Flowplayer is a great video player, the difficulty in implementing on it WordPress sites is something that kept me from using it for years. I searched all over the Internet trying to find a WordPress plugin that would allow me to deploy Flowplayer on my site and allow me to use my commercial license key and files to get rid of all that branding on the free versions. I easily found several plugins that would let me use Flowplayer but all of them only used the free version and had no real way to use my commercial license key and files which defeated the purpose. I really wanted to use Flowplayer but a single license cost $95 and I wasn’t about to do that and then not have an easy way to implement it. I kept searching though and came across a solution that I thought would work and that was feasible to manage going forward since we can’t seem to get the folks over at Flowplayer to make an official Flowplayer plugin (hint, hint). Remember it supports FLV, H.264, and MP4, if your video is another format then this isn’t the solution for you.
So anyway I basically whittled together information I collected from all over the place into one easy to follow and detailed guide on how to easily use Flowplayer on your site using a plugin and just a bit of tweaking to a few files. This is something that you don’t need to be technical to do and as long as you follow the directions it should work for you no problem. The only thing you have to remember with this setup is that whenever an update comes out for the plugin it will overwrite the changes you made and you will need to update the files I am going to describe below with the new info. Once you get used to doing it, it’s something that you can do in five minutes once a new plugin update comes out. So let’s show you how to use a simple WordPress plugin and a few code tweaks to get a fully functioning and slick Flowplayer working on your site.
How To Get Your Commercially Licensed Flowplayer Set Up:
1. First you need to buy a commercial license for Flowplayer, it currently cost $95 for a single domain. Their preferred payment method is PayPal but they do accept most major credit cards.
a. When you purchase a license it is yours forever. There are no monthly fees or any other costs. You will also receive all bug fix releases for free.
b. About once a year they create a new feature release. If you want the new version you need to upgrade. This happens from the “Commercial licenses” section on your account. You’ll see payment buttons under you current license with a lower upgrade price.
2. Once you do that, you need to log into your account, download the most recent version of Flowplayer and make sure you copy down your license key. This will be on the same page that you download the actual files for.
3. Next, you should download and install the FV WordPress Flowplayer plugin.
4. Go to the plugins settings page and paste your commercial license key into appropriate field. There are a lot of different options on this screen, you can adjust these anyway you want but the commercial license key needs to be there to work properly.
5. You will need to be able to FTP to your site in order to make the next modifications. I currently use Filezilla but you can use any FTP client you want.
6. Once you use the FTP client to get to your site, browse to the plugins directory and then to the FV WordPress Flowplayer folder.
7. At this point, you need to make sure you follow my instructions very carefully (Before you make any changes to a file, ALWAYS make a copy of the original so that you can restore in case something goes wrong). The first thing you need to do is browse to the flowplayer folder and then to the commercial folder. Inside this folder there will be 4 files but the two you need to care about the ones called flowplayer.commerical.swf and flowplayer.controls.swf. The versions of these files will be different from your most recent commercial files, delete these two files and copy your two files with the latest version in their place. Note: Every time you want to upgrade to a new version of Flowplayer or a new version of FV Flowplayer you MUST follow these instructions.
8. The plugin checks a certain file for the version number so we need to go correct that. Browse back to the plugins main folder and you should see a folder called models. Browse to that folder and there will be three files but we only need to focus on two of them, flowplayer.php and flowplayer-frontend.php.
9. Open flowplayer.php, scroll down to near the end of the file, locate the very last function and comment out (//) the lines with that, if, and else. Leave on the last DEFINE function intact. Right below this you will see a line that references a particular version of the flowplayer.commercial.swf file, simply update the version number of this file to match your most recent version.
10. The last step you need to do is optional but most folks will want to do it. The default display size of this plugin is 320×240, why we don’t know. So you could use the shortcode provided in the settings screen to individually specify the size and width of each video but if you do a lot of video you would rather just have your default player size be changed. To do this, open the flowplayer-frontend.php file that is in the same directory and you can either scroll down till you see the two numbers or do a Find. Simply change those numbers to the default player size you would prefer and save. For your info, we decided on 525×350. Now all your videos will default to your new player size but you can still override this setting per video using the shortcode in the settings screen.
11. Guess what, you are done!! At this point if you start getting errors in your admin console check both flowplayer-frontend.php and flowplayer.php. These files can NOT have any space at the bottom of the file or it will throw an error that crashes your WP backend when you try to do almost any action. So remember, no space at the end of these files!!
Well that’s it guys we have given you all our secrets on this one. At this point you should be up and running but if you have any issues or questions feel free to leave them in the comments. This is the setup we currently use and it works great for us. From here you can use the plugins settings page to pretty much customize your player any way you want. Make sure to read about all the ways you can use shortcode to do things like adding an image in front of your player, redirect the user to another page after the video finishes and more. The only thing we haven’t figured out yet is how to add our watermark on there but at this point that is no biggie. You can check out our videos section to check out what things can look like.
While you are here though I guess I can share one more trick with you. You can either choose to stream your video from your site or you can get it from an external source. We currently host all our video files on Amazon’s S3 platform. All you need to do is upload the file to your S3 bucket, make the file public and paste the url into the player’s shortcode and it’s good to go. Amazon S3 is very cheap for the amount of data that you can move, we can tell you from experience that you can have over a 100+GB of data downloaded and not pay $25/month. This is heck of a setup, you offload that task to Amazon’s globally distributed infrastructure and the video will stream just like it’s coming from your domain, sometimes even better. This can be especially effective if you have a lower tier hosting plan, the video comes in from your S3 bucket so not only will videos play better you can actually get away with streaming in some bigger videos than you might normally be able to support. (You might want to check out S3 browser if you want to try and create this kind of setup)
Alright guys hope this helps and let us know if you need any help. Check below for an example of what your final output could be.
Update: We’ve switched to JW Player for our video delivery. It has proven to be a lot more versatile and a lot easier to maintain. Check out what what we have been able to do with it. If you have questions, we’d be happy to answer them.