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Video Streaming Hosting - A Beginners' Guide to Video Streaming and Hosting

free video streaming hosting paid video streaming hosting 1. bandwidth 2. storage 3. script support 4. reliability 5. technical support

As the Internet has grown more sophisticated and our computer equipment more advanced, video streaming has become a resource-effective means of expanding and engaging an audience. For this reason, more businesses are turning to it, including those that have not traditionally been Web-centric.

The decision to stream video introduces a new set of problems for the Web team. Technically, any webhost, such as your current one, can facilitate video streaming, but that doesn’t mean they’re well suited to it. Therefore, before you make that choice, you must fully understand the pros and cons of the available options.

Free vs. Paid Video Steaming Hosting

Video streaming hosting does not have to cost money. In fact, there are a number of high-profile free services, many of which cater to businesses. The first thing a business must decide is whether one of those free services meets their needs, or whether it makes more sense to pay.

Free Video Streaming Hosting

We all know the adage that nothing is life is free, and that’s certainly the case here. While it may be free for you, somebody is paying for it. Typically, the host will attempt to recoup that loss in some way. Consider YouTube who generates a profit using advertisements on the website as well as integrated into the video.

The drawback for the business is that they lose control. An ad may form a negative association with the business, and just being on YouTube or a similar site can undermine the business’ image in other ways. Likewise, these services can be unreliable. For instance, the video may be unavailable during peak hours, which is when the business would want it to be most accessible.

Paid Video Streaming Hosting

The benefit to a paid host is control and reliability. There’s no advertising unless the business approves it. The business also has freedom in terms of content, format, size and quality, and so forth. In addition, if you’re dealing with a host that specializes in video streaming, they have expertise and tools available that help to minimize expense.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Host for Video Streaming

1. Bandwidth

The business needs to consider throughput as well as overall bandwidth. 50 GB bandwidth per day is useless if the video is only getting 1 GB throughput per hour and not meeting demand. If throughput is not high enough, the video will suffer due to buffering (pauses), pixilation, and other issues.

2. Storage

Most video formats require a great of storage space, so it’s important that the business account for this when shopping around. Keep in mind that the video library will likely grow over time. The business can prepare for this by choosing a hosting plan that will allow them to upgrade mid-contract.

3. Script Support

It is much easier to stream video on a server that supports scripts, such as clipbucket, phpMotion, and vidiscript, and other advanced functionality. Consider the package carefully, and ask the host about their support for new technologies.

4. Reliability

This is perhaps the most difficult aspect to assess. Do your homework. Ask for contacts, and speak to webmasters who have or are using the host. You should also get an uptime guarantee, so that if uptime falls below a certain level, the host reimburses the business.

5. Technical Support

Target a host that offers the full range of support services (chat, email, and phone) 24/7. The Web doesn’t sleep, so don’t forget to ask about their technical support policies on holidays. Avoid hosts that charge fees for common support services.

Adding Video to an Existing Website

Some businesses will want to add video to their Web presence but will be mid-contract with the current host and perhaps also happy with the relationship they have with their current host. In this case, it may be possible for the business to expand their hosting package to meet the new demand. However, if the host is incapable of it, the business has a couple of options:

1. Embed the video from a secondary host

In this case, you contract a host that specializes in video streaming to handle that aspect of the Web presence only. The Web team then embeds the video on the primary site.

2. Use progressive downloading rather than streaming

Progressive downloading is a technique that emulates streaming, but is easier on the server. It’s a good option for small video, but less practical when serving large files.

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