Comparing Podcast Hosting Platforms
So you’re looking to start a podcast and aren’t sure where to host your show so you can get it on to iTunes, Google Play, and other directories.
Before you dive in and commit to one service, it’s important to take into consideration what you’re podcast’s needs are.
For example, how often you publish and your episode lengths will determine how much storage you need. If you’re planning on courting advertisers in the future then access to analytics will be a high priority.
Here’s a rundown of 6 hosts and their features, in alphabetical order so there’s no appearance of favouritism.
Blubrry is always at the top of podcast hosting lists as one of the most popular and recommended, and rightly so.
Its feature set has everything needed to get started, including generous storage, bandwidth, and analytics offerings for new and established shows alike.
This is perfect if you’re familiar with the platform and are already using it for your own or your show’s website.
Blubrry is also the only host service to offer telephone support so if you’re ever stuck and need to speak to someone then Blubrry has you covered.
Libsyn, along with Blubrry, is also one of the longest standing hosts in the industry and, as a result, one of the most trusted, recommended, and reliable.
Like Blubrry, it offers breadth and depth in features which makes it a perfect choice for anyone that’s committed to a long-term podcast where the hosting platform will scale alongside the show.
You will be paying for the privilege, but the additional storage, analytics can be worth it, especially if your show has the audience to match.
One final point is that currently, Libsyn appears to be one of the primary routes to getting your podcast added to Spotify. While Spotify is currently offering podcasts in a limited capacity, there certainly wouldn’t be a downside to having your podcast available on the largest music streaming platform.
Omny started life as a podcast and music playing app and has now evolved into a full service radio and podcast hosting platform.
That platform offers robust and comprehensive tools with a leaning towards social sharing, such as the ability to create clips from an episode on the fly, and iTunes review tracking built into the platform.
With these features Omny shows an understanding that sharing audio will likely be an important part of a show’s arsenal in developing and nurturing an audience online.
Simplecast’s offering is as its name would suggest — simple. But don’t let that be misunderstood as basic or lacking.
With one price plan at $12 per month the ability to get a podcast off the ground with Simplecast can take as little as 10 minutes.
With unlimited storage, bandwidth, and detailed analytics to match, Simplecast also includes a hosted website that you can sync up to your own domain too, giving your show a near-instant web presence when you sign up.
The only potential picking point with Simplecast is that it re-encodes your audio to 128kpbs when uploading. This might not be a big deal since it decreases file sizes meaning that your audience can download episodes faster, but for some it could decrease perceived audio quality.
The de facto audio sharing platform of the web also gives you the ability to host a podcast too and works in exactly the same way as uploading music.
Soundcloud offers the same analytics, pricing, and storage to all users so if you’re already a Soundcloud user this may save you from paying for a second subscription.
One caveat with Soundcloud is that there are rumblings of the company being in trouble so if you’re worried that your host might not be around within a couple of year maybe try another service.
July 2017 Update: Soundcloud laid off 40% of its workforce and closed half of its offices so it may not be long for this world.
If you’ve ever listened to a podcast, then you’ve almost certainly heard of Squarespace and heard many 10% discount codes as a result.
For all their advertising on podcasts they’re often overlooked as an option for hosting a podcast too but your show would have a solid website and unlimited storage and bandwidth as well.
Where Squarespace is lacking for podcasters is in their analytics offering in that they only show top level visits to your RSS feed and so if you’d find yourself wondering which episodes are more popular than others, then Squarespace might not be the best choice for you.
Be aware, though, that Squarespace podcast feeds only display the most recent 100 feed posts (read: episodes) which could be a deal-breaker if you're planning on a long term show.