I get asked a lot about why podcast hosting sites exist at all, and why podcasters can’t just host their episodes on their website.
And I wish it were that simple.
For one thing, podcast requires, among other things, much more storage space than most of the other forms of documents we store online.
While an image may be just 300kb, an MP3 would normally be 100x that.
But that’s not even the only prime reason for which podcast hosting platforms exist.
The entire design, which consists of the user interface, the scheduling, the ease of set-up, the distribution and protection of your podcast files -- among other things -- are part of what people pay podcast hosting sites for.
There are undoubtedly free ones, but they are not meant for professionals or anyone willing to monetize their podcast.
So if you fall in the category of professional podcasters for whatever reason, or you are aspiring to be one, this blog post is meant to show you the best podcast platforms, arm you with the tools you need, and show you how to go about succeeding as a podcaster.
What is Podcast Hosting?
A podcast host is a platform that enables you to store and distribute your audio files online for accessibility by subscribers. A podcast host generates file hosting and RSS feed for your podcast.
This RSS feed is what you submit to Apple podcasts and all other podcast directories to enable your target audience to find you.
A podcast is a repository of audio files packaged into a single file. They take a lot of spaces and bandwidth to store, and personal web servers do not have such amount of storage spaces.
Hence, a podcast hosting service (or a podcast hosting site) is the one that allows you to store such files and lets subscribers access and download it.
What are the best podcast hosting sites?
Podcast hosting sites have seen leaps in growth ever since podcast listeners began to grow.
According to Statista, the number of podcast listeners in the United States reached 75 million in 2018. The same data says the number of monthly listeners should reach 164 million by 2024.
As a result of this, podcast hosts are also increasing.
To me, the best podcast hosts are the following:
I’m choosing Buzzsprout as my number one option for two obvious and shrewd reasons.
One, cost -- an indispensable consideration in all entreprise.
Second, storage space, which is the reason why you need them in a podcast host in the first place.
Now let me analyze the two.
Speaking of cost, Buzzsprout offers free hosting options to those who are just starting out.
This free plan allows you to upload two hours of content and hosts your audio file for 90 days.
If you upgrade to their paid plan, which costs between $12-$24 per month, they will host your file indefinitely, give you unlimited storage and 250GB of bandwidth per month.
Buzzsprout comes up with regular updates and new features. Among their several features is their unique built-in transcription integration, a new podcast player you can embed onto your site and the ability to add chapter markers, to name but a few.
Another appealing feature of Buzzsprout is that they make it very easy to upload your content and schedule your podcast, leaving you with more time in your hand to focus on content creation and marketing.
I would be greatly remiss if I ignored to mention the fact that their platform gives you great analytics and a user-friendly dashboard.
Their analytics feature is one of the best you could get anywhere.
Captivate is a new podcast hosting platform with more focus on growing quality audiences.
Called Captivate, the team that has been running Podcast Websites for a long time brought everything they’ve learned about podcasting for years into action.
They advance on every central area such as their easy-to-understand yet advanced analytics, the built-in CTA (call to action) to direct people to wherever you want, and the crisp fine-looking website.
Other useful features include default schedule time, WordPress integration with their custom plugin as well as many other benefits.
In the area of mobile-friendliness, you can hardly get something better anywhere else. I need not mention the fact that podcast listeners majorly do it on their smartphones.
They allow you to host an unlimited number of podcasts which starts at $19 per month for 12,000 downloads.
Also, they don’t limit core features based on the plan you are on. While additional pay means additional features, they give you more than what others give you at the same price.
Podbean has been in the podcast market since 2006. Among podcast hosting sites in the world, that is a lot of years, which, to me as a marketer, also means a lot of credibilities.
And their number of users lend credence to my position.
Over the years, more than 6.2 billion downloads have taken place on their platform and over 310,000 podcasters use them.
I don’t think anyone would do that number if the value they offer isn’t very disruptive.
If you are going for a free plan, you can have a 5-hour upload option with basic stats.
But if you are planning to run your shows like a professional, at $9 per month (paid annually), you will have an unlimited upload plan which includes stats, custom domains, a website and several other things.
And for those who want to run an excellent podcast and are looking to have and give the best experience possible, Podbean Unlimited Plus Plan which is pegged at $29 a month is your best shot.
This plan gives you unlimited audio hosting and video storage and allows you to add sponsored ad campaigns into your new episodes for faster monetization.
You will also get a mobile app, analytics reports and automatic posting on Facebook and Twitter.
Or you can read my comparison of Buzzsprout vs Podbean.
Simplecast can simply be referred to as the elite podcast hosting platform.
They know their onions enough to have Shopify, Facebook, HBO and Slack host with them.
What better review can I write about them?
And with just $15 per month, they will give you unlimited uploads, a website, analytics and the ability to have many people managing your podcast.
And if you go higher and choose their $35 per month plan, you will have more customization, additional team members access, the ability to use a custom domain name, advanced analytics, 50k downloads a month and a lot more.
But nothing speaks to their stand-out value proposition than the high-end class of businesses that are hosting with them.
Transistor is one of the newest podcast hosting and analytics platforms on the Internet, a high-quality platform that focuses solely on serious and business-minded podcasters.
With $19 per month, you can get 10,000 downloads per month, host as many shows as you want, add and manage team members, have high-end stats and a good website.
If you want to upgrade, they have a Professional plan which is $49 per month. It gives you up to five members and 50,000 downloads per month.
And they have a Business Plan which is $99 per month and allows you to have up to ten team members and 150,000 downloads per month among others.
With Transistor, you can always scale your podcast as your audience grows.
Castos podcast hosting has interesting features and integrates easily with WordPress.
They give unlimited uploads and download bandwidth at $19 per month with a customizable player that you can embed on your website.
If you already have a WordPress website, all you need to do is to go to their website, start their 14 days trial, install their WordPress plugin on your site, and when you are ready to host your podcast episodes, add them into the Podcast section that now appears in your dashboard.
Upload your audio file and type in the description. The podcast will then go live on your website with a customizable media player.
Whenever you are ready to add your podcast to podcast directories, copy your URL and add it to any publisher you want.
Remember the guys I mentioned when I was reviewing Captivate in this list, they are the one behind Podcast Websites.
It is a high-quality and all-in-one podcast hosting company that allows you full access to a fully responsive website hosting and security, analytics, daily back-up and 24/7 support.
With them, you will have a WordPress website, unlimited podcast hosting, business email address as well as several other things.
They give digital marketing support to their members to promote their podcast and ads.
They also recently launched an academic membership which allows you to learn from their video library.
And all these you can have with a subscription of just $10 per month.
Spreaker is the only podcast host option that has a live podcasting option among all podcast hosting sites that are available.
Among several other features, they are a mobile-focused site and the only site that allows you to interact live with your listeners.
They have apps for both desktop and smartphone for recording, live streaming, viewing stats and several other features.
While they have a free plan to test things out, the features in this free option are quite limited, and the main benefit lies in their $20 per month Broadcaster Plan, although the price goes upward for additional benefits.
For serious podcasters, their paid plans have a lot of interesting features such as the ability to schedule episodes and embed widgets on your website.
Among other things, they boast of their high storage capacity.
audioBoom is renowned for being the podcast hosting platform that helps podcasters with monetization.
Their focus is mostly on content distribution and monetization. They are more of a platform that helps podcasters monetize faster.
They let you host, distribute and monetize your website. And once you hit the 10,000 downloads per episode, you will be given access with their targeted ads, sponsorships and branded partnerships.
Their cheapest option is $9.99 and it gives you unlimited uploads per month, embeddable media players for a website and up to 10,000 downloads per month.
Whooshkaa is an Australian-based podcast company. Their unique selling point includes their text-to-speech feature, sharing tools, customizable players and so on.
They focus a lot on their dynamic ad platform that customizes ad based on the listener’s location and podcast genre.
Well, that brings us to the end of this section. I have given you ten best podcasting hosting sites you can sign up with today.
And now I'm going to talk about podcast directories. I have mentioned what they are earlier in this post. Here I will be teaching you how to select the best ones and how to submit your podcast to them.
But before that, I want you to understand that this isn't an exhaustive list of podcast hosts, rather they are the ones I handpicked based on my findings and testings after long research.
So, to choose the best podcast hosting platforms, I create the section below to help you make an informed decision if you are not using any of the ones I listed here.
You can see more in these Anchor.fm alternatives.
How to choose the best podcast hosting platforms
Podcast listeners number is growing at an accelerating pace. More and more people are listening to podcasts and the number will continue to rise.
If you’ve been asking yourself. “How do I know the best podcast sites?” below are some questions you should consider answering.
- How much storage space will you be needing per month?
- Which platform offers you that advantage and other things you will need?
- Are you going to need a video podcast?
- How much are you willing to spend on your podcast?
These are some of the questions you are going to need to answer before choosing which podcast hosting platform you should use.
Nevertheless, once you’ve thought your choices through and you are in for a huge monetization game, don’t let the price deter you from choosing ones that serve all your purposes or you will end up spending more than you should.
What are podcast directories?
Google Play, iTunes and Spotify; if you’ve ever come across any of those names, those are the ones we refer to as podcast directories.
Remember in the beginning, I explained that podcast hosts create RSS feed for you.
These podcast directories receive your RSS feeds and podcast files and push them to their front end systems, as opposed to podcast hosting sites that just give you a space to host your podcast and do all sorts of tweak with them.
This enables your audience to find your podcast show using their podcast app, their computer, their iPhone or Android phone.
Once you upload your audio file on your podcast hosting platform, the directory detects something new in your feed, it downloads it and displays the latest one to its users.
Podcast platforms to publish your podcasts on
Having discussed the podcast hosting sites in detail, you'd want to know what are the podcast platforms you should publish your podcast on to get seen by the right people.
Below are some of them.
How to submit your podcast to Google Play
Go to Podcast in Google Play Music, click on the "Publish" button, log in to your Google account and accept their terms of service.
Then enter the URL for your RSS feed, then click submit.
Check your inbox for a verification email to prove you own the podcast.
Click Publish and wait for the approval.
How to submit your podcast to iTunes
First, get yourself an Apple ID to submit your podcast, then sign in to iTunes connect.
Click on the top-left area of the dashboard and enter your RSS feed into the text box.
All of your podcast information will load from your podcast host and you will be shown a feed preview. Make sure you put all your text and artwork in order.
Now click submit and wait for the approval.
How to submit your podcast to Spotify
Log in to your Spotify account, submit your RSS feed and then Spotify will help you do the rest.
Podcast equipment you will need to succeed
Well, if you have no monetization goal, or you do but you are not hoping to get much out of your podcast and your target audience is very small, it is as simple as using your computer and a microphone to make records, and then uploading that on any of the podcast hosting sites of your choice.
But if you have a worthy plan rather than a mere hobby, tons of tools are going to be beneficial, if not compulsory for you.
What you are about to do is to speak to an unidentified number of people from undetermined locations and from unspecific walks of life and social statuses.
The last thing you want to do is bore them, or give them trouble getting the message you are trying to put across.
As such, the following tools should be in your toolbag if you are going big.
A podcast microphone
Do not depend on your computer’s microphone. It was never designed for such professional purposes.
Hence, you will need a podcast microphone you can rely on. In this case, I recommend Blue Yeti.
Laptop for podcast
For its originality and uniqueness of strength, I will recommend Macbook Air.
While you don’t need the most expensive computer to succeed in this, the better your tools, the better your output.
A mixer for podcasting
To avoid sounding monotonous, effects are necessary for both audio and visual contents.
You may want to create echos, flanging, delays as well as many effects that you may want to toy with. But the primary job of those effects is to give your podcast some professional vibe.
Did this blog post solve your problem on how to choose the best podcast hosting sites?
Leave a comment in the section below and let me know if I've been able to help.