Ways to Put Video on a Website

Video content enhances the experience of visitors to your website

Cartoon image of Happy audience enjoying watching entertaining video on website using computer as movie theatre
Elly Walton / Getty Images

There are several ways to put a video on websites. The best choice for you depends on your technical savvy, your goals for the video, and your budget.

Understand Your Website

Before you can put video on your website, you must:

  • Have access to your own website. If you work with a website designer/developer, you might need them to set the proper permissions.
  • Know how your site works. Content management systems and free blogging platforms such as WordPress and Weebly likely have built-in, well-documented procedures for uploading video. If you host and/or manage your own site, you should have some knowledge of web programming, or access to someone else who does (your web designer/developer, hosting provider, etc.).
  • Know the costs. Some managed platforms charge extra for uploading large files. Check with your hosting provider or in the platform's help files.

Choose Your Video Hosting Method and Provider

  • To serve up your video, you must make it available to your site. The two basic methods for video delivery online are embedding and self-hosting. Embedding entails storing the video on an external site, such as Youtube or a content delivery network, and inserting a code to tell your site to load the video from there. Self-hosted videos live on your own server and are coded directly into your site.

Embedding YouTube Videos on Your Website

Using YouTube or another free video-sharing site is the easiest way to put a video on your website. Most of these sites offer free accounts and let you upload an unlimited number of videos. YouTube generates a code to use to embed your video on your website or blog.

Screenshot of the YouTube upload page

Check out Lifewire's step-by-step tutorial on uploading videos to YouTube.

Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for Website Video

Content delivery networks upload, convert, host, and stream your website videos, plus a lot more beyond that. You can customize the look and behavior of the video player, automatically insert ads into your web videos, or charge users to download your video content.

A content delivery network serves content to website visitors

Many CDNs include customized video pages and websites, too, so you don't have to worry about the technical aspects of putting a video on your own website.

One significant advantage of using a CDN is speed. A CDN-hosted video loads much faster than one stored on your own server.

Hosting the Video on Your Own Web Server

If you've purchased server space to host your website, you might be tempted to host the videos there—but this is the least attractive option. You'll need coding skills and access to your website's back end. The chances of something going wrong are higher because of ever-changing online technology and protocols; for example, Adobe will no longer support its Flash Player after 2020. Outside services like YouTube typically update and adapt continuously to such changes.

If you choose to host on your own website, read our guide here.

Check with your hosting provider to make sure you have plenty of storage space and bandwidth to handle the extra traffic from the videos.

Tips

  • Even if you use a content delivery network or self-host your videos, upload the videos to YouTube and other video-sharing sites. It's a free, easy way to increase the exposure and audience your video receives. Moreover, storing important files such as videos in more than one place is always a good practice.
  • Use smart video SEO tactics when titling your video page, video file, and tags and meta information to increase your video's ranking with search engines.
  • Don't self-host anything you hope to make into a viral video. If the video does blow up, you might crash your whole server and make it impossible for anyone to watch. Use YouTube instead. It has the platform and the audience reach you need for viral success.
  • Customize the video settings if you are embedding video. Video-sharing sites usually let you customize the embed code to influence the behavior of the video player. You can set it for autoplay, HD or standard, enable or disable social features, and control the videos that are displayed afterward.