A podcast hosting platform is where you will store and distribute your podcast’s audio files. You can think of the hosting platform as the media host for your podcast, in the same way that a blog needs a web host. You cannot just upload to your web host, because the file sizes for your episodes are too large and your website will struggle if too many people try to stream or download at the same time. You need a reliable hosting platform to ensure the server is equipped to ensure your listeners can listen and download your episode with ease.
A hosting platform is not the same as a podcast directory. The directory is where you audience listens to your podcast, e.g. Spotify or Google Podcasts.
When you have uploaded the audio file for your episode to your hosting platform, you can add the episode title, episode description, transcript etc. and schedule it to go live. The hosting platform is linked to a directory (or as many as you like) by providing a podcast RSS feed (a listing of all your episodes). When the new episode is released on the hosting platform, it will appear on the directories for your audience to listen.
There are many hosting platforms available for you to choose between. We have explored the pros and cons of podcast hosting platforms to help you choose which one is right for you.
Buzzsprout probably has the easiest user interface to navigate out of all the hosting platforms in the list. Uploading your episode to Buzzsprout is simple and quick. You simply upload your media file and it automatically takes care of the rest. Submitting your RSS feed to directories is easy to do, and to make it even easier for you, Buzzsprout will automatically submit your episodes to the top directories. This allows your audience to find you no matter where or how they listen to podcasts, with no extra effort on your end.
Other features that we like are the ability to add team members with admin or editor access levels, adding chapter markers to your episode for longer audios, Magic Mastering to improve the audio quality and the transcription integration.
It is reasonably priced, with plans dependent on how many hours of uploads you want each month. However, consider your requirements for storage and bandwidth as even their paid plans have limits.
Buzzsprout does not support video podcasts.
While it is a more expensive than competitors, Simplecast offers everything a podcast might need from a hosting platform. Their interface is easy to navigate and their upload tools make publishing your episodes very easy. They offer advanced audio tools, you can easily build a designated website for your podcast, and tracking your show’s data using the analytics dashboard is essential for gaining insight and understanding how to increase your audience engagement.
With unlimited storage available on all plans, no time limit and no bandwidth limit, it is a great option. If you host more than one show, you can host them all with one account. If your podcast is in video format, Simplecast does not support video unfortunately.
Their Recast tool is optimised for social media sharing and their embeddable players are probably the most aesthetic out of all the hosting platforms.
As a hosting platform, Podbean is another great choice.
Read more about Podbean’s podcast recording features and capabilities in our Top 10 podcast recording platforms post here.
In terms of pricing you can opt for a free plan with limited storage or they offer unlimited storage and bandwidth on their paid plans. Podbean also has a great app to use, they provide comprehensive and useful statistics for your show, and the customisation options for your podcast website are extensive. If you are looking to maximise the monetisation from your podcast, Podbean is a great choice due to their multiple built-in monetisation tools. For those with a video podcast, video format is supported by Podbean, along with the ability to live stream.
If you already have a WordPress site, Castos could be the right pick for you. Their plug-in for WordPress is the best out of all the hosting platforms, with their ‘Seriously Simple Podcasting’ (SSP) WordPress plugin. It allows you to manage your feed and upload new episodes from your WordPress dashboard directly.
Even if you don’t have WordPress, it is still a great option giving you a customisable webpage, podcast statistics, automated transcriptions and customised media player. They also offer unlimited storage and bandwidth on any plan, which is a big advantage over other options.
Another benefit of Castos is how easy it is to publish your podcast to YouTube, as it converts your audio episodes to a video. Their “Pro” plan also allows for video file hosting for those with a video podcast.
If you are looking to start a video podcast check out our post on “Launching a Video Podcast” for tips and guidance!
RSS.com has been hosting podcasts since 2005. They are very popular due to their competitive pricing and the extensive range of features they offer. They offer everything you need for podcasting success – an easy to use interface, a customisable website, automatic distribution to popular directories, cross-platform analytics, monetisation tools and promotional tools to help your show get found and heard. They do not support video files however.
They also offer unlimited episodes and bandwidth. There is no free plan available after your first episode, but their paid plans are very well priced.
Redcircle is a little newer to the scene than other hosting platforms. They are suitable for podcasters of all levels, but are targeted more towards semi-pro podcasters, with the aim to help podcasters grow and monetise their shows and share in their revenue.
You still maintain your independence as there is no contractor exclusivity, but they help you to earn money through advertising, listener donations, and subscriptions.
Each pricing option, including the free plan, offers unlimited hosting, analytics, and the RedCircle Ad Platform. Other key features on the paid options include unlimited Dynamic Insertion Technology, video generation for upload to YouTube and their cross-promotion marketplace.
Supporting both audio and video files and unlimited bandwidth, Libsyn is another great choice for your hosting platform. It was once considered the default hosting platform for podcasts as it has been around for so long. Their popularity has declined with the appearance of newer platforms onto the scene, especially as their user-interface is not as sleek or intuitive as others out there and beginners may find it difficult to navigate.
They offer features such as the ability to publish directly to YouTube, schedule unique content to go out to your social media channels, integration with the monetisation platform Glow and they can also build you an app for your podcast.
There is no free option available, but their plans are reasonably priced. If you have multiple shows, you will need a separate plan for each.
Transistor is very easy to use with an excellent user interface, making it ideal for beginners and professionals alike. They automatically distribute to the major podcast directories for you. They also offer a customisable website for your podcast, advanced analytics, and integration with mailing list sites. You can host multiple podcast shows on the one account and you can have private podcasts.
They offer unlimited shows and episodes, which means they don’t charge you for hours of upload as some other hosts do. Their pricing is midrange, with no free option, and is based on subscriber and download activity. As your podcast grows you will need to update your plan.
Captivate has been on the scene for a long time and are considered the first “growth-oriented platform hosting service”. They have key features especially for podcast growth such as built-in call to actions, customisable websites, and an email capture form to grow your email list. They also have other useful features like batch uploading, smart UI features like default schedule time, and WordPress integration with their custom plugin.
When it comes to data and insights for your show, Captivate offer you very in-depth analysis but make it very easy to consume and understand how your show is performing. Their user interface is very easy to navigate even for first-time users and adding your Captivate RSS feed to directories is also very straight-forward.
You can increase your downloads by upgrading, but their core features are not limited by plan which is a big advantage over other platforms. There is also no time-limit and they offer unlimited storage. One drawback would be that they do not support video podcasts
While Soundcloud was not specifically designed for podcast hosting, being one of the largest music streaming platforms, they have recently started to focus on podcasting in addition to music.
Its features include advanced statistics, private podcasting, monetisation integrations and the ability to interact with your listeners. Its popularity as a music streaming platform gives your podcast a lot of potential for growth and finding new listeners. It also supports video files.
The free plan gives you up to a 3-hour upload. Although their paid plan is expensive, it offers an unlimited amount of upload. There is, however, limits on bandwidth with SoundCloud.
If you have any other questions or queries about all your podcasting needs, contact us here at Zorbiant.