Grow your podcast faster and more effectively with the right tools
Last updated December 5, 2019
After you’ve done your research and decided that podcasting is perfect for you to grow an audience or let off a little steam, several questions will pop up.
One of the most important questions has to do with podcast hosting. What’s the best podcasting site to host your content?
Unfortunately, you can’t just record a great podcast episode and upload it to iTunes or Spotify.
First, you need a podcast hosting platform that’ll store the files and make it easy to distribute it to directories.
Instead of going through dozens of websites, social posts, and forums to find the answer, I’ve compiled 16 of the best podcast hosting sites to help you get your messages to the hundreds of millions of people who listen to podcasts.
** Please note, a few of the links below may be affiliate links. However, the tools have been vetted to ensure they’ll help you build a successful podcast.
Just tell me who the best are so I can get started
The TL;DR version.
Podbean– Podbean is one of the rare tools that’ll be ideal for you at all stages of your growth. It’s a strong all-around choice for podcast hosting. It's a generous free podcast hosting tool that has tons of unique features to help with monetization. It’s one of the most robust podcast hosts available and you can’t go wrong no matter what your needs are.
Buzzsprout – This is more geared towards beginner podcasters that haven’t found their footing or don’t have the budget for some of the other premium hosts. It has a free tier and simple interface that’ll allow you to get up and running quickly. It has the core features you need and years of experience in the industry.
Transistor.fm – This is a relatively new podcast hosting company but they’re quickly making a name for themselves. It has an intuitive interface and lets you launch and maintain multiple podcasts on your hosting plan. It’s ideal if you have more than one podcast and use a team to produce high-quality content.
Podcast hosting platform ranking criteria
There are 16 total podcasts on this list and each one is ranked against 4 specific criteria. The better the score, the higher its position on this list.
1. Ease of use
How easy is it to learn how to use the tool? Is the onboarding process clear and useful or will it confuse people who are new to the world of podcasting? Is the interface outdated or have they kept up with modern design trends? What about the language and terminology – is it clear and concise or confusing?
Do they have a free tier and if not are the paid plans reasonably priced when compared to other tools on the market? If it’s more expensive, is there any real justification for that?
In addition to the standard features you’d expect like hosting a podcast, what else does it bring to the table? Does it have analytics, websites, and more to give you an edge when trying to gain traction for your podcast?
What kind of support channels do they offer? Is there a knowledge base, live chat, phone support, email support, a blog or forum, etc.? How responsive is the support and are they knowledgeable?
What is the best podcast hosting
This is the moment of truth. Which podcasting platform has the highest score and is worthy of hosting your hard work?
I’ll be honest, that’s not the easiest question to answer because every podcaster has unique needs. Keep that in mind when you’re looking at the top podcast platforms picks.
Podbean comes first on this list for several reasons. They’re veterans in the podcasting space and have been around since 2006 before podcasting was a thing. During that time, they’ve grown to serve 300,000 podcasters in almost every niche. Across the platform, they’ve managed over 9 million podcast episodes which have been downloaded over 6.4 billion times.
They can only boast of stats like that because of their impressive collection of features. Of course, you get podcast hosting for your audio files. Once you’ve started your channel, collect the RSS feed URL and submit it to the major directories such as iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play.
Podbean customers also get access to podcast websites. Choose from a large selection of prebuilt themes and put your best foot forward. It also has powerful analytics that gives you deep insights into the performance of your podcast over time. View audience numbers, downloads, and trends about performance.
These features are expected in podcast hosting sites. Podbean stands out from the crowd with the monetization options and extra distribution that’s been built for podcasters. It supports video and when you link your YouTube channel, it can automatically produce a basic video for you. Instead of going out of your way to find advertisers, tap into the Podbean advertising marketplace and find the perfect partners.
If you don’t want to go the advertising route, set up a recurring subscription for your audience and give subscribers access to special content. Finally, monetize your podcast using the patron features. Your true fans can subscribe to pay you a certain amount every month so you can continue to deliver great content without constraints.
The Podbean dashboard is simple to learn and understand. When you first sign up, you’ll have a generic image and podcast name which you can then edit.
After you’ve done the preliminary setup, chosen a category, and added your descriptions you’re free to start uploading episodes and submitting to directories. It has a detailed knowledge base and they can be contacted via email or chat (premium customers) if any issue pops up. The response time is superb and the support staff is knowledgeable.
Pricing is another plus. It lets you get started with podcasting for free with an allowance of 5 hours of uploads a month and 100GB bandwidth. The paid tiers go up to $99/m and include unlimited storage and bandwidth, advanced design options, and the ads marketplace.
It’s a solid choice that’ll be able to support your podcast no matter how popular it gets.
Buzzsprout was founded in 2008 and has become one of the favorites among first-time podcasters. It scores high marks on ease of use and brings solid features to the table that’ll help you grow your podcast.
The core podcast hosting and upload and interface is designed to get you up and running within a few minutes of registering your account. After uploading at least three podcast episodes and getting a minimum of a single listen to each, you get access to detailed stats. You can see total plays, top countries, top directories, and your most popular episodes. These are estimates that are calculated using a unique Buzzsprout algorithm.
The podcast player is customizable to match your brand and can be embedded in almost any website. It also optimizes your website for the best quality possible without extra work. It also has an add-on for 192k stereo optimization. Finally, you get a podcast website which can be customized with your brand colors and a few other options.
Buzzsprout only allows a single podcast per plan so if you have multiple shows (or plan multiple shows in the future), it’s important to consider that.
The Buzzsprout UI itself is simple to the point of feeling dated but it comes with a positive side - there’s almost no way to get lost. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it right? That’s why it’s such a good option for beginners – a tiny learning curve.
Buzzsprout can be reached via email if you run into any issues and they also have an extensive knowledge base so you can solve small issues on your own. Finally, Buzzsprout is free to start. You can upload up to 2 hours of audio content a month and the most expensive paid plan is $24/m.
The plans all have the same features with the major difference being the number of hours of audio content you can upload every month. The largest paid plan gives you 12 hours of uploads a month.If you're on the fence, keep in mind that it's a free podcast hosting platform you can grow into.
Transistor is relatively new to the world of podcast hosting. It has an emphasis on team collaboration and ease of use.
In addition to hosting your audio files, Transistor has great analytics that let you understand what’s working and where you should be applying your effort. 90 days of stats, subscriber counts, best directory, and more are included. In addition to the stats, you can host multiple podcasts, invite team members, customize your player and embed it anywhere, and create beautiful branded websites.
As I mentioned before, it’s a simple to use podcast hosting site that’ll get out of your way and allow you to focus on growing your audience. You can access support via multiple channels which includes a knowledge base, live chat, and email tickets. You can also import your podcast from a different hosting platform without hassle.
Finally, Transistor doesn’t have a free plan but it does allow you to test all the features with a 14-day trial. After the trial, paid plans start at $19/m up to $99/m and are limited by the number of team members you can invite and total show downloads.
Simplecast is one of the most powerful podcast hosting sites on the market and has built that expertise over 6 years.
It has in-depth analytics that gives you insights into the popular episodes, top listening apps, popular countries, and most popular listening time. It also has a unique analytics feature it refers to as audience insights. These insights allow you to compare multiple episodes, get customizable download charts, view an interactive location map, listening locations, device type, and more. It also has another set of analytics that reveals listening speed, retention, and embed locations.
Simplecast also comes with unlimited storage, unlimited uploads, themed websites, team support, and more. It’s a bit more complicated to use at first but the range of features and the detailed analytics more than make up for it. If you run into any issues or want to find out more about how to use the Simplecast podcast platform, you can access a knowledge base, send an email, or communicate with the support team via chat.
Pricing ranges from $15 - $85 a month and comes with a 14-day free trial. The Simplecast entry-level plan doesn’t get any access to the audience insights which limits its main selling point. If you can afford it then I suggest you go with the middle tier or above to enjoy its robust features.
Captivate is among the best podcast hosting platforms for a few key reasons. It was built with independent podcasters in mind and focuses on helping them grow their podcast faster with a few key features.
Calls to action on the podcast player to help you send people to the right place at the right time. The player itself is completely customizable so you can match it to your brand. It also provides podcast websites which can be customized down to the smallest detail. Upload your podcast, distribute it to directories, and invite your team.
In addition to the growth-oriented features, it has 24/7 support via email, live chat, and a knowledge base. Just like the website itself, the dashboard is well designed and makes it easy to navigate even if you’ve never used a podcast host before.
Pricing starts at $19/m and goes all the way to $99/m. All plans come with a 7-day free trial to use all the features contained therein.
Castos was founded by veteran podcaster Craig Hewitt who’s been podcasting for over 4 years. The platform is built to make podcasting with WordPress a breeze.
It has the features you’d expect like unlimited storage, unlimited podcasts, and unlimited bandwidth. If you’re coming from another platform, it’ll help you migrate all your shows and episodes at no charge. After installing the WordPress plugin, you’re able to upload podcasts directly from the WordPress dashboard. For an additional fee, you can also get automated transcripts.
It also gives you the ability to publish to YouTube, customize your podcast player, and access deep analytics that let you know exactly what’s working.
It has an intuitive modern interface to make podcasting simple no matter your experience level and the knowledge base will answer most of your questions. In addition to that, you can send an email or chat with the team live.
Castos starts at $19/m up to $49/m – all plans come with unlimited storage and episodes.
Podcast Websites has an emphasis on building beautiful websites for your podcast. The themes are made for WordPress which allows you to get up and running quickly.
It comes with built-in integrations to popular services such as Aweber and MailChimp to help you grow your mailing list. It also has detailed analytics to help you understand your growth over time. Podcast Websites also takes learning seriously with a dedicated academy to teach you tricks of the trade.
The website builder has a simple drag and drop interface and you can create unlimited landing pages, blog posts, and web pages. It also comes with unlimited traffic allowance, daily backups, unlimited hosting, and more.
24/7 support ensures you’re taken care of at all times and the interface is straightforward but looks a bit dated. Finally, it has two pricing plans of $77/m and $97/m and a 7-day guarantee. It’s the ideal solution if you want everything handled under one roof.
Libsyn is an old podcast hosting player and has been in the trenches serving podcasters since 2004. It has evolved into a one-stop-shop for hosting and monetization.
It provides detailed analytics to understand your audience with information like geography, social media stats, downloads, and more. It also has a feature called myLibsyn that allows you to gather subscribers who pay to access premium content. It’s on a revenue share model ranging from 70% – 80% depending on the number of subscribers you have.
Podcasters can also customize the player and publish their podcast to multiple directories at once. The interface is decent and support is responsive and knowledgeable.
The reason it doesn’t get a higher spot on the list is that the data allowances are quite small. If you produce a longer podcast multiple times a month then you’ll be immediately pushed into the higher tiers.
Plans range from $5 - $40 or more every month.
Spreaker is a simple podcast hosting platform that focuses on a few key features. It starts with the option to host live podcast episodes right from its app known as Spreaker Studio. It can also be used to record your podcast episodes without going live.
It also has analytics that let you know your listen/download numbers, location of your audience, and traffic sources (how people find you). Finally, it has auto-publish features for YouTube, a show webpage, and the ability to host multiple shows.
The interface is relatively straightforward and should be easy for you to learn and if you have any issues, you can access a knowledge base or send an email.
It let's you start podcasting for free with its entry level plan and works its way up to $50/m. It’s limited by the number of hours of content that can be hosted with the free plan giving you 5 hours total and the largest plan giving you 1,500 hours.
Podomatic is a free to start podcast hosting platform that’s been around since 2005.
It focuses on getting you up and running quickly so you can produce great content for your audience. It comes standard with analytics, 15GB of bandwidth every month, and free storage of up to 500MB.
You also get access to a podcasting website powered by Weebly, the ability to monetize your podcast with patrons through Patreon. There’s a direct Patreon link on your podcast page so your audience won’t miss it. If that’s not your thing then you can connect with advertisers through Advertisecast.
The interface is simple enough to learn and support is responsive. Contact them via email, phone, or take advantage of the knowledge base.
Plans start at $9.99/m and go up to $24.99/m.
Podiant is a podcast hosting platform that’s starting to make its mark in the podcasting world. To date, it has managed over 3 million downloads.
It comes with detailed analytics to show you the major stats about your podcast and recommendations about how you can improve viewership and engagement. It also allows you to connect social channels like Facebook and Twitter and auto-publish to YouTube.
In addition to the standard hosting (which comes with unlimited storage), you’re able to build beautiful podcast websites with landing pages, bio pages, episode pages, a blog, and more. The support is responsive and knowledgeable and there’s a detailed knowledge base. The interface itself is easy to navigate so you should be up and running pretty quickly.
Pricing starts at $12.99/m to $35.97/m.
Audioboom is a combination podcast hosting solution and platform to connect with advertisers.
Audioboom helps you distribute your podcast episodes the largest directories. Add a responsive embeddable player anywhere you can think of and access analytics that gives you detailed insights about episode performance. Get a simple podcast page on Audioboom and also invite collaborators to help make your show amazing. Finally, upload unlimited episodes per month.
When you have a larger volume, you can get access to the advertising partnerships, contributor accounts, sponsorships, sales service, and more.
Support is handled via email and it has a detailed knowledge base to answer the most common questions and problems that may arise.
If you have less than 10,000 downloads per episode then it’s a flat rate of $9.99/m.
Podserve was created by the people behind PodParadise.com and is unique among podcast hosts because it actively promotes your show to their audience and bills itself as a full-service host. With that being said, we’re here for the best podcast hosting site so that’s just a fringe benefit.
It has a limited amount of features because the selling point is promotion. When you upload your podcast, it will work to get it listed in the major directories. Once you start getting listens, you’ll be able to access analytics that shed light on downloads, geography, and most popular days. It supports unlimited podcasts and episodes.
Podserve is a decent hosting company and you won’t have any issues of you sign up with them but they don’t have many advanced features. The emphasis is on getting your podcast in the popular directories and promotion. There’s only one plan at $19/m.
Fireside is a podcast host built by podcasters for podcasters and is relatively new to the game. It comes standard with unlimited episodes and downloads.
It has interesting features such as a customizable website with an attached blog, detailed analytics, and a customizable player that can be embedded anywhere. There are also multiple tools to take it further like sharing stats with sponsors, collaborators, and scheduled publishing.
It has a simple user interface that’ll make it easy to get set up and running and the support center is well thought out. If you run into any problems, contact them via email and it’ll get sorted out sooner rather than later.
It comes with a 14-day trial and single plan at $19/m which removes the hassle of thinking about if you’re going over your limit.
Backtracks is a podcast hosting platform that’s on a mission to change the industry. Traditionally, analytics are hard to measure and there’s no differentiation from a download and a play.
That’s where Backtracks steps in. It has powerful analytics built on an open-source framework it developed. Get historical data, create custom reports, view trends, and take advantage of AI to ensure the data is accurate. In addition to the robust analytics, you get an embeddable player, secure hosting, and API access.
It has a modern interface that even the least tech-savvy person can understand quickly. The support team is knowledgeable but it’s tied to your pricing plan with the lowest plan being excluded to from email support.
It starts at $49/m and goes up to $249/m. Though it’s a powerful podcast analytics platform, it’s much more expensive than other solutions on the market and doesn’t have as many features. In addition to that, support quality is explicitly tied to your pricing plan.
Soundcloud is a popular music hosting platform which many people have decided to use to host their podcasts. Though popular, it doesn’t have many of the features you’d expect in a podcast hosting platform.
One of the benefits of using it is the ability to get discovered organically on the Soundcloud website. People can also subscribe to get updates about your content. The pro plan ads detailed analytics, scheduled releases, and removal of public stats.
It can be a solid choice is you’re looking for a free option but you can get a lot more if you take the 7€ - 11€ and invest it in another podcast host.
Why do you need podcast hosting?
If you’re new to podcasting, you may not realize that audio files tend to be huge. Uploading them to your web hosting isn’t ideal. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, you’ll have a file size upload limit. Of course, you can get around that if you contact your host but that’s not the real issue.
A normal image file, when optimized, is about 100kb. That’s a small file. A high-quality audio file of about 30 minutes, when optimized, can reach 300mb. When someone comes and listens to your podcast episode that’s been uploaded through your web host, there’s not much of a problem. It’s when multiple people are listening at once that it’s an issue.
Your website can slow to a crawl and consume all the bandwidth on shared hosting plans. Even if your hosts claim there’s unlimited bandwidth, there are usually fair usage policies in place. You risk getting kicked off your hosting or having to upgrade to a higher plan. Even then, there’s a limit to what even the best web hosts can handle. A popular show has the potential to cost you a lot of money without proper podcast hosting.
A podcast host is where you upload your audio files. It produces an RSS feed which you can then distribute to directories. Every time you upload a new episode, the directories like iTunes and Spotify are also updated. If someone is listening, the content is downloaded or streamed from the podcast hosting site you’re using.
Another reason is because of the added benefits associated with some of the best podcast hosting companies like analytics, in addition to podcast directories, websites, audio players, and more.
What to consider when selecting the best podcast hosting service
There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when choosing a podcast hosting service. The podcast platform you choose has to meet your needs. In addition to the criteria outlined before, consider the following things.
The focus of the podcast host
Each podcasting platform is slightly different in what they do and the type of customers they’re looking for. For example, Backtracks is focused more on enterprise customers and podcast aggregators. Its main focus is the analytics suite and because of that, it lacks a lot of other features. It’s by no means a bad host but it’s not for everyone.
Pricing (be wary of completely free hosts)
It’s said that if you don’t know what the product is then you’re the product. Take Facebook. It doesn’t charge you for its app but it sells access to your data to advertisers. Because of that, you’re the product. Of course, you don’t want to overpay for podcast hosting. At the same time, it’s important to make sure the price is in line with the features.
Reliability, bandwidth, and upload time allocation
One of the most important things to consider is the reliability of the podcast hosting platform. It wouldn’t make sense if they gave you unlimited everything but were always experiencing downtime. Once you’ve determined they’re reliable, you want to make sure there’s enough bandwidth to support the downloads you get.
Finally, how much storage space is available? Audio files are large so you want to make sure the total allotment will be enough to serve you over time.
Other considerations for podcast hosting
The following considerations may not weigh directly when you’re choosing the best host for your needs but they’re still important. Keep them in the back of your mind because it’ll affect your overall brand and growth.
Reliable hosting isn’t a choice – it’s essential. You can start with an entry-level plan with someone like Bluehost but you’ll need to migrate once your platform grows. If speed and security are important to you then I’d suggest a dedicated WordPress like WPX Hosting. It’s the host we use for the KyLeads marketing site and we’re happy with the performance.
Email marketing & List Building
This is how you get your audience members to do more than just listen to your podcast. It’s also how you build deeper connections and eventually sell products that turns your podcast into a real online business.
We only recommend three tools for this.
- KyLeads – yes, we’re biased because it’s our software but it’ll definitely serve you well for list building and even surveying your audience to find out the kind of content they want to see.
- ActiveCampaign – This is the exact email marketing service I’ve been personally using for years and I brought it over to KyLeads. It’s a beast of a tool and if you want to select a platform that’ll serve you no matter how big your list gets then this is for you.
- Leadpages – Of course, you need landing pages and Leadpages is perfect for that.
This isn’t directly tied to your podcast hosting but it’s an important consideration nonetheless. How are you planning to grow your audience, better understand their wants, and turn into a podcasting legend?
If you’ve not given it serious thought then it may be a good idea to write down a plan. Even if it’s not perfect, you’ll be better than 99% of the people who start a podcast and just want to “see how it goes.”.
Podcasting is a great way to build authority, do what you love, and share your message with the world. It’s a bit more complicated than recording audio and uploading to iTunes (which is impossible BTW).
There are tons of moving parts and an important consideration is the podcast hosting platform you choose. The right one will help you more than you know. The wrong one will be a drain on your finances while it hinders your growth.
I’ve gone through 16 of the best while sharing other information about podcast hosting. The rest is up to you.