Throughout the US, 104 million people listen to podcasts per month. The television might have been our entertainment of choice for over 50 years, but today, 66% of consumers prefer podcasts to TV. This means there’s a huge audience for anyone hoping to become a podcast host themselves. If that’s you, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is which podcast hosting service you will use. From Spotify to Stitcher (see also our comparison of Spotify and Pandora), there are hundreds of options out there – and in this article, we’ll be comparing two of the most popular: Anchor and Libsyn.
We’ll highlight the key differences between Anchor and Libsyn (see also our comparison of Anchor and Simplecast), including price, performance, and how simple they are to use. Whether you’re preparing to start a podcast for the first time or are switching from another podcast hosting website, our comparison makes it easy for you to find the best podcast host for you.
🚨 Anchor fm is now Spotify for Podcaster
On March 8, 2023, Spotify announced the integration of Anchor, a leading podcast hosting platform, into its ecosystem during the “Stream On” event. This merger aims to consolidate Anchor’s comprehensive hosting and distribution strengths with Spotify’s interactive features, offering podcasters an enhanced, all-in-one platform.
Moving forward, podcasters can expect a unified dashboard, extended interactive features like Q&A and polls, and the potential introduction of video podcasts, solidifying Spotify’s ambition to be the foremost destination for podcasting.
How Much Do These Podcast Hosting Platforms Cost?
Before we discuss these platforms’ features, the key difference between Anchor and Libsyn is the price. While Anchor is a free hosting service, Libsyn offers a range of paid plans starting at $5. Let’s take a look at the different pricing systems Anchor and Libsyn (see also our comparison of Anchor and Podbean) offer:
Anchor describes itself as providing ‘everything you need, 100% free.’ If you want to start podcasting free of charge, Anchor is a strong choice. However, since it’s common for a website to make money by offering a paid subscription service, you might be wondering, ‘how do Anchor podcasts make money?’
This is an important consideration. After all, you’ve probably heard the phrase ‘if you’re getting a product for free, then you (the user) are the product.’ The Anchor website isn’t very clear about the different monetization options – it does specify that users own their content, all rights reserved, and don’t need to monetize their episodes with Anchor to host them. That said, there’s no clear information about the way Anchor itself can make money.
One thing that partially explains its free plan is that Anchor enables podcasters to record ads for their episodes. Podcast hosts simply activate sponsorships, choose the most relevant ads for their listener base, and then record them in their own voice for seamless integration. However, Anchor currently only offers this feature to people in the US.
Unusually for a free hosting service, Anchor offers unlimited storage. This is a huge bonus because you don’t need to worry about the:
-Size of your audio files per episode
-The number of episodes you’re hosting
-How many file uploads you have in your Anchor archive
Full Anchor Review here.
Unlike Anchor, this podcast hosting platform comes at a price per month. You can choose between four plans, which we’ve outlined below:
- Classic 50 Plan: This costs $5 per month and includes all the basic features, besides the ‘Basic Statistics’ feature (which you can purchase for an extra $2 per month). As its name suggests, you’ll receive 50 MB of monthly audio storage space per month too.
- Classic 250 Plan: This plan costs $15 per month and gives you 250 MB of storage, as well as access to the ‘Basic Statistics’ feature.
- Advanced 400 Plan: This plan costs $20 per month and gives you 400 MB of storage. Unlike the classic plans, it also includes access to two of the platform’s advanced features – downloadable stats reporting and advanced IAB v2.0 Stats.
- Advanced 800 Plan: Libsyn’s most expensive plan, this one costs $40 per month and includes (you guessed it) 800 MB of monthly storage. Like the 400 Plan, the 800 also gives you access to downloadable stats reporting and advanced IAB v2.0 Stats.
If you’re starting a new podcast for the first time, a rule of thumb is that one hour of audio would require roughly 40MB. This means 5 hours would require 180MB, and so on.
Whichever podcast hosting plan you choose, you can cancel at any time. The podcast hosting plans are not dependent on the number of downloads you get per episode or how often you upload a new podcast episode. This means you don’t need to worry about having to upgrade your plan if your podcast suddenly becomes an overnight sensation!
Does Libsyn Offer A Free Plan?
The answer to this question is no – unlike Anchor, Libsyn doesn’t offer a free plan. The company believes that people invest by choosing its podcast service. This investment helps to fund the future of podcast hosting, as well as paying for customer service, podcast hosting features, and tech support.
If you like to receive incentives after signing up to a website, you might be interested to know that paid podcast hosting platforms such as Buzzsprout and Podbean offer users an Amazon gift card after they sign up, or once their first episode has been active for 2 months.
What Features Do The Podcast Hosting Platforms Offer?
Now that we’ve explained the pricing plans available from both Anchor and Libsyn, let’s explore the different features of these two podcast hosting platforms. We’ll discuss their various capabilities, how easy to use they are, and which features are only included in Libsyn’s $40 a month unlimited plan.
Record From Anywhere
One of Anchor’s most desirable features is that it enables you to record audio files from anyway. This means you can record content from your smartphone, laptop, or any other device. The Anchor recording tools are compatible with most external microphones (see also our comparison of USB mics and XLRs). So whether you’ve got an intricate set-up with all the bells and whistles or simply want to use your phone’s in-built microphone while you’re out and about, you don’t need to worry about being unable to upload the audio to the Anchor podcast website later.
One thing to bear in mind is that Anchor records using an M4A format instead of recording an MP3 file. Anchor can also record only 32 bytes per second, much lower than some of the other podcast hosting companies.
Podcast Episode Builder
The Anchor episode builder feature is a great tool that’s really easy to use. This podcast maker enables you to create your podcast episodes using the so-called ‘building blocks’ of audio. You can drag and drop these blocks to arrange your content for each episode, making it easy to remix your segments and experiment with editing.
This is particularly useful if you want to include ads in your Anchor podcast. Simply record the ad in your own voice and drop the sponsored segment into your chosen position.
Importing Files And Background Music
Another capability that’s easy to use is the Anchor importing feature. This is how users can import audio, video, and background music into their podcast. Although Anchor is a free podcast hosting platform, it includes a library of background music, sound effects, and other tracks that you can add to your podcast episodes.
You can also use this feature to convert video files into audio files.
The one-click distribution feature enables people to share their Anchor podcast instantly across a wide range of platforms. These include:
- Apple Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
- Pocket Casts
If you’d rather manage your RSS feed yourself, you can opt-out of this Anchor feature and distribute your podcast to your chosen platforms in a way that suits you.
Anchor provides you with a single dashboard to track the metrics for your podcast. This will show you a breakdown of audience statistics, including what percentage is listening via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, RSS feeds, or another podcasting website.
You’ll also be able to see where in the world they’re listening from, how long they listen to your podcast, and which sections (if any) caused listeners to click off the website.
OnPublish (All plans)
Like Anchor, Libysyn’s OnPublish feature combines complete ease of use with a wide range of different publishing options. From Apple Podcasts to Google Play, the 100% compatible Libsyn RSS feed enables you to publish your podcast episodes on every popular social media website, podcast platform, and podcast app.
Unlike Anchor, however, Libsyn’s OnPublish also boasts an assortment of integrations which make this feature easy to use:
- Advanced analytics reporting to help you understand your podcast audience (make sure you remember this feature is only available if you pay an extra $2 a month, working out to $24 over a 12 month period)
- Editing tools to remove or add content to your podcast episode
- Scheduling tools to control when and where you publish your podcast episode
Custom Mobile Apps (Advanced $ 20-month unlimited plan)
One of Libsyn’s best features is that it allows people to create custom iOS and Android apps for their podcast. You simply provide Libsyn with your chosen colors or cover art, and it will organize the rest.
Libsyn Player (Extra $2 a month for all plans)
The Libsyn Player feature enables people to publish each podcast episode directly onto their website. If you have a personal website and want to host your podcast episodes on there, this is one of Libsyn’s most useful features.
The player is mobile-friendly for total ease of use, making it possible for your audience to access each episode on their phone. You can even customize the player to make it suit your branding.
Other Hosts Compared
What Is The Best Podcast Hosting Platform For You: Anchor Or Libsyn?
Ultimately, the answer to the question ‘is Anchor or Libsyn better‘ will depend on your podcast requirements. If you’re looking for a free podcast hosting service, then Anchor could be a strong contender for you. Only you can decide whether the benefits of using a free podcasting service outweigh the potential drawbacks. Note that Spotify currently owns anchor, and there’s no ruling out that it could be sold again in the future.
It’s undeniable that Libsyn’s podcast features are more high-tech than those of Anchor. Anchor doesn’t offer people a way to host their podcasts on its website, which could be a dealbreaker for those who want to capitalize on existing website traffic. But if you’re looking for a way to make a podcast for free, with all rights reserved, Anchor is definitely one of the best free podcast hosting platforms on the market.
Although most podcast episodes hosted by Anchor are probably amateur, that doesn’t mean the answer to the question ‘is Anchor good for podcasting’ is no. In fact, Anchor hosts more podcast episodes than any other podcast website! When you look at the platform this way, you see that Anchor provides a great opportunity for beginners.
To sum up, Anchor is a great option if you’re new to the world of podcast hosting services and want to test the waters before committing to a paid platform. However, if you’ve already got a successful website and some podcast experience, Libsyn could be the best choice for you.
We hope this review has helped you decide which platform is the right choice for your podcast!