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- The best podcast hosting right now is Buzzsprout. It’s the best all-round host for simplicity, storage, and Industry-leading support. Perfect for beginners to get started.
- The second and third best podcast hosting are Captivate, whose downright easy-to-use interface and built-in calls to action feature make it a really appealing option, and Transistor – a close third contender with superior features such as unlimited hosting and private podcast.
The best podcast hosting in 2020 are:
- Buzzsprout — Best podcast hosting for beginners (Best overall).
- Captivate — Best podcast hosting for audience growth and marketing.
- Transistor — Best hosting for private podcasting and analytics.
- Podbean — Best hosting for unlimited storage, video podcasting, and monetization.
- Castos — Best podcast hosting for WordPress.
- Simplecast — Best slick and easy-to-use podcast hosting.
- Spreaker — Best live podcast hosting.
- Blubrry — Another fabulous podcast hosting option with WordPress features.
- Podcast Websites — Best podcast hosting for WordPress professionals/website builders.
If you’re considering starting a successful podcast, choosing a reliable podcast hosting platform is crucial to growing your brand and audience faster. A good podcast hosting site will also make it easy for you to manage your podcast files and share your audio content across the internet. But with many options out there claiming to have the best podcast hosting services, it can be difficult deciding which one is best for you.
Some of these podcast hosting companies have been around for some time with new ones popping up all the time with similar features, making it time-consuming to pick the best one.
After thorough market research and diving deep into customer reviews, I decided to write this comprehensive overview to help you simplify your decision. The best podcast hosting platforms in this article were carefully researched, reviewed, and put together so you can choose only from the top options. Some of them are free and others charge a small fee in other to provide better support and tools.
- Podcast Websites
- Best free podcast hosting.
- Best podcast equipment.
- What is podcast hosting?
- How to choose the best podcast hosting.
- What are podcast directories?
- How to monetize a podcast.
Best podcast hosting platforms
Some of the factors I took into consideration while conducting my research on each of the hosting platforms are the pros & cons, ease of use, price, third-party integrations, monetization, customer support, flexibility in file sizes, storage, uptime, and reliability.
Buzzsprout is my #1 recommendation. They are the best podcast hosting platforms for beginners, boasting of a well-designed, and easy to use dashboard. They’ve been around since 2009 and currently host some of the world’s top podcasters.
If you are just starting, Buzzsprout should be your podcast hosting of choice; you can use it for free the very first time with no upfront cost. Plus, their free podcast hosting plan allows you to upload up to 2 hours of content each month and hosted for a whopping 90 days. They have three paid plans ranging from $12 to $24 per month; all plans include unlimited storage and 250GB of bandwidth, which covers between 20,000 and 40,000 episode downloads per month (this is more than enough, especially if you are just starting).
Free $20 bonus from Buzzsprout: Get a $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up for a free Buzzsprout account using our referral link, your bonus will be sent to you when you upgrade to a paid plan. You can start with Buzzsprout free for 90 days.
Buzzsprout is highly endorsed and recommended by many podcasters who praise their service. Here are screenshots of real, unbiased Buzzsprout reviews:
Buzzsprout is incredibly easy to use — once you upload your media file and change the episode title and description, they are automatically optimized and submitted to all important podcast directories upon publishing.
If you don’t want to spend extra money to create a website for your podcast, then Buzzsprout can make one for you. They will make a mobile-friendly podcast website in which you can customize its design and use your custom domain name. Also, if you are using WordPress — Buzzsprout has a WordPress podcast plugin that can easily pull your episodes from Buzzsprout straight to your website.
Additionally, you can easily embed a podcast player to your very own WordPress website — thanks to their free WordPress integration plugin, all you need to do is add a snippet of code to your site. The Buzzsprout Wave podcast player can also work with Wix, Squarespace, and other content management systems. You can choose whether to feature just one podcast episode or a playlist of episodes. You also have the choice to filter multiple episodes by tag, guest, or past episodes.
Buzzsprout easy to use analytics dashboard has a helpful algorithm feature that shows you detailed stats to understand your audience, including the number of impressions and listeners for each episode, what apps your listeners are using, and their various countries.
Another benefit of using Buzzsprout as your podcast host is that you can easily schedule the day and time you’d like each podcast episode to go live. Buzzsprout is also one of the very few podcast hosting platforms with built-in transcription integrated directly into their dashboard; you can quickly transcribe your podcast episodes ($0.25 per minute) — making it more accessible to search engines such as Google and people looking for content like yours.
If you are currently with a different podcast hosting company, switching over to Buzzsprout is easy — just enter your existing feeds URL, and they’ll import all your podcast episodes for you. Their stellar customer support is always at your service 24/7 to help you with everything you need to create, upload, promote, and track your podcast even without the need for any technical knowledge.
Another advantage of using Buzzsprout podcast hosting is that you can monetize your podcast with great brands they’ve partnered with. Their affiliate marketplace makes it easy for you to start generating income with your podcast episodes even if you are just getting started.
Buzzsprout also works with leading third-party tools to save you time and simplify your work. Some of the tools Buzzsprout integrates with include Chartable, Alitu, Podtrac, Hindenburg, and more.
With Buzzsprout, you can create as many podcasts as you like under the same account. You can also add unlimited team members to manage your podcast (admin or editor access levels).
Buzzsprout also boast of other great features some of which include:
- Chapter Markers: This great tool allows you to outline each chapter of your audio files and makes it easy for your listeners to see, understand, and navigate sections of your episode. They can also select segments of your episode that’s most exciting to them.
- Video Soundbite: With this simple tool, you can create a ‘short video trailer’ based on your podcast episode to share on social media sites like Facebook. This great feature makes it easy to attract clicks and views from the internet. Also, you can set your start time and duration, select the size, customize the colors, text, and artwork to fit your brand.
- Magic Mastering: This is an advanced tool that Buzzsprout uses to optimize your audio files automatically. It will help you level out noises and correct volume differences, thereby saving you much needed time to focus on creating great content.
- Podcast app (Android and iOS): Buzzsprout not only creates a podcast website for you but can also create a mobile app for your podcast. Here is how it works: while you were creating your Buzzsprout podcast website, Buzzsprout automatically created a mobile version built to look and work like a regular app without you doing anything!
- Creator Program: This is a platform created by Buzzsprout to help podcasters grow their brand and influence. All podcasters in the program will get a free podcast hosting, one yearly conference ticket, monthly allowance, and more. You can apply to join the program if you can publish a minimum of two podcast episodes per month, and your episodes get at least 500 downloads within the first 30 days.
Ultimately, with these great features and the fact that you can simply start for free for 90 days, makes Buzzsprout my #1 choice. You can cancel anytime due to their month-to-month pricing feature. They are also one of the very few podcast hosting services constantly coming out with new features and updates.
I will recommend their $24/month plan which allows you to upload 12 hours of content each month, saving you money. There is also an $18/month plan which lets you upload 6 hours of new content each month. All your podcast episodes are hosted indefinitely as long as you’re on any of the paid plans. Plus, you get a free $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up for one of their paid plans.
Captivate.fm is a brand new podcast hosting platform with a particular focus on helping podcasters grow their audiences. Captivate was launched in 2019 by Rebel Base Media, the same industry heavyweights behind Podcast Websites. You can tell just by looking at their dashboard that they carefully considered everything they’ve learned over the years in the podcast industry. I’ve been so impressed by their fast growth, great features, and customer feedback that I decided to include them as the second the best podcast hosting providers.
Every plan comes with an unlimited number of podcasts, unlimited team members, advanced analytics, marketing tools, and a new podcast player.
Captivate boast of some standout features such as their built-in podcast player calls to action, which you can add anywhere you want on your embed player. You can use it to build up your email list quickly, generate new leads, embed sponsor links, receive donations to your Patreon and so much more, This simple feature allows for anyone listening to your podcast to easily sign-up directly to your email list via an opt-in form. All plan comes with a customizable, mobile-friendly website plus built-in donation support and the ability to add Facebook pixels or Google Analytics.
One of Captivate’s latest features is the Sponsor Kit, which makes it easy for you to partner with potential sponsors — just enter your audience avatar, and it will automatically create a PDF with your latest episodes, download stats, contact info, and social media. Switching from another podcast host is very easy with their simple import tool.
They also have a WordPress plugin called CaptivateSync that auto-publish new episodes to your WordPress website. What’s even more captivating is you can publish episodes from your WordPress dashboard and they will sync to your Captivate dashboard!
Their analytics dashboard shows you insightful details and stats to monitor the performance of your episodes such as listeners device & app stats, downloads each day and over time, listeners location info, and more. All of which are made possible through their partnership with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).
One area where Captivate stands out compared with other podcast hosting platforms is in its marketing section. Their podcast marketing tool allows you to automatically generate links with buttons to apps like Pocket Casts and Overcast, which helps new subscribers find your show easily.
Captivate has three paid plans you can choose from depending on your monthly download. All plans have a 7-day free trial:
- Podcaster Plan: 12,000 downloads per month ($19/month).
- Audio Influencer Plan: 60,000 downloads per month ($49/month).
- Podcast Brand Plan: 150,000 downloads per month ($99/month).
With a very easy-to-use interface even for a complete beginner, great marketing features, and simple pricing plans to help you scale, Captivate is no doubt one of the best podcast hosting platforms to consider.
Transistor.fm is no doubt one of the best podcast hosting platforms out there in 2020 — a high-quality podcast hosting company that prides itself on being the all-in-one hosting solution for podcasters. They provide all the tools and support you need to grow your audience. Though relatively new (founded July 2017) compared to the other podcast hosting sites on this list, they are growing very fast and currently host some of the biggest podcast shows including Business Dad by Alexis Ohanian (co-founder Reddit), Honeybadger, Laravel, and Cards Against Humanity just to name a few.
One of the main selling points that accounted for their fast growth is unlimited hosting plans; they let you host multiple podcasts on one account for the same monthly price. They don’t charge you for hours of upload as some other hosts do; instead, their pricing is based on the number of downloads.
Transistor also has some fantastic hosting features depending on the hosting plan you choose:
Private podcast: One of the great features of Transistor is their private podcast feed feature. Private podcasting is an effective way to give a select number of people access to exclusive podcast feeds; it’s like creating a ‘special premium podcast content’ or an ‘advertising-free feed’ which your true fans are willing to pay for. A private podcast can also be used by organizations to send weekly podcast messages to employees. Not every podcast hosting company offers this feature, Transistor is just one of the very few that does.
Analytics: The Transistor’s analytics tools stand out above every other podcast hosting platform on this list.
Transistor.fm in-depth analytics dashboard provides you with rich data and various stats on how each of your podcast episodes is performing, including the average number of downloads weekly or monthly. You also get to see the number of people who are subscribing to your podcast.
Another excellent Transistor’s analytics feature is the listener’s breakdown of your podcast; you can see your listener trends and most popular episodes in the last day, month, or year. You can also see which location your listeners are from, the percentage in each country and which app they are using to listen to your podcast — the Podcast Player chart will show you if most of your listeners are using Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Web player, Spotify or any other app player. You can export all of your data as a CSV file to Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or Apple Numbers.
Other Transistor features include:
Create unlimited podcast shows: Transistor allows you to experiment and host multiple shows with no added cost — the pricing is the same regardless of how many podcasts you have. Creating multiple podcast shows will allow you to express the different verticles of your ideas and try out new concepts. You can also easily double or triple the number of listeners to your podcast shows each month.
Invite additional team members: You can add other team members with different levels of admin access, control, and privileges — to collaborate and manage your podcast.
A brand new website for your podcast: If you don’t have a website, Transistor can quickly create one for you — that updates automatically on its own every time you add a new episode. Furthermore, websites on Transistor can easily integrate with email providers such as Drip, ConvertKit, and MailChimp — making it easy to collect email signups right from your podcast’s homepage and episode pages.
Embed your podcast on your website: Their embeddable audio player makes it easy to add each of your podcast episodes to your website, landing page, or in a tweet.
Podcast distribution: Transistor makes it incredibly easy to simply upload and distribute your show on social media and all the major podcast directories upon publishing.
Additionally, if you are currently using another podcast hosting platform and would like to switch to Transistor, you can import your existing feed with their simple migration tools. Transistor also allows you to automatically add your Patreon link to your podcast’s show notes.
Another feature worth writing about is the recently released multi-episode player, which allows you to showcase your past episodes — you can showcase your recent episode alongside your last 25 episodes, thereby enticing your audience with your older episodes, which increases downloads and brand loyalty.
- Starter hosting plan ($19/month): Limited to 10,000 downloads per month, unlimited podcasts, 24/7 support, a website, analytics, and 2 team members.
- Professional hosting plan ($49/month): Limited to 50,000 downloads per month, unlimited podcasts, 24/7 support, a website, analytics, 5 team members, 1 private podcast, allows up to 500 private subscribers (per podcast).
- Business hosting plan ($99/month): 150,000 downloads per month, unlimited podcasts, 24/7 customer support, a website, analytics, 10 team members, 3 private podcasts, and up to 1000 private subscribers (per podcast).
The good thing about Transistor hosting plans is it allows you to scale your podcast as your audience increase based on the number of your downloads. You can start with the Starter plan and upgrade as you grow.
PodBean is the #4 best podcast hosting platform for many good reasons, you can start for free and it’s always free – you don’t have to pay if you don’t need to. They provide hosting services for individuals and enterprises alike with unlimited hosting plans and unlimited bandwidth.
Podbean has been in the podcast hosting space since 2006 with over 450,000 podcasters in almost every niche hosted on its platform, they’ve managed 11 million podcast episodes with more than 7.2 billion downloads. They are one of the oldest podcast hosting platforms with consistent growth and result.
Podbean dashboard is easy to use without the need for any technical knowledge; they make it simple for you to create and manage your podcast, the best part is you can get started for free — their free plan allows you to upload up to 5 hours of content per month, limited to 100GB of bandwidth per month.
All Podbean plans, including the free plan, comes with an iPhone/Android app that allows your listeners to connect with you on the go, you can also manage your podcast episodes using the app. You also get a free professional looking website — choose from a large selection of beautiful well-designed themes and customize it to fit your brand. You can also embed the Podbean podcast player directly to your website. The free plan also allows you access to RSS feed and some basic podcast stats.
Additionally, you get 24/7 support and can promote your podcast episodes on major directories such as Google Podcasts, Spotify, Apple podcasts, and Amazon Alexa. Switching over to Podbean can be done in one click without impacting your existing subscribers and reviews.
To get more advanced features, you would need to upgrade to their paid plans starting at $9/month. With it, you get unlimited storage and unmetered bandwidth of audio podcasting. This plan also lets you make money from your podcast with sponsored ads, which is one of the best ways to run a profitable podcast.
If there’s one thing Podbean is exceptionally good at, it’s making money for podcasters hosted on their platform. Their advertising marketplace makes it easy to start generating revenue from programmatic ads campaigns even as a beginner. They also have a premium sales program that allows you to get paid for your content through single-episode sales or subscriptions; you can set this up on your Podbean dashboard with just a few clicks, they will handle payments and every technical support you may need.
If you want to run a professional podcast show with great tools to support you, I will recommend the $29/month unlimited plus plan. This plan has much better features than the unlimited audio plan of $9/month. Along with audio hosting and storage, you also get unlimited video hosting and storage. The unlimited plus plan also allows for a Patreon program to accept recurring revenue from loyal listeners so you can continue to deliver great podcast content without financial constraints.
Another Podbean unlimited plus feature is PodAds, a nifty SaaS tool that allows you to use Podbean’s ad insertion technology to add sponsored ad campaigns into your podcast episodes. This simple ad insertion tool has helped podcasters hosted on Podbean to monetize their content faster.
Podbean also has promotional tools that automatically post your podcast episodes to all top directories and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. They can create video versions of your podcast for you to use on Youtube, Facebook, and more. Once you sync your YouTube channel with Podbean, your episodes will be auto-uploaded to your Youtube channel.
Other excellent Podbean features include its Mailchimp integration, which allows you to collect email addresses and automatically post your episodes to your email list. Another great feature worth mentioning is the Podbean Alexa skill that automatically posts your new episodes on Alexa devices.
Podbean comprehensive analytics dashboard gives you all the information you need to track how each of your podcast episodes is performing. It tracks the numbers of downloads you have, your top 10 most successful episodes for different dates, the location of your listeners such as which countries they are from, and other relevant insights that allows you to target specific sponsors and more.
Additionally, Podbean has a live streaming feature that allows you to engage your audience with live audio shows — your listeners can message and call-in to your live shows, Also, you can have a co-host or guests on your live stream call in remotely from any location. Make money by selling or receiving virtual tickets or gifts through your live stream. You can redeem these virtual gifts for US dollars.
Before I conclude on Podbean, I will like to touch a little bit on their Enterprise podcast hosting solution specifically built for large businesses and organizations. They currently have top corporations like J.P.Morgan, Stripe, DHL, IBM, University of Virginia, Red Hat, and many more hosted on their platform. The Enterprise podcast hosting plan comes with a premium CDN network, Private Podcast with SSO authentication, 99.9% uptime guarantee, unlimited storage, and bandwidth plus so many valuable features worth checking out if you are a business that’s looking to branch out into podcasting. Pricing starts from $99/month.
- Basic plan: $0/month.
- Unlimited audio plan: $9/month — best for beginners.
- Unlimited plus plan: $29/month –best for pros.
- Business plan: $99/month — best for corporations
Overall, with these great features coupled with the free forever plan and the fact that you can get your first month for free on paid plans, makes PodBean one of the best podcast hosting platforms.
Castos is one of the very few podcast hosting services that offer unlimited storage, bandwidth, downloads, private podcasting, and the ability to host an unlimited number of podcasts on the same account even on its lowest pricing plan, which I found pleasantly surprising!
They own a popular podcast enabled plugin that works seamlessly with WordPress, known as Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin, which is currently being used by over 21,000 podcasters.
The plugin allows you to set up Castos hosting on your website. If you have a WordPress website, all you need to do is simply install the plugin. From then on, you can upload your audio file, type in your description, and publish your episodes directly from your website without logging into Castos.
Additionally, Castos does have a YouTube republishing feature available on the growth and pro pricing tiers. This great feature transforms your podcast episodes into nice-looking videos and auto-publish them on Youtube for you. All you need to do is a one-time easy setting. After that, anytime you publish your episodes, Castos will automatically convert them to videos and post on Youtube with your thumbnail as the image background or upload a personalized image.
Other Castos features include a beautiful unique webpage for each podcast episode, in-depth analytics, and automatic transcriptions ($0.10/minute) — to enable this; you need to subscribe to the transcription feature available at the integrations section of your dashboard. You can either download the transcription as a PDF or copy and past it into your WordPress.
The starter hosting plan ($19/month) is best if you are just starting. The growth hosting plan ($49/month) is great for podcasters who would like to repurpose their episodes on other platforms like Youtube. The higher tier plan is the Pro plan ($99/month) which allows for a Video podcast hosting.
If you’re looking for a podcast hosting platform that will integrate seamlessly with your WordPress website, look no further than Castos.
6. Simplecast – from $15/month (use this link to get 50% Off your first 2 months with promo code: ONSIMPLECAST — 14 days free trial
Taking the #6 spot in our best podcast hosting charts is Simplecast, an established podcast hosting provider since 2013, they currently host some of the biggest brands in the world including Shopify, Slack, Facebook, HBO, Target, Nike, and Twitter just to name a few.
Simplecast has a very clean, well designed, and easy-to-use interface with features and tools to help you grow your podcast. You can start for free for 14 days to get a feel of what they offer and take advantage of the special offer for our readers by using the promo code ONSIMPLECAST for 50% Off your first two months on Simplecast. All plan comes with a mobile-friendly HTTPS secure website, web players, advanced analytics, one-click publishing to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and many more.
One impressive feature they have is their Recast tool, which allows you or your listeners to create, schedule, and share short clips of your podcast episodes on social media.
Other great Simplecast features include unlimited storage, unlimited uploads, and the ability to have multiple podcast managers under one account.
- Basic hosting Plan ($15/month): Unlimited storage and uploads, two team members, customizable website, 20,000 total monthly downloads, an embeddable web player, and email support to get you started.
- Essential hosting Plan ($35/month): All the features in the basic plan, plus two additional team members (4 in total), 50,000 total monthly downloads, additional web players, location and technology analytics.
- Growth hosting Plan ($85/month): All the features in basic and essential plans, plus five additional team members (9 in total), ISP analytics, detailed metro area location and device analytics, 120,000 total monthly downloads, and the ability to compare stats with previous episodes.
Simplecast just updated the look of their entire platform and brand, along with plenty of new features. They are definitely on their way to becoming the best podcast hosting platforms.
- Try Simplecast free for 14 days (use this link with promo code ONSIMPLECAST to get 50% off your first 2 months).
Spreaker is a podcast hosting platform that has been around since 2010, boasting of more standout features compared to most hosting providers on this list.
One of their best features is the ability to conduct a live podcast, allowing you to interact with your listeners live and direct with chatbox included — without any third-party integration.
Another excellent Spreaker feature they have is the mobile app (Android and iOS) and desktop app (Mac and Windows), which you can use to record, live stream, view stats, and more. All paid plans comes with multiple podcast hosting, live podcasting, private episode sharing, dynamic ad insertions, and ad revenue sharing for monetization.
Spreaker also has an excellent distribution platform, which automatically publishes your episodes to all the major social media networks such as Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook. Also, you can distribute your podcast to all the major directories.
- Free ($0/month): 5 hours storage per month, a single session of 15 mins per podcast, an embeddable player, and RSS feed. You will need to upgrade to one of their plans for more storage and unlimited streaming.
- On-Air Talent hosting Plan ($6/month): 100 hours of storage per month, a single session of 45 mins per podcast, programmatic Monetization, audience chatbox, third-party apps integration, embeddable player, and customizable RSS feed.
- Broadcaster hosting Plan ($18/month): All the features in the On-Air Talent plan, plus 500 hours of storage per month, a single session of 3 hours per podcast, listeners trend, and geolocation.
- Anchorman hosting plan ($45/month): This plan is more for the high-volume content creators. It includes all the features in previous plans, plus 1,500 hours of storage per month, a single session of 5 hours per podcast, device stats, and audience demographics.
Blubrry is a podcast hosting platform built by podcasters for podcasters, they’ve been in the podcasting space since the early days, 2005 to be precise — providing quality hosting to thousands of podcasters. They are also known for developing the free and easy to use PowerPress plugin rated as the #1 WordPress plugin for podcasters, with over 100 features and more than 75,000 active installs.
Despite the big names in the market, Blubrry stands out success has been mainly due to its excellent WordPress plugin. The feature-rich plugin which allows anyone to run a podcast from their website — is continuously being maintained and optimized to run a successful podcast. You can install in one click for great features such as website and feed SEO, migration/import, video and audio media players, iTunes and Google Play compliant, MP3 tagging, and more.
All Blubrry hosting plan comes with advanced stats, modern web player, 24/7 support, a WordPress website, and a lot more.
Blubrry has five different pricing plans — all plans including the cheapest one at $12/month comes with unlimited bandwidth and offers 100MB of storage. If you want video capabilities and more storage space anywhere from 250MB to 1,000MB/month, you’ll have to upgrade to one of the higher tiers ranging from $20/month to $80/month. For unlimited storage, you can upgrade to their professional plan.
Podcast Websites is a podcast hosting platform built by the same team behind Captivate. They provide everything you need to launch a professional podcast the right way.
Their hosting package includes a fully responsive WordPress website, web hosting and security, free domain, email address, SSL certificate, SEO support tools, built-in statistics, daily backups, unlimited and unmetered podcast hosting, unlimited monthly visits, unlimited team members, built-in RSS feed, daily support with telephone follow-up if needed and much more.
Podcast Websites have some powerful plugins that can simplify your workflow and help you engage your audience better. If you want to run a successful podcast and grow as fast as possible while someone else takes care of all the technical support required to scale quickly, then look no further than Podcast Websites.
As a Podcast Websites member, you will get comprehensive learning support from their podcast academy to help you grow and scale quickly. You’ll have access to video tutorials, a support community with like-minded podcasters, monthly academy sessions featuring the best and most successful marketers and podcasters, plus more.
Additionally, Podcast Websites has a powerful drag-and-drop website builder you can use even without having any previous design skills. The builder has beautiful mobile-friendly designed themes that are unique to podcasters and easy to change in one click. Also, you can quickly and easily create landing pages whenever you need to market your episodes.
Their simple email feature makes it easy to build your email list with built-in integrations to all the top email service providers, including Click funnels, Convertkit, Mailchimp, Infusionsoft, Aweber, and more.
Podcast Websites pricing
Podcast Websites pricing is straight forward simple with just one premium tier at $97 per month or $77 per month if paid annually (save $240 over the year).
Best free podcast hosting
There are many options to choose from if your budget is tight and would prefer to host your podcast for free, at least in the beginning stages. The major downside with most free podcast hosting is that they come with limited features and functionality. Basically, you get what paid for.
Free podcast hosting often comes at a cost in terms of the support you get, the quality of tools at your disposal, your creative freedom, and brand promotion. Your upload hours and bandwidth are very likely to be limited. Also, advanced stats and opportunities to make money with your podcast could be restricted until you upgrade to a paid plan. In most cases, a free podcast hosting means file hosting, RSS feed, and some other limited features sufficient enough to start a new podcast.
The best free podcast hosting in 2020 are:
The good news is there is no risk hosting your podcast for free, at least in the early stages of your journey. A free hosting plan or trial can also help you get your feet in the door. With many entry host tiers priced between $10 to $20 per month, you can always upgrade as time goes on and your podcast outgrow the free hosting levels.
Taking top honors in the best free podcast hosting charts is Buzzsprout, their free podcast hosting plan stands out with the most features of any host on this list. The free plan allows you to upload 2 hours of content each month. You can host your podcast for up to 90 days. You also get a feature-rich dashboard with advanced stats to track your listeners. Additionally, you can add unlimited team members and also add your episodes to all the major podcast directories. No credit card is required to start for free on Buzzsprout.
One of the reasons why they are promoted as the easiest host to start a podcast as a beginner is mainly because of how easy it is to upload and publish an episode. You can easily publish your episodes within minutes of uploading or schedule it for days or weeks in advance. Another excellent feature of Buzzsprout is the notification of how much upload time remains on your plan.
With thousands of episodes currently hosted for free on their platform, you can’t go wrong starting with Buzzsprout for free.
Podbean is one of the best hosting sites to start a podcast for free. Their forever free hosting plan offers you everything you need to get started. Features you get with the free plan includes 5 hours of storage space and 100 gigabytes of bandwidth per month, some basic stats to track your audience, support for mp3 file format, embeddable Players, RSS feed, a website, and an iPhone/Android app. You can use their free plan as long as you want or upgrade to one of their paid plans as your podcast grows.
Spreaker is a great podcast hosting service that offers free hosting for as long as you want with features like 5 hours of free storage and unlimited bandwidth each month, 15 minutes of live podcast streaming in a single session, scheduling, embedded Player, RSS Feed and iTunes Support, downloads and listeners stats. Additionally, you can host multiple podcasts on the free plan. Spreaker offers three different plans that allow you to upgrade as you grow.
Squarespace is one of the best content management system and a reliable website builder. You can also use it to create, host, and manage your podcast. Though not technically free, if you are already using it to host your website or blog — you can easily add your podcast for free.
Podcasting is not a core feature in Squarespace. Still, you can host your podcast (using a blog page), and they also provide you an RSS feed that lets you publish your episodes to Apple/iTunes Podcasts and other subscription and distribution services. To create an episode, simply add audio blocks to a blog post (upload limited to 160 MB). Read on Squarespace for more details.
- Personal Plan: $12/month.
- Business Plan: $18/month.
- Basic commerce: $26/month.
- Advanced commerce: $40/month.
The Personal starter plan of $12 per month should be enough for your podcasting plans. They do offer a 14-day free trial that hosts podcasts, but you won’t be able to submit to Apple Podcasts unless you upgrade. Also, note that Squarespace does not offer support for video podcasts.
Podomatic is another podcast hosting company that lets you record, upload and promote your content for free. One great feature they have is the ability for you to make money with your podcast through advertising and crowdsourcing — made possible through their partnership with Patreon. You can earn money directly from your supporters and podcast ad network, Advertisecast.
Podomatic can also access your computer’s camera and mic, allowing you to easily record without the costs of expensive podcast tools and equipment.
Additionally, Podomatic has social sharing options that can help spread your podcast across the world. With the social sharing tool, your podcast can be played directly on Facebook and Twitter feeds; you can also embed your content on any other social media network or your website. If you don’t want to venture into WordPress, Podomatic has a partnership with Weebly to help you create a website and a free podcast app for iOS and Android. Podomatic free basic plan is limited to 15GB bandwidth per month and a 500MB storage. Pricing: Free to $20.82 per month.
SoundCloud is the largest music and audio hosting site with thousands of content hours uploaded to its platform every day and an incredible 175 million unique visitors each month. Its a massive audio hosting platform that can also host your podcast for free, but you’re going to be very limited with the tools they offer. Their podcasting features looks more geared towards music and seem more like an afterthought.
With Soundcloud hosting services, you get an embedded player, Twitter cards, and 3 hours of content per month with basic stats such as likes, reposts, comments, plays, and downloads (no access to stats for top listeners, countries or cities, no RSS and third-party apps).
If you want more features such as unlimited upload time, embed controls, priority support, Pro badge, and many more, you’ll have to upgrade to Pro Unlimited plan for $144 per year. Pricing: Free to $16 per month ($12/month when paid annually).
Other podcast hosting platforms and services to consider
We’ve only scratched the surface in terms of hosting companies and providers worth considering for your podcast. Here’s a look at some alternative hosting options which are well worth a look:
Libsyn, short for Liberated Syndication, is one of the largest podcast hosting services, they’ve been around since the early days of podcasting, launching in 2004. They were the official podcast launch partner for popular brands like Pandora and Spotify, just to name a few. Their website and dashboard aren’t the easiest to use, especially for new podcasters, but they do make up for their user interface with excellent customer service. Their monthly storage ranges from 50MB (approx 50 minutes) to 3000MB, depending on the pricing plan you are on. Libsyn has six pricing plans starting at $5, going all the way to $150 per month.
Audioboom is a popular platform that lets you host, distribute, and monetize your podcast. You can easily monetize and make money from your podcast content (Once you surpass 10,000 plays per episode) thanks to their dynamic ads/sponsorship expertise, technical support, and production know-how. Some of the features they offer include advanced analytics by device and regions, embeddable players and social media integration, unlimited podcast episodes, a web page, and many more. Audioboom pricing starts at $9.99 per month.
Anchor is a well-known and easy to use podcast service that believes hosting costs should never be the reason you don’t have a podcast. They disrupted the podcast hosting space by offering unlimited free podcast hosting. However, its free hosting has some restrictions and trade-offs you should consider, such as poor customer support, limited marketing, automated features with little control, lack of video hosting capabilities, and other restrictions worth looking into if you are serious about growing your podcast.
Honorable mention: Wix Podcast Player
Wix is mostly known to be a website builder, and they also offer plenty of apps you can choose from to transform your site. One of these apps is the Wix Podcast Player, which is free to use if you already use their platform.
The Wix Podcast Player is not a traditional podcast hosting platform; it’s a player that can connect your website to any of the major hosting platforms using RSS feeds — giving you the ability to stream and showcase your podcast on your website. All you need to do is enter your RSS URL and the player will populate the playlist with your episodes, images, descriptions, etc.
Recommended podcast complementary services, equipment and software
Below are useful services and recommended podcast accessories for:
Scribie is a transcription and caption service that uses certified transcribers to manually transcribe, review, and proofread audio files with accuracy of up to 99% for as low as $0.10 per minute. They’ve got great features such as progress tracking that allows you to track the progress of your transcrpt online, and free re-review that allows you to request a rework of your transcript for free if you feel the accuracy is not good enough. They also provide options to choose English speakers from different countries (Australian, Canadian, British, Indian, or any other non-Amarican).
There are few podcast hosting sites with a built-in transcription service you might want to check out, one of them is Buzzsprout (from $0.25 per minute).
Best web hosting
Setting up your own website for your podcast is a no brainer. You want a web space where you can send your audience to — that ‘you own and have control over’. Most of the podcast hosting services will create a basic website for you which is just good enough for a start. If you want more control and flexibility, you’ll need your own preferably WordPress website and that’s where also having a good web hosting platform comes in.
Most of the podcast hosting sites like Buzzsprout works seamlessly with WordPress, Buzzsprout Podcast Plugin for WordPress make podcasting with WordPress very easy. My recommended web hosting is Bluehost, getting started with WordPress is super easy with Bluehost at affordable pricing, they are one of the largest hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider. You also get a free domain name, a free SSL, the best customer support available at your service 24/7, and so many other great web hosting features. Plus, a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee! You can sign up for Bluehost here to get 63% off.
If you decide to use Bluehost as your web hosting, they will give you a free domain name of your choice with free SSL for security — otherwise Namecheap offers the best price in the market for domains, you can get a .com domain for as cheap as $6.98 for the first year.
Best WordPress theme for podcasting
Sure there are free themes available you can use but if you are serious about running a successful website for your podcast, it is better to go for a paid theme. Most free theme are too limiting or bloated with technical stuff that will slow down your site — worst of all, many free theme are not regularly updated — an avoidable recipe for disaster down the road.
StudioPress stands out as one of the best lightweight wordPress themes, It’s simply in a league of its own. Designed and built on the Genesis framework, they are secure, SEO friendly and always up to date with speed performance second to non. They currently boast of 35+ professionally designed themes from which you can choose from.
They were recently acquired by WP Engine, a managed web hosting company specifically built for WordPress sites. Signing up with WP Engine hosting will give you access and support to all 35+ StudioPress theme for free (worth over $2000 in value). Dedicated web hosting at WP Engine start at $25/month.
Best email marketing service for podcasting
Email is the most effective marketing strategy to grow and scale your podcast. You can send various types of content to your audience about your latest episode, new products, special offers, and more
The best email marketing service for podcasters is Converkit, It was built by creators for creators, specifically designed with integrated features fit for podcasters and bloggers. You can start using it for free and upgrade later on as you grow, their free tier support up to 1,000 subscribers and comes with unlimited landing pages, forms, and other great features.
Best podcast equipment
Podcast recording equipment is one of the essential elements to consider once you’ve decided on a good host and you’re ready to start recording your episodes. Equipment used by many professional podcasters includes computer, microphones, mixers, audio interface, and more.
Deciding on the type of equipment you need can be tricky — however, you dont need to shell out lot of money especially if you are just starting out. All you need to start is a computer and a good microphone — and then slowly you can expand your list of podcast equipment as you grow over time.
Here are our pick for the best podcast equipment:
- Blue Yeti USB Microphone / $129 at Amazon: Best podcast microphone, affordable and easy to use.
- Apple MacBook Pro / $2199.99 Amazon: Best laptop for podcasting, High-speed processor, expandable RAM, SSD storage, and decent battery life.
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x / $149 at Amazon: Best podcast headphone, great frequency abilities, exceptional at noise-isolation and blocking.
- Mackie ProFX8v2 / $199 at Amazon: Best mixers for podcasting, excellent mixer for recording.
- Rode PSM1 / $39 at Amazon: Best podcast shock mounts, this will help you minimize or eliminate unwanted gestures, sounds, movement or vibrations that can be easily picked up by your mic.
- Heil PL-2T / $120 at Amazon: Best podcast mic boom arms, no need to go crazy with a boom arm if you are just starting out. If you are on a budget, a good option is the Neewer NW35 adjustable boom scissor stand available for $14 at Amazon.
Best podcast recording software
After you’ve chosen a good hosting platform and you’ve got your podcast equipment ready, it’s time to start recording your episodes with a software.
- Adobe Audition is a recording software designed for podcast production and editing, with advanced tools for great sound and effects. Adobe Audition is bundled into the Creative Cloud suite, so if you’ve got a subscription to the full suite, you already have access to it — or you can get it separately for $20/month. They do have a 7-day free day trial however for those just starting out!
- Audacity is a free open source recording software with plenty of features, it’s easy to use and works great for Windows and macOS.
- Zencastr is an easy to use recording software with great quality, built to work right from a web browser. The free plan has some basic features that can get you started, their paid plan starts from $20/month.
What is a podcast?
A podcast is a series of media files bundled into a single file. Each podcast episodes are large files that requires lot of bandwidth and storage space.
What is podcast hosting?
Podcast hosting is a specialized service that store and distribute your podcast’s episodes. Hosting providers upload your audio files and generate a podcast RSS feed which you submit to directories such as iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, tuneIn etc allowing users to discover, subscribe and listen to your show.
The best podcast hosting platforms however, provide much more than just a place to host your podcast — they also provide support services such as social sharing options, advanced analytics reports, technical support, marketing tool, unlimited bandwidth and more. Most of them also support you with a free website and domain.
In summary, having a good podcast host can make a huge difference in the long run especially when starting brand new.
How do I choose the best podcast host?
There are couple of things to consider when deciding which podcast hosting platform is best for you. Some host are more geared toward beginners, brands or large businesses — so it’s worth going through the strengths and weaknesses of each services depending on what hosting solution you need (from the start that will allow you to grow without worrying about switching later on).
From the surface, all podcast hosting sites may appear the same with each one offering to manage your RSS feed, provide a free website and integrate with major podcast directories. Ideally you should look out for more features that can help your podcast grow and become a success. Below are some essential podcast hosting criterion to look out for.
Whether you’re just starting out as a new podcaster or you’ve been in the game for some time, one of the most important criterion to consider is your storage needs.
Most hosting platforms have storage limits depending on which plan you are on. As you decide which podcast host is best for you, consider the storage capabilities and what it means for your show both in the near and long term.
If you would like to create multiple podcast down the road, it is important to consider if the podcast host you are choosing is capable of hosting your shows on a separate RSS feed and you’re able to manage them under the same account. With Buzzsprout, you can produce as many podcasts as you like under one account. Additionally, you can add as many team members as you need to help you manage your podcasts.
A website for your podcast is important — it is the place where listeners can subscribe to your show, listen to your episodes, and know more about your brand. Most Podcast hosting sites like Buzzsprout can help you create a personalized website thats unique to your brand, all done with just a ferw clicks.
WordPress is by far the most popular platform used by most podcasters to build their website so it’s important to consider if the podcast host of your choice can integrate with not just WordPress but other important third-party tools. The easiest way is to find out if the host has a WordPress podcast plugin. The best podcast hosting platform, Buzzsprout has a plugin that makes podcasting with WordPress very easy, allowing you to manage your podcast directly within your WordPress dashboard — the plugin can help you pull your episodes from Buzzsprout straight to your website. You can also integrate and embed the Buzzsprout player in other website builders like Squarespace.
In order to grow your podcast to a successful level, it’s important to know and understand your audience, what apps they are using, where they’re listening from, for how long, and total downloads. Vital stats like these can help you track your progress and guide you on what kind of engaging content to create and more importantly, attract the right sponsors for your podcast. The best podcast hosting site, Buzzsprout has one of the most detailed audience analytics dashboard powered by an algorithm feature that provides very clear data and insights about each of your podcast show. A robust audience analytics should be a priority when choosing a podcast host.
If generating income from your podcast is important to you, you’ll have to put it into consideration when deciding which podcast hosting platform to choose. You may not be ready to start making money from your podcast in the begining, but make sure any host you chose has the monetization support in place if you decide to transform your podcast to a source of income. One of the many benefit of using Buzzsprout as your host is the ability to monetize your podcast with the various brands they’ve partnered with through their affiliate marketplace.
Pricing and free trial
On average, pricing for a podcast host ranges from $5/month to $49/month depending on which platform you chose and other factors such as Megabytes (MB), bandwidth, downloads, or hours.
Most people spent less than $20/month as a new podcaster. A popular podcast could easily pay much more.
Also, you can save more money with most hosting sites by paying annually instead of monthly, so do your research and compare which option is best for you.
Once you find the right host for you, take advantage of their free trial so you can test what they have to offer before you buy.
The best podcast hosting free trial to learn the ropes of podcasting is Buzzsprout, their free hosting plan allows you to upload up to 2 hours of content each month that can be hosted for a whopping 90 days.
Other essential features to consider when choosing a podcast host includes media validation, FTP uploading, no-fault overages, and episode optimization for filetypes, bitrates, or ID3 tags — Buzzsprout automatic episode optimization is the best when it comes to optimizing your files. Just upload your audio file, and Buzzsprout will automagically optimize each of your episodes.
Can I use a free podcast hosting service?
Yes, you can use a free podcast host, but we don’t recommend it. A free service most times means your data is the product, Facebook is an example of this — its a “free” service but your data is being sold to the highest bidder (advertisers).
Another reason we dont recommend using a free podcast host is the limitations that comes with it in terms of tools and features necessary to grow and scale compared to a paid host. Also there have been cases of free podcast hosting sites going out of service (along with podcast hosted on them!) , so its better to play it safe an pay for a quality host that can help you grow and scale.
Can I host my podcast on my website?
No, you can’t — because audio files are massive compared to pictures you normally upload on your website, an average picture might be 250kb but the average size of a podcast episode could be 35mb. Then, if you start having multiple thousands of downloads which is possible for new episodes and you multiply your downloads x the average episode mb, your website will literally crash with that load of data and that’s if your web host has not kicked you off already — you definitely want to avoid that.
Most web hosting services claim they offer unlimited bandwidth, but they generally have fair use policies that limits that kind of volume storage usage or you’ll be force to upgrade at a cost not sustainable.
What Are podcast directories?
Podcast directories are services like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, TuneIn Radio, iHeartRadio, Pandora and many more. They are platforms for podcast listeners to find and learn more about your podcast. Basically, once you upload your audio file and the directories detects it through your RSS feeds, they’ll automatically download the file from your host server and display it as your latest episode to users.
Which Podcast directory should i publish my podcast on?
Getting listed in the these podcast directories is one of the most important step of your podcast journey because new listeners are likely to find your podcast through these directories.
After you’ve created a podcast, chose a host and uploaded your files, you’re ready to decide where to list your show in order for podcast listeners to find you.
To publish your podcast into these directories, all you’ll need is your RSS feed link which you can get from your podcast hosting provider — you just have to submit it once to each directory, that’s it. Every time you publish a new podcast, every directory will update automatically displaying your latest episode.
Do podcast hosting companies handle distribution?
Not all, some good host offer lot of help when it comes to podcast distribution. For example, Buzzsprout and Captivate does have a distribution section with direct links for submission and auto-submission to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and every other major directories — making your podcast available as much as possible to potential new audience. For Buzzsprout, you just need to navigate to the directories tab in your dashboard and click on ‘Get Listed’ under each directory icon, next copy your RSS feed url and follow the easy instructions. That’s it!
Can you make money with podcasting / How do you monetize a podcast?
Yes, you can make money as a podcaster but it takes lot of work, consistency and patience especially in the beginning, its like a rocket that’s about to take off, it exerts lots of energy and power to propel its take off. First you need to build a community of listeners — a targeted niche audience, after that, attracting sponsorship, making money from affiliate sales and product launches becomes easier.
How do I grow a podcast audience? The easiest way to nuture your audience is to create amazing content, publish new episodes on a consistent basis, and more importantly engage your audience. It may take some time but you’ll eventually build a podcast that’ll make you money on each episodes.
The most common way podcasters make money is through sponsorships or ad slots to businesses that wants to be mentioned during the show. How much money you can make depends on the number of downloads your podcast command per episode. According to this report by The Atlantic, popular podcasters can command from advertisers between $25 to $40 for every 1,000 listeners.
Here are a few places you can find sponsorship for your podcast:
- Ad Results Media
- Adopter Media
- True Native Media
Just so you know, in the beginning — you may not have control over rates but once you start to grow, sponsors will begin to contact you and then you can demand your own rates.
Another great way to monetize your podcast is through affiliate programs. You can drive sales for brands and make money in the process by mentioning them in your show and then provide a link to them in your show notes. The best podcast hosting service, Buzzsprout has an affiliate market place that can connect you with companies ready to pay you as an affiliate, all you need do is provide an honest recommendation to your listeners and a link to where they can engage with those brands. The Buzzsprout affiliate market place is located at the “Resources” tab in your affiliate dashboard. The good thing about the buzzsprout affiliate marketplace is that there are no limitations or any requirements whatsoever, you can start promoting any brands you believe will connect well with your listeners even if you’re just getting started! Worth noting also is that Buzzsprout does not take any commission from the money you make from brands as an affiliate, the affiliate marketplace is one of many great features that comes with hosting your podcast on Buzzsprout.
Patreon / Paypal
Another way to monetize a podcast is to create a Patreon account and make a page that explains to your audience why they should make a donation and why you deserve their support. If you don’t want to use Patreon, you can add a PayPal button to your website.
Other ways to make money podcasting includes but not limited to:
- Join Amazon affiliate program (Amazon Associates), Amazon affiliate commission rates ranges from 1-10%
- Sell branded merch or physical products, create your own products like t-shirts, stickers, mugs, and sell them to your audience on your site. You don’t have to create them, you can use print on demand platforms like Redbubble, Printify, Zazzle, and Teespring just to name a few.
- Create an online course or ebook that’s valuable and geared towards your audience, preferably solving a problem.
- Become a coach or consultant, this method works well after you’ve built trust with your listeners and establish yourself as an authority in your space.
Best podcast hosting recap — the top 5 of 2020
Loads of information there, hopefully this article has helped you find the best podcast hosting platform that’s a great fit for your podcast.
When making your choice, think about not only your immediate needs but also your long-term needs. If you’re already using a podcast host but not happy with their service, look to see if another host would be a better option. We recommend Buzzsprout but you might have another choice based on your need — switching host isn’t as complicated as you’d think, it takes just a couple of clicks.
About King Osaghae
King Osaghae is the managing editor at TechZerg, meaning that he oversees all the articles TechZerg produces. He’s been writing about tech-related topics and trends since 2018.