Once you’ve recorded your first podcast episode, you’ll need to publish it on the web so listeners can enjoy it. But you can’t upload it just anywhere. You’ll need to use a special platform made specifically for podcasters. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best podcast hosting services.
Which podcast host is the best? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. There are plenty of high quality services that do a fine job. The trick is to browse the best podcast hosting services and find the one that meets your needs. This review will help you identify the best one for you.
But before we dive into our review, let’s first answer a question we hear a lot: Why do I need a podcast host?
Why You Need a Podcast Hosting Service
A podcast host is where you store you audio file. The host will provide you with an RSS feed, which is essentially a list of links to each episode along with other details – like your title, description, and image.
Apple Podcasts and Google Play are podcast directories. You want people to find your podcast on these places, but you can’t store your podcast on their servers. They just use your RSS link to display your podcast content. Listing your show on podcast directories is as simple as submitting your RSS link (in most cases).
Why can’t you host your podcast on your own site?
Because your web server probably isn’t configured for it. It isn’t optimized for audio files and can’t handle all the download requests you’ll (hopefully) get. You could purchase the right web hosting plan to store your own audio files, but that would be more expensive than using one of the podcast hosting services.
That said, podcast hosting services aren’t just folders for your audio files. They do a lot more than that – like provide analytics, WordPress integration, support, and other tools. You wouldn’t be able to build or use many of the features they offer without significant expense.
The Best Podcast Hosting Services
Which of podcast host is the best? That’s up for you to decide, but this guide will help you make your decision. As an overview here is a comparison of the best podcast hosting providers that we think would be a good fit for your podcast.
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Here’s a more in depth review of the best podcasting hosting services that we use and recommend to our clients.
Castos is a remarkably easy podcast hosting service with some powerful features to repurpose your content and extend your show. They’re the one hosting provider on our list who offers a great user experience either using their Seriously Simple Podcasting WordPress plugin or managing your podcast directly through their Castos dashboard.
After starting your 14-day trial, you can either install the WordPress plugin and add a new podcast from your WordPress backend (just like adding a new page or post), or start publishing directly from your Castos dashboard if you’re not using WordPress.
Unlike some of the podcast hosting services on this list, Castos will show you advanced analytics about your listeners, including where they’re from, how they found your show, the type of device they use to listen, and the playback duration.
You can import all of your existing podcast content with one click, customize the media player so it fits in with your website, and automatically republish your content to YouTube (Castos will turn your audio files into video files). You can even have each episode automatically transcribed, which is great for pasting onto your page. Written content is great for SEO!
The team at Castos is also working on what promises to be a great alternative way to monetize your show (other than through advertisements) with their Premium Memberships. Think of this like the membership site model applied to your podcast where you can charge a small monthly fee for access to some, or all, of your podcast content.
Plans cost $19 to $49 per month. All come with unlimited storage, bandwidth and episodes. Higher priced plans give you access to video podcasting and YouTube republishing.
BuzzSprout is a popular podcast hosting service for new podcasters. They try to make everything as simple as possible. Audio files are automatically optimized and listed in podcast directories upon publishing.
Uploading, tracking, and sharing your episodes is easy without any technical knowledge. After uploading a new episode, you can simply schedule it for publishing on all the major podcast directories and embed the an audio player on your website. BuzzSpout also makes it simple to switch over from another podcast hosting service. The company is known for its stellar customer service.
Another advantage to Buzzsprout is that you can add chapter markers to your audio files to help your listeners understand details about different parts of each episode. You can also use their audio transcription service ($0.10 per minute) to generate content for your web pages.
Plans cost $12 to $24 per month with a limited free tier. This makes it one of the few of the podcast hosting services on this list to let you host your podcast for free. But they remove your episodes after 90 days, so you’ll grow out of the free tier quickly.
Simplecast is a feature-heavy podcast hosting service that’s used by some of the biggest brands in the world, such as Shopify, TechCrunch, Facebook, Politico, and Harvard. It offers an easy upload workflow to get each episode published quickly.
Simplecast comes with IAB compliant, industry leading analytics tool called Audience. It helps you understand where your listeners are from and which parts of your show they share the most. It also comes with Recast, a podcast sharing tool that lets your listeners share custom clips of your episodes on social media.
Plans cost $15 to $85 per month. All plans allow unlimited uploads and storage. Higher tier plans give you more downloads, let you invite more team members to your team, embed and customize the audio player, and access analytics and insights.
PodBean has been around since 2006, which makes it is a veteran in the podcast hosting space. Even though they’ve been around for a long time, they’ve shown a willingness to evolve and add more features.
All PodBean plans come with unlimited space and bandwidth, an embeddable media player, and website themes. You can record and publish right from the PodBean app.
Higher priced plans give you monetization options. You can work directly with sponsors on the platform to monetize your show using traditional ads or dynamic insertion ads. They even have their own version of Patreon where you can collect donations from listeners, including reward goals and tiers and custom pledges. You can also sell premium content, like bonus episodes, blocks of archived episodes, or file downloads (like PDFs). PodBean only takes 15% of your sales income.
Unlike many podcast hosting services, they will host video content as well. There’s even a feature to automatically create a YouTube version of your podcast and auto-upload it to your YouTube channel during publishing.
Plans cost $9 to $99 per month. There’s a free tier, but it’s extremely feature limited which isn’t useful for most podcasters. For instance, you don’t get the monetization features which is this host’s biggest selling point.
Blubrry is one of the most popular podcast hosting services. Like Castos, it has its own WordPress integration (PowerPress) that makes uploading and posting episodes quick and easy. It offers a wide range of price options, which is nice if you’re on a budget and only want to buy what you need. Blubrry can also supply you with a branded WordPress website if you need one.
Podcasters like Blubrry because it comes with a detailed analytics feature to tell you about your listeners – their location, domains, referrers, etc. This is useful for when you start finding sponsors for your show.
Plans cost $12 to $80 per month based on your storage space. $12/month gets you 100 MB/month, $20/month gets you 250 MB/month, $40/month gets you 500 MB/month, and $80/month gets you 1,000 MB/month. If you plan to produce a one-hour show each week, you’ll need the 500 MB at least. Fortunately, Blubrry offers “no fault overage,” which means they don’t penalize you if you exceed your maximum monthly storage by less than 25%.
Spreaker is a comprehensive platform. It has everything you need to create, distribute, and monetize your podcast. It comes with features to embed widgets on your website (or other sites), schedule episodes ahead of time, and create private episodes, and insert ads. The interface is modern and easy to use, making it ideal for new podcasters without much experience.
You can upload your audio file or use their desktop or mobile app to record your episode directly. It’s good for the podcaster on-the-go because of it’s live recording features. You can read listeners’ chat messages during live recordings,
Plans cost $6 to $45 per month. There’s a free plan, but it’s limited to just five hours of audio, so you’ll end up upgrading soon. The $6/month plan is alright, but it limits you to 45 minute episodes. If you think you’ll talk longer than that, you’ll need the $18/month plan, which is ideal for most podcasters.
Libsyn is one of the oldest podcast hosting services and thus the most popular. It’s been around longer than most people have known about podcasting.They actually pioneered the system of hosting and publishing podcasts. It hosts over 25,000 shows with 44 million downloaders.
Libsyn is known for his simple interface, easy RSS link generator, and analytics tools. You can publish your podcast any time in the future to podcast directories, independently of each other. For instance, you could publish to Apple Podcasts on Monday at 10AM and Spotify on Friday at 6PM.
For a setup fee and a few extra bucks per month, Libsyn will create an iOS/Android app for you. Imagine having your own app that only shows your content!
Plans cost $5 to $75 per month, which sounds remarkably cheap, but that’s become it doesn’t come with many features. Pricing tiers are based on storage, as well. There is no unlimited plan, but you can purchase extra increments of $200/month.
Podiant’s Production Assistant system is a unique feature. It helps you write scripts, review your content, and add show notes right from the Podiant dashboard. You can even use Podiant to coordinate guests (by letting everyone specify potential meetup times) and communicate with your participants via the dashboard during recording.
This makes Podiant useful for shows with lots of guests (panels, roundtables, multi-person interviews, or other podcast formats), shows with precise scripts (like non-fictional storytelling or theater), or shows with hosts who are just busy people.
Plans cost $13 to 36 per month. All come with unlimited storage. The cheapest plan is right for most podcasters. Higher priced plans come with better audio, help building a website, and tools for podcasters who own multiple shows.
Anchor is a newer player in the podcast hosting space. Like Spreaker, they focus heavily on mobile devices. Their tools allow you to record, edit (including outros and intros), publish, promote, and monetize your podcast shows from any mobile device.
Since you record with your phone, your audio quality is limited by your microphone. The editing feature isn’t the best (certainly worse than doing it yourself), so the quality can be round.
Anchor is unique because it’s free. Seriously, it’s 100% free. But free isn’t necessarily good, and definitely not in this case. According to Anchor’s terms and conditions, they technically own your content and can use it however they like, for free, forever. They can even modify it and share it with whomever they like.
So why do we include Anchor on our list of the best podcasting hosting services? Because it’s actually quite useful for podcast creators who don’t need a lot of polish. If you aren’t concerned about the little mistake and just want to bang out and share content, this might be the right platform for you.
What to Look for in Podcast Hosting Services
Okay – That’s a lot of information. When you start to explore each of the podcast hosting services on this list, you may struggle to weigh all the variables. Here are the most important aspects to look for when you evaluate a potential host for your show.
1. Audio Quality
The quality of your audio can make or break your podcast. Listeners will not stick with a podcast that doesn’t have super high quality audio. A good podcast host will do a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure that your audio quality doesn’t degrade.
How do you evaluate the audio quality of a podcast host before using their service? By listening to other podcasts that use that host. Most hosting services show off a list of some of their customers somewhere. Check to make sure the sound is crisp and clear.
2. Cost of Service
Unless you have unlimited resources, cost is always a factor. Fortunately, the best podcast hosting services are not that expensive. But even a few dollars can seem like a lot when your podcast it doesn’t make any money. Choose a hosting service that is affordable, especially in the beginning. You can always migrate to another host later.
3. RSS Feed
A big part of promoting your podcast is submitting your show to podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and other smaller services. Making your show available to more people is a cute way to grow your audience. Whichever podcast hosting service you decide to use should be able to give you a simple RSS link you can submit or post anywhere.
4. Embeddable Media Player
Unless you’re going to use a website produced by your podcast host, you’ll need the ability to embed a media player on your website. This is usually just a block of HTML that you drop into your website’s theme or on individual pages.
5. Flexible Storage and Bandwidth
If your podcast host doesn’t offer unlimited storage and bandwidth, make sure they have flexible plans that automatically scale based on the amount of content you publish and traffic your show gets. Do not use a podcast host that prevents listeners from accessing an episode if you have already met your bandwidth limit for the month.
6. Analytics Tools
In order to grow your podcast as fast and efficiently as possible, you need to know everything you can about your audience. The podcast hosting service you decide to use should give you as much information as possible about your listeners. It should display this data in a visual, easy-to-understand format.
Which of These Podcast Hosting Services is Right For You?
Now that we have reviewed and compared the best podcast hosting services, it’s up to you to decide which is right for your podcast. We encourage you to explore these services on your own to find the one that meets your needs the best.
Ideally, your podcast and audience will grow over time, see you as you evaluate each podcast hosting service, consider what your show will look like in 6 months or a year. Sometimes it’s easier to purchase the service that you will grow into, rather than change at a later point.
That said, many of the podcast hosting services on this list make it easy to import your episodes from another service (Castos especially). So while choosing a podcast hosting service is a big decision, it’s not a permanent one. You can always change it later if your needs change.