The Ultimate Podcast Hosting Guide

podcast - The Ultimate Podcast Hosting Guide

Podcasting Hosting

Creating a podcast involves a lot of decision making. There’s episodes to plan, equipment to buy (or rent) ― not to mention choosing a theme for the podcast itself. With so many details to navigate, it’s easy for new podcasters to overlook one of the most important aspects of a podcast: where will the podcast go? More specifically, where do you store a podcast?.

Getting started

What is a Podcast Host?

A podcast host (sometimes called a podcast hosting site or a podcast hosting platform) is where your podcast lives. It’s a place to store and distribute your podcast content, instead of trying to store your podcast directly on your website ― spoiler alert, your website will struggle substantially under all that data.

Why Do I Need A Podcast Host?

Uploaded Audio Files Alone Won’t Work

Trying to upload your MP3s straight to your website, without a podcast host, will lead to poor experiences for both your listeners AND visitors to your website. Why? Because audio files are notoriously massive  ― a single MP3 can easily be a hundred times larger than a photograph. If multiple people try to stream or download your podcast episodes at the same time, your website will struggle to handle all of the data. This can cause lag and other annoying errors for your audience. The last thing you want is to turn-off your listeners before they can even press play!

Do I Need a Host for My Podcast?

Yes.

More specifically, podcast hosting platforms provide a unique service that most people can’t do themselves; they create RSS feeds. The RSS feed contains a list of all of your podcast episodes in the form of a special signal, which can then be read by podcast directories ― think Apple Podcasts, Google Play, TuneIn, Spotify, Stitcher, etc ― and used to deliver your content to your audience.

If you don’t have a host, you don’t have an RSS feed. If you don’t have an RSS feed, your audiences don’t have a podcast to listen to.

So, yes. You do need a host for your podcast.

 

Top Podcast Hosting Platforms

If all of this information has you buzzing  ― never fear! We’ve put together a comprehensive overview of six of the best and most popular podcast hosts of 2021, so that you can spend less time browsing for the best podcast hosting provider, and more time creating your podcast.

Best Podcast Hosting Sites (in no particular order):

1. Castos

2. Captivate

3. Podbean

4. Resonate

5. Simplecast

6. Buzzsprout 

 

Which Podcast Host is Right for Me?

With a seemingly endless amount of podcast hosting options to choose from, deciding the best podcast hosting platform for your show might feel daunting. The good news is that most hosts include the same core features ― RSS feed creation, audio file storage, and analytics ― across a variety of price points.

What sets a great podcast host apart from a good one are those extra features, like unlimited bandwidth, website integration, and monetization support. Most importantly, the host you choose should fit your individual needs. Some podcast hosts are made specifically with new podcasters in mind, while others focus more on podcasting networks and advertising. Wherever you fall on the podcast experience spectrum, be sure to consider your specific needs as you shop for the best podcast host. But, there’s no need to worry any further because we’ve put together a list of 6 different podcast hosts that we recommend:

1. Castos

If you need a podcast host that’s WordPress friendly, look no further than Castos. With its Simple Podcasting WordPress plugin, you can manage your feeds and upload new episodes of your podcast straight from WordPress. Castos also supports both audio and video files, and includes free automated transcriptions for every episode you produce. With its unlimited number of podcasts, uploads, downloads, and bandwidth, it’s easy to see why Castos has become a staple in the podcast industry.

However, the plethora of Castos goodies does come at a steeper price. There are three pricing tiers (Starter, Growth, and Pro), all driven by the access to the YouTube and Headliner growth integration features they provide; $190/year, $490/year, and $990/year, respectively. The monthly fees range from $19-$99. Luckily, all three tiers feature unlimited upload volume and download bandwidth, and include a customizable player to embed on your website. Pro users also receive access to advanced analytics.

Try Castos now with a free 14-day trial.

Pros:

  • Headliner audiogram and YouTube video integration options
  • Free automated transcriptions
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Website integration
  • Analytics
  • Content repurposing
  • Marketing and monetization support
  • Free 14-day trial
  • Customizable, embeddable player
  • Audio and video
  • Upload podcast episodes straight from WordPress

Cons:

  • Plans on the pricier side
  • No free plans

2. Captivate

There’s a lot to love about this new(ish) podcast host; unlimited storage, unlimited team members, and an unlimited number of hostable podcasts, all on their lowest subscription tier for only $19 per month. On top of all that, Captivate integrates beautifully with WordPress, and offers its users a website exclusively for their podcast ― all at no additional cost.

However, what makes Captivate stand out among podcast hosts is its emphasis on audience growth. Captivate allows its users to insert calls to action (CTAs) directly into their podcasts, making it incredibly easy to direct listeners to specific webpages and offerings. The platform prioritizes marketing and features detailed, yet easily accessible analytics for its users. Best of all, Captivate’s core features are included in all three subscription packages. The three pricing packages ― Podcaster, Audio Influencer, and Podcast Brand ―  are based on the number of monthly downloads for your podcast; $19/month for 12,000 monthly downloads, $49/month for 60,000 monthly downloads, and $99/month for 150,000 monthly downloads, respectively.

Try Captivate now with a free 7-day trial.

Pros:

  • Strong focus on audience growth
  • Unlimited team members
  • Built-in CTA abilities
  • No limits on number of different podcasts
  • Alternative pricing model based on number of podcast downloads
  • Free podcast website
  • Tools for lead generation and email marketing
  • WordPress friendly
  • Unlimited, permanent storage

Cons:

  • Plans on the pricier side
  • No free plans

3. Podbean

When it comes to generosity among podcast hosting services, Podbean is in a league above the rest. To start, Podbean offers a free “Basic Plan” with 5 hours of storage and 100MB of bandwidth on a monthly basis. All of the plans include access to Podbeans mobile app, as well as embeddable players, RSS feed and iTunes support, basic stats and analytics, and a website for your podcast.

From there, the offerings only get better. Podbean has been around for more than a decade, and the developers are always editing and adding features to keep the host up-to-date. The three paid plans include unlimited storage and unmetered bandwidth, website customization, robust analytics, and the ability to use your own domain. Additionally, the plans include support for marketing and monetization. All of these excellent features are packaged at reasonable prices; the Unlimited Audio Plan ($9/month on annual contract), the Unlimited Plus Plan ($29/month on annual contract), and the Business Plan ($99/month on annual contract).

Overall, Podbean is a great and affordable host for beginners, private podcasts, and those seeking to create high quality video podcasts. If Podbean sounds right for you, all of their plans offer a 1 month free trial.

 Pros:

  • Free plan
  • Mobile app
  • Embeddable players
  • RSS feed and iTunes support
  • Robust analytics
  • Customizable podcast website
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unmetered bandwidth
  • Custom domain
  • Marketing and monetization support

Cons:

  • Multiple admins only available in the Business Plan
  • Resonate

4. Resonate

Resonate Recordings has been in the business of podcast production for years ― and they’ve just branched into hosting. This long-time favorite podcasting company is now a one-stop-spot for producing, editing, and hosting podcasts. Best of all, you can migrate your podcast to Resonate hosting for free!

As a host, Resonate offers unlimited storage and bandwidth, 4 methods of private podcast hosting, an embeddable media player, and detailed analytics ― all starting at $25/month. Resonate is an ideal hosting service for those seeking full-service production at a reasonable price point. However, Resonate Hosting can also be used separately.

Check out Resonate Hosting today for a free 45-day trial.

Pros:

  • Dynamic Ad Insertion
  • One-click posting
  • Analytics and audience insights
  • Website included
  • Full-service production available
  • Moderate pricing
  • Unlimited storage and bandwidth
  • Audio files
  • Free 45-day trial
  • Private hosting
  • Free hosting migration

Cons:

  • No custom domains
  • No video

5. Simplecast

Despite its youth, Simplecast has quickly become an industry favorite, and is considered one of the most innovative podcast hosts available today. The platform offers several unique features, such as the Unique Listeners metric, which allows creators to see the number of individual listener devices that download or stream a podcast. Simplecast also offers single-click publishing across a variety of platforms, as well as separate login accounts for different collaborators within a podcast team.

Simplecast offers three packages; Basic, Essential, and Growth. Each tier has its restrictions but unlimited storage and uploads are included across the board, as well as a website and basic analytics. The Basic package ($15/month) includes 2 team member seats, and distribution to most platforms visited by audiences. The Essential package ($35/month) adds two additional team member seats, a custom web-domain, and more customization options. Finally, the Growth package ($85/month) offers 9 team member seats, detailed analytics, and metric comparison across five episodes.

Try Simplecast free for 14 days

Pros:

  • Affordable packages.
  • Excellent customer support
  • Publish content across various audio-uploading channels with a single click
  • Custom web-domain
  • Great for multi-member podcasting teams
  • Unique Listeners feature
  • Facebook community
  • Analytics that are customizable, downloadable, and exportable
  • Several embeddable player options
  • Free 14-day trial

Cons:

  • No private hosting
  • No dynamic ad insertion or geo-targeting
  • Not ideal for beginners

6. Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout has been around since 2008, making it one of the longest running podcast hosting services to-date ― and a well-established favorite in the industry. Buzzsprout is well-known for its simplicity and accessibility, allowing users to submit their podcast episodes directly to listening directories with one-click.

The platform boasts several unique features for its userbase; automatic ID3 tagging, simple audio file conversion, a chapter marker function, Magic Mastering™, and the ability to create a unique video highlight reel to share on social media. Buzzsprout also has WordPress plugins, and simplified publishing features to ensure that uploading, editing and pushing out content is simple as can be.

Buzzsprout has several paid plans, as well a free plan that allows 2 hours worth of uploads per month. However, the free option only stores podcast episodes for 90 days ― after that, the episode is deleted. The $12/month plan increases the upload quantity to 3 hours per month, with the $18/month plan extending the hours to 6, and the $24/month plan allowing for 12. Buzzsprout offers 250GB/month of bandwidth across all plans, and all paid plans include permanent storage.

Buzzsprout is one of the best podcast hosting services for new creators and nonprofits. Plus, the platform offers a $20 Amazon gift card for users who maintain a paid package for at least 2 months.

Pros:

  • Integration with Dynamo (by Voxnest), PODTRAC, and Chartable
  • Third-party integration with podcast tools
  • Converts any audio file to mp3
  • Magic Mastering™ to “sweeten” your audio files
  • Ability to create video snippet for social posts
  • Customizable website
  • Clean and accessible interface
  • Free plan available
  • Lists content in all top podcast directories
  • Offers audio transcriptions
  • Affiliate marketing integration for monetization
  • Affordable paid plans

Cons:

  • No private hosting
  • No dynamic ad insertion or geo-targeting
  • No video files
  • The free plan deletes your audio after 90 days.
  • Audio quality reduces to 96kps on the Standard Plan
  • Only 12 hours of new audio each month, then a charge per hour of uploaded content
  • Plans are restrictive

Need Help Hosting Your Podcast?

Here at Truth Work Media, we believe that everyone has a story worth sharing. If you need help deciding what podcast hosting platform is right for you, or if you still have questions about podcast hosts, connect with us! We offer a variety of packages and services to help you get your podcast up and running, as well as consultations with our podcasting professionals.

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The Ultimate Podcast Hosting Guide