I‘m sure you‘re familiar with YouTube. As the largest video platform globally, it lets users upload and watch virtually any type of video imaginable. But YouTube does have some drawbacks that frustrate viewers and creators alike.
Luckily, there are actually lots of awesome YouTube alternatives out there!
In this guide, I‘ll walk you through the top 12 best video sites that aren‘t YouTube. I‘ll go over what makes each one unique and their key pros and cons. By the end, you‘ll have a solid understanding of the YouTube alternatives that may be a better fit for your interests and needs.
Let‘s get started!
A Quick History of Online Video
Before diving into the sites, it helps to understand how online video platforms have evolved:
Early Days: In the early 2000s, sites like MetaCafe and Break allowed users to upload and share videos. But quality and content was very limited.
YouTube: Founded in 2005, YouTube pioneered user-generated video sharing at scale. By 2010 it dominated the market.
Rise of Specialized Platforms: As YouTube grew, competitors emerged offering tailored video experiences for specific interests like gaming (Twitch), music (Vevo), kids (YouTube Kids), and more.
Subscription Services: Netflix pioneered subscription video on-demand with its launch in 2007. Many others have followed suit.
Mobile Video: The rise of smartphones has made short-form vertical video hugely popular, spearheaded by apps like TikTok.
Live Streaming: Platforms like Twitch, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live have made real-time streaming video mainstream.
Blockchain Video: New blockchain platforms like Odysee aim to decentralize online video and give more control to creators.
Phew, online video has come a long way! Now let‘s look at the top YouTube alternatives on the market today.
Founded in 2004, Vimeo was created specifically for professional and semi-professional video creators. It has a cleaner ad-free design optimized for showcasing high-quality video versus YouTube‘s messier, commercialized interface.
- 100+ million monthly active users
- Over 250 million videos uploaded
- 82% of users upload in HD
- Viewers spend average of 41 minutes per day watching
Pros of Vimeo:
- Stunning HD and 4K quality
- Advanced video privacy controls
- Tools to sell videos directly to audiences
- Strong analytics on views, likes, comments
- Vimeo On-Demand for subscription channels
Cons of Vimeo:
- Far smaller audience reach versus YouTube
- Paid subscriptions required for most advanced features
- Less brand recognition among general public
Overall, Vimeo is ideal for creators focused on producing truly professional-level video content beyond the masses of YouTube user-generated content. But reaching a wide audience requires marketing externally versus YouTube‘s built-in traffic.
First launched in 2011, Twitch is a live streaming platform built from the ground up specifically for gaming content. It offers features tailored to serve both video game streamers and their dedicated fans.
- 30+ million average daily visitors
- Over 5 million unique streaming creators per month
- 2.5+ million concurrent streamers at peak times
- 900+ billion minutes watched in 2021
Pros of Twitch:
- Made for live streaming games
- Chat function to interact with streamers
- Tools for following streamers and communities
- Video on demand to watch past streams
- Unique streaming culture and emotes
Cons of Twitch:
- Gaming-focused limits content scope
- Smaller user base than YouTube
- Can feel impenetrable to newcomers
- Limited video upload options
For gamers, Twitch is the best place to share or watch live gameplay while engaging with fellow gaming fans in real time. But non-gaming content is quite limited.
3. Facebook Video
As the world‘s largest social network, Facebook was quick to embrace online video. Users can now upload, share and watch videos directly within Facebook‘s website and app.
- 500+ million people watch Facebook videos daily
- 8 billion average daily video views
- 78% of people watch videos with sound on
- 640+ million hours spent watching Facebook Live daily
Pros of Facebook Video:
- Seamlessly integrated with Facebook platform
- Existing audience reach among friends
- Strong engagement metrics like Reactions
- Free and easy to use
Cons of Facebook Video:
- Limited video editing tools
- Can feel invasive mixing friends and video
- Video recommendations lack sophistication
- Advertisements and sponsored content
Thanks to Facebook‘s massive user base, its video offerings make it super simple to distribute video content to audiences who likely already know your brand. But the actual tools lag dedicated video platforms.
In just a few short years, TikTok has become one of the most downloaded and influential mobile apps in the world. Its short-form vertical videos are tailor-made for smartphone users.
- 1 billion monthly active users
- First non-Facebook app to hit 3 billion global downloads
- Typical user spends 95 mins per day on TikTok
- Huge library of licensed music and sounds
Pros of TikTok:
- Created specifically for short smartphone videos
- Powerful "For You" algorithm recommends content
- Lip syncing, dances, comedy, memes and more
- Incredibly strong user engagement
Cons of TikTok:
- Limited to short videos under 60 seconds
- Lots of amateurish content
- Numerous privacy concerns given ties to China
- Very young user base core audience
TikTok has mastered the art of short-form mobile video. For creators making sub-60 second vertical videos, it‘s the best place to gain viral distribution. But longer content and other audiences may be limited.
Launched in 2009 as a joint venture between music studios like Universal Music Group, Vevo offers a unique platform to stream premium music video content.
- 75+ billion global views per month
- 425,000+ music videos in its catalog
- 80% of Vevo viewers watch for more than 10 minutes
- Artists like Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and Eminem frequently surpass 1 billion views
Pros of Vevo:
- Official high quality music videos from major labels
- Concert footage, interviews, original content
- Curated playlists and custom streaming stations
- Available worldwide across web, mobile, and TV
Cons of Vevo:
- Music video focus limits overall content scope
- Still ad-supported rather than fully premium
- Smaller audience reach than YouTube
Vevo succeeds in centralizing premium music videos from all the top record labels globally. For music fans frustrated with scattered music content on YouTube, Vevo is a must.
6. IGTV (Instagram)
Introduced in 2018, IGTV allows Instagram users to post long-form vertical videos up to 60 minutes long directly within Instagram.
- 400+ million monthly active IGTV users
- 90% of users follow at least one brand/creator on IGTV
- Videos up to 60 minutes long
- Can also watch regular horizontal videos
Pros of IGTV:
- Post long videos natively within Instagram app
- Existing Instagram follower base
- Standalone IGTV app available
Cons of IGTV:
- Fairly sparse content library still
- Clunky creator upload flow
- Very young viewer demographic on Instagram
For Instagram creators, IGTV offers a logical platform to share more video content without having to build an external YouTube presence from scratch. But the full content potential of long-form IGTV is still evolving.
Launched in 2015, CuriosityStream offers a premium streaming library focused exclusively on high-quality factual programming spanning science, nature, history, technology, society and lifestyle. Think of it like Netflix for nerds!
- Over 3,100 documentary features and series
- Available in over 175 countries
- Commercial free, HD and 4K titles
- Plans from $2.99/month up to $69.99/year
Pros of CuriosityStream:
- Massive on-demand library of expert-made documentaries
- New HD and 4K titles added weekly
- Ad-free streaming across all major devices
- Caters to curiosity about our world
Cons of CuriosityStream:
- Niche focus limits overall variety
- Requires paid subscription
- Original productions are limited
- Smaller audience than YouTube
For viewers who love getting lost in factual documentaries across every topic imaginable from technology to travel and beyond, CuriosityStream is a dream come true.
Founded way back in 2005 out of France, DailyMotion operates as a more internationally focused YouTube competitor. It reaches over 300 million users across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
- 300+ million monthly active users
- 3 billion+ videos available
- 80+ million newly uploaded videos every month
- Available in more than 10 languages
Pros of DailyMotion:
- Huge global reach outside U.S.
- Established video community since 2005
- 4K and 360-degree VR support
- Content partnerships with big media brands
Cons of DailyMotion:
- Brand recognition lags YouTube
-relpathively nasics features and analytics.
- Smaller active creator community
For creators and viewers looking to grow their presence across international audiences, DailyMotion presents a cross-cultural alternative to U.S.-centric YouTube with the tools and scale to match it.
Started in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail service, Netflix pioneered the transition to subscription video on-demand, letting customers stream unlimited movies and shows for a monthly fee. The rest is history.
- 220+ million global paid memberships
- Over 200 countries with Netflix service
- Approaching 80,000 total movies and shows available
- Invests over $17 billion annually in new content
Pros of Netflix:
- Massive library of hit originals like Stranger Things
- Licensed shows and movies from nearly every major studio
- Included with base plans starting at $9.99/month
- Downloads for offline viewing
Cons of Netflix:
- Monthly cost versus free YouTube
- Constantly changing licensed content
- Original productions can be hit or miss
- Limited user-generated content
When it comes to on-demand premium movies and bingeable TV, Netflix still has no equal. But its laser-focus on Studio content leaves little room for amateur creators.
Part of LBRY, Odysee is a newer blockchain-based YouTube alternative still in its early stages. It allows creators to upload videos while retaining ownership via blockchain and earn revenue from their content.
- 7+ million monthly active users
- 400,000+ video uploads
- Viewers have earned over $1 million in rewards
- Powered by LBRY blockchain protocol
Pros of Odysee:
- Decentralized with no central authority
- Creators earn LBC cryptocurrency
- Freedom from censorship or algorithms
- Low platform fees for creators
Cons of Odysee:
- Still building its user base
- Cryptocurrency model creates learning curve
- Limited content library and verticals
- Less polished UI and user experience
For creators passionate about decentralized platforms, Odysee offers an intriguing early-stage alternative to start monetizing videos outside the traditional ad model. But it still has big shoes to fill before competing with YouTube at scale.
11. Vimeo OTT
In addition to its main platform, Vimeo also offers Vimeo OTT to empower creators to launch their own subscription streaming channels. Viewers can subscribe to access your full catalog.
- Complete tools to launch branded streaming channel
- Full hosting, encoding, and streaming
- Apps across web, mobile, TV platforms
- Monetization via subscriptions or TVOD
- Detailed analytics on viewership, revenue, etc.
Think of it like "Stripe for video streaming". You handle the content; Vimeo handles the rest of the infrastructure and monetization.
Pros of Vimeo OTT:
- Turnkey video streaming solutions for creators
- Opportunity to earn recurring subscription revenue
- Leverages Vimeo‘s premium streaming quality
Cons of Vimeo OTT:
- Can feel daunting for non-pro creators
- No existing subscriber base to leverage
- Costly at minimum $199/month
For professional creators ready to manage their own streaming service, Vimeo OTT provides the systems to launch and monetize premium channel offerings. But you‘ll need production resources to sustain the content flow.
Tubi offers an ad-supported on-demand streaming service with thousands of movies and shows available for free. If you can handle ads, it‘s a cost-effective Netflix alternative.
- 40,000+ movies and TV series available
- 250+ content partners including major studios
- Totally free with ads
- Used by 25+ million monthly active users
Pros of Tubi:
- 100% free unlimited streaming
- No subscription or credit card required
- Apps on all mobile and TV platforms
- Constantly updated movie/TV catalog
Cons of Tubi:
- 5-6 ad breaks during most content
- No ability to remove ads
- Library constantly in flux as titles expire
- Limited original productions
If you love movies and shows but hate paying for streaming services, Tubi offers an unbeatable free option. Just prep your ad blocking skills because commercial breaks are constant!
I‘ve just covered 12 unique video platforms that can all serve as excellent YouTube alternatives. But which one is the best fit for you?
Here are 5 key factors to help choose the right platform:
1. Content Types and Topics
What kind of videos do you most want to watch? Certain platforms are tailored for specific interests:
- Gaming: Twitch
- Music: Vevo
- Shows/Movies: Netflix
- Documentaries: CuriosityStream
- Funny Clips: TikTok
Think about your top video interests and find the platform matching them closest.
2. Production Quality
YouTube contains videos of all production levels. But many alternatives maintain higher standards:
- Vimeo and Netflix host more professional, high-budget content.
- IGTV and TikTok lean more amateur and user-generated.
3. Free vs. Paid
Lots of factors impact costs:
- Completely free: Facebook Video, TikTok, Tubi
- Free with ads: Tubi, Vevo
- Paid subscription: Netflix, CuriosityStream
- Hybrid models: Vimeo, Twitch
Factor in your budget when deciding if you want a 100% free option or are willing to pay.
4. Social and Community
If you value social interaction, some platforms are better suited:
- Twitch emphasizes live chat and emojis
- Facebook Video taps your existing network
- Vimeo focuses more on solitary viewing
5. Freedom of Expression
YouTube is notoriously strict in demonetizing creators for content violations. If you want more creative freedom:
- Vimeo has strong content rating systems
- Odysee uses blockchain to prevent censorship
- TikTok algorithm favors entertainment over opinions
Weigh factors like content, quality, cost, community, and expression freedom to select the best alternative for your specific needs.
There‘s no one "best" platform overall. It depends entirely on your goals and values as a viewer.
Even with over 2 billion users, YouTube is far from the only option for watching and sharing videos online. As you can see, there‘s an amazing variety of YouTube alternatives for every interest.
I hope this overview gave you a better understanding of the top sites out there beyond YouTube. Each brings unique benefits to the table. Evaluating based on your needs and preferences is crucial to selecting the optimal platform.
There‘s never been a better time to expand beyond YouTube and explore world-class video experiences tailored specifically for you!
Let me know if you have any other questions!