YouTube is clearly the leader in video hosting, but it’s far from the only option in that space. Websites like Vimeo and DailyMotion have been able to carve out niches for themselves, and there are a number of smaller platforms that continue to survive in a YouTube-dominated landscape.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps involved in creating a video hosting site—whether or not you have the technical experience. By the end, you’ll be well on the way to developing a professional website and reaching out to potential viewers.
Can You Make a Website Like YouTube?
Video hosting was much more decentralized in the early days of the internet, with no unified platform to dominate the rest. The rise of YouTube changed the digital power structure, and YouTube now receives billions of visits every month.
Creating any kind of website is an uphill battle—in fact, more than 90 percent of all published web content never receives any organic traffic from Google. However, there’s no reason to be intimidated by the challenges involved in building a website like YouTube.
How To Build Your Video Hosting Website
While creating a functional video hosting website is simpler than it sounds, building a successful platform is a tougher challenge due to the overwhelming popularity of YouTube. So you’ll need to find ways to get your site off the ground and connect with users who are interested in your content.
Have a Unique Focus — One of the key questions any website creator faces is what subject or interest they want to target. Going too narrow will substantially limit your potential audience. However, shooting for anything too broad will increase the risk of losing out to the more established competition.
With that in mind, it’s typically a better bet to focus on a clearly defined niche rather than trying to pull away large numbers of viewers from YouTube and other massive platforms. Try to find a small group of people who care about a particular interest, then look for a way to offer them more than they’re getting from the mainstream sites. If you’re developing a video hosting website for your business or industry, you already have a built-in niche audience.
You Need the Ability To Promote Your Site — Hosting high-quality content is the most important thing when it comes to building a video hosting site. You’ll also need strong promotional skills in order to attract users to your website in the first place. Organic traffic is more sustainable than paid visits, but advertising is often necessary to generate a following at the early stages of growth.
In order to reach your goals, you’ll need some cash on hand to invest in promoting your platform and getting the word out. While digital advertising tools are more accessible than ever, you should consider hiring a professional marketer who can help you focus on content development or if you’re unsure about your marketing skills.
Market positioning is crucial for any new website, so it’s important to consider these factors before you start building your site. Once you have a clear direction, you can start looking for a video CMS, web hosting provider, and domain name.
Choose a Video Sharing Script or Video CMS
Video CMS—or content management systems—are widely available, but every service comes with a unique set of pros and cons. The CMS you use for your site will have a major impact on nearly every area of the user experience, so you want to be 100% sure that your chosen platform is up to the task.
While the ideal CMS will vary depending on the needs of your site, there are a few basic features you should probably look for. First, you’ll want to make sure that your website can support video on demand as well as live streaming. You’ll also want to make sure that your CMS is easy for you to use and offers a hosting plan that fits your budget and needs.
If you want to accept payments on your site, integrated payment gateways are another necessity. Again, it’s possible to monetize your site entirely through ads, but newer websites may have trouble generating consistent revenue through paid ads. Premium subscriptions, exclusive videos, and other forms of paid content tend to be vital sources of income in the early stages.
Finally, you need to confirm that your CMS can handle various types of streaming including 4K and multi-bit-rate for users who have an inconsistent connection. Keep in mind that some CMS may not work as well with certain types of devices including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, game consoles, and more.
Types of Video Sharing CMS
Best for Ease of Use
WordPress is a powerful CMS for all kinds of websites, and its simple setup process makes it a great option for people with little to no technical experience.
Along with the website builder and CMS, paid WordPress subscriptions also come with web hosting and a free domain name for one year. Overall, you can’t go wrong with WordPress if you’re looking for a simple way to set up an amazing new site.
While WordPress is more associated with blogging than video streaming, it’s a decent option for a video hosting website. All plans at or above the Premium tier ($8 per month) offer the ability to upload videos.
With WordPress, you can plug videos directly into the CMS or use third-party plugins to display externally hosted content. The third-party app marketplace introduces a wide range of new features that aren’t available with basic WordPress.
Best Free Plan
Vadoo is a dedicated video hosting platform with premium subscriptions available for $15 per month. That plan comes with unlimited videos, up to 50 GB of storage, and access to an unbranded video player.
While you may want to upgrade to a paid subscription as you grow, the Vadoo free plan is an excellent way to get started. Free users are limited to 10 videos and 1 GB of storage, but they can still host their content for as long as they want without providing any payment information.
Furthermore, Vadoo comes with video-specific features including adaptive streaming, which automatically adjusts resolution based on the viewer’s connection. Users can even personalize the video player itself by adding custom branding, colors, and more.
Best for Live Streaming
IBM’s video streaming features are significantly more expensive than either WordPress or Vadoo, but you get a lot for the money. Its live streaming tools are particularly powerful, with robust interactive capabilities including live polling and clickable video overlays.
While you can start with a 30-day free trial, ongoing subscriptions start at $99 per month, and there’s no annual discount for the more affordable plan. With that in mind, IBM may be a better option for sites that already have a substantial audience.
|Free plan?||Yes, but no video support||Yes, up to 10 free videos and 1 GB of storage||No, free trial only|
|Cheapest plan for video hosting||$14 per month||Free||$99 per month|
|24/7 support?||Business tier ($33 per month) and above||No||Yes|
|Live streaming?||Only through third-party plugins||No||Yes|
Get Hosting for Your Video Website
No matter what kind of website you’re trying to create, you’ll need a web hosting arrangement before you can make your idea a reality. Your web host is responsible for sending the information to your site to any visitors. An unreliable host will have a negative impact on both loading times and overall uptime—most reputable hosts guarantee at least 99.9% uptime.
Web hosting comes in a few general varieties with the main three being shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting plans. Managed WordPress arrangements are also available for people who want to use the WordPress CMS.
Shared hosting arrangements tend to be more affordable than VPS or dedicated hosting as you’ll be sharing a server and resources with other websites.
VPS, or virtual private server, hosting gives you full access to a virtualized server environment, although there will still be other virtualized servers sharing your physical server. Dedicated hosting is the most expensive of the three, providing root access to an entire physical server with no need to share resources.
Reliable performance is even more important for video hosting websites that rely on immediate loading times.
Like any other site, your video hosting website will need a domain name in order to be accessible online. Domain names are widely available from a number of services—while GoDaddy is currently the largest domain registrar, there are also a variety of smaller options.
Your domain name is critical for driving traffic and brand recognition, so this is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the early stages of developing your new site. More and more good names are taken every year, but there is still an incredibly diverse selection of short, recognizable domain names available for a reasonable price.
How to Set Up and Launch Your Video Sharing Website
Finally, it’s time to start building your site and developing a design that visitors will want to engage with. If you’re using WordPress or a similar website builder, you’ll be able to drag and drop elements around the page as needed. WordPress and most of its competitors also offer a variety of templates to help you get started.
- Develop a Plan
The first step in building your website is coming up with an overall plan for the site. YouTube itself includes a search bar at the top of the screen, a bar on the left for subscriptions, history, and other menu options, plus a grid for browsing videos that takes up most of the screen. If your site focuses on a specific subject, you may also want to include tabs for users to browse by category.
- Consider Mobile Viewers
Remember that it’s crucial to ensure that your site is accessible on all popular devices including smartphones and tablets. You’ll need to decide whether to stick with a mobile site or create a mobile app for iOS and/or Android users.
- Put Your Site Together
Now that you have a plan for desktop and mobile, it’s time to start turning that plan into a reality. Your website builder should make it easy to implement your design ideas and craft a site that works on both desktops and mobile devices.
- Test Out Your Site
Before launching your site publicly, take some time to test it out on your own devices. You can also ask friends, family members, and colleagues to use the site in order to pick up on technical issues and identify any room for improvement.
- Promote and Monetize Your Content
After launching your site, you’ll need to focus on building up content, reaching out to new audiences, and monetizing your videos through ads, paid subscriptions, or another model to make money online. The way you promote and monetize your content will play a major role in the long-term success of your site.
Video Hosting Website FAQs
While it’s unlikely that any competitors will take YouTube’s space in the near future, creating a video hosting website isn’t as complicated as it might sound. With the right tools, you can put together a surprisingly functional site on a relatively limited budget.
Developing a similar type of site can be highly lucrative if you’re willing to put in the time and effort necessary to find a consistent audience. With hundreds of millions of Americans watching an average of nearly six hours of video every day, you don’t need a substantial market share to generate sustainable revenue.
Disadvantages of Youtube
While YouTube currently has an iron grip over the world of video hosting and sharing, that kind of monopoly comes with certain disadvantages. This is especially clear now that YouTube shows ads on all channels—even those that haven’t opted into monetization. In other words, YouTube now places ads on videos unilaterally in order to pocket the money themselves.
With that in mind, simply giving the site some competition will go a long way toward improving the user experience. YouTube’s monopoly gives it the unique opportunity to pursue anti-consumer policies including mandatory ads and preventing viewers from listening to videos on their phone after turning off the screen or leaving the YouTube app.
Why Build a Video Hosting Website Like YouTube?
If you’re able to establish your new site in a particular niche, you’ll have the chance to provide a platform for those who are interested in working outside the YouTube paradigm. You may even be able to build a community of people with a specific interest who use your site for education, entertainment, and discussion.
Of course, this also brings the possibility of earning money on your own. While getting a new website up and running can be challenging, there isn’t much work associated with the ongoing operations. Building a successful video hosting site will give you a new source of passive income, helping you minimize money-related stress and even approach financial independence.
Cost To Build a Video Sharing Website
The majority of costs associated with building a site like YouTube will come from a few places. First, you’ll need some starter cash to cover basic expenses such as your domain name and web hosting plan. You should also consider any content management systems or website builders you need to create a visually appealing site.
Domain name prices can vary dramatically based on the domain you’re interested in. More and more domains are taken every day, but at the same time, others are becoming available as old sites fade into inactivity.
There are still plenty of short, memorable domains available for surprisingly low prices. With that being said, popular .com domains tend to be more expensive than domains with less common endings.
Some website builders and web hosts may provide a year or more of free domain coverage when you sign up for a paid subscription. WordPress Personal, for example, costs just $4 per month and comes with a free domain for one year.
Similarly, how much you pay for hosting will depend on your needs. Many providers will let you scale up your hosting arrangement, so you can start with a cheaper plan and then upgrade as needed.
Hostinger, for example, offers shared hosting for just $1.39 per month for your first 48 months before renewing at $2.99 per month. Shared hosting plans are a good way to get started and see how well your site does before investing too much money in a VPS or even a dedicated hosting arrangement.
Finally, make sure not to underestimate the cost of effective digital marketing. We’ll go into more detail on the marketing side later on, but you should have at least a few hundred dollars set aside if you want to fund any paid ads. You’ll be able to expand those marketing efforts as your site grows and you start to generate more consistent revenue.
How To Generate Revenue for Your Video Hosting Website
As mentioned earlier, your ability to promote your site will have an ongoing effect on your overall success. Creators that understand how to connect with an audience and differentiate themselves from other sites will naturally succeed in such a competitive environment.
Fortunately, there are several ways to get the word out about your new site. Paid ads on Google and other search engines can generate traffic for virtually any website. Google Ads gives you the opportunity to target specific keywords and analyze past results in order to improve on your existing strategies.
Most video sites make money through ads, but you can also offer exclusive content, paid subscriptions, and other premium products. The best way to monetize your site depends on the kind of content you’re working on as well as the preferences of your target audience.
Do You Need to Code Your Own Video Hosting Website?
Coding is always a helpful skill to have when it comes to creating websites, but you really don’t need technical knowledge to build a functional, engaging site. With website builders, content management systems, and other contemporary tools, almost anyone can develop a robust video hosting site.
WordPress is the most common content management system in 2021, now powering nearly 40% of the entire internet. It offers simple site editing tools that allow creators to set up their sites using a variety of customizable themes. More and more platforms are moving to a simple drag-and-drop approach which minimizes the need for technical skills and makes their services accessible to a wide audience.
Similarly, shared and managed hosting providers handle much of the back-end work, leaving creators to focus on other aspects of their sites. In short, it has never been easier for people to develop video hosting sites, even with little to no coding experience.
How To Get Visitors to Your Video Hosting Site
Social media marketing is nothing new, but it has become even more relevant over the last few years. Facebook should be involved in your marketing campaigns from the very beginning, and Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest have large audiences among particular demographics.
Furthermore, Reddit and other forums provide the chance to connect with people who have specific interests. If your video site focuses on outdoor activities, for example, you can use subreddits like r/Hiking, r/Backpacking, and r/CampingGear to get your new website in front of the right people.
Of course, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of YouTube itself when it comes to marketing—even if you’re trying to pull users away from the site. After launching, consider uploading some of your best videos to YouTube and inviting viewers to your website to see even more unique content.