Editor’s note: Post updated in August 2019 to reflect new plugins.
Video has taken over the web, and according to Diode Digital, the average Internet user watches 186 videos each month. For those of us with easy access throughout the day to sites like YouTube, that number can grow exponentially. While, yes, you can easily embed some code into your blog post, there are many WordPress plugins for video. From helping you share self-hosted videos to displaying videos from YouTube or Vimeo in a beautiful way, there’s something for everyone.
If YouTube is your go-to video site, this plugin will help you save time. You can search and directly embed videos, view analytics and even see what people across the web are saying about a video. Its settings page also allows you to automatically set defaults for videos you embed, and here are just a few:
- Hide YouTube logo while playing
- Show/hide related videos at the end
- Show/hide the video title and other info
- Show/hide annotations by default
- Loop video
- Force HD quality when available
Instead of copying and pasting HTML code, all you have to do is copy and paste the YouTube video URL into your post. That means no more messing around with code, and with the proper dimensions for video embeds set in the defaults, no need to edit that either.
Envira Gallery is more of a gallery plugin with a WordPress capability. Still, for its designated purpose and the bonus, it’s one of the best, meaning you wouldn’t want to ignore this one. It comes with its own Videos Addon feature for WordPress and this lets you grab clips from YouTube, Wistia, or even your own self-hosted WordPress videos.
Additionally, you get plenty of options when it comes to customizing your video embeds for your website. Envira Gallery lets you display videos with a number of options and easily too. The said plugin lets you drag and drop to add videos or a gallery of videos on your blog. Of course, some of its more advanced functions come in at a premium price, but you can stay with free if you want.
The name is pretty self-explanatory. Instead of simply displaying videos directly on a blog post, you can display an image which, once clicked, displays the video like this:
WP Video Lightbox works with YouTube, Vimeo, flash and videos can also display in a lightbox on mobile devices.
Up next is a plugin that’s most likely best suited for content creators who also dabble in videos. If, in addition to your website, you’re also a YouTuber and want an easy way to both to manage your YouTube channel and embed your videos to your main site, then YourChannel is perfect for you. It’s not as popular as some of the more mainstream options in this list but it also has a free version.
With YourChannel, you can easily turn your website or blog into a place of engagement similar to YouTube. The best part is that you don’t even need additional storage for this; YourChannel lets you load your videos and playlists from the comfort of the WordPress site, no need for additional messy tabs, leading to overall better user experience. It’s also quite easy to set up.
Depending on what you’re working on, some videos may not be best uploaded to a site like YouTube. For example, if you’re selling a product or wanting a video to be seen by only a select group of people. With Video Embed & Thumbnail Generator, you can easily embed self-hosted videos in a wide variety of formats. Once a video is uploaded, you can choose a thumbnail from the video to set as the featured image, or add the URL to a different image.
Users can also opt to encode a video in the H.264 protocol, enabling it to work well with HTML5, and when a video is added to a post, it displays as the thumbnail you selected with a play button over top.
ARVE sounds like new bleeding-edge technology and depending on how much you like it, you can treat the plugin that way. It actually stands for Advanced Responsive Video Embedder. As such, it does what it’s been named for and then some more. ARVE is compatible with a wide variety of video formats and websites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Dropbox, Facebook, HTML5, and more.
For some, ARVE might even be the best there is given its versatility and flexibility when it comes to different video types. To that end, you can think of ARVE as a Swiss Army knife for video embeds. It likely has a solution for every compatibility problem you’ll face if you want to show videos on your website. Surprisingly, it also comes with a free and premium version.
Elite Video Player’s name precedes its reputation. That “elite” moniker is not just for show or marketing– it really is one of the cleanest and most functional WordPress plugins for video. Like ARVE, it also boasts support and compatibility with some of the most popular video websites, social media, and formats available on the internet.
Moreover, Elite Video Players is also highly customizable and you can change it to differentiate your website from others who are also using the same WordPress plugin for video. Its features a lot more modern though; it supports YouTube livestreaming and even 360 VR videos. All these come at quite a considerable cost of $49 for the regular license.
Spider Video Player is similar to Elite Video Player but can be simpler to operate. It also allows for customization provided you know how to code a little bit with HTML5.
Additionally, Spider Video Player proudly boasts compatibility with a lot of devices from phones, desktops, to even tablets. This has much to do with how it implements utilizes for Flash and HTML5 where the latter would be a backup to the former if it turns out that a device does not support Flash. Thankfully, such generous features also come with a free version in case you’re just starting out.
Author: Mike Stenger
Mike Stenger is a writer with a love of all things technology.