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I recently created and put a 45-minute, 300 MB video file on my website and told a mailing list about it. Checking my site stats, I see that I've used 20% of my "unlimited" bandwidth for the month. As I want to be able to have several videos like this, clearly, I need to consider other options.

The appeal to hosting files as my own site (aside from the supposedly unlimited disk space and bandwidth), is to be able to have control over the format, resolution, and quality of the video(s), as well as to ensure that it is clear that I'm the copyright holder (although the videos will be under a creative commons license). I find that for the screencasts I'm making, having a high resolution (say 3/4 of 1024 * 768) really makes seeing what is going on on the screen easier. It is also always a plus to not have the experience marred by advertisements. One more wrench to throw in is that while the videos are non-commercial, they do promote a club, and it seems that that falls afoul of some terms of services (especially for free services; while free is very nice, I will certainly consider putting up some money.)

What recommendations do you have for (fairly) long, high-resolution videos? Should I look in depth at sites like YouTube and Vimeo, should I be considering a filesharing site [I have no qualms with someone downloading the entire video first -- I wouldn't want to watch 45 minutes in my browser!], hosting files with Bittorent (ugh -- I think that'd reduce my audience), or should I be looking into other web hosts (and if so, who?)

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    They give you a progress bar on your unlimited bandwidth? WTF? – ceejayoz Mar 16 '10 at 17:44
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    You can say that again, ceejayoz. – Clinton Blackmore Mar 16 '10 at 19:43
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    If bittorrent is only one of the options to download the movies I doubt anyone would be offended. – Nifle Mar 16 '10 at 19:44
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If you plan on having a large number of users download the files then you probably want to use a Content Delivery Network. A CDN will give the best download performance since the content will be cached at "edge nodes" near the user. It may cost a bit more than a standard hosting provider or other types of Cloud Storage (like S3) but it is definitely the "right way" to host large video files.

This site lets you run a speed test for various CDNs and Cloud Storage providers and can help you find one to fit your needs.

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I think Nifle's comment deserves to be a standalone answer. You say yourself that using Bittorrent will reduce your audience, but I don't think having Bittorrent as one alternative (regardless of what other solution you choose) would reduce your audience. At the same time it might reduce bandwith consumage, and for some of the downloaders it will increase download speed.

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  • I think it is not a bad idea. With my new host, the TOS (Terms of Service) states that while I may link to externally hosted torrents, I may not host them there. Still, I could host it on a computer at home (although I may have to double-check my ISP's TOS) and put a link to it. – Clinton Blackmore Mar 24 '10 at 16:30
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I contacted a screencaster I look up to, and asked him what he thought of his host, hostgator. He gave them a glowing review, and says that for $15/month, he is able to transmit terabytes of video.

If I didn't go with them, I'd look into so-called ffmpeg hosts, as they should expect to host large video files.

I've signed up for hostgator and am in process of migrating my site.

Addendum:

The other thing I should mention is that I contacted a number of hosts and, using the live chat feature or phone call, asked them if I could host gigs worth of video and use terabytes of bandwidth. I believe I got honest answers; where it was against their policies (such as with my former host), they did say so. One host said that bandwidth is unmetered, and their concerns were that I played nice in the shared hosting environment (by not hogging too much CPU time).

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i kinda like http://blip.tv for long videos.

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  • It appeared that I needed to be broadcasting a series of some sort, rather like a TV show, to be able to use blip.tv. – Clinton Blackmore Mar 24 '10 at 16:29
  • nah, i've been able to just upload random long videos and it works great. – yanokwa Mar 24 '10 at 17:24

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