Are you dreaming of launching the next hugely successful podcast and sharing your audio content with the world? That’s great! However, podcasting isn’t as simple as recording some audio and uploading it to iTunes – first; you have to host your audio files with podcast hosting.
With 100 million+ podcast listeners in the U.S., all podcasters have to start by choosing their podcast hosting provider of choice.
And choosing the best option can be a time-consuming and frustrating task. There are a ton of options out there with similar features. How do you pick the best one?
I want to make your choice more accessible by providing information on the best podcast hosting to help you find the perfect fit for your new podcast. There are free options, enterprise options, and everything in between – it all depends on what you want to create.
These reviews take into account price, reliability, technical support, monthly upload volume, iTunes compliance, storage, monetization, ease of use, marketing features, integrations with apps, and more.
And if you’re looking to start a blog first, you can check out my other guide to choose the best web hosting.
Let’s get started.
Please note, a few of the links below may be affiliate links. However, I have vetted each tool on this list and believe these are the tools that are most effective for launching and running a new podcast.
Table of Contents
What is Podcast Hosting?
Podcast hosting provides the file hosting and RSS feed for your podcast. Hosting companies upload your audio files, tell the hosting platform your show’s details, and generate your feed. When a user subscribes to your podcast, the podcast host sends the audio files and media to the platforms directly.
In the end, podcast hosting is a simple setup. It’s made up of a webserver to allow file downloads, the .mp3 files themselves, and an RSS feed describing your audio file. The best providers do much more than that.
They provide advanced analytics reports on your listeners, marketing tools to grow your audience, social sharing options, 24/7 support, and more.
Additionally, podcast hosting sites may include features like streaming compliance, file storage, and unlimited bandwidth. They also help start a WordPress blog (sometimes with a free website and domain).
It’s crucial to understand the importance of a good podcast host when starting a brand new podcast.
What is the Best Podcast Hosting?
It’s exciting to start a new podcast. You get to create the podcast episodes you’re interested in producing, buy shiny new equipment, record audio, and share your podcast with the world. But don’t forget you have to start by choosing podcast hosting! Different podcasters will require various hosting services, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
This guide will provide you with the best options to save you time, so you have to focus on recording great podcasts.
Here are my top picks for the best podcast hosting in 2019.
Podcast Hosting Powering Over 225,000 Podcasters Worldwide ($29/Month + 1 Month Free)
PodBean is my #1 podcast hosting recommendation, with unlimited hosting services, distribution and promotion on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon Alexa, and all the major apps, and 24/7 support. PodBean has been in the podcasting hosting space since the beginning, starting back in 2006.
You can get started for free. On this tier, you can upload up to 5 hours of content per month, but are only allowed 100GB of bandwidth per month. Their open plan gives you some basic stats, but you need to upgrade to their $9/month plan to get more detailed analytics.
They boast a vast amount of podcasters, episodes hosted, and over 6.2 billion downloads on their platform:
I recommend podcasters serious about running their professional show get their $29/month PodBean Unlimited Plus Plan. This plan is much better than the free option – first, you get unlimited audio hosting and video storage.
Second, you can dynamically add your own sponsored ad campaigns into your episodes to monetize faster. This plan also allows for a Patron program to accept recurring revenue from listener support.
Another excellent feature for PodBean users is a free YouTube version of their podcast auto-uploaded to their channel once they sync their YouTube channel during publishing.
Finally, you also get a mobile app, analytics reports, and automatic posting to Facebook and Twitter. Overall, PodBean is my #1 choice, and their Unlimited Plus Plan is the best way to get started on your podcasting journey.
Get one month free on paid plans with my link below.Back to top
Free and Unlimited Podcast Hosting For Beginners ($12/month + $20 Amazon Gift Card)
Buzzsprout is a host that has been in business since 2009 and has no upfront costs or billing. They also offer podcast hosting free as a great option for those just starting. Their free plan only allows you to upload two hours of content and hosts your files for 90 days.
If you upgrade to one of their three paid plans ranging from $12-24 per month, they host your files indefinitely, you get unlimited storage, and 250GB of bandwidth per month. This bandwidth covers approximately 20,000 to 40,000 episode plays per month.
Buzzsprout allows you to embed a podcast player right on your website – and you can feature just one episode or a whole playlist of episodes:
They offer an easy-to-use analytics dashboard with an algorithm that estimates how many listeners each episode receives within the first 90 days. You can also view which countries your listeners are tuning in from, helping you understand your audience better. With Buzzsprout, you can also upgrade to 128k stereo optimization.
They make it super easy to upload and schedule your podcast. You upload your audio, change the episode title and description, and submit your podcast to all significant directories:
Another benefit is that you can easily add episode chapter markers. This feature helps listeners better understand quick details about your episodes at a glance. These aren’t required (and don’t appear on every podcast app), but are a nice feature nonetheless:
Ultimately, with their month-to-month pricing and an easy-to-use dashboard, Buzzsprout is my #2 podcast hosting site for 2019.
I recommend their $24/month plan, as you get up to upload 12 hours of content each month and save money on any additional hours you upload.
Plus, as an added bonus when you sign up for a Buzzsprout paid plan at the link below, you get a free $20 Amazon gift card.Back to top
Best Professional Podcast Hosting and Analytics ($19-99/month)
Transistor.fm is a high-quality, professional service that hosts some popular podcasts including Drift, Honeybadger, and Cards Against Humanity.
They are known to provide their podcasters with absolutely everything you need to grow your podcast audience. Tools include hosting unlimited shows, managing multiple users per account, generating branded websites with a domain name, distributing your podcast, and viewing advanced analytics.
Their Starter Plan is $19/month and provides unlimited podcasts and episodes, up to 2 users, and 10,000 downloads per month. Next, their Professional Plan is $49/month with up to five team members and 50,000 downloads per month. Finally, their Business Plan is $99/month with up to 10 team members and 150,000 downloads per month.
Transistor truly allows you to scale your podcast as your audience grows, and you won’t have any problems building your audience.
If you’re already using another hosting platform like Libsyn or Anchor, you can easily import your existing feed into Transistor.
If you’re a serious podcaster that wants to grow your audience without limits, I recommend going with the Transistor Professional Plan. You can get started today with their 14-day free trial. You also get 2 months free when you pay annually.Back to top
Industry-Leading Features Powering Top Brands ($15/Month)
Simplecast has been around for over six years and powers some of the largest brands in podcasting, including Kickstarter, Nike, Facebook, and HBO.
One thing Simplecast is known for is its industry-leading features starting at just $15/month. They live up to their name and state on their website: “From your first listener to your first million, Simplecast provides powerful tools needed to manage, distribute, share, and grow your podcast.”
They give their podcasters powerful tools at any stage of podcasting with one-click publishing, different web players, a fully-functioning website, and advanced analytics tools.
One standout feature is their Recast™ tool, which allows you to schedule and share clips of your podcast on social media. Here’s an example of that feature from The Pilot Podcast on Instagram:
Another excellent feature is the ability to collaborate with multiple podcast managers in one account. You also get unlimited storage, unlimited uploads, and distribution to all major platforms.
They offer a 14-day trial and straightforward pricing starting at $15/month.Back to top
Best Storage and Monetization (One Month Free)
Spreaker is a mobile-focused site with its Speaker Studio tool available for both desktop and mobile devices.
Their free basic plan is pretty limited, with just 5 hours of storage and a single session allowance of 15 minutes. You will need to upgrade to one of the three plans ($5.50 – $41.25) to get more storage and unlimited streaming. Their paid plans have great features like the ability to embed widgets on your site, schedule episodes, and even order your mobile app.
Their On-Air Talent, Broadcaster, and Anchorman plans have great features. All plans give podcasters private episode sharing, show intro insertions for ads, and ad revenue sharing for monetization.
Additionally, Spreaker paid plans have excellent storage capacity. Their most popular plan is the Broadcaster Plan at $16.50/month, and with that, you get 500 hours of audio and 3 hours per live podcast. Joe Rogan-length-status achieved.
As a bonus, sign up with my link below – you’ll get one month free on any one of their paid plans.Back to top
Made By Podcasters for Podcasters
Smart Podcast Player is a genius invention created by famous podcaster Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. After years of podcasting, he was looking for the best possible podcast player for your website that your visitors will love.
Who better to create the perfect podcasting product than a prolific podcaster himself?
Smart Podcast Player has a lot of great features, including email capture (the only podcast player to offer this) and other top-notch features:
And if you’re interested in how the player works, it’s straightforward. You install the Smart Podcast Player WordPress plugin and add your RSS feed. Next, you enter your subscription URLs to push your show to the major directories. Finally, you customize the colors of your podcast player, and then add the player to your posts and pages.
Overall, if you want to host your files, send them to podcast networks, and display them in your WordPress pages and posts, try Smart Podcast Player.Back to top
Best WordPress Podcast Hosting ($19/month)
Castos is a full-featured podcasting plugin for WordPress.
If you already have a WordPress site, here’s how it works:
- You go to the Castos website and start your 14-day trial
- Install their WordPress plugin
- Next, when you’re ready to host your episodes, you add them into the new Podcast section inside of WordPress:
Upload your audio file, type in your description, and the podcast will go live on your site with a customizable media player:
That’s it. When you’re ready to add your podcast to directories, you grab your URL and add it to any publisher you’d like.
Their plans range from $19 to $49 per month. With the higher tier plans, you can republish to YouTube and get full podcast video hosting.
Another great feature is automatic transcription – when you upload your audio file, it returns a transcription to your Castos dashboard within a few minutes. You can either copy and paste this transcription into WordPress, or download the PDF version and add it to your site.
If you already have a WordPress site, Castos is an excellent choice.
Get started with a free 14-day trial and save with 2-months free on annual plans.Back to top
Best Podcast Hosting for Website Builders ($67/month)
This podcast host features a simple podcasting workflow that allows podcasters access to the fully responsive website hosting and security, daily backups, built-in statistics, and 24/7 support.
As a Podcast Websites member, you also receive digital marketing support to help promote your podcast, ads, and podcasting advice from real, experienced podcasters. Their academy features video tutorials, media, and a helpful community forum to discuss strategies with other podcasters too.
Additionally, you can use Builder – a drag and drop website builder with themes unique to podcasters. These themes are mobile-friendly, and you can also add landing pages when you need to market your podcast.
What is the Best Free Podcast Hosting?
There are low cost and even free options you can pick from if your budget is tight. Many of the free plans come with limited functionality, but if you’re starting, free hosting services a great way to test out their features.
You might not be able to host hours of content on your podcast server, but a free trial or free plan can get your feet wet in how podcast hosts work.
Here are my picks for the best free podcast hosting in 2019.
Libsyn is one of the most popular hosts focused on helping everyone from novices to podcasting pros looking to monetize their work quickly. They are also one of the original podcast hosts, launching in 2004.
With over 35,000 hosted podcasts, 62 million+ audience members, and 4.6 billion podcast downloads in 2016, they are a prominent player in the space. Like other podcast hosts, they give their users between 50 and 1500MB of monthly storage, provide analytics reports, RSS link generation, premium content, and their app.
Yes, they aren’t 100% free as their plans start at $5, but for that value, I had to add them to the list.
Pricing: $5 – $75 per month
SoundCloud is the world’s largest music and audio hosting site and introduced podcast hosting in 2015. They boast 175 million unique monthly visitors and an incredible 12 hours of content uploaded every minute on their website.
Using their hosting services, you get access to all of their embedded players, Twitter cards, and timed comments. With a free account, you can upload 3 hours of content per month and get basic reporting.
The more advanced SoundCloud Pro Unlimited account gives you unlimited upload time, scheduled releases, embed controls, and the ability to pin five podcasts to your profile.
Price: Free to $16 per month ($12 when paid annually)
Podomatic allows creators to record, upload, and promote your new audio content, all in one dashboard. One of their strengths is the ability to develop your podcast advertising and crowdsourcing with the help of Patreon and Advertisecast.
Plus, Podomatic has social sharing options, and your podcast can be played directly on Facebook and Twitter feeds. They are partnered with Weebly to help you create a website and have a free podcast app for iOS and Android.
In addition to their free plan, they have four pro plans ranging from $9.99 to $24.99 per month.
Pricing: Free to $60+ per month
Best WP Podcast Hosting Runner-Up ($12-80/month)
Blubrry is a great podcast hosting service that offers not only hosting but managed WordPress hosting with PowerPress, the #1 WordPress plugin for podcasters. With over 75,000+ active installs, this plugin is consistently maintained, free to use, and offers SEO options, and MP3 tagging.
The Blubrry website says, “Blubrry believes we should provide you great tools and not interfere,” highlighting their creator-first approach. They offer a podcasting manual, which gives you a ton of detailed information on using their services, as well as tips and advice to succeed with your new podcast.
Their lowest cost option is $12/month and offers 100MB of storage. If you want unlimited hosting services, you can upgrade to their professional plan.
In addition to their professional plan with custom pricing, they have four paid plans ranging from $12 to $80, which offer anywhere from the 100MB to 1,000MB/month of storage space.
Blubrry is quickly becoming one of the top-rated choices because of their customer-first approach.
How Do I Choose from the Best Podcast Hosting Sites in 2019?
Twelve million people listened to a podcast for the first time within the last year. To tap into this growing market and pick the best option, you have to consider some different questions.
- What is the right amount of storage?
- How much audio storage and content will you be uploading per month?
- Do you need a new WordPress site or align each episode with a blog post?
- Can you work with video podcasts or any video format?
- What kinds of analytics would you like to view?
- Is it easy to dynamically add advertisements and sponsorships throughout your podcast episodes?
- Finally, how much do you want to spend on hosting services?
These are just a few of the questions you’ll have to answer when choosing from the best. Consider these questions before finalizing your podcast episode’s cadence and length.
For example, if you’re running a weekly one-hour podcast, you’ll need less storage than if you’re running a half-hour show five days a week. However, don’t let prices limit your show’s options.
Here are some tips for choosing the best podcast website:
1. Know how many hours of monthly audio hosting you need per month.
Many podcast hosts only give you two hours of upload time per month, while others provide unlimited uploads.
2. Look into server reliability, bandwidth options, and uptime guarantees.
Look into upgrade options if scalability is essential. With premium plans, you can get access to unlimited storage, upload times, and monthly downloads.
3. Research signup prices vs. renewal prices, as they may be different.
You can also save money by paying annually vs. monthly, so do your homework.
Dive into a free trial to test the product’s ease of use.
4. Make sure the host has a lot of essential features.
Look for things like no-fault overages, media validation, FTP uploading, ID3 tagging, and iTunes optimization.
With all of these in mind, my recommendation for new podcasters is to get started with BuzzSprout and claim a free $20 gift card.
What are Podcast Platforms?
Podcast platforms, also known as podcast directories, are services like iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play. They receive your podcast files, and RSS feeds, and push them to their front end systems. These directories easily allow your audience to find your show with a podcast app, their computer, iPhone, or Android device.
Here’s how it works. You upload your audio, and when the directory detects something new in your feed, it downloads the file and displays the latest episode to its users.
What Podcast Platforms Should I Publish My Podcast On?
So after you’ve chosen a podcast host, how do you release your podcast? It’s simple. Once you upload files to your podcast host, you’re ready to decide where you want your audience to find you.
These directories ensure you get in front of the most listeners and your feeds are updated automatically after each episode. Here’s a quick list of some of the top podcast platforms.
1. How to Submit Your Podcast to iTunes
Here’s how to get your podcast on iTunes:
1. First, make sure you have an active Apple ID to submit your podcast.
2. Sign in to iTunes Connect.
3. Click on the top-left area of the podcast dashboard and enter your RSS feed into the text box.
4. All of your podcast’s information will load from your podcast host and show you a feed preview. Make sure that all of your text and artwork looks ready to go.
5. Click submit and wait for the approval.
2. How to Submit Your Podcast to Google Play
Here’s how to submit your podcast to Google Play:
1. First, make sure you have an active Google account and go to Podcasts in Google Play Music.
2. Click the Publish button, login to your Google account, and accept their terms of service.
3. Next, enter the URL for your RSS feed.
4. Click submit and check your inbox for a verification email, proving you own the podcast.
5. Click publish and wait for the approval.
3. How to Submit Your Podcast to TuneIn
Here’s how to submit your podcast to TuneIn:
1. Fill out the TuneIn contact form and add all of your podcast information.
2. Accept their terms and condition.
3. Click submit and wait for the approval.
4. How to Submit Your Podcast to Spotify
Spotify is quickly becoming one of the largest podcast sites, boasting an impressive 191 million active listeners and 87 million paid subscribers. Their premium plan is $9.99/month and allows users to download music, listen ad-free, play any song with unlimited skips, and feature higher quality podcast audio.
In the past, you couldn’t get your podcast on Spotify within their website itself. Instead, you were forced to use your host and push your podcast to Spotify that way. However, that has changed.
They just released their beta program Spotify for Podcasters where you can learn how to upload your podcast to Spotify and get started right away. All you have to do is log in to your Spotify account (through Spotify or Facebook), submit your RSS feed and Spotify does the rest.
If you’d like to go the old fashioned route, this article will help you get your podcast on Spotify as your hosting provider.
What is the Best Podcast Equipment?
If you’re ready to start recording your episodes, you need to purchase some podcast equipment. In its purest form, all you need to start a podcast is a computer and a microphone. But that’s kind of like saying all you need to start an e-commerce business is a website – there are tons of different options.
However, I’ve narrowed it down to the essential podcast gear to get started with items that I own.
Here are my top picks for the best podcast equipment.
1. Blue Yeti: Best Podcast Microphone
Don’t use your computer’s built-in microphone. Start with a USB microphone instead – they’re affordable and super easy to use. Just plug in your microphone into your laptop, switch your audio input settings, and record.
The only consideration for microphones is whether you choose a dynamic or condenser mic. Typically a condenser mic is best for one-person shows, and dynamic mics are useful for recording a group.
- A fantastic and highly-rated condenser podcast microphone is the Blue Yeti
- A high dynamic mic is the Audio-Technica ATR2100
2. MacBook Air: Best Laptop for Podcasting
You don’t need the latest and greatest laptop to start a podcast. Most computers will do just fine. Make sure that your machine was built at least in the last three years. It will also need to be able to handle your audio software.
I use a Macbook Air, currently discounted on Amazon.
3. Logitech C920S: Best Webcam for Streaming
If you’re getting into podcasting, you need a good webcam. Your webcam can be used to record video podcasts and upload them to YouTube. More importantly, your webcam will be used to look professional in meetings.
I must say, one thing that podcasters are great at is looking good on video. Every podcaster I’ve met via Skype or Zoom had a microphone with a boom arm, crystal clear video, and a nicely-designed background in their room or office.
For audio podcasters, a video may not be vital for your episodes themselves, but more for meetings you’ll have with interviewees, influencers, and potential sponsors.
And you don’t have to shell out hundreds or thousands for an expensive camcorder or DLSR camera. You need a good webcam for streaming in at least 1080p.
1080p and even 4k webcams are very powerful nowadays (and affordable).
The webcam that I use and recommend is the Logitech C920S.
4. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x: Best Headphones for Podcasting
Since audio quality is one of the most critical aspects of your show, a good pair of headphones can listen for p-pops, distortion, feedback, and other issues. You’ll want a pair of closed-back headphones so that none of the sound coming through the headphones gets picked up by your microphone.
A pair that I like that’s under $150 are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x professional headphones.
5. Mackie PROFX8V2: Best Mixer for Podcasting
A USB mixer helps manage inputs, outputs, levels, and effects. Reverb, flanging, delays, echos, and other effects are not only fun to mess around with, but give your show a professional sound.
My favorite mixer for podcasting is the Mackie PROFX8V2.
What is the Best Podcast Software to Record My Episodes?
After you’ve chosen a podcast host and know where you want to publish your show, it’s time to start recording your audio with podcast software. It’s pretty easy. With a quality microphone and some podcast recording software, you can quickly get your media recorded, edited, and launched like a pro.
Here are some of the best software options to start recording your high-quality audio.
Anchor touts themselves as the easiest way to start a podcast. Ever.
And I have to agree. Anchor’s free podcast recording software allows you to record high-quality audio. Next, you record an unlimited amount of episodes and distribute them to all major websites with one click.
Anchor makes it easy to drag and drop different audio clips to rearrange segments in your episodes. They also give you a free landing page with a custom URL for your show.
With their unlimited free hosting, recording capabilities from anywhere, and one-click distribution, Anchor is the best podcast software on the market.
Try Anchor recording software today.
Zencastr allows new and professional podcasters alike the ability to record themselves and their remote guests in studio quality right from a web browser. To record your podcast guest in another location, you send them a link and then receive a separate audio track.
This live recording via a VoIP connection connects users through the local microphones. As the podcast host, you press record, and each person’s audio logs from the web browser, without any compression or artificial sounds decreasing the audio quality.
Zencastr is also great for collaboration, as you can share your audio files via Google Drive and Dropbox.
With their free plan, you get up to two guests, 8 hours of audio recording per month, and only pay per use in post-production. If you upgrade to their Professional plan at $20/month, you get unlimited guests and recordings, a live editing soundboard, and 10 hours of automatic post-production every month.
Try Zencastr podcast software.
Pro Tools is a digital audio workstation (DAW) from Avid Technologies. It is a high-end audio product with crazy amounts of power. I remember using Pro Tools in an advanced audio engineering course back in my college days to mic up and record a live band.
You don’t need this powerhouse to record your podcast. However, if you want the absolute best tool or want studio-quality podcast software, Pro Tools is your #1 choice.
It costs $299 for a 1-year subscription, and you get $850 in bonus gifts, including Pro Sound Effects, tutorials, and royalty-free music. You can also buy it on Amazon.
Try Pro Tools audio software today.
21 Final Tips to Be Successful with Your Podcast [Infographic]
That’s a Wrap
There you have it – my list of the best podcast hosting in 2019.
When making your choice, first dig deep into the platform’s features. You should be able to upload as much monthly content as needed, be compliant, view analytics, and have enough storage space.
Second, decide if you want free unlimited podcast hosting, or are willing to pay extra to get more features.
Third, do you need a new website? Look for options that couple web hosting and email marketing with WordPress or Weebly so you can add show notes and blog posts. Ensure your hosting company works with the best podcast networks.
Finally, examine which hosts can promote you with marketing, crowdsourcing, ads, monetization, expert guidance, and support.
These companies take the guesswork out of storing your podcast, distributing your audio content to the right places, and supporting you on your podcasting journey.
My recommendation for new podcasters is to get started with PodBean and get one month free.
So pick the best option tailored just for you and happy podcasting!
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