7 Best Podcast Hosting Services Compared: Get Your Podcast Ready for 2020

Podcasting is one of the best ways to reach new audiences and deepen your connection with the audience you already have. However, you will need some tools to get started. Chief among these is high-quality podcast hosting.

This guide will explore the best podcast hosting options around and help you choose the right one for your podcast.

Why do you need podcast hosting?

This is a question you might be asking particularly if you already have your standard website hosting taken care of. So, do you need another hosting platform to make a podcast work?

Technically, you can host a podcast on your existing website hosting or WordPress hosting, but that kind of setup is not the most optimized one. Podcasts are typically saved as rather sizable audio files that are much larger than your standard articles or images. So you need a plan with enough storage and bandwidth to be able to handle them. You also don’t want your website to go down when your podcast episode takes off. This is where the best podcast hosting platforms come into play.

Podcast hosts also handle RSS for you. RSS feeds are used for distributing your podcast episodes both directly to your readers as well as to the popular podcasting platforms.

Let’s explore what makes a good podcast host in a bit more detail:

🧐 What to look for in your best podcast hosting

There are several things you should consider when researching your options for podcast hosting:

Number of shows/episodes:

As I mentioned earlier, podcast files are large. Because of this, many podcast hosting plans limit the amount of data you can post each month. How this limit is expressed varies from one host to the next; some limit you to a certain number of episodes, others to a certain number of hours. Others still restrict you to only hosting one show.

If you want full control of how many shows you can create, how many episodes you can post each month, and how long those episodes can be, you’ll want to find a plan that offers unlimited everything.

Free website:

Many podcast hosts automatically generate a free website to accompany your podcast. Some use WordPress to power these sites, while other hosts use proprietary site builders.

This is a great bonus if you want to keep your podcast separate from your primary website. It also provides a place where listeners can comment on your podcast if they want to.

Use of your own domain:

While most podcast hosts do offer free websites, these tend to be hosted on extensions or subdomains of the primary site. With some podcast hosts, this is your only option. However, other podcast hosts allow you to use your own custom domain. This makes your podcast look more professional and can also make things easier if you decide to switch hosts later on.

Add and manage team members:

Are you planning to co-host your podcast with someone else? Maybe pay an assistant to upload your episodes? If so, you’ll want to choose a plan that allows you to add and manage team members.

If you plan to run multiple podcasts through your hosting plan, make sure you can add team members to specific shows and exclude them from shows they aren’t part of.

Episode embed options:

Do you want to post episodes of your podcast to your existing WordPress site? Make sure the host you’re choosing gives you an embed code for every episode. The code should create a mobile-friendly audio player on your site and include a link to where people can download the episode if they want to.

Marketing tools:

Your podcast won’t market itself, but a great podcast host will offer marketing tools to help you get the word out. You may also want to seek out a plan with additional tools, such as automated posting to social media.

Analytics:

Your host should offer access to some basic analytics. At the bare minimum, you want to know how many people are downloading your show and how many people are visiting the website associated with your podcast.

Most podcast hosts offer custom analytics dashboards, but some may also offer integration with Google Analytics.

Cost:

Cost should never be the only deciding factor in your search for a podcast host, but it’s important to know that podcast hosting costs vary wildly. If you’re looking to start a podcast on a small budget, you can choose from one of several free plans available, but you will often sacrifice some functionality to achieve this.

Know what you’re willing to spend and what features you’re willing to pay for before you start the decision making process.

πŸŽ™οΈ The best podcast hosting platforms compared

1. Libsyn (libsyn.com)

Best podcast hosting #1: libsyn
  • Priced from: $5 / month
  • # of episodes / storage: based on a monthly storage space of 50MB (learn more)
  • # of podcasts: 1 podcast per plan
  • Add / manage team members: ❌
  • Free website: βœ…
  • Custom domain use: available for +$2/month (included with all advanced plans)
  • Analytics: available for +$2/month (included with all advanced plans)
  • Free plan: ❌
 

Libsyn is one of the oldest names in podcast hosting, having launched way back in 2004, before most people had even heard the term “podcast”. They host over 60,000+ podcasts with over 110+ million downloads between them. In short, Libsyn is one of the most reliable podcast hosts around.

Libsyn also has plenty to offer in terms of features. Their system allows you to create a custom HTML5 media player with your unique branding, hand pick where to publish your podcast from a variety of options, schedule episodes for future publication, and more.

πŸ‘‰ Go to Libsyn

2. Acast (www.acast.com)

Best podcast hosting #2: acast
  • Priced from: $14.99 / month
  • # of episodes / storage: unlimited
  • # of podcasts: 1 per plan
  • Add / manage team members: only with the Ace plan ($29.99/month)
  • Free website: βœ…
  • Custom domain use: ❌
  • Analytics: βœ…
  • Free plan: βœ… – free hosting does not include distribution to YouTube, Spotify, or Soundcloud; free website cannot be customized
 

Acast offers a wide range of benefits, including integrations with tools like IBM’s Watson, which automatically creates free transcriptions of your episodes. They also offer the Snipper tool, allowing you to create videos with ease.

Acast also offers a free plan, making it an ideal choice if you’re not sure how long this podcast experiment will last. On the other hand, they don’t allow you to use a custom domain, so if your heart is set on a specific URL, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

πŸ‘‰ Go to Acast

3. Anchor (anchor.fm)

Best podcast hosting #3: anchor
  • Priced from: free
  • # of episodes / storage: unlimited
  • # of podcasts: unlimited
  • Add / manage team members: ❌ – can add people during the recording process though
  • Free website: βœ…
  • Custom domain use: ❌
  • Analytics: βœ…
  • Free plan: βœ… – there’s no paid plan
 

Anchor is different from the other contenders on this list of best podcast hosting options in a few key ways. First, all hosting with Anchor is free and unlimited. This means you can publish as many podcasts as you want, as often as you want, without paying a single dollar.

Second, Anchor offers unique opportunities for monetization. You can opt in to a paid subscription service similar to Patreon, and if your podcast starts to become popular, Anchor will help you find profitable sponsorship opportunities. If you want to make money from your podcast directly, Anchor is your best bet.

Last but certainly not least, Anchor offers a built-in podcast maker that allows you to record and edit your podcast directly on the Anchor website. This allows you to avoid downloading audio editing software.

πŸ‘‰ Go to Anchor

4. Castos (castos.com)

castos
  • Priced from: $19 / month (or $190 / year)
  • # of episodes / storage: unlimited
  • # of podcasts: unlimited
  • Add / manage team members: ❌
  • Free website: βœ…
  • Custom domain use: ❌
  • Analytics: βœ…
  • Free plan: ❌
 

Castos is a premium podcast hosting service connected to the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin. All of their plans provide unlimited hosting, stellar customer support, and detailed analytics to help you understand how your podcast is growing.

Castos doesn’t allow you to use a custom domain for the website they provide, but you can get around this by hosting your Castos podcast directly on your existing WordPress site. If you don’t have an existing WordPress site, you can use the mini-site provided by Castos and publish directly from their dashboard.

πŸ‘‰ Go to Castos

5. Buzzsprout (www.buzzsprout.com)

buzzsprout
  • Priced from: $12 / month
  • # of episodes / storage: 3 hours, split across as many episodes as you want
  • # of podcasts: 1 podcast per plan
  • Add / manage team members: βœ…
  • Free website: βœ…
  • Custom domain use: βœ…
  • Analytics: βœ…
  • Free plan: βœ… – limited to 2 hours of content per month; episodes are also only stored for 90 days with this plan, and ads will be run on the associated site
 

Buzzsprout is a unique company that brings the concept of pay-as-you-go pricing to podcast hosting. All of their plans are available on a month-to-month basis, and you are able to upgrade your plan at any time during a given month.

πŸ‘‰ Go to Buzzsprout

6. PodBean (www.podbean.com)

podbean
  • Priced from: $9 / month
  • # of episodes / storage: unlimited
  • # of podcasts: 1 per plan
  • Add / manage team members: only with Business plan ($99/month)
  • Free website: βœ…
  • Custom domain use: only available with paid plans
  • Analytics: βœ…
  • Free plan: βœ… – limited to 5 hours of content per month
 

PodBean offers a variety of tools to make it easy for you to publish, manage, and syndicate your podcast with a wide range of distribution channels. Their interface is based on a blog-like system, making it an easy adjustment for someone used to working with WordPress.

PodBean also runs the PodBean Marketplace, an AdSense-like solution for podcast advertising, and an advertising management program for podcast creators called PodAd. This makes it easy for you to monetize your podcast and track the success of advertisements you create.

πŸ‘‰ Go to PodBean

7. Transistor (transistor.fm)

transistor
  • Priced from: $19 / month (or $190 / year)
  • # of episodes / storage: unlimited
  • # of podcasts: unlimited
  • Add / manage team members: 2 per podcast
  • Free website: βœ…
  • Custom domain use: βœ…
  • Analytics: βœ…
  • Free plan: ❌
 

Transistor provides podcasters with one of the simplest publishing platforms around, embeddable players for your existing WordPress site, and comprehensive analytics. The free website they provide comes with SSL certification and allows you to use your own domain. And your unlimited storage can be applied to an unlimited number of different podcasts.

Transistor also offers a variety of marketing tools, including automated publishing to YouTube and Spotify, auto-sharing on Twitter, and automated newsletter generation every time you publish a new episode (compatible with Mailchimp, Drip, and ConvertKit). This makes it an excellent choice for anyone looking to simplify their marketing.

πŸ‘‰ Go to Transistor

🏁 Final thoughts on the best podcast hosting

All of these options provide high-quality hosting and automated distribution to iTunes and other major podcast distribution platforms, so there is potential to succeed with any one of them. In the end, your choice should be based on your priorities:

  • If you want an all-in-one solution that provides podcast creation tools as well as publication tools, choose Anchor.
  • To achieve easy integration with your existing WordPress site, your best bet is Castos.
  • For automated transcription, you’ll want to choose Acast.
  • If you want maximum customizability, you’ll want to take a look at Libsyn.
  • For a month-to-month solution with no annual contracts, your best option is Buzzsprout.
  • If you want an easy way to integrate ads with your podcast, pick a plan from PodBean.
  • For an innovative publishing platform and high quality marketing tools, you’ll want to invest in a plan with Transistor.

Still not sure which of these podcast hosting options is the best one for you? Take a look at the table below for a side-by-side comparison:

Best podcast hosting: SUMMARY
Host Price from # of episodes # of podcasts Team members Analytics Website Domain Free plan?
Libsyn $5 / month 50MB 1 per plan ❌ +$2.00 βœ… +$2.00 ❌
Acast $14.99 / month Unlimited 1 per plan Only with Ace plan βœ… βœ… ❌ βœ… – limited features
Anchor Free Unlimited Unlimited ❌ βœ… βœ… ❌ βœ… – all plans are free
Castos $19 / month Unlimited Unlimited ❌ βœ… βœ… ❌ ❌
Buzzsprout $12 / month 3 hours 1 per plan βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… – 2 hours of content per month
PodBean $9 / month Unlimited 1 per plan Only with Business plan βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… – 5 hours of monthly content
Transistor $19 / month ($190 / year) Unlimited Unlimited βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… ❌

Did you find this list helpful? Are you interested in learning more about podcasting here on the CodeinWP blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

 

Layout, presentation and editing by Karol K.

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