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Why You Should Never Upload a Video to WordPress

Adding videos to your website is a smart way to capture your visitor’s attention and boost conversions. But adding videos to your site can take up a lot of storage space and bandwidth, increasing your hosting costs and creating a bad experience for your visitors.

That’s why we recommend never uploading videos to your WordPress site. In this article, we’ll look at all the reasons why you should never upload a video to WordPress, and the best way to add videos to your website.

Why you should never upload videos to WordPress

Upload vs. Embed (There is a Difference)

Before we tell you why you should never upload or host videos in WordPress, let us make sure that everyone understands that there is a difference between upload vs. embed.

Uploading or hosting a video means that you will upload videos on your site like you would upload images on your site, using the WordPress media library. This is the part that we are recommending against.

Embedding a video means that you upload a video on a third party site like YouTube, and then you can easily embed it in your blog posts. We strongly advise folks to embed videos whenever they can.

Easy Sharing

Embedding a video in WordPress is easier than uploading it. You can share a video uploaded on YouTube or other video sharing sites by just pasting the URL in your blog posts.

It’s also easier to manage a channel on YouTube. On the other hand, it’s not so simple in WordPress to create a video section separately from your images and other uploads. When you upload a video to WordPress, it will be mixed in with all your other media library content.

By uploading your video on YouTube and other video sharing sites, you make it easier for your viewers to share your video and even go viral.

Save on Bandwidth

Uploading videos to your website will cost you bandwidth. Higher quality videos cost more bandwidth.

If you allow your site visitors to embed your videos on their own websites, then the bandwidth gets multiplied each time the video is viewed there. You’ll probably also have to add more plugins to manage and display your videos. These plugins could also increase your server load if they’re not optimized for speed. If you are on shared web hosting, then chances are that your host will suspend your website and temporarily take it down.

Optimizing your WordPress site speed is more important than ever, since it affects your SEO rankings and website traffic, too.

Visibility and Traffic

YouTube is the world’s second most used search engine and the number one most visited website. This alone compels many website owners to upload their videos to YouTube.

Uploading a video on YouTube can bring more viewers than uploading it on your own website. The social networking features of YouTube and other video sharing websites can trigger viral popularity of your videos. For example, on the WPBeginner YouTube channel we have over 200,000 subscribers and get tens of thousands of new views each week.

Video Quality Optimization

When you upload a video on sites like YouTube or Vimeo, they process each video for a better web experience. Viewers can choose whether they would like to watch your video in HD or on lower resolutions. Also these websites attempt to automatically detect a user’s internet connection and device type to play the video in a quality that is best for the viewer.

If you upload your video on WordPress, then you are missing out on those optimizations and your video will display as it is, costing you more bandwidth and destroying user experience.

Bonus Features

Many video hosting platforms also offer more features that you’re missing out on if you just upload to WordPress.

For example, you can:

  • Add auto captions to your videos for accessibility
  • Earn money from advertising
  • Get analytics on how many people watch your videos
  • Create custom video thumbnails

…and much more.

What Video Hosting Service Should You Use?

Video hosting services offer many more benefits than solving all the issues above. A good video hosting service will automatically adjust video quality based on your visitors’ internet speed, and some will even help you to reach a whole new audience through their platform.

The video hosting service we use at WPBeginner is YouTube. It’s actually the world’s second most popular search engine after Google, so it will help you attract even more followers.

They also have a Partners Program to help you make money online with your videos.

If YouTube isn’t right for you, or you want more options, please see our list of the best video hosting sites.

We hope that this article answered the question on why you should never upload or host a video on WordPress. You may also want to check out our list of the best YouTube video gallery plugins.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us.

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Reader Interactions

143 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. thanks … it was a nice article

    one question :
    if we want display a featured video ( very special video that not exists in other sites) in our site ,

    what do you suggest ?

    note : our goal is more traffic in ourself site .

  2. Hi, Now am planning to host one e-Learning website for students and IT professionals with high quality video and audio lessons with fee, if I host my all video in YouTube with Embedded YouTube or Vemio, here my question is complete video content is safe? All these videos can view public and downloadable? How I can restrict to view all public…
    Please help me…

    • Keep in mind that this post is for your average blogger or similar. What you intend to do is a big project similar to linda.com or teamtreehouse.com. I wouldn’t take the information in the post to heart as your plan would require you to host your own content for the security reasons you mentioned.

  3. I don’t agree with using Youtube or Vimeo, the content on your website is what counts, plus the ads on YT are ridiculously long. I prefer to have my content, my video’s on my site, why give Google “free content” so they can make more money?

    The SEO value is that the video is “only on your site” that provides exclusivity and that provides rank, for good quality. Make the videos short, people only have seconds to watch a video. As far as copyright content, Don’t copy, end of story.
    It is now June 2015, most themes now expect web designers to self-host HTML5 which is far better quality. If your hosting company is close to your market, you’ll have good speed. A well made 30 second video, can have powerful impact if done properly and with HD 1080 or better.
    Don’t always take the easy way out.

  4. What would be useful is users upload to wordpress, then from there the video would be uploaded to youtube, vimedo, dailymotionn etc

  5. Does anyone know how to upload a video to your homepage without getting ads from youtube. The ad I’m getting is because i used a copyright song.. Is there another way of uploading a video onto my website without getting ads or youtube banners…

    • You can download the Youtube file(if possible from Youtube only or form other sites) onto your system and then Upload it to your homepage. i guess this will help you out.

  6. What if I want to embed a video on YouTube or Vimeo — but I dont want it to be publicly available there? If I set privacy restrictions on the YouTube/Vimeo video, can it still be embedded in WordPress?

    • If you are using Vimeo then yes..
      In vimeo,
      No will see video, and you can still embed video…
      Regards,

  7. To upload video or movie files to word press, there are three steps involved.
    First, upload you file , for example mymovie.mp4 to your web hosting server, Second, create a HTML file called movie.htm with two lines as follow:
    This is my movie.
    http://mywebserver.com/mymovie.mp4.
    This is the URL to your file after you upload your file to your server.
    Third, go to word press upload your file movie.htm, Select a name such as MovieShow. To run your MovieShow by clicking on the link on your blog post. Upon the execution of the post, click on the URL. Your movie mymovie.mp4 will play. In this approach, the file size you want to upload is only limited by your server’s maximum file allowed.

  8. the problem is you get the Youtube overlay and that doesn’t match the design of many corporate websites

  9. Is there software (not freeware) that allows you to upload to youtube, multiple files at once?

  10. I want user to have the privilege to upload videos from my site to youtube, vimeo or any other video site and the video can be viewed and played on my site. Wanted to know if there is any plugin for that.

  11. Hi,all
    I hope you can help. I have a wordpress website with Green Geeks and when I embed a you tube video it spans my entire webpage no matter what parameters I pick with the you tube embed code. Any ideas?

  12. I have copied the URL into my post, but whenever it is posted and you try to play the video you get the following response: “The video contains content from SME. It is restricted from playback on certain sites. Watch on YouTube.”

    What do I need to do to get it to play on my blog?

  13. Basically i took a really long time to edit a video (the video length is just under 2hrs) from a korean show. the video got blocked as soon as i put it up on youtube, but a lot of people are interested in watching it. i also plan to start a blog too and im thinking wordpress.com Could you suggest a way for me to avoid the copyright so that my youtube video is viewable, and then i can eventually put it on my blog?? sorry for the long question but pls help. THankS A L0T!

  14. I’m all about serious beautiful quality. I spend most of my time perfecting the little things and detail overall for a better viewing experience. Vimeo, YT etc all transcode and downgrade the quality of uploads no matter what, completely taking away all of my hard work and rendering hours. Self hosting will hopefully allow me to share my work and advertise at the quality I want, and most of my files are small so the transcoding on Vimeo & YT’s side is so unnecessary for me. Great article.

  15. Great post and I highly agree with your points. I wrote a post on the same topic a few years back. Thanks for your thoughts!

  16. We have a problem in that our sites are mainly for educational institutions and streaming video from the sites such as Vimeo & YouTube etc are blocked by the majority of internal firewalls.

    The institutions can request for specific sites to be unblocked but on the whole the IT departments are fearful of allowing access and this solution does not work for the casual visitor.

    Does anyone know a way that if the streaming site is blocked, the browser will instead display an alternate self hosted video?

    • I share the same sentiment here. Embedding is fine, given the points in this useful article. But yeah, I need a way to still play an embedded video in wordpress when usual video hosting sites such as youtube or vimeo are blocked in a network. Thank you!

  17. I disagree – I would upload videos directly to my website so that I don’t loose control over content, not to mention the loss SEO benefit a properly embedded video would bring (higher rank).

    Social sharing an be achieved by adding the social sharing buttons to the page with a single plugin.

    The only problem is availability but that can also be solved by using an external CDN.

    I write this with the belief that a video should drive traffic to your site. You can then directly convert that traffic into revenue.

    • ” not to mention the loss SEO benefit a properly embedded video would bring”
      ================
      But the article says embedded is good, ‘uploaded’ video is bad.

  18. Good article. The problem that I have is that the videos that I uploaded on WordPress.com don’t work on iPhones and iPads. They work fine on laptops but when played on other devices, I get a strikethrough triangle (a broken play button).

  19. Hello
    is it possible that a wordpress user will upload a video from wordpress panel and this video will store on youtube.
    i follow the youtube API. but i need solution on wordpress.
    is there any plugin to solve this one. Kindly inform.

    Thanks

  20. Hi, I see this post is about a year old, so I am not sure if it is still checked but if so I’m having a slight problem, I hope someone will have advice on. So I embedded my youtube videos and they worked great last night. Now though i am only getting a black screen and audio. At the end of the video though, if I click on a related video (those links do appear after the black plays all the way through) that video will play with audio and visuals. So what gives? Is this a strange fluke? The videos play fine on youtube, just not embedded. I’m very confused as to why it worked and then quit working, I even tried new pages and embedding new videos and still nothing. Any advice would be great, though hopefully I’ll have it resolved before anyone checks this post. Thanks!
    -angus

    P.S. I am using suffusion theme if that makes any difference, I don’t see why it would but obviously don’t know what would cause this.

    • Did you try switching themes, and disabling plugins? Are you pasting the embed code in your posts or just the YouTube video URL? You only need to paste the youtube video URL in WordPress and it automatically embeds it for you.

      Admin

      • Hi, thanks for the quick reply. I honestly did not expect anyone to get back with me this fast. Found out what the problem is and I think it is on youtube’s end. Basically what happened is all my embeds got switched to 3d mode, despite the fact that I disabled 3d viewing on the videos and they weren’t shot in 3d to begin with. I tested it with some other random videos that weren’t mine and sure enough they got converted to 3d mode in the embed too. I guess with that, since I don’t have my browser or site set to view 3d I just got a black screen. Trying to remedy it and get my embeds off 3d, I came across a couple forums that mentioned that this has happened before, usually when youtube does stuff to their backend and that it gets fixed within a day or so. So I guess I just have to wait and see if it corrects itself. Thanks for the advice though and keep up the great work with this site, it’s really a great resource!
        -angus

  21. This is a good article; however, it did not address what to do if for some reason I insist on having videos hosted on my WordPress site.

    For example, I want the videos on my site to only be available on my site, and not able to be embedded or used elsewhere. The reason I want this is for exclusive content. Once it’s on YouTube, it’s no longer exclusive and anyone can embed it for their own purposes.

    What would be the best plugin to use if I do want to host my own videos?

    In fact, I want users to be able to upload their own videos (like they do to YouTube), but on my site. Essentially, it will be like a mini-YouTube site but for a specific niche.

    If users are on YouTube, then they are not on my website, and they are much more likely to get distracted and start looking up random videos. What I want is for them to view the videos on my site, see that we know our stuff and then have an option to join/buy/subscribe (or whatever the case may be.

    I current use shared hosting with Host Monster. I’m on an unlimited plan, but I do understand that they have a fair use policy and may decide to stop the activity if it throttles the server for some reason.

    Having said that, I can always upgrade to a virtual server of my own and continue the process.

    What plugin do you recommend with that in mind? Obviously, it needs to be able to dynamically convert file types, etc. and have the ability to optimise like YouTube does.

    Is WordPress the best platform to use? If not, what would I be better off looking at?

    I need your help. I’ve searched long and wide, and I still can’t find a solution :S

  22. Very useful article. I was actually just discussing this with a friend the other day. We will be doing online classes on our website, and we face a lot of the similar problems: ads, privacy, bandwidth, etc. After reading this, it sounds like Vimeo is the way to go. We’ll also be using a plugin from Woothemese called Sensei to restrict the content. So, between Vimeo and Sensei, we should be able to embed the videos on our site while restricting access to only those that pay, correct? Thoughts? (We’ll have a few free videos, too).

    Thanks again, great blog!

    Roger

  23. Another advantage to embedding(iframe) videos via Youtube or VIMEO is that you automatically get HTML5 support for mobile devices..!!

  24. Hello,
    Good article.
    My question is:
    I’m setting up a squeeze page with the optin offer of a video tutorial.
    What would be the best of doing this?
    I want it it to be a downloadable course.
    Regards,
    Michael

    • If you want you can hide the video behind the optin in a post that first checks user’s subscription confirmation. However, we would still advice you to embed the video through a service like vimeo or YouTube. But if you must upload the video you can do so by uploading it in webm or mp4 format.

      Admin

  25. The other issue with embedding is both YouTube and Vitmeo add commercials to videos or show links to other companies. I don’t want a video to play on my business website and then end with a page full of videos from my competition like YouTube does.

    • @Jon. I have a TON of churches that I work with, and almost universally that is their big question about YouTube. They don’t want anything “questionable” showing up after their video is done, yet the ability to turn off the ‘suggested videos’ is somewhat overlooked AND easily fixable!

      Run over to YouTube real quick. Pick a video. Now click “SHARE”. Then click “EMBED”. Now, see that little line that says, “Show suggested videos when the video finishes”? Make sure that box is UN-checked.

      Ta-dum! You’re good-to-go!

  26. Hey I am currently creating a music site were musicians can send there media such as pics videos and audio. Embedding sounds great for the videos what would you suggest for the audio and the video. We want to be able to live vj the videos on podcast would that work with embedding.

  27. What if video content is private and we don want on youtube or other services …

    As in site content is private …

    I like fact we dont smash our bandwidth by embedding – cool – yet issue is privacy

    any help there :)

    • There are solutions for that too. For example, in Vimeo, you can set the privacy of your video to password protected, set a password for the video and set it to be embedded anywhere. On your protected content area you can enter the password and users can enter that password to view the embedded video.

      Admin

  28. I agree with embedding, but currently it’s really hard because we have member only videos and we cannot seem to find any plugin that will protect the video. When they click on the play button from Youtube, it will play for them anyway =/

  29. Thank you – its really clear, but how do I stop all the links from youtube.?

    We made a film, so I have the original cd but when we upload it then a whole load of links
    appears that I dont want my site to sponsor.

    Is there any way to stop all the links working?

    Im told VIMEO doesnt do this but we cant get it to work on iphone

    Thank you so much – best wishes Shula

    • Are you talking about the suggested videos that Youtube shows at the end? If so, then Youtube has the ability to stop that in your embeds. Essentially you’ll add ?rel=0 at the end of your embed URL.

      Admin

  30. Thanks for a brilliant post. I have a question. When i embed a video from youtube, it is massive (as in size of the video not the amount of disk space it consumes) , even after i change the size. Why does this happen and how do i address it. Thanks

  31. I love this article. I think it is great. I do have a question for you that would be the opposite as to what you are thinking. I have a member only website and only want members to see the video and not be able to share it. They are paying for the high quality information as my clients and I do not want this “out there”. Using Youtube etc allows for sharing links and urls. Some have passwords and links you send, but I simply want my videos on the private website ready to go, but no sharing. Seems no one I ask has the answer! Do you?

    Thanks so much.
    Lisa

  32. Very good article clarifying the difference between embed and upload. I definitely recommend embed to my clients.

    One glitch I have run into on WordPress is that an embed code does not seem to work (video doesn’t display at all) when the code is inserted into a widget instead of embedding in a blog post.

  33. Great post, but my school blocks any YouTube videos. What other platform do you suggest to post my student videos?

  34. I have a .mov file purchased from istockphoto that is more like an animated .gif than a video. How do you suggest I put it on my site? Before finding this article, I did upload it to the Media Gallery but I can’t get it to run. Thank you.

  35. Greetings,

    If I am embedding video from YouTube onto my WordPress site how can I decrease the time it takes to load the video in a page?

    R

  36. After reading the article one question pops up in my mind: what is the best way to host videos and stream them on your WordPress site if you don’t want to upload them first to Youtube or Vimeo?

  37. A couple of years ago, I started uploading audios to my WordPress blog, and the traffic increased markedly. After uploading over 150 audios, however, my backups began to take an unreasonably long time. To solve the problem, I’ve begun to embed YouTube videos on my blog to replace the audios. Thanks for the insights!

  38. Excellent advice. I always use YouTube videos but I will know for the future the pitfalls of actually downloading a video to my site. It is so easy to embed the code. I always go to YouTube for the code to embed in my posts. You can also download them from the WP dashboard, which I’ve never done. Does it make a difference? Thanks for the tip.

  39. that’s great advice. I’ve been wondering which video host to consider and if it’s worth embedding or not. Thanks!

  40. What does embedding do to the load time for a WordPress site? I am creating posts with several videos and and embedded PDFs from scribd and the load time is really bad, like 20 seconds. I thought because I was embedding that it would be faster, but it is really slow. I don’t have any pictures- just embedded video, embedded PDF, text, and links. I would think that would be a quick load time.

    • Embedding does slow down your site, but uploading the video would do the same along with increasing your bandwidth. The more external queries you make (i.e embedding), the slower your page would be.

      Admin

  41. I disagree with this post. There are many copyright issues with YouTube and Vimeo to say the least. In one case, I have a situation where I’m working on a cross-cultural university website which needs to be viewed by people in Australia and China. The Chinese don’t have access to Vimeo or YouTube due to government control. The other issue is copyright. Videos uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo (and other online services) are often subjected to weird copyright caveats – published at the whim of those companies. WordPress is technically no different to any other website when it come s to showing copyrighted (Intellectual property) video and providing you have the bandwidth, you can use plugins such as JW_player etc. There are heaps of other reasons why clients may not want their videos on public display, but DO need to be able to tweak them in WordPress. Paid for content is another reason. If nearly half the world can’t even access YouTube / Vimeo, then that’s surely a big enough point in and of itself.

    • Edwin, you do make great points. Granted that you have the server resources, then you should definitely go ahead and upload the videos on your site. However, most beginners think that “unlimited” space and bandwidth on their shared servers really means unlimited. Uploading the videos on those shared hosts will crash. If you have a lot of traffic, then even dedicated servers will crash. Video streaming takes up a lot of resources.

      Paid for content, can be done with Vimeo. You can make videos private on Vimeo network and restrict embedding on a specific domain. Then password protect that content (i.e membership sites). An example of this would be WPBeginner videos (http://videos.wpbeginner.com)

      Admin

      • Thanks for your reply. I guess, even though I’ve been building websites since 1994, I will always consider myself a “beginner” – and so visit yours site for tips :)

        But you also make a good point. It’s not good to host vids on a shared server with limited space / bandwidth.

        I’m actually uploading video (right now) to a very expensive purpose-built server ($850 per quarter for only 2TB!!) on A2Hosting. So yes – I see your point. I would never be able to do this on one of my run-of-the-mill $225pa shared servers. YouTube or Vimeo would be the go then.

  42. What if you like to use Youtube or Vimeo, but do not like user to know it source link. so that video is view able on site, and user share web site link, not Youtube or Vimeo link ?

    i know about restrict embedding to a particular URL, but is there WP Video Plugin which can hide Default Video Player and source link.

  43. What about hosting a video in videopress, a premium service from wordpress?
    Will that work better? Because, videopress provides the option to upload movies/videos of higher sizes.

  44. Smart post! I’ve been completely surprised by how many people still have VERY slow Internet speeds! My company has an online learning platform that hosts a dozen video courses and I get WAY too many calls about the videos not playing on their computer. 9.5 times out of 10, the learner has buffering issues, mostly because they are using an Internet connection of super slow speed.

    It’s frustrating. However using the 3rd party service greatly reduces the chances of the learner experience such buffering issues.

  45. yes, upload your video to a video service and get rid of all the rights and control.

    You do the video and at the end you loose your video, because you give over the rights according to their terms of service

    but I think intellectual property is worth less than earning money from other people’s property in the USA

    we europeans have another opinion on that.

  46. I agree with the above, with a caveat… Only use a popular, well established upload provider. If the site you upload to goes broke there goes your video.

    • i agree with pete, if our site goes broke so does the video…i have always embedded videos on my site and not even once uploaded a file bigger than 5mb lol..thanks for the list of pros and cons of uploading videos..really helps!

      Cheers,
      Gautam

  47. Great article on a topic often not discussed. I always recommend using Youtube or Vimeo depending on the client. Something, maybe sometimes, will uploading be justified.

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