Embedding Private Videos with Vimeo

Why should we discuss private viewing? Well, there are many applications for private video capabilities, such as:

  • Release a special feature that you only want your list to see.
  • Limit video embeds to those playing on your site.
  • Create private video content for a membership site or your clients.
  • Display limited-time content videos for landing and squeeze pages.

While there are quite a few video services available to use with your site, I recommend Vimeo to all of my clients for private viewing. I feel that Vimeo is the best option for professional videos and an easy to use interface, as illustrated by this comparison:

  • YouTube — YouTube is a free service, but limits privacy options to private (no one but you can see), public (anyone can see), and unlisted (anyone can see it if they have the direct URL or embed code). YouTube’s interface is very easy to use, but you only have the options of allowing all embedding or none, so playing videos on your site opens up the videos to be used by other people.
  • Amazon S3 — Amazon’s storage service can be difficult to set up and use, especially for a novice user.
  • Proprietary Video Uploading — Some content management systems or membership software have their own video uploading (such as CustomerHub through InfusionSoft and PilotPress through Office AutoPilot), but these can vary in quality and use. Some of these solutions can be incompatible with mobile devices and/or difficult to use.
  • Vimeo — Vimeo has Free, Plus and Pro options and a wide variety of options for private viewing. The videos are compatible with most devices, and the interface is easy to use.

For public videos that are part of a social media strategy, I recommend YouTube over Vimeo. YouTube has more social networking functions than Vimeo. This article, however, mainly covers private viewing.

YouTube = public video + social. Vimeo = private video. https://www.thatsupergirl.com/embedding-private-videos-with-vimeo/ @websupergirl Click to tweet it!


The best format to use for uploading your video is MP4. I have had luck uploading FLV movies from Ustream that have the file extensions changed to MOV, as well as AVI movies from my camera, but Vimeo suggests using MP4. I won’t go into more detail here, but you can read the compression guidelines at Vimeo for more information. My general rule is this: Try uploading it. If it doesn’t work, then you can worry about file conversion to get the movie into a format that will be accepted. Vimeo seems to support a lot more than they say they do.

Privacy Settings

Vimeo has a bunch of self-explanatory settings for movies, like title and video thumbnail — I will let you tackle those on your own. What I want to cover is my video settings, so you can know how I make a video private after it has been uploaded.

Under Settings > Privacy, I use the following settings:

Embedding Private Videos with Vimeo
Embedding Private Videos with Vimeo

What this means: These videos don’t show up on Vimeo.com — only the client domains that I have specified. The settings block commenting, downloading, and bookmarketing of the private videos.

Under Settings > Embed, I use the following settings:

Embedding Private Videos with Vimeo
Embedding Private Videos with Vimeo

What this means: These settings remove all of the account and video information, such as a profile picture and link back to the video URL. They remove sharing capabilities so people don’t share private videos, but they retain the controls on the video for playing. Upon completion ("outro"), the video does nothing but go to a blank screen.

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Limiting Domains

If you want to use embedding but make your videos off-limits to other websites, you can enact an additional level of security by creating an allowable domain list.

This ability is not available in the free level, so you will need Vimeo Plus to use it. See the Vimeo Plus feature chart for more information.

To make your videos work, you will need to add the domain of each website you will be embedding the video on. You can enable the whole domain if you own it, such as yourdomain.com, or you can enable only a subdomain, like youaccount.bighost.com. The subdomain enabling allows you to use your videos on a membership site where your URL is a subdomain of the main site, like it is on CustomerHub with youraccount.customerhub.net. (See the above picture for more details.)


With a WordPress site, you can use a video embedding plugin like Vimeo Short Code. This plugin makes it easy to embed any video that you have the video ID/url for.

Embedding Private Videos with Vimeo

With any site, you can embed the video using the Get Embed Code in Settings > Embed. Copy the code and paste it into the HTML editor (not the visual/WYSIWYG editor) on your website.

Configure all your video settings before you get the embed code.


Some membership sites, such as CustomerHub for InfusionSoft, use a secure protocol (https) instead of normal browsing (http). For those, you will need to change the embed code for your video. The original code will look something like this:

<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/54442013" width="600" height="338" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>

You will want to change every instance of "http" to "https" like this:

<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/54442013" width="600" height="338" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>

This will solve any problems you have with getting Vimeo videos to play on a secure site.

You can not use a Vimeo plugin for WordPress (or any other content management system) if you need the https option.


How are you using private videos? Do you have a membership site using Wishlist Member, CustomerHub, Pilot Press, or another membership site software? Are you using them on landing or squeeze pages? Share your comments and questions below, or discuss this post on Facebook.

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