7 Best Podcast Hosting for 2019 Compared (Most are Free)
Several of our readers have asked us about finding the best podcast hosting service.
Podcast hosting is different than website hosting because it offers specific tools built to optimize the subscriber experience (we’ll explain more later in the article).
Choosing a reliable podcasting hosting platform is crucial for your podcast because it will help you grow your audience faster while making it easier to manage your podcast files.
In this article, we’ll compare the best podcast hosting companies that you can use. Many of them are free and some charge a small fee because they offer better support and tools.
What is Podcast Hosting and Why You Need it?
Podcast hosting is a specialized service which offers to store and deliver media files associated with a podcast.
Just like you need a website hosting service to store all your website files, a podcast hosting offers the same service but for your podcast’s media files.
Now you may be wondering, couldn’t I just use my website hosting to store my podcast files as well?
You can do that, but that wouldn’t be good for your website or your listeners.
You see, podcast episodes are large files. Delivering them from the same server will take a lot of server resources.
This would make your website slower, and it can even crash during high load.
If several users start downloading at the same time, then most shared hosting services will simply block the processes that are taking up server resources. This means users will not be able to download your podcast.
And that’s precisely why you need a podcast hosting service.
These companies specialize in storing and delivering large media files. They are made specifically for podcasters and have specialized tools to handle media files.
You also get support from folks who are specialists in the industry. This makes a huge difference in the long run.
That being said, let’s take a look at the best podcast hosting services that you can use.
Best Podcast Hosting Services
There are many companies offering podcast hosting services. However, we will be looking for the ones that are the easiest to use, offer great tools and support, and of course flexibility in file sizes.
Here are our picks for the best podcast hosting services.
Podbean is the best podcast hosting service provider on the market. They offer unlimited podcast hosting plans with unlimited bandwidth.
It also includes beautiful design tools to host your website with customizable themes. You can also easily embed the Podbean podcast player directly into your WordPress posts and pages.
Aside from that, they also have podcast promotion tools which automatically submit your episodes to all top podcast directories. This allows your audience to use their preferred tools to listen and download podcasts.
Podbean also offers an advertising marketplace which provides opportunities for podcasters to monetize their content. They also have a huge community of podcasters already using Podbean as their podcasting platform.
Pricing: Free Plan with limited storage, paid plans starting from $9 / month with unlimited storage.
BuzzSprout is one of the easiest to use podcasting hosting provider for beginners. They have been in the business since 2009 and has built a strong community of podcasters which includes some of the top podcasters around.
If you are just getting started, then you’ll find it to be incredibly easy to use. Just upload your media file and it automatically takes care of the rest.
They will also automatically submit your episodes to all the top podcast directories which ensures that your podcast is available on all devices and apps.
Their embeddable podcast player looks great and works well on all screen sizes. It shows the cover art, social sharing buttons, forward and backward skip controls, and more.
They also offer a free WordPress plugin which makes embeds even easier.
If you don’t want to make a website, then BuzzSprout can make one for you. You can customize its design and use your own custom domain name.
The downside is that even their paid plans have storage and bandwidth limits.
Pricing: Limited free plan for 90 days. Paid plans start at $12 / month for 3 hours upload.
Blubrry offers flexible podcast hosting plans for new and experienced podcasters alike. They offer a popular WordPress podcasting plugin called PowerPress which makes it super-easy to manage a podcast directly from your WordPress website.
Using Blubrry with PowerPress makes it easy to upload your podcast episodes directly to your podcast hosting provider. It also allows you to easily submit your podcast to Apple Podcasts (previously iTunes) and Google Podcasts.
This makes your podcasts easily discoverable on Google Home, Assistant, and Google Podcast app on Android devices.
Blubrry also offers monetization options, podcast statistics, social sharing features, and more.
Pricing: Starting from $12 per month with 100 MB storage each month.
Transistor is a powerful yet easy to use podcast hosting service for professionals and beginners. They offer unlimited podcast hosting plans which means they don’t charge you for hours of upload as some other hosts do.
They make it incredibly easy to simply upload your podcast media and publish it. They also offer podcast analytics, so you can see how each episode performed.
Their embed code allows you to easily add each episode to your WordPress posts and pages. If you don’t have a website, then they can quickly create one for you.
One thing to watch out for is that their plans do limit the number of downloads. Which means you need to upgrade your plan as your podcast grows.
Pricing: Starting from $19 per month for upto 10,000 downloads each month,
Regardless of which podcast hosting service you choose, you will need a media player to properly embed and display podcasts on your website.
Some podcasting companies have their own embedded players and some don’t. The problem is that they don’t look anywhere as good as smart podcast player, and they definitely don’t have the same customization options.
Smart Podcast Player is the best media player for podcast websites.
It allows you to display a beautiful media player on your website. You can display on individual episode pages for your podcast or on your homepage. Users can browse the episodes, use on-screen controls, share your podcast, and more.
It looks beautiful on all devices and screen sizes. You can also customize its colors to match your website and make it sticky on top or bottom.
Apart from helping you find new listeners, it also helps you grow your email list and increase return visitors to your website.
This tool is used by every top podcaster in the world, and it’s created by Pat Flynn’s team.
Pricing: Starting from $8.09 per month (billed annually)
Libsyn is another reliable podcast hosting service provider. They offer an easy to use platform that puts your brand in the center and helps you promote your podcast across different platforms, apps, and devices.
Libsyn started in 2004, which makes it one of the very first podcast hosting service providers. It was created by podcasters for other podcasters and has a large community of users including some of the most influential podcasters.
They offer podcast hosting plans with different storage limits each month but with unlimited bandwidth. They offer monetization options, detailed analytics, and WordPress integration with their plugin called Libsyn Publisher Hub.
Pricing: Starting from $5 per month with 50 MB monthly storage.
SoundCloud is a popular music and podcast hosting platform. The good thing is that you can embed any podcast epidsode from SoundCloud by simply placing the URL anywhere in your WordPress posts and pages.
SoundCloud is free for up to 3 hours of uploads. Their free plan gives a good starting point for beginners who want to test the waters first.
Their paid plans come with more storage, bandwidth, advanced statistics, monetization and distribution options. It is easy to use but not the most flexible or customizable podcast hosting plan.
Pricing: Free plan with 3 hours of upload limit. Paid plans start from $6 per month.
Which is The Best Podcast Hosting Service?
As you can see that many podcast hosting services offer similar plans with matching features. Some put limits on storage space and some limit downloads.
Considering these factors, we recommend Podbean as the overall best podcast hosting service. Their plans come with unlimited storage and bandwidth with an incredibly easy to use platform. They also allow you to easily promote your podcast across different services.
Our second recommendation Would be BuzzSprout. It is one of the easiest podcast hosting solution perfect for beginners to get started.
How to Start a Podcast?
Apart from a podcast hosting service, you will also need a website. This will be your podcast’s home on the internet where you’ll promote it and help users discover more content.
To make a website, you’ll need a domain name and a website hosting account.
The domain name will typically cost you $14.99 per year and website hosting plans start from $7.99 per month usually paid annually.
Since you are just starting out, you want to save money whenever you can.
Luckily, our friends at Bluehost are offering WPBeginner users a free domain and a generous discount on hosting.
For complete step by step instructions, see our guide on how to make a website.
Next, you will need to set up your podcast. We have created a step by step guide to start a podcast for beginners, it will walk you through complete set up including how to record your podcasts.
What Equipment do You Need for Podcasting?
Many professional podcasters use a variety of equipment to record podcasts. This includes microphones, audio interface, mixers, windscreen, shock mounts, and more.
All of this equipment costs a lot of money.
However, you don’t need all of them just to record a Podcast. The only equipment we recommend buying from the start is a good microphone.
We recommend using Rode Podcaster, which you can plug into your computer using a USB port.
If you can spare a little more, then you can purchase the Rode Podcaster Kit which comes with a boom arm and a shock mount.
Alternative: Samson C01UCW is a good entry level microphone to record podcasts.
Once your podcast grows and you’re making money from it, then you can invest in improving your setup. But remember you can’t improve something if you don’t start it, so just start!
How to Promote Your Podcast
Many of the above-mentioned podcast hosting services allow you to automatically submit your podcast to different podcast directories and search engines.
You can also manually submit your podcast as well. Once approved your podcast and all its episodes will become discoverable on these platforms.
Your podcast is published as an RSS feed. You will need to copy the podcast feed URL provided by your podcast hosting service.
How to Submit Your Podcast to iTunes or Apple Podcasts
iTunes is the world’s largest podcast directory allowing users to subscribe to podcasts using their iPhones, Apple computers, iPods, and other Apple devices.
First, you will need to sign in to iTunes Connect website using your Apple ID. If you don’t have one, then you sign up to create one for free.
Once logged in, click on the Podcasts Connect button.
On the next screen, enter your podcast feed URL and click on the Validate button.
iTunes will now fetch your podcast information. Click on the Submit button to continue.
iTunes will now review your podcast submission and you’ll be notified via email once it is approved.
How to Submit Your Podcast to Google Podcasts
Google Podcasts is Google’s alternative to Apple Podcasts and iTunes.
To submit your podcast, you need to visit Google Play Music website and click on the Publish buttonn.
This will take you to Podcast management console where you need to enter your Podcast feed URL.
Next, you will need to verify ownership via email and submit your podcast feed for review. Once approved your Podcast will get listed on Google Podcasts.
Promoting your podcast on your own website
Having a WordPress website for your podcast gives you a ton of options to promote your podcast.
First, we will recommend you to follow our WordPress SEO guide to make sure that your podcast website is getting the search traffic.
Now as people start visiting your website, you will notice that most of them just leave without subscribing to your podcast. This is where email marketing comes in.
You need to start an email newsletter which allows users to subscribe to your podcast via email.
Many beginner podcasters find a ton of new listeners and subscribers by running a giveaway contest. We recommend using RafflePress which is the best WordPress giveaway plugin. It allows you to create viral giveaway contests that help you quickly get more visitors to your website.
For more tips, see our guide on how to increase website traffic and more visitors to your site.
We hope this article helped you find the best podcast hosting service to launch your podcast. You may also want to see our guide on how to create a professional business email address to outreach to sponsors and a virtual business phone number to go along with your podcast.
Last but not least, check out our guide on the must have WordPress plugins to grow your website.