7 Best Video Hosting Sites of 2021 (Plus Free Options, Ranked)
Can you imagine what 2020 would have been like without video hosting?
We’d have no Zoom to communicate with family and friends, no YouTube to turn to when tensions boiled over while stuck in the house with the family for weeks (or months) on end.
In the business world, getting video right is mission-critical for enterprises and small business owners alike.
But what does that mean? What does excelling at video, especially in a business sense, entail?
Let’s start with the basics.
You need to rethink the way you present videos on your website.
In other words, you need to choose video hosting that helps you strategically plan onsite video content.
That’s what video hosting is for.
In this guide, I ranked and reviewed the best video hosting (and YouTube alternatives) based on hosting, pricing, features, support, quality, and more.
Table of Contents
Just like with streaming and OTT platforms, the video hosting service market has a few prominent names. While many offer similar (or at least comparable) features, some vendors are more suited for specific customer use cases.
Here are my top picks for the best video hosting.
The world’s second most popular website, YouTube, is an awesome video platform. It helped launch the careers of pop stars and influencers. But what’s good for Billie Eilish and Bieber isn’t necessarily good for you and your business.
You can embed YouTube videos on your website, and it won’t cost you a thing. But, sometimes, free comes with a price.
When you embed YouTube videos on your website, you essentially relinquish control over the content your visitors will meet. Just as glaringly, you ostensibly open a trap door through which viewers can easily bounce out of your website and go down the YouTube rabbit hole.
Customization is a serious issue, as well.
To customize YouTube embed codes, you’ll need to tinker with CSS and code, which may prove time-consuming and ultimately will lead to less than satisfactory results. You can also arrange for your YouTube video embed to appear without the signature controls; this is something even the most technically-challenged can figure out how to do.
All of this is in stark contrast to (most) of the other platforms mentioned on this list. Designed to be super flexible, business-oriented video hosting software enables users to design their own video player, one that showcases a company’s logo and matches its brand colors.
Perhaps most importantly, YouTube doesn’t provide data as comprehensive as other paid options.
Here’s the extent of YouTube’s analytics:
You can view the total views and the like to dislike ratio.
Besides these vanity metrics, you have no idea whether or not your video is resonating with your audience. This proves problematic when trying to assess whether or not your video marketing initiatives are succeeding.
You should check out YouTube if you are:
An individual or company with a tight marketing budget.
It’s also good for those looking for free video hosting, those who want to upload unlimited videos, host live streams, and use social sharing.
Here is a step-by-step guide for how to start a YouTube channel in 2021.
Cincopa stands out as being a comprehensive digital asset and media management platform. That’s a fancy way of saying you can host anything using Cincopa: Images, podcasts, audio files, and, of course, videos.
Remember that immersive, Netflix-like video environment mentioned above?
You can easily do that with this platform by creating a Cincopa Video Channel. If you’re planning on making a video course, whether it be for students, customers, or onboarding employees, you can use Cincopa Video Course.
You can capture individual viewer information by arranging for forms to pop-up during a video. Thanks to powerful third-party integrations, you can funnel this valuable information into your marketing automation platform (e.g., HubSpot).
That way, you can take the content your audience is most likely to engage with and incorporate it into your automated marketing initiatives (e.g., lead scoring based on predefined viewing benchmarks, workflow triggers).
Like other vendors on this list (Vidyard and Wistia), Cincopa offers a powerful screen recording tool: RecTrace.
A free Chrome extension, RecTrace, allows users to record themselves, their screen, or both and deliver bite-sized, impactful videos. Users can do all this from within their email browser.
Users can click on the RecTrace icon within their Gmail, record themselves; once they’re done recording, the video is automatically added to the email.
Finally, Cincopa’s robust analytical features can prove game-changing, especially to those who value individual lead generation. You can see who each viewer is, where in the world they watched a video, what device they used to so, and the exact breakdown of their viewing history (e.g., number of views, engagement with CTAs, etc.).
Other features, such as Cincopa Heatmaps, provide an aggregated view of a given video's performance. You can see when there's a significant drop off in viewership and optimize in response.
You should check out Cincopa if you are an:
- Online educator
You can explore Cincopa’s platform during a 30 day trial period, after which you can select one of the following subscription packages:
- Startup – For $9 a month, you can host up to 5 videos, along with 500 images, 50 audio files (including long-format podcasts), and 20 PDF files.
- Plus – For $25 a month, you can host up to 40 videos, along with 1500 images, 200 audio files (including long-format podcasts), and 40 PDF files. With this plan, users gain access to basic analytical features and to a variety of third-party integrations.
- Corporate – For $99 a month, you can host an unlimited number of online videos, images, podcasts, and PDF files. Suitable for ten users. With this plan, users gain access to Cincopa’s advanced analytics features and to its third-party integrations.
- Corporate – For $99 a month, you get unlimited bandwidth, and the ability to upload images, podcasts, PDF files, and high-quality video files. It’s suitable for 250 users. With this plan, users gain access to Cincopa’s analytical features and to its third-party integrations.
A premier video marketing platform, Wistia is a popular video tool sought after by enterprises and marketing agencies. Offering a slew of analytical features, Wistia can be leveraged towards generating more leads through onsite video viewing.
Of particular note is Wistia’s A/B testing feature. Once users upload videos, they can use random thumbnails to A/B test, analyze, and track viewer engagement.
Sensing their immense business potential, Wistia has recently added podcast hosting to its list of offerings.
Users can upload podcasts to their Wistia account and upload them to their Wistia Channels (a template comparable to Cincopa Video Channels).
Along with robust analytics (pertaining to individual viewing patterns), Wistia offers a screen recording software called Soapbox.
Users can record themselves, their screen, or both and immediately send videos to customers, leads, and team members.
Wistia offers embed codes compatible with most CRMs (including WordPress).
You should check out Wistia if you are an:
Wistia offers a free plan that allows you to upload and embed three videos or podcasts.
Otherwise, you can choose one of the following paid plans:
- Pro – For $99 a month, you can host up to ten videos or podcasts and gain access to Wistia’s analytics. You can add videos, podcasts, or audio files for 25¢ per month.
- Advanced – This plan allows for 100 videos or podcasts and offers access to third-party integrations with marketing automation platforms. You can contact sales for the price.
Vidyard is an established name within the video hosting game and with good reason. Like Wistia and Cincopa, its platform is easy to use and offers users an intuitive interface.
However, unlike the platforms mentioned above, Vidyard’s solution is tailored to four specific use cases: marketing, sales, internal communications, and enterprise.
Offering advanced video analytics, Vidyard can show users who watched each video and provide a detailed breakdown of individual viewing patterns.
Additionally, Vidyard offers its version of RecTrace and Soapbox (i.e., a screen recording extension), simply named Vidyard Screen Recorder. Like with RecTrace and Soapbox, these videos can be inserted into emails.
Vidyard offers a variety of powerful integrations, including Twitter and Hootsuite. You can schedule video uploads straight to your social accounts and up your social video sharing game.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Vidyard has a native integration with HubSpot (a popular marketing automation tool, especially for SMBs and SMEs).
You should check out Vidyard if you are an:
Vidyard offers a free plan that allows you to upload and embed five videos.
Otherwise, you can choose one of the following packages:
- Pro- For $15 a month, you can host up to 20 videos. With this plan, a user can gain access to Vidyard’s analytics.
- Plus – For $300 a month, you can host up to 50 videos. Suitable for 3+ users. With this plan, a user can access Vidyard’s analytics and other features, such as on video CTAs.
- Business – For $1250 a month, you can host up to 100 videos. Suitable for 5+ users. With this plan, a user can access Vidyard’s analytics and other features, including one CRM/MAP integration.
A professional video hosting platform, Brightcove caters exclusively to enterprises.
Amongst its impressive list of customers, you can find ESPN.com, Adobe, SAS, and Rogers Media.
This becomes apparent in the information available regarding the price of its subscription packages.
Brightcove’s plans are tailored specifically to each customer, according to their needs, the number of users, and bandwidth.
Brightcove offers users comprehensive security features, along with in-depth analytics, pertaining to individual viewers’ preferences and patterns.
Publishers can turn to Brightcove, knowing that it can help with video monetization; the platform is compatible with programmatic VAST advertising.
A unique feature to Brightcove is banner additions to a video channel. Users can create a unique video channel (a-la Wistia and Cincopa Video Channels) and add clickable ads within them (similar to retargeting banners seen on social media).
You should check out Brightcove if you are an:
- Enterprise marketer
Brightcove offers a variety of plans tailored to different use cases and business needs. They do not publicize their prices. To ask for a quote, you’ll have to contact their sales department.
More than the other platforms on this list, Kaltura has a primary customer use case of online education.
Leading universities, along with major enterprises, rely on Kaltura as an online course platform for employees and students, knowing the platform's functionality is intuitive yet comprehensive.
Like the other platforms on this list, Kalutra users are treated to a comprehensive analytical dashboard. Critical for monitoring student progress, administrators can see how each student interacts with a given video:
Did he or she watch a given video once? Twice? More than that?
Did he or she complete the quiz presented in the middle or at the end of a certain video?
You can get a clear answer to these questions when checking out Kaltura’s analytics.
If you work with an LMS (learning management system) for onboarding employees, you can integrate Kaltura with it. This will allow you to introduce video into an otherwise text-based approach.
You should check out Kaltura if you are an:
- Online educator
You can explore Kaltura’s platform during a 30-day trial period, after which you will have to contact sales and upgrade to their enterprise plan. Final prices depend on customers’ specific needs.
Vimeo is kind of the odd man out on this list. A more secure YouTube, Vimeo is designed for artists looking to showcase their videos without relinquishing control to a behemoth like the Google-owned video site.
After you create an account, you can upload your videos and then embed them into your site.
They will also exist on a standalone Vimeo page visitors can reach.
Depending on the subscription package you opt for, you can add engagement-enhancing features, such as calls to action and lead forms to Vimeo videos.
Vimeo falls short when it comes to integrations and dynamic templates.
Unlike with Cincopa, Wistia, and Vidyard, if you want to integrate your Vimeo account with, say, a marketing automation platform (or really any kind of CRM), you’ll have to use Zapier to do so. This can prove costly and time-consuming.
Additionally, if you’re looking to present videos in a way similar to Cincopa Video Course or Wistia Channels while using Vimeo, you’ll have to hire a web-developer to create a custom template for you (this is true about any kind of playlist layout).
With Vimeo- what you see is what you get (i.e., a solid video player).
You should check out Vidyard if you are an:
You can explore Vimeo’s basic package during a 30 day trial period, after which you can select one of the following premium plans. Unlike the other platforms on the list, Vimeo charges according to cloud storage capacity, not the number of uploaded videos:
- Vimeo Plus – For $7 a month, you can host up to 5GB of videos a week. Suitable for one use.
- Vimeo Pro – For $20 a month, you can host up to 20GB of videos a week. Suitable for three users.
- Vimeo Business – For $50 a month, you can host up to 5 TB of videos. Suitable for 10+ users. With this plan, you can add calls to action to your videos.
- Vimeo Premium – For $75 a month, you can host up to 7 TB of videos. Suitable for 10+ users. With this plan, you can add calls to action to your videos and while live streaming, as well.
Other tools not yet mentioned on this list include JetPack, SproutVideo, and DailyMotion.
Website developers looking to add videos to their website have a few options to go with.
They can upload videos to YouTube, copy the YouTube videos’ URL, and then embed it in their content management system (CMS) editor (e.g., WordPress).
Alternatively, they can turn to video hosting platforms.
Good video hosting solutions are designed for different business use cases. Once you subscribe to a platform, you can easily upload your videos. You will then be presented with an embed code that you can just as easily paste into your CMS.
However, there are major differences between relying on free solutions and a video hosting solution.
HBOMax, AppleTV, Amazon Prime, and, of course, Netflix, have established a new norm as far as video consumption is concerned. When they reach your site, your visitors expect to meet a viewing experience consistent with the streaming giants.
Video hosting sites enable you to indulge your viewers with a dynamic, immersive video environment on your website.
It gets better.
With various powerful features, such as on-video forms and calls to action (CTAs), you can capture individual viewer information. You can see who watched each video, from where in the world they tuned in, the device they used, and an exact breakdown of what and how much they watched.
Finally, video hosting sites truly enable you to reap the benefits of video SEO.
Google awards video content when matched with a video hosting service. Thanks to a JSON-LD file (automatically injected into your webpage’s header), search engines are more likely to showcase your video in search engine results pages (SERPs).
By the end of 2022, 82% of consumer internet traffic will be video-based.