So you’re ready to start a podcast? You’re in the right place.
You’ll need to sign up with a podcast hosting company to store your .mp3’s and create your podcast feed. Just like when you start a website or blog you need a web host, when you start a podcast you need a media host.
Why can’t you just use your website to upload your audio files?
Because the files are massive compared to anything else you upload (a picture might be 300kb, but an MP3 is easily 100x that). That means when you start having multiple people download or stream at the same time (which is common when you release new episodes), your website will easily struggle to keep up with all that data. That means a poor experience for both podcast listeners and website visitors 🙁 And many web hosts will kick you off – you don’t want that!
Or maybe you’re looking for a better place to host your podcast episodes? The best podcast hosting sites make it super simple to migrate your podcast into their system…
So where should you host your podcast? Good news…
We’ve put together the top podcast hosts, along with some other useful services to take your podcast to the next level!
Looking for some gear? Check out the podcast starter kit guide.
- Best Podcast Hosting Companies
- Best Podcast Hosting Comparison
- More Podcast Hosting Companies
- Even More Podcast Hosts
- Recommended Complimentary Services
- Podcast Distribution
Best Podcast Hosting Companies
All of the podcast hosting sites will provide an iTunes-optimized RSS feed.
We’ll start with my top 5 recommended podcast hosting platforms, beginning with #1:
Buzzsprout was designed to make podcasting simple, but not limited. They have one of the best-designed dashboards I’ve seen, which lets you spend more time creating content than messing around with uploads.
They also give you great statistics and a mobile-friendly podcast website.
There’s a forever free plan but your episodes get removed after 90 days, then their plans start at $12/month. Great value!
Feel free to check out our Buzzsprout review & walkthrough for a behind-the-scenes look.
Use this link: Buzzsprout will give you a $20 Amazon gift card if you stay with one of their paid plans for 2 months!
Podbean has great pricing and plans for new podcasters. There is a 5-hour limited upload plan for free with basic stats. You won’t be able to use your own domain name on this tier though.
They also have an unlimited upload plan starting at $9/month (when paid annually) that includes advanced stats, a website, custom domains, and more.
Podbean also has their own podcast app for iOS and Android and an Alexa skill so you can use your voice to listen to your favorite podcasts.
Get a free month with this link when you sign up for an unlimited plan.
Transistor is one of the newer podcast hosting and analytics platforms and have a great team behind them. They are focused on brands (one of their early customers is Cards Against Humanity) and people who take podcasting seriously (vs those just dabbling or as a hobby).
For one price you can host as many different shows as you want, add and manage team members (producers, editors, etc.), get great podcast stats, an excellent podcast site, and more.
One thing I really like about the provided website is that you can browse around while an episode plays uninterrupted (check out their podcast about building Transistor).
Pricing starts at $19/month for 5,000 downloads per month, which is plenty for most people. If you need more than that, they have higher tiers with more downloads and team members as well.
Castos Podcast Hosting has some excellent features and integrates seamlessly with WordPress. They own the Seriously Simple Podcasting WordPress plugin where you can manage your feed and upload new episodes right from WordPress.
You’ll get unlimited upload volume and download bandwidth for $15/month, along with an excellent customizable player to embed on your website.
Castos has a 14-day free trial, but if you use the coupon code PI2018, you’ll get a free month! And if you pay for the year up front, you also get 2 months free.
I did a lot of research before choosing my first podcast host and Blubrry came out on top, even though more “big” names recommended or used other podcast hosts. The main reasons were:
- the easy integration with their PowerPress plugin for WordPress
- advanced industry-leading statistics included free with your hosting plan
- “no-fault” overage – you can upload more than your monthly limit without being charged extra
You can find a more in-depth look at Blubrry in this review.
Plans start at $12/month for 100MB storage upload per month. Depending on the episode length and quality, that should be enough for at least 1 episode per week.
Best Podcast Hosting Comparison
|Best For||Beginners||Video Podcasts||WordPress||Multiple Shows||WordPress|
|Price||From $12/mo||$9/mo (audio) or $29/mo (video)||$15/mo||From $19/mo||From $12/mo|
|Storage||Starts at 3 hours per month||Unlimited*||Unlimited||Unlimited||Starts at 100MB|
|Bandwidth||250GB (>20K plays/mo per episode)||Unlimited*||Unlimited||From 5K plays/mo||Unlimited|
|File Types Supported||Audio||Audio & Video||Audio||Audio||Audio & Video|
|Use Your Domain (Get One Here)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Special Offer||Free $20 Amazon Giftcard||Free Month||Free Month (Use Code PI2018)||2 Weeks Free||Free Month|
More Podcast Hosting Companies
Here are more great options for hosting your podcast.
Podcast Websites is an all-in-one platform that includes a WordPress website, web hosting, unlimited podcast hosting, domain name, email address, and a bunch more.
You can easily build your email list as they connect to many of the top email service providers too.
They also recently included their Academy membership to help you learn with their video library.
Two long-time (and well-known) podcasters created this so they have a great understanding of what new podcasters need.
Check out Podcast Websites here. You can use the coupon code HOSTME for $10 off per month or free podcast hosting.
If you need a platform that does podcast hosting, website hosting, and will handle your needs whether you’re just starting out or have thousands of listeners, PodcastGIANT is perfect.
If you don’t want to spend time dealing with hosting and website tech, this is the solution for you.
Check out PodcastGIANT here and get your setup fee waived.
Podiant “makes it incredibly easy to start and grow a podcast” – with unlimited storage all for $12.99/month.
Some of the features include:
- Website with blog posts and pages
- Podcast analytics
- Auto-posting to YouTube
- Dropbox connection
- Social sharing
Be sure to use the promo code insights to get 25% off your first 3 months (you’ll enter the code after you create your account – check them out here).
I had to highlight Simplecast because they’re doing some cool things. For one, their embeddable player is one of the best-looking (and smoothest) I’ve seen. You also get detailed analytics for anyone who uses it. Here’s a little preview:
For $12/month, you’ll get unlimited uploads, unlimited downloads, advanced analytics, a website, the ability to have multiple people manage your podcast, and a bunch more.
They’re also in the process of updating the look of their entire platform and brand, so keep an eye out for exciting changes coming here soon.
BlogTalkRadio has an impressive list of features, one being the ability to monetize smaller podcasts (under 5k downloads per episode) with their ad network. They have live broadcast features, a built-in guest recording system and more.
Plans start at $39/month for the Studio sessions and unlimited uploads, but they also have a $12/month Lite plan without the Studio.
Fireside was created by Dan Benjamin of the 5by5 network. He and his peers create a lot of podcasts and know the industry well. Fireside is an all-in-one platform in that you get podcast hosting, a nice looking website, and podcast statistics.
The websites are well designed, but it appears there is currently one theme.
They keep things simple: there is 1 plan for $19/month – unlimited everything.
Backtracks claims to have “the world’s most advanced podcast analytics and hosting platform”. Their price and set of features are probably overkill if you’re just starting out, but if run a decent size media company or brand, having easy access to advanced analytics is invaluable.
Many large brands use them and they have a really nice embeddable player with clickable transcripts:
audioBoom lets you “host, distribute, and monetize” your podcast. They have a couple different hosting tiers depending on how many downloads you get:
The “New podcasters” option is $9.99/month that allows you to publish up to 5 episodes per month with up to 10,000 plays per month.
Once you surpass 10K monthly downloads, you’ll get access to their targeted ad network, sponsorships, and branded partnerships. This is a great way to easily monetize your podcast once you start getting some traction.
They also have another tier for podcast networks and radio groups with additional monetization and management options.
Libsyn is a host that has been around since the early days of podcasting. They are commonly recommended because that’s what long-time podcasters have used and recommended for years, but there are better platforms now. Their website and dashboard badly need a refresh too.
Plans start at $5/month with an upload limit of 50MB (which is too small for most people) so at a minimum will likely need the $15/month plan that bumps you up to 250MB of upload per month and basic statistics.
Even More Podcast Hosts
And here’s a bunch more you might want to check out. I’ll be expanding more on these companies over time.
- Podcast Blastoff
Recommended Complimentary Services
Here’s a handful of useful services that I recommend for podcasters. You can also check out the full list of podcasting resources.
You really should have your own website. You want a place to send your listeners that you own. Some of the podcast hosting companies will provide a basic free website, which is great when starting out, but if you want more flexibility and customization you’ll need to go with your own web host for WordPress.
I’m a big fan of WordPress (just use the Seriously Simple Podcasting or PowerPress plugin to get your podcast feed set up). Here are my recommended web hosting companies:
They are dedicated to hosting blazing fast and stable WordPress sites. They have an impressive client list and really useful features like 1-click staging so you can configure your site in a test environment before pushing it live to the world (also great if you accidentally break something).
If you never want to worry about your site going down when you get mentioned on that big news site, sign up with Kinsta.
Plus, they just added a risk-free 30-day money-back policy!
DreamHost is my “go to” for smaller (under 30K visits/month) sites. I use one of their VPS servers to host several websites and get great performance.
Here’s a special deal for Podcast Insights readers… You can get $25 off a shared hosting package if you use this link. Let me know if you have any questions.
The web hosts above might give you a free domain name when you sign up, but if you’re like me and want an easy way to register a domain name the second something comes to you, I recommend buying from a dedicated domain name seller…
Namecheap gives you free Whois Privacy when you purchase a domain name. That will prevent people from spamming you because your contact info is public. They also offer SSL certificates, hosting and more. Grab your .com now!
Name.com is based in Colorado (the state I live in) and I like to support local companies. They make it really easy to search for and purchase domains.
Sure you can always find a free theme, but I find they are either too limiting or too bloated with stuff and slow your site down. And who knows when or if they will be updated – it’s just a recipe for trouble. I used to work for a company that designed websites and we always used WordPress themes that focused on speed, stability, and great design…
SecondLine Themes develops WordPress themes specifically for podcasts and podcasters.
They currently have 4 different themes:
All the themes on StudioPress are built on the Genesis Framework, which means they are SEO-friendly, stable, fast, and always up-to-date. They also have detailed setup tutorials to help you get your site looking like the demos as well.
If you want an even easier approach, they recently came out with StudioPress Sites that includes hosting, backups, security, and more starting at $24/mo when paid annually.
Email is the most powerful way to grow your podcast. You can let people know about new episodes, special offers, meetups… anything!
You absolutely want to use ConvertKit as your email provider.
They were built to fit the needs of podcasters and bloggers, unlike some of the other, more popular names in email marketing.
There’s a bunch of reasons why they are great, but I recommend checking out the short video demo and signing up for a trial to see for yourself.
Leveling & Tagging
The main purpose of Auphonic is to compress and level your audio so you don’t have really loud and really soft parts. But it does a lot more:
I have it automatically send my podcast episodes to SoundCloud and YouTube, and it also saves a copy of the compressed file in Dropbox – all after my .mp3 file is properly tagged with my episode info and cover art.
Feeling generous? You can donate credits 🙂
Scribie is a transcription and caption service that uses people to transcribe your audio and videos. It starts at $0.75 / minute and goes up depending on how fast you need it back. They have options for different dialects of English (UK, Australian, American, Canadian) and an easy to use dashboard. Try it out!
AudioDime is a transcription service that costs 10¢ / minute. It’s software-based and isn’t perfect, but it’s much better than some of the free services out there.
Chartable will show you your podcast’s ranking with a quick indication whether you are moving up or down:
Notice how they include Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Podcast Addict in addition to Apple Podcasts? That’s a nice bonus.
They also provide rank history & reviews for different countries and platforms:
Every country has a separate version of iTunes and it would be next to impossible to monitor your reviews in all of them without a service like this.
You can choose to have a daily or weekly update email as well.
Podkite is a similar service that gives you rankings trends for Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts:
Smart Podcast Player
Pretty much every podcast host has their own player you can embed on your website, but if you want a great-looking player for WordPress, Smart Podcast Player is your answer. It was developed by Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and is used by some of the largest podcasts out there. Check it out!
After you get your hosting all set up, here are some additional places to distribute your podcast (besides iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and TuneIn). If you use Auphonic (look in the complimentary services section), you can connect these and have your episodes automatically uploaded. Some of the podcast hosting sites will do this for you too.
SoundCloud has the ability to be used as a podcast host, but with recent news about them running out of money (they didn’t, but they still laid off a bunch of people), I would avoid paying them for podcast hosting.
I just use it as another place to distribute my podcast for free*
*up to 3 hours free. If you want unlimited uploading, it’s $135/yr. You can upload 30 hours per week with that option.
I would probably avoid the other paid option as you only upload 6 hours of content.
I connect Auphonic to YouTube and have my episodes automatically pushed as ‘unlisted’ so I can go in and add a great description and tags before making it public. Your cover art is used as the visual for the video.