We seem to be living in the golden age of online video, with more and more brands and creators using video to engage their audiences. If you use WordPress, you may be wondering: can WordPress host videos, or do you need to use a third-party platform like YouTube?
WordPress can host videos, but you probably don’t want to upload videos directly to your WordPress site. Because of the high bandwidth cost of video content, you’re much better off using a video hosting plugin or embedding videos from a third-party service.
In this article, we’ll cover why most people shouldn’t upload videos directly to WordPress, and what you can do instead.
For those with high-spec server configurations, we’ll also cover some tips for self-hosting videos with WordPress, including which file formats are supported and the optimal compression settings.
Why You Probably Shouldn’t Upload Videos Directly To WordPress
Uploading a video to WordPress works exactly the same as uploading an image.
You can upload a video through your media library, or you can insert a video block into a post or page:
And yes, if you upload a video file, it will upload and play just fine.
The problem with uploading videos directly to WordPress is that streaming video consumes a great deal of bandwidth.
Every time someone plays a video on your site, it strains your server significantly more than images, text, and other website content—and this effect is only compounded as your traffic grows.
The immediate result is a slower website, which is bad enough on its own. But you may also run into limits on your web hosting account, which could result in your website being shut down or billed for bandwidth overages.
Better Ways To Share Videos With WordPress
Clearly, uploading videos directly to WordPress is not an ideal solution.
But there are alternative methods that will allow you to share high-quality video content without impacting your site’s performance.
Using A Video Hosting Plugin
One way to host videos with WordPress without excessive bandwidth usage is by using a video hosting plugin.
A good video hosting plugin will allow you to upload videos to WordPress just as you normally would, but instead of hosting them on your server, they will be hosted on a third-party server and embedded on your site.
With Jetpack video hosting, you can upload a video to WordPress in the same way you’d upload an image—but it will be hosted on WordPress.com’s high-speed content delivery network, sparing your server from any additional load.
Here’s what a Jetpack-hosted video looks like:
We’ve found Jetpack to be the most elegant solution to this problem, as there are no extra steps involved—it’s completely seamless.
Embedding Videos Using A Third-Party Platform
Alternatively, you can upload videos to a third-party video platform like YouTube or Vimeo, then embed them on your site.
Depending on your goals, uploading your videos to YouTube can be a great way to grow an audience outside of your website. In addition to appearing on your own site, they’ll show up on the main YouTube platform and in Google search results, which will help more people discover your content.
(If you’d rather not have your videos circulating on YouTube, you can always select the “unlisted” option during the upload process.)
Embedding a YouTube video in a WordPress post or page is really simple—just paste the video link, and WordPress will automatically convert it to an embed:
The downside of embedding videos from YouTube is that you don’t fully control the experience.
The player will contain YouTube branding, your viewers will likely be forced to watch ads, and they’ll be shown suggested videos that you have no control over.
Vimeo is another third-party video platform where you can upload videos and embed them on your site by simply pasting a link.
The free version is a great start, but if your videos are commercial in nature, or if you want to limit who can view them or where they can be embedded (e.g. if you run a private membership site), you may want to check out Vimeo PRO.
Vimeo PRO offers high-quality, secure video hosting with unlimited bandwidth and a white-label video player.
Starting at $20 per month, it’s a bit pricier than Jetpack’s video service, but it’s definitely geared more toward professionals and businesses that need advanced video tools.
What If You Want To Host Videos With WordPress Anyway?
As we mentioned, the limitations of video hosting lie with your web server, not WordPress itself.
If you have a powerful web hosting setup that supports streaming video content, your WordPress site is perfectly capable of handling video files.
Which video file formats does WordPress support?
By default, WordPress supports the following video file formats:
What settings should you use?
When you’re self-hosting videos with WordPress, you’ll want to find a good balance between quality and file size.
We recommend these compression settings as a general rule of thumb:
- Format: MP4
- Codec: H264 (High profile)
- Frame Rate: 24, 25, or 30 (Constant)
- Frame Size / Resolution: 1280 x 720 (720p)
- Fields: Progressive
- Bitrate: 5,000 – 10,000 kbit/s
- Code: AAC-LC
- Bitrate: 320 kbit/s
- Sample Rate: 44.100 OR 48,000 kHz (retain original sample rate)
How To Upload Videos To WordPress
To add a video to a WordPress post or page, simply add a Video block and drag in a video file from your computer:
Alternatively, you can upload videos to the media library by going to
Media > Library and adding your file(s) there:
WordPress can indeed host videos, but unless your website runs on a powerful dedicated server, it’s probably best to use a separate video hosting service like Jetpack, YouTube, or Vimeo.
If you have any questions, thoughts, or recommendations about hosting videos with WordPress, we’d love to hear them in the comments below!