Adding Video, using Plugins, to a WordPress Blog

In howto on December 31, 2008 at 2:52 pm

The Task:

Posting a video to your blog without using a third party like YouTube
Something that seems so simple can be so hard. The goal is to post a non-YouTube video to my WordPress blog.

A Little Background:

WordPress.com allows you to have a blog for free, hosted by them.
WordPress.org allows you to have a blog for free, hosted on your own servers (or other desired host).

When you start a new post there’s a little button to Upload/Insert media. When you mouse over the button it says “Add Video”. This is the easy way. This is the way you do it if you know that once you try to add a video you will need to pay for an upgraded WordPress account with more storage.

Now what happens if you want to add a video without this little pay-extra process? It’s actually pretty easy if you do it right.

Doing It Right:

The first step to do it right is to host your WordPress files yourself by going to WordPress.org and following their instructions.

After that you can start using plugins. Plugins? Yeah, plugins. These are applications people have written for everyone to use. Usually they are available for free and you can donate to the programmer as you wish.

So what plugins will we need? That depends on what type of video you want to support. In my case I want to support Flash files (also called SWF files). I also want to support QuickTime movies (also called MOV files). I want to be able to add these videos pretty easily without uploading the files anywhere new.

One option is to use the plugins available by Yaosan Yeo. Available here.

Specifically, I want to use FLV Embed for the Flash videos. And I’ll use Quicktime Embed for the Quicktime videos.

Each of these have their own code to download so click on each of the two links separately and follow the steps they provide. Basically, the process is to click on the Download link. This will download a zip file to your computer. Unzip this file and you will have a folder with the name of the plugin. Put this folder into your WordPress Plugins folder.

That last part requires inside knowledge of your self-hosted WordPress code. Once you figure it out you’ll see that your folder structure has /yourWordPressFolderName/wp-content/plugins/. Put the entire plugin folder into this plugins folder and you’re set.

Once you’ve done this for each of your two plugins (FLV Embed and Quicktime Embed) you can login to your WordPress account to activate these plugins. The Plugins menu item is at the top of the page. It’s a link. Click on it. Scroll down the page to the Inactive Plugsins section. Select the two you’ve just added to the plugins folder and click on Activate!

They are now activated and ready for customization, or use them immediately.

To use them immediately you need to know the html to use. It’s not scary. Don’t be scared. No, really. Don’t be scared.

To embed a flash (.swf) movie using FLV Embed:
Create a new blog post.
Click on the HTML tab.
Type this code.
[flv: http://www/path/to/your/file.swf 480 360]

To embed a quicktime (.mov) movie using Quicktime Embed:
Create a new blog post.
Click on the HTML tab.
Type this code.
[qt: http://www/path/to/your/file.mov 480 360]

All this means is you need to know the width and height you want to use for the video. Oh, and you need to know the path to your file. And you need to type qt: or flv: and put braces around these things.

It’s not so scary. Is it?

Customizing FLV Embed:

So you want to customize FLV Embed. You’ll want to know the semantics of video publication. Once you’re ready to change things you can do it by clicking on Settings > FLV Embed from the menu at the top of the page when you’re logged in.

Briefly, a “Poster” is the image that will appear before your audience clicks on the video to start watching it.

What About QuickTime Embed:

You’re using Quicktime movies and want to show a movie poster. Well that’s easy. You need to have a poster first. Once you have it you need to put the file somewhere and have the plugin know where to find it. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Slow down.


[qt: /path/to/movie.mov /path/to/movie_poster.mov 480 360]

What I’m trying to say is. You use the same HTML syntax as you did before but now you add the path to the movie poster you made too.

There’s a way to add the same movie poster to all of your videos. That requires setting a global variable named qt_globalposter to the path to your poster. This variable can be set in the quicktime-embed.php file in /wp-content/plugins/quicktime-embed/quicktime-embed.php.

$qt_globalposter: path to global poster (e.g. “/poster.mov”), this overrides everything. Leave it blank to disable it.

Since this plugin is still in its early stage, setting options via the WordPress admin panel is not supported yet. For now, you will need to open up the php file using either your favourite text editor or WordPress built-in plugin editor to change some of the variables you can find near the top of the code.

There are other variables you can set also. Go to the Options sections of the plugin documentation page.


Adding a video to your WordPress blog can be simple if you embed code from a third party, like YouTube. And once you’ve added the FLV Embed or QuickTime Embed plugin to your self-hosted /wp-content/plugins/ folder it’s also easy.


  1. wow nice method .
    Till now I was using http://www.tubeleecher.com

  2. I installed the Quicktime Plugin and added the following code:
    [qt: http://reach.lemongrassmedia.net/videos/reach_fc1.mov 640 360]

    The code displays as is. No Video at all. Am I missing something?

    • Your question was never answered. I also only get a picture of my video, no play button, no video. Something is missing 😦 Trying to upload my own video, even to .org is very frustrating. Even most plug-ins don’t come with directions. It’s assumed everyone knows code.

  3. Greetings. Always great to have instructions from someone who’s been there and avoids jargon (where possible)
    BUT, are you telling us that we cannot add plugins to a WordPress.com blog?

    • That is correct. You can not add plugins to a wordpress.com site. You can add them to self hosted sites with code downloaded from wordpress.org though.

      Read this. It takes two seconds and explains it straight from the source.

      • Thank you. And thanks for the link to the WP post. Very clear, if only I had been able to find it. I searched WP.com for “Plugins” and I used the “Search WordPress.com” facility they provide and found all sorts of posts including yours that I read through. Nothing from the WP site itself. Two hours later, I decided to ask someone (you) a question! So thank you. Sorry I didn’t start woth you.

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  5. I am really frustrated. Nobody knew this, however the support is hard to reach.

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