Is this about English language?
Well, no, not really! I hope you find this article interesting to read about what technical changes to we made to the site and why, but it’s about how we are trying to continually improve and give the best service possible.
So let’s get started with what we changed and why we changed it, including some background research and the benefits to our clients.
I will discuss videos, servers and other technical aspects, any questions, please leave a comment below.
We initially started with Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) to encode and supply our videos in a fast and secure manner. Specifically, we used AWS MediaConvert to transcode our original videos to supply them on the web. (see the diagram of the typical flow). We setup a system to upload the videos to a secure S3 bucket which would trigger a Lambda function to convert the video into various formats for the website to consume. Then serve that through into a Cloudfront instance for best performance.
- We own and control the entire aspect of the videos
- Distribution is handled by us
- System is mostly automated
- No reliance on 3rd party suppliers (e.g. YouTube)
- Does not come with a media player to put on website
- Can be costly when converting videos
- Difficult to implement and maintain
Alternative Video hosting services
Youtube is the most obvious and popular choice for online video hosting, but we felt that it was too invasive in it’s marketing, branding and tracking to be a professional integration for our website.
Cloudflare Stream was initially our choice because of it’s speed and integrated/embedded video player. Once we started using it, we quickly realised that it was also very restrictive in it’s usage so was discarded.
Vimeo was our final choice
Vimeo was finally chosen because of the quality of the videos, great services to help produce slick videos, branding of their player and much more. Their pricing is competitive and allowed to easily create custom pages such as our promotional video page.
There are a crazy amount of various website hosting solutions from managed, dedicated or shared. Each have their advantages and disadvantages which I won’t go into detail but will discuss what we initially went for and why we changed.
Amazon web services is how we began. Why? If you have some knowledge on server management, they can be a fantastic solution, they give you great flexibility and scaling opportunities.
So why change?
I had begun to setup a dedicated server for the database, a second to memcache, a third server for the website files and cloudflare to serve static assets.
It made the site amazingly fast! Then the bills came in… it can get very expensive, very quickly! Plus you need to manage all the operations, communication between servers, updates, security, etc. So between the actual server costs and time lost, it became unmanageable!
KINSTA is our hosting choice
Kinsta has managed hosting which are optimised for our type of website and services.
They manage the server updates, security and many other aspects… plus their support is awesome!
Our site is still pretty fast and allows us more time to dedicate to improve the business and provide a better service to our students. It is a win-win solution for us.
Please let me know if you have any thoughts or comments, this is the situation for now, might change!?
There is so much more I could have put in, from SSL choices, plugins, compression tactics, caching… on and on!!! Maybe another article someday?