As there’s a huge surge in podcasting going on, we’d like to highlight one of the key aspects of it – podcast hosting platforms. Also, is it possible to host podcasts for free, and if so, how viable is it? That’s why we want to look at those services that offer basic starter packs for free, check their bandwidth capabilities, monthly content limitations, marketing and monetization tools, etc.
After combing through dozens of websites, we’ve set aside 5 best podcast hosting platforms to review:
- Buzzsprout – free plan or $12 per month;
- Podbean – free plan or $9 per month;
- Spreaker – free plan or $6 per month;
- Podiant – 14-day trial, or $13 per month;
- Anchor – totally free.
Now, let’s go through all one by one and see what they do have to offer. Skip the reviews if you’d just like to get to the feature comparison, pricing table, general pros and cons and FAQ section below.
It seems to offer quite a different amount of nice options. It is geared rather towards audio podcasts and provides a custom player that’s also shareable on social media. A relatively user-friendly interface, top-viewed episodes, unlimited team members within one account.
Storage / Hosting. 250 GB of bandwidth for free to use per month. Store as many episodes as you can for free for a total of 90 days, after that content is deleted.
Uploads / Audio optimization. Up to 2 hours of video for free in total, which is quite low, to be frank. This implies either monthly large episodes or smaller fragments. Audio mastering available in the Pro plan only, while common audio is presented in 96 kbps.
Monetization / Marketing. Affiliate programs, listener donations, tutoring, sponsorship.
Analytics / Integration. Plenty of data collection tools both in free and Pro plans. Direct publishing options for Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, PocketCasts, etc.
- 250GB bandwidth
- Monetization options
- 2 hours per month limit, 90 days storage
- Audio reduced to 94 kbps
A podcast hosting website that currently hosts over 240,000 podcasters with more than 7 million episodes combined. Most relevant for audio recordings, yet it also has a live streaming function. All operations on the platform take no time and all the parts are tidily put together. Free edition, though, does not allow to monetize content.
Storage / Hosting. 100 Gb of bandwidth per month for free, 5 hours of content. No storage period limits, unlike with Buzzsprout.
Monetization / Marketing. Sadly, the free package does not offer any type of monetization. Therefore, PodBean could serve as a training site to develop personal skills, until one is ready to go pro.
Analytics / Integration. See user geography, viewing statistics, streaming information, and several more basic parameters. Podcasters can connect their website to a hosting provider or embed a player. Social networking tools enable connecting with listeners on social media. RSS feed and iTunes support are pretty great as for a free plan too. On the other hand, you cannot get a custom domain name.
- Free subdomain
- No monetization
- 5 hour storage limit
Spreaker is one the incredibly generous podcast hosting platforms when it comes to free version services. Upload and publish podcasts, record episodes (Spreaker Studio app), Skype and Google Hangouts connectivity for interviews, sound effects, CMS to manage everything. Yet do not expect to get monetization tools, that’s in paid monthly plans only.
Storage / Hosting. Unlimited bandwidth in all versions, free and paid.
Uploads / Audio optimization. When streaming, users are able to record 15 minutes per podcast only. Total upload of up to 5 hours of audio per month, so for multiple episodes you’d have to segment it. The maxiumum file size for upload is 300 Mb.
Monetization / Marketing. No monetization tools in free version, moreover the vendor prompts to upgrade with tons of ads.
Analytics / Integration. Spreaker supports various social media sites and podcast directories like Apple Podcasts and YouTube.
- Live broadcasting
- RSS feed customization (Pro)
- No monetization
- No subscription cancellation
For people who are just delving into podcasting, Podiant is a fine choice. However, the entry bar is quite steep, and the platform only hosts audio recordings.The dashboard is quite helpful in terms of hinting at sequence of action for novices. The only drawback is the podcast review system – it may be a lengthy process, not to mention possible rejection.
Storage / Hosting. If you pass a review you are eligible for unlimited bandwidth.
Uploads / Audio optimization. Uploading isn’t as direct as with other podcast hosting platforms because of that verification procedure. Podcasts deemed of proper quality will get unlimited storage and length. Audio editing tools are there but don’t expect too much of it.
Monetization / Marketing. Podiant offers help in funding, that’s a pretty positive touch. Users may also set up a Patreon profile for donations.
Analytics / Integration. The full range of analytical tools is a significant addition to other benefits.
- Any service free for 14 days
- Plenty of features
- Only 14 days trial
- Complicated review process
Anchor provides both audio and video recordings. It is an amazing platform to start a podcasting business simply because they offer full functionality with non-restricting policy for free. That will probably change in the future yet for now this is good news.
Storage / Hosting. There is no bandwidth, hosting or storage limit, which is generous.
Uploads / Audio optimization. Also, Anchor does not impose any limits in terms of upload frequency or file length, so that means users have full freedom to create from the heart.
Monetization / Marketing. Getting a paycheck for the job is possible through partnerships and sponsorships. No minimum viewer amount is required to reach to get sponsored. Alternatively, users can receive monthly donations through Patreon.
Analytics / Integration. A plenty of data provided, e.g. at what point do people abandon a podcast, demographics, geography, devices. Distribution covers Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Overcast, and more. If you prefer to manage RSS feed and distribute yourself, that is possible as well.
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- Tips for increasing revenue
- No platform control
Buzzsprout vs Podbean vs Others comparison
|Podcast hosting site||Key features||Storage limit||Upload limit||Monetization||Analytics|
|Buzzsprout||Unlimited team members, advanced stats||2 hours per month, wiped after 90 days||2 hours per month||Limited||Basic|
|PodBean||Podcast website, iPhone/Android app||5 hours||3 episodes per day||Not in the free version||Basic|
|Spreaker||Unlimited listeners, live streaming||5 hours||15 minutes per episode for free||No||Basic|
|Podiant||Unlimited storage, blog, static pages||Unlimited but must pass a review||Unlimited but must pass a review||Yes||Basic|
|Anchor||Audio recording, episode rearrangement||Unlimited||Unlimited||Yes||Basic|
|Platform||Free edition||Basic plan (monthly)||Mid-tier plan (monthly)||Most-features plan (monthly)|
Read next: Video editing software ultimate guide.
Q: What is podcast hosting?
A: A podcast host is a place to store and distribute audio and video files. It provides a podcast RSS feed that you submit to all the directories to publish on.
Q: What do I need to start a podcast?
A: Come up with a concept and content, prepare the artwork and title, record audio or video with episodes, get a place to host a podcast, and, finally, spread the word.
Q: What podcast hosting platform is best?
A: It depends on exact needs and goals since each service offers peculiar features. All of the five sites listed above (Buzzsprout, Podbean, Spreaker, Podian, Anchor) are a good start.
Q: What podcast platform is best for beginners?
A: Buzzsprout and Anchor are the ones that put the least amount of constraint on users.
Q: How much does it cost to host a podcast?
A: There are free services for basic needs, while a common range for full-functional monthly packages is $25-$100.
Q: Can I host a podcast for free?
A: Yes, check out Anchor and other platforms we’ve mentioned above.
Q: When should I switch from free to a Pro podcast hosting?
A: When your viewer base is growing and more content is on the way.
Q: Do I have to install podcast hosting software?
A: No, all services are browser-based in their primary version.
Q: If I publish a podcast on YouTube, do I still need hosting?
A: No, if you just stick to YouTube you don’t need any hosting since all the videos are already online.
Q: Buzzsprout vs Blubrry
A: Buzzsprout is quite powerful, though if you run a show on a WordPress website BluBrry is better.
Q: Buzzsprout vs Anchor
A: Buzzsprout is slightly better in terms of being more stable while Anchor is amazing for people who have never done podcasting. Buzzsprout is just one step up in functionality.
Q: Buzzsprout vs Podbean
A: Buzzsprout offers more features and monetization tools while Podbean does not, however it offers a mobile app and a free website.
Q: Buzzsprout vs Libsyn
A: Buzzsprout is pretty handy, yet Libsyn offers sponsorship with premium members, Android and iOS apps.
Q: Buzzsprout vs Captivate
A: Both are great services, and Captivate doesn’t limit storage or upload capacity, the only limitation there is 12,000 downloads per month.
Q: Buzzsprout vs Simplecast
A: While Buzzsprout offers a lot of apt podcasting tools, Simplecast does too but in slightly lower quality, and it costs more.
Q: Should I have my domain for podcasting?
A: A custom website domain is not a must, it is optional.
Q: What is RSS feed in podcast hosting?
A: RSS, or Simple Syndication, or also Rich Site Summary, is a part of web feed formats. All it does is that eliminates the need for users to manually update content across each publishing platform.
Q: Do podcast hosting platforms provide embed media players?
A: Yes, most sites do have players.
Q: Can I host a podcast on Soundcloud?
A: Yes, for sure, even for free (3 hour limit). Yet, in honesty, we recommend going for their $12 plan.