Top 31 free alternatives to YouTube (video hosting sites)

Here’s a short list of free video hosting sites that you can use to display your streaming video content – apart from YouTube, that is. Most of these provide code for individual videos to enable you to embed them in your site directly. I’ll try and include a couple of lines highlighting the main features & USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of each, wherever possible. The list is alphabetically arranged and not in the order of usefulness or popularity.

AtomUploads Logo A video uploading and sharing service by AtomFilms – which is a division of the MTV Networks. As a result you can find a lot of unique web-shows hosted at this site. Not much information is available about their hosting features. However, as a MTV service you can expect the standards to be quite high. Features channel based organisation and member groups / communities.

blip.tv Logoblip.tv promises to bring to you shows – the kind of stuff you might find on television but won’t. Highly rated by PC World and Business 2.0 magazines this site syndicates its content with the likes of AOL Video, Yahoo! Video, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, MSN Video, Google Video etc. thus effectively multiplying your reach by millions. If you’ve got what it takes to create a great show, it may even get broadcast on this TV channel that blip.tv owns. And if your show’s a hit, they allow you to pick your own advertisers and earn revenue. Flash, QuickTime, DivX, 3gp – more or less all major formats are supported.

BrightCove Logo Brightcove lets you build and launch your own internet TV station. You can have your channel up and running within minutes and retain full control over the program schedule. Videos uploaded by other users can be incorporated into your shows too. Your channel is syndicated with other major players on the net and you can earn revenue through advertising as well as video sales. Features a pretty eye-candy interface.

ClipShack LogoClipShack is a community for videophiles – a place for sharing your videos with the world. Its run by Reality Digital, Inc. – a company with years of experience in catering to the multimedia needs of the corporate sector. Pretty basic interface.

Crackle Logo Crackle (formerly known as Grouper) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. It acts as a streaming entertainment network dedicated to the discovery and development of pioneering video creators across a diverse range of genres. Crackle supports multi-platform syndication to Sony devices, IPTV and major social networking sites. Crackle is all about “launching tomorrow’s stars today” and can serve as a serious platform for aspiring directors. There are contests going on all the time to hand-pick the most innovative creators and launch them in collaboration with Sony Pictures and other leading media partners.

Dailymotion LogoDailymotion is another humongous hosting cum sharing service. They have the standard set of features wrapped with a strict set of rules that prohibits any kind of adult or explicit content. If there’s one thing that sets it apart from the crowd – it’s the JukeBox feature. Video-Blogging and direct uploads from webcam supported too.

Flick Life Logo FlickLife counts among the handful of revenue sharing hosts that there are. You get to broadcast your own videos to the world at no cost at all and yet get some moollah in return. Features buddy lists. FlickLife is a privately owned company based in Columbus, Ohio.

Flukiest Logo Flukiest is an interactive community for sharing and managing digital media by artists, photographers, designers, musicians, writers, directors, producers, and technologists – which in other words mean it’s a photo and video hosting service. There seems to be a tagging engine at large judging from the humongous tag-cloud you encounter on the front page. Other services include email, buddy list, forums, blog and a separate music video section.

FLURL Logo FLURL allows you to upload and share videos under a set of pre-existing categories. Their rating system consists of a meter that displays the FLURL or HURL rating of a video. Adult content can be found profusely (there’s a separate above 18 section). Adult Filtering options are available but turned off by default for any new visitors.

go fish LogoGo Fish is a largish hosting site which helps you promote your directorial skills. The primary objective of this site is to give you your 15 minutes of fame. Documentaries, comedies, spoofs, pranks, and even episodic dramas – all are welcome here. The interface is pretty dense (and dark) and will particularly appeal to the gamers. It’s pretty easy to use though. If you’re seeking a wide exposure for your work, this could be the host for you.

Jumpcut Beta LogoJumpcut strives to make the uploading & sharing of videos and photos a fun and easy thing. Apart from instant publishing and user communities – Jumpcut has this unique Remix feature using which you can create your own version of someone else’s video without destroying the original work. For this they’ve made available a very easy-to-use and feature rich online video editing tool. At the end of your creative spree, you can let the community decide whether you’ve managed to outperform the original director.

Kewego Logo This is a German service and the interface language is Deutsch. However, the registration process and controls are pretty similar to any of the common video hosts – so you shouldn’t find it too difficult to make your way around this one, even if you don’t know the language. Incidentally, there is a small link right at the bottom of the page that allows you to switch to the English version. Keep in mind though – majority of the audience is German.

LiveDigital BetaA community based video sharing service with specialised channels where you can upload related videos. Consequently jumping channels brings up a horde of thematic videos. Permitted uploads include photos, audio tracks and videos. Features nearly unlimited (?) uploads – which in other words mean that they probably have paid, high-storage plans as well. There’s an inbuilt social networking feature in this and hence they allow you to deck up your profile in your own way using an advanced template creator. Drag & drop functionality for quick setup of photo / video journals.

LiveVideo LogoChannels, Favorites, Subscriptions, Videos, Photos – nothing out of the place that can make this service really stand out. It’s got a good blend of general features including a Hit or Miss rating system. However, it’s probably one of the very few which offer direct recording from webcams (see Viddler and VideoEgg).

Myubo Logo Myubo comes in four linguistic flavours – Czech, Deutsch, English and Slovak. It sports a mechanism to upload, view and share live and pre-recorded video via mobile 2.5G and 3G networks such as GPRS, EDGE, CDMA or UMTS, web and fixed IP networks. Pretty much covers the whole consumer wireless spectrum. Among offered features are channel based organisation, Mobile TV and user communities.

Revver Logo Revver has a clever mechanism that helps it track and monetize the uploaded videos as they spread virally across the internet – so “no matter where your creativity travels, you benefit“. Your uploaded video is paired with a targeted advertisement and the revenue is split 50/50 with you. Those who share and spread the videos get to keep part of the spoils too. 20% of the ad revenue is handed to them. Of particular interest to the developers is the Revver API, which allows one to build a video-sharing site complete with user accounts, uploading, sharing tools and access to the full Revver library of videos. The bandwidth is covered by Revver and the ad revenue is split three ways – you, Revver and the content creator.

Selfcast TV LogoA basic hosting service with standard features and channel-based organisation. Allows adult content and has a SafeSearch filter in place. One upper it has compared to other services is that it allows for direct mobile based uploads through MMS (currently in UK & Europe only).

Soapbox LogoThis is one service that I probably don’t have much to talk about. It’s part of the reknowned MSN Suite of online applications. Offers all the standard bookmarking, commenting, tagging, rating and sharing features and has it’s own flash-based player.

Spike-ifilm LogoA service by iFILM that has an extensive library of movie clips, music videos, short films, video game trailers, action sports and its popular ‘viral videos’ collection. Since October 2005, it’s a part of the Viacom network – so one can definitely trust this one. Of course you can expect all the latest and hottest of the videos here and can upload your own too. Has clips of daily TV shows from around the world.

Stage6 LogoA video hosting service by DivX for people who love videos. DivX, if you remember, is the group which came up with a similarly named format of video encoding for online distribution. DivX videos can be of pretty high quality and are rendered through a custom player which is available as a plug-in for most famous browsers. According to the Stage6 team, “Anyone can become a publisher, anyone can build an audience and every video available on Stage6 is compatible with over 70 million consumer electronics devices from every major manufacturer, making it easy to play back Stage6 videos on your television or portable device.

Tuberoo Logo Tuberoo and its sister concern Shoutwire – both of which offer video hosting and sharing services. Tuberoo recently opened up the Beta Testing of its mobile video service which will send out one Tuberoo video to your mobile everyday. Adult & explicit content is allowed and there’s no SafeSearch filter in effect.

Userme LogoThe name comes from the German word ??ber – which means “above” or “over”. The word migrated into English as uber and has come to mean. “super something that nothing is better than“. On similar lines, ??berme claims to be the ubercoolest place to showcase you uberific moments through photos, videos & blogs, form like-minded discussion groups to debate on uberhot topics or just chat the day away with your uberbuddies through their instant messenger. In short a high-flung social media site that contrives to capture the uber-elite netizens. Uberwap – a personal mobile portal keeps you connected on the move. Last but not the least – thoroughly customisable profile / homepage. Pretty ubertastic if you ask me !

Visit uVouchAnother site that offers all the standard features – video sharing & organisation, social networking, discussion groups, playlists, customisable profiles etc. There’s rating system in place with which you can vouch for other’s content. Allow for direct importing of videos from other hosting sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Grouper, Myspace etc. Has a couple of widgets & gadgets for your site / blog.

Viddler LogoA site with simplistic but likable Web 2.0 style interface that allows you to upload, enhance and share your digital videos. Similar to VideoEgg, they offer a mechanism through which you can directly record / upload your videos using your webcam without requiring the use of any third-party recording tool. Viddler employs a mechanism which searches for content inside the videos, thus making your uploads search results relevant. Has their own flash-based player.

VideoEgg LogoVideoEgg features one of the slickest interfaces I’ve come across and offers a bag of really useful online video manipulation tools (cropping, resizing, direct recording etc.). Allows sharing through email, direct HTML embedding and Permalinks. The videos are displayed through their own interactive embeddable flash-based player. High-end sites with > 1 million visitors per month can sign-up for a revenue sharing partnership where ads are displayed beside each video and the revenue handed down to the partner. Employs content-filtering to weed out inappropriate videos.

vidiLife LogoA basic video uploading and sharing site. Has the look & feel of YouTube in it’s teething stages. What’s with the outdated template design and grainy logos? Simplicity is good but eye-candy is the order of the day and in order to survive the web-age, you gotta indulge in it as quick as possible. Has a video rating system (on a scale of 10) that shows badges about the size of the Digg badges beside each video. Sports some pre-categorised sections like Funny, Music, Stupid, Amateur, Crazy etc. Photo uploads permitted too. Claims to allow unlimited uploads.

Vimeo LogoAnother cool video hosting service that has been around since end 2004 and reflects the Web 2.0 genre of web-design. They share helpful pointers with you in case you’re lacking ideas regarding creation of unique video content. In action are a bunch of highly configurable privacy options with which you can create fine-grained access control lists to allow only select group of people to view your videos. In short, you choose who exactly sees which of your videos. Has personalised homepage where you can neatly arrange all of your favourite videos. Allows tagging of videos.

Vume Logo VuMe (most likely pronounced as View-Me) pays you for uploading quality content – video, audio as well as photos. Small banner ads are displayed beside each of these and the revenue generated when visitors watch your content and partly passed down to you. Every hit on your video, image, or audio clip counts.

Zeec Logo Zeec is another German video hosting service that you won’t find so difficult to navigate around. This one too allows you to directly record / update videos off your webcam. The interface follows the Web 2.0 ideal and has a vague resemblance to the Last.FM music cum social networking site.

ZippyVideos Logo This one offers your own sub-domain under ZippyVideos to host your profile (e.g. profile.zippyvideos.com). Unlimited uploads are permitted pertaining to the fact that no single upload is greater than 20MB. Privacy options, video organisation and social networking are an integral part of the package.

Zoopy Logo Zoopy proudly presents itself as South Africa’s first video and photo sharing social network. It’s a pretty basic service with an easy-going note that can be spotted all over the site. There’s a standing challenge that attempts to coax the hidden director in you to come out into the limelight.

Did I miss out on any of the big ones? Feel free to leave a comment on your favourite one and I’ll add it to the list.

Essential Firefox Extensions/Add-ons …I couldn’t live without

I’ve been a die-hard fan of Firefox since I stumbled upon the browser ages ago – when it hadn’t matured to version 1 yet. I probably started using it around version 0.4 or 0.5. Despite the initial bugs & teething problems, I somehow stuck to it very loyally all these years through – mainly because of the immensely extensible nature of the browser. The ease of installing add-ons/extensions combined with the millions of cool & useful extensions readily available out there make it a true behemoth to contend with.

Here’s a list of my most favourite extensions or Add-Ons (as they’re now known as), most of which I’ve been using since their inception. Most of these are general purpose oriented and hence should be useful to everyone. The order of listing doesn’t reflect my personal rating of their usefulness in any way.

01. Adblock Plus

By far one of the best Firefox extensions ever helping you to get rid of the scum of the internet – advertisements. Adblock Plus provides you several methods of getting rid of those annoying ads which take longer to load than the page itself.

Once installed, it shows up as a small icon beside the address bar with which you can set various options related to Ad blocking. Apart from that, the primary function of this button is to toggle off/on ALL ads on a particular domain that match your Ad Filters.

Ad Filters can be manually set by yourself or automatically imported/updated from certain sites like EasyList so you needn’t bother about adding the filters for all the major ad networks.

02. Bookmark Backup

Don’t get misled by the name of this extension – while it was primarily targeted for backing up your bookmarks automatically to a separate folder (every time you closed Firefox), this ultra-cool extension backs up almost every single Firefox settings that you ever wished to backup. That includes your browser History, Passwords, Personal Dictionary, Window Layouts, User Files, Forms History, Cookies, Permissions, Download History, Search Engines, Preferences, Security Databases etc.

The backup takes place automatically while shutting down Firefox and backups for each day are placed in a separate folder named after the day of the week. In future, if you need to reinstall everything on your system, you can revert back to the settings of any particular day you wish to.

This is a must have extension.

03. Performancing

This is a blogger’s extension and can be a great help in creating posts offline. This allows you to create/edit posts locally in a WYSIWYG blog editor and post to WordPress, MovableType or Blogger blogs directly.

Apart from that it displays blog Metrics tracked by Performancing itself as well as Technorati & Del.icio.us tagging & tracking tools.

04. Fasterfox

This extension allows you to tweak performance and network settings such as simultaneous connections, pipelining, cache, DNS cache, and initial paint delay.

There’s an enhanced Pre-fetching mechanism that greatly boosts page-load time, by silently loading and caching all of the links on the page you are browsing during idle phases.

05. FireFTP

If you carry out a bunch of downloads (through http as well as ftp) and have been bugged by switching between your browser and ftp client to check on the download status – this is the extension for you.

FireFTP acts as a full-fledged cross-platform FTP client that sits right inside a tab along with your pages. Also included are advanced features such as directory comparison, syncing directories while navigating, SSL encryption, file hashing etc.

06. FlashGot

Everyone uses a Download Manager these days to speed up downloads or resume broken ones. These really helpful utilities sometimes fail to capture the download link properly from certain websites. FlashGot acts as a download URL redirection service in such cases and helps the Download Managers to capture the URL successfully.

Apart from that, it helps you download multiple links or all the links in a certain page with a single click. This extension also offers a Build Gallery functionality which helps to collect in a single page serial movies and images scattered over several pages, somewhat like the picture downloaders.

FlashGot works in tandem with most of the popular download managers. If you’re searching for a reliable & free download manager, try FlashGet.

07. GMarks

If you use Google Bookmarks to keep a track of your favourite sites, look no further. This is the perfect extension for you, that’ll automatically add sites you bookmark through Firefox straight to your Google Bookmarks account. GMarks helps you synchronise & manage your bookmarks with Google Bookmarks.

GMarks appears in the form of a sidebar that helps your manage and access your bookmarks as well as the GMarks toolbar for fast access to important bookmarks. A cool feature is Quick Search (Home+Home) to find bookmarks like the Google Desktop Ctrl+Ctrl. It allows nested labels and includes a search box in the sidebar to search your bookmarks with Google. It searches not only the bookmarks’ details, but also the content on their pages.

GMarks allows easy migration to and from Google Bookmarks. Firefox bookmarks can be directly imported to Google and your Google Bookmarks can be exported to a bookmarks.htm file for use with Firefox. GMarks is completely separate from your Firefox bookmarks and does not remove or hide them. The bookmarks can be added either to Google or Firefox separately, or both together, using the standard Firefox Bookmark window.

08. Google Pagerank Status

This is a handy extension to display the current pagerank of any site you’re visiting in the status bar of Firefox. It appears as a small section in the status bar with a number indicating the pagerank as well as a green graphical bar indicating the rank. Right-clicking on it toggles the pagerank calculation.

The extension uses an algorithm that calculates a checksum and sends a query to Google, displaying the result as the pagerank (similar to GoogleBar).

09. Google Preview

This is another cool extension that inserts preview images (thumbnails) of web sites and Amazon products into the Google and Yahoo search results pages. You can specify the number of previews to be shown per page.

10. Google Notebook

This extension is available directly from Google Labs in conjunction with Google Notebook. Google Notebook is a great tool to collect and organise clips from various web-sites you visit. It is particularly helpful for amassing research material.

You can add clippings of text, images and links from web pages to your Google Notebook without ever leaving your browser window. Multiple notebooks can be created which can be further divided into sections. Notes can be dragged-and-dropped to stay organized. The best part is that the notebooks can be accessed from anywhere as long as you’ve an internet connection. They can even be shared with other users by declaring them public.

The Notebook extension sits in your status bar and allows you to add selected parts of web-sites to your notebook with a single click.

11. IE Tab

This is an extension primarily meant for Web-developers and allows you to render pages using the Internet Explorer engine inside Firefox tabs. You can easily see how your webpage is displayed in IE with just one click and then switch back to Firefox. There’s absolutely no need to fire up IE and viewing the page in it.

12. McAfee SiteAdvisor

For those who didn’t know, McAfee – the maker of the popular McAfee Antivirus offers this fantastic free tool that warns you of any malicious site you might be visiting. This one too sits in your status bar and turns green/yellow/red depending on the site you’re at giving you an indication about the kind of content/downloads available at the site.

Clicking on the icon gives you an option to view the reasons as to why the site’s safe or harmful and shows a link-map (how many safe or malicious sites it links to), information about spammy emails from the site as well as comments by other users.

According to me, this is another of the must haves.

13. VideoDownloader

For those who collect video clips from sites like YouTube, Google, Metacafe, iFilm, Dailymotion etc. this extension makes your life a breeze. Instead of manually hunting the video URL from the page source, this tool will present you with a list of all the embedded videos on a page and allow you to perform single-click downloads.

VideoDownloader add a small icon on the status bar at the bottom of your firefox window, and a toolbar button. Just click that and download the video you are watching.

14. BBCodeXtra or BBCode

If you’re one of those people who browse & post at various forums on the net and are familiar with BBCodes – these extensions prove to be extremely helpful. Both the extensions add a context menu with new commands to insert BBCode/Html/XHtml codes in an easy and fast way.

Both BBCodeXtra and BBCode have the same basic set of functionalities – but I prefer BBCode over the former as it allows you to add in your own BBCodes.

However, one minor problem with BBCode is that the author seems to have discontinued updating of the extension and hence it will install properly on only upto Firefox 1.5. If you’re familiar with extension development, you can simply unpack the extension and set the maxVersion to 2.0.* in the install.rfd file. Then simply repack and install the extension and your job’s done.

That’s it for now.. I guess. If you know of/use any other extension(s) regularly that you find really helpful, do leave a comment 🙂