If you want to start your own podcast, one of the most important decisions to make is what podcast hosting platform to choose. There are many different types available on the market, so it’s not always easy to know if you’ll be happy with your choice.
What does a podcast hosting platform do? This platform provides you with storage space for your podcast’s media files, but it also offers you various other features to make podcasting easier and more enjoyable.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about the best podcast hosting platforms on the market. We’ll compare them according to the most important features to look for in a podcast hosting platform so you can see which ones are worth your time and money.
Best Podcast Hosting Platforms: The Top Six Services Compared
Castos is a podcast hosting platform that makes it easy for you to manage your podcast episodes directly from your WordPress site. You can also distribute your podcast to YouTube to increase your audience numbers.
For enhanced SEO, Castos will automatically transcribe your podcast. If you’re a newbie, you’ll appreciate how Castos will analyze data in a user-friendly dashboard so you can learn more about your listeners.
Castos offers three paid plans:
- Starter: $19 per month
- Growth: $49 per month
- Pro: $99 per month
It also offers a 14-day free trial so you can try it out before committing to a plan.
Storage and Bandwidth
Unlike some other podcast hosting platforms, Castos provides unlimited episodes, storage, and podcasts and makes these features available on all their accounts. That said, each file is limited to 250MB, which is approximately four hours of audio content. This ensures that your audio quality, file format, and file size remain at a high standard.
Note that you can work out the bandwidth you need by multiplying your average episode file size, how many episodes you publish per month, and the average number of downloads per month.
Castos offers unlimited bandwidth, which is pretty impressive considering other platform hosting platforms provide you with 250GB per month.
Castos’s sound quality is of a very high standard. This is because the company doesn’t believe in changing your uploads. The audio you send to their platform is the same format and bitrate that your audience will listen to, so there’s no post-processing that occurs on your files.
One of the best features about Castos is that it has one of the most popular WordPress Plugins. This makes it easy for beginners to launch their own podcasts. The company has achieved more than 30,000 installs of this plugin, called Seriously Simple Podcasting.
It’s also a popular hosting platform as it’s gained over tens of thousands of active customers.
Captivate is focused on giving you all the tools you need to make creating podcasts much easier. It offers a simple, user-friendly interface and analytics that you’ll feel you can trust thanks to how they’re IAB-certified stats to help your podcast grow in popularity.
You can easily integrate your podcast via your WordPress site, thanks to the CaptivateSync plugin, and link to podcast players to get more listeners. The company offers customizable podcast websites that look professionally made.
Captivate offers you three different plans to meet your podcasting needs. These are:
- Personal: $17 per month
- Professional: $44 per month
- Business: $90 per month
All of these plans offer unlimited podcasts, storage, and uploads.
Storage and Bandwidth
Since all the plans offered by Captivate give you unlimited storage and uploads, you won’t have to upgrade to a more expensive plan at a later stage. Note that the downloads provided will vary from one plan to another.
You’ll receive 12,000 downloads on the Personal plan, 60,000 downloads on the Professional plan, and up to 150,000 downloads on the Business plan.
If you accidentally exceed your download/bandwidth plan for the month, Captivate won’t punish you. If you do this for two months in a row by more than 25 percent, however, you’ll be advanced to the next payment plan. Captivate will notify you of this via email.
Captivate ensures high-quality sound for your podcast because it doesn’t adjust your audio file. If you choose to encode your podcast in a higher bitrate, such as because you want to add effects to it, this will also be accommodated by the podcast platform. You just have to make sure that the file is uploaded in mp3 format.
Captivate has achieved a 4.7 out of 5 rating, with 92 percent of people listing it as “excellent.” Some of the reasons for this include the company’s excellent customer service and quality features.
Buzzsprout is one of the most popular podcast hosting platforms you can sign up to. It’s easy to use while also being a versatile podcast platform. It enables you to make use of its paid plans with the possibility to upgrade to higher tiers depending on what you require.
The great thing about Buzzsprout is that it hosts your files without any time restrictions and you’ll be able to make your podcast more accessible to search engines as a result of it being transcribed.
Buzzsprout offers the following plans:
- Free – this gives you the chance to upload up to two hours per month. While you can get advanced stats, you will also have ads on your podcast website. Your podcast episodes are only hosted for up to 90 days.
- $12 per month – this plan enables you to upload up to three hours per month.
- $18 per month – this plan lets you upload up to six hours per month.
- $24 per month – this plan lets you upload up to 12 hours per month.
For all paid plans, you get:
- Indefinite hosting for episodes
- Advanced stats
- Unlimited storage
- Unlimited team members
- Free importing of your podcast
Storage and Bandwidth
Buzzsprout gives you unlimited storage per month on all its paid plans. You’ll be able to enjoy 250GB of bandwidth per month. This ensures you’ll have enough for 20,000 to 40,000 downloads.
However, there is a downside to this. If you reach the limit of your bandwidth, this will restrict the number of listeners per episode.
One of the best features of Buzzsprout is that it offers an upgrade option if you want to improve your audio. For $6 per month, you’ll upgrade your audio quality to 192 kbps stereo files. This is sufficient to give your audio files a high level of quality.
However, it also offers built-in episode optimization. This is because it ensures that your audio format is correct, so when you’re done recording your podcast episode and have uploaded it to Buzzsprout, the system will encode it at 96k mono.
This is considered to be the industry standard when recording podcasts containing the spoken word.
Buzzsprout boasts more than 100,000 podcasters and has achieved a 4.8 out of 5 star rating with 90 percent of reviewers describing it as “excellent.”
If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to check out RSS.com. This is one of the most affordable podcast hosting platforms and it has many user-friendly features, so you’ll appreciate it if you’re a beginner.
RSS.com offers a free podcasting website, real-time analytics, an embedded podcast player, and translation tools to make your podcast more accessible. You’ll also get special discounts on your price if you’re a student, educator, or nonprofit organization.
Once you’ve uploaded your podcast episodes, Rss.com will distribute them to leading podcast directories such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. If you want to move your existing podcast to Rss.com, you’ll receive a six-month membership with unlimited features at no cost to you.
- Student & NGO: $4.99 per month
- All in one podcasting: $8.25 per month
- Pro & enterprise: this plan comes with custom plans so that you can choose the best fit for you, but you have to get in touch with the company to set this up as costs will vary.
All plans – including the Student & NGO plan – come with unlimited episodes and unlimited episode duration.
Storage and Bandwidth
RSS.com offers you unlimited storage, so even though it’s more affordable it doesn’t make you miss out on features provided by costlier products. You’re not limited to a certain amount of hours that you can upload every month.
The company doesn’t restrict you or charge you extra money if you consume too much bandwidth. But, if your usage is higher than 96 percent of the other podcasters using the platform, the company will notify you to find a solution, such as upgrading to a different plan.
RSS.com ensures that your audio files won’t be adjusted, so you don’t have to worry about experiencing low-quality podcast episodes that alienate your listeners.
RSS.com has been steadily growing since it was established in 2018. From 2018 to 2019, RSS.com grew more than 14,000 percent in both users and monthly recurring revenue.
Then, after updating the version of the platform in 2020, the company experienced about 150 percent growth in subscribers, as compared to the previous year.
Sometimes you need more features than just podcast hosting, such as podcast editing – that’s where Resonate comes in.
You’ll gain a variety of services from the company that include co-writing and editing scripts, website design to launch your podcast, audio production, and podcast marketing. It will also publish your podcast on platforms such as Spotify, Google, and Apple.
Resonate offers a variety of plans to suit your needs. These are:
- Basic: $25 per month
- Premium: $49 per month
Both plans have many of the same features, but some differences include that you’ll get a podcast microsite (a website where you can display your latest podcast episode and link your social media handles) and dynamic ad insertion when you sign up for the premium plan. As a bonus, both plans offer a 14-day free trial.
Storage and Bandwidth
Resonate offers you unlimited storage so that you can focus on producing content you love and that your listeners will love. You also get unlimited bandwidth. This enables you to reach a wider audience.
Resonate offers audio production services so that you can be assured of getting high-quality sound. A team of engineers will do all the difficult tasks for you, making use of software, outboard gear, and monitoring systems that give your audio recordings a much more professional feel.
Resonate has been around since 2014, and since then has collaborated with more than 3,000 podcasts. Resonate has helped to produce 13 shows that have reached the number-one spot on Apple Podcasts.
This is another top-quality podcast hosting platform on the market. One of the best features Simplecast has to offer customers is that it lets you use advanced analytics to learn valuable data about your audience. This will motivate you to produce the best type of content on your podcast to create success.
It also goes one step further, by letting your listeners share podcast clips on social media, thanks to its Recast tool.
You can also create a website for your podcast and it’s easy because of its intuitive drag-and-drop tool. This makes it convenient for beginner and experienced podcasters alike.
All Simplecast plans come with a free 14-day trial. If you want advanced data about your listeners, you’ll need to subscribe to higher-tier plans. Such data includes location analytics, technology analytics, and detailed device information.
These are the plans you can buy:
- Basic – $15 per month
- Essential – $35 per month
- Growth – $85 per month
Storage and Bandwidth
Simplecast has unlimited storage on offer right from its Basic plan. You’ll also get unlimited bandwidth so you won’t be restricted to a certain amount.
Simplecast doesn’t tweak your audio files, so you don’t have to worry about your episodes not having the correct audio volume that you want for them.
It’s important to note, however, that Simplecast will transcode or re-encode audio files if the uploaded file isn’t in mp3 format or it’s got a bitrate of 128kbps or higher.
Simplecast has a 4.8 out of 5 star rating. It’s a company that’s been around for about seven years, so it’s a solid player in the podcast hosting game.
What To Consider When Choosing A Podcast Hosting Platform
It can be tricky to choose the best podcast hosting platform because of how there are so many different types on the market and they usually have many similar features, such as unlimited storage which has become quite standard as we’ve seen in the platforms we’ve featured.
But, there are some other features to look for before you subscribe.
- Note the bandwidth. Even though many podcast hosting platforms provide unlimited bandwidth, there are some that will restrict it. Make sure you have enough for your podcast. Bear in mind that as you increase your number of listeners, you will have to increase your bandwidth so you want your hosting platform provider to be able to accommodate your podcast growth.
- Check what analytics are provided. Many quality podcast hosting platforms will offer customers analytics that help them better understand their listeners. This is essential to enable you to create the most effective content. Even if you’re not interested in statistics, having some podcast-related data will ensure you can produce engaging material.
- Check for website integration. If you have a website and domain, you’ll want to ensure that your podcast hosting platform will be able to be synced with it. If you already own a WordPress website, you should consider choosing a platform that will accommodate it so that it’ll save you time when you want to get your podcast up and running.
- Make sure it’s easy to use. Whether you’re a beginner or pro, you want to be able to use your podcast hosting platform with ease. You should be able to understand the analytics tools and every other feature on board, otherwise, you won’t be able to make the most of them. The podcast hosting platform should also have a dedicated customer support team.
Why are mp3 formats so common in podcasting?
Since mp3 formats are of a small size, this makes them ideal for podcasting requirements.
Should you record your podcast in Stereo?
While you don’t always need Stereo and can record your podcast for Mono, if you’re recording music in your podcast it’s a good idea to choose Stereo as this will increase the quality.
Get your podcast the right hosting platform so that nothing will get in your way when you’re creating content for your listeners.
We’ve featured a handful of the best podcast hosting platforms, comparing them when it comes to important features such as sound quality, popularity, and price.