How to Speed Up Embedded Videos On Your Website

Videos are becoming more popular as marketing tools, with many businesses now embedding them on their websites. The main challenge with doing this is slow load times. Sometimes they may take longer to load compared to other types of content, leading to a poor user experience or stalling the page’s loading.

Speeding up embedded videos can improve user experience, optimise bandwidth usage for both the business and viewers, and reduce load times. If you embed videos on your websites, here are a few things you can do to speed them up.

Optimise Video File Sizes

A typical reason for slow video load times is the size. Watching a video is essentially downloading it, with larger files taking longer to download. Website visitors using fast internet connections might not notice the slow load times, but those with slower networks will.

You can use various tools to compress your videos and make them smaller, so they load much faster for all website visitors. It is best to choose a tool that allows for lossless compression. It should also allow you to set the compressions, quality, and final size because they are all related. Highly compressed video will look terrible on larger devices, even if it loads faster.

There is always a trade-off between these three properties, which makes choosing a tool that lets you control them is so crucial.

Choose The Right Video Format

In addition to compression, you can make your video files smaller by choosing a different format. Formats like H.264 and MP4 lead to smaller files with the added benefit of retaining a high quality once compressed.

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A content delivery network (CDN) distributes files across multiple servers in different geographical locations. The best video CDN does this with servers all over the world so they can serve the video from the server closest to the visitor or viewer. By doing this, they reduce latency significantly and improve loading times.

Using a video CDN is vital if your visitors are located far from your primary server. The improved user experience these users get can lead to additional benefits, such as spending more time on your website or watching a video long enough to be convinced to try your products or services.

Implement Video Streaming

Instead of serving the entire file, which can block page loads for larger or longer videos, you could stream the video instead. You can use various techniques like MPEG-DASH and HTTP live streaming to achieve this. Your video CDN provider might also provide this service, so check if they do and ask them to implement it for you.

These techniques break video files into smaller segments that are then delivered sequentially. Doing this allows the video to start playing much sooner, reducing buffering times. Additional segments load in the background or as the user reaches them and this happens so fast that users do not notice.

An added benefit of this is that it saves bandwidth if a user doesn't watch the whole video. The reason is that they will only have downloaded a few segments and not the full video file by the time they leave.

Leverage Browser Caching

In specific cases, browser caching can make sense for your visitors. This technique stores the video locally and is useful for ensuring faster load times for repeat visitors. For example, you might use a video on your website’s header but not want visitors to download it every time they visit. Local caching ensures they only download it once and it loads faster on subsequent visits.

Local caching also has a sneaky benefit; it speeds up load times for additional pages that play the same video. Let’s say you have a promotional video on the bottom right corner of the screen. Caching ensures the visitor does not have to download it again if they navigate to a different page. You can also ask your developer to ensure the video continues playing from the same position or from a few seconds before to ensure continuity.

Use Adaptive Bitrate Streaming

Large video hosting websites like YouTube and Vimeo and most video players use this strategy to speed up video load times. Adaptive bitrate streaming adjusts the video quality based on the user's network conditions and device capabilities.

By delivering a lower bitrate video to users with slower connections or less powerful devices, you can reduce buffering times and improve the overall viewing experience.

This technique works well when combined with the ability for users to choose a specific video quality. Users can do this if they do not mind the longer buffering times, as the website loads the higher quality video. You also do not have to worry about showing visitors with faster internet speeds a low-quality video because the code will take care of that for you.

Preload Your Videos

Preloading entails loading a small portion of a video, typically the first few seconds, when the user visits the page containing the video. Doing this means the first few seconds will be available when they press play and you can load the rest through streaming.

You can combine this technique with lazy loading. Instead of loading all videos at the same time if your page has many of them, only preload ones that come into view or are just about to come into view. Doing this frees up precious bandwidth that ensures faster loading for specific videos while saving bandwidth from the visitor not having to load all videos at once.

Optimise The Rest Of Your Website

This technique is not necessarily about improving the accrual load tie, but the perceived load time. You can use this technique by minifying other files like your HTML, CSS and JavaScript files. Then optimise your images and leverage browser caching for other assets.

Doing this also leaves enough bandwidth available to load the video file faster because there are no other files requiring the same bandwidth to load.

Videos are a great addition to a website whether you use them as decorative elements or provide additional content. Their main challenge is that they can load slowly, but there are numerous ways to load them faster or to make it seem so that do not require too much work. The better user experience, bandwidth and cost savings, and reduced load times will be with the work you put into these optimisations.

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