Best video hosting platforms for online courses
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YouTube and Facebook remain popular social platforms, with video an essential draw for each. Additionally, thanks to high-speed broadband internet access, high mobile penetration rate, and an increased need for all things remote, online courses are an ever-popular choice for anyone looking to earn a degree. So naturally, those courses are better with video.
What Makes a Great Video Hosting Platform?
When looking for a course hosting platform, it must offer high-quality video streaming with plenty of customization tools, allowing the finished product to match the organization’s colors, logos, and the like. A good starting point is a customizable video player that offers a robust API, analytics, and content delivery network. Behind the scenes, comprehensive security tools should also be available to protect your content on the hosting platform. Regarding video quality, look for a provider with no restrictions on video length or screen resolutions. Sloppy video is not a great starting point for anyone interested in registering for online courses, especially paid content.
Take a look at the best video hosting services for online courses and what makes them unique.
Vimeo for online courses is a popular choice for many because of its ease of use and customization offerings. The service also offers WCAG 2.0 AA and Section 508 standards for accessibility. In addition, Vimeo offers plans that differ (sometimes significantly) based on the features they offer. Finally, the ability to select from numerous packages makes it easier to avoid paying for unnecessary features.
With Vdocipher, organizations can stream content through apps and websites. Best of all, Vdocipher protects this content through DRM encryption and watermarking technologies. Additionally, with optimized encoding, students with slower internet connections can view your videos.
For video hosting of online courses, Vdocipher offers API plug-ins, a custom player, offline app playback, transcoding, and per video analytics. With AWS-powered servers and an efficient CDN infrastructure, Vdocipher provides services for customers across six continents.
Businesses and colleges alike have often turned to Panopto for video hosting for online courses. In addition, organizations can use the service to host live and on-demand content and fully integrate with learning management systems. Panopto also includes seamless integration with several communication tools, including Zoom, Teams, and Webex.
Panopto is used by some of the largest universities in the U.S., providing a one-stop solution for students and faculty where video assets are kept in one secure location. From lectures, guest presentations, live webcasts, and more, Panopto has a lot to offer as an online course hosting platform.
Scalability is an important selling point for Brightcove, which handles 875 million views a week with 99.95% uptime. The company’s success is driven by 16 global data centers built for a worldwide audience. With Brightcove, content is protected through digital rights management (DRM), domain and IP restrictions, and much more.
Brightcove offers many of the same features as the solutions mentioned above, including website and app support, live streaming, and security.
There are lots of solutions for online courses. These come at various price points and with different features. The five present here are great video hosting platforms. Check each of them out to find the one that’s right for your organization.
You’re creating a video series for your course. What video hosting platform should you choose?
Video content is an almost-essential feature to online courses. While some course creators get by without it, most find that it’s a popular form of content, and one that enhances their credibility and increases the value of their course.
However, while many course creators are capable of creating video content, they often get hung up when it comes to distributing it online. Fortunately, a video host can help address this issue by providing storage for your videos among other benefits. Let’s stake a deeper dive.
Why do you need to use a video host?
Videos are large files. Much larger than any other file you’re likely to have on your site. So when you upload them to your server, they’re likely to take up huge amounts of space, slow your site down, and cause lots of errors for users.
Using a video hosting platform allows you to upload your content onto their servers, and then embed it into the relevant pages on your site, where it won’t slow down your page load times. Video hosting platforms also provide additional benefits, such as protection for your course videos, video analytics information, and sharing options.
In other words, your video hosting platform spares your site a lot of resources while giving you a powerful toolkit for putting it to use. We could go through a long list of possible options, but to be honest, the field seems pretty saturated with a lot of options and not a lot to tell them apart. So, to keep it simple, we’ve narrowed it down to the top four.
YouTube isn’t just a video streaming site—it’s also the second largest search engine in the world after Google. YouTube videos are easy to upload, easy to embed, and come with a number of helpful features, such as automatic transcription, making your videos more accessible. Plus, you can optimize your videos with keywords, hashtags, and descriptions to make them more discoverable by users on the site.
YouTube is also excellent for keeping learners engaged with your content. You can set up entire playlists, and it already has mechanisms to encourage learners to subscribe. And, it’s free!
However, as with any free service, there are compromises. While you can embed YouTube videos on your site, those videos aren’t white labeled. This means everyone will see your videos as being hosted on YouTube, and this isn’t always desirable, especially considering the ads and recommended videos that will show up even on your course site.
More importantly, YouTube videos are less secure, meaning there’s a greater risk of someone being able to download those course materials and redistribute them elsewhere. So, while it’s unsurpassed as a marketing tool, it may not be your best option for premium course content.
2. Vimeo Pro
If you’re ready to put some money behind your course videos, then Vimeo Pro is a great option. The video player can be customized so that you can discretely embed it into your site in a way that allows it to blend in to the overall design. The video quality and player controls are also very sleek.
The real advantage of Vimeo Pro, however, are the additional features it offers behind the scenes. You can adjust the controls to limit who can view the video and make it harder for viewers to download it. Advanced subscriptions offer lead generation tools, and their premium service includes live streaming.
It also gives in-depth analytics feedback, including engagement and duration graphs and integration with Google Analytics. While there are specialized use cases that Vimeo Pro isn’t good for, most course creators will have everything they need with this option.
Note: Vimeo also has a free option, you’ll probably max it out pretty fast. The good news is that Pro options start off at a very affordable $7/mo.
Wistia provides an interesting cross between the above two solutions, being both a more premium service, but one that offers an edge in terms of the marketing tools it offers. For instance, Wistia has interactive features on its videos that allow creators to add calls-to-action or email collection forms right in the video. You can also include annotated links or chapter navigation in the video, and it integrates with Eventbrite if you host a lot of live events.
Wistia includes many of the same analytics features as Vimeo Pro, although it also has a number of marketing integrations that Vimeo either doesn’t have, or isn’t particularly advertising.
The biggest downside is that it is much more expensive than other options. While your first three videos are free (just enough for you to have a taste and experience how it works), the next step up is $99/mo.
Finally, let’s talk enterprise. Brightcove is the kind of high-level solution that doesn’t even offer pricing on the website, but some quick searching on Google indicates that after the 30-day free trial has expired, pricing starts at $199 a month.
What you’re getting for that price seems to be pretty impressive, however. Not only are they boasting some very advanced security features, they also offer 24/7 live support. They also offer some very developer-friendly APIs for those who want to create a truly custom experience.
In short, you’re paying premium pricing, but if you have the team and the budget to put its features to use, it’s a platform that will prove its worth.
Choose the video hosting solution that best suits your need.
A final note. You don’t have to choose just one platform! In particular, there are advantages to having one video hosting platform for your premium site content, and another for your sharable social content.
So, you could use Vimeo Pro on your website for longer course-related videos, but turn to YouTube for shorter videos that are designed to attract new learners or be shared more freely on social. This can help you grow an audience without using up the storage capacity on your paid accounts.
The bottom line is that there’s no one-size-fits-all option, so choose the one that best fits your budget and needs.