Creating a great explanatory or demo video is just the beginning. And of course, that’s what we do over here at Planet Nutshell. But how will you host your Nutshell?

For us, it boils down to two solutions. Yes there are others out there, but we feel like these hosts offer the best combination of value, performance, and commitment to customers.

Unlike YouTube and other free hosting services, your video will never have ads or those annoying “related videos” popups when the video completes. Also, both offer the ability to brand and customize your video player. This is important because you may not want people to see your video host’s logo, and you may wish to integrate your video player’s look and feel with the design of your Web site.

Vimeo Pro – $200/yr

Vimeo has emerged as a fantastic way to host videos (Full disclaimer: We use Vimeo to host our portfolio).

Here are some of the highlights of their Pro-level service (features are taken from their overview page):

  • 50GB of video storage
  • Up to 250k plays of each of your videos
  • High Definition (1080p) video
  • Advanced Statistics
  • Unlimited embedding (this is important if you want viewers to be able to share and spread your video).
  • Super-customizable and brandable video player
  • HTML5 support with the Vimeo Universal Player
  • Full mobile, tablet and connected TV compatibility

Vidyard – Starts at $408/yr

Vidyard is coming on strong as a key competitor to Wistia. I’m really impressed by the rich feature set they offer. Here are some of the top features:

  • A/B split testing of separate video thumbnail (aka splash screen) images
  • Publish any content you upload to Vidyard to your YouTube channel along with tags and meta-data (cool!). And you can see all the stats on your YouTube video in the Vidyard dashboard.
  • Robust Syndication: Publish a video once and push it out to all kinds of places; Facebook, Twitter and more.
  • Postroll Call-to-Action: Place a contact form, a buy button, a landing page, and more at the end of your video.

This is just the tip of the iceberg with Vidyard. Be sure to check out all the features.

Wistia – Starts at $276/yr

Many of Planet Nutshell’s clients use Wistia. While Vimeo began as a video hosting solution that was mainly focused on artists and small producers sharing their work, Wistia has always been a commercial video host, competing with the likes of Brightcove. As such, they’ve developed some powerful tools to promote and track the performance of videos.

Wistia offers some interesting email marketing hooks that let you link videos to your email campaigns. Plus, they offer SEO tools that help you improve discovery. If those features are important to you, Wistia deserves a look.

Wistia’s heatmap tool is also very interesting. With it, you can see, in realtime, where and when your video is providing the best engagement. You’ll see when viewers are actually watching and when they’re leaving for more engaging pastures.

Note that Wistia’s pricing is based on bandwidth. We recommend starting with the lowest tier and seeing if that meets your needs.

Get the full scoop on Wistia’s features here.

Have we missed anything here? Feel free to express your opinions in the comments.