Tutorial: Embedding YouTube videos in your web site
- Article 2 of 9
- Practical Web Design, July 2006
Video sharing is the latest craze to hit the web. Learn how you can join in with our YouTube tutorial.
Video can liven up any web site. There’s nothing quite like interactivity to really grab visitors. Great as AJAX may be, video can still trump it any day of the week. But putting video on your web site has always been trickier in practice than we might have liked. There are all sorts of problems, including bandwidth, encoding tools, formats and embedding methods, that need to be sorted out before you can think about using putting video into a web page. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: YouTube.
YouTube is a video sharing service that has taken the web by storm over the last year or so. It allows you to upload movies for others to view, either on the YouTube site or embedded in your own site. Best of all, it’s free.
There are many advantages to YouTube, the main one being bandwidth and storage space. Most web site providers will charge you for the amount of data your visitors download and for the amount of storage space you require, levying additional charges if you exceed either limit. Since videos tend to be very large compared with text and images, you can use up all of your storage and bandwidth allowance relatively quickly if you use them on your site. But if you use YouTube to host your videos, you’ll only use up its bandwidth and storage space.
The other big advantage of YouTube is that it’s easy: you don’t have to know anything about video encoding, MIME types, streaming servers or any of the other intricacies of web video. And since it uses Flash video, the majority of browsers support it.
In this tutorial, we’re going to show you how to take advantage of YouTube to embed in your web site videos that anyone can view. You’ll need some movies that you’ve already digitised into a reasonably standard format, such as MPEG, 3GP, MOV or AVI. Since the majority of digital cameras and mobile phones that can record videos use these formats, you can typically just upload their movies directly. Remember though: the larger the movie, the longer it will take to upload, even with a broadband connection. There’s also a size limit on your videos, which can only be 100MB in size or less and shorter than 10 minutes long. You can, however, upload as many videos as you like – goodbye storage problems!