Streaming hosting has been very popular in today’s communication network. Whether you are operating as a business or as an individual, you will find that streaming audio and/or video has become an integral part of communication.
This article will focus on the benefits of using video streaming services as well as their applicability. Before we get started, let us focus on what is streaming hosting is.
What is streaming hosting?
Streaming hosting is typically known as streaming server hosting. While a server is designated to deliver content over the internet, streaming is the online media which has the content that is to be delivered. Therefore, Streaming server hosting refers to the services provided by web providers that facilitate the process of delivering online media via the internet.
Streaming hosting can be used for either audio or video media content. Either one of the online media can be used to reach the target audience. Nonetheless, valiant research sources indicate that visual communication is more effective over any other communication media.
In this article, I will focus on video streaming and how it could be used to foster your business. I will also be analyzing some of the best video streaming hosting providers to select the best video streaming service for you.
Why do you need video streaming hosting services?
Video streaming is an effective and efficient way of communicating and reaching out to a larger audience on the internet across the world. You can be able to reach multiple individuals instantaneously and via a plethora of devices.
If you are running a business, you can be able to promote your products and services easily. Further, you can also make live announcements relevant to your business. This includes communicating with your partners or the business community about meetings and scheduling arrangements.
If you are running an individual project, live video streaming is the ideal platform for you. You will be able to build on your brand as an individual while maintaining a direct relationship with your audience. Real time updates of online events as well as any changes on scheduling can be communicated instantaneously without inconveniencing either party.
All said, setting up a live streaming platform can be complex if you are a novice in the field. I will explain the relevant features that you need in order to successfully set up a live video streaming event in the upcoming section.
Video Streaming Hosting Features to Consider
There are a couple of features that you need to consider for your live streams to run seamlessly:
- Security – the security of your streaming connection is very important. The US alone reports more than $30 billion annually for piracy costs. Therefore, this means that when you consider rendering live video streams, one of the most important things to focus on is the security of your connection.
- Scalability – you will also have to think about the metrics of your online media so as to account for scalability. Streaming videos could be space demanding and thus considerations of the network’s bandwidth and disk space is appropriate. Different hosting providers have different features which makes it easy for you to select the ideal hosting provider for your live streams
- Monetization – another yet important aspect that you will need to consider is the monetization of your live video streaming service. The amount of revenue generated via the internet continues to rise annually. You can select the best way your video streams will generate sufficient revenue for you and/or your business.
- CDN Provider – the choice of CDN provider is very important as they determine the ease of accessibility. CDNs are essential in eliminating the bottlenecks that associated latency and buffering, making it easy for your audience to access your videos.
Web Hosting Scalability
Scalability is crucial for any entrepreneur for it creates business flexibility. With respect to live video streaming, scalability applies to the online content media. The online media is only scalable with respect to the disk space and bandwidth required for transmission. Again, this is determined by the hosting provider preferred for the service.
- Storage Space – The storage space provided by the web hosting provider can be a limiting factor if not well considered. At the beginning, you might require a small disk space as you will only have a few videos. Nevertheless, over time you will need to increase your disk space availability as the more videos you stream, much memory space will be needed to accommodate them.
- Bandwidth Space – The bandwidth space is also very important to consider with respect to the scalability of live video streams. The bandwidth mainly refers to the data transferred between the server and the client at a given period of time. More bandwidth ensures that there are no throttling issues during streaming.
Unlimited web hosting could be the perfect solution for you. This is because you will have unlimited disk space that could accommodate as many videos as you can stream, and within the hosting provider’s ability. Unlimited web hosting also means an unlimited bandwidth that could accommodate the simultaneous viewing of video content among the audience without changing the intended dimensions.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
CDNs typically refer to a network of servers that are connected for the purpose of serving the client needs. A single server means that media files are sent from the server to the recipients from a single platform which can cause bottlenecks in transmitting live video stream.
Nonetheless, geographically distributed data over different servers infers that data is transferred from different data centers.
How CDN assists in video streaming
Given that the servers are distributed across different places on the globe, the time period taken to transmit data from the server to the user is minimized. This is because data is transferred from the nearest functional data server while blocking the rest of the data channels from delivering the same requested data.
The biggest selling point for CDN is the scalability. It is actually regarded as the fastest and most reliable method of getting to your numerous viewers instantaneously around the world. It can be able to accommodate a large number of viewers even when the number spikes a lot more than the expected number of viewers.
Another reason to use CDN for video streaming is that it allows the delivery of high performance videos, enhancing the user experience. CDNs mitigate problems in speed by using high speed data superhighways that deliver high quality videos to the target audience. This also minimizes buffering and any delays arising from slow connection speeds.
To conclude, CDNs are important in video streaming as they create reliability and security. First off, the data is run from multiple servers which ensures online media availability to the audience. Further, CDNs provide extra security to the connections such that breaching the system is difficult. CDN uses redundancy to prevent Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks by malicious users.
Picking the best streaming hosts
There are many hosting providers that offer live streaming solutions. These web hosting solutions have different features that can be accessed with respect to the subscription plan chosen. In order for you to pick the best live streaming hosting provider, you have to take into consideration a variety of factors:
I have used these factors to determine the best hosting providers for live video streaming as indicated below.
Top Performing Streaming Hosts
SiteGround is a big tool in web hosting. While SiteGround hosts many clients via the shared hosting platform, SiteGround does not support streaming of audio and/or video formats on shared hosting platforms. SiteGround limits its live streaming services only to its dedicated servers.
In essence, SiteGround has all the necessary tools that make it suitable for streaming hosting though these features are not available for shared hosting. It has 3 plans: Start Up plan, GrowBig Plan and the GoGeek plan. Among these plans, the GrowBig plan and the GoGeek plan allow you to select dedicated servers for hosted services.
With dedicated servers, you will have unlimited disk space and an unlimited bandwidth space guaranteed for your hosted service. Further, SiteGround offers you a free CDN with each account. The CDN enables you to be able to hold a steady content delivery to all the recipients within your network.
SiteGround will make sure that your data is backed up on a daily basis to prevent the loss of data such that your audience will be able to access archival videos of your live sessions. Besides, the hosting provider also makes sure to provide updates and patches that will enhance your hosting experience.
A2 hosting is yet another powerful video hosting tool that hosts live video streams for various clients. A2 hosting’s greatest feature is the ability to provide unmanaged VPS services to their clients. An unmanaged VPS gives you the availability of many features which are customizable to your liking.
Even so, I will have to insist that using an unmanaged VPS is an applicable option but only to experienced developers. Using an unmanaged VPS requires advanced technological skills which can be used to direct the quality and specificity of your live streaming options
With an unmanaged VPOS, you will have root access to most of the hosting provider’s features. You will also get a 20GB memory storage which is scalable depending on your disk space requirements. The hosting provider also provides an extended bandwidth space of up to 2TB and from a RAM of 512 MB.
Even further, A2 hosting makes this subscription plan available at only $5 per month. A2 hosting makes it easy for you to be able to host live streaming services at a cheaper price and with the necessary tools required for high performance quality videos. It also includes an extra layer of security for your connection with the free SSL and SSD attached to most of the subscription plans.
LiquidWeb has managed to pop up on my radar with regards to live streaming services. LiquidWeb is an excellent tool to use if you are interested in creating high performance and quality videos. For starters LiquidWeb mostly has dedicated servers and cloud servers which are scalable and customizable depending on your specific use.
The dedicated server enables you to host multiple users and is mostly applicable to medium-sized and large clients because it can accommodate heavy website traffic. Ideal for live video streaming right? In any case, the dedicated server also comes with a free Cloudflare CDN which gives your connection that extra layer of security needed to keep unauthorized users at bay.
Another advantage is that you can choose your preferred data center. This is not to mean that data will only be anchored around the data center. After all, the CDN network will work to minimize the period of time taken to deliver content to the audience for faster content deliveries.
A bandwidth of 5TB enables you to set up multiple live streams without having to worry about throttling problems. LiquidWeb comes with a lot of features that are meant to support live streaming; the auto scaling option enables the videos to be rescaled so as to fit the dimensions that the audience uses to view the live stream, enhancing the customer experience.
InMotion Hosting is a hosting provider that fully supports the implementation of both audio and video streaming on your website. In fact, InMotion is much preferred by most users on account of the simple and easy Graphical User Interface (GUI) that enables you to easily set up the site requirements. InMotion enables this through rendering a script or manual configuration of the site settings.
When using InMotion as your preferred hosting provider for streaming hosting, you will have to consider buying or rendering third party mp3 players for audio streaming and mp4 players for video rendering. This process enables you to mitigate using a lot of bandwidth space which might cause throttling problems and inconveniencing the audience. The third party media players can either be downloaded or you can embed them directly to the HTML code for your site.
You can also choose to do a manual audio or video stream but it tends to be a little complex especially when you are using the embedded method. Further, it will consume a lot of bandwidth resulting in slow loading speeds; which is counter-effective to your goal. All in all, InMotion is a cost effective way to host live video streaming events for startup businesses or for individuals looking to build on their brands.
You can use GoDaddy to host live video streams for your live event hosting purposes. Nonetheless, you will have to invest in the process for it to be successful. Godaddy has a maximum I/O speed of 2MB per second. While this might be fine for one or two people, it is not ideal for a business or a larger target audience either.
The best way would be to use a VPS or a dedicated server. The Dedicated servers are much faster than the VPS but are also quite expensive. When starting out, it is advisable to use VPS then upgrade to a dedicated server once your audience grows to much higher levels.
Godaddy’s dedicated servers are not only fast, but also offer unmetered bandwidth and diskspace on the hosted site such that it can be able to accommodate a larger number of viewers. Further, you will have a seamless hosting experience as GoDaddy will mitigate any latency and buffering issues during hosting.
Free Web Hosting with Video Streaming
Sometimes it is costly to run live video streaming because you have to take into consideration the features that are available for hosting the online media. There are free live streaming platforms in the industry which will allow you to record your live event and broadcast it.
Here are some of the live streaming platforms that you could use:
- Facebook Live
- Instagram Live
- YouTube Live
Nevertheless, the free hosting platforms have numerous limitations and you may not be able to get all the features that you require in order to effectively host your live event. To get all the necessary functions that you need for your business, you will have to incur the cost of hiring a streaming hosting provider. You will be able to get access to monetization priorities, streaming analytics, among others.
Pros and Cons of streaming hosting
|High Definition Streams. Live streaming gives you the option of streaming high definition videos. This creates a better visual impression on the target audience such that the content delivered is desirable to the recipients.Large Audience. Live video streaming definitely gives you access to a much larger audience over the internet. Physical events can only accommodate a finite number of recipients. Nevertheless, the number of audience on the online platform is endless.Diversified use. In comparison to live broadcasting, live video streaming offers a diversified use of the content presented on the platform. You can include images, charts and even live chats on your presentations for a clear elaboration of the main content.Easy and convenient. Contrary to popular belief, live streaming is an extremely process. All that you need is a standard recording device for both the audio and video. With a strong internet connection, an encoder and a trusted streaming hosting provider, you are all set.Customer support. If for any reason you find that you are unable to perform any operations regarding the live stream, there is 24/7 online customer support team that can help you navigate around your problem. This will ensure the seamless running of live video streams.Analytics tracking. Yet another great advantage of live video streaming is that you can be able to track your network activity. Therefore, you will be able to effectively analyze your Return On Investment (ROI) with respect to the dashboard analytics attached to your live streams.Flexible viewing modes. Live streaming can be augmented such that it can reach a wider target audience via an array of different devices. Live video streaming enables viewers to capture the live events via mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets. You could also link your smart devices such as digital televisions to access the live streams.Affordability. Finally, I will argue that setting up live video streams is much cheaper than live broadcasting or holding physical events meant to reach wider audiences. Not only is it cheaper, but also has scalable pricing features that are spread across a wide featuring for diversified client needs.||No practice runs. Live video streaming can be a great tool for delivering content to the audience but also leaves little to no room for mistakes. The live video streams are transmitted in real time and thus means that once you make mistakes, there are no take – backs. Even so, you can still minimize errors by practicing the live session beforehand.Discourages in-person attendance. Sometimes, the feeling of a physical live event is just much better than a virtual live event. Therefore, this means that through running live video streams, you effectively limit the content intake adaptive ability by some degree. You could also discourage those who may want to be physically present from accessing the live event that you are creating.High Technological Requirements. For many, setting up, running and maintaining a lucrative video streaming process could be very technical. Running live video streaming requires some technical knowhow of how devices interact with each other to make sure that the recorded content reaches the target audience seamlessly. You will have to learn the basics of how to run your devices, for you to be able to run a seamless live video stream without any interruptions.|