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Hosting private videos – Limiting viewers

Hosting private videos which only certain people can watch is a tough task nowadays when the conventional video hosting providers such as YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion etc. are more interested in the number of views their videos can get them than the various privacy options than provide their users with.

There’s also the problem that even unlisted YouTube videos are easily accessible on YouTube itself once someone knows the URL, let alone the ability to download a streaming video is no tough task itself.

At the end of the day, the only viable solution that doesn’t get crossed off from the list is personal hosting.

Personal hosting

Personal hosting basically means that you rent a certain amount of storage space and processing power from a hosting provider and do whatever you want with it. There’s quite a few of them out there and most if not all of them will also allow you to host your own website alongside the various videos that you upload.

Then it all becomes a question of which hosting provider to choose.

Features to look for

Nearly all the features are important when it comes to selecting a hosting provider for a website that’s dedicated to displaying video content, whether you’re limiting the number of people that can watch it or not, server specifications should be kept in mind while selecting because once your server gets overloaded, everything else doesn’t matter.

Stopping unplanned downtime and keeping response time low on a website is important because it doesn’t only keep your current users and subscribers happy but it also makes sure that possible future sales aren’t stopped because your server couldn’t handle the traffic.

We’ve summed everything up pretty cleanly at our homepage and here’s a screenshot:

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When it comes down to it, you have to realize that every time someone streams a 50 MB video from your website they’re also using about 50 MB of bandwidth to do so. The bandwidth adds up quite quickly as a video gets popular and sooner or later, you’ll have to upgrade your plan.

Then again, hosting providers which don’t offer unlimited bandwidth to everyone tend to offer better server stability. Our priority when it comes to the different features that hosting providers are willing to offer to you would put bandwidth before the storage space, a single 50 MB video can use more than 5 GB of bandwidth if it’s watched a hundred times!

Using WordPress to limit access to videos

WordPress is a tool that’s able to perform more tasks than people give it credit for. One of the major advantages of using WordPress is that everything is already done, you just need to know how to use it. Plugins help you accomplish exactly that.

The plugin we’re going to use is simple, it’s Paid Memberships Pro. Instructions on how to install the plugin through a .zip file can be found over at our tutorial about installing WordPress plugins. We’re going to install it through the dashboard.

Once you reach your dashboard, hover over the plugins option at the left and click Add New.

WordPress Add new plugin

Search for “Paid Memberships Pro”.

WordPress - Search Paid Memberships Pro

Click the “Install now” button.

WordPress - Install Paid Memberships Pro

Click “Activate plugin”

WordPress - Activate Paid Memberships Pro

Once you’ve done that you should be able to see a completely new option at the menu to the left. “Memberships” where the various options will be available.

WordPress - Paid Memberships Pro

After setting up the plugin and Membership levels, you’ll start seeing an additional option every time you add content to your website asking if membership is required to access the content and if it is; which level.

WordPress - Using Paid Memberships Pro

And there you have it, only the users matching the membership level will be able to access the content you create.

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