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5 Best Podcast Platforms & Hosting Sites For 2021

Business

A podcast hosting platform is like a home to your show. The same way a website requires a hosting provider to run, a podcast needs some hosting.

This helps you store and distribute your audio files without any hurdles. But how do you determine the type of podcast hosting to go for?

This can be a daunting task as there are many podcast hosting sites in the market. Therefore, deciding on the one to go for is not easy.

With our top picks, you can choose the best podcast platforms and hosting sites regardless of your goals. Whether you want to save money, upgrade to the best, or move to a better version, we have a solution for you.

What you need to do is to sign up with one of the best podcast hosting sites to get started. Below are the 5 best podcast platforms and hosting sites for 2021.

What’s the Purpose of Podcast Hosting Platforms?

Podcast hosting platforms are an important aspect of your show. This is what you need to get your files from your computer to your audience.

Without hosting, your podcasts couldn’t yield the results you’ve always desired. Here are some of the functions of the podcast hosting platforms:

  • They offer you an easy way to upload your files;
  • Podcast hosting sites generate RSS Feed to give file descriptions and create file locations for downloads;
  • A podcast hosting provider to distribute your podcast RSS Feeds to Spotify, iTunes (Apple podcasts), Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and more;
  • They feature a server for listeners to find their audio files;
  • Podcast hosting platforms also transport your show to its storage and distribution and analytics. As a result, your show ends up in money-making opportunities.

What Makes a Good Podcast Hosting Platform?

To make sure you get the best out of your podcasting, you need to choose the best podcast hosting provider. However, doing so isn’t easy as there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to do this.

You want to make sure that your preferred hosting service suits your preferences. Therefore, you must put much thought into the options at hand.

The most important aspect of your podcasting platform is the ability to store files safely. This way, your audience can easily download them to their devices. However, this is not all your hosting provider should do.

A good podcasting platform should offer you advanced tools as follows:

  • Advanced analytic reports on your listeners;
  • Social sharing buttons;
  • Round-the-clock customer support;
  • Streaming compliance;
  • File storage;
  • Unlimited bandwidth;
  • Free website and domain.

In addition to the above, the best podcast hosting platform offers you handy tools to insert stuff. As a result, you can easily insert different ads during your podcasts.

You can also monetize your podcasts by including CTAs on your products and services.

Why You Should Avoid Free Podcast Hosting Platforms

If you’re serious about podcasting, a free version of a hosting platform shouldn’t be your idea. You should seek to upgrade to paid plans for a better experience with advanced features.

Conversely, starting with free podcast hosting if you’re a hobbyist is never a bad idea. Since you’re fine-tuning your skill, you don’t need to pay for a start.

You can leverage the use of the free version until you gain your ground. Then you can upgrade to paid plans. The free podcast hosting platforms have several disadvantages as listed below:

They lack sustainable business models

Using a service with a sustainable business model is mandatory for any serious business. However, free podcast hosting platforms feature unsustainable business models.

A good example of this point is Podiant, which is a free podcast hosting company launched in 2016. The platform grew rapidly until one day in 2017 when its CEO announced its closure.

He cited that computing podcasts was too expensive for the company to afford. This forced the users to upgrade to paid plans or move to other podcast hosting platforms.

Any major but free podcast hosting company must count on voluntary aid or ads for monetization. Both of these are unsustainable business models.

So, the possibility of closure, acquisition, or transition to paid plans is high. Therefore, this leaves your podcasts vulnerable as the majority of these free media sites last for a few years at most.

And, this is not what you want for your content. You want your shows alive for the longest time ever.

They turn your data and files into their product

Depending on a free hosting platform for your files and data is risky enough. First, your provider has the power to monetize your content by looking for sponsors to pay for it.

This means that all the hard work you’ve put in creating your files goes unnoticed. It’s so unfortunate that the provider takes advantage of your files simply because they are hosting you for free.

Some even go the extra mile to claim the copyrights of your files as theirs. So, they can edit, distribute, and monetize your content any way they want.

Therefore, you won’t get any compensation for it as even some sales are made without your consent.

Free media offer limited control of your show

Everyone wants full control of their shows but the story is different with free media. With the free podcast hosting platforms, you have little to no control of your content.

For instance, you get limited storage space on your listing on distribution channels like iTunes. Furthermore, you have less flexibility in your site design.

This means you can’t make suggestions on how you’d want your site to look. Unfortunately, when your limited bandwidth elapses, your new listeners will listen to a pre-recorded message which would be such a turn-off.

Free Hosting Presents Many Barriers to the Creator

Free hosting places barriers on any perks you’re supposed to enjoy in your podcast. Though using the free media hosting for your hobby, the many barriers it offers could be such a hassle.

First, you’re afraid to fall victim to audio expiration dates. Furthermore, the bandwidth and storage are limited, which means you can never upload your files without a hassle.

In other words, using a free podcast hosting service is a real hassle.

You could find your show deleted at any time

Creating a channel from scratch and getting followers is hard work. The last thing you want is to lose your content and followers in a short time.

It’s quite disappointing waking up to a deleted show with a bunch of listeners gathered. This happens a lot with free hosting platforms.

Unfortunately, their terms and conditions state that they reserve the right to delete your show at any time without your consent. Instead of risking losing your files in seconds, you’d rather opt for a paid plan.

5 Best Podcast Platforms & Hosting Sites in 2021

Looking for the best match of a good podcast hosting platform takes time and energy. To save you time and effort in choosing the best, here’s a list of the 5 best podcast platforms in 2021.

Ensure that you check the prices, features, and functionality. This way, you’ll make an informed decision on the best podcast hosting platform for you. Let’s delve into each of these platforms.

#1. Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout is a podcast hosting service that comes as a basic and free plan. Since its inception in 2009, the site has hosted shows for over 50,000 customers.

Usually, this platform requires no contract or credit card details to sign up. Its easier entry means that even beginners can start hosting their podcast episodes without any challenges.

With Buzzsprout, you can be sure you're working with the best. The site works with reputable podcast directories such as Apple/ iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcast, and Stitcher.

Though in its basic form, Buzzsprout embeds a list of professional broadcasting features on its dashboard.

Therefore, the site is a perfect fit to use as a hobby and for serious podcasting. Buzzsprout offers such a user-friendly interface that you don’t find it complicated.

All the features have direct tab names giving you an easier time creating your show. Furthermore, this site consolidates unlimited team members and upload customized artwork.

Consequently, it directs listeners to a tailor-made public podcast site on the Buzzsprout domain. Creators with their domains have two personalized players they can use to directly embed one or multiple episodes on their sites.

Once you publish your podcast, insert some basic information about it, then submit it to multiple directories. Also, you can create soundbites to promote your show on social media.

Fortunately, Buzzsprout lets you add transcripts and chapter markers to your chapter episodes.

By adding the “Support The Show'' link, you can direct your listeners to Patreon or other membership platforms to receive donations from your fans.

The “Stats'' tab is also available to let you access downloads and other listeners' thoughts about your podcast.

Strengths of Buzzsprout:

  • You have your custom website and ways to sync with popular directories are included in the subscription;
  • 250 GB bandwidth per month are at your disposal per month;
  • It’s compatible with different audio file types and fine-tunes the file’s quality;
  • You can conveniently migrate a podcast from a source to Buzzsprout.

Limitations of Buzzsprout Free Version:

  • With Buzzsprout, you only have two hours of audio content uploaded each month with limited bandwidth;
  • Buzzsprout only hosts your episodes for 90 days then gets them deleted after this;
  • The free plan means Buzzsprout includes ads on your podcast website. Unfortunately, this might be a major turn-off to your listeners.

Pricing

If you want to get rid of these limitations, you can upgrade to the paid plans. The upgraded versions come in three parts:

  • $12/month: This plan offers you three hours per month of storage. Also, the hosting expires indefinitely and you have a total of 250 GB bandwidth. The statistics are also available and you get extra uploads at $4/hour.
  • $18/month: With this plan, you get storage of six hours per month. The hosting expiry is indefinite and you have a 250 GB bandwidth to count on.

In addition, statistics are available and for extra uploads, you pay $3/hour.

  • $24/month: This plan grants you a monthly rate of ten hours per month and an indefinite hosting expiry.

Furthermore, you have access to 250 GB bandwidth and statistics at your disposal. For extra uploads, you’re charged $2/hour.

Buzzsprout is an excellent platform to start hosting your podcasts. With over a decade of experience, you can depend on it for even your professional shows.

So, start with a free account then upgrade later when your business scales. However, avoid registering more than one free Buzzsprout account as it’s against their terms and conditions.

#2. Spreaker

Spreaker is a popular podcast hosting platform for both established and new show creators. Since its launch in 2010, Spreaker has grown to be a solution to many podcasters.

Today, the platform prides itself on thousands of publishers and millions of active listeners. Through its one-in-all system, the platform allows you to create, distribute, and monetize your podcast.

Furthermore, Spreaker is compatible with your Android and iOS devices. As a result, it’s a studio ideal for advanced audio production capabilities.

In addition, with Spreaker, creating a publicly accessible biography page is easy.

Top Features in Spreaker:

  • Content Management System (CMS): It allows all levels of podcasters to distribute new episodes to big listening platforms. These platforms include Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, iHeartRadio, Alexa, and Deezer);
  • Spreaker has the capability of creating and scheduling multiple podcasts from a single account;
  • It allows you to organize monetization by integrating dynamic ads in the episodes;
  • Also, it has team management tools and can add collaborators;
  • Spreaker portrays statistics certified by IAB.

Strengths of Spreaker:

  • It supports external tools such as broadcasting software and mixers for optimized audio production;
  • Also, it’s an excellent recording platform for any free hosting service for podcasts;
  • Furthermore, it features an unlimited bandwidth for all plans including the free version;
  • It offers a live streaming function for at least 15 minutes per episode for podcasters on the free plan;
  • Spreaker has a podcast monetization program featuring dynamic ads. So, the podcaster can get 60% of the revenue from this;
  • The app Spreaker boasts IAB-certified podcast statistics;
  • In addition, Spreaker lets one account manage multiple podcasts.

Weaknesses of Spreaker's Free version

  • It’s difficult to access your listener’s advanced statistics such as geolocation, demographics, likes, devices, and sources;
  • You can only make money out of your podcasts when on the paid plans;
  • Spreaker is not the most secure free hosting platform as its terms and conditions state the company “reserves the right to terminate free accounts at any time, with or without notice.”;
  • It’s impossible to change the status to “Limited access” and create private podcasts that you can access through a private feed URL;
  • You have access to only 5 hours of storage;
  • The live broadcasting feature is fixed at 15-minute sessions with at least one hour difference between each;
  • It’s impossible to join Spreaker Monetization Program to earn ads revenue by inserting ads in your show.

For a better experience, you need to upgrade to their paid plans.

#3. Transistor

Transistor is a one-in-all platform that lets podcasters make unlimited podcasts within a single plan.

Usually, Transistor allows you to add more users to the podcast, making a suitable choice for small networks and teams.

This studio is easy to access as the analytics and other customizable features are neatly built. In addition, Transistor has a serious focus on professionals who take their podcasting business seriously.

Within a single plan, you have access to:

  • Host unlimited shows;
  • Join and manage team members (producers, editors, podcasters, etc.);
  • Acquire fantastic podcast stats;
  • Get a great podcast site.

Fortunately, Transistor offers several perks with the provided podcasting website. For instance, you can navigate the site as the podcasts play uninterrupted.

Furthermore, with the private podcasting feature, you have even better opportunities. With your multiple shows needed, you can create public and private podcasts under the same account.

Remember, in doing so, you’re not paying any extra money for another hosting plan.

For Transistor, pricing starts at $19 for 10,000 hours per month. This is quite adequate for most podcasters. However, you can access more downloads and team members from their higher-tier plans.

#4. Podbean

Podbean is known as an “easy and powerful” way to podcast. Currently, the studio boasts around 240,000 podcasters with a total of 7.4 million episodes combined.

In addition, this podcasting site prides itself on about 6 billion downloads. Podbean is ideal for podcasters who wish to experience the cool features of their podcasting website.

With this option, you have a free recording app that has background music, sound effects, and great post-production features.

Podbean is a simple to use site as once you sign up, the site’s dashboard presents you with tips to publish your first show.

Furthermore, you can conveniently publish a “text-only” episode if you wish to combine your content formats in your shows.

In addition to the publishing tools, you get several customizable theme templates. Podbean also offers plugins that improve the functionality of your podcasts.

These plugins include importing files from Dropbox to the Podbean Media managers. It even includes sending email updates about your show to your subscribers and tracking the SEO of your podcasts.

Sharing your show shouldn’t be difficult with Podbean. You can distribute it to the top podcasting apps from Podbean.

Alternatively, you can connect your social accounts so that your new episodes share automatically. However, this is an exception to YouTube which is limited to the free plan.

Podbean Strengths:

  • It offers fantastic resources to grow and build your audience;
  • It has an app for Android and iPhone users;
  • Podbean features an Alexa skill to allow you to use your voice to listen to your best podcasts;
  • The free plan includes even RSS Feed and iTunes Support;
  • The platform scales as you grow;
  • It’s one of the biggest podcast hosting sites around.

Free Version Limitations:

  • You never access features for offering premium audio. Also, advanced stats for your audience are not available;
  • It’s not possible to remove the Podbean branding and insert your domain to your podcast;
  • With the free plan, you only have 500 MB (or 5 hours) of MP3 audio with a 100 GB bandwidth;
  • Moreover, podcasters can publish at most 3 episodes a day with each file restricted within 100 MB. Video hosting is also restricted.

Access exclusive features with the Podbean paid plans.

#5. Simplecast

Simplecast is a podcast hosting platform with a difference. Its big and bold theme together with the modern design proves it as a brand focused to do business.

To confirm its excellence, top brands such as Shopify and Slack host with them. With this host’s $15/month unlimited plan, you have access to a two-week trial without the need to provide your credit card.

That’s not all as Simplecast also offers other advanced tools. Most importantly, the $35 per month Essential plan and the $85 Growth plan are at your disposal.

This means that you have more access to advanced analytics, collaboration tools, and more downloads.

If your site features large volume shows, Simplecast sorts you out. The Professional and Enterprise plans will help you scale your podcast business.

Furthermore, the sales team will offer you specific prices, but you should keep in mind that hosting with Simplecast means growing your podcasts.

Therefore, you should be ready for competitive pricing for even more dedicated customer support.

Simplecast Strengths:

  • It features good-looking and smoothly embedded players;
  • It offers detailed analytics to every user;
  • The $15/month package grants you unlimited uploads, analytics, a website, and multiple podcast managers;
  • With $35/month, you have more customization, additional team members, advanced analytics, a custom domain, 50K downloads per month, and a bunch more.

How To Start A Podcast

In addition to the podcast hosting service, you'll need a website and this is your podcast's home. This is where you'll promote it as well as help users find more content.

To create your website, you need a site hosting account and a domain name. Since you're starting, you'd want to save money when possible.

Luckily, you can use providers like Bluehost who offer WPBeginner users huge discounts on hosting and a free domain.

For instruction on step by step guide check out our guide on how to create a website.

Once your website is up and running you need to launch your podcast. And with the right podcast platforms, you can set up your podcast and start recording your podcasts

Podcast Platforms - Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Choose The Best Podcast Hosting Platform?

Choosing the best platform depends on your needs and the price you’re looking for. Some are designed for beginners, brands, or business customers.

So, you can check the ease of use, customer support, price, analytics, and storage to choose the best.

How Much Will Podcast Hosting Cost Me?

You’ll need an average of $5/month to $50/month to pay for your podcast platform hosting. Of course, the pricing varies depending on the company, the number of hours, downloads, and the episodes you create.

Most people pay roughly $19 when starting, but you could pay more if your podcast is quite popular.

Is It Safe to Use a Free Podcast platforms Service?

Yes, it’s safe but not fully recommended due to privacy issues. As you can guess, you don’t get premium services with a free option of something.

You need a paid plan to avoid data leakages. Also, free podcast hosting platforms are constantly shutting down and you don’t want your podcasts to shut together with them.

Is it Okay If I just Upload my Audio Files to my Website Host?

No, you can’t do this since the audio files are massive compared to other media such as photos. So, if you upload on the website host and many people download the new episodes at once, you’ll have a poor website experience.

Also, you don’t want this for your listeners and web visitors. That’s why you need a podcast hosting provider.

Which is the Best Podcast Hosting Platform?

Buzzsprout is the best podcast hosting platform but Podiant, Podbean, Speak, and Simplecast also make great choices.

Why You Need Podcast Hosting

Podcast hosting platforms differ in sizes and features and they are a must-have for your podcast.

Since they act as the home to your show, you should choose the best. As a rule of thumb, you should avoid free podcast platforms if you’re serious about creating professional podcasts.

Before you decide on the best, take your time to check the one with the pricing and features you’re looking for. In doing so, you’ll have a rewarding podcasting experience.

You can even try out the above five podcast hosting platforms to find out which suits you best. Choosing the best podcast hosting platforms shouldn’t be hard anyway.

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