There are still many of us that do not know about podcasts, let alone the best podcast hosting platforms, and there is really no shame in admitting that you were late in catching up to a trend that almost half the world was going crazy about. The Internet was not so easy on Kim Kardashian either when she first tweeted about a hit podcast Serial in 2018, while its first episode was released around 4 years back. Even famous American wrestler and Snap chatter, Dylan Geick, only recently started his own podcast while the world was already neck-deep into podcast platforms.
- 1 What is a Podcast Hosting Platform?
- 2 What Should You Look for in the Best Podcast Hosting Platforms?
- 3 Taking the Flight
- 4 Best Podcast Hosting Platforms of 2020
- 5 Conclusion
What is a Podcast Hosting Platform?
A podcast hosting platform provides RSS feed and files hosting for podcasts. If you are thinking of TuneIn and iTunes as hosting platforms, they are not! These podcast directories display files from a host, therefore it is crucial that you get a good podcast host to get included in the directories.
Starting your own podcast is not a huge task, but it is not a piece of cake either. A number of factors work together to make sure that it reaches the right audience and is engaging enough to hook them to your podcast for a long time to come. Hosting companies allow you to upload audio files, show details and generate your feed. You would be surprised to know podcasts have grown into a massive industry in the last few years, and there is no stopping it unless the Internet masses start craving something other than their idols.
What Should You Look for in the Best Podcast Hosting Platforms?
It depends on what you are looking for. If you are a newcomer to the world of podcasts, you may settle for a hosting platform that offers only a few options. However, if you do know your way around a podcast hosting platform, it should only meet the following three needs:
- Hosts audio files
- Creates an RSS link so that your probable audience can easily subscribe to it
- Offers reliability and good bandwidth so that your listeners can stream effortlessly
With the changing needs of users and advancing technology, here are a ton of extra features that will improve your experience as a podcaster:
- Easy of use
- Customizable player
- Ability to embed podcast player on different websites
- A range of options to monetize
- Push to TuneIn, iTunes, Spotify, etc.
- Podcast metadata (title, category, artwork, etc.)
- Upfront billing and costs
- Interesting marketing options
- Listen offline and downloading options
Tip: Just keep in mind that even when you are using the trial, it may be too good to be true. You may be allowing the hosting platform to monetize on your data or even infringe on your copyrights when you are using the free account.
Taking the Flight
There are a few questions that may come to your mind when you think of starting a podcast:
- What should I talk about?
- Where should I host my podcast?
- What options do I have when it comes to podcast hosting websites?
Some other interesting questions that are often asked around include:
- Why do I sound funny on my podcast?
- Am I really talking about this, which is something I do not really care about?
Well, all your questions are valid, and while I cannot change your voice, I can definitely educate you with a dozen options (even more) when it comes to podcast hosting platforms. Before moving on to the podcast platforms, I would like to reiterate that podcast is not just recording a bunch of audio files and uploading it to iTunes. You need to find a podcast hosting site that meets your needs.
With over 100 million US podcast listeners, you need to come up with a holistic approach that includes quality content and a hosting platform that does not disappoint. The following options will take into account several factors that include price, technical support, reliability, compliance, monthly upload volume, storage, marketing features, integration with other apps, ease of use and other factors. So, let us begin!
Best Podcast Hosting Platforms of 2020
Started in 2009, BuzzSprout has over 50,000 users today, with a core focus on offering a smooth experience for the newcomers. Submission to Spotify or iTunes is done through clear guidelines. The interface is not only intuitive but also easy to use, offers good customer support and distributes to major directories. The platform is best suited for beginners, based on hours and not storage. You can even use their free website to link to a WordPress site for more control. With unlimited bandwidth, BuzzSprout is affordable and one of the favorites for beginners.
- Extremely affordable
- Easy to use
- Good customer support
- Easily adds episode chapter markers
- Optimizable for better sound
- Episodes on the free account are deleted after 90 days
- The free page lacks options
- Only allows two hours of free audio on its free plan
PodBean is another favorite, which is why I am recommending it second to BuzzSprout. Its countless features include unlimited hosting, promotion, and distribution on popular apps like Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Alexa, Spotify, and others. It has been hosting its users’ episodes since 2006, and 24/7 support makes it extremely easy to get things done. You can always start with PodBean for free, and upload up to 5 hours of content every month, with 100 GB bandwidth, which is more than what BuzzSprout offers.
However, if you are looking for detailed analytics, you need to upgrade to their starter plan, which will cost you a measly $9 every month. On the other hand, if you are a professional, the PodBean Unlimited Plus Plan will suit you best. With this option, you not only get unlimited video storage and audio hosting, but you can even run your own sponsored campaigns to earn faster. Another feature that makes it interesting is the free YouTube version of your podcast, which is auto uploaded to the channel once synced.
- Free subdomain and website with the paid account
- Easy to use
- Affordable monthly plans
- A number of monetization options
- 24 / 7 support
- Basic website functions
- Premium bandwidth will cost more
Captivate is yet another amazing platform that has birthed from years of experience. Its owners have been running podcast websites for years so the features in the platform display everything that a podcaster dreams of. Their carefully designed and intuitive dashboard offers easy to use, advanced analytics that are still easy to understand, an interactive website and a full-featured podcast player, built-in call-to-actions, and most of all, no limit on the members you want to add.
Other unique features include default schedule time, custom plugins, WordPress integration, batch uploading and a lot more. It is also mobile friendly, which is very useful, especially in this era dominated by Gen Z. Their plans may be a tad more costly, but they also do not limit their core features on any plan, which may be hard to say about other options. You can even import your personal libraries with just a few clicks and build your email list to increase conversions down the sales funnel. Although this platform is fairly new, you can clear out your doubts with their 7-day free trial.
- Awesome-looking player
- Plenty of unique features
- No changes are made to files
- It is very easy to use
- Built-in CTAs
- Pricier than its competitors
- Fairly new
Transistor is a professional service that offers high quality hosting services and even hosts some popular podcasts that you may have heard of, including Honeybadger, Cards Against Humanity, and Drift. If you are looking to start with something concrete and consequently grow your audience, Transistor is one of the platforms that may help you to a ‘T’. Its list of features extends with amazing tools like hosting unlimited shows, generating branded websites with your domain name, managing multiple users with every account, viewing advanced analytics, and distributing your podcast to the masses.
Transistor truly allows you to scale your podcast, and link to your current following from other hosting platforms like Anchor or Libsyn. They offer a 14-day free trial, with their paid plans similar in pricing to Captivate. Their website also offers amazing comparisons with other platforms to prove their credibility so it is up to you to decide.
- Podcasts can be bundled together
- Professional Service
- High-Quality Bandwidths
- Optimized Platform
- Hosts Unlimited Shows
- The dashboard may be confusing for new users
Simplecast is not new to the podcast platform. With over six years of experience in the industry, Simplecast hosts some of the biggest names in the retail industry like Nike, HBO, Facebook, Showtime, Kickstarter, Marriott, Harvard University and others. It is known for its industry leading features and powerful tools that help share, distribute, manage and grow your podcast. If you are not convinced with this description, their motto will definitely convince you – Here it is: “From your first listener to your first million, Simplecast provides powerful tools needed to manage, distribute, share, and grow your podcast.”
One of its standout features is the Recast™ tool that allows you to share and schedule clips of the podcast on social media networks. It also allows you to collaborate with several podcast managers with a single account. Other features include one-click publishing, a fully functioning website, different web players and professional tools for advanced analytics.
- Simple and easy to use (as the name suggests)
- Unlimited uploads
- Unlimited storage
- Distribution to multiple major platforms
- 14-day free trial only
- Expensive plans
In your search for the best podcast hosting platforms, Buzzsprout emerges as the clear winner out of the five above. Even though its free account does not offer all the options, similar to its competitors, it is still pretty generous. It is also very easy to use and packed with powerful features to give you the experience you may expect from more elite and expensive competitors like Captivate. Comparing it to others in the list, it offers almost all of the features offered by popular podcast hosting platforms, however, if you love WordPress, you would want to try out other options like Blubrry or Castos.
Buzzsprout offers all the options that you would want in your podcast hosting platforms like its ease of use, continuous customer support, and optimized platform. On the other hand, there are other options in the market, which you might want to learn about before you make your choice. However, the five options above are the best podcast hosting platforms of 2020.