I have checked and read lot of post about one single issue that is far more complicated than it seems.

I have a website that uses a lot of videos taken from wwebsite as on the internet ^^ (services like youtube, vimeo, videobuzzy, etc) and we would like to generate on the fly a thumbnail of the embedded video.

Each service uses its own API so I should adapt code for each, which it far too much code and I could never manage every service.

A webserver propose something like that : http://embed.ly but I tried them and, as exemple, videos from videobuzzy doesn't work. So that's a partial solution.

Another solution would be to use a screenshot service that could request the video's URL, render it, take a snapshot and generate an image. Tempting, but results tends to add delays, and I have to find a snapshot service and generate the code (well, this could be the fun part).

The simpliest would be to take a screen capture and create an image ourselves, then upload it.

I would rather propose something more user-friendly but I have no more clue.

Is anyone has some advice on it and do I get the picture right ?

Thank you.


If I could, instead of the thumbnails, just embed the video (usually an iframe) into a with specific size, that could do the trick...

  • One way found was via a plugin: wordtube. Generally covering JW Player.. but maybe useful.
    – majicmike
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


You can use the oEmbed functionality baked into WordPress. Typically any video host on this list will return a thumbnail to you using oembed.

Here is a list of default providers that WordPress uses for auto embedding in the content area. I've included non-video sources as well for the convenience of others.

The full list of possible providers is documented at the WordPress codex under:
Embeds - Okay, So What Sites Can I Embed From?

Select your provider then use the following to get your video information.

$oembed= new WP_oEmbed;
$url = 'http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0';
//As noted in the comments below, you can auto-detect the video provider with the following
$provider = $oembed->discover($url);
//$provider = 'http://www.youtube.com/oembed';
$video = $oembed->fetch($provider, $url, array('width' => 300, 'height' => 175));
$title = $video->title;
$html = $video->html;
$thumb = $video->thumbnail_url;

I realize VideoBuzzy is not on the list. It appears to be a YouTube knockoff site. You should ask them if they have oembed protocols. If they don't, you can register a non oembed handler by using wp_embed_register_handler().

Hope this helps!

  • Sounds real nice ! But is there a quick way to get the $url from the post instead of beign hardcoded ?
    – Simon
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 16:47
  • 1
    Right now, i'm just using custom field to place my video url. Working nice, keep testing... Many thanks, Brian ! I just adapted the code by adding $provider = $oembed->discover($vid_url); so I don't need to hardcode the video provider
    – Simon
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 17:33
  • @Simon Can you share the final code that helped to implement this? And kindly give us some details on how to implement this? I have same requirements but not sure how to do this on WP, I'm still new to WP. Thanks
    – Krunal
    Commented Oct 28, 2012 at 14:34
  • @Krunal Yes I could, it's pretty close to Brian's solution ! I just added a fallback image and update meta data if the oEmbed succeed, so I don't have to ask each time. But I don't how to send it to you, since i cannot add code in comments, and I don't feel it's worth an new answer ?
    – Simon
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 18:30
  • 1
    @Sisir Actually, there is. You can look here: codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/… Register a non-oEmbed handler first, then use the code above. :) Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 14:33

You can use this plugin Wordpress Video Plugin and edit the code of this plugin and add the other sites in it.


You have to integrate FFMPEG in wordpress.

  • Thank you, I'd rather avoid using plugins when I can avoid it ^^
    – Simon
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 17:05
  • @Simon It was meant as a reference: Go into the files "_and edit the code of this plugin". :)
    – kaiser
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 6:57
  • @kaiser -yes, you're right, the plugin code should provide insight and working implementation ^^
    – Simon
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 11:24

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