Flash Video Won't Play!

Working on a client's website today. I got a report back that the flash video being run using Flowplayer wouldn't play. They gave me varied reports, including:

  • "The video is squished vertically."
  • "The video just spins, but never plays."

I immediately checked it in Firefox 3.5.x, IE6,7,8, and Safari on my Windows Xp based laptop. Everything was fine. It worked fine for my co-workers as well. Until I got to the guy with the Macintosh. His Mac would show the player, start the spinner, but never display. I checked the version, and it matched up to the latest version of the example on flowplayer.org, which he could play.

It's not the file location, because other computers can find it. It's not the player, because the versions are a match. It could be the hardware, but that's much harder to check out. That leaves you with: the web server.

If you don't have your web server set up to recognize the MIME type of flash video, it may have these unpredictable results. Many hosts don't have it set up by default, and if you're renting a private box, it's even less likely that it's set up by default. I know for certain it's not set up on 1and1 servers.

Solution:
IIS:
Right Click your server in IIS. Click Properties. At the bottom is a button "MIME Types". Go in, see if there is a .flv in there. If there isn't add it.
Extension: .flv
Content Type: video/x-flv

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