Over 100 million people in the US listen to podcasts.
There are 700,000 active podcasts and 62 million+ weekly listeners.
That’s a big market.
And one that is quickly becoming more popular for a reason – podcasts can be hugely profitable, and compared to other ways of earning online, is far more accessible.
Yet starting a podcast isn’t as easy as just uploading some audio files to iTunes – no, you need a podcast hosting provider, that will host your podcast.
But finding the best podcast hosting provider can be frustrating and time-consuming.
And of course, there’s all different kinds of features and nuances, that can be confusing for even professionals, let alone beginners.
So, that is why today I’ve decided to put together a list of the best 9 podcast hosting providers – and ranked them in terms of price, reliability, support, monthly upload volume, monetization, ease of use and other features.
Hopefully therefore – you’ll be able to get right away with starting your podcast as you finish reading this article.
And I will have answered queries about:
- Best Podcast Hosting
- Best Podcasting
- Podcast Hosts Free
- Podcast Hosts
- Podcast Platforms
(And even better – I’ve thrown in extra tips, what equipment to get, and how to pick the best podcast hosting provider for you – at the bottom).
Let’s get on with it.
Why Do You Need A Podcast Hosting Platform?
Firstly, why do you actually need a podcast hosting platform?
A podcast hosting platform is necessary to provide the file hosting and RSS feed for your channel.
Think of it like your company’s warehouse – all your episodes and podcasts are stored here, then distributed out to podcast directories like Spotify, iTunes, Google Play etc.
They also offer features like the ability to monitor your audience and insights, helping with getting more traffic to your podcast, social interaction and more.
You might be considering just uploading your files to your website – but your audio files are very large, which means when multiple people stream and listen to them, your website would struggle with all the data.
Nobody likes waiting for minutes to just listen to a podcast, nor do web hosts – so it’s important you have a podcast hosting provider.
The bottom line is that you need a podcast hosting provider to start a podcast. Take my word for it.
What are the Best Podcast Hosting Platforms?
In my opinion, the best hosting providers are:
Make sure to remember, however that it will always depend on what you need – and no one service will be perfect for everybody.
Anyway let’s check them out.
My No.1 Hosting Platform of 2019
Buzzsprout is my no.1 recommended podcast hosting platform for many reasons.
It’s designed to make podcasting super simple, but not lacking in features.
You can quickly upload and publish your shows – with no technical knowledge needed, so can spend more time creating content.
As well as this, you can easily add chapter markers, to sort your podcasts easily, alongside the intuitive dashboard which has a very well-designed feel.
Buzzsprout also offers some great features such as automatically handling things like ID3 tagging, converting any audio files to mp3, resizing any podcast artwork, and RSS feed setup (all the stuff you really don’t want to do!).
As well as this: great statistics to estimate viewers and where they are listening from; an embed player for your website; upload scheduling made super easy; and much more.
Buzzsprout is one of the few providers who offer a free plan, alongside competitively priced plans with varied amounts of storage and bandwidth.
Their free podcast hosting plan is a great option for those just getting started, but only allows you to upload two hours’ worth of content and hold your files for 90 days (so not if you are serious about podcasting!)
I would recommend their $24/month plan, as it allows you to upload 12 hours of content each month (that’s a lot!) at an amazing price with all its other features.
Plus, when you sign up, you will also receive a free $20 Amazon Gift Card.
Get Started with Buzzsprout here.
Best Podcast Hosting for Professional Brands.
Transistor is one of the newer podcast hosting companies, but still has lots to say about it.
They have quickly built up a large customer base: including some popular podcasts such as Drift and Cards Against Humanity.
They offer everything you need to begin growing your audience and are known for going out of their way to help.
An important point to mention is how Transistor offers the ability to host as many different shows as you want and can create them as either private or public all under the same account.
Transistor also offers some of the most advanced analytics available, and the ability to build a brand with your own domain name and website.
It offers unlimited storage for an unlimited number of podcasts: and instead prices are based on total number of downloads.
Transistor offers three plans: the Starter Plan is $19/month and offers up to 2 users and 10,000 downloads per month.
Next, the Professional Plan is $49 month with up to 5 team members and 50,000 downloads per month.
And finally, the Business Plan is $99/month with up to 10 team members, and 150,000 downloads per month.
The pricing plan is great for you to grow your audience without worrying, and you can get started today with their 14-day free trial for any plan to try them out.
If you have already started on another podcast hosting provider, their import tool also allows you to transfer your show over to them in minutes.
Get Started with Transistor (14 Day Free Trial)
Powerful Podcasting Hosting Provider with Great Unlimited Plan
Podbean is my no.3 choice podcast hosting provider and has been around and popular within the space for many years now.
They boast over 310,000 podcasters in their customer base, and a whole load of useful features to get you started depending on your plan.
Podbean has its own podcast app for IOS and android – so is a great mobile-friendly platform.
Their most popular Unlimited Upload Plan starting at $9/month includes: unlimited audio hosting and storage; advanced analytics; ability to add your own Patreon program to begin monetising, and great integration with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Podbean also offers a free plan with 100GB of bandwidth per month, and 5 hours of content.
Overall, I would recommend their Unlimited Plan which comes at one of the best prices around, and you can quickly begin growing your audience.
Get Started with Podbean with 30-day Free Trial
Best Podcast Hosting for WordPress
Castos is the best hosting provider if you already have a WordPress website, and want to integrate your podcasts seamlessly with it.
They own the Seriously Simple Podcasting WordPress plugin, to easily manage your feed and upload episodes directly onto your site.
All you have to do is go to their website; sign up for the 14-day free trial; install their WordPress plugin; and when you are ready to host your episodes, add them into the podcast section of WordPress:
They also offer unlimited upload volume and bandwidth with their $19/month plan, with also a great import process and integration with YouTube.
Get Started Here with a 14-Day Free Trial
Podcast Hosting Provider Great For Growing Your Audience
Captivate is a relatively new podcast hosting provider but is already making waves in the space.
Created by Rebel Base Media, who also run PodcastWebsites (next on the list) – they’ve compiled all they’ve learned into a new product.
Tagline being ‘the only growth-oriented podcast host’, Captivate is super-focused on helping you grow your podcast audience – and does so through some unique pretty cool features.
They automatically build a customisable and mobile-friendly website for your podcast – with donation support and built-in call to actions.
You also can build an email list and generate leads, whilst keeping a sales funnel set up from your podcast via emails.
Other features include unlimited number of podcasts and team members, advanced analytics and marketing tools with every plan.
Captivate offers three podcast hosting plans:
Their Podcaster plan is $19/month and offers up to 10,000 downloads
The Audio Influencer plan is $49/month and offers up to 50,000 downloads
Finally, the Podcast Brand Plan is $99/month and allows up to 120,000 downloads
Overall Captivate is a super-cool podcast hosting provider – and will be sure to help you grow your audience.
Start here with Captivate’s 7-Day Free Trial
The Whole Podcast Hosting Package
The original, and well-respected, product of two long-time podcasters (who also made Captivate), Podcast Websites is an all-in-one hosting platform.
It includes: a WordPress Website, web hosting, unlimited podcast hosting, domain name, email address and more!
Similarly, to Captivate, you can build an email list with them, or connect to one of the top email service providers if you are already subscribed to one (GetResponse for example)
They are the most expensive product here – costing $99 monthly with one unlimited premier plan.
You should consider the fact however that it comes with effectively a website and podcast hosting – as well as email marketing, so really is reasonable considering everything it offers.
Paying annually comes out at $77 per month – use coupon code HOSTME to get $10 off the monthly cost for life.
Smart Podcast Player
Another Great Podcast Plugin – Made by Podcasters for Podcasters on WordPress
Created by well-known podcaster Pat Flynn, who wanted the best possible podcast hosting provider, Smart Podcast Player is a great option.
They come with lots of great features including:
- Smart Podcast Player
- Smart Track Player
- Image Customisation
- Email Capture
- Download Button
- Social Sharing
Just install the Smart Podcast Player WordPress, add your RSS feed, enter your subscription URLS for the major directories – then customize and add your player to your posts and page.
They are a great option – and offer amazing-looking, and email integrated, players for your WordPress site.
Their cheapest plan costs $8.09 / month when billed annually.
Check Smart Podcast Player out here.
What Are The Best Free Podcast Hosting Providers?
Soundcloud is the world’s largest music and audio hosting site – well-known especially as a free platform for musical artists to post to and get an audience.
They aren’t specifically a podcast hosting service – so don’t come with any of the bonus and useful features that others do such as analytics, unlimited storage, help with directories etc.
It is however a free option – where you can upload up to 3 hours’ worth of content.
Yet for almost anybody this is far too little.
Their more advanced account – SoundCloud Pro Unlimited allows unlimited upload time and storage, scheduled releases and embed controls.
It costs $12 a month when paid annually.
I would recommend against choosing SoundCloud, due to its lack of features, but it could be a free alternative if you are just giving podcasting a go.
Anchor is another platform, that offers free podcast hosting.
They are best known for mobile podcasting – yet also include a web interface to add and edit your episodes.
They help match you with brands to sponsor your show, offer easy-to-read analytics, has a great easy editing tool for your episodes and other features.
However, being free, there are always trade-offs such as that you can’t change your RSS feed email address used to verify your podcast on many services.
Overall, it is a solid free product – but it always recommended that any serious podcasters make sure to use a BuzzSprout that will offer far more in terms of features and support.
Other Free Podcast Hosting Providers:
Other mentionable podcast companies that didn’t make my lists:
How To Choose The Best Podcast Hosting Platform For You?
Before choosing which podcast hosting platform you want to join you really need to consider the questions:
How much storage is right for you?
How much content will you be creating and uploading a month?
Will you be able to integrate with WordPress and if you don’t have a website, how to get one?
What advanced features do they offer that you would need?
Is their customer service good?
How much are you actually willing to spend?
Here are some things you need to look out for when choosing:
Ease of Use
Many of you are probably beginners to the hosting space, so it would make sense to pick a hosting provider that automates most of the complicated stuff.
How the dashboard looks, and how modern their website is, are also very important in judging whether a hosting provider’s interface will be easy for you to navigate.
At the end of the day, you want the process to be as effortless as possible so you can focus on making your podcast content.
Pricing is arguably the most important factor you should consider when choosing your hosting provider.
If you are just starting off as a hobby, consider spending below $20/month and picking some smaller plans.
Also consider whether you want to pay monthly or annually – with annually you can be saving up to 20% usually a month, but you will have to pay up-front.
The refund policy is also an important factor to consider – luckily almost have at least a 30-day policy so don’t worry too much, but it is always good to check.
Customer Service is also very important – and is what makes certain podcast hosts stand out.
The worst thing is when you have a problem with your podcasting somehow and you are trying to resolve it but they don’t respond, or help quickly.
Luckily all on my list have good support systems – but make sure to consider whether they have live chat / email support / or phone support.
Amount of Storage and Upload Time
This normally links into pricing, but depending on how much podcast content you plan to make, the amount of storage and uploading you are allowed to do matters hugely.
Some companies manage their plans by monthly downloads, whilst others on how much storage you can get monthly/ yearly.
For most people starting out, any paid plan in my list will offer plenty of storage – but it is always something to consider!
Unique and advanced features is another factor that makes a podcast hosting provider stand out.
How advanced analytics such as websites and email opt-ins, are very important for growing your audience.
It will also largely depend on whether you already have a WordPress website, or want to build one – as different companies offer different services.
Also, whether you are considering email marketing, mobile podcasting as a main route etc.
With all these in mind, my recommendation for new podcasters is to get started with Buzzsprout and claim a free $20 gift card.
What Are Podcast Directories?
Podcast Directories are where most people find and listen to your podcasts.
Popular ones include Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes), Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and TuneIn.
They receive your podcasts files and RSS feeds, then have them pushed out for viewers on their platform to see and listen to.
How to Upload Your Podcasts to Podcast Directories?
iTunes – Make sure you have an active Apple ID, and sign into iTunes Connect. Then at the top left of the podcast dashboard, enter your RSS feed and click submit to wait for approval
Google Play – Make sure you have an active Google account and go to Podcasts in Google Play Music. Click the publish button, sign in and from there enter your RSS Feed and wait for approval.
TuneIn – Fill out their form here and wait for approval.
Stitcher – Apply on this page, and once you have joined, add your show. Fill out the RSS feed and wait to be approved.
What to Have When Starting A Podcast
Alongside your podcast hosting provider, you should also consider having these things that will really boost your podcast:
When starting a podcast, almost always you’ll want a website to have alongside it – to attract an audience and make a platform where your viewers can reach you and your content.
I would recommend using WordPress and of course therefore you will need a web host.
My recommendation would be A2 hosting who have the quickest and most reliable servers, to always allow your viewers to listen in.
Get started here for as little as $2.94 per month
Another important piece of software is an email marketing provider, who will help you keep your audience engaged by sending them emails reminding of podcasts, new content etc.
I would recommend getting started with GetResponse
They offer a starting basic plan costing $15 / month for unlimited emails to up to 1000 subscribers.
Sign up here for a free 30-day trial.
Knowing how well your podcast is doing in different directories is a really important analytic to know.
Chartable will show you your podcast rankings, and whether you are moving up and down, in many different ones including Apple Podcast, Stitcher and Pocket Casts.
They also provide review history across all countries for iTunes – which would otherwise be impossible to monitor.
As well as this their SmartLinks feature allows you to track how many clicks each specific link gets you (for example Instagram, or from your website, emails etc).
5 Tips to Starting Podcasting
There has never been a better time to start a podcast, so to make it even easier, I’ve put all the information I’ve learned into a quick guide.
Here are some tips to start your best podcast:
Making your Podcast Brand
The first step is of course choosing a name for your podcast. Make sure it is relevant to the niche you have chosen to explore.
There are a couple ways you can go about this:
- Creative e.g. PodMoney
- Descriptive e.g. How to Earn Money Quick
- Personal e.g. The John Smith Show
From there you will need to add an appropriate cover photo. Try Canva, and make sure to keep it relevant and communicative.
You will also need intro music to your podcast – I would recommend potentially using Create by Vidello or iMovie. It should only be around 5-10 seconds and be used at the beginning of each episode.
Getting the Equipment and Software
Simply put to begin a podcast you will need – a good microphone, recording software and a podcasting host.
Choose one of the hosting providers above, and I would recommend using Anchor as the free recording software or any other like Create by Vidello.
Now you just need a good microphone which can be any, as long as the audio quality remains to a high standard for your audience.
Check out this article here to find out some of the best podcasting equipment.
Creating the Content
You need to make sure your content is always engaging and offers some new information to your audience.
You should before recording always consider:
- The topic of what you will talk about
- A plan/outline
- Offering something useful to your audience – information or a product
If you are ever unsure about what you want to create – interviews are always popular, and easy to promote/create.
When recording try to give your podcast some form of order – like this:
Teaser – Intro – Podcast (maybe an advertisement somewhere) + Reminder + Outro
Marketing and Growing Your Audience
Once you have created your brand, and some episodes – you will need to do some form of marketing to grow an audience.
There are many ways you can do this, and a great one to get started with is Social Media Marketing.
Make sure that you are promoting your podcast on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – and if you don’t have an account, make sure to create one.
Check out my article here to see how to earn and grow on Instagram.
It is also a great idea to build a website – as mentioned above with a domain host.
A website is a great platform where you can refer all your traffic – and also, by using SEO techniques and blog posting, can quickly rack up an audience.
Finally, I would recommend inviting note-worthy people within your niche who would bring in their audiences if you interviewed them.
For example, the CEO of FOundr invited guests like Neil Patel, who is a well-known person in the digital marketing scene, which helped to gain followers and add value to the show.
Your need for advertisements will lessen as you increase in popularity – so the start is always the hardest, don’t give up!
Hope you enjoyed this 9 Best Podcast Hosting in 2019 (Free and Paid)!
Always make sure you know what features are on offer before choosing a hosting platform – pricing, advanced features, how much storage etc.
Then it just gets down to how much time and effort you are willing to put into it – but I promise once you have, the results will show, and your company will boom!
As an overall conclusion I would recommend getting started with Buzzsprout and get the free $20 gift card by pressing this link.
Invest now and reap the rewards later.
Talk Soon, The E-Commerce Entrepreneur