Hosting your video rich web stories

I have been exploring creating an animated comic using Google web stories, a HTML format designed for vertically oriented video and images. One of the issues with video however is the storage requirements and network bandwidth. Video clips require more storage than static images.

For example, a video clip of a few seconds long is typically more than 10 times the size of a single static image. This is hardly surprising if you consider a video is basically a series of images, with clever optimizations between frames to get the space down further.

Firebase Hosting

So how to host a web story heavy with video clips? One option is to use Google Firebase Hosting. To set it up, I

  • Installed Node.js
  • Installed the Firebase tools CLI (npm install -g firebase-tools)
  • Initialized the current directory ready for hosting files (firebase init)
  • Deployed changes in files to the live site (firebase deploy)

Okay, some commands asked a lot of questions, but it was really pretty easy to set up. And now, I change files and run “firebase deploy” to publish the changes.

The domain name for my site? https://extra-ordinary-web-stories.web.app/ Not a bad domain name considering I do not have to pay for DNS or SSL certifications.

Note that I plan to have an index of web stories on my WordPress blog. Web stories don’t have to be hosted on the blog site directly (although that is another option). In my case, I have a preassembled directory of files, so Firebase was the easier option.

With Firebase Hosting, the first 1GB of storage is free (~10c per GB after that). The problem is if you hit 1GB of content, there is an egress traffic limit of 10GB before fees kick in. As soon as you get 10 views of all of your content, you will reach the threshold. While not that expensive, how to keep the costs down?

The New Google AMP Video Cache

Well, luckily Google just released a new caching service for videos in web stories. Adding cache=”google” to you amp-video tags and Google will cache videos using this new service. Google will then pay the serving network bills for you! You still need to hold the master copy of the videos as it is a cache, not a hosting service. So it is not a Firebase Hosting replacement.

But Firebase hosting + the new AMP video cache looks like a promising combination.

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