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Best Podcast Hosting Platforms: 2021 Guide

Best Podcast Hosting Platforms: 2021 Guide

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

Choosing the best podcast hosting platform for your show is an important decision. You’ve recorded a studio-quality podcast with Riverside, now how do you get it out there onto the playlists of potential loyal listeners? 

A great hosting tool can give you the power to grow and monetize your podcast. So, to help you decide which is the right one for you, we’ve analyzed the top 11 best podcast hosting sites in 2021.

But firstly, a little reminder:


Why Do I Need a Podcast Hosting Site?

Podcast hosting platforms are sites that store your podcast audio files. They provide you with an RSS feed, which is a link that you need to share your podcast across platforms and directories, like Apple Podcasts and Spotify, for example.

As they’re specially designed to host your podcasts, they avoid the storage space, upload, and playback speed issues that you’d have if you hosted the show on your own website. Unless the podcasting hosting platform’s pricing model is based on storage size, there’s no need to make your files smaller and lose the high-quality audio you’ve spent your precious time recording with software like Riverside!

Best Podcast Hosting Sites for 2021

Buzzsprout: Podcast Hosting For Beginners & Hobbyists

Launched in 2009, Buzzspout is easy to use and reasonably priced with a free plan, so it’s great for beginner podcasters and hobbyists. It has a wide range of features available for an extra fee.

Features
:

  • Host your customized site with a custom domain name on Buzzsprout, or use their player plugin for your WordPress site.
  • Automatic upload to podcast directories.
  • Transcription services (additional charge)
  • Magic Mastering (additional charge): a podcast editing feature that helps your audio files meet Apple Podcasts’ best practices. It also reduces background noise and equalizes microphone levels, like Riverside’s Magic Editor does for free.
  • Episode optimization: Buzzsprout converts file types, bitrates, ID3 tags, etc automatically.
  • Dynamic content: add extra pre-roll and post-roll content to any episode.
  • Publish podcasts immediately or schedule for later.
  • Advanced analytics.
  • Monetization with affiliate marketplace.

Pricing

While Buzzsprout has reasonably priced tiers based on hours of audio content uploaded, there are upload limits on all levels and prices aren’t all-inclusive: add-ons like Magic Mastering and additional uploads are charged as extra. They offer a free plan with ads and limited episode hosting time.


Pros

  • Very easy to use: just upload your podcast file and they do the rest for you.
  • Offer lots of features with the potential to grow and make money off your podcast.
  • Month by month contracts - no commitment.
  • Advanced podcast listener statistics are available at all price tiers.


Cons

  • Even paid plans have storage and bandwidth limits.
  • Pricing plans are not all-inclusive, there are lots of add-ons so hard to estimate true cost.

podbean overview

Podbean: Podcast Hosting For Everyone

With over 10 years of experience and host to more than half a million podcasts, Podbean is one of the best overall podcast hosting platforms on the market.


Features

  • Unlimited podcast hosting plans with unlimited bandwidth.
  • Host your website with customizable themes or embed the player in your WordPress site.
  • Podcast promotion tools: automatically submits your episodes to all top podcast directories and social media.
  • Advertising marketplace with opportunities to monetize content: subscriptions, dynamic ad insertion.
  • Analytics.
  • Own podcast app for iOS and Android.


Pricing

Podbean’s free plan is a good option for beginners with limited features and storage; their Unlimited Plus plan is best for video podcasts and those wanting to earn money from their show.


Pros

  • Great design tools to create a beautiful custom site on Podbean’s platform.
  • Huge range of features suitable for beginner and professional podcasters.
  • Easy to use.
  • Well-established and reliable podcast hosting platform.


Cons

  • Free subscription has very limited features; more popular features are only available at higher price points.
  • Some users have commented on Podbean’s customer support being slow.


BluBrry overview

BluBrry: Podcast Hosting For Advanced Analytics

Best for producers wanting an experienced and customer-focused podcast hosting platform that stands out for its PowerPress plugin and IAB-certified podcast analytics.


Features

  • Free WordPress website using PowerPress (#1 plugin for podcasters).
  • Optimization for sharing on top directories and social media.
  • IAB certified statistics.
  • Phone customer support


BluBrry pricing overview

Pricing

Pricing based on file size. No contract plans so you can cancel at any time. However, there’s no free plan and their small plan is more expensive than others’ unlimited plans.


Pros

  • Great customer support.
  • IAB certified so statistics are compliant.
  • Simple interface.


Cons

  • Higher price point.
  • Limited storage.
  • Extra charge for advanced analytics. 


Fusebox (formerly Smart Podcast Player)

Created by podcasters (namely Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income) for podcasters, Fusebox is best for those who simply want a good-looking podcast player embedded in their website. 


Features

  • Website embedding with different player options.
  • Transcript plugin with SEO-friendly live text that automatically adds podcast transcripts to your website.
  • Pushes your podcast to major directories.


Fuxebox pricing overview

Pricing

The pricing here is based on monthly views. The free option only includes limited player options for embedding on your website, which is Fusebox’s main strength.


Pros

  • Beautifully embedded players in your website with extensive playback features.
  • Easy integration with top directories.


Cons

  • No analytics.
  • Only the basic player is available on their free plan.

Sounder.fm: Podcast Hosting For Discoverability & Growth

Best for podcasters who want one platform to create beautifully designed podcast and episode webpages, host each episode, distribute to major podcasting platforms, and monetize their podcast. Sounder’s main focus is discoverability, reflected in its powerful SEO features.


Features

  • Audio SEO & in-stream audio search.
  • Create episode soundbites available for sharing.
  • Free episode transcription.
  • Podcast & episode webpages.
  • Analytics.
  • Collaboration with multiple users.
  • Monetization opportunities: dynamic ad inserts; they put you in touch with advertisers for host-read ads (saves you spending time researching sponsors).
  • Automatic upload to YouTube (not free plan).
  • Episode scheduling (not free plan).


Sounder.fm pricing overview


Pricing

Its pricing packages are all limited by the number of streams, which get counted when an episode is played within a 45-minute period.

Sounder.fm’s free plan has really great features for beginner podcasters but webpages will have ads. That said, their Plus plan is very affordable and has a 20% discount if you pay annually with lots more features.

Pros

  • Powerful SEO features ideal for boosting discoverability.
  • Guaranteed customer support.
  • Beautifully designed web pages for podcasts and for each episode.
  • Scalable: the potential to add unlimited podcasts, have unlimited streams and collaborators.
  • Advanced analytics: learn what listeners are searching for and engaging with.


Cons

  • Like most other free plans, your podcast website will have ads.


RedCircle platform visual

RedCircle: Podcast Hosting For Monetization

Advertised as a free podcast hosting platform, RedCircle is designed to help you monetize your show (which is how they earn their cut!), with plenty of different features to do so. 


Features

  • Unlimited uploads and streaming for free, for everyone.
  • Manage multiple podcasts in one dashboard.
  • Publish on all major directories.
  • Cross-promotion marketplace within the app.
  • Dynamic ad insertion with control over ad categories and brands.
  • Customizable Patreon-like subscription & donation feature.
  • Easy payouts to your bank using Stripe.


RedCircle pricing overview

Pricing

A completely different pricing strategy to most other podcast hosting platforms. Hosting storage and streaming are unlimited for all, it’s just when you want to use RedCircle’s monetization features that you start to pay.


Pros

  • No contract or commitment: you pay when you make money, they take a share of the revenue.
  • Multiple tools designed to help you monetize your content: ads, subscriptions, cross-promotions.
  • Grow your podcast without having to join a podcast network.


Cons

  • Very limited analytics: just downloads, revenue, and ad statistics.

Captivate: Podcast Hosting For Monetization

One of the newer podcast hosting platforms, UK-based Captivate is best for podcasters looking to make money from their show.


Features

  • Advanced but easy-to-understand analytics.
  • Built-in CTAs to help direct people anywhere you want.
  • Unlimited team members.
  • Monetization: private podcasting on every plan.
  • Podcast scheduling.
  • WordPress integration with their custom plugin.
  • Easy-to-generate podcast sponsorship kit PDF.


Captivate host pricing overview

Pricing

Captivate offers unlimited podcasts and storage but does cap downloads, prices start from around $24 for the personal package. They do a free one-week trial.


Pros 

  • Good-looking podcast player and website.
  • Most features are included in all plans.
  • Useful tools to get sponsors including a sponsorship kit that lets you highlight recent episodes and shows key download numbers.
  • Regular feature updates based on user feedback.
  • IAB certified statistics.


Cons

  • Pricier than most at around $24 per month.


Transistor podcast host platform overview

Transistor: Podcast Hosting For Professionals and Networks

A newer podcast hosting platform, Transistor is best for podcasters who produce multiple shows and want to host them on the same site. It’s the host of choice for popular podcasts including Cards Against Humanity and Indie Hackers, which is recorded with Riverside.


Features

  • Unlimited podcast hosting on all price plans.
  • Advanced analytics.
  • Embedding in WordPress or hosting your webpage on their site.
  • Manage multiple podcasts.
  • Multiple user logins (e.g. producers and editors).


Transistor podcast hosting pricing overview

Pricing

Transistor is pricier than some competitors for its lowest tier and limits downloads, meaning you’ll have to upgrade as your podcast grows. It does offer a 14-day free trial and discounts on annual payments.


Pros

  • Intuitive, easy-to-use design.
  • Host unlimited podcasts within one plan at any tier.
  • Good opportunities for monetization as you can add public and private podcasts.
  • Great for collaboration as you can add multiple users.


Cons

  • Limited downloads.
  • Expensive if you’re not taking advantage of its multiple podcast feature.


libsyn platform overview

Libsyn: Podcast Hosting For Enterprises & Networks

One of the first podcast hosts on the market, Libsyn has been a long-time go-to for established podcasters and is popular with enterprises and podcast networks.

 

Features

  • Basic analytics reports.
  • Premium content options - at higher subscription levels
  • RSS link generation & podcast publishing across all directories and platforms.
  • Their own app (advanced plans only).
  • Geared towards enterprises.


Libsyn podcast host pricing overview

Pricing

Libsyn’s budget-friendly tiers are priced by storage limits but all have unlimited audiences. However, the lowest price point does not include statistics ($2 extra per month). They’re ideal for podcast networks, with enterprise pricing offering all their professional tools and up to 3000MB storage.


Pros

  • Tens of thousands of happy customers.
  • Powerful statistics reports (with higher-tier plans).


Cons

  • May seem affordable but lower tier plans have very limited features and storage (50MB = around 50 minutes of audio).


Simplecast podcast host overview

Simplecast: Podcast Hosting For Professionals & Networks

Simplecast is ideal for professional podcasters or podcast networks who want the best-looking embedded players and detailed analytics from their hosting platform.


Features

  • Unlimited uploads.
  • Advanced analytics.
  • Custom website and custom domain even on the lowest tier.
  • Multiple users.
  • Manage multiple shows with one account.


Simplecast podcast host pricing overview

Pricing

Simplecast has a transparent pricing strategy with unlimited storage on all plans. It offers a two-week free trial and a discount when paid annually.


Pros

  • Trusted by large (Slack, Shopify) and small podcasters.
  • Tools aimed at growing your podcast.
  • Enterprise pricing available for bigger podcasts.


Cons

  • Basic analytics on the lowest subscription package.

OmnyStudio platform overview

Omny Studio: Podcast Hosting For Enterprises & Networks

Omny Studio offers podcast hosting for enterprises, which is reflected in its powerful features and high price point. Trusted by world-leading radio stations and podcast networks.


Features

  • Unlimited and safely backed-up storage for all episodes.
  • Upload multiple episodes at once or import RSS feed.
  • Manage multiple shows, collaborators, and permissions.
  • Searchable archive.
  • Share on your own website, embed on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Basic podcast editing tools.
  • Built-in ad campaign manager with geographically targeted ads.
  • IAB certified analytics.


OmnyStudio pricing overview

Pricing

Enterprise pricing starts from the equivalent of around $40 per month for their basic package. They do offer a two-week free trial, but Omny Studio is definitely designed for podcast networks or multiple-show producers.


Pros

  • Time-saving and efficient for big enterprises with large archives of podcast files: search, batch upload, quick switch between different shows on one central dashboard, etc.
  • Flexible ad campaigns for different levels of sponsorship and types of ads.
  • Powerful podcast download statistics.


Cons

  • Expensive: not for the beginner or semi-pro podcasters.

Which Is The Best Podcast Hosting Site For You?

Picking the right podcast host can make producing your show a whole lot easier, as well as facilitating growth and monetization. Whether you’re looking for a hosting platform for your hobby podcast, your podcast network, or to optimize your podcast’s discoverability, there’s an option to suit your needs.

Remember, when deciding which is the best podcast hosting site for your podcast, it’s essential to keep the requirements of your show in mind. Have a read of Riverside’s article on what to consider when choosing your podcast hosting platform to compare your priorities to what’s on offer.

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