Spark - FAQ


See Spark in action (2:50, fullscreen recommended):

Introduction

Overview

What is Spark?

Spark is a set of tools that make video on your site more exciting and fun. These features increase CTR, user engagement and monetization of your online video assets.

How do I implement Spark on my site?

All Spark features require one line of code on your site. Simply include the following JavaScript in the <head> of your site, including your customer ID. Note that it is loaded asynchronously.

<script async crossorigin="anonymous" src="//player.h-cdn.com/loader.js?customer=XXX"></script> After the code is on your site, you can choose which features to enable from your Spark portal.

Will adding Spark to my page affect my control over my site? Do I need to interact with Spark support if I need anything?

Adding Spark to your site leaves you in full control over its deployment, activation and appearance. You can make any changes yourself, in real-time and without even contacting Spark support.

Running on staging

It is sometimes you would like to add the JS code to your staging or development environment. Note that you need to provide our support team with an access to this environment in case you still require some help with the integration.

Running on production

While running on production is the best way seeing Spark in action, it is sometimes you would like it to run only in limited pages before deploying it on all your website. There are two ways doing so:

Does the Spark JavaScript affect page load time or performance?

Spark is designed to never slow down your page, or become a single point of failure in any way:

What happens if the JavaScript fails to load?

The JS is loaded asynchronously. If it fails to load altogether your site continue to work just as it did before Spark as added.

Can I host the JavaScript on my servers?

Yes. But in order to make sure your users get the most up to date version of the JS, make sure you are polling Spark servers for the latest JavaScript every 5 minutes. This can be done easily with a cron job. Example for cron implementation:
5 * * * wget https://player.h-cdn.com/loader.js?customer=[customer ID] -O /var/www/website/js/loader.js
In addition, make sure cache control max-age attribute is set to 5 minutes as well. It should look like: Cache-Control: max-age=300

Can I see Spark in action on my site without development?

Yes. Install the Spark Configurator. It adds the Spark JS to your local browser. This will allow you to instantly use and customize all Spark features on your site. See the Configurator section for details.

My R&D is planning to implement these features, I don't need Spark.

You can benefit from Spark even if you plan on developing similar features in the future.

Does Spark support localization/multiple languages?

Yes. Spark uses a few text strings as part of the UI (For example: "Unmute", "Cancel").
The default language is English, and Spark includes built-in localization for several languages. If your site is in one of the built-in languages, simply select it in your control panel.
You can easily edit strings and/or translate Spark to your local language.
In case you have a multi-language site, Spark identifies the site's language as seen by the user and automatically switches the UI for that user to the correct language.

How do I notify users of the new Spark that they can use?

Yes. Spark allows you to display a 'welcome screen' to users which shows the new video features they can use. The welcome screen is optional. You may customize the text (e.g. to translate to your local language). The dialog appears only once, in order to minimize interruptions to users.

Compatibility

Will Spark work on my native Android and iOS apps?

Yes. Spark is implemented in native mobile apps using a simple SDK.

Is Spark compatible with my online video platform (OVP)?

Yes, Spark works out of the box with any online video platforms. Specifically, Spark is fully compatible with Brightcove, Kaltura and Ooyala.

Will Spark work with my existing video player?

Yes. Spark works with any video player (e.g. HTML5 players, JWPlayer, FlowPlayer, TheoPlayer, Shaka player, Kernel Player...).

Will Spark work with any web browser?

Yes. Spark works with any desktop or mobile web browser.

Can I use Spark if my site only includes embedded YouTube, Vimeo or DailyMotion videos?

Spark is designed to give your users a high quality, YouTube-like experience for your own videos that are hosted on your site. Spark features do not work on YouTube, Vimeo or Dailymotion embeds.

Does Spark meet W3C accessibilty standards?

Yes. Spark fits inside your existing page and player.

Pricing and billing

Spark packages

How much does Spark cost? Do you offer a free version?

Spark is available in free and premium versions.

How much do different Spark features cost?

See the pricing table for details.

Can I use it for free?

Yes. After signing up for Spark, you may use all features for 7 days, including unlimited traffic for free. After 7 days, you may select a package and activate your premium account, or keep using the free version, which includes Spark watermarks.

What does the monthly premium package include?

The Spark monthly package includes the following components:

Payment and billing

Will Spark remind me when my account balance is low?

Yes. When your account balance goes down to 15% of the balance you had after your last payment, Spark will send you an email to remind you to add funds to your account.
For example: If your previous balance was $200 and you added $800, you will receive an email when your account balance reaches $150.

Can I have Spark Auto-Recharge my account when my balance is low?

Yes, you may configure Auto-Recharge in your billing section. You may select to be automatically charged to your account. This will ensure that Spark will always be active on your site.

What happens when my account balance reaches zero?

If your balance reaches zero, all Spark features will stop working. Your site will appear and behave just like it did before you added Spark.
You will also receive an email notifying you that your balance is zero, with a link to the billing section on the control panel.

What happens if I have sufficient balance in my account, but I go over the limits of my current package?

If you go over the allowed limits of the package you signed up for, you will be charged overage fees based on your rate card. If Spark sees that your overage fees are such that it would make more sense to upgrade your package (meaning - your total payment will be lower with a larger package), Spark will switch you over to the more economical package in the next billing period and notify you accordingly.

Video Preview

General

What is Spark Video Preview?

Spark Video Preview provides your user with engaging Video Previews instead of static images. Spark automatically finds links to videos on your page, and generates short video previews which are displayed when the user passes his mouse over the thumbnail.

What are the benefits?

A video preview is more engaging and increases CTR on video articles.

Do Spark Video Previews work on mobile web browsers?

Yes. Spark Video Preview works on any mobile web browser. Since there is no mouseover event in mobile, Spark Video Previews are activated when the thumbnail reaches the middle part of the screen, and stop when the thumbnail is scrolled away from the middle.

Do I need to generate or host the video previews?

No. Spark will automatically generate and host the Video Previews using your original video file.

Do Video Previews displayed count as page views?

Previews are displayed as an overlay on the existing page and do not count as extra page views.

Does using Spark Video Previews create any extra load or overhead on my existing infrastructure?

Spark adds a negligible amount of overhead. In order to generate each Video Preview, a single Spark server will download the only the parts of the video required to generate the Video Preview from your CDN.
This happens automatically, as soon as a new video is added to your site, and is equivalent to less than one additional user watching the video.
The Spark server that downloaded the video will generate the Video Preview and distribute it to other Spark servers. This process is transparent and does not increase your monthly bill.

How long do Spark servers keep Video Previews cached for?

Spark servers keep specific Video Previews cached for as long as possible, based on usage frequency and storage considerations. If a Video Preview is missing, it will be re-generated for next users to enjoy. In any case, the overhead is negligible.

Why don't I see working Video Previews on my test page?

Since Video previews are delivered from Spark servers, they will be displayed only after they are generated and stored.
In a production environment, Video Preview generation is triggered automatically the first time a user watches a video. If you are testing in a staging environment, Video Previews will not work instantly, since they have not been generated yet.
In order to generate Video Previews, watch the videos on the page. This will trigger Video Preview generation on Spark servers. Wait a few minutes, then refresh the page and try again.

How does Spark know what video to use in order to generate the Video Preview?

Spark Video Previews work out of the box for links to video articles or files. No additional configuration is required. Videos are selected as follows:

Can I disable video previews on specific thumbnails?

You can disable Video Previews on specific videos by adding the following attribute to your HTML tag as follows:

<a href="link to page containing video" hola_ve_preview="none"></a> where video.mp4 is the URL of the video inside the linked article that you don't want to generate the preview for.
This will instruct Spark to not generate a preview for the video in the linked article. Your existing static thumbnail will be displayed.

How do Video Previews play? What video player is used?

Video Previews are displayed by the browser's internal video player. There is no need to load a video player in order for Video Previews to be displayed.

Do Spark servers store copies of the original video after generating Video Previews?

No. Spark servers use the original videos only to generate Video Previews. Once the Video Preview is ready, the Spark server deletes the original video.

Can I delete (purge) Video Previews which have already been generated?

Yes, simply go to the content purge section on your control panel, choose which Video Preview(s) you want to purge and click the "Purge" button.
Video Previews will be purged within a few minutes. New Video Previews will be automatically generated as soon as users start watching the original videos.

How does Spark generate a new Video Preview?

Spark uses multiple algorithms to analyze your videos. These algorithms create the most compelling preview from the full video based on viewing information.
A Video Preview is made out of a few short video segments called 'slices'. Spark uses the duration of the original video in order to select one out of three default rules for Video Preview generation:

How long does it take for a new Video Preview to be generated?

It takes about few minutes from the first time a video is requested by the first user until the Video Preview for that video becomes available and users start seeing it.

Do I need to do something to trigger generation of new Video Preview?

Video Previews are generated automatically as soon as the video is viewed for the first time. No action is required on your part.
In case you still want to trigger generation (for example, as soon as a new video is uploaded) you can do this via a simple HTTP API - see the Spark API document for details.

What happens if Video Preview generation is slow or if it fails?

If a Video Preview is not available (e.g. a new video was just uploaded, but the automatic Video Preview for that video was not fully generated yet), the existing static image will be used on mouseover.

On certain videos, the Video Preview that appears is of the preroll ad and not the video. Why, and how do I fix this?

This is a simple configutation issue. To avoid creating Video Preview for ads, Spark includes a predefined list of video ad servers to ignore, and your ad server is not in the list. Make sure you exclude your ad servers in the Spark control panel. This will ensure Spark will generate the correct Video Previews.

Will Video Previews work on new browser versions which block video auto play?

Yes, Video Previews work out of the box on all browsers.
Safari (from version 11) and future versions of Chrome (from version 64 expected around January 2018) will block auto-play of videos. This blocking is not relevant to Spark Video Previews, for two reasons:

My content is protected using tokens and/or DRM. How does this impact Spark?

Spark servers need to be able to access videos on your site in order to generate video previews. When video chunks are protected, there are few methods in order to be able to fetch them, for example:

In any case, this is a simple implementation step. Contact us to find the best solution for your specific needs.

What happens if my content is geo blocked?

During the implementation/testing stage: To be able to check that Spark code works as expected on your site, Spark engineers need to be able to access it. Since they are not in your designated geo, they will provide you with a few IP addresses to whitelist.
For production:, you should allow additional Spark servers access to your geo blocked videos. The list of server IP addresses to whitelist can be found in your Spark portal.

What configuration options are available?

You can configure how Spark Video Previews are generated, when they become active on the page, and how they are displayed. For the most up-to-date set of options, see login to your control panel

Can I have access to Video Previews using API?

Yes - see the Spark API document for details.

Auto-Play

Can I configure Video Previews to start automatically?

Yes. The Auto-play option allows you to automatically trigger Video Previews after a given interval. When Auto-play is enabled, random Video Previews within the viewable page will randomly start playing, even if the user does not mouseover. This draws the attention of the user to those videos.

Dynamic sizing

Can I adjust Video Preview size to make it more noticeable?

Yes. Video Previews can either appear at the exact size of the existing thumbnail, or re-size automatically as follows:

You can configure these settings in Spark portal.

Dynamic sizing

How can I mark thumbnails so users can see they are previews?

In case your thumbnails don't include a play icon, you can configure Spark to add an overlay play icon on your thumbnails in your Spark portal.

Where can I see live examples?

See here.

In-player Video Thumbnails

General

What are In-Player Video Thumbnails?

This feature provides seek functionality with Thumbnails to find the desired video location.

Will the Spark Video Thumbnails work with my existing player?

Yes. Spark Video Thumbnails are compatible with any video player.

Do I need to generate or host the thumbnails?

No. Spark will automatically generate and host the thumbnails from your original video file.

Does using Spark Video thumbnails create any extra load or overhead on my existing infrastructure?

To generate Video thumbnails for each video, a single Spark server will download the video once from your CDN. This is equivalent to one additional user watching the video and as such is totally negligible overhead.
The Spark server that downloaded the video will generate the Video thumbnails and distribute them to other Spark servers. This process is transparent and does not increase your monthly bill.

What happens if my content is geo blocked or protected with DRM?

Spark servers need to be able to access videos on your site in order to generate thumbnails. See here.

Do Spark servers store copies of the original video after generating Player Thumbnails?

No. Spark servers use the original videos only to generate Player Thumbnails. Once Thumbnails are ready, the Spark server deletes the original video.

Can I have access to Player Thumbnails using API?

Yes - see the Spark API document for details.

Visual Timeline

What is the Visual Timeline?

Visual Timeline is an Player Thumbnails option which displays selected thumbnails under the seek bar. This allows the user to get a high level view of the video and instantly seek to the interesting section, without having to manually hover over the seek bar.
Visual Timeline is compatible with the following video players: Spark Player, VideoJS and JW Player.

Full Frame thumbnails

What are full frame thumbnails?

Spark can disaplay thumbnails on the entire player window. This delivers an amazingly responsive seeking experience.
When dragging the seek bar, the user can instantly see a high-speed full screen version of the video and decide when to stop dragging and resume normal viewing.
When seeking to a new location, the user sees a greyed out image of the video in the target location. The loader appears on top of this image; this effectively makes seeking feel instant, because the user already sees an image.

Watch Next

General

What does this feature do?

This feature provides your user with recommended videos to watch, displayed while the current video is still playing. The user can decline the suggestion, click the suggested video to see it, or do nothing - in which case, the suggested video will automatically be loaded at the end of the video that is currently playing.

What are the benefits?

Video suggestions are engaging and increase video views.

Where do the suggested videos come from?

Suggestions for next videos come from one of the following:

How does Spark decide which videos are NEW, RANK and HOT?

Spark uses different methods to categorize videos for Watch Next suggestions:

Does Spark take into account videos from different categories?

Yes. You can configure Spark Watch Next suggestions do not include videos only from the same category (for exampe: a user watching a sports video will see only popular, new or trending sports videos).

Does Spark take into account videos that the user already saw?

Yes. Spark Watch Next suggestions do not include videos that the user has already seen.

In-play suggestions

Can I configure the design and behavior of the recommendation window?

Yes, this is possible using the Spark portal. By default, recommended videos will be displayed 30 seconds before the end of the video that is currently playing.

Post-video suggestions

Can I configure the behavior of the recommendation window?

Yes, this is possible using the Spark portal.

Smart Auto-Play

General

What does this feature do?

This feature increases video views on both desktop and mobile platofrms by auto-playing the video. Auto-play happens in a user-friendly way, which is also fully compliant.

How is Smart Auto-Play different than just normal auto-play?

Smart Auto-Play allows you to enjoy Auto-Play on one hand, with an unmuted, high intent user initiated ad on the other for maximum CPM. See this short step by step video to understand the Spark Smart Auto-Play process:

Configuration

Can I disable Auto-Play when my users are on a cellular connection?

Yes, this is a simple configuration option in the Spark control panel.

Floating Video Player

General

What is a Floating Video Player?

Many web pages include a video player and text which requires the user to scroll to read the full article. When the user scrolls up or down, the player disappears from view. The Floating Player feature ensures the user continues to see a small player window in a fixed location on the page, even when the original video player is no longer visible.

How much does using Floating Player cost?

You may use the Floating Player for free. See the pricing table for details.

What are the benefits?

The Floating Player allows the user an uninterrupted video experience even when they are scrolling through the page.

How does Floating Player increase monetization?

The Floating Player is visible even if the user scrolls the page. This improves monetization, because:

Note: You can configure the Floating to show the actual video and the ads, or just the original content. By default, the Floating Player will show both.

Compatibility

Do I need to change my video player to use Floating Player?

Spark uses your existing player. You do not need to change anything on your site other than simply add the Spark JS code.

Is there a quick way to easily enable Floating Player on my site for testing?

Yes. Simply append '?hola_persistent_video=1' to any page URL and refresh. This will enable the Floating Player on that page. Try this both on desktop and mobile browsers.

My site has some embedded YouTube videos in addition to normal videos. Does Floating Player support this?

Yes.

Configuration

Can I configure the default location and appearance of the Floating Player player?

Yes, these are configurable via the Spark portal.

My advertising provider only allows playing ads in the regular player. Can I use the Floating Player for the content but not for the ads?

Yes, simply adjust the activation rules in your Spark portal to exclude ads. Once you do, if the user is scrolling the player out of view while a video ad is playing, it will continue inside the original player window. After the video ad is finished and the actual video starts playing, the Floating Video Player will be activated.

Can the user move the Floating Player from its default location?

Yes, the user can drag the player to any location on the page, or close it. You may also set up the system to display the player in a fixed location via the Spark portal.

Where can I see live examples?

See here.

Image preview

General

What is Image Preview

Image Preview provides your user with dynamic image thumbnails instead of static images. Spark automatically finds links to images on your page, and plays a slideshow of the target images when the user passes their mouse over the thumbnail.

What are the benefits?

Image previews are more engaging and increases CTR.

Do I need to generate or host the images used by Image Preview?

You only need to host the original image that are part of your article, just as you do today. Spark will automatically generate and host smaller versions used by Image Preview.

Do images seen as previews count as page views?

Previews are displayed as an overlay on the existing page and do not count as extra pageviews.

How long does it take for a new Image Preview to be generated?

It takes about 15-30 seconds from the first time a new article is requested by the first user until the new Image Preview becomes available and visible to users.

What happens if delivery of Image Previews is slow, or if it fails?

If an Image Preview is not available (e.g. a new image gallery was just uploaded, but the small versions of the images were not fully generated yet), the existing static image will be used on mouseover. In other words, your site will function normally, as it does today.

Compatibility

Do Spark Image Previews work on mobile web browsers?

Yes. Spark Image Preview works on any mobile web browser. Since there is no mouseover event in mobile, Spark Image Previews become activated when the thumbnail reaches the middle part of the screen, and stop when the thumbnail is scrolled away from the middle.

Position Memory

General

What is Spark Position Memory?

If you enable the 'Position Memory' feature, Spark will keep track of each video's last position so that when the user returns to the same video, it will continue from the same location.
Spark will show the last position on thumbnails pointing to the video, similar to how this is displayed in YouTube.

Configuration

Can I configure the way the Position Memory bar is displayed?

You can configure the height and color of the line used to indicate the last position using your control panel.

Spark Video Widgets

Spark Video Widgets increase video views on your site and are easy to embed into any part of your website.

What is Spark Video Search?

Spark Video Search allows your users to search for videos on your site and receive search results in a YouTbe-like format that they are very familiar with.

What sources can Spark Video Search use?

Spark Video Search can search for videos on your own site, videos on other sites in your network, and/or video of 3rd party sites - for example sites that reward you for referral traffic.

Can I have access to Video Search using API? How do I embed results into my site?

See the Spark API document for details.

YouTube-like Video Sharing Widget

What is the Spark Sharing widget?

Spark Video Sharing widget allows your users to share any video on your site using a familiar YouTube-like format. Users have the option to share the video at a specific location, so that when their friends click the link, the video will start at the specified location.

Where can I embed the Spark Sharing widget?

You can embed the Spark Video Sharing widget on any DIV in your site's HTML, and/or add a share icon on top of your video player. See the Spark API document for details.

This widget allows you to instantly add Popular, New or Trending videos to any location in your site. See the Spark API document for details.

Casting to TV screens

Description

What is TV casting?

Casting to TVs is a Spark feature that allows any player to project (cast) its video to a large screen, for example a smartTV, a ChromeCast device, an AppleTV, Roku etc.

What is special about Spark casting to TV? User can already cast their browser to the TV.

There is a big difference between casting a browser tab using the built-in casting option, and between direct casting of the video from the player using Spark.
Casting a browser tab mirrors images that are visible on the browser screen to the TV. This results in very low video quality, high lag and freezes. Effectively, the PC is not really casting a video, it is only sending a series of screenshot images to the TV.
Casting using Spark means that the big screen device (e.g. Chromecast) is directly and independently playing the video. This ensures high quality (up to 4K) and smooth viewing. Furthermore, the user can close the browser and/or the PC - the video will continue playing on the TV.

Compatibility

What browsers are supported?

What big screen devices are supported?

Casting to TVs currently supports ChromeCast devices plugged to any TV. It also works directly (no ChromeCast required) with many SmartTV models from LG, Philips, Toshiba, Sony, Sharp, Vizio and others.
See this link for an updated list of compatible SmartTVs. Other platforms are coming soon.

Spark player

General

Spark Player is a web video player based on the popular video.js open source project. It supports HTML5 and Flash videos. It supports video playback on desktops and mobile devices. The Spark player integrates all advanced features provided by Spark. Refer to the Spark player page to download its source code.

Hosting the player on your servers

To host the Spark player on your servers you need firstly to download its source code from the Spark servers. For example, use the following command to download and store the player on the player directory on your website:
wget http://player2.h-cdn.com/hola_player.js?customer=[customer ID] -O /var/www/website/player/spark_player.js
Once you have downloaded the source code, replace all the calls with the following call:
<script src="//your.site.com/your/path/spark_player.js?customer=[customer ID]"></script>
The customer id is still required and should be preserved.

Spark Configurator

Description

What is the Spark Configurator?

The Spark Configurator is a Chrome extension that adds the Spark JS to your local page. This simulates the deployment of the code on your webserver.
The Configurator allows you to enable/disable different Spark features as well as configure their look and feel. Changes are applied instantly to your local browser.
The Spark Configurator is a development tool meant to do basic sanity testing on the site, and does not replace the deployment of the Spark JS on the site.

Install the Spark Configurator.
If you do not have a Spark account, you can still use the Configurator using a built-in demo account.
If you have a Spark account, your CustomerID should automatically appear. If it does not appear for any reason, enter it into the CustomerID field.

Some of Spark features don't work well on my site with the Configurator. Why? Does this mean they will not work in production either?

The Spark Configurator is a development tool meant to do basic sanity testing on the site, and does not replace the deployment of the Spark JS on the site.
For example, in some cases, the Configurator is unable to add the Spark JS Code to all the required sections of your page, causing some features not to work. Obviously, when you add the code to the site, it will be added correctly so all Spark features will work.

Some Video Previews on my page work, and others do not. Why?

This is totally expected, since Video previews need to be generated on Spark servers first. When you are using the Configurator on a new page or video, the Video Preview is not generated yet.
Video Preview generation is triggered automatically the first time a user watches a video. In order to generate Video Previews, watch the videos on the page. This will trigger Video Preview generation on Spark servers. Wait a few minutes, then refresh the page - your Video Previews will work.
If you want to see the Video Preview generation process, enable the 'Display hints on missing Video Previews' option inside Video Preview settings. You will see helper messages on the thumbnails and experience the Video Preview generation process. Important:In production, Video Previews are generated automatically as users naturally watch the videos, and the helper messages you saw never appear.

Some of my videos have thumbnails and visual timelines, and some don't. Why?

This is totally expected, since Thumbnails need to be generated on Spark servers first. When you are watching a video for the first time the Thumbnails are not generated yet.
Thumbnail generation is triggered automatically the first time a user watches a video. In order to generate Thumbnails, watch the video. This will trigger Thumbnail generation on Spark servers. Wait a few minutes, then refresh the page - your Thumbnails will work appear, as well as the Visual Timeline (if you enabled it).
Important:In production, Thumbnails are generated automatically as users naturally watch the videos.

I already have the JS code on the page. Can I use the Configurator to customize the look and feel of Spark?

Yes. The Spark Configurator will customize your local page. Local settings you enable on the Configurator will override any public settings already configured on the control panel. In order to apply the changes to all users, copy the settings to the control panel.

Spark CDN streaming

Fast Start

How does Spark make video start faster

Spark Video Acceleration uses a new way of streaming video from multiple servers for a single video. The Spark algorithm selects the fastest available server to deliver the first few seconds of the video. This offers faster start times compared to streaming the same video using traditional CDNs, that deliver the video from a single server.
For additional information, click here.

No buffering

How does Spark make videos stream smoothly with no buffering?

Spark Video Acceleration uses a new way of streaming video from multiple servers for a single video. If one of the servers that is streaming the video slows down for any reason, the Spark algorithm selects another server that can continue streaming the video with no buffering. This offers significantly less buffering compared to streaming the same video using traditional CDNs, that deliver the video from a single server.
For additional information, click here.

Video Ad Stitching

What is Spark Video Ad Stitching?

Spark Video Ad Stitching provides a seamless transition between video ads and the actual video the user wanted to watch. For additional information, click here.

24x7 site monitoring

Do you offer a monitoring service? If so, how much does it cost?

Yes. Spark offers a "Hotline" service, which allows you to be notified in case of problems on your site or on your existing CDN.
You can receive alerts via phone or email. To enter your contact details and specify times of day Spark is allowed to contact you, go to your portal account and enter the relevant information.
The Hotline service is provided to paying Spark customers.

How can Spark monitor my site's overall reliability?

Spark operates a 24x7 Network Operations Center (NOC), monitored by Spark engineers. The NOC team uses automated systems to monitor your site's health, and is trained to perform manual tests to identify and troubleshoot problems. If you opted to use the Hotline service, the team will alert you to problem with regarding problems on your site, and offer assistance.
Monitoring is performed on three levels:

How does Spark monitor my video's health? What kind of tests are performed?

Spark customers enjoy 24x7 monitoring of their sites. Videos on your site undergo comprehensive automated testing every 15 minutes as follows:

If one of the tests fails, the NOC team receives an automated alert. The team will check the nature of reported problem and alert you with a detailed description of the issue by phone and/or email.
For example, Spark NOC might notify you that on a specific part of your site, video ads are not loading, or that videos freeze after 10 seconds when playing on Android.
Coming soon: Current and historical site test results will be available on your Spark control panel, and you will receive automated alerts if one or more of the tests fail.

Technical issues

General issues

My page is behaving strangely or crashing. I want to disable Spark in order to isolate the issue. How can I do it?

You can disable Spark from the control panel. This means that the Spark JS will still be loaded, but in disabled mode - so it will not do anything.
You can also temporarily disable all Spark features by appending '?spark_disable=1' to any URL (e.g. 'https://www.mysite.com/index.html?spark_disable=1'). This is useful for when you want to quickly check a single page without Spark.
If you want to prevent the Spark script from even loading on your page without any development effort, you can do it in 2 ways:
1. Use an adblocker. Instruct the adblocker to block the domain 'player.h-cdn.com' by adding a custom rule - this will prevent the Spark JS from loading. Don't forget to remove the blocking once you are finished!
2. Use Chrome developer console. Open the network tab, load the page and locate the request to load the Spark script (it looks like "https://player.h-cdn.com/loader.js?customer=..."). Right click the request and select "Block request URL" from the menu. Reload the page, and the Spark script will not be loaded - you will see the Spark script line in red. Don't forget to remove the blocking once you are finished!

How do I know which configuration version my page is using?

When you change a configuration setting on the Spark control panel and save the change, a new configuration revision is created called 'tag'. You can see the latest tag number when you save the config, and in the changelog.
A new configuration tag usually takes a few minutes (up to 5) to propagate and become active on pages that use the Spark JS code.
Sometimes, you want to be sure which tag your page is using - for example to see if a new configuration settings has become active already.
In order to see this, open the developer console and reload the page. When Spark loads, you will see a message like "Video enhancements powered by HolaSpark.com v1.79.314.T660". The last part of this lline (Txxx) indicates the tag that is used (in this example: 660).

Can I use Google Tag Manager to add the Spark JS to my site?

Yes. It should take you not more than 2 min. Simply configure GTM to load the Spark JS on all pages that have video or links to video pages. Specifically:

Can Spark send events to my Google Analytics account?

Yes. See how to configure this here.

Some HTTP requests that I see on the console fail when I try to open them from a browser, why?

The requests you are probably referring to probably look like 'https://zagentXXXX.h-cdn.com/ws_client?zone=gen' or similar.
This is in fact a websocket based communication over HTTP, and does not work as HTTP URL, so it is normal that you will receive a 403 error if you try to open them using a browser.

I see errors (e.g. 503) on console. Why?

Spark sends requests to multiple servers for some elements in order to find servers which can serve as hot backups. This improves Spark's reliability and speed. Servers which cannot be a hot backup respond with 503 errors - This is totally normal and these errors can be ignored.

Browser specific issues

Auto-playing videos start playing more slowly on Firefox than on Chrome with Spark. Why is that?

You are probably using a "load" event to start the video. The difference between Chrome and Firefox is that Firefox waits for all requests to finish before triggering "load" event, even for asynchronous requests and Chrome does not.
There are two events related to a page loading process: "load" and "DOMContentLoaded". Using "DOMContentLoaded" is better, because Firefox will not wait for all images and other page resources such as the Spark JS to load before auto-playing the video.
Once you start using "DOMContentLoaded", your autoplay videos will start playing as fast as on chrome (with or without Spark).

Security issues

Does Spark use P2P?

No. Spark uses a proprietary network of its own servers. I does not use P2P or any P2P resource or upload bandwidth to provide any traffic in any way.
In many cases, this question is caused through confusion with Hola VPN, a product by Spark's parent company, Hola Networks. The VPN product is based on P2P, but it is completely separate and unrelated to Spark, and there is no sharing of resources.

Does Spark use VPN tunnels?

No. Spark client code opens HTTP,HTTPS and websockets with Spark servers. Spark does not use any VPN connections.
In many cases, this question is caused through confusion with Hola VPN, a product by Spark's parent company, Hola Networks. The VPN product is based on P2P, but it is completely separate and unrelated to Spark, and there is no sharing of resources.

Does Spark download ads?

No. Spark does not download any ads.
In many cases, this question comes up when developers see a GET request for 'https://player.h-cdn.com/ads.js' on the developer console. The reason for ths request is that Spark Analytics report on the percentage of users who use an AdBlocker. This request is a fake request sent by Spark in order to determine if an AdBlocker is present on the webpage. It does not deliver any ads.

Spark Video Analytics

What is the Spark Video Analytics dashboard?

Once the Spark client JavaScript is on your video's web page, you have access to the viewing experience analytics dashboard, which provides you with all the key parameters of your customers' viewing experience. The dashboard lets you slice the data by geography, browser, operating system and device. All of the statistics are available on a per-CDN basis, allowing you to easily compare performance metrics between the various CDNs that you use.

Why do are Spark Video Analytics free?

While other companies charge monthly fees for similar products, we believe that the best way to show off the value of the Spark CDN is to first show what your existing performance is, and then to let you compare it with what we can do for you.

I don't want to collect any video analytics. Can I turn it off?

Yes, Video Analytics are optional. You can turn them off using your Control Panel

Can I use the QoE Analytics dashboard without paying for Spark?

Yes.

Can Spark CDN provide some traffic in order to compare user experience between my CDN(s) and Spark CDN?

Yes. By default, Spark CDN team will enable Spark CDN servers to stream some of your video traffic. This will reduce your existing CDN traffic and cost, and it is free of charge.
You do not need to take any action to receive this traffic. If you are using Spark CDN video analytics and do not want to receive free traffic, contact us.

What kind of statistics are collected?

Spark CDN only collects information regarding video performance: start/seek times, buffering events, video bitrates etc.
All statistics are available as tables and graphs per platform, per device, per country, per city, and per ISP and are exportable to multiple formats.
For a more detailed list see our reference guide.

Do you collect any personal information?

No. Spark does not collect any personally identifiable information such as usernames and passwords. It only collects video performance information such as start time, seek time, and buffering events.
Information collected is sent as clear text and can be seen in the browser developer console. Detailed sample printouts of the information collected are available in the reference guide. Data collected is stored on secure, dedicated Spark servers.
If you want to reduce information collected even further in order to comply with European laws, see below.

German laws consider IP addresses as personal information. Can Spark comply?

Yes. If you would not like IP address information to be stored on Spark servers, you can simply turn on the "Enhanced user privacy" setting in the configuration section. This will strip away any user identifiers such as IP addresses from logs and error reports.

Does Spark meet the recent European GDPR requirements?

Spark is fully committed to complying with all relevant data protection legal requirements, including the new EU data protection regulatory framework - the General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR").
As an enthusiastic advocate of internet security and privacy, Spark understands the importance of providing data subjects with greater control on their privacy and data. Therefore, we have taken considerable efforts to ensure that our privacy practices comply with data protection laws, including the GDPR, and the industry's best practices regarding, among other things, respecting data subjects' requests to exercise their rights. We are constantly examining applicable legal developments as well as the relevant provisions of the GDPR in order to develop tools for our customers' GDPR-compliant use of our services.

Can I disable data collection altogether?

Yes. You can disable collection of Video Analytics anytime from your Spark portal. This will not have any effect on other Spark features.

How granular are Spark Video Analytics?

Spark Video Analytics are stored for each video in one second increments. Aggregation calculations are performed every 5 minutes. Raw data can be exported to JSON and CSV formats, and via API to external platform.

How long are statistics are kept for in Spark portal?

If your account is active, Spark does not delete video analytics from your account, but the granularity of stored statistics varies.
Granular statistics (which go down to 5 minute intervals) are available for a period of 30 days.
Statistics 30 days or older are averaged (to hour, and later into days intervals).
So, last week's data includes all data points and the results are very detailed, but last month's data is less detailed.
Note:If your account is inactive for over 90 days (meaning: Spark was not used to stream videos or collect video analytics), it will be automatically disabled. Billing records will remain intact, but all statistics in your account will be permanently deleted.
You may re-activate your account at any time by logging in to the portal.

How fast does it take for statistics to appear in the Spark portal?

Statistics for individual videos appear in the 'events' table as soon as the video finishes playing.
Statistics from multiple videos are aggregated every 5 minutes, which is also the frequency the dashboard, maps and detailed statistics table are updated.

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