Youtube is still the most popular platform – bigger than every other website, except for Google. It has over two billion logged-in monthly users. On average, each user spends 11 minutes 24 seconds per day on the site.
Despite these exceptionally impressive figures, the video-sharing platform is not flawless. In fact, it has several disadvantages, which start with excessive ads and censorship, then expand to strict video monetization policies, data collection controversies, and vague terms & conditions.
In the past few years, YouTube has also been involved in many controversies that arose from its very nature: centralization. Many times content is restricted and big channels get blocked without any good reason.
No wonder users are looking for other video sharing and streaming services. Although YouTube doesn’t have any strong competitors yet, there are dozens of useful alternatives that offer high-quality content. Below, we have listed some of the best YouTube alternatives for people who want to explore more.
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Plus point: Lenient privacy policies, no need to create an account
Drawback: Contains too much clickbait videos
Initial release: July 2003
Metacafe is one of the oldest video-sharing sites that contains exclusive content in the categories of music, movies, video games, sports, and TV. Unlike YouTube, it focuses on short-video entertainment.
Although the website is declining in popularity, it still contains a lot of entertaining videos from major movie studios, sports leagues, broadcast and cable TV networks, and video game publishers.
It doesn’t have much of professionally-created videos or recent content. But if you like spending time on short, entertaining clips made by regular people, Metacafe won’t disappoint you.
12. Internet Archive’s Movies
Plus point: Huge library of content ranging from TV series to educational videos
Drawback: Website UI looks outdated, most videos are old
Initial release: May 1996
Internet Archive provides free access to millions of movies and music videos. Although anyone can download and upload videos to its data cluster, most of its content is collected automatically by its web crawlers, which is designed to preserve as much public data as possible.
Most of its contents are distributed under Creative Commons licenses. You can sort items by year, topic, creator, and language. It contains millions of images, songs, news programs, microfilms, as well as open educational resources from universities in the US and China.
A PeerTube instance by the Blender Foundation
Plus point: Open-source and decentralized video platform
Drawback: Complicated installation process
Initial release: October 2018
If YouTube is removing your videos or blocking content in your country, you can try the open-source and add-free option: PeerTube. It uses peer-to-peer technology to decrease the load on individual servers when watching videos.
Each PeerTube instance is independent of others in terms of rules, features, and appearance. All instances provide a website to browse and watch content. Online users act as relay points that transfer chunks of videos to other users.
According to its developers, PeerTube is not meant to replace major centralized websites like YouTube and Dailymotion. Instead, it’s a network of inter-connected small video hosters. And since it’s an open-source platform, anyone can contribute to the code.
Plus point: Interactive user interface, easy to use/understand
Drawback: Maximum 16 characters are allowed in a story
Initial release: July 2019
StoryFire is a creative and entertaining platform where users can share their stories and upload videos while growing a massive fanbase. Each story needs to have a minimum of 10 lines of dialogue. It’s your story, so you can give any structure you want.
The content you post goes to your subscribers, just like Twitter and Instagram. If it is promoted as a recent or top story, it will go to everybody. You can also follow your friends to see what kinds of stories they are writing.
Another feature of StoryFire is its virtual currency, “Blaze.” You earn it whenever your story gets viewed, upvoted, or shared with other users. You can spend Blaze on promoting your stories or unlocking/viewing other users’ content.
Plus point: Free, decentralized digital marketplace
Drawback: Search feature isn’t up to the mark
Initial release: 2019
Instead of just videos, LBRY hosts all types of digital content, including games, movies, books, and pictures. It is specifically designed for privacy-conscious content producers and geeks.
LBRY is both a decentralized protocol and a service. The protocol provides an infrastructure to run a blockchain-based peer-to-peer network where users can freely share, download, and purchase content. The service enables users to browse, host, and upload various types of content, with a seamless experience.
Unlike YouTube, LBRY allows content creators and viewers to interact without the risk of demonetization or meddling. Copyright protection is ensured via the public ledger, where every download and upload is traced.
This is all made possible by the blockchain technology developed by the founder of Bitcoin.
Plus point: Continous crowdfunding for content creators
Drawback: No built-in promotional tools
Initial release: May 2013
Patreon is a crowdfunding website aimed at a specific audience. It is used by musicians, podcasters, webcomic artists, YouTubers, educators, and other categories of creators who publish regularly online. The platform is not for beginners, as it won’t help you in building the audience.
It is different than other platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, where creators receive a one-time payment for their work. Patreon allows creators to receive a monthly income by providing exclusive content and perks to their subscribers (patrons).
Patreon doesn’t use algorithms to detect potentially inappropriate content; instead, it has a team for monitoring users and investigating complaints of Terms of Service violations.
Plus point: High-quality content from expert speakers
Drawback: Users can’t upload their own educational video
Initial release: June 2006 (online platform)
TED (short for Technology, Entertainment, Design) posts inspirational and educational talks online for free distribution under the slogan “ideas worth spreading.” It addresses a board range of topics from scientific and academic fields to political and cultural fields.
Speakers present their ideas in engaging and innovative ways, often through storytelling. Past speakers include Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and many Nobel Prize winners.
The best thing about this platform is there is something for everyone. Whether you want to increase your knowledge, learn something new, or just want to have a laugh, TED talks have got you covered. As of 2020, more than 3,500 TED talks are freely available on the website. You can browse videos by duration, language, and topics ranging from science and technology to global issues.
Plus point: Ad-free and uncensored version of YouTube
Drawback: Hosts several inaccurate and hate-fueled content
Initial release: January 2017
BitChute is an uncensored version of YouTube with a focus on undeniable free speech. It was built to allow publishers to avoid content rules enforcement on YouTube. Many creators who had their channels demonetized or deleted have shifted to BitChuite.
Since YouTube has started restricting monetization and visibility of politically vocal channels, BitChute has gained many political contents in recent years. The platform is becoming famous for accommodating far-right groups and conspiracy theorists. As per the Southern Poverty Law Center, the website hosts “hate-fueled material.”
BitChute is completely ad-free; however, users can send payments to publishers directly. The company has also stated that they use decentralized hosting, which means users don’t have to abide by the rules and regulations instructed by a single powerful organization.
Plus point: Both content creators and viewers can earn money
Drawback: Monetization policy is quite complex
Initial release: July 2016
DTube (stands for decentralized tube) a blockchain-based video platform, where contents are stored on IPFS, a peer-to-peer storage protocol. Because of its decentralized nature, DTube can neither censor videos nor enforce guidelines. Only users can censor content through the power of their upvotes and downvotes.
The platform is completely ad-free. However, users can earn Steem Dollars (cryptocurrency for the Steem blockchain) by uploading their own work or by liking or commenting on others’ videos.
That’s the unique part of DTube: both content creators and viewers can earn money by participating actively. It has a strong community, with many publishers working on the same projects and sharing each other’s creation.
The only major drawback is that you can only monetize your videos for the first seven days. After that, you will never get a penny off your content. And once you have uploaded the video, you can’t take it down.
Plus point: Policies are not very strict for content creators
Drawback: Maximum 1-hour long videos can be uploaded
Initial release: March 2005
Dailymotion hosts a broad range of content, from political debates and sports competitions to music festivals and gaming live-streams. Publishers can use the platform’s technology, resources, and visibility to inspire, inform, and entertain viewers.
It has a simple, fast video player with resolution and speed control options and subtitle support. If you can’t find a video on YouTube, then there is a very good chance it would be available on Dailymotion.
It attracts about 300 million users across the world, who watch 3.5 billion videos every month. It is available in 25 languages and over 40 localized versions featuring local frontpages and local content.
3. Facebook Watch
Plus point: Has a large viewer base and millions of videos to watch
Drawback: Mid-roll ads are annoying
Initial release: August 2017
Facebook Watch combines aspects of Facebook’s video-sharing functionality with premium content. It includes original drama, comedy, and news programming. Publishers can also upload their own short- and long-form videos and earn 55% of advertising review (the company keeps 45%).
Facebook Watch distributes content licensed from other organizations, as well as original programming. The site has also licensed music videos and content from individual creators like Brandi Guice and Benito Skinner.
The service can be accessed from the Facebook website and apps. It is quite similar to Instagram TV, which is Instagram’s entry into the YouTube-dominated field of user-created videos. It shows content based on their popularity or social media engagement. You will also get personalized recommendations for videos to watch.
As of 2020, Facebook Watch attracts 1.25 billion users per month. Some analysts have predicted that it can earn up to $12 billion in revenue by 2022.
Plus point: Free games and bonus items for subscribers, great UI
Drawback: Can be a real time-waster
Initial release: June 2011
Twitch is the most popular platform where live streamers broadcast their video game sessions and different kinds of creative content. It includes personal streams of individual players, gaming-related talk shows, and esports tournaments.
It’s an Amazon-owned service available on multiple platforms, including mobile, desktop, browser, and set-top boxes. Although its app is easy to use, basic account holders have to deal with some annoying ads in the middle of live streams.
The site is often used for video game tutorials: thousands of learners can interact with each other and instructor in real-time. Some people use Twitch to learn software development by streaming programming projects and discussing their work.
How popular is Twitch? It has 17.5 million average daily visitors, and over 400 million streamers go live every month. More than half of all users are between ages 18 and 34. Overall, it’s an excellent alternative to YouTube Gaming.
Plus point: Ad-free, high-quality content
Drawback: Expensive for creators
Initial release: November 2004
Vimeo is perhaps the best alternative to YouTube. It is best suited for users who prefer high-quality content over silly trending videos. It mostly contains animations, short films, in-depth journalism, and informative pieces.
The platform works on an ad-free model. It derives revenue by offering subscription plans to publishers and by providing Saas (software as a service) with video editing and broadcasting tools. Currently, it has more than 175 million creators worldwide.
If you are a content creator, you can upload up to 500 MB per week. To increase this limit to 5 GB, you need to pay $12 per month. There is no rule to prevent you from uploading the same video on Vimeo and other video-sharing platforms, but you will be more successful if you respect the difference in audiences.