So, you’ve decided to start a podcast? Great. But after creating the audio files for your podcast, you’ll need to find a podcast hosting solution. In this article, we are going to help you find the best place to host a podcast.
If you are yet to explore podcasts as a way of growing your business, then you are certainly missing out on a great opportunity. More people are listening to podcasts all over the world, which presents a market for a new audience and potential customers for your products or services.
Podcasting is a solid move in strengthening your dominance in the market. It allows you to establish a rapport with the audience and is one way of reaching new audiences and deepening your connection with the established audience. You need high-quality podcast hosting to attract new audiences and retain them, which necessitates the need to select the best podcasting platforms.
The podcast hosting platform is necessary, as it provides file hosting and an RSS feed to your channel. The platform categorizes all your episodes, then distributes them to the intended podcast directories, such as iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play Music.
A podcast hosting platform allows you to upload files and it closely monitors the impressions, social interactions, and audience insights. Hosting a podcast is different from hosting a website, which means you cannot upload the audio files to your site.
The size of these files are huge and cannot be compared to the pictures and music, which means your website may struggle to keep up with all the data. As a result, podcast listeners and visitors will be treated to poor experiences.
If you are thinking of hosting a podcast, you must select a reliable podcast hosting platform that will help you to grow by getting more subscribers and a larger audience. The podcast platform also makes it easy to manage the files. However, choosing the best option can be a time-consuming task with tons of options with similar features available on the market.
Most of the podcast hosting platforms are free, but there are some that charge a certain amount for the services and features. Podcasting is not as straightforward as it seems, as you will need to understand its basics before starting to podcast.
What is Podcast Hosting?
Before the content is made available to the viewer or listener, the podcast data and media files need to be stored somewhere and then made available through the internet. A podcast host is a place to store the podcast audio files before distributing them. The service also provides analytics, scheduling tools, and web players to help you to grow the podcast while reaching out to the audience.
A podcast host is a media company that specializes in hosting podcasts by providing everything needed. The hosting sites will offer storage needs and allow your subscribers to receive content quickly and reliably. At the same time, these podcast hosting sites provide great analytical tools, where you can track the number of people who are listening to and downloading your work.
One of the questions you might be asking yourself is: why do I need podcast hosting, especially when I already have standard website hosting? The benefits of hosting a podcast supersede those of hosting a website. Podcasts are made of video and audio files that are much larger than the standard articles or images. As such, they need enough storage and bandwidth to handle them and this cannot be achieved using website hosting. The podcasts have RSS feeds that are used for distributing podcast episodes directly to the readers, as well as to popular podcasting platforms.
How Does Podcast Hosting Work?
Once you record your program, you’ll need to save it as an MP3 file. An MP3 file is simply an audio file that uses a compression algorithm to reduce the file size and is the most commonly used audio file. So to avoid compatibility issues, you should save your podcast files in MP3 format.
Next, you’ll upload each episode to your host. Along with your recorded episodes, you’ll need to upload your program description and any artwork you use for directory display. Most podcasters have a logo with the title of their program so that it’s easily recognizable for their listeners.
The final step is to submit your RSS feed. RSS sounds techy and complex, but it’s really simple. In Fast, RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication,” and that’s exactly what you’re doing—syndicating your podcast episodes. An RSS is just a URL that ends with /rss. Your podcast host will provide you with the RSS structure they require. Most will have the podcast or show name and the name of the host.
Benefits of Running a Podcast
There are several benefits of running a podcast, including engagement, attention, and flexibility. A podcast will help increase your exposure to the audience through flexible capabilities to engage with the listeners. At the same time, the purpose of a podcast hosting service is to help your show gain an audience.
The podcast hosting service ensures that you have an easily accessible platform, where your podcasts can be shared. Technically, it is possible to host a podcast on your existing website hosting platform, but this setup will not be optimized. This is because sharing your podcast will be much easier when the hosting service has a built-in RSS feed that allows it to be spread across several channels.
How to Start a Podcast
You need to have a website separate from a podcast hosting service if you are planning to start a podcast. The site will serve as a home to the podcast, allowing you to market it to the audience. A domain name is needed to make a website and can be acquired at a price before getting the podcast service provider.
You will also need to purchase several types of equipment, including microphones, mixers, audio interfaces, and windscreen to help in recording. In essence, you will need money to start a successful podcast, used to purchase equipment, get a website domain and purchase a podcast platform.
You need a decent hosting program to get everything in line if you want to start a podcast.
How to Promote Your Podcast
A majority of the podcast hosting platforms available today have an option to automatically upload your episode to different search engines and podcast directories. However, you also have an opportunity to promote the podcast by manually offering it to the registers.
One of the largest podcast directories in the world is iTunes from Apple, which allows the audience to use their phones and computers to subscribe to the podcast. Google Play Music can be an alternative podcast directory that will reach numerous android users through their phones.
Your website can also act as a podcast directory, allowing you to promote the podcast. A WordPress website will help your podcast get search traffic to your podcast episodes.
Should I Use Free Podcast Hosting?
There is a multitude of free podcast hosting services on the internet that you could use for your podcast needs. Some of the podcasts with free options include Podbean, Buzzsprout, Soundcloud, and Anchor. They allow you to upload a number of free episodes per month. You can use a free podcast host, but it is not recommended for a professional business.
Hosting your podcast on a free podcast site may stunt your growth. You might never achieve your podcast’s full potential using free podcast hosting because it limits several benefits and functionality. Such sites have numerous advertisements plastered all over, such that it may be a deterrent to most users.
If you are serious about making podcasts part of your business, then you should consider getting a paid podcast hosting service. They will allow you to enjoy most features of podcasting, which may be limited in free podcast hosting, such as that free hosting can only be hosted for a specific period before they are pulled down.
What to Look For in a Podcast Hosting Service
The first thing to consider when selecting a podcast hosting service is the number of episodes you can host in a month. Since podcast files are large, several hosting plans limit the amount of data you can post in a month, including the number of episodes or number of hours.
Secondly, the podcast hosting service should offer access to some basic analytics, such as how many people downloaded the episodes or how many visited the website as a result of the podcast. Several hosting sites offer custom analytic dashboards and integration with Google Analytics to help measure the progress.
At the same time, you should consider podcast hosting services that have embedded options, such as connecting to your website. The host should provide an embedded code for every episode, which should create a mobile-friendly audio player and a link to where people can download the event.
You should also choose a podcast hosting service that will help you stay connected to the internet at any time of the day. The platform should allow connections through a phone or the web, which reduces any restrictions to individuals wanting to listen to the podcast.
Another factor to consider is the marketing tools offered by the hosting service since a podcast will never market itself. Therefore, you should look for a podcasting hosting service that provides marketing tools to help get the word out. Some sites allow for automated posting to social media as a marketing technique.
While most podcast hosts offer free websites, most of these services might be hosted on extensions of the primary host. You should consider a podcast hosting service that allows you to use your own custom domain. This can help in making your podcast look professional while enabling easier switching.
The cost of a podcast hosting service should also be a consideration though it should never be the only deciding factor. Since prices vary for each podcast hosting service, you might want to get a podcast with a small budget that achieves the same benefits. On average, podcast hosting ranges from $5 to $50 depending on the company and the number of episodes.
Best Podcast Hosting Services
Several companies offer podcast hosting services that vary based on the ease of use, tools, and support, as well as flexibility in file sizes. Some hosting sites come with social media integration options, while others have features to start and power up a website. There are tons of hosting platforms to choose from if you are starting your podcast.
One of the best podcasting hosting service providers on the market is Podbean, which offers unlimited podcast hosting and unlimited bandwidth. The hosting service provides a variety of tools that makes it easy to publish, manage, and syndicate podcasts with several distribution channels. This service is known for its excellent design tools with a fantastic podcast player and website. The website integration with the custom plugin is some of the standout features on this platform.
Its price ranges from $9 per month, allowing you to host an unlimited number of podcasts. This is one of the greatest available pricing for new podcasters and will allow you to make uploads every day. At the same time, Podbean enables you to add several members to the podcast without limits. Its analytics is advanced yet easy to understand, allowing you to assess how well your podcast is doing.
Here are some of the features for you to know about:
- Podcast publishing
- Own domain integration
- Unlimited hosting
- Scheduled publishing
- Professional podcast website
- Mobile podcast publishing
- Podcast statistics
- Monetization methods
- Distribution and promotion
- Live streaming
If you are looking for the most accessible platform to host a podcast, then Buzzsprout will be the ideal choice for you. The platform is especially good for beginners who will enjoy its ease of use. This is a unique podcasting hosting service that offers the concept of pay-as-you-go pricing to podcast hosting. It allows you to spend more time creating content with the best-designed dashboards, as they regularly coming up with new features.
This company has built a strong community of podcasters who enjoy transcription integration, an embed player, a mobile-friendly podcast website, and analytical statistics. The standout features of this hosting site include unlimited storage capacity, podcast migration features, and a bandwidth of 250GB/month. Buzzsprout has several pricing options that include free or $14 per month. There are no upfront fees for first-time users on the platform, with their open-plan valid for 90 days before starting to charge you. Beginners will get an option of uploading audio of up to two hours free of charge for the first three months.
According to Buzzsprout, it has helped 100,000+ people to start up podcasts, and it also offers tools to host, market, and track podcasts. The company’s packages offer a wide range of features for you to choose from. These features include the following:
- Podcasts listed on main podcast directories
- Access to advanced podcast analytics
- Aesthetically pleasing podcast player for you to put on your website
- Automatic episode optimization
- Podcast transcriptions
- Podcast monetizing tools
- Podcast promotion
If you need flexible podcast hosting plans, then consider using Blubrry in managing your podcast. This podcast hosting service offers flexible programs for both novice and experienced podcasters, with a website plugin that allows for easy management of the podcast from a website host. As a result, you will easily start and grow your podcast by using other directories.
The standout features of this podcast hosting plan include monetization options, social sharing features, and podcast statistics, among others. With this hosting podcasting site, your website and podcast will be easy to notice from Google using android devices.
The advanced industry-leading statistics come with this hosting plan as a benefit, and podcasters have the benefit of uploading more episodes at no extra cost. Some features you’ll love from Blurry are:
- Storage with no-fault overage
- Professional Statistics (Get Advanced Stats separately)
- Long-tail podcasting
- FTP or Web upload options
- ID3 tagging (embed title, artwork, etc. to media files)
- World-class CDN (over 35 data centers worldwide)
- Free migration
- Pro-Production services available
SoundCloud is a household name for music lovers, but the platform is also the right choice for hosting a podcast. It is an easy to use service with basic and essential features for your podcast needs. There is a free plan in SoundCloud that allows you three hours of uploads, which can be essential for beginners, in order to try the free option before opting to pay for the advanced one.
At the same time, this platform will allow you to embed any podcast episode by placing the URL anywhere on the WordPress page. Once you pay for a package, you will get higher storage and bandwidth, as well as better statistics for your podcast. Soundcloud boasts some cool features like:
- Instant podcast uploads
- Collaboration tools with other podcasters
- Real-time feedback and stat tracking
- Creator app for smart devices
- Interact with fans and get immediate feedback
- Schedule episode releases
- Pin your most popular episodes to Spotlight
- Globally known as a popular brand
Another reliable podcast hosting service provider for beginners is Libsyn. It is one of the oldest names in podcast hosting and hosts over 60,000 podcasts and millions of downloads. As such, it is one of the most reliable podcasts with plenty of features and is affordable to new podcasters. This platform offers an easy way to start podcasting, while also allowing you to share the episodes with other applications.
Libsyn offers different podcast hosting plans that vary depending on the storage limits per month. The prices range from $5 to $15 per month, depending on your budget. It comes with unlimited bandwidth, offers monetization options, and guarantees detailed analytics of your episodes. With this podcast, you can create a custom HTML5 media player with unique branding and schedule episodes for future publication. Features that keep bringing podcasters back to Libsyn include:
- Geographic heat map
- Destination stats
- Social media stats
- Day, week, and month stats
- Downloadable stats reporting
- WordPress Libsyn Publisher Hub
- Compliant RSS feed
- Audio, video, PDF, and text posts
- Libsyn directory listing
Smart Podcast Player
Smart Podcast Player (now Fusebox) is one of the best podcast hosting services due to its features and benefits. The platform will allow you to embed and display podcast episodes to the website and interact with your audience. This platform will allow you to display podcasts on your website to allow users to browse the episodes or share them with others. It also allows an opportunity for customizing its colors to match your website. Every top podcaster in the world uses smart podcast player due to its quality in offering embedded players and customization options.
This podcast hosting platform is one of the best-looking and smoothest plans for hosting your podcast. It also allows you to get detailed analytics and measure the success of this project. With a price of $15 per month, you will get an opportunity to add numerous uploads and access analytics. You can get even more features, including customization and advanced analytics, at a higher price. Fusebox is paving the way for podcasters with these exciting features:
- SEO-friendly live text
- Accessible design
- Downloadable PDFs
- Simplicity everywhere
- New tab popout
- Email capture
- Speed control
- Mobile friendly
- Light vs Dark
- Social sharing
Transistor is another podcast hosting provider that is incredibly easy to use for both beginners and professionals. The site offers unlimited podcast hosting plans, which means you are not charged for hours of uploads when compared to other hosts. With this podcast hosting platform, you can easily upload your podcast media and publish it.
Some of the standout features for this host include analytics that allows you to assess the performance of each episode. There is also an option to create a website if you lack it quickly. At the same time, you can host as many different shows as possible, manage team members while getting podcast statistics due to its features. However, the price of Transistor is a little bit high, starting at $19 per month for up to 10,000 downloads. Here are some great features with Transistor’s hosting services:
- Host multiple podcasts on the same account
- Invite multiple collaborators
- Analytics for your podcast
- Listener breakdown per episode
- See which podcast apps people use to listen to your show
- The podcast listener map
- Embed your podcast audio anywhere
The podcast hosting platform is necessary, as it provides file hosting and an RSS feed to your channel. The platform categorizes all your episodes then distributes them to the intended podcast directories.
As you can see, choosing the best place to host a podcast is going to come down to the price range that you are looking for in your budget and which features appeal to you. Free podcast hosting platforms are a great place to get started if you are bootstrapping, but you will eventually want to move to a higher-tiered service with more options and functionality.