You've refined the concept for your podcast and found the right equipment to create an amazing setup. Maybe you've even recorded some quality audio for your first show. So, what's next? How do you deliver your podcast to the ears of listeners?
To get your podcast to the people, you'll need a podcast hosting platform to store your audio and video files online for distribution and download. Not all podcast hosting platforms are created equal, and you should consider many factors when selecting the best podcast host for your program.
Before you pick a podcast host, find out what podcast hosting is and how it affects distribution. We'll discuss some of the features and capabilities you should keep an eye out for when deciding between podcast hosting sites. You’ll know how to find the best podcast hosting platform for the specific needs of your program.
What is a Podcast Hosting Platform?
Just like you need a website host to store content, like pictures, written content, forms, etc., you need a podcast hosting platform to host and store the media files for your show. Podcast hosting sites use servers for storage, designed specifically to store large media files for download and distribution.
Most podcast hosting platforms come with additional features to grow your following. If you know what to look for in a podcast host, you can easily select a platform that will meet all of your needs and simplify your podcasting experience, instead of complicating it.
Why Do You Need Podcast Hosting?
When recording a podcast, you create a large number of media files that you'll need to share online with your audience. If you know what you're doing, you could create a website to host and share those media files. But, most website hosts don't have the storage or bandwidth capabilities needed for large audio and video files. Using your own website could result in a bad user experience with issues like slow load times or even page crashes.
For the best results, get your podcast online through a podcast hosting platform. A podcast hosting site provides ample space to store files for as long as you want. Many platforms will even assist you with distribution so people can find your show and tune in.
Benefits of Podcast Hosting Platforms
Analytics provide key insights about your show you can use to better reach listeners and create content they want to hear. They give you valuable info on listeners to help maximize your profits if you ever opt for monetization through ad placement.
A podcast that takes too long to download or stream will turn off any listener pretty quickly. (nobody likes buffering!) Podcast hosts ensure your audience receives your content at the best speeds possible.
Smoother Data Transfers
Podcast hosting companies have sites designed specifically for podcasts and transferring podcast data. The latency for transferring your show will reduce when you use a podcast host, which means your listeners will have a smoother experience and won’t have trouble downloading or streaming your audio.
No Compromise in Quality
You won’t have to worry about compressing your audio and losing quality if you opt for a podcast host over hosting your content on your own site. Just make sure to choose a hosting plan that fits your needs based on the size of your audio and video files.
Repurpose Your Content
If a podcast host offers transcription services, you can repose your content for wider use online. Use transcripts as blog content, for posts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and in ad campaigns to promote your podcast.
How Do I Host a Podcast?
Hosting a podcast isn’t hard: once you’ve recorded and edited your episode, add your media files to the podcast hosting platform. Each platform will have its own process for uploading audio and video based on how its software works. The process usually involves just a couple of clicks. When selecting a podcast host, read about how their upload process works so you know what to expect. In this blog, we’ll cover some options that you can review and discover how each works.
What’s the Difference Between Podcast Hosting and Podcast Distribution?
A podcast hosting platform stores your media files online, but you'll still need a way to get those files to your audience. That’s where podcast distribution comes in. A podcast distributor is where your listeners will go to access your show and subscribe to your content. Some of the main distributors podcasters use include Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio.
How Are Podcasts Distributed?
These days, almost all podcast hosting services will help you get listed on podcast directories or distributors like Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts by providing you with an RSS feed. This makes it easier than ever for listeners to find and connect with your content.
Your podcast host will give you an RSS feed link, which you then submit to any and all the distributors. This is a web feed that allows your distributor to receive automatic content updates. In other words, each time you upload new episodes on your podcast hosting platform, your followers automatically receive the podcast via the RSS feed.
Web Hosting vs Podcast Hosting
We don’t recommend hosting your podcast files from your own personal website due to storage issues and slow website load times. That said, creating a website in tandem with your podcast hosting platform can be beneficial for a number of reasons:
- To provide listeners with more information about your show: You can tell your story, the story of your podcast, provide more info about your guests, and give listeners the scoop on upcoming episodes.
- To build a better relationship with your audience and create a sense of community: A website provides a place for your audience to communicate with you and other listeners through forums. You can provide links to additional information on topics you discuss during your broadcasts, too.
- To increase the chances of people finding your show online, via search engines and SEO.
- To monetize your podcast through additional advertising on your site: For example, by selling merchandise through an online store or offering premium subscription features like unreleased content.
- To provide analytics for your show: You can better understand your listeners and the content that they want. Use website analytics to see who visits your site.
- To provide a place for your podcast that you own and control: A personal website creates a home base that you have total control over where you can reach your audience if you ever have issues with your hosted files.
Considerations When Choosing a Podcast Hosting Platform
Most podcast hosts, free and paid, will provide you with basic features like an RSS feed and analytics. As your podcast grows and evolves, you'll probably need more than just the bare bones. Understanding what a podcast hosting platform has to offer from the jump will make things easier for you when further along in your podcast journey.
The best podcasting hosting for your show depends on your needs and how you plan to use the platform. Pay close attention to these seven things when shopping around for different podcast hosting platforms:
1. Storage and Bandwidth Limits
Put this at the top of your list when reviewing podcast hosting platforms. The amount of storage and bandwidth that a podcast host offers will impact many aspects of your program, from how many episodes you can release a week to how much access your audience has to old content. It can also affect how many people can download or listen to your show at a given time.
The amount of storage provided by a podcast hosting site determines the number of files and file size that you can host. When looking at storage capabilities, consider the future of your show. As you continue producing content, you will need enough storage space for both your old and new podcast episodes.
Bandwidth will affect how much content you can upload or download from your host. This directly influences how many people can access your podcast at one time. As your audience grows, so will your bandwidth needs, so you have to make sure that your host can deliver your content as needed.
Keep in mind that restricted bandwidth can create a poor experience for your listeners. Many podcast hosting platforms have paid and unpaid options with restricted and unrestricted bandwidth and storage limits. We recommend not cutting corners when it comes to paying for your podcast hosting. A little bit of extra investment in this area can go a long way.
You can probably start with the free plan and restricted storage space at first. Just make sure the hosting site you choose can meet all of your storage and bandwidth needs when ready to upgrade and pay for hosting.
2. Analytics Reporting
Analytics provide a powerful tool to better understand your audience—essential to the success of your podcast. (Advertisers and major media networks have been using these insights for decades to make decisions about their programs and advertising budgets.)
Even if you aren't a numbers person, having a basic grasp on how your podcast is performing can help steer you in the right direction when it comes to creating engaging content. The right analytics will also show you which platforms people use to listen to your show.
Make sure that the analytics provided by the podcasting hosting site are IAB Certified, or at least IAB Compliant. The IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) has set standards that a majority of podcast hosts use when looking at analytics. If your analytics aren’t certified or compliant, they may not provide accurate information, which could lead you to make poor decisions regarding your show's content and advertising.
If you plan to use analytics often, check with your podcast hosting platform features. See if they offer the ability to download and export your numbers so you can work with them more extensively.
Although a website isn’t essential for your podcast, it's a really great way to promote your show and engage followers. We suggest a podcast hosting site that can integrate easily with your website. This can save you headaches as you progress with your podcast. Some podcast hosts actually offer the option to create a personalized site for you, too.
If a podcast hosting platform does have a feature to create a personalized site, make sure your podcast hosting platform has the capability to integrate with your domain and RSS feed. Many podcasters go for WordPress. This popular website builder has a plugin that is compatible with most podcast hosting sites. You can easily manage your show within the WordPress dashboard, saving you loads of time when sharing new episodes with your audience. And those who have their hearts set on a WordPress site but can't code usually rely on a code-free WordPress site builder, like Elementor.
4. Ease of Use & Support
Podcast hosting features are useless to you if you don't understand how to use them. So, take time to research the features offered by a podcast hosting site. Also, learn how to use the dashboard so you can better manage your podcast and media files.
We suggest searching for screenshots and YouTube videos that go through a hosting company's dashboard. You’ll see how everything is laid out and the technical knowledge needed to use the podcast host features effectively. You can also sign up for a free trial (if available to learn the ropes before committing to a subscription.
Once you've gotten a feel for the podcast hosting site's software, look into the type of support they offer. If you're not extremely tech-savvy, go with a podcast host that has a bit of additional tech support. That way, you'll always have a backup if you run into any major issues.
5. Media Player Capabilities
All podcast hosts provide a media player to let listeners stream your show online. You’ll receive an embeddable code that you can paste into the backend of your podcast's website. Then it will appear online for listeners to stream your podcast.
Pay attention to how the media player your potential host provides looks and functions. Some players will be more aesthetically pleasing than others. Also, make sure users can easily share your podcast on social media or subscribe to your podcast using your podcast host media player. This will increase the chances of growing your audience.
6. Possibility for Monetization
Sure, you’re probably in the podcast game because you feel passionate about it. But it doesn't hurt to think about the future and making some money from it. Podcast monetization is something that's relatively new, and many hosting and software companies are still trying to figure out how to best make monetization work for their users.
When shopping around, look at the premium subscription capabilities and educational resources offered by the podcast hosting platform. Cutting-edge companies will allow you to manage premium subscriptions for your podcast. Features may help discover new ways to make money from your program through informative research and articles on topics like gaining sponsors and cross-promoting other businesses.
7. Transcription Services
Check to see if your podcast host offers word-for-word transcriptions for each of your podcast episodes. Transcripts of your podcast episodes are great to have on hand. If you can find a podcast host that will create them for you, you don't have to spend the time doing it yourself. You may never have considered it, but a written transcript of your podcast episode can have a number of benefits:
- Having a transcript of your podcast can make your program accessible to individuals with hearing impairments - if they have a written version of your show to follow along with, they can enjoy your podcast when they couldn’t have before.
- A show transcript can act as SEO content when published on your website for listeners, which can improve your search ranking. This will make it easier for new listeners to learn about and engage with your program.
- If you have a transcript of your podcast, you have additional content that you can repurpose for other things. For instance, podcasters use excerpts from their transcriptions for online content like blog posts, which means more potential SEO content and traffic to your website.
When it comes to a podcast hosting platform, we suggest investing some money in a paid subscription. Many podcast hosts have tiered pricing, which can give you an idea of how much you should budget for hosting in the future as your podcast gains popularity and you need more resources.
The cost for a podcast host will usually center on storage and bandwidth, so have a clear idea of how much of each you'll need before committing to a podcast hosting site subscription. You don't want to pay for any storage space or features you won't be using for your program.
What is the best podcast hosting site?
Every podcaster out there has an opinion about the best podcast hosting site. Truthfully, the best hosting service for your podcast will depend on factors like how much storage you need, the price, and whether they have the features you need.
That said, some podcast hosting sites lead the industry because of the quality and comprehensiveness of their hosting services. We've listed some suggestions below, but for a full review look at our post on the best podcast hosting sites. If you’re looking to try something for free, we also cover the best free hosting podcast services.
Here are some podcast platforms you can explore:
- Buzzsprout - Free and Paid
- Anchor - Free
- Podbean - Free and Paid
- RedCircle - Free
- Transistor.fm - Paid
- Simplecast - Paid
- AudioBoom - Paid
Are Hosted Podcast Services Safe?
When choosing a medium for your podcast hosting, use good judgment. Don't go with a service just because it's free or cheap.
Remember if your host platform goes out of business and disappears overnight, so will your show. Keep your show safe and secure by doing some research before choosing the hosting site. Podcast hosting sites like Buzzsprout, Castos, and Spreaker have built names for themselves in the industry so you don't have to worry about them disappearing and taking your show with them.
Podcast Hosting FAQ
Use our FAQ section if you still have more questions about hosting a podcast and podcast hosting services.
What Podcast Platforms Should I Publish My Podcast On?
Publish your podcast episodes on every podcast directory you can. Podcast listeners will never find your podcast if it isn’t listed in their podcast player of choice. We suggest submitting your RSS feed link to every listening platform that will take it.
How to Submit Your Podcast to Spotify
After you’ve signed up for a Spotify account, simply put the link to your RSS feed in when asked for it. You’ll verify yourself as the owner of the podcast via email. Once you do, Spotify will list your show. You can also directly submit a video podcast to Spotify through Anchor with Riverside.
How to Submit Your Podcast to Stitcher
After you create a Stitcher Creator account, upload your RSS link. Then complete the authorization sent via email to get your podcast listed on Stitcher.
How To Upload Your Podcast And Episodes To Your Site
Uploading your podcast to your site will depend entirely on your website provider. Some hosting platforms have integrations with platforms like WordPress websites to make uploading your podcast easier.
Where can I upload my podcast for free?
Free podcast hosting sites include:
- Buzzsprout (free plan)
- Podbean (free plan)
- Spreaker (free plan)
- Podomatic (free plan)
- Acast (free plan)
- Soundcloud (free plan)
How much do podcast hosts make?
How much a podcast host can earn varies greatly, and many podcasters don’t make any money from their program. Using monetization on a platform like YouTube, creators can make a six-figure salary if well-established with good sponsors.
Can you have a podcast on multiple hosting sites?
Uploading your podcast on multiple hosts can take a lot of time and work and isn't necessary. It can also dilute the traffic to your main feed and mess up your analytics. We suggest using one hosting site and sticking with it. Then use the RSS feed from your podcast host to share your show.
Can I host my own podcasts?
Yes, you can, if you host your podcast on your own website. This isn’t an easy route though, and you’ll need to have some website building experience in order to do so. The best option is to use a dedicated podcast hosting platform.
How much does podcast hosting cost?
You can actually host a podcast completely for free, but in general every platform has a monthly fee that varies. This can be anything from around $10 all the way up to $100+ depending on what plan and services you choose.
Choosing the podcast hosting platform for your program can make or break the success of your show. When budgeting for your podcast, set aside plenty of funds to get the best podcast hosting platform. You can find many podcast hosting sites out there, but not all of them offer the same features and functionality. Do plenty of research to understand which will be the best podcast hosting platform for you. It’ll pay off in the long run.