Streaming media is simply how things are done, anymore, and if you ask anyone what the most popular website for free, streaming video is, they’re undoubtedly going to say YouTube. Though there are good reasons for YouTube’s fame and success, it’s not the only fish in the sea; therefore, Appamatix has devised a list of 10 alternative sites that are like YouTube but offer up different types of content (or upload avenues) that might be better-suited to your experience. Maybe you’ve heard of some of these, or maybe they’re all new to you! Either way, the content that you find on these sites is likely to be markedly different from what you’ll find on YouTube, so they’re each worth checking out.
Maybe I’m just seeing my own age, but it’s still not difficult to recall a day before streaming video was the standard for all online viewing experiences. I’m talking before Netflix, before YouTube, before Hulu. The day when a family member told me about this new service where she received three movies per month via mail (the announcement of Netflix) isn’t that far back, in my mind. How far we’ve come in the meantime is something of an exceptional story!
YouTube rose from the high-speed internet phenomenon as the top place to view videos, whether they were personal uploads, professional promotions, or film trailers. It had competition then, but none of that competition ever managed to surpass what YouTube had achieved, and for the most part, they still haven’t.
That doesn’t mean that worthy alternatives don’t exist, though, and while YouTube is the “wild west” of online streaming video, other platforms are somewhat more specialized in their offerings, giving you better niche experiences with focused content.
Forced to diversify in order to remain relevant at the head of the pack, YouTube has recently been undergoing some rebranding and acquisition in order to give itself a more defined face. YouTube game streaming has become an increasingly more popular thing, and “YouTube Red” video series are amassing quite a large viewership.
Still, that hasn’t managed to push back any of the rising competition, which leads us to a thriving collection of YouTube alternatives that are all free and open for you to access. Whether you want to focus your attention on music and music videos, live-streaming from other people, or something else entirely, we have many fruitful directions to point you in.
I’m putting Twitch at the top of this list because it’s currently undergoing the same zeitgeist explosion in popularity that YouTube underwent years ago, with thousands of new people tuning in every day and more streamers being added to the Twitch ranks.
Mostly, Twitch is used by gamers, for gamers, and the website makes no claim otherwise. Streaming one’s own gameplay with accompanying commentary has actually become a very lucrative side hustle (or even a daily job) for hundreds of people, and it’s a great place for anyone to practice their entertainment chops. Twitch is also used by game developers on a regular basis to showcase new releases and new content for existing games, so if you’re in on gamer culture, keep an eye on Twitch. After all, YouTube’s own live-streaming platform was born out of the desire to compete with this excellent service!
If I was forced to pick one online video platform that serves as a direct YouTube competitor in form and function, it would have to be Zippcast. It’s not going to have the huge amount of content that YouTube does–no hosting site does since the big red giant is mightily difficult to catch up to–but Zippcast does possess one of the most user-friendly interfaces I’ve seen in a new content site in quite a while.
Because of how similar it is to YouTube, you’re going to see a lot of video crossover, but thankfully, most of that is new content added by individual users, something that has been getting a bit drowned out by sponsored videos from huge entertainment companies, elsewhere. Zippcast is a “place to be found” and if you’re someone that’s looking to go viral with great video content, you’ll definitely want to share your videos on Zippcast. If you’re just looking for a fun viewing experience, then your task has become decidedly easier–just start searching!
As we get further on in the digital age, our attention spans are getting more tightly strung than piano wire. We have so much content competing for our attention, for every direction, that video media overall is becoming shorter, featured in digestible bites that span only a few seconds, where they otherwise might have been longer.
At the head of this pack is Vine, a hybrid video-sharing site and social media network that’s built entirely on short clips. Whether they’re shot continuously or edited together on the fly to tell the tiniest narrative known to man, Vine videos are a great place to view the freshest “viral” content, and in my experience, this is some of the funniest stuff that you will find online. Check in daily to see what top Vine users have uploaded. You’re likely to notice it from the sizes and resolutions of Vine videos, but most are shot on smartphones.
DailyMotion is another video source that I tune into on a daily basis, if only because I can trust it to deliver content that I want to watch, every time I visit. While I might recommend Zippcast more readily as a YouTube replacement, I definitely enjoy DailyMotion more.
As a pop culture hub, it’s a great place to view videos focused on new and relevant topics, from geek culture to travel to…literally everything else. With hundreds of millions of daily users logging in to view content, it’s also one of the top-recommended sites to submit your own videos if you want to go viral.
This one’s an odd duck, and while it’s not my favorite streaming media service online, it’s certainly a popular one. Videos are categorized by genre, and often have a focus on clips from recognizable entertainment media. Music, movies, and TV shows maintain a precedent on Veoh but don’t assume that it’s a place to simply watch content that you’d have to pay for, elsewhere. Though you’ll occasionally find a gem or two, Veoh is instead used as a place to share clips or music videos.
Useful? Absolutely, and its popularity speaks to success. It even has lightweight social media functions that allow you to interact with other users after you’ve signed up.
I like Vimeo because of how it’s managed and how it’s organized, and there’s a good chance that you’re already familiar with the name–many Vimeo videos find their way onto YouTube, but keep that recognizable branding through the transfer.
Here, you’ll be able to see recommended videos curated by the Vimeo editors. You’ll also be able to upload content freely, but there’s a cap on the amount of data that you can upload per month, without a subscription. While this might scare away users that like to upload tons of video all of the time, it also helps to keep Vimeo slightly more “policed.” You’ll run into far less junk, which can be a great thing after wading through all of the click-bait and time wasters on YouTube.
Blip’s acquisition by Maker Studios is still relatively recent, and so I thought it prudent to make mention of its actual, new title–Maker.tv–and the one that it was long known by, which is Blip.tv.
Even though it’s changed names, it hasn’t changed much in its purpose or its content. Maker.tv still focuses on showcasing user-driven series. You’ll find some of the funniest content on the internet as well as more thoughtful, documentary-style content that’s easily searchable and always relevant.
Need a taste? Try the profanity-laden “Rap Battles of History” series.
If you listen to music videos on YouTube, then there’s a good chance you’ve already seen the “Vevo” title swinging around. As a focused and often sponsored host for music-centric videos, there’s no better place to come looking if that’s the type of content you’re in the mood for.
In the wake of YouTube’s much more open platform, Vevo is instead extremely guided, focused, and specific in what it offers. The music videos uploaded to Vevo are all from distribution partners signed on with the site, but that isn’t by any means a bad thing–it helps to ensure that the content you’re watching is high-quality, made for distribution by professional music studios.
Flickr makes it onto this list, not because of its popularity, or it being a hub for video content in the same way that YouTube is. It doesn’t even have much of a search function to speak of, but that doesn’t make it any less useful for certain types of media-savvy people.
For many, YouTube only serves as a hub through which to store and share their own videos, freely. If that’s your game, then Flickr might actually be a better alternative than Youtube, if only because you can store HD video of any duration, without any noticeable drawback. Sure, the free version is only going to get you so far, but if video uploading and sharing is something that you want to do and YouTube isn’t cutting it, Flickr is still a great choice.
Good ‘ole Metacafe. It’s been around for many years–almost as many as YouTube has been in popular use–but it’s clearly on something of a decline. Though you can still find some gems by searching through its various channels, you’re not currently able to make any new uploads. This makes it a decent repository of videos to watch, but less so if you’re wanting to share anything yourself.
That doesn’t make it entirely without merit, however, and it’s been around long enough that it deserves a place on this list. You’ll still find plenty of new content from specific uploaders, but you’ll have to dodge quite a lot of clickable advertising while doing so.
Of course, while these are all excellent alternative to YouTube, none of them copies the video streaming giant outright. Mostly, because it’s difficult to even fathom that happening, any longer.
That said, these 10 Youtube alternatives are each respectable in their own rights for differing reasons, and each of them carries bits and pieces of what you’ll typically find in the vast sea that is YouTube’s video content. If you enjoyed our guide, share away, and don’t forget to comment below!