Get the Best Podcast Hosting Platform for Growing Your Show

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This is the definitive guide on the best podcast hosting platforms that we created from real-world experience and our super-detailed review process.

Our recommendations are informed and logical with specific advice that you can rely on. Moreover, they differentiate the best of the best so you can make the right choice for your needs.

So, if you want to:

  • Understand more about the top hosting providers
  • Learn which ones are close but not quite as good
  • Read in-depth reviews on each one
  • Grow your general knowledge of the best podcast hosting services

Then, you’ll love the super-detailed information in this post.

Better still, it starts with our recommendations first then goes through the super in-depth reviews that underpin them.

Let’s get to it.

Table of Contents

  1. Recommendations 
  2. Runners Up
  3. In-Depth Reviews
  4. Free Podcast Hosting?
  5. How to choose a podcast host?
  6. FAQs

Disclosure: This site is a free resource that is supported entirely by its visitors. If you purchase a product or service here a referral fee may be received. This comes at no extra cost to you and helps create lots more useful content. Thank you.

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1. Podcast Hosting Recommendations

Before we get into the specifics, it’s important to note that the recommended companies are the best of the best in podcast hosting.

For this reason, they’re all exceptionally good at the basics:

  • Effortless RSS feed creation on sign up
  • Intuitive dashboard & user experience
  • Easy distribution to all major podcast directories
  • Podcast web page with embedded player
  • Essential sharing and promotion facilities
  • Podcast analytics & statistics
  • Totally reliable & secure hosting performance

In truth, you can’t go wrong with any of these options. But, to help you make the best decision I’ve specified exactly why they’re recommended based on their stand-out features.

So, which one is best for you?

Captivate – The #1 Option

Best Podcast Hosting for Beginners, Audience Growth & Multiple Shows

Free trial – $19 per month

Captivate’s devotion to help podcasters grow their audience runs through the entire platform, feature set and development focus (note ‘NEW’ below). But the best bit is how easy it is to do so!

Innovative tools like calls to action in the podcast player & WordPress plugin (‘Captivate Sync’) increase user engagement and listeners with a few clicks. The dashboard is super-clean and a pleasant place to be especially for new podcasters with less confidence.

Any ambitious podcaster, new or experienced, should host and grow their show with Captivate – there one of the most popular podcast hosting solutions because there is no other like them.

  • Superb feature-rich mobile-friendly podcast website
  • ‘All Listings’ web page makes subscribing easy
  • Episode player in shared social media posts
  • Calls to action in the player itself
  • Market leading WordPress plugin – publish, edit and delete episodes
  • Fast feature development – dynamic ads up next (NEW)
  • Get started easily and quickly
  • Unlimited bandwidth & storage
  • Multiple podcasts included as standard
  • Solid podcast analytics
  • Scheduled podcast publishing

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Buzzsprout

Best Podcast Host for Beginners – Single Show

Free plan – $12 per month

Free podcast hosting

Buzzsprout focuses entirely on simplicity and convenience which prevails throughout the user experience, features and pricing.

It is super-clean & easy to use for new podcasters, but also has uniquely powerful tools like ‘magic mastering’ for automated audio improvement.

It offers the ultimate value for hosting a single podcast which is why it’s the number one starting point for beginners.

  • Free option to ‘try before you buy’
  • Unlimited storage on all premium plans
  • Beginner-friendly episode management and publishing
  • Instantly share with all the top show directories
  • Good analytics including specific episode insights
  • Convenient bitrate conversion on upload for standardised quality
  • ‘Magic Mastering’ for automated audio perfection
  • Innovative ‘video soundbites’ for YouTube promotion
  • Easy to use social sharing
  • Solid affiliate marketing monetization feature
  • Embedded episode players available
  • Add chapter markers to episodes
  • Decent customer support

(Also, includes a $20 amazon gift card on Sign up ;-))

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Transistor

Best Podcast Host for Beginners – Private & Multiple Shows

Free trial – $19 per month

Transistor was founded by two enthusiasts with the sole purpose of making podcasting less confusing and more accessible to newcomers.

The platform is super-modern, stunningly easy to use and offers unique features like running private podcasts for your audience.

Adding this to advanced analytics and genuine customer support makes Transistor one of the best providers around.

  • Multiple podcasts included as standard
  • Industry leading user experience
  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage
  • Instantly list on top podcast directories
  • Genuinely caring customer support (& founders)
  • Unique private podcasting for enhanced audience engagement
  • Superior analytics for deeper insights (e.g. subscriber estimates)
  • Third party data integrations (e.g. with Chartable)
  • Single, latest, and multi-episode players
  • Branded podcast web page with your domain name
  • Email marketing integration with major providers
  • Effortless migration with ‘show import’ tool

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PodBean

Best for Podcast Monetization (by a long way)

$9 – $29 per month

PodBean is most established podcast host on this list meaning it has the most developed monetization options by a long way.

It offers an ad marketplace (for shows of any size), dynamic ad insertion (‘PodAds’), patron program, live steaming and premium content sales.

No other podcast host is as feature-rich as PodBean if monetizing your audience is the priority – it’s that simple.

  • Find an advertiser in the ad marketplace
  • PodAds for dynamic ad insertion
  • Offer premium content subscriptions & purchases
  • Get audience donations via patron program
  • Live streaming with revenue opportunities
  • Deep-dive advanced analytics from the app
  • Nice looking embedded podcast player
  • Dedicated PodBean App can record & publish episodes
  • ‘Audiograms’ (videos) for YouTube
  • MailChimp integration
  • Scheduled podcast publishing
  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage
  • Very user-friendly well-trodden platform

2. The Runners Up

Nowadays, it seems like new hosting providers appear every day which is understandable because of how popular the medium has become.

To write a well-balanced review I had to drill down into the key differentiators so you can make the right choice.

In doing so, I found a few podcast hosting sites that are great in their own right, but just not as good as my recommendations.

In a nutshell, these are:

Castos – $19 per month

Notable features include WordPress integration (plugin) and the option to create private podcasts. Both Captivate and Transistor offer these features respectively, plus others that Castos does not; simply put, they’re just better.

Spreaker – $6-18 per month

Known for live podcasting and offline recording with very solid ad-focused monetization options. Whilst Spreaker is a slightly cheaper, PodBean is much better for monetization and also offers live podcasting which provides other revenue generating opportunities.

Simplecast – $15 per month

‘Recast’ is a tool for sharing custom podcast clips on social platforms. It’s decent but there are no other notable features to differentiate it from the other podcast hosting platforms. For simplicity on one show go with Buzzsprout; if you need hosting for more than one show it’s Captivate or Transistor every time.

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Still not sure?

In that case, there’s only one thing to do…

3. What are the Best Podcast Hosting Platforms?

Here are the findings that underpin my recommendations. It’s the most thorough analysis there is at just under 3,000 words and that’s not counting sections four and five.

Get comfy, grab a coffee and settle in.

Captivate Review

Captivate is the podcast host that’s focussed more or less entirely on helping you grow an audience. They live by the words ‘the world’s only growth-oriented podcast host’ and are owned by the same company behind Podcast Websites.

As a result, they’ve developed a feature-set that is totally focussed on living up to their tagline.

Notable Features

  • Get started easily and quickly
  • Limitless storage and bandwidth
  • Multiple podcasts included as standard
  • Superb feature-rich mobile-friendly website
  • ‘All Listings’ web page makes subscribing easy
  • Market leading WordPress integration – publish, edit and delete episodes
  • Calls to action on podcast player
  • Episode player in shared social media posts
  • Fast feature development – dynamic ads up next (early 2021)
  • Advanced analytics
  • Scheduled podcast publishing

Get Started

Starting out on any podcast host as a beginner can be a little overwhelming and often time consuming. The Captivate platform knows this and makes it easy. For example, they’ve taken onboarding support very seriously to make the set up process as painless as possible.

When you login for the first time you’ll be met with a series of set-up specific tutorials that explain what each step and screen is for. What’s more, there is also a smaller information widget that provides prompts and tips on getting things set up.

The user experience on the platform is excellent whether you’re launching a podcast for the first time, or importing an existing show from elsewhere.

Multiple Podcasts Per Plan

Hosting services nowadays vary on how many podcasts are included per account. Captivate lets you have as many as you like on a single plan, meaning you have more control over how you structure your content.

This is important to anyone who has a lot to say obviously, but also if you’re planning to offer bonus material or exclusive listening alongside your main show.

File Management

Captivate is one of only a few podcast hosting platforms that doesn’t ‘process’ your audio when it’s uploaded.

In other words, podcast downloads are exactly what was created in your audio recording software. This suits the majority of serious podcasters who take great pride in their content and prefer to have total control over it.

Feature-Rich Mobile-Friendly Podcast Website

Rebel Base Media are the company behind Captivate and also Podcast Websites. Ergo, they know what they’re doing with the built in web page that comes with an account on their hosting platform.

Their design templates are modern and fully mobile responsive meaning they look good on any device. What’s more, they’re highly customisable to ensure the look and feel of your web page is on trend and attractive to visitors.

The podcast player has standard features like most podcast hosts offer like being able to list episodes in chronological or reverse order. You can also promote content by ‘sticking’ an episode of your choice to the top of the page.

Connecting your domain name is simple enough as is setting up a newsletter – it’s very intuitive and their pedigree from Podcast Websites is obviously present. Captivate features a built-in sign up function that integrates with third party email marketing providers like MailChimp.

In addition to saving you time this also enables one of the most powerful methods to grow your audience and monetize your podcast.

Another unique feature of the web page provided on this hosting platform is the ‘All Listings’ page which shows everywhere your podcast is listed.

It’s so simple yet so effective in growing your subscribers because a visitor can select which ever podcast directory they prefer to use. This maximises subscription potential and social sharing because it’s so quick and easy to use.

WordPress Integration

Captivate Sync is a plugin that “allows you to easily link your website to your Captivate podcast hosting account and seamlessly publish from one platform to the other.”

Basically, it’s possible to publish, edit and delete podcast episodes in the backend of your website. The changes are immediately reflected in your Captivate account, but significantly, this also works the other way around.

Most podcasters would agree that having a self-hosted website is the best option provided you’re able to manage both WordPress and a podcast hosting platform.

Such an endeavour is so much easier with the Captivate Sync WordPress plugin.

Podcast Player with Calls To Action

First things first, the podcast media player looks the part and is well-designed. In short, it’s a nice on screen and offers a typically pleasant listening experience.

What set’s it apart though is being able to embed two calls to action which can link to anything you choose. You could try send traffic to a newsletter sign up page or offer downloadable content for example.

Besides the immediate benefit of being able to help the flow of traffic this feature also supports any monetization efforts where user engagement is key.

What’s more, you can even set a different call to action in the media player for each episode.

Captivate Pricing

This is determined on a ‘monthly downloads’ basis.

To keep things simple, this is the only limitation on the paid plans meaning every other feature is included in the price you pay. There is a 7 day free podcast hosting trial (no free options) which allows you to test-drive their podcast hosting and analytics in full.

Plans start at $19 / month (known as the ‘Podcaster’ plan) for up to 12,000 downloads, then increase beyond there:

  • Professional – $49 – up to 60,000 downloads
  • Business – $99 – up to 150,000 downloads

In other words, you can upload your podcast audio as much as you like, promote your podcast and grow your audience without limitation.

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Buzzsprout Review

Buzzsprout has been a podcast host since 2009 and currently has over 100,000 podcasters utilizing their services.

The focus here is simplicity which they’ve developed into every aspect of their hosting platform and service. The result is a truly brilliant product that is the number one starting point for most beginners.

Having said that, Buzzsprout also attracts experienced podcasters for it’s ever-growing feature set, highly intelligent user-experience and simple pricing structure.

What’s more, their import tool is a ‘few clicks and done’.

Simply, enter the RSS feed of your existing show so everything can be transferred across, including all the details.

Again, it’s the super-simple confidence-boosting user experience that makes it easy and sets them apart from other podcast hosting companies. Simply, upload your podcast content and launch your first show in minutes.

The dashboard is the bedrock of the platform and one of the best I’ve come across because it is so intuitive and well designed. Total newcomers can pick it up immediately meaning their focus is where it should be: publishing brilliant new content.

Notable Features

  • Free plan to ‘try before you buy’
  • Unlimited storage on all paid plans
  • Beginner-friendly episode management and publishing
  • Instantly share with all top podcast directories
  • ‘Magic Mastering’ for automated audio perfection
  • Easy to use social sharing
  • Convenient bitrate conversion on upload for standardised quality
  • Good analytics including specific episode insights
  • Add chapter markers to episodes
  • Solid affiliate marketing monetization feature
  • Innovative ‘video soundbites’ for YouTube promotion
  • Attractive embedded podcast players available
  • Decent customer support

Magic Mastering

This innovative tool does a great job of polishing your audio quality up if you choose. Buzzsprout describes this feature ‘like an Instagram filter for your audio’. An experienced audio editor won’t fancy this feature much but for the majority with no knowledge of the production aspect of things, this is just excellent.

Social Media

Sharing is streamlined and easy but the video highlight creation feature within the episode dashboard is brilliant for promotion. After selecting part of your show you simply share it as a video on the major platforms, which could play a vital role if you ever monetize your podcast.

Audio File Optimization

Conversion to a standard bitrate of 96kbps occurs automatically on upload which will not suit the experienced podcaster who uses proper audio software.

For anyone else this is a top feature that’s unique to Buzzsprout.

Why? Because it means you can upload a show from any type of audio recorder you like. It could be from your smartphone, for example, and Buzzsprout will convert it into a useable standard format automatically. Simple, convenient and hassle free, which is Buzzsprout in a nutshell.

Audience Analytics

Statistics are a must-have feature for any and all podcast hosting sites because they’re so important to the growth and development of your show. The ease of use here is brilliant and embodied in a clean dashboard. It also includes ‘all time total plays’ and indicates your subscriber growth based on the last ninety days.

Chapter Markers

You can add these to your podcast episodes which is another nice feature. Listeners are able to navigate to the parts of an episode they want to hear the most. But, more importantly it also means listeners might stick around longer because they know what’s coming up (which is good).

Monetization

Affiliate marketing is a great way to generate income from your podcast and probably why Buzzsprout offers it on all paid plans.

It’s easy to set up because they’ve partnered with numerous brands that can be matched up with your audience and commercial potential.

Buzzsprout Paid Plans

Unsurprisingly, Buzzsprout pricing is nice and simple.

Paid plans are billed monthly and the cost is dependent on how much content you upload:

  • $12/month – up to 3hrs
  • $18/month – up to 6hrs
  • $24/month – up to 12hrs

The free plan allows for 2 hours of storage (for content) every month which remains available for 90 days before its deleted. Perfect for trying Buzzsprout out before upgrading.

(Also, get a $20 amazon gift card on Sign up 😉

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Transistor Review

Transistor entered the podcast hosting space in 2018 meaning they’re ‘new to the game’ compared to the competition. But, 10,000 podcasts hosted on their platform and customers like Indie Hackers and VH1 says otherwise.

It’s founders (Jon Buda & Justin Jackson) set out to make podcasting less confusing to the newcomer yet super powerful as a content marketing tool.

Safe to say, they succeeded.

From the awesome branding to the super user friendly dashboard it’s obvious this podcast host is fuelled by a deep passion for the medium.

Notable Features

  • Industry leading user experience – great for beginners
  • Instantly list on top podcast directories
  • Genuinely caring customer support (& founders)
  • Multiple podcasts (& team members) included as standard
  • Unique private podcasting for enhanced audience engagement
  • Superior analytics for deeper insights (e.g. subscriber estimates)
  • Third party data integrations (e.g. with Chartable)
  • Single, latest, and multi-episode player options
  • Branded podcast website with your domain name
  • Email marketing integration with major providers
  • Effortless migration with ‘show import’ tool

Ease Of Use

Transistor looks and feels like a premium podcast hosting service because it is so clean and crisp in its design and functionality.

The dashboard is as slick as any other podcast host in this list. It’s super intuitive and very easy to use. It’s obvious they want to make the platform’s user experience irresistible so there’s no barriers to entry and no reason to leave either!

Multiple and/ or Private Podcasts

Transistor allows multiple podcasts on a single paying account. This allows you to create more sophisticated content structures that benefit your audience.

It could be a ‘special’ show that supports your primary podcasting, a members-only gig or exclusive content just for your email subscribers.

Private podcasting is one (quite brilliant) way of monetizing a show or deepening your connection with an existing community. The possibilities are considerable.

Genuine Customer Support

In truth, most podcast hosts have decent customer support nowadays (a stark contrast to website hosting!). What sets Transistor apart is they all genuinely care about you and your podcast.

They’ll go above and beyond whenever it’s possible and there’s even a notice regarding breaching download limits which, basically, says they won’t shut you off (noted below).

Going with a host that is this authentic instils confidence in you and something beginners will benefit from greatly. It’s even been reported that the founders themselves contact customers out of the blue to see how it’s going!

Multi-Episode Player

This is not a stand out feature in itself but it’s another way to enhance the listening experience of your audience.

Transistor’s multi-episode player is an excellent way to display your back-catalogue and increase user engagement, not to mention subscsribers.

Showcasing 25 of your latest episodes is like providing internal links to other posts on a blog. It encourages a listener to explore more of your content which, in turn, build credibility and interest.

Email Marketing

Transistor integrates with newsletter and mailing list, such as Mailchimp, Convertkit, and HubSpot. You can also connect your account directly to Twitter.

An email subscriber list is the soul of any content marketing strategy because it’s the bridge between you and your audience.

Being able to automatically email your subscribers every time you publish a new episode saves time, maximises engagement and underpins the growth of your show.

In fact, you can do this with YouTube, Spotify and Twitter as well for maximum exposure in a few clicks. All this adds up to having more time to create more brilliant content for your audience.

Superior Analytics

The analytics tool is one of the features that make Transistor unique from others. It’s more than the usual statistics the platform provides, which are standard nowadays, but the fact it’s possible to connect with third party services.

Basically, you can view data from Chartable (for example – there are others) in your dashboard for super convenient analysis on rankings, for instance, and yet more time-saving.

How Much Does Transistor Cost?

Transistor anchors its pricing on ‘downloads per month.’

You can host as many shows as you wish on a single account but you’ll be charged based on the total downloads amassed by them all.

After your 14-day free trial (no free plan as such), paid plans start to come into play, as follows:

  • Starter – $19 per month (or $190 per year) – up to 15, 000 downloads
  • Professional – $49 per month (or $490 per year) – up to 70,000 downloads
  • Business – $99 per month (or $990 per year) – up to 200,000 downloads

All plans come with unlimited bandwidth & storage, and you can add as many team members as you like.

NOTE – private podcasting is only included in the professional and business plans so check carefully if this is of interest.

Don’t be put off by this type of pricing structure. Your audience is not suddenly going to grow by several ‘ 000 downloads per month. If it does you’ll be able to monetise it!

Furthermore, Transistor works with its customers, specifically stating that “there’s no ‘automatic shut off;’ we’ll continue to serve audio for your listeners.

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PodBean Review

PodBean offers an unlimited hosting service with streamlined promotion, and distribution on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Alexa, Spotify, Google, and all other leading apps and directories.

With 510,000 podcasters on their platform, they’ve consistently been regarded as one of the best podcast hosting companies of the past decade.

Nowadays, they offer an easy to use and powerful toolset that lets you make sure your new podcast prospers with hours of audio engaging a growing audience.

Notable Features

  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage
  • Find an advertiser in the ad marketplace
  • PodAds for dynamic ad insertion
  • Premium content subscriptions & purchases
  • Audience donations via patron program
  • Live streaming with revenue opportunities
  • Nice looking embedded podcast player
  • Advanced social media sharing with ‘audiograms’ (videos)
  • Dedicated PodBean App can record & publish episodes
  • MailChimp email marketing integration
  • Scheduled podcast publishing
  • Very user-friendly well-trodden platform

Monetization Options

These are the jewel in the crown at PodBean.

Once your audience is big enough (1, 000 downloads per month) the ad marketplace can connect your show with potential sponsors who will pay to have their products and/ or services showcased within your content.

It’s a well developed function that offers both traditional ad embedding (in the content itself) or a ‘dynamic’ option, called PodAds, which takes care of it for you. The idea is that they look after the ‘ad insertion’ whilst you concentrate on making fresh new content.

There are two financial subscription options as well, called ‘Patron’ and ‘Premium Content’ respectively. The first allows your listeners to make a ‘pledge’ to support your show, and the second lets you sell content either by subscription fees or one-off purchase.

PodBean Live Streaming

This enables engagement with your audience on a completely different level. Your listeners can send you instant messages and call in to your live shows, increasing overall engagement and subscriber numbers.

Audience Analytics

The listening statistics on PodBean are what we’ve come to expect and perfectly good. They include most of what you need like geography, downloads and popular episodes so you can understand your audience more deeply.

‘Audiograms’ (Videos)

Basically, it’s possible to create video bites of your podcast automatically and shared directly on YouTube by connecting the two accounts. It’s a brilliant feature for anyone who is keen on the video podcast trend that is becoming more popular.

Social media sharing to all the major platforms can also be automated quickly and easily.

PodBean App (on iOS and Android)

This was developed specially for podcasting and can be used to record and publish episodes effortlessly, not to mention listening to shows too.

It’s worth noting that PodBean represents the only all-in-one solution on the market which is perfect for beginners who want the simplest route to launch.

Add this to the podcast website (and connect your domain name if desired) that is included in the price and they’re amongst the best podcast hosting sites out there.

PodBean Paid Plans

This is the best free podcast hosting plan there is to kick start your podcasting journey because it allows 5hrs worth of content to be uploaded every month, and 100GB worth of bandwidth.

It’s likely you’ll outgrow it if you build an audience successfully, at which point simply upgrade to one of the paid plans.

The next plan costs just $9 per month (if paid annually). It comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage space for audio (i.e. upload as many hours of audio as you like), full podcast stats, and the ability to sell your ‘premium’ content to listeners – few podcasters ever need more than this!

The best plan for monetization is $29 per month, including video podcasts and the full suite of monetization options.

There is a business plan at $ 99 per month which allows private podcasts, groups and other enterprise level benefits. Try this podcast host, here:

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Castos Review

Like all the main players in podcast hosting, Castos strives to provide the tools to share your shows and grow your audience.

Their podcasting plugin – Seriously Simple Podcasting – has over 20,000 installs. In turn, they have thousands of customers on the Castos hosting platform and over a decade of podcasting experience.

They deliver this straight to you through their products, services, and free training content, and have become a very popular podcast solution.

  • Never run out of storage or bandwidth
  • Offer your listeners exclusive content with unlimited Private Podcasts
  • Manage all of your podcasts within your WordPress website
  • Automated YouTube republishing (& transcriptions) boost your reach
  • Access data from multiple listening platforms into one dashboard
  • Automate and simplify your podcast publishing workflow

Castos enables you to give your audience(s) more ways to consume your content. In turn, this increases visibility which, along with a boost on your SEO efforts, grows your audience and increases downloads.

Notable Features

Create exclusive content (e.g. a membership) for your community:

  • Form a members-only or VIP podcast
  • Monetize Your Show
  • Easy Integrations

Spend time creating, not transcribing, shows with automatic transcriptions:

  • Maximize SEO Impact
  • Improve Accessibility
  • Save valuable time

Make WordPress podcast management easy with one-click imports:

  • Manage More Than One Show
  • Convenient Workflow & SEO management
  • Enhanced player experience

Reach even more of your audience with YouTube republishing:

  • Boost your reach
  • Enhanced SEO and visibility
  • Included and free

Powerful yet easy to understand listening statistics and insights:

  • Understand what matters
  • Perfect the mechanics of your shows
  • Watch the numbers grow

Get professional help with Castos Productions:

  • Send your recorded episode
  • Wait for it to be edited and polished by experts
  • Let it fly when it’s ready

Castos Pricing:

Try Castos free for 14 days to see if it works for your needs. After that, their monthly plans start at $19, as follows:

  • ‘Starter’ – $19
  • ‘Growth’ – $49
  •  ‘Pro’ – $99

At $49 per month, ‘Growth’ is the best plan because it has most of the features the majority of podcasters will ever need.

Get your free trial with Castos, here:

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Spreaker Review

Spreaker call themselves a one-stop shop for podcast hosting, creation, distribution and monetization. In short, they enable non-technical people to produce a passion project or grow a podcast business easily.

They cater for all levels of experience, whether you’re brand new to podcasting or looking to level up an existing show.

  • Unrivalled ‘podtech’ solution for publishers & distributed team members
  • Comprehensive toolset for growth plus feature customizations
  • Use Spreaker’s desktop CMS to publish a podcast in seconds
  • One-click distribution to the top directories (like Google Podcasts)
  • Earn money with every listen with their monetization program
  • Easy-to-setup and use programmatic ad insertion
  • Downloadable app available

With over ten years experience, the Spreaker team have equipped podcasts and publishers with everything they need to continually create impactful content.

Features: 

  • Effortless one-click distribution to major directories (like Apple podcasts)
  • Full monetization features mean maximum potential
  • Easy dynamic insertion & simple programmatic advertising
  • Trusted podcast analytics (downloads, listeners, likes, devices and so on)
  • Traffic your ads with our campaign manager
  • Created for collaboration & customization for individuals and teams
  • Easy to integrate Content Management System (CMS)
  • Personalized listening & discovery with their embeddable podcast player
  • Listen via Chromecast and AirPlay
  • Customizable RSS feeds
  • Spreaker Studio (app) enables full podcasting from any device type
  • Live & Skype Podcast Recording

Spreaker Pricing:

From free to enterprise plans, Spreaker has an option to meet your needs and help you reach your full podcasting potential. They offer discounts for annual plan purchases (as show in the image below); here are the monthly prices:

  • ‘Free Speech’ – $0
  •  ‘On-Air Talent’ – $7
  • ‘Broadcaster’ – $20
  • ‘Anchorman’ – $50

At $20 per month, ‘Broadcaster’ is the best plan because it has all the features most people will ever need. What’s more, it includes up to 500 hours of storage, compared to 5 hours of audio on the free plan.

If Spreaker fits the bill, you can try them out here:

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Simplecast Review

Simplecast sets their stall out as the modern & independent podcast hosting and analytics platform.

  • Use one-click publishing to distribute everywhere from one place
  • Powerful framework built for audio that minimises problems or outages.
  • Understand your listeners with their first-of-its-kind analytics
  • Seamless show migration involving a few clicks, then done
  • Beautiful and intelligent web players available to maximise discovery
  • All-new site builder makes creating your podcast website easy
  • Multiple shows & multiple collaborators on a single account
  • Recast® – listeners can share custom podcast clips on social media
  • Simplecast API 2.0 is the most advanced of its kind

With 7 years, experience you’re show is in safe hands and industry-leading technology that’s designed especially for podcasting. They focus on you, the customer, and give shows of all shapes and sizes access to the same toolset; this is significant because a few of the podcasts they host are some the biggest in the world.

Features: 

  • Up to 15 member seats
  • Unlimited storage & uploads
  • Distribution to everywhere your audience listens
  • Detailed analytics
  • Compare analytics across episodes
  • Compare metric across episodes
  • Customizable show website with custom domain
  • Manage many shows with one account
  • Embeddable episode web player
  • Recast for you (and your listeners)
  • A secure (HTTPS) site and RSS feed
  • Up to 120K downloads included
  • Email support
  • Unique listener reports
  • Web player analytics
  • Episode retention data
  • Priority customer support
  • Set up & migration support
  • Uptime guarantee

Simplecast Pricing:

Try Simplecast free for 14 days to see if it works for your needs.

  • ‘Basic’ – $15 per month
  • ‘Essential’- $35 per month
  • ‘Growth’- $85 per month

At $35 per month, ‘Essential’ is the best plan for most people because it has all the features they’ll ever need.

What was once a 7 day free trial, is now 14- days with Simplecast, which you can try here:

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4. What is the Best Free Podcast Hosting?

The truth is like many things in life, you get what you pay for with free podcast hosting. Ergo, most free options have limited functionality.

However, if you’re uncertain of what you need, have a limited budget or not sure if podcasting is going be for you, then they have their place.

To me, free plans for any kinds of software or technological service are, in reality, the ‘try before you buy’ option. In other words, they’re a way to give something a go with minimal cash outlay and zero risk.

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Buzzsprout

Free podcast hosting

Buzzsprout’s free podcast hosting plan is the best in the business.

This is because you get two hours of upload time for episodes that will then be hosted for up to 90 days. Moreover, the full dashboard experience is included meaning you can learn the ropes of managing your show.

Buzzsprout is extremely easy to us from uploading your file, distributing them to the major directories (e.g. Apple podcasts), and tracking your listening statistics.

It’s the best way to dip your toe in the water, learn podcasting and set yourself up for success. If it is for you, simply upgrade – paid plans start at $12 per month.

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SoundCloud

SoundCloud came to be in 2015 and is known as the world’s largest audio hosting site with175 million unique monthly visitors. The good news is they offer a free account which comes with access to all the embedded players, Twitter cards and timed comments.

You can upload 3 hours of content per month and get basic reporting.

However, SoundCloud has not updated their service to industry standards in years. Why? I’d guess it’s because their service doesn’t rely on podcast business, so it’s not a priority.

This means SoundCloud podcast hosting is missing IAB certified statistics, Apple Podcast episode tags and new RSS fields amongst other things. So, whilst their free plan appears to be great value and good to go, it is not the choice for any serious podcaster.

Having a play at podcasting? Sure, SoundCloud could be okay for that if you’re drawn to its reputation. Intent on growing a serious podcast? Swerve it, and go with Captivate.

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Podomatic

Podomatic Home Page

Podomatic offers the ability to develop your podcast advertising and crowdsourcing with the help of Patreon and Advertisecast. This is unique but only has limited appeal obviously.

It has solid social sharing options, which include shows being played directly on Facebook and Twitter. What’s more, they’re partnered with Weebly so you can get yourself a podcast website with a little extra work.

In summary, it’s okay and they have a decent free plan to see if their specific feature is best for your needs.

5. How to choose podcast hosting?

Podcast hosting can be broken down into the following basic attributes:

  • Storage space – data capacity for your shows on their servers
  • Bandwidth – amount of data can be streamed or downloaded
  • Distribution – direct sharing to the directories (like Apple podcasts)
  • Analytics – data and statistics about your audience
  • Sharing – social media
  • Website options – web page and media player
  • Dashboard – simple yet effective user experience

There is no one size fits all, even with the best providers. So, working out who to go with needs to be broken down into two steps.

Step One – work out the essentials

Work out the most essential requirements of your show, starting with storage.

The amount needed depends on how many shows (i.e. minutes of content) you’ll create each month. This number will likely change so be cautious with your estimates.

Bandwidth should not be an issue until you’ve grown a reasonable audience. At that point there are various ways to monetize your podcast and offset any increased cost. All of the best podcast hosts can scale when necessary so bandwidth should have little or no influence on your thinking.

If you can’t work your storage needs out, simply go with podcast hosting that offers a month unlimited plan (like Captivate, Transistor or PodBean), or one where additional storage is very reasonably priced (like Buzzsprout).

Step Two – delve into specifc needs

Now it’s time to delve deeper into your specific needs.

Ask yourself a series of further questions to reveal desirable features that will enable your podcasting ambitions and expectations.

Here are example questions with relative answers to help demonstrate this:

  • Are you a beginner who needs the simplest (& best) user experience?

If so, it’s Buzzsprout, Transistor and Captivate.

  • Will you want multiple shows?

It’s Transistor and Captivate then.

  • Could private podcasting be of use and interest to you?

In that case, it’s Transistor.

  • Do you want to grow an audience as soon as possible?

You should definitely go with Captivate if growth and marketing is key to you.

  • Is monetizing your audience a serious priority?

PodBean currently has the most comprehensive monetization options; you’ll need the ‘Unlimited Plus’ plan which is $29 per month.

As you make progress and learn more about the podcast hosts you might find your requirements evolve or deepen. This is normal and a good way to ensure your hosting choice is future proof. You’ll want to make sure you don’t lose sight of the essentials.

Step Three – buy on value, not on price

The biggest mistake I see people make is when they buy on price, not on value.

We all keep an eye on costs because it’s necessary and sensible. But, getting hosting wrong (just like with a website or blog) is way more costly than a ‘few Starbucks more’ that you should have paid right from the start.

Ignore attraction techniques, like a promo code or ‘get a free month’ for example, to clarify your podcasting needs properly. Then, contrast them against the right plan to give your podcast the very best chance of success.

6. FAQs

What is podcast hosting?

A podcast host is a place to store your podcast’s audio files on the internet, much like website hosting does for a blog.

Amongst other things, it enables distribution to major podcast directories (like Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts) using an RSS feed so that people can listen to them. They also provide in-depth analytics, mobile-friendly web pages, marketing features, and monetization options.

Pricing is typically on a ‘downloads per month’basis.

How much should podcast hosting cost?

On average, pricing for podcast hosting ranges from $5 to $50 per month, unless you’re a business level customer which tends to be $99 upwards.

Pricing varies between podcast hosting services like any other profit making industry but can seem more complicated because of how paid plans can be structured.

The two most common types of paid plan focus on the amount of storage required versus the number of monthly downloads by listeners.

The average cost of podcast hosting when you’re starting out will up to $19 per month.

Where do people distribute their podcasts?

The most popular directories to get your podcast on are Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes), Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and TuneIn. A podcast directory is not podcast hosting.

Once hosting is all set up and you’ve uploaded some content it’s time to share with the masses. This is done by listing your episodes on the aforementioned podcasting directories where people can find and listen to your show.

The ‘big 3’ directories are Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

What’s the difference between podcast hosting and directories?

This can be confusing at first so here’s a simple breakdown of how it works.

  1. audio files are uploaded to podcast hosting services on the internet;
  2. podcasts are listed on the directories;
  3. people listen to your episodes via the directories, but the actual audio data is delivered from the podcast hosting service.

To be clear, a podcast directory is not a podcast hosting platform.

Is there an easy way to analyse all my podcast reviews?

Yes, there is.

The best way to do this is on Chartable which shows various podcast ranking data and deeper analytical information such as geographies. As far as I know, this kind of insight is not available on any podcast hosting platform currently.

On this note, every country has a separate version of Apple Podcasts, for example, so monitor podcast reviews without a service like this would be next to impossible.

If you’re the deeply analytical type, check out their SmartLinks feature. This is a great way to track how many downloads there are from specific links in your podcast.

How can I style a podcast player for my website?

Whilst the best podcast hosting platforms all have pretty tidy podcast players for use on websites, they’re not overly customisable.

Enter Fusebox.

At its heart, Fusebox is a very powerful audio player which allows you to embed podcast shows into your website. 

There are three ways to do this in effect: Full Player, Single Track Player, and Site-wide Sticky Player. Functional flexibility and strategic positioning allow you to maximise audience listening and user engagement. 

Ultimately, visitors can enjoy any podcast show from anywhere on your website.

What’s more, Fusebox podcast players are customizable. By adding brand colours, for example, it’s possible to preserve the look and feel of a web page while enhancing the user experience.  

Why can’t I host my podcast on my website?

Simply put, because web hosting is not typically set up for the kind of bandwidth demands to host your podcast.

Audio files can be quite large ‘bags’ of data which when multiplied by the number of downloads requires large amounts of bandwidth. Whilst most website hosts offer unlimited bandwidth, they’ll usually operate this on a fair use policy that doesn’t stretch to podcast levels.

The best way to run a successful show is to create, publish and promote your episode on the most appropriate hosting platform for your needs. Then, embed a media player on your website accordingly.

Is it possible to make money from podcasting?

Yes it is, but this takes some time because to do so you have to have an audience (i.e. people who love listening to your show).

There are various methods to monetize your podcast but the most common is sponsored advertising.

Great podcast hosting platforms feature other innovative ways to capitalise on your show, such as premium content (PodBean), email marketing (Captivate & Transistor) and affiliate marketing (Buzzsprout).

Do I need a podcast hosting service?

To start a podcast? Yes, you do.

This is because your audio files have to be stored on the internet for delivery to listeners.

How often should I publish a podcast?

It depends what you’re trying to achieve and what your audience has come to expect.

Ultimately, building an audience means providing the best possible listening experience that features useful content.

If your episodes are ten minutes long, you might publish a daily podcast. Alternatively, longer episodes might warrant a weekly podcast.

Rather than focus on stale details like episode duration and frequency, concentrate on the content itself and let that dictate everything else.

What kind of features do I need in a podcast hosting platform?

How long is a piece of string?

It all depends on your ability, experience and, frankly, your atitude to podcasting. If you take it very seriously and are intensely focused on doing it professionally, then you need very rich feature set.

On the other hand, if you’re new, or just having some fun as a hobby on your iPhone, then some of the services recommended here will be overkill obviously.

So, let’s go back to basics.

A good podcast hosting site needs to do three things:

  1. Host your podcast audio files
  2. Create an RSS feed (for people to subscribe to)
  3. Stream fast and reliably

After that, there are countless user-friendly features and functionality that you might need, where all the technical work is done behind the scenes. Whichever podcast hosting platform you pick out of my recommendations, you’re in safe hands. They’re the best of the best, meaning they not only cover the basics but offer all kinds of tools to help you succeed.

The truth is, you need to get your podcast started with the right hosting the first time round. You’ll want to make sure you work out what the podcast is looking to achieve, then read my in-depth analysis and review section properly.

Whatever you do, don’t let outside influence, like a promo code or empty opinion, affect your decision in a any way.

What equipment do I need to create a podcast?

Many professional podcasters use a variety of equipment to record podcasts that can be very expensive.

This is not necessary when you’re starting out and can lead to wasting money because of misguided perceptions. The best way to help podcasters on this is go back to basics.

In reality, most people start off with a:

Essentially, you can start a podcast with nothing but a smartphone and an all-in-one podcast host like those recommended above.

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