Podcast Hosting Services: Everything You Need to Know to Get Your Podcast Up and Running
There’s a reason you’ve landed on my article. You’re interested in launching your own podcast.
I get it. After listening to thousands of hours of podcasts, I too started a podcast: Now to Next with Nick Nanton.
Podcasts are sensational forms of content that draw us into the story or topic at hand. We seek out podcasts to get lost in charismatic tales, learn something new, or kick back for a laugh.
Getting a podcast up and running takes a lot of work, from planning out specific topics to having the right recording equipment. However, arguably the most important step of the entire process is to choose the right podcast hosting service.
Podcasts don’t magically appear on Spotify, the iPhone Podcasts app, or wherever you choose to listen to your episodes. Instead, podcasters rely on hosting services—among other tools—to share their stories and content with their audience.
But, as with most online tools and software, not all podcast hosting options are created equal. That’s why it’s vital to choose the right service for your podcasting needs.
Let me be the one to guide you through the process.
What is a Podcast Hosting Service?
You and I both know what website hosting is, right? It refers to a service that stores the files and media associated with your website.
Podcast hosting services are a similar concept. These services host and deliver all the files associated with a particular podcast.
Did you believe that podcasts were directly uploaded to Spotify episode by episode? Think again! Without a podcast hosting service, you won’t have a place to upload your podcast episodes.
Now, if you’re familiar with website hosting, you might be thinking, “Why can’t I host my podcast files on my website?”
The answer is: you can, but you shouldn’t!
Podcast files are enormous. Uploading these files to your website server would significantly slow your site and cause issues when multiple visitors try to download and listen to episodes.
As a result, podcast hosting services are built specifically to handle such massive files and leverage tools designed to amplify your podcasting success.
It’s best to opt for a podcast hosting service that provides not only storage but also a myriad of other podcasting benefits such as:
- Distribution assistance,
- Episode analytics,
- Embedded podcast players, and
- Podcast promotion tools.
Five Things to Look for When Choosing a Podcast Hosting Service
When evaluating which hosting service is right for a podcast, I always keep an eye out for these five factors:
Ultimately, your decision will come down to cost. All the other features are a bonus.
Most podcasting hosting services offer a free trial followed by a monthly fee. Some services also provide a discount for those who elect to lock into an annual subscription or membership rather than just a monthly commitment.
As your podcast gains traction, you can offset this cost by obtaining sponsorship or finding other ways to monetize your episodes.
2. Storage Limits
Each podcasting service will have membership tiers based on storage limits. However, each service defines its storage limits differently. (Confusing, right?)
Common definitions of storage include megabytes (MB), hours, and the number of downloads each month. Many services also offer unlimited storage for a premium monthly or annual price.
My advice would be to start with a smaller storage plan and upgrade as necessary. There’s no point in paying an astronomical amount for storage right off the bat until you build up a loyal podcast audience.
3. Distribution Assistance
Certain podcast hosting services also offer distribution assistance tools to get your episodes on platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and more.
These tools range from services such as Podbean that will distribute the podcast for you or provide you with a list of podcast directories for you to leverage. Some even have a dedicated distribution tool that helps you track where your podcast is distributed.
You can’t possibly know how well your podcast is doing without data.
When choosing a podcast hosting service, select one that offers podcast analytics tools or dashboards. Use this data to understand how long listeners are tuning in for, where they’re finding your podcast, and what other actions they’re taking to interact with your content.
5. Promotional Tools
After creating and hosting your podcast, another critical step is promotion. If you don’t get the word out about your new podcast, how can you expect people to tune in?
See if your chosen podcast hosting service offers promotional tools such as customized embedded players, an advertising marketplace, or social sharing features.
Seven of the Market’s Best Podcast Hosting Services
Here are seven podcast hosting services I recommend:
Podcasters can use Buzzsprout to start hosting their episodes for free for 90 days, with up to two hours of storage each month. Hosting features include distribution assistance, advanced statistics, and audio mastering with upgraded memberships.
Captivate’s podcast hosting services are perfect for the growth-oriented podcaster—also known as you!
The hosting service is geared toward independent podcasters looking for advanced tools such as customized podcast players, analytics, and unlimited storage. After the seven-day trial, plans range from $14 to $90 per month.
If you’re like me, you might also be a serial podcaster. You’re interested in or already have launched several podcasts! If so, look into hosting with Transistor.fm.
Plus, subscribing yearly to Transistor.fm earns you two months free. The platform offers features such as a built-in podcast website, live customer support, and unlimited audio storage space.
Although synonymous with independent music, SoundCloud is also an excellent hosting service. In addition to basic analytics and sharing features, users can opt for the Pro Unlimited plan for $12 each month and receive unlimited hosting time, scheduling tools, and more.
While Blubrry offers similar features as other podcast hosting services, its PowerPress Podcasting plugin for WordPress is its main advantage. Within this plugin, podcasters can do everything from podcast SEO to importing audio files.
Plus, all Blubrry subscriptions come with unlimited bandwidth!
New podcasters can get started for free with Podbean. This hosting service offers unlimited hosting, scheduled publishing, distribution and promotion tools, and in-depth analytics. Podcasters also love Podbean’s robust advertising and monetization tools. Plans range from a free basic option to a $99-per-month business plan.
7. Podcast Hosting with Celebrity Branding Agency
That’s right! I can help you with podcast hosting.
I’ve been podcasting for a long time now and know exactly what it takes to get your podcast up and running properly. I’d be happy to help you set up your podcast hosting and devise a plan to take your episodes to the next level.
Send us a message, and let’s start growing your podcast audience!