Are you looking to start a new podcast? We can relate! We are in the process of launching our own podcast and at one point felt overwhelmed by the vast number of podcast hosting providers. Through our research, we discovered there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, because the ‘best’ podcast hosting provider depends on your individual needs.
To help you prioritize your most important wants and needs from a hosting provider, we gathered some of the most popular solutions, and organized them by their strengths. So, here’s our ultimate guide to finding the best podcast hosting — for you — depending on what matters to you most.
Getting started with a podcast hosting provider
Before we get into the detailed comparison, let’s start with the basics: what does a podcast hosting provider do? Most offer hosting (storage), in this case letting you upload and store audio files in .mp3 format, as well as automated podcast distribution.
When you upload a new file, the provider generates (or updates) your site’s RSS feed. An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed details all the content a website has published, such as a post’s full content, a summary/excerpt, publication date, author and URL. The podcast provider automatically submits these RSS feed updates to podcast directories, such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and others, so that listeners can find your podcast on those platforms, too.
With podcasting hosting providers, it’s also common to see additional services, including audience insights and data, advertising, visual customization options and perhaps the ability to collaborate with team members through a shared data dashboard.
We should also acknowledge that, as with everything, cost is an important factor in the decision-making process. If you are just starting out, you might want to minimize your expenditure and use a free hosting provider. There are a number of providers that don’t charge. But as your podcast grows in popularity and number of episodes, you’ll want to look into signing up to a premium service that offers more hosting/storage in return for a subscription fee.
All decent hosting providers offer monthly subscriptions and a discount if you pay for a year in advance. The average cost for the lowest level of premium hosting will cost between $10 to $20 a month, depending on the provider and the number of episodes uploaded or size of storage used.
The best podcast hosting for your individual needs
Let’s start looking in-depth at some options that might be most suitable to you. We’ve chosen a handful of podcasting services that are known for popular features, such data analytics, type of user and size of audience. It’s worth noting that many of these providers are great at a number of different services, so we’ve narrowed it down to what we believe to be the single best hosting provider in each category:
The best podcast hosting for monetization: Acast
Acast arguably created the modern world of commercial podcasting, thanks to its invention of the Acast Marketplace. This allows “dynamic commercial insertion” which lets advertisers and brands place up-to-date messaging, tailored to each listener, across the 40,000 podcasts that Acast hosts. It’s still easy to distribute to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and hundreds of other platforms.
The best podcast hosting for audience reach: (Anchor by) Spotify
Just about the most famous digital audio platform in the English-speaking world is Spotify. And they have a podcast-specific platform named Anchor, that promises to let you “create, distribute, and monetize your podcast—all for free.” The platform has built-in uploading, recording, and editing tools to let you create and publish episodes — and it’s hard to argue with access to over 389 million listeners across 187 markets worldwide.
The best podcast hosting for longevity: Libsyn
Libsyn, thanks to its well-established nature — it was founded all the way back in 2004 — has become the provider of choice for many people and media companies: it was the official podcast launch partner for Spotify, Pandora and more. The premium package offers unlimited bandwidth, monetization, audience analytics and distribution to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more, thanks to its Libsyn Publisher Hub plugin.
The best podcast hosting for a creative mindset: Soundcloud
Anyone who has ever hunted down an unsigned band or a brand new DJ will have used Soundcloud, the “world's largest online community of artists, bands, DJs, and audio creators”, which is currently home to 265 million tracks. As such, it’s easy to get started as a podcaster, too, with automatic distribution to iTunes, Google Podcasts, as well as audience insights and monetization features.
The best podcast hosting for customization: Fusebox
For the graphically minded, Fusebox puts huge focus on its customization options and mobile platform, and boasts “enhanced listener interface designs to improve engagement”. It even has three different options for the design of the podcast player: sticky, archive and track-by-track. But there’s still no compromise on distribution features as it integrates with Stitcher, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and many more.
The best podcast hosting for analytics: Transistor
Transistor puts the focus on the numerical side of the business. It markets itself as “hosting for creatives, brands, professionals” and automatically generates website for your podcast in a number of designs. Transistor still allows wiggle room for testing: you can start as many podcasts as you like and distribute them to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, as well as inviting your team members to see your stats.
The best podcast hosting for an all-in-one service: Castos
The team at Castos don’t just offer the necessities such as insights, sharing tools and audio transcriptions, but they help craft the podcast production from start to finish. The Castos team can assist with show notes, audio cuts, and the final mixdown, as well manage easy integration with Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts among others.
Conclusion: Who is the best podcast hosting provider?
Choosing the best podcast hosting provider depends on what you are looking for, from great customization to easy analytics or commercial opportunities, from a well-established team to a great audience reach. In case you’re curious, we chose Castos for our hosting provider because of the completeness of their offering, especially for audio mixing and editing.
We hope this post helps you narrow down your options and gives you a great head-start towards finding the best podcast hosting provider for you! Tell us on social media who you found to the best fit? You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The table below shows how we started our research. We looked at every major podcast hosting provider on the market and made a comprehensive list of their key offerings, price, integrations and brand positioning. Then we chose the platforms with differentiating features that might be most suited to certain needs for users. Here’s what we found:
|Acast||PodBean||(Anchor by) Spotify||Castos||Blubrry||SoundCloud||SimpleCast||Transistor||LibSyn||BuzzSprout||Fusebox (Smart Podcast Player)|
|Slogan||Everything you need to start and distribute your podcast||Your Podcast Hosting and Monetizing Platform||Reach a world of new listeners||Public Podcasts to grow your audience / Private Podcasts for exclusive content||Makes podcast publishing easier with our smooth publishing platform and social sharing features||Join the world's largest online community of artists, bands, DJs, and audio creators.||The first and last word in podcast management and analytics.||Podcast hosting for creatives, brands, professionals.||Reach Your Audience Wherever They Listen to Podcasts||The easiest podcasting software for hosting, promoting, and tracking your podcast.||The podcast player built to extend the reach of your show|
|Key features or stats||40,000 podcasts, spanning every genre||More than 600,000 podcasters trust Podbean||Over 389 million listeners across 187 markets worldwide||Automates every aspect of building a successful podcast||Dedicated to providing the most essential podcast tools in the industry since 2005||East to get started — over 265 million tracks||For nearly 7 years, Simplecast has provided podcasters with publishing, distribution, analytics, and sharing tools.||Start as many podcasts as you'd like.||Well-established ‘first mover’.||Easy to use, free learning materials||Best visuals/customization options|
|Key differentiator||Acast Marketplace for advertising||-||Largest audience||Audio editing||-||Well established for musicians||-||Invite team members to see your podcast's stats||Popular with big players, e.g. Joe Rogan||-||Customizations, mobile platform|
|Submit to directories||Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Samsung Free, and hundreds of others||Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, Google Play/Podcasts, iHeartRadio, YouTube, Pandora, Sticher, PlayerFM||One-click share to Spotify (and others)||Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Sticher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and a host of apps||Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeart Radio, Pandora, Deezer||Stitcher, TuneIn, iTunes, Google Podcasts||One-click publishing to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or “wherever your audience listens”.||Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts||Apple Podcasts,
Spotify, Google Podcasts
Amazon Music, TuneIn
iHeart Radio, Pandora, Deezer
|Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Alexa, Overcast, PocketCasts, Castro, Castbox, and Podchaser||Stitcher, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts|
|Embed on WordPress||Yes||Embed directly into your WordPress posts and pages||Yes||No||PowerPress plugin||Yes — direct integration with WordPress block||No||Yes||Libsyn Publisher Hub plugin||Yes, via plugin||No|
|Standalone site||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, with custom domain||Yes|
|Starting price||From $25/month||Free plans with limited storage, paid plans from $9/month with unlimited storage||Free — unlimited hosting,
|From $19/month||From $12/month with 100 MB storage each month||Free for up to 3 hours of uploads; from $6/month||From $15/month||From $19/month for up to 10,000 downloads||$5/month with 50MB monthly storage||Limited free plan for 90 days. Paid plans start at $12/month for 3 hours upload||From $8.09/month (billed annually)|