How to Upload a Video to the Internet

What to do before uploading a video

Man with headphones at computer

Cavan Images / Iconica / Getty Images

Video files are often huge and take a while to upload to the internet, so it's important you pick the right place for your video to reside—one that's easy to use and has all the features you want in a video streaming service.

Once you understand the process, it gets easier every time you share or upload videos.

The time it takes to share a video online depends primarily on the bandwidth you have available at the time of the upload.

Choose a Website to Host Your Video

There are plenty of websites that support video sharing, each with its own features. Scope out the features of each website so that you can choose one that suits you best. Keep in mind the factors that may influence your choice, including:

  • Video length: Some sites host long-form videos, while some specialize in short or micro videos.
  • Topic: Some hosting sites specialize in specific topics.
  • Affordability: Video hosting websites are free or paid or offer both options, depending on your needs
  • Traffic: Some sites specialize in high traffic.
  • Analytics: Some sites provide analytics; some don't.
  • Advanced features: Interactivity and captioning are among advanced features you may (or may not) need.
  • Ease of use: If you are new to online video, ease of use matters.

A partial list of video hosting websites that you might want to consider includes:

  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • DailyMotion
  • WIstia
  • JW Player
  • Vidyard
  • Vimeo
  • SproutVideo

Social applications, such as sharing and commenting, may be important to you. If so, two possible video hosting sites are Facebook and YouTube, but you can pick any website that meets your needs.

Some websites are built more for storage or private sharing, such as Dropbox and Box. Use a cloud storage website if you don't intend to share your video with lots of people but still want to leave the sharing option open should you need to give out a share link in the future.

If you want to upload a video to your own website, it's best to use a content delivery network, that hosts and streams your videos for a fee. Most CDNs also offer customized video players and content management systems for scheduling video publication.

Compress Your Video

Before you upload a video, convert it to a format that's acceptable to the video hosting website you've chosen. Most accept only certain video formats that are under a particular file size, and some limit the length of the videos you upload.

Many video editing programs offer customizable export settings so you can control the size and format of the final video. Most websites support uploading MP4 videos, but check with your hosting site for particular details.

If you already have your video in a completed form but it's in the wrong video file format for the hosting website, plug it into a free video converter program. Before you know it, your video is in the hosting site's preferred format.

Do You Only Want to Share the Video?

If you don't need your video to be streamable like a YouTube video, consider sending the video directly to whoever needs it. This is accomplished with a file transfer service, such as DropSend and Filemail.

With these websites, you send a large video file through email without storing it online. The file is transferred from you to someone else and then deleted from the server soon after, unlike how YouTube and Facebook work.

File transfer websites are great for one-time sending of a video that's too large to deliver over email and are often preferred by individuals who are concerned that a website might invade their privacy.