Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms – Best Of

By . Filed in Tools

Video content has been growing in popularity and influence online for the past few years as more and more people worldwide gain access to broadband internet access. Now, video is almost a necessary component to any brand’s online presence, and is being used in virtually every industry (for evidence of this, one need only look at the popular Blendtec series “Will It Blend?“).

video hosting platforms

But most companies and content creators don’t realize the volume of sites out there that are available for hosting your videos. YouTube is just one site, but there are dozens of others out there, too, of varying quality. Below, we’ve covered twenty of the best (including YouTube), with information on content restrictions, cost, and whether they permit commercial content, as well as key features of each.

Free and Freemium Platforms

There are a ton of free and freemium video hosting platforms available, though many have content restrictions. Some don’t allow commercial use, some only take certain kinds of videos (like episodic web series), and some limit how much you can upload. Many of these platforms have paid plans that let you overcome some or all of the restrictions, and some have partner programs that let you earn money from your videos.

YouTube

YouTube, owned by Google, is the most popular video hosting platform out there. There are millions of videos on YouTube, covering virtually every topic and style imaginable (with the exception of pornography). YouTube has a lot of advantages as a video host, but also has some pretty distinct disadvantages for some users, namely the inclusion of ads on and around your videos, which may be undesirable for many businesses (the last thing you want is for a competitor’s ad to pop up next to your video). YouTube’s partner program does let you earn revenue from advertising, though.

More info:

  • Cost: Free
  • Content Restrictions: No pornography or sexually explicit content, no videos intended to shock or disgust, no videos showing illegal activity, no graphic or gratuitous violence
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Vimeo

Vimeo is one of the more popular video hosting platforms, especially for non-commercial video. There have been reports of difficulties with the Vimeo player for some users, though other users definitely prefer the Vimeo player to many others. They have two plans for non-commercial users, though they do allow commercial use for small, independent production companies with some restrictions. Vimeo also offers Perks to their Plus members, along with advanced statistics and unlimited groups, channels, and albums.

More info:

  • Cost: Free for Basic plan, which allows up to 500MB/week uploads, including 1 HD video, or $9.95/month or $59.95/year for Plus membership, which includes up to 5GB/week uploads and unlimited HD videos (see Premium section for Vimeo Pro)
  • Content Restrictions: No commercial content
  • Commercial Content OK: Generally no, there are exceptions for small production companies and similar

Metacafe

Metacafe focuses on entertainment more than many other free video host, and specifically entertainment aimed at a particular demographic. They have more exclusive, original, and curated premium content than any other entertainment site, and are among the top 3 video sites in the U.S. They’re dedicated to showcasing short-form videos from the world of movies, video games, TV, music and sports, primarily aimed at young men. If your video content is likely to be appealing to that demographic, then Metacafe might be a good choice to host your videos.

More info:

  • Cost: Free
  • Content Restrictions: No content that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, pornographic, harrassing, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive, or encourages illegal activity
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Vitomy

Vitomy is a hosted video player that lets you completely customize the video player to meet your branding needs. You can build your own unique and creative templates for your video player more easily than many platforms. The only downside is that only the paid plan allows player customization. Both plans, however, offer video uploads, previews, search, and built-in Vitomy templates. The free plan offers 40GB of bandwidth and storage, while the paid plan offers 200GB.

More info:

  • Cost: Free to $59/month
  • Content Restrictions: None listed on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Blip.tv

Blip.tv is focused on distributing original web series for content creators. They automate uploading of your videos to various channels, including YouTube, and allow for revenue generation. They offer insights and analytics into your traffic, a massive distribution network, and a number of powerful social tools. They also have completely customizable video players that can display a single episode, your entire series, or specific playlists.

More info:

  • Cost: Free
  • Content Restrictions: Aimed a episodice web series
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Premium and Enterprise Platforms

Many of the free platforms above don’t allow you the full control you need over your content, especially for enterprise users. That’s where premium video hosting platforms come into play. The biggest downside to premium video services like these is their cost, often in the hundreds of dollars per month. But what you get is superior service and generally more control over your content, as well as more advanced toold.

SproutVideo

SproutVideo is a business video hosting solution that offers a number of features important to businesses. These include security and privacy options, SSL embeds, domain whitelists, HD video, mobile playback, easily customizable video players, and embeddable videos. Their analytics will show you how many plays your videos get, where those plays are coming from, which videos are popular, and where your videos are being viewed on the web.

More info:

  • Cost: $10 to $750 per month depending on bandwidth and storage needs, there’s a $1 free trial available
  • Content Restrictions: None specified on the website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Viddler

Viddler is a video hosting platform for businesses, including educational institutions and non-profits. They offer three plans depending on your needs, including a customizable enterprise plan. Videos hosted with Viddler are HD quality, embeddable, and will play on mobile devices. They have their own ad network to help you generate revenue with your videos, and they also offer a plan to sell access to your video using subscriptions, both available on their Business plan.

More info:

  • Cost: Starting at $50/month for Pro and $100/month for Business, discounts are availalbe for education customers and non-profits.
  • Content Restrictions: No hateful, threatening, pornographic, obscene, abusive, unlawful, harrassing, racially or ethnically offensive, libelous or defamatory, or any content that encourages illegal activity.
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Google Video for Business

Google Video for Business is part of the Google Apps suite, and is optimized for internal corporate and enterprise video communication. It’s private, secure video hosting that makes it easy to share things like training videos with your coworkers without making them public on the web or having to deal with an on-site solution. It’s accessible from anywhere, and works on Mac, PC, and Linux computers.

More info:

  • Cost: Included in Google Apps, which is $5/month/user or $50/year/user
  • Content Restrictions: None specified on the website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

iPlayerHD

iPlayerHD is a high definition hosting service for businesses. It’s ad-free, includes a DRM streaming option, allows you to choose whether videos are embeddable or not (or choose which domains can embed them), and allows for unlimited video length. They also offer analytics, and they auto-detect the device the video is being accessed on so the appropriate file is automatically delivered. You can set up custom landing pages for you videos and even choose a "no encode" option that won’t re-encode or compress your video files.

More info:

  • Cost: $30/month or $300/year. A 30-day free trial is available
  • Content Restrictions: None specified on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Framesocket

Framesocket is a premium video hosting platform designed for developers. It offers an API to make uploading easy (as well as a desktop uploader), an easily customizable video player, customizable channels, automated audience building tools, and mobile compatibility. You can gather videos from an unlimited number of users and sources, and then securely store or serve them via Framesocket’s content delivery network.

More info:

  • Cost: $25/month including 5GB of storage and delivery, additional storage is available at $.50/GB and additional transfer is available at $.25/GB
  • Content Restrictions: None listed on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

23 Video

23 Video is a premium video hosting platform that’s aimed at high-traffic enterprise videos. It includes 1TB of traffic per month, with additional traffic available. You get an unlimited number of videos, unlimited users, and unlimited video length. You have full freedom over the design of the open source video player, and you get your own fully-customizable videosite with your design and your domain. There are powerful analytics included, as well as a variety of distribution options (including subscribing via email, podcasting, iTunes or AppleTV), and videos can automatically be posted to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google Video.

More info:

  • Cost: $675 per month, plus $250 per extra 1TB of traffic
  • Content Restrictions: None on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Vzaar

Vzaar is a professional video platform that is easy to use but quite powerful. It includes a video player with customizalbe colors, borders, brand overlays, brand text & links, subtitles, end screen text, and more. Videos are high definition and iPhone compatible. You have access to privacy controls, domain controls, and more. Videos can be set to autoplay and loop, and you have a variety of encoding options. Vzaar also offers integration tools for Ebay, embeddable video code (including HTTPS embed code), and integration with Google Analytics and Mail Chimp.

More info:

  • Cost: $29 to $499 per month depending on bandwidth, video numbers, and optional iOS streams
  • Content Restrictions: Nothing tasteless, offensive, or obscene (including pornography)
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Brightcove

Brightcove offers an enterprise-level video hosting platform that includes live streaming capabilities, YouTube sync, and other distribution and syndication options. They offer monetization and advertising opportunities for your online media, as well as powerful analytics and integration options. There are fifteen video player templates you can choose from, all of which are customizalbe. Smart Players let you deliver both Flash and HTML5 video so you don’t have to manage separate players or have extra code on your website.

More info:

  • Cost: $99 to $499+ per month
  • Content Restrictions: No content that contains pornography, promotes illegal activity, is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, sexually, ethnically or otherwise objectionable.
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Vimeo Pro

Vimeo Pro is an enterprise video solution from Vimeo. Pro videos don’t show up within the regular Vimeo site (though you can enable the "Community Pass" for videos which meet Vimeo’s regular content guidelines), and you can host commercial content. You get 50GB of upload space and unlimited on-site plays, and up to 250k embed plays (additional space and plays can be purchased), with no bandwidth caps or time limits. High definition video is available (with full 1080p), and it’s compatible with mobile, tablet, and connected TVs. You get fast priority uploading, as well as HTML5 support with the Vimeo Universal Player.

More info:

  • Cost: $199 per year
  • Content Restrictions: Not specified on site
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Oculu

Oculu offers unlimited video uploads for your commercial videos, with restrictions on storage and plays based on the plan you select. Their controls are incredibly easy to use, with a dashboard for customizing each individual video. They offer multiple embed options (including standard embed, overlay, and lightbox videos), and tools to manage, measure, and optimize your video campaigns.

More info:

  • Cost: $19/month to $245 per month
  • Content Restrictions: Not listed on site
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Ooyala

Ooyala makes it easy to manage your video content across a variety of CMS platforms, including WordPress, ExpressionEngine, Drupal, and others. They automatically transcode your videos into a variety of formats and sizes to support major devices and screen sizes. You can customize your player however you want, with completely customizable player templates that can be used with Silverlight, Flash, and HTML5. They offer APIs for integration with third-party CMSs as well as for bulk uploads and importing of content (including YouTube content). Ooyala works with Flash Access Digital Rights Management and supports custom meta data. Full syndication is possible across YouTube, Facebook, and iTunes, as well as through custom feeds.

More info:

  • Cost: Starting at $500 per month
  • Content Restrictions: Not listed on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Kaltura

Kaltura is an enterprise video hosting app with some of the most versatile options out there. They offer browser-based, bulk, desktop, FTP-based, and drop folder uploads, among others. They let you transcode your videos to a variety of formats and sizes, using teh transcoder of your choice, and they have powerful management and publishing tools for your video content. Their video player works with Flash or HTML5, and it makes it easy to share content via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and over fifty other social networks and blogs. Kaltura is one of the only commercial video platforms that also offers basic video editing tools, including the ability to trim and clip content, and add subtitles. They offer a variety of options for monetizing your content, including adveritising, pay-per-view, and VAST support. They offer deployment options for SaaS, self-hosted, community, and cloud editions.

More info:

  • Cost: Not specified, though a free trial is available
  • Content Restrictions: No content that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, pornographic, harrassing, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive, or encourages illegal activity.
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Limelight Networks

Limelight Networks offers the Limelight Video Platform, which gives you flexible tools to publish, manage, analyze, and monetize your video content. You can manage your entire online video workflow with Limelight or just the parts you need. It includes sophisticated metadata management, integration with your existing CMS, analytics, in-video search, and support for free, suscription, and ad-supported videos.

More info:

  • Cost: Not listed on website
  • Content Restrictions: Not listed on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

GravityLab Multimedia

GravityLab Multimedia offers a number of premium video hosting plans that makes it easy to deliver your content from your website to computer screens, TV screens, and handheld devices. Their videos are fast streaming with little buffering required, work with Windows Media, Quicktime and MP4, and Flash streaming with pause, fast forward, and rewind. They don’t require any annual contract, so you can cancel at any time.

More info:

  • Cost: $19.99/month to $420/month
  • Content Restrictions: Not listed on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Author:

Cameron is a professional Web and graphic designer with over 7 years of experience. She writes for a number of blogs, including her own, Cameron Chapman On Writing. She's also the author of Internet Famous: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Online Celebrity.

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