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Three ways to compress videos: choosing the best

Edited by Ben Jacklin

Nobody wants to delete a favorite movie just because of its file size. When a video file takes up too much space, you might consider compressing it.

If you like watching films in a good quality, you should probably go with lossless compression. Plus, for smartphones or tablets, you’ll need to convert your files to a format supported by that particular device.

The best way for downsizing large video files is using the right tool. More on that further down.

But first, here’s a few cases in which you might consider video compression.

Videos take up too much space

When your video collection is growing, you may eventually run out of space. Store all your archives by compressing them and work from home safely.

Videos upload too slowly

Large videos may take too much time to upload when you try to send them via email or transfer to a flash drive. Speed up the process by reducing their size.

It costs too much to store videos in a cloud

If you have too many files in a cloud, you’ll need to buy more space – or compress the files. The latter option is easier and saves you money.

The tutorial below explains how to compress video files. There are several ways to do it, each with its own pros and cons. In this article, you’ll learn how to reduce the size of your video using any of the options: a free app, multifunctional shareware, or an online compressor. We’ve also included some answers to frequently asked questions about video compression. Click one of the links below to get to the information you need:

How to compress videos on a desktop

With Movavi Video Converter, you won’t need a degree in video engineering to convert even HD movies for playback on your mobile device or compress videos for web upload. The program provides a wide range of conversion presets for most mobile devices and websites.

To reduce the file size of your videos with the Movavi video compressor, follow the simple steps below.

Step 1. Add a video file

Click the Add Media button and then Add Video in the upper left corner of the program interface. Choose the video you want to convert from the Open File dialog box and click Open.

Step 2. Choose the format or device preset

Choose the desired video format or target mobile device from the ribbon of presets. You can also use the search function to quickly find the format or device you need. Alternatively, if you connect your device to the computer and click the Cell Phone icon to the right of the search bar, the program will detect your device automatically and suggest the appropriate preset.

Step 3. Define the compression rate

Return to the source file list and click on the file size in the output information. This will open a new dialog box. Move the File size slider to the desired output file size and bitrate. You can click the Convert sample button to check how a small segment of the file will look like after conversion.

Step 4. Compress the video

Choose the output folder for the compressed videos by clicking the Save to button at the bottom of the interface and selecting the desired destination. By default, the output video will be saved in the Movavi Library folder.

Press the Convert button to start the compression process. After the operation is complete, the output folder with the converted video will open automatically.

Here, you can see some examples of video compression with the help of Movavi software. Of course, these numbers are just the average – actual results depend on the compression options you choose when working with the program.


Before compression

After compression


5.5 GB

3 GB

Short phone video

450 MB

210 MB

Short phone video

30 MB

12 MB

Here’s what Movavi’s team does to provide you with verified information:

  • When selecting products to include in our reviews, we research both demand and popularity.

  • All the products covered in this article have been tested by our team.

  • When testing, we compare key characteristics, including supported input and output formats, quality loss when converting, and other significant features.

  • We study user reviews from popular review platforms and make use of this information when writing our product reviews.

  • We collect feedback from our users and analyze their opinions of Movavi software as well as products from other companies.


Differences between desktop and online converters

Online Video Converter

  • Long-time wait

  • Limited file size

  • Popular formats supported

  • Slow compression speed

Movavi Video Converter

  • 0-second wait

  • No size limits

  • 180+ formats, presets for 200+ devices

  • High compression speed

  • Online user support

How to reduce video size with an online video compressor

Sometimes you would rather not download anything – for example, if you’re out of storage or don’t have root privileges to be able to install any new software, but still need to compress a file or two. Using an online tool will solve these problems. Here’s how to compress a video online.

Step 1. Go to the compressor website

The link below will get you to the right place:

Proceed to the online compressor website

Step 2. Upload your clip and define the compression properties

Click Add Your Media button. In the window that appears, find your video file and hit Open. Please note that the file size is limited and you can upload only one file at a time.

Step 3. Compress the video

Click the Cogwheel icon to open the Options menu. Lower the video resolution of your clip to make the file smaller. Hit Convert to start the compression process. After it’s finished, the compressed file will be downloaded automatically; otherwise, just click the Download button.

How to use a free video compressor

Of course, there is also free software that can reduce the size of your video files. Our recommended alternative is VLC Media Player, and it has several options for file compression. First, get the software by clicking the link below:

Download the appropriate version of VLC

Install and run the program. From the Media menu, select Convert / Save, then hit the Add button to import your files. Click Convert / Save again. In the new window, click the Wrench icon and go to the Video codec tab. Here, you can change the codec, resolution, or bitrate of your video, making it smaller. After you finish your modifications, hit Save, choose the destination folder by clicking the Browse button, and then hit Start to launch the compression. Wait for a short while until your video is ready. Now you know how to compress the video to a smaller size for free.

Frequently asked questions

What is a video compressor?

How to compress a video file on Mac?

What is the maximum size for a video on WhatsApp?

What is the smallest video format that retains high quality?

How to compress a video for email?

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