The US alone harbors 62 million+ podcast listeners, and this figure is based on a weekly basis. So far in 2019, there are over 29 million podcast episodes uploaded as well as 700,000 active podcasts – spanning over 100 languages.
You get the idea, right? Failing to tap into this gold mine of new audiences and dynamic audio content is a total waste.
Podcasting is definitely a solid move in strengthening your dominance. However; it’s not as straightforward as it seems. Recording your audio is one thing, but to get things moving in the first place; you’ve got to get everything in line with a decent podcast hosting platform. A hosting platform is the place where you host your podcast episodes, so it’s good to find a great one right off the bat.
As you should be aware by now, podcasts are superb at establishing a great, intimate rapport with your audience. It’s also a great way to lead back to your website + gaining profitable, shareable traction for your site.
If you need some pointers on that, here are some ways to accelerate the success of your website.
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Why Do You Need A ?
A podcast hosting platform is necessary to provide the file hosting and RSS feed for your channel. In layman terms, this is your podcast’s home. All of your episodes are neatly categorized here and then distributed to the intended podcast directories – Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, etc.
These hosting platforms act as an all-in-one way to upload your files and also to closely monitor your impressions, audience insights, social interaction and much more.
What Are Some Good to Start A Podcast?
We’re glad you asked. Here are some pointers on what you’re going to want to look out for before we dive into each option.
Depending on the capacity you’d need, the plans usually offered by these sites are divided into the size of your organization – free, small teams or full-on businesses. You would also need to narrow them down based on load memory, data insights, technical support, integration features, ease of upload and many more.
While there are tons of hosting platforms to choose from, for first-timers, especially those looking for the easiest ways to start a podcast, it can be particularly confusing when you are attempting to narrow down what you need.
The best part about hunting for podcast hosting platforms is that no two are alike. Some hosting sites might even come ready with its own features to start and power-up a WordPress blog and others might come with their own social media integration options.
You can check out how all of this comes together through HUSTLR’s own podcast channel. We’re right here on iTunes.
So without further ado, here’s a handpicked list of hosting platforms to check out – categorized by nifty features we think you’ll like. We also picked out a few free but good ones that we think you should check out!
Unlimited storage capacity
Bandwidth of 250GB/month
No ad intrusions
Podcast migration features
Buzzsprout is a fantastic platform to start off with, especially if you’re a beginner. The best part? They guarantee no upfront fees or billings for first-time users. Plus, their free plan is valid for a whopping 90 days and allows audio uploads of up to two hours.
Buzzsprout’s subscription is divided into three separate plans; varying from $12-24/month. Becoming a subscriber of Buzzsprout (for every paid plan) also comes with its own set of perks. Some features you’d be able to access are unlimited storage, 20k-40k episode plays monthly and 250GB of bandwidth. They also let you embed your very own podcast player straight to your website – where listeners can access each of your episodes.
Pay no mind to complicated analytics. Buzzsprout offers a straightforward dashboard that shows your listener data, number of impressions, location demographics – and many others.
We talk about social media scheduling with tools like Iconosquare and Buffer. But did you know that it could be done with podcasts as well? Buzzsprout makes it easy to pre-schedule your podcast! All you need to do is upload the audio, amend the titles and captions and consequently schedule it to air over a number of podcast directories.
Unlimited audio hosting
Website builder features
iTunes and Play Store tech support
Podcast promotion and distribution
PodBean is a state-of-the-art hosting solution for individuals and enterprises alike. Their services are pretty thorough, which makes sense if you need more features in the hosting platform for your channel!
PodBean has been in business since 2006 – making them one of the OGs in the game. Even though they do offer features for large businesses and teams; PodBean is a great alternative for those interested in the easiest ways to start a podcast.
Their free options allow you to upload 5 hours of free content each month, spanning up to 100GB. As with most free plans, basic features are available –but we suggest upgrading to their $9/month plan if you want something more comprehensive.
Or maybe you’re dead serious about growing your channel to new heights. In that case, you should check out their $29/month Unlimited Plus Plan. Nevertheless, all of their paid plans come ready with unlimited audio hosting!
Another nifty tool from PodBean is their ability to get your channel monetized –fast. Some of the easiest ways to start a podcast platform that is profitable would be through running sponsored ads into your episodes.
Powerful analytics features
Chat options while streaming live
Distribution to Sonos, SoundCloud, and Amazon Alexa directories
Embedded podcast player through website
Host. Connect. Interact. That’s basically the mantra of Spreaker’s revolutionary podcast hosting platform.
Spreaker aims to be a breath of fresh air in the world of podcast hosting. Their take on the scene is to drive engagement more than anything else; providing options to rake in the more modern and loyal listeners to your channel. This is also one of the podcast hosting platforms that provides a free plan to get started.
To do this, Spreaker’s primary attraction would be their chat feature. Spreaker allows you to live-chat while your broadcast is playing –replying to listeners in real time.
Their arsenal of migration tools also allows you to record and upload your audio using apps available on mobile, desktop and web! Going Pro with your Spreaker account is an option to consider too, especially if you want more detailed insights such as geolocation and demographic data.
Spreaker’s most popular pricing plan is the Broadcaster ($18/month) although their free and cheaper plans also come with its own set of attractive tools. Given the fact, all of their pro plans come with Spreaker’s dashboard for insights –so you’re always in tune with analytics on your listeners and the performance of your content.
Pro Tip: Use the promo code “RECORD” for first-time subscribers and you will immediately get a free month of Spreaker hosting!
Professional CDN options
100% free migration
Free WordPress site with a plan
Now, we’ve narrowed down some podcast hosting platforms with free trial-based options. For all those just dipping their toes into the platforms to start a podcast.
Blubrry – on the other hand, is for when you decide to put in a little more dedication.
This hosting platform has been the talk of the town for some time, particularly for their seamless and easy-to-use integration with WordPress sites. Did we also mention that they let you create your own managed site?
This is made possible with their own plugin tool called Powerpress. It’s a powerful option that allows your podcasts to be worked from multiple RSS feeds – and to stream directly from WordPress even. Minus the Blubrry dashboard.
Basically, this means that you are able to upload your podcast from WordPress itself. Rather than tackle tons of interfaces and dashboards, users can just work straight from one that they’re used to.
Pretty cool right? Blubrry’s emphasis on user accessibility is probably the driving factor that has led them to tremendous success.
Unfortunately for some, Blubrry does not have free plans much like other podcast hosting platforms. Plus, since their tools come heavily meshed with WordPress and all its plugins – it wouldn’t make sense for you to use Blubrry if your site is hosted elsewhere (Wix/Squarespace, etc).
However, on the off chance that you do indeed have a site hosted on WordPress (or have intentions to create one!) – Hustlr recommends Blubrry a thousand times over. Even their most affordable monthly fee of $12 comes with an array of attractive, straightforward and efficient features that will most likely boost your podcasting game to no end.
Huge listener audience (>175 million)
Embedded podcast players
Interactive + social abilities
It wouldn’t matter if you’re a clueless newbie of an expert podcaster – SoundCloud should definitely ring some bells. The best part is, it’s free to get started hosting your podcast on SoundCloud!
Swedish-founded company SoundCloud has been an absolute monster in the music industry since 2007. Although they started music sharing, SoundCloud is just only starting to establish their footing in podcast hosting as well.
Much like PodBean as well, SoundCloud intends on doubling down as a podcast directory besides also being a hosting platform.
It would only make sense that SoundCloud would emphasis heavily on their social sharing features when it comes to growing a podcast channel. This is made possible through their embeddable players and easy-to-use RSS feed to share to platforms like iTunes, Stitcher and many more.
We suggest doubling down on a SoundCloud subscription if interactivity is more important to you amongst anything else. Here, you can connect instantly to your podcast’s listeners, via likes, shares, and the comment section. A little like Spreaker – but on social media ‘roids.
Hosting unlimited shows
Managing team members
Strong podcast promotional tools
Generates beautiful websites
Transistor.fm has got to be one of the best podcast hosts out there in 2019. High-quality streaming, the unlimited capacity of shows and multiple users per account – Transistor.fm does it all with ease.
Don’t believe us? Their star-studded client list of Cards Against Humanity, Laravel, and Ionic prove just that.
Transistor.fm prides itself on being the ‘all-in-one’ solution for users and those interested in the easiest ways to start a podcast. Transistor.fm gives you unlimited show hosting through each paid plan, powerful data analytics, podcast distribution, a gorgeous generated website and just that much more. Needless to say, we’re pretty obsessed with this one.
Although you could definitely jump to their paid plans (starting at $19/month) – We recommend you try out their 14-day free trial period before anything. You could get used to exactly how it works, and still, get your team members on board with training too!
Depending on bandwidth and size of audiences, Transistor.fm allows anywhere from 10,000 to 150,000 downloads a month.
Transistor.fm simplifies everything –from seamless distribution to painless migrating. Their easily one of the hottest platforms out there to start a podcast; so you definitely want to check them out if you get the chance.
Audio and video hosting
Compatible with most podcast directories
One-click multiple destination tool
HTML5 audio and video player
Take a look at any “best platforms to start a podcast” countdowns or articles out there. Chances are – Libsyn would be mentioned through a handful of them.
Libsyn has been around since 2004 and broke new ground by achieving close to 7.2 billion downloads worldwide in 2017. They’ve got strong stats of close to 40,000 hosted podcasts and 60 million members as of right now – so you can bet that they know what they’re doing. The best part is they come with a no holds-barred free trial for every plan!
Libsyn provides a surprisingly comprehensive set of features and added tools for the podcaster’s journey. They literally brand themselves to be the pioneer of “podcast publishing systems” ever since launching in 2004. That makes sense; considering they’ve got everything you could ask for.
Libsyn has its own app, strong RSS feed generations, single-click publishing, full-length analytics reports. You name it! The bonus is that it comes really cheap compared to other hosting platforms. Pro plans start from only $5; which is a hell of a deal if you ask us.
Google Analytics & Facebook Pixel
Secure RSS player
Download & Share options with Recast
Simplecast does exactly what it says –simplifying the world of hosting a podcast. It’s essentially the revamped version of all hosting platforms, catering to savvier, younger and hungrier audiences that are always on the hunt for more engagement!
Simplecast has powered podcasts from some of the most notable brands in the world. That’s right, you’re looking at the very same platform that hosts podcasts from Nike, Facebook, TechCrunch, Harper’s Bazaar and a few others.
Excited yet? You could join in the fun for only $15/month, but we suggest signing up for their free trial first to get a feel of the platform. All of Simplecast’s paid plans come equipped with one-click publishing, powerful tech support, and one hell of a data analytics dashboard. Simplecast narrows down data such as what times your audiences are most active, popular device types, top countries, and loads more.
Definitely not here to fool around – Simplecast is quite literally on it’s way to becoming one of the biggest contenders in platforms to start a podcast. Only time will tell if they manage to dethrone giants like Libsyn and Buzzsprout.
Unlimited Free Hosting
Monetize your podcasts
Episode building & editing
Transcribed + shareable audios
Anchor believes that pricey fees should never be the reason you don’t have a podcast. With that in their tunnel vision -Anchor has completely disrupted the industry by offering 100% podcast hosting platforms and full access into all of their features without spending a cent.
You read us right. Anchor promises a FREE lifetime podcast hosting complete with one-click publishing options, unlimited storage capacity, opportunities to co-host with friends and even monetization alternatives to bring in revenue.
Anchor even gives their subscribers the option to edit audio right from their episode builder (this is one of our favorite features yet!). Here, you get to add transitions, mesh together background tracks and experiment with sound effects. All to make your episode that much more dynamic and engaging.
Anchor was built by founders and podcast enthusiasts alike; with a single goal of democratizing audio content. They’ve experienced crazy growth; as well as devoted following of enthusiasts looking for the easiest ways to start a podcast and host it.
The downside is, however good for beginners they may be, Anchor is still pretty new to the game. One key thing to know here is you technically don’t own your own RSS feed, which means they can pull it down and you’ll lose your podcast at anytime.
With barely 5 years in the making, we’re still monitoring how this generous platform is going to stay afloat + still make enough money to sustain themselves. The good news is – they were recently acquired by Spotify. Only time will tell – but we’re reaping the benefits whilst we wait!
You're all caught up.
But pay close attention, there’s much to still learn!
You might be wondering why we recommend paid podcasting platforms; when there are easily free ones out there like Anchor.
This might be true – but you need to pay close attention to what your channel actually needs.
We used to host our podcast on Anchor but we now use BuzzSprout as a host for the sole reason that we’re big on interactivity, accessibility, and straightforward analytics. Podcast hosting fees are generally a small price to pay to keep your show running and we want to de-risk ourselves and own our feed – we share some sensitive information on our podcast sometimes and free hosts might just remove our podcast and we’ll be left with nothing.
Your business, on the other hand, might require a different approach. Paid subscription plans exist for a reason, and that’s to accommodate your growing list of needs when it comes to your channel. This includes a customized website, more in-depth analytics, better WordPress plugins, a RSS feed you own or even better tech support.
When you’re operating on a free plan (or one that doesn’t suit you), you might not be really allowing your channel to grow to its full potential.
This restricts the crazy success that your podcast might be able to have if it has let’s say, better monetization efforts. Or you’re just shooting in the dark with the best times to upload –rather than gain more engagement if you upload at a popular time with your audiences.
See the difference?
We know you like free stuff! But then again when it comes to choosing a platform to start a podcast, we don’t want you to compromise.
That being said, you should definitely try out one or two options above before settling on the one you know is going to do the trick.
It doesn’t have to be confusing. Just messing around with the idea of how to start a podcast is a step in the right direction!
Take some notes down from HUSTLR’s very own podcast on iTunes or Spotify; in case you might need a clearer direction of content, audio lengths and how to promote your channel.
Sometimes, we talk about how to make you money. Otherwise, we talk to people who made lots of it. Most of the time – we just focus on shaping your entrepreneurial-based and financially free mindset!