As someone who’s been in the podcasting game for a while now, I can tell you that choosing a hosting platform can be a daunting task. There are so many podcast hosting companies out there now, each with its own set of features and pricing structures, that it’s hard to know where to begin.
I’m sure you’ve asked,
“What is the best podcast hosting service?”
But fear not my fellow podcasters!
In this post, I’ll be sharing my insights and experiences with various platforms to help you make an informed decision. From the big players like Buzzsprout, Libsyn, and Podbean to newer options like Transistor and Captivate.
And a plucky little underdog recently renamed Spotify For Podcasters (recently called Anchor).
In this blog post, we’ll explore what podcast hosting platforms are, why they’re essential for any podcaster, and 10 of the best podcast hosting sites available today.
Whether you’re a seasoned podcaster or just starting out, this post will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about which platform to choose.
So grab a cup of coffee (or your beverage of choice) and let’s dive into the world of podcast hosting sites.
What Is A Podcast Hosting Platform?
If you are just starting you have probably wondered how your favorite podcasts make their way onto your favorite podcast platforms.
Well, let me tell you about the behind-the-scenes magic of podcast hosting services.
In a nutshell, podcast hosting is a service that allows podcasters to upload, store, and distribute their audio files to various streaming services such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. This is done using an RSS feed.
What Is An RSS Feed?
An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed is a way for websites, blogs, or podcasts to share their content with other websites or users. It’s a file that contains a summary of the content, including the title, date, and a brief description of each post or article.
RSS feeds allow users to subscribe to a website’s content, and then receive updates whenever new content is published. Instead of having to manually check a website for updates, users can use an RSS reader to automatically receive new content from multiple websites in one place.
Blogs were the genesis of podcasts. Think of it like a news ticker that constantly updates with the latest news from your favorite sources. Instead of having to visit each website individually, you can have all the updates in one place, in real-time.
Podcasters can use RSS feeds to distribute their podcast episodes to all the major podcast directories. By submitting your RSS feed to these directories, podcasters can reach a wider audience and make their podcast easily discoverable to potential listeners.
Podcast hosting services not only make it easy for podcasters to manage their podcast episodes, but they also provide valuable podcast analytics and audience insights to help them grow their listener base.
Think of a podcast hosting provider as a central hub for all things podcasting. Instead of manually uploading your episodes to each individual streaming service, the podcast hosting services take care of the distribution for you.
Plus, they often provide additional features like customizable show pages, monetization options, and promotional tools to help you increase your reach.
So, whether you’re a seasoned podcast pro or just getting started, a reliable hosting platform is essential to making your podcast dreams a reality. It’s like having your own broadcasting team, without the hassle of managing it all yourself.
What Should You Look For In A Podcast Hosting Site
Here are some key features you should look for in a podcast hosting site:
The amount of space you need will depend on how long your episodes are and how many you plan to produce. Look for a hosting site that offers plenty of space so you don’t have to worry about running out. Some offer unlimited storage.
In the context of podcasting, bandwidth is used to measure the amount of data that is being transferred when someone downloads or streams your podcast. Bandwidth determines how many people can listen to your podcast at the same time. Look for a hosting site that offers unlimited bandwidth so you don’t have to worry about your site crashing if too many people try to listen at once.
When you host your podcast on a podcast hosting platform, such as Podbean or Libsyn, you are essentially using their servers and bandwidth to distribute your podcast to your listeners.This means that as your podcast grows in popularity and more people download or stream your episodes, you may need to upgrade to a hosting plan with unlimited bandwidth to ensure that your listeners can access your content without any interruptions or slow loading times.Bandwidth is usually measured in gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (TB) per month. Most podcast hosting sites offer different hosting plans with varying levels of bandwidth and storage, depending on your needs.It’s important to choose a hosting plan that provides enough bandwidth, even unlimited bandwidth, to accommodate your expected audience size and monthly download/streaming volume to avoid any overage charges or limitations on your podcast’s distribution.
Ease Of Use
Look for a hosting site that is user-friendly and easy to navigate. You don’t want to waste time trying to figure out how to upload your episodes or manage your account.
It’s important to know how many people are listening to your podcast and where they’re located. It is one of the ways of how to measure podcast success. Look for a hosting site that offers detailed analytics so you can track your audience and make informed decisions about your content.
Read: How To Understand Podcast Analytics
If you’re planning to monetize your podcast through sponsorships or advertising, look for a hosting site that offers easy integration with monetization platforms.
Look for a hosting site that offers excellent customer support, including 24/7 availability and multiple contact options. You never know when you might need help with an issue, and it’s important to have reliable support when you need it.
Ten Popular Podcast Hosting Platforms
* Pricing is correct as of 4/3/2023
Podcast hosting sites each offer their own set of features and pricing plans, ranging from free to premium options. Some platforms offer unlimited storage and bandwidth, while others charge based on usage.
Some platforms also provide advanced analytics and monetization options, while others prioritize ease of use and customer support.
By considering these features when choosing a podcast hosting site, you can ensure that you have the tools and resources you need to create a successful podcast.
Here are ten of the best podcast hosting platforms, along with some pros and cons for each one and pricing information.
Buzzsprout is considered by many to be the best podcast hosting platform. Buzzsprout podcast hosting provides an all-in-one solution for podcasters, from hosting to distribution and analytics. With its user-friendly interface and excellent customer support, Buzzsprout has become a top choice for many podcast hosts looking to start or grow their shows.
One of the main advantages of Buzzsprout is its simplicity. The platform is designed to be easy to use, even for those who are new to podcasting. Uploading and publishing episodes is straightforward, and the platform takes care of the rest, including distributing your show to all major podcast directories.
I host multiple podcasts on Buzzsprout and it is easy to navigate between shows. This makes it so simple to manage multiple podcasts. And provides one of the best podcast websites I’ve seen provided by a host.
Buzzsprout also provides excellent podcast analytics, giving podcast hosts detailed insights into their audience and performance. They offer a range of metrics, including downloads, subscribers, and listening duration, as well as geographic data, device breakdowns, and referral sources.
This information can help podcasters tailor their content to their audience and improve their show’s growth and engagement.
The pricing plans for Buzzsprout are reasonable, with options ranging from a free plan with limited features to paid plans that provide more storage, advanced analytics, and custom branding options.
The platform also offers a 90-day free trial, allowing podcasters to test out the platform before committing to a paid plan.
On the other end of the scale, if you join the Enterprise plan you can get unlimited team members.
Overall, Buzzsprout is an excellent choice for podcast hosts who value simplicity, ease of use, and comprehensive analytics. With its reliable hosting, distribution, and support, Buzzsprout provides everything a podcaster needs to grow their show and reach a wider audience.
- Pros: User-friendly interface, reliable customer support, free podcast website and detailed analytics.
- Cons: limited customization options, the fee plan is limited to just 90 days then each podcast episode will be deleted.
Libsyn, short for Liberated Syndication, is one of the oldest and most popular podcast hosting sites available. It has been around since 2004 and has served as a reliable platform for podcasters of all levels. Libsyn offers a range of features and plans to fit different podcasting needs, making it a versatile platform for new and experienced podcast hosts alike.
One of the key features of Libsyn is its user-friendly interface, which makes it easy to upload, manage, and publish podcast episodes. The platform also provides in-depth analytics and reporting tools to help podcasters track their performance and improve their content. Libsyn also offers automatic distribution to major podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, which can help increase a podcast’s reach.
Libsyn offers several pricing plans depending on the amount of storage needed and the level of features required. The basic plan is $5 per month and includes 162MB of storage per month, while the most popular plan is 20 per month and includes 540MB of storage per month.
Libsyn also offers custom enterprise-level plans for larger businesses and media organizations.
While Libsyn is one of the more expensive platforms on the market, its reliability and ease of use make it a popular choice for many podcasters.
- Pros: great for beginners, extensive podcast stats, and easy integration with social media.
- Cons: outdated user interface, no built-in editing tools.
Podbean is a well-established and popular podcast hosting service that has been in business since 2006. It offers a range of features to help podcasters create, host, and promote their shows.
With over 500,000 active podcasts and 7.5 million episodes, Podbean is one of the most widely used platforms for podcast hosting.
Podbean’s user-friendly interface makes it easy for users to upload and publish episodes, and its robust analytics and listener insights allow podcast hosts to track their show’s performance and engagement.
It also offers a built-in ad marketplace, which allows podcasters to monetize their content by connecting with advertisers.
One of the most attractive features of Podbean is its affordability. The platform offers a variety of pricing options, including a free plan with limited storage and bandwidth, as well as paid plans that offer more advanced features and greater storage and bandwidth allowances. Plans range from $9/month to $79/month, depending on the features and storage needed.
Overall, Podbean is an excellent option for podcasters looking for an affordable, user-friendly, and feature-rich platform. Its large user base and built-in ad marketplace also make it a great choice for those looking to monetize their podcasts.
- Pros: user-friendly interface, built-in monetization options, and easy integration with WordPress.
- Cons: limited analytics, no dynamic ad insertion.
Captivate is a modern and user-friendly podcast hosting platform that offers a range of features for podcasters of all levels. With an intuitive interface and easy-to-use tools, Captivate makes it simple for users to upload, manage, and distribute their podcast content.
One of the key features of Captivate is its powerful analytics dashboard, which provides detailed insights into how your audience is engaging with your content. With data on everything from downloads and plays to listener demographics and geographic location, you can use this information to refine your content and better target your marketing efforts.
In addition to analytics, Captivate also offers a range of tools for monetizing your podcast, including dynamic ad insertion and sponsorships. This makes it a great choice for podcasters who are looking to turn their hobby into a profitable business.
Other features of Captivate include customizable show websites, advanced scheduling options, and integration with a range of popular apps and services, such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
While Captivate may not be the most well-known podcast hosting platform, it offers a robust set of features and an easy-to-use interface that makes it a great choice for podcasters who are looking for a modern and flexible solution. Pricing starts at $19 per month for up to 12,500 monthly downloads, with higher pricing tiers available for larger audiences.
- Pros: modern and intuitive interface, easy podcast distribution, and built-in call-to-action tools.
- Cons: limited support reported, higher pricing, relatively new and untested.
Transistor is a popular podcast hosting platform that offers a range of features to help podcasters create, publish, and promote their content. Founded in 2018 by a team of experienced software developers, Transistor has quickly gained a reputation as a user-friendly and reliable platform for hosting podcasts of all sizes.
One of the key features of Transistor is its intuitive dashboard, which allows podcasters to manage all aspects of their shows in one place. Users can upload and schedule new episodes, view detailed analytics, and connect their shows to a popular podcasting platform like Apple Podcasts.
Transistor also offers a range of customization options, including the ability to create custom websites for each podcast. Users can choose from a range of templates and design their own pages to showcase their content and engage with their audiences.
In terms of pricing, Transistor offers a range of plans to suit the needs of different podcasters. The entry-level plan allows for up to two shows with 10,000 downloads per month, while the top-tier plan offers unlimited shows and downloads for larger-scale productions.
Overall, Transistor is a great option for podcasters who are looking for a reliable and user-friendly hosting platform with a range of features to help them grow their audience and take their shows to the next level.
- Pros: easy to use, customizable podcast website, and automatic episode transcription.
- Cons: limited analytics, no dynamic ad insertion.
Blubrry is a reliable and popular podcast-hosting platform that has been around since 2005. With a wide range of features and a user-friendly interface, Blubrry is a great option for both beginners and experienced podcasters.
One of the standout features of Blubrry is its WordPress integration, which allows users to easily publish their podcasts directly to their WordPress website. This integration also includes an advanced podcasting plugin, PowerPress, which simplifies the process of managing a podcast and provides detailed analytics.
Blubrry also offers unlimited hosting, so users don’t have to worry about running out of storage space. Plus, with their Professional and Enterprise plans, users have access to monetization tools like ad insertion and dynamic ad replacement, as well as the ability to create a custom mobile app for their podcast.
Blubrry has a variety of pricing plans to fit different needs and budgets, starting at $12 per month for their basic plan. They also offer a free trial, so users can test out the platform before committing to a paid plan.
Overall, Blubrry is a solid option for podcasters looking for a reliable hosting platform with advanced features and easy WordPress integration.
- Pros: customizable podcast website, built-in stats and analytics, and easy integration with WordPress.
- Cons: limited editing tools.
Simplecast is a cloud-based podcast hosting platform that aims to make it easy for creators to upload, publish, and distribute their podcasts to various listening platforms. The platform provides users with a variety of features that allow them to customize and grow their podcasts, such as analytics and listener insights, custom branding options, and integrations with social media and other marketing tools.
One of the standout features of Simplecast is its user-friendly interface, which makes it easy for podcasters of all levels of experience to navigate and use. The platform also offers a mobile app for iOS and Android, which allows podcasters to manage and monitor their shows on-the-go.
In terms of pricing, Simplecast offers a range of plans that cater to different levels of podcasting needs. Its basic plan starts at $15 per month and includes unlimited uploads, analytics, and support, while its more advanced plans offer additional features such as custom domains and advanced analytics.
Overall, Simplecast is a solid option for podcasters who want a platform that is easy to use, provides in-depth analytics, and has a variety of customization options. Its user-friendly interface and mobile app make it an attractive choice for podcasters who are always on-the-go.
- Pros: customizable podcast website, easy episode distribution, and dynamic ad insertion.
- Cons: limited storage (up to 600 MB per month).
Spreaker is a podcast hosting platform that offers a wide range of features for both beginners and advanced podcasters. Founded in 2010, Spreaker has become one of the most popular podcast hosting platforms, hosting over 50,000 shows and serving millions of listeners around the world.
One of the unique features of Spreaker is its live broadcasting capabilities. Podcasters can use Spreaker to broadcast their show live, allowing their audience to listen in and even interact through chat or call-ins. This feature can be especially useful for podcasters who want to engage with their audience in real-time or cover breaking news or events.
Spreaker also offers advanced analytics that helps podcasters track their listenership and engagement. Podcasters can view detailed statistics on their listeners, including location, device, and listening behavior. This information can help podcasters optimize their content and marketing strategies to better engage their audience.
In addition to hosting and analytics, Spreaker also provides podcast monetization tools, such as the ability to insert ads into episodes and sell premium content to listeners. This can be a valuable revenue stream for podcasters who want to monetize their content.
Overall, Spreaker is a powerful and user-friendly podcast hosting platform that offers a variety of tools and features to help podcasters create, grow, and monetize their shows.
- Pros: user-friendly interface, built-in recording tools, and easy distribution to other platforms.
- Cons: limited analytics, relatively expensive.
Castos is a popular podcast hosting platform that offers a variety of features to help podcasters create, host, and distribute their content. Founded in 2016, Castos has quickly gained a reputation for being a reliable and user-friendly platform that is perfect for beginners and experienced podcasters alike.
One of the standout features of Castos is its advanced podcast analytics dashboard, which provides podcasters with detailed information about their listeners and how they engage with their content. This includes information on listener demographics, geographic locations, and listening devices, as well as data on episode downloads, engagement rates, and more.
Castos also offers a range of tools to help podcasters promote their content and grow their audience. This includes customizable podcast websites, social media sharing tools, and integrations with popular marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Hubspot.
Another great feature of Castos is its automatic transcription service, which can transcribe your podcast episodes into text format to help improve SEO and accessibility. Additionally, Castos offers a range of monetization options for podcasters, including private podcasting, paid subscriptions, and sponsorships.
Overall, Castos is a powerful and flexible podcast hosting platform that offers a range of features and tools to help podcasters succeed. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced podcaster looking to take your content to the next level, Castos is definitely worth considering.
- Pros: Unlimited storage, automatic transcription service and the ability to host multiple shows
- Cons: limited analytics and integrations, and no free plan!
Spotify For Podcasters (formerly Anchor)
Spotify For Podcasters, made of course by Spotify the podcast app, is the best free podcast hosting platform and has gained a lot of attention in recent years. The platform offers an easy and free way for podcasters to host their shows and reach a wide audience.
Spotify For Podcasters has been praised for its simplicity and user-friendly interface, making it a great option for beginners who are just starting out in the world of podcasting.
One of the key features of Spotify For Podcasters is its all-in-one platform, which allows users to record, edit, and publish their podcast episodes directly from the podcast app. This makes it a convenient and time-saving option for podcasters who want to streamline their workflow. This platform also offers many monetizing features, do you know how to monetize podcast on Spotify? I’ve shared about this before.
An added benefit of Spotify For Podcasters is you can feature music on your podcast that is already on the app. BUT, you can ONLY distribute your podcast on Spotify then. Giving you something in common with Joe Rogan at least.
While Spotify For Podcasters has many advantages, it also has some drawbacks that users should be aware of. One of the main criticisms of the platform is that it has limited analytics and customization options compared to other hosting services. Additionally, some users have reported issues with sound quality and glitches in the editing process.
Overall, Spotify For Podcasters is a solid option for those who are just starting out in podcasting or looking for a free and easy-to-use platform. However, those looking for more advanced features and customization options may want to consider other hosting services.
- Pros: easy to use, built-in editing tools, and automatic distribution to major podcast directories.
- Cons: limited analytics, no customization options, see below for more.
It’s important to note that many other podcast hosting platforms are available, and each has its unique features and pricing structure. When choosing a platform, it’s important to consider your specific needs and goals, as well as your budget.
What Other Services Do Podcast Host Platforms Offer?
In addition to hosting your podcast files, podcast hosting platforms typically offer a range of services to help you manage and distribute your podcast.
These can include:
- RSS feed generation: A podcast hosting platform can automatically generate an RSS feed for your podcast, which is necessary for distributing your podcast to podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
- Analytics: Most podcast hosting platforms offer some form of analytics, which can give you insights into your podcast’s audience, downloads, and engagement.
- Content management: Many podcast hosting platforms include features for organizing and managing your podcast episodes, such as scheduling, episode numbering, and episode artwork.
- Integration with other tools: Some podcast hosting platforms integrate with other tools, such as social media platforms, website builders, and email marketing software.
- Monetization tools: Some podcast hosting platforms offer tools for monetizing your podcast, such as sponsorships, advertising, and merchandise sales.
By using a podcast hosting platform, you can simplify the process of managing and distributing your podcast, while also gaining access to a range of tools and services that can help you grow your audience and monetize your content.
Can You Change Podcast Hosting Platforms?
Yes, it is possible to change podcast hosting platforms.
However, it can be a bit complicated and time-consuming as you need to redirect your RSS feed so that all of your podcast episodes, settings, and metadata are added to the new platform.
You will also need to resubmit your new RSS feed to all your current distribution channels (e.g., Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.) to avoid any disruption to your audience.
It’s generally best to carefully research and evaluate your options before deciding on a new hosting platform to avoid having to switch again in the future.
How Do You Change Podcasting Platforms?
To change podcasting platforms, you can follow these general steps:
- Choose a new hosting platform: Research and choose a new hosting platform that fits your needs and budget.
- Sign up for a new account: Create a new account with the new hosting platform.
- Export your podcast data: Export your podcast data, including your episodes, descriptions, artwork, and metadata, from your old hosting platform. Most hosting platforms have an export function that allows you to download this data in a standard format like RSS or CSV.
- Import your podcast data: Import your podcast data into the new hosting platform. Most hosting platforms have an import function that allows you to upload your podcast data in a standard format like RSS or CSV.
- Redirect your feed: After you have imported your podcast data into the new hosting platform, you need to redirect your podcast feed to the new hosting platform. This ensures that your listeners can still access your podcast without interruption.
- Update directories: Update your podcast directories, like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, with your new podcast feed URL. This ensures that your podcast is still available to listeners on these platforms.
There is no need to let your audience know that you have switched podcast hosting platforms unless you expect a disruption to your service.
Once you have redirected your feed your podcast will be available again on all the same platforms as before.
It’s important to note that switching podcast hosting platforms can potentially affect your podcast’s ranking, so it’s important to plan the switch carefully as you will likely lose all your statistics and data.
Which Hosts Allow Video Podcast Uploads
Video podcasts are becoming more and more popular. Consider audio vs video podcast offers opportunities for your podcasts to reach a wider audience.
There are several podcast platforms that allow you to upload and distribute video podcasts. Here are some options:
It’s important to note that video podcasts tend to be larger files than audio podcasts, which means they may require more storage and bandwidth. When choosing a hosting platform, make sure to choose a plan that provides enough storage and bandwidth to accommodate your video podcast’s file size and expected audience size.
Why Is Spotify For Podcasters Not Recommended? It’s Completely Free!
While Spotify made a big splash signing people like Joe Rogan to exclusive contracts they also want to be the main, or more only, player in the podcast game. From small independent podcasts to well-known ones – they want or wanted Spotify to be the only platform used for podcast.
This gamble seems to have backfired and Spotify are now backtracking on this plan due to massive losses.
However, just like Facebook or Google, if someone gives you something for free then you are not the customer, you are the product.
And there has been controversy in the past where Spotify added Ads to podcast pages without permission, leading to ads for alcohol being placed under an addiction podcast.
There are also several features that make Spotify For Podcasters low on the list.
- Limited control over RSS feed: Spotify For Podcasters retains control over the RSS feed of a podcast, which can lead to potential issues with ownership and portability of the podcast in the future.
- Limited customization options: While they offer a simple and easy-to-use interface, it lacks advanced customization options for podcasters who want to have more control over the appearance and functionality of their podcast.
- Limited monetization options: While they do offer monetization options such as sponsorships and listener donations, the revenue potential is limited compared to other podcast hosting platforms.
- Limited analytics: Spotify For Podcasters’ analytics are limited in terms of depth and accuracy compared to other podcast hosting platforms. This can make it difficult for podcasters to track the performance of their podcast and make informed decisions about content and marketing strategies.
- Terms of service: Spotify For Podcasters’ terms of service have raised concerns among some podcasters about ownership and distribution of their content, as well as potential changes to the terms of service in the future.
I do use Spotify For Podcasters for Did That Really Happen? as it is not a main podcast of mine and I post infrequently, so being free is a big plus.
It does work well and there are many benefits. But with anything you get what you pay for. So for my main podcast I would rather pay a few more dollars to get a lot more benefits.
Based on the features and benefits mentioned, in my opinion, Buzzsprout is the best podcast hosting site. These benefits include Buzzsprout’s ease of use, analytics, integration with other platforms, customizable podcast players, and affordable pricing plans.
While I haven’t used every podcast platform, I have used several, and after using Buzzsprout since 2019 I have found it to be the easiest to use and most effective platform for podcasting.
It is also simple to increase or decrease your plan depending on how many podcasts you are posting that month.
I admit this may be biased as it is my primary hosting platform but I receive no sponsorship from Buzzsprout to promote them. I find the layout easy to navigate, the stats insightful and the customer support second to none.
If you do use this referral link we will both get a $20 Buzzsprout credit, but this is not why I recommend them.
- Customizable podcast websites, advanced analytics, audience growth tools, and a comprehensive all-in-one platform for podcasting needs.
- Affordable hosting plans, monetization options, built-in promotional tools, and easy integration with major platforms.
Podcast Hosting Platform Conclusion
Choosing the right podcast hosting platform is crucial for the success of your podcast. That’s why I recommend Buzzsprout.
It’s important to consider the features, pricing, and ease of use when selecting a platform. Don’t be afraid to check out different hosting sites to see which one works best for you and your podcast.
Remember that hosting is just one aspect of podcasting, but it’s an important one that can greatly impact the success of your show. With the right hosting platform, you can focus on creating great content and building your audience.
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