringing more views to your video and more viewers to your site.
Rather than detract from your SEO, viewing your embedded videos on sites like YouTube and Vimeo can add to your SEO. YouTube is currently ranked number three globally as a top site by Alexa, down recently from number two. Your videos have the benefit of being searched within YouTube as well as on other search engines.
More Reasons to Choose Embedding Video
Not only are you utilizing YouTube’s or Vimeo’s resources for free, you are able to serve high-quality video without worrying about the added file size it requires. A high-quality video can be as large as 100MB, compared to an image or audio file which is measured in kilobytes. (For comparison, one megabyte is a thousand kilobytes and .001 gigabytes.)
Video files are much larger in size than images, and storing them on a third-party site assures you will stay within your “inode limit,” the data structure used to keep information about a file on your hosting account.
When you embed video, you won’t have to worry about standard video file format. Different browsers support different video formats, which would require you to convert your video files into multiple formats with multiple videos to upload and host.
You would need to make the multiple versions to allow your visitors to view your videos with their high speed or low speed internet connections, in high definition or lower resolution, and in full screen, if they choose.
The simplest solution is to embed your videos, benefit from the added SEO you’ll get, and leave the server load worries and file formats changes to someone else.
If you’re dead set on self-hosting, there are plug-in options such as VideoPress. For $60 a year, it will give you the same amount of space as you have on your blog, with upgrades available. But why would you bother?