There are three typical ways you can upload a video to the internet:
1. D-I-Y Video Self Hosting
Pros: Simple. Free w/ Website | Custom video player/analytics package.
Cons: P.I.T.A. sometimes | Crappy hosting T.O.S. | Shared Servers Suck
We like to call this "1st party video hosting" and it is as simple as its gets. You create a web-ready video in a stream-able format and put it on your web-server. You provide the player to the user and you have 100% complete and utter control of the video. There are a lot of pitfalls for this option though, as you can get your site suspended for using too much bandwidth, especially on a shared server, there is no built in analytics package for videos, so you will have to set that up yourself. You will have to be fairly tech-savvy to get the whole thing going and the maintenance can be tiresome. If you are already hosting your site on a dedicated server and are using an analytic package you are comfortable with, rolling video into it should be relatively easy. This will be the most costly option as you will be needing incredible bandwidth capabilities and storage. If you are using something like Godaddy hosting, you are not going to be happy self hosting videos.
2. Assisted Video Hosting
Pros: Easiest | Most 'Professional' | Best for business
Cons: Scale = EXPENSIVE |Not 100% Control | Somewhat limited Analytics.
This is what we like to call "2nd party video hosting" This is similar to self hosting, but it will be with a partner service, like Wista,DaCast or Ooyla, etc. If you have the budget or very low volume video traffic needs, these guys really rock for on-site videos. Just about 100% control and the more you pay, the more control they give you. Drawbacks obviously is cost, but the positives outweigh the negatives a lot. Analytics are built in so that saves a headache as well. This is basically the safe route if you aren't sure what your hosting is up to and you want complete control of your videos. Another thing to think about is these companies all have issue with spammy type videos and if you are using video in a way they don't approve of, they can and will shut you down. So if you are leaning towards mass quantity over quality, not only will that be really expensive, it probably won't work well on these providers.
3. Freemium Video Hosting
Pros: Free, or damn near free | Unlimited Potential Scale
Cons: Massive Competition | Toxic Community | Little player Control | Limited Analytics.
We refer to these this option as "3rd party video hosting". Less control, less options, less analytical data. With the ability to scale to really any limit, YouTube is the obvious choice when it comes to this option. We call it freemium because you have a strong contender in Vimeo. They have a solid platform with a really nice player and they have options and a community that YouTube really doesn't have. That being said, if you are getting into very large scale video operations or you simply want the largest reach possible, you can't go wrong with YouTube. You are here so you know what it's about. It's huge. Obvious drawbacks is the community, the spam, the competition and the sheer volume of data being pushed out on a daily basis. You can really succeed in a niche though and it's where you go if video marketing is what you are after.
Any of these options are viable for different needs. If you have a large audience and low budget, then YouTube is your best bet. If you have a small audience and high budget, then you probably want to host the videos yourself. Somewhere in between? That's why services like Wistia exist. To give you the ability to "self" host the content without having to worry about the technical limitations and restrictions around hosting video.
What video platforms do you use and recommend? Let us know in the comments below!