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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. What if my website will work on a Local area Network only? what’s the best way for video gallery in that case ?

    • Unless you do not have access to the internet you can still use this method but if it is only for your local network you could use your local storage instead of embedding from a video site.

      Admin

  2. I embeded a twitter video on my wp site but the complaint i get is that it takes too long to load . Is it the same with you tube or it is my site problem .

    • You are likely running into issues with your server resources, we would recommend reading the article above. Using YouTube embeds should be able to help with that issue.

      Admin

  3. Thanks for your recommendation it make sense!

    I have a question, sometimes I publish short videos in mp4 formats, very short videos from 6 to 12 seconds, that matter anyway?

    Or what about using .gif formats?

    • For short videos, it is normally better to use gif format for your site’s content.

      Admin

  4. if my web host gave me unlimited bandwidth for my site that is like youtube, can my user upload video directly then?

    • It is possible but you would want to reach out to your hosting provider to ensure they are able to handle that.

      Admin

  5. Am making a website that can allow users to login,upload and post their own videos ,much like how youtube works.So my question is, how do i go about creating a page that displays the videos that users post to my website?

    • It would depend on how your current content is set up, if they are using posts then there are plugins to list recent posts available.

      Admin

  6. I was hoping to upload educational videos to my site and make them only available to my paying members. If I embed on a third party site how do you suggest i protect the content? Thank you

    • Depending on the third party site there are options to limit where the video can be embedded from, Vimeo is one service that has this option

      Admin

  7. Why would you utilise another service such as YouTube who then controls your content AND plays other content to your site?

    And what IF your site will not allow / bans third party site?

    And why PAY for another service?

    Many ISPs allow free bandwidth and better still YOU have full control over YOUR content.

    • We cover our reasoning at the start of the article as not all hosts have unlimited bandwidth that they allow for sites. For banning third party sites, that would be a personal choice. YouTube is free and allows you to have your content on another popular search engine as YouTube itself can be considered a search engine for content on their site.

      Admin

  8. The reason I want to upload videos to my site and host them is that I am a teacher who teaches Chinese students English.
    Sometimes i want to send them video of documentaries or news articles for them to watch and learn from.
    As you know YouTube is banned in China (not to get in the politics of it), so I want to be able to allow my students to see carefully selected articles.
    How do I overcome this?

  9. So let’s say my website promotes different Events with WP Event Manager.

    How would I embed YouTube video into into an Event Post?

    (Example – I’m adding an Event to promote a band playing a gig and I want to include a video of them playing in the Event Advert).

  10. I upload my homework help videos to both YouTube and my website in case my visitors cannot access YouTube (visitors from China can’t usually access YouTube due to censorship, schools may block it to prevent inappropriate content from being watched, etc.)

  11. I’m planning to launch my first WP site soon and wanting to encourage my members to embed videos more rather than upload photos. But I’m wondering if I have lots lots of embedded vdieos, youtube or vimeo, on the site, will that still consume more resources vs upload photos? And what about memory? I also use YouTube plugin (by By EmbedPlus Team) to display YouTube playlist. So with all these setup, will I be better off to simply let my members upload photos instead of encouraging them to emebd YouTube/Vimeo? Thank you.

    • Hello,

      It actually depends on what kind of website you want to build. Embedding more videos on a page may affect performance but you can always manage those issues by displaying fewer videos per page, using lazy load, or increasing server resources.

      Admin

  12. Nice article, and I totally agree as far as home/private users are concerned.

    For the business users behind their companie’s big firewalls, though, we ought to think different. Most of today’s big iron firewalls just won’t let YouTube through! So these users won’t see your video, but rather, they will see an error message like, ‘Sorry YouTube ist not allowed here’, meaning ‘Do not steal your company’s bandwith and time, will you please!!’

    So for your business users, the question is not whether to host videos yourself or to link them in from YouTube. But rather, the question is whether to host videos yourself, or have them concealed. I do prefer the former.

    • Exactly! My company has banned all social media sites including YouTube and Vimeo. You just can’t see any video content on our website unless it’s uploaded directly onto the website, so HOW do you center an uploaded video please.

  13. Hello,

    My question on this topic is in regards to non-standard wordpress sites. To give a little context I use the wordpress platform to build sites for the contemporary arts. Now I can understand the argument to embedded rather than upload, which I agree with on a single video file.

    However, my question is in relation to creating a platform, from scratch, that is to house a screening of several artists’ films. The idea is basically to build a site that can run a play list for the film screening, which could be used at the venue to stream in and projected, but as well give audiences not local to the event, an opportunity to go to the site and view the film screening, therefore give a greater degree of distribution.

    So, as you can see embedding multiple videos from multiple sites (because no artist seems to use the same platform…) is difficult and probably not even an option, at least from my research. So I was wondering if you guys had any recommendations?
    to give more details on the platform in mind:

    1. the play style would be similar to VLC playlist operations, for creating short film screening (and have been looking at VLC plugin and api usage)

    2. because of permissions for using artist videos, video content would not be sharable, or be enabled to be embedded on other sites. the only sharing capabilities would link the user back to the screen platform, from social media platform etc.

    3. In terms of content management, I would ideally like to build something that a non-technical user could use after this initial screening. I am creating this for a small arts organisation, and they would be interested in using the platform again an again, so the ability for them to be able to change the playlist from the standard WP management system, with a degree of ease, would be key.

    4. The site would have a simple layout (with very few additional pages), and would only be used for this type of film screening projects.

    Any help would be much appreciated, thanks!

    • I am having the same issues as you describe, as I’m building a site much like the one you describe. Mine is a language site, and it also will not have many pages other than those video pages. It’s beginning to look like my best option is to create video playlists in WordPress, from videos I have uploaded to our WordPress site. The issue I am dealing with now is that the player takes up most of the room on the page, leaving little room to see the playlist. I am looking for help to resize the player and reformat the playlist. Any lessons you might be able to share on this?

  14. I am conflicted on this issue. I have created a number of content videos for marketing that I will sell on a subscription bases. Putting them on a youtube makes it more likely that people will rip it off where as in my personal site, I can control access base on setting up subpages and with login.

    • I have the same worry. What you could do is embed a video on your site using YouTube, but make the video Unlisted on YouTube. Therefore, whoever you want to see it from whatever access controls you have on your WordPress, can see it. It is not public on YouTube, just those who have had a link to it from your site.

    • your wasting your time after i had 500 episode of pokemon on my site but after the free trial was ended, i had to pay

  15. I wish everybody stopped telling what I should or shouldnt do.
    can U tell me how do I add my video to the site, please…

    Thank u very much

    • Not sure on yours, but on mine I just upload it to the Media tab, just like a picture. In fact I do agree with this article most of the time, except I believe there is a way to make videos so that they cannot be hot-linked. Do a Google search for it but include “wordpress” in the search term.

      Having said the above there are cases where it is desirable to load a video in to the site. Take a peak at my landing page;

      You will see about a 2 second delay – depending on your connection speed – where the screenshot displays as the video from the hotlink (YouTube) loads. I don’t like that. I feel that if the video was resident on the site that would be a much shorter delay, if at all.

      This delay bothers me, but it hasn’t kept me from getting too busy to deal with it up till now, but it is on my “to do” list.

      If you locate the code that stops the hotlink I would be very happy if you would share it with me, but not really necessary. I also think that i can do this from the server (have my own) but again been too busy to chase all this down.

  16. Any suggestions on how to deal with the excessive load the the YouTube player causes on pageload time? It seems to add a huge overhead on, for instance
    I’ve been embedding videos for the reasons you suggest, but the youtube viewer seems to take an age to load too!

  17. Hi and thanks, this is useful.

    My customer’s concern with uploading their video to YouTube is that at the end of the playback, the embedded screen will show thumbnails with links to other YouTube videos, distracting visitors and potentially drawing them away from the website.

    Fixing that would be a selling point for using YouTube to embed video, so I think it’s worth mentioning. I found at least one way to remove those related video links here:

    Is that all fine or is there anything else to take into account?

    Cheers,
    Jos

  18. The first thing you should have made clear is that you are talking about self-hosting a WordPress site on Bluehost or Dreamhost, et. al., as implied at the banner link, “Start your WordPress Blog in minutes.”

    Second, the problem with using a video hosting service is you are limited in what can be posted. If there is any doubt at all about copyright, for example, a video can be pulled and your account might even be shut down.

    Another option is to use Amazon Web Services. A basic S3 account is all you need, and it will cost extra, above and beyond whatever you pay for a Web hosting service, but unless you have an extremely busy blog — very unlikely for beginners — the expense will be nominal. Assuming the videos are MP4, making them compatible with HTML 5, a WordPress plugin for embedding video isn’t needed:

    • Hi I have a new blog. I used cloudup to embed a video into wordpress. I can view it on samsung phone, samsung tab, microsoft desktop computer, but my friends with iphones cant see videos.
      Do you have any solutions.
      Kind regards
      Brenda

      • Uploading a video to your site is like trying to re-invent the wheel.

        So what’s the best solution for adding video to your site?

        Simply upload your video to a video hosting servicelike YOUTUBE or VIEMO (pro if you want to protect it), then embed your video into your WordPress post or page.

        Once your video has been uploaded, copy the URL to your video. Return to your WordPress site and paste the URL into your post or page where you want the video to appear.

        Very Respectfully,
        Frank

  19. Many thanks for this article. Just saved my bacon as we were about to upload video onto a website when it should have been an embed.

  20. Hi,

    Thanks for the article.

    I have one quick question: Which plugin would you recomment to embed videos on wordpress websites that can use a fallback mechanism? i.e., if a video is unavailable on one host e.g.,Vimeo, it should load the video from another source i.e., Youtube?and so on…

  21. Thank you for clearly explaining the difference between upload vs embed. It’s helpful! Is there ever a good reason to upload?

    • In some cases, like when you are concerned about privacy and usage rights of your video content. But in most scenarios it is always better to use a video embed service like YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Vine, etc.

      Admin

      • I use uploaded videos because Youtube butchers quality. Lately even more than before.
        Sure, the points made in the article are valid, but when quality is important, you can’t go Youtube.

  22. Why Can’t free accounts have Video Press? I am using word press for a class and would like to put some music on my website, but can’t because Video Press isn’t part of the free plan, and I can’t afford the premium plan.

  23. Hello to all.
    The above is very useful but I mean to add few more points for why not to upload video and rather to embed it.

    1. File Size Limits and Storage Space:

    Most web hosting providers limit the maximum size of uploaded files to 50 MB or less, prohibiting you from uploading video files that are longer than a few minutes or so in duration. Additionally, large media files may violate the terms of the Acceptable Use Policy with your hosting provider and result in your hosting account being shut down.

    If you’re able to upload large video files to your server on a frequent basis, you could eventually exceed the amount of storage space provided by your hosting account, especially if you regularly back up your site.

    2. Slow-Loading Video or Unexpected Pauses During Playback:

    If your video file resides on a single server with a limited amount of bandwidth, folks who attempt to watch your video may experience unexpected pauses during playback while their computer waits for the file to download or stream to their computer.

    3. Hope you like converting videos. A lot.:

    You’ll will want to deliver a large, HD-quality file so the users can watch it full-screen if they so choose. Generally, this means a 1080p or 720p file at a high streaming bitrate (5000 – 8000 kbps).
    But you’ll also want to encode a smaller, lower-resolution version for delivery to mobile devices like phones and tablets, as well as for slower Internet connections.

    Now you’ve got half a dozen or more individual video files for playback on all the major web browsers and devices. But how does your site know which of those files to serve to each person?

    4. Video Players

    There are dozens of excellent video players that will handle the video requsts nicely (like the SublimeVideo Player), but WordPress 3.6 will actually include a built-in video player that will eliminate the need for a third-party video plugin. That’s great news! But it gets a bit tricky…

    5. Cumbersome Code [or Shortcodes]

    Third-party plugins require you to create a bit of code to tell the video player which formats you’ve created, as well as their location on the server.

    There are more reasons also but I am finishing here.

    Janifer Disusa

  24. So how about a tutorial of how to remove .mov, .mp4, etc files from the acceptable file-types to be uploaded to WP? I see one for how to add new ones, but none for how to remove the core-default ones that are allowed.

  25. Great article, however, if you want to keep your videos private, best is not to publish this on YouTube.

    If yo are looking to promote yourself your product or service, YouTube is the best platform to do this.

    Again thanks for the info.

  26. Is it possible to upload videos to sites such as YouTube and restrict viewing access except from my WordPress page. I shoot video at youth sporting events and would like to restrict access to parents and family by password protecting the videos from my site. Is this possible with YouTube?

    Thanks,

    Dean

    • I am a newbie as well, but if there is a restricted page that is protected by a login, it may work. So, if the page is called “Videos” and the parents have to login on your page to access the page “Videos”, then you can post a link there. This may work with embedded videos as well, but I am not sure. When you create the video on YouTube, mark the video as “unlisted” and this will only allow those with a link to see the video. Therefore, you post a link to the videos on the “Videos” page and the parents have to login to get the link. I hope this helps.

    • When you upload a video to YouTube, select the privacy settings to ‘Unlisted’. This means that YouTube and other search engines won’t index the video in search results. The video will be made visible only to people who have the link.

      The privacy setting ‘Private’ is also an option but each person will need to be given specific access

  27. Thanks for the great information. I am a beginner!!!!! How do I properly upload a video to a third party site like Youtube. Is there a right or wrong way of doing it.
    Also what format and file size or resolution is best so it will view well on computers and mobile devices. My research has found contradictory information.

    Thanks again, love your site
    Brad

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