Hosted vs Self Hosted Videos

Hosted vs Self Hosted Videos which one is best for Muse?

The Short Answer.

Hosted videos are almost always better than self-hosted videos. I would advise that the only time self-hosted videos are an option for a small to medium web project is when the video is being used as an element of the web page. A video would be an element on a webpage if it were a short looped video for a header or background to the site.

Now that was the short version, here is the explanation.


The encoding of your videos is very important whether you are using a 3rd party host or self-hosting your videos. (In a box: see our article with a breakdown of best encoding settings for Vimeo, YouTube and self-hosted videos and download presets for Adobe Premiere and Adobe Media Encoder using these settings).

Best quality doesn't just mean larger file size but a combination of the best settings compatible with your host. And Although third-party services like YouTube and Vimeo use similar settings, each one has their own tweaks to get the best out of your videos.

If you are self-hosting a video, file size and bit rate becomes critical and here are a number of reasons why:

If you are using a third party host, the host will usually encode the video after you have uploaded it. Although some hosts such as Vimeo give you the choice to encode your video or not. Even if the host is encoding your video, you will want to make sure the video you upload is the best quality possible.


Server bandwidth.

Videos can be extremely large, even a well encoded 5-10 minute video using one of the best video codecs can quite easily take 150-200 megabytes.

To put that into perspective, an average website image may be around 100 kilobytes so that 5-10 minute video = around 150,000 to 200,000 website images. Now imagine what happens when 100’s of people are trying to watch that video at the same time.

Your web host usually allocates a certain amount of bandwidth for each server on their network. This bandwidth allocation is based on the average traffic rates, and those do not include large media files being watched by possibly hundreds of individuals at the same time. When the bandwidth is exceeded the videos and the site itself are brought to their knees and slow down to almost a complete stop.

Now a video used as a header or background element in your website will be a lot smaller in file size and length in time. A 10-20 second WebM video clip may be between 1-4 megabytes which still equals 1000 - 4000 typically sized web images but will generally be ok if hosted on your own web server.

A 10-20 second WebM video clip may be between 1-4 megabytes which still equals 1000 - 4000 images.


File Size Limits.

A lot of web providers may limit the maximum size of uploaded file sizes to 50 or 100 megabytes. Also, your total web space may be quickly taken up if you were uploading large video files.

Slow-loading videos and unexpected pauses.

If your video is sitting on a single server people trying to watch, the video may experience problems during playback as their computer waits for the file to download or stream to their computer or device. Whereas streaming services like YouTube or Vimeo are setup on vast networks of servers serving millions of simultaneous viewers.


Video players.

There are many video players that can be used for embedding hosted and self-hosted videos. The third-party services usually offer their own video players that can be customized to a certain extent. However, there are some great video players that can be customized extensively.

Muse comes with two video players that are for YouTube and Vimeo. We have some great video player widgets that can be downloaded from this months 123Muse downloads.


Traffic and Visibility.

YouTube is the most popular video hosting platform in the world. It is also the second most used search engine. So it makes sense that tapping into that popularity will greatly aid the visibility of your media.

Even if your videos are on a subscription basis and behind a pay-wall it can be very beneficial to post clips or previews from your videos in order to reach the large audience available through YouTube.


We can see that self-hosting can be an option when using a small video as an element for a web page. In the majority of circumstances using a third party, host is the most advisable method of serving video to your audience.

Icons made by Freepik from is licensed by CC BY 3.0

Article Author: Dan Kellett

Dan comes to 123Muse with a background in fashion photography, videography and media creation.

He has worked with many media products as a museum interactive media designer and creative director of a large Miami based agency. Dan works to integrate media software into the Muse workflow.

Skills Highlight:

Photo & Video

Photoshop & Lightroom

Video & Audio

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