If I host videos on my server and include them as HTML5 video in a webpage, what factors affect how fast they will start playing?

Of course bandwidth is a factor, but does also the media type of the video (MP4, WebM Ogg) affect this?

Any other factors to consider?

  • 1
    Just a word of warning: that's a great way to take down your website.
    – Tim Grant
    Nov 23, 2016 at 0:23
  • @TimGrant, could you elaborate on that? It's a couple of small thumbnail videos in a catalog. Nov 23, 2016 at 17:42
  • 1
    If the videos cause any unexpected slowdown of the site, you can end up with people hitting reload, further increasing the number of videos that get requested. I once watched 9 web servers fall like dominoes when this happened. It doesn't mean it will happen to you, just proceed with caution.
    – Tim Grant
    Nov 23, 2016 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


These are the key factors that should be considered with regards to video regardless of BW.

You should post 3 formats when possible, to serve the proper device used.

  • mp4, webm, ogg

This not only saves you bandwidth but also the users who do not need large video files for clarity.

Next you should encode the video file into a h264 format wrapped in a mp4 container.

Also use variable bitrates. This drops the mbps when there are dark scenes or low action.

The same applies for the audio, when the music is not as active. Lastly use a fast start streaming which is also known as web streaming depending what OS and APP you use.

And a good program to go with would be FFMPEG/X or Handbrake

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