How I Bulletproofed WordPress Video Hosting with SmugMug

File under “don’t build your house on rented land”.


First, it was YouTube.


12 years of videos gone in less than 60 seconds.


We are still replacing “dead” YouTube videos on our Zencart e-commerce site as we trip over them and as we migrate to a new site but


That posed three problems

One – video recovery.

Two – migration of recovered videos

Three – re-embedding recovered videos for 2 sites


As you can imagine there are many video hosting companies available today.


The embedding process can get pretty pricey on a monthly basis and much like trying to eat a watch, it is time-consuming.


From what I can tell not a lot of people are aware that Jet pack (owned by Automattic) offers an upgrade to their personal plan which already offers a robust number of bells and whistles for $3.50 a month.


The professional plan comes in at $9 a month which includes unlimited video hosting.


Bonuses include drag-and-drop uploading with no embedding.


Easy to add “alt tags”.


Image compression.


CDN speed image delivery.


What could possibly go wrong?


Glad you asked.


On February 13, 2020, I could no longer upload videos to our main WordPress site 


I started with Siteground’s hosting support chat, who rapidly escalated the ticket to guru support.


Here’s the 1881 word thread


The solution appeared that by removing and reinstalling the Jetpack plugin, videos would flow upstream once again.

Not so much.


The mindnumbing thread motived me to have some whiskey and binge watch Netflix forgetting about all the problems momentarily.


I stood up from my bed the next morning, sat down in the desk chair sandwich between my bed and desk (micro commute) and immediately looked at my WordPress site and realized all the videos had vanished.


Only an alphanumeric placeholder existed where the videos were once displayed like this.

page with missing videos

This triggered a ticket to JetPack support


Here’s the 2961 word thread that I had with the children of Jetpack.


Spoiler alert “No, I am not going to uninstall the reinstall WordPress to recover the xmlrpc.php file, a file that invites hackers

Why You Should Disable Xmlrpc.php

The biggest issues with XML-RPC are the security concerns that arise. The issues aren’t with XML-RPC directly, but instead how the file can be used to enable a brute force attack on your site…

Once again I was painfully reminded that there are no adults working at Automattic.


Editor’s note: XML-RPC is being replaced by an API anyway, so I chose to avoid the pain altogether. Endnote


How did I get here?



I have now lost more than 300  embedded videos – twice.


We are still moving towards building the new website, so I needed to address the other 300 missing videos on our development site.


File under “third time’s a charm”.


I was getting frustrated with the available choices.


Mainstream web hosting services like Vimeo are charging $49 a month for 5 GB of storage.


I’m not one to sit in front of the camera and just talk when making videos.


I do a lot of POV (Point of View) and may create 5 to 20 clips that get woven together to create a finished product.


This was over 20 clips over 90 minutes of recording.



I could blow through 5 GB a week, easily and Vimeo is one of the cheaper “mainstream” platforms.


During my incessant searching, Flickr popped up on the radar.


I was reminded that I had open an account with them in 2009 but not had uploaded anything for the past two years.


I signed up for the Pro subscription at only $6.99 a month – unlimited storage.


I found the platform clunky for uploading videos.


You can only add one at a time.


Because it was going to be my forever video host I started doing research.


I learned Flickr had been bought by professional photo hosting service SmugMug for an undisclosed price, according to a report from USA Today.


The fate of Flickr had been up in the air as part of the ongoing decline of Yahoo, which was bought by Verizon last year $4.5 billion dollars and combined with AOL into Oath. Read more:


The new video hosting must be bulletproof.


I started the SmugMugs free 14-day trial but recently subscribed to the monthly subscription for their Basic plan at $5.99 monthly.


Here are their other plans 


I’m not gonna be selling photos or videos although that’s now the back of my mind and I’m not going to use a SmugMug built website to showcase our videos.

I just want reliable video hosting.


How it’s done.


The process starts with finding the videos in Google Photos, and they don’t make it easy as you can see.


Some videos never made it there and still reside in download directories on a few desktops that I’ve used over the years.


Once I ensure the name of the video is correct I download it to desktop.


I upload it to SmugMug first then immediately turn around and upload it to Flickr.


I see no benefit to the SmugMug desktop upload app, I prefer browser uploads.

Using 2 – 40-inch monitors (acting as a single 80 inch) helps scootch the process along.


2 40 inch monitors


I will then start a new search on Google photos while SmugMug is percolating.


The searched video will stay in Google photos while I return to SmugMug for the embed code.


I’ll click on the thumbnail of the most recent upload, in one of the galleries I set up.


Galleries are very helpful for media organization.


If the video is still processing I will click on the browser refresh button two or three times.

This is as helpful as pushing an elevator-down-button two or three times which we all know hastens the arrival of vertically traveling boxes.


Once the video finishes processing it’s ready to share.


SmugMug offers three ways to present the video and 2 to 3 sizes to choose from.


The embed code is presented in a frame box.


Hitting control “c” places the code onto my clipboard so I can migrate it to the content piece I’m working on.


Whenever you copy a huge piece of text on the computer, it feels like holding a massive, unstable power in your mouse until you paste it.


While viewing the content from the “visual” tab, I’ll place a string of “x”s replacing the videopress codec.


Then I’ll click the text button and look for “xxxxxxxxxxxxx” which gets replaced with the embed code from SmugMug.


The process is a little more cumbersome than I like, but bulletproofing never is easy.


I replaced 25 dead videos on this page in about 90 minutes.


SmugMug gets a five-star rating from me.


Written by Mitch Rezman
Approved by Catherine Tobsing

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