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Streaming Audio / Video

Streaming video hosting, streaming audio web hosting and animation on your computer screen - all made possible by Streaming Media. Learn more about this cool tool and how to find the best web hosting for streaming content.

Streaming is a way of delivering media like music, video, or animation to visitors through your website.

What is streaming?

Streaming means delivering media to a viewer while it is being broadcast or downloaded. It's like listening to a song on a radio station; you are listening to the song as it is broadcast across the airwaves, versus listening to it on a CD, where the entire thing is already recorded and waiting on your radio.  There are several ways to stream media and a variety of streaming programs. If you are considering having media on your website, it is helpful to understand the types of streaming you can use. Some web hosting companies exclusively offer video web hosting.

Progressive streaming

Media that is delivered through progressive streaming is stored on a standard web server. It is accessed through software for playing media like Windows Media Player or RealPlayer. The media is downloaded onto the user's computer and played by the software program. Media played this way is called streaming because it can be played while it is still being downloaded.

Real-time Streaming

Media delivered by real-time streaming is stored on a special dedicated server set aside to handle media streaming. These servers may be Apple's QuickTime Streaming Server, Windows Media Server, Real Networks Server, or a similar server. The media file is stored on the server instead of downloaded onto the user's computer, and it is played in segments as it is broadcast, like a television or radio show. The user can "fast forward," or skip ahead by requesting a segment of the media they want to see, without having to download the whole file to see the part they are interested in. This makes this format good for large media files that a viewer may not want to download or watch all the way through at one time.

Streaming media and web hosts

Media files use large amounts of storage space and bandwidth, so most web hosts charge extra for plans that support streaming media. Some web hosts don't offer streaming at all, or don't allow you to store commonly streamed files, like mpegs, avi, or mp3s. Be certain that a potential web host supports streaming media if your website will use it, and find out which type of streaming they support. For real-time streaming, you will need to find out which type of streaming server the web host supports, and if it the type of server you want to work with. Make sure your web hosting plan also offers enough storage and bandwidth for the files you will be streaming.

For web hosts who support streaming media, see our web host listings.

Related Article: Unlimited Bandwidth >>

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