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When it comes to podcast hosting, there are many different options available to you. It can get quite confusing deciding upon which podcast host to utilize. I am about to help you with that decision as I examine podcast hosting from all the different angles.
Some podcast hosting services have been around for a long time, while others are brand new.
Regardless of whether you are looking to start a podcast, save money, or move to a better hosting platform – I have you covered!
If you are just starting a podcast, you are going to need to sign up for a podcast hosting company to store your episodes and create your podcast feed. As with starting a website, you need a host.
If you already have a podcast and just want to find a better place to host it, the best podcast hosting companies make it very easy to migrate to their system.
I have done the research and testing for you to find out what platform is best for your needs.
Best Podcast Hosting Platforms
The people who designed Buzzsprout did so to make podcasting simple, but rich with features. They have an amazing dashboard that lets you spend more time creating content and less time messing around with uploads.
They also give you great statistics and a mobile-friendly podcast website.
There’s a forever free plan but your episodes get removed after 90 days. Their paid plans start at $12/month. This is a great value!
Buzzsprout does not do some of the things that make other podcast hosting platforms annoying. They do not insert advertisements into your podcast. They have excellent customer service.
The thing that makes Buzzsprout amazing is their ease of use.
Let’s walk you through creating your podcast.
You start creating your podcast by filling out some basic info (under the Podcast Settings tab) that is required by iTunes.
Once you've completed the setup form with the basic information, you will need to upload your first episode. For each episode, you are required to fill out some basic information about that episode.
After you’ve uploaded at least one episode, we’ll hop over to the ‘iTunes & Directories’ tab and follow the steps.
- Review your podcast information for the iTunes required fields.
- Category (at least 1)
- Explicit or not
- Submit your RSS feed to iTunes
Buzzsprout pre-populates your RSS feed for Podcasts Connect (that’s how you get on iTunes) automatically so you can just click Validate and Submit – super easy!
There are some other tabs with instructions on how to submit to Stitcher and Google Play too.
Buzzsprout Player and Website
There are two options for people to visit your podcast’s show notes and listen through your website.
Buzzsprout's Website. Included in your plan is a very basic website that allows you to insert show notes (through the episode description section mentioned above), and a place where people can subscribe and share your episodes.
The website they provide doesn't look bad by any means, you're just limited to the types of customizations you can do. This is an excellent starting point, but you will want your own site so you can collect emails, add images and a bunch of other things.
Embed a player on your own site. Buzzsprout gives you an embeddable player that can be used on any website.
Most people love stats. I'm the type who will refresh my stats page regularly just to see any changes.
Buzzsprout gives you a clear snapshot of your recent episodes with an average number of plays as well as the most popular episodes (great to see what types of content or guests you should continue to produce).
They have a unique algorithm that calculates (estimates?) the number of listeners in the first 90 days of each episode.
There are also device and location tabs so you can get deeper insights into where your listeners are coming from.
It’s all easy to read and displayed nicely. You can also click on individual episodes to get more detailed stats over time.
Instead of counting storage (megabytes) like most other podcast hosting companies, Buzzsprout keeps things much simpler and charges by the number of hours you upload each month.
There is a free tier that allows you to upload up to 2 hours, but your files will be removed after 90 days. Consider this probably the best free trial out there!
The paid pricing plans are:
- $12/month for 3 hours
- $18/month for 6 hours
- $24/month for 12 hours
Libsyn (short for “Liberated Syndication”) is one of the oldest and largest
Libsyn, in my opinion, falls down with their pricing structure. Their plans begin at $5/month for 50 mb of storage space. Their options then go to $15, $20, $40 and $75 a month. However, even the most expensive plan doesn't give you unlimited storage.
Libsyn gives its subscribers more options for customizing their plan than most podcast hosting service3s – you can choose to add statistics to your $5 plan for an additional $2/month, get the custom mobile app for $10/month, and even buy extra storage space.
Due to being in the business for so long, Libsyn has created a nice balance between simple and customizable that's hard to manage. They provide you with tools that you need to produce and distribute your podcast, but their interface is behind the times. It actually looks quite dated.
They also don't have many fancy options for building a website. They have excellent support. They include a help area that answers many of your questions, especially the most common ones.
Overall, Libsyn is a great service to use if you don’t need that unlimited storage space, but want a strong community with a long history. At its core, Libsyn has a simple interface where it’s easy to upload audio and generate your RSS links. Additional features, like social media posting and the website, are present, but they’re not the core selling points the way they sometimes seem to be on other services.
Simplecast is the podcast hosting we recommend and use at Yogi's Podcast Network. There were many factors that lead us to choose Simplecast.
Simplecast has a very simple pricing model–$12 per show per month. There is no storage limit. If you do a daily podcast it costs you $12 a month. No hidden charges either.
The user experience on Simplecast is simple and elegant at the same time. It is very easy to understand how to use the system. Adding episodes is an easy thing to accomplish. A simple form guides you through the entire process.
They have an embeddable player available for use on any website. They have excellent statistics as well.
Simplecast allows you to give a manager access to your account. This makes everything that much easier.
One of the amazing aspects of Simplecast is that they are continually adding new features and they have amazing support via Intercom. Simplecast is our recommendation for a great podcast hosting service.
When most podcasters start out (myself included), they look for the cheapest all-in-one option for hosting their new podcast audio. I read a few blogs about RSS feeds, and look for the quickest way to get the podcast into Apple Podcasts / iTunes. Most of us are unaware that it is quite simple to self host your podcasts all in one place with a few useful free tools from around the web.
There are some great benefits to
If you like to be in control of everything about your podcast,
I want to show you how you can host yourself with the free tools available on the internet. My advice depends upon you using WordPress for your website. If you don't already use WordPress, you might want to consider switching to it for your podcast website.
You are going to need a place to hold your files somewhere on the web that is accessible with public access. In my opinion, the best approach is to go with Amazon Web Services (S3). It charges you based upon the amount of downloads your podcast has on a monthly basis and that cost is extremely low.
Once you've established a bucket in S3 to hold your podcasts, upload your audio files and then get the URL for each of them.
Your next step is to get an RSS feed built for your podcast. In WordPress, download the Powerpress plugin from Blubrry. It is a free plugin built specifically for podcasters, by podcasters. ( https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/powerpress/ )
Once the plugin is installed into your WordPress website, activate it, and follow the instructions to get
Upload your podcasts by writing a blog post on WordPress. Click add
The URLs you got from S3 are now required
Once you've added an episode, you can add plenty of extra data as you would with other blogs: feature artwork, tags etc. You are now ready to either schedule the
The powerpress tutorial should then help you through getting your show on to iTunes/ Apple Podcasts and other directories. You will need to have at least one audio file in the feed to get the rest setup, and receive your RSS address. Once you have it, the RSS is exactly what you give to iTunes, Stitcher, Android apps…. And HEY PRESTO!! each episode you upload to your feed, automatically goes into people’s podcast apps… As if by magic (RSS feeds are magic!).
“What about stats” I hear you say? There are probably a number of ways, but this is our favorite…. Blubrry Stats! Once setup you can claim your podcast via Blubrry’s directory, and then you can register an account with them to get free statistics. Once you have done this, they give you an extra URL, you simply go back and put this before your podcast media URL’s in step 3. Cut and paste it before the AWS S3 address and the stats will start to flow in. Nifty eh, the nice guys at Blubrry not only create an RSS with their plugin but also give you stats.
Importance of Podcast Hosting
Regardless of the approach you use to podcast hosting, it is an extremely important consideration for your podcast. You want to be sure that the uptime is good. You don't want things going down and causing your listeners to be unable to get to your show. That's a fast way to lose listeners!
The reliability of the service is going to be huge. If it is always down or throws a bunch of random errors, your listeners will quickly stop listening.
Consider the tools each service provides. Decide if the tools are overkill or if you will use most of them. Whatever you do, don't overthink it. For instance, Simplecast doesn't automatically push your episodes to social media. We solved the problem by hiring an inexpensive virtual assistant to handle that task.
Whatever problems you see, try to come up with a solution. In the end you wind up saving a bunch of money and you have your podcast hosted somewhere helpful.