Top 3 Best Podcast Hosts (2021)
Find out Top 3 podcast hosts Below!
Table Of Contents
Podcasts are the new in-thing recently. Gone are the days of reading dense texts on online topics of your choice. At first, we thought that the Kindle was here to replace physical books, but it seems podcasts are more popular than text-based material. That, of course, comes with no surprise, especially in an era where everyone’s so busy and barely has the time to sit down to read a book. Podcasts offer a solution to that problem as it allows people to multitask and enjoy a good read (or listen).
At first, podcasts began as innocently as blogs started. They were just the innocent rambles of a passionate individual. Then, it slowly evolved into a money-making venture, and all the big brands are jumping on the podcast bandwagon to increase sales. You can find a podcast on ANY topic these days. Podcasts are an excellent way for brands to build credibility and trust with their customers. And if you have a business, chances are podcasts can help you to achieve the same goal and grow your business.
You don’t need much to start a podcast. All you need is either a computer or even just a mobile device, a stable internet connection, and a topic that you’re passionate about. Once you have all this, you just need to choose a podcast hosting service, and you’re good to go.
In this article, we will explore several hosting services that are my top picks. There’s just so many hosting services out there that we thought we’d give you a run down. We will explore their features and benefits, and also their price so that you can make an informed decision.
Today, we are exploring the following podcast hosting services:
But before we continue down each of these hosts, let’s first get to know more about podcasts.
What is a podcast hosting service?
A hosting service is like a shelf that you can use to store and organize your podcasts or audio files. Hosting service providers allow you to store these files in an organized manner, and also allows your users to access your data quickly. They also make it easier for you to distribute your content as its more accessible to the public. Here, you can easily upload files, edit episode information, and generate the RSS feed. You can also just upload any file type, and it will automatically be converted to the correct file type and bitrate.
What should I look for in a podcast host?
The beauty of podcasts is that you can either use your shitty phone to record it or use state of the art equipment, but both methods work! Your host should have the following criteria:
- Reliable hosting
- Create RSS link for subscribers
- Top bandwidth, so users have no difficulty streaming.
To stand out of the crowd, podcasts hosts these days offer customizable players, embed players, push to podcast directories, podcasts metadata, analytics, and so on. You can choose the right host according to your needs.
What are the best podcast hosts out there?
Buzzsprout is one of the OGs in the podcast hosting realm, as they’ve been around since 2009. What I love about them is not just that they’re reliable, but also value for money! They’re also beginner-friendly as they offer free plans, although the free plan is quite limited, you can upgrade anytime you like. Here’s what you get with the paid plans:
- Podcast statistics
- Custom Embed players
- Customizable website
- Ability to publish to podcast directories
- Automatic file conversion and ID3 tagging
- Reliable podcast hosting with 250 GB /mo in bandwidth – 250 GB/Month is enough to give you 20,000, and 40,000 episode plays per month depending on the length.
What I love about Buzzsprout is that you can upload any type of file, and it will automatically optimize for you by determining the optimal file type and bitrate for listening. What this means is that you won’t have to worry about incompatibility with other podcast apps.
Buzzsprout also ensures that your media player is loaded with the correct information for each episode. These are called ID3 tags, and they’re usually pulsed from the RSS feed. But when the files are shared, the tags often get lost during sharing resulting in wrong ID3 tags for each episode. With Buzzsprout, you can count on them to ensure the correct ID3 tags are added.
Here are the steps to modify your podcast details:
Click “Podcast settings” > Update podcast info> Click “Save Podcast info”.
So essentially, all you need to do is upload your episode, let Buzzsprout handle all the optimizing, and you can just simply publish it or schedule a time to go live. You can do this by clicking on “Schedule for future” and set your time and date.
Buzzsprout Chapter is also a bonus feature as listeners can easily navigate and look for the episodes they want.
Buzzsprout episode transcriptions are another must-have if you want to be visible and accessible to search engines. If you’re going to grow your following and get more traffic, you need to maximize this feature! Buzzsprout is one of the few who has this feature integrated into their dashboard. You don’t even need to transcribe your podcast yourself or pay someone else to do it if you have Buzzsprout.
With Buzzsprout, all your episodes are hosted either on your site or the customizable Buzzsprout site, which is great for growing your following. Just simply launch your podcast, and since they’re online, it means Google can index them for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Another added bonus that you get with Buzzsprout is a link to a donation page that allows fans to show their support in the form of donations. Trust me, and you need this! As long as you consistently put out great episodes, your listeners will show some love. To get your link, just click on Podcast settings, click on “Support the show link” and add it to your website or anywhere that you can display HTML links.
Buzzsprout is also great for back end analytics as you get insights into your listener’s consuming behavior. The information you get is extensive, including the app your listeners are using and where they are from. This information is essential so that you can improve in the necessary areas and especially crucial for affiliate marketing.
Buzzsprout also has its affiliate marketplace if you wish to monetize your podcast. Access the marketplace via the Resources tab.
The affiliate companies that you can work with via Buzzsprout have the following criteria:
- Heavily vetted companies to ensure high-quality products and reputable company.
- Exclusive deal for Buzzsprout podcasters, which means you get higher commissions than what they’re offering out there.
- Payout is in the form of CASH only.
- No minimum traffic to get started, which means even newbies can start earning!
- Buzzsprout does not get a cut of your commission; instead, they get paid by the brand directly.
Now, we’ll guide you through the affiliate program. Select a company, for example, Allswell.
Fill in your information and wait for a confirmation email. Following the email, your dashboard will now have your affiliate information and an affiliate code that you can use to promote in your blog, video and email campaigns, or anywhere you wish to promote the product.
You can also promote your brand during your podcast episodes, and here’s how:
You will see “Promote A Brand” on the right-hand side of your uploaded podcast, and you need to select the affiliate partner from the drop-down menu. You can then decide when you want the product to be mentioned during the podcast. Then, Buzzsprout will work its magic to ensure your show notes are updated with the relevant information so you can get paid. It will also appear everywhere your podcast is listed, such as Apple Podcasts.
All in all, I enjoy using Buzzsprouts because it’s easy to use, up-to-date, and it meets all the needs that I’m looking for to host my podcasts. Most importantly, Buzzsprouts is user and beginner-friendly, and it comes with a myriad of features that help you stay on top of the game. Even their affiliate program itself is beginner-friendly, as you don’t need a minimum amount of traffic to start monetizing your podcasts!
If you’re a seasoned podcaster like I am, then you will know that finding the right host extends beyond simply uploading and producing RSS feed for distribution. Price and storage space aside, there are many vital aspects that you need to consider. But with podcasts being such an “in” thing at the moment, many of these podcast hosts are competing with each other by offering extra features, which also sets them apart from each other. These features include user analytics, listener statistics, etc., that are there to help you monetize your podcasts. These features really set the hosts apart, and your decision making should be based on your podcast habits.
Next, we’ll be talking about another favorite podcast hosting service called Podbean. Podbean is pretty popular among the beginner podcasters crowd as it comes with a “Podcast Starter” plan, which is essentially a free trial month. With the free trial itself, you get up to 5 hours of audio and 100 gigabytes of bandwidth, talk about generous! This alone can get you hooked, as it has happened with so many beginner podcasters who eventually upgrade their plan to the $9 unlimited audio plan. $9 for a podcast hosting service is a bang for your buck! And if you wish to expand further and monetize your podcasts, the $29 a month unlimited plus plan works even better for this! There are also premium plans with the maximum plan priced at $99 a month, but its usually suitable for podcast networks.
From my experience, Podbean is more user-friendly in terms of the whole look and feel of the user interface. Just log in, and you will be greeted with an impressive list of shows from a bunch of different genres. You can quickly like and follow the shows or podcasters that you’re interested in right from the dashboard.
Podbean has been around since 2006, which was the very beginning of the podcast frenzy, so you can be sure that they know what they’re doing. Here are some Podbean statistics to further help you gauge if they’re good enough for you. Podbean has hosted over a whopping 9.1M episodes, and 6.4M downloads over 300,000 podcasters as of October 2019. From what I gather, Podbean is very friendly to beginners as you can also record and edit your podcast episodes from the Podbean app itself. This means that beginners with no knowledge of programming can also get started immediately.
According to Podbean, it can be your one-stop platform that comes with unlimited storage, custom podcast domains, website builders, reliable hosting, and monetization opportunities. So in this review, we will take a look at all these features, so see if they’re relevant for your podcast needs.
1. Customizable website
- Podbean comes with a bunch of customizable themes and widgets to help you build your ideal website. Although this isn’t exactly a unique feature for podcast hosts, if Podbean didn’t have it, you probably wouldn’t even give it your time of day. At the site, you can feature all your episodes, including their descriptions, social media links, and the embed player.
2. User Analytics
- Analytics is important if you want to monetize your blog or simply track your traffic. You will get information on your listener’s behaviors such as their location, top-ranked episodes, which app your listeners are using, etc. The Podbean’ Basic’ plan gives you the most basic statistics, and if you want more detailed information, you need to get the unlimited plan. The unlimited plan gives you the number of downloads at different timings, listener location, and listener engagement. For example, you can even test out the best place to include advertisements to prevent listeners from being annoyed. This will come in handy if you are working with any affiliate marketing companies. Overall, analytics also gives you validation that you’re doing a good job. And if not, you can tweak and improve according to the information you receive.
3. Podbean Integrated Monetization
- Before anything, you need to first join the ads marketplace. Sign in to your account at https://sponsorship.podbean.com/podcasters and head to “Manage Podcasts” and click “Join Ads Marketplace”. You can then select a suitable time slot for the advertisement. The tips is to roll the ad half way through your podcast as that seems to be the ad position with highest value. After that, you just have to wait for an advertiser to select your podcast for their campaign. You can choose to either opt in or opt out of campaigns before you run your podcasts. You will also get some analytics by tracking impressions and revenue from each campaign.
The second advertisement method is through PodAds. PodAds simplify advertisement management as its branded as SaaS and it provides dynamic ad insertion. Podbean charges a flat rate of $1 CPM for automating ad campaigns. To do this, you need to create an ad campaign by going to your PodAds account. Go to “advertising” and click on “PodAds” and “Create Campaign”. You can even use geotargeting to geo-target your ads. Then, choose your selected time slot and ad position and upload your audio files.
Podbean also helps you raise funds for your podcasts. You can do this directly from the podcast app by clicking on the “Be a patron” link. You listeners can then select if they want to do recurring, custom, or one time donations. The best things is that its all free to set up.
Overall, Podbean is very reliable due to its long stand in the game. Some people might argue that you only get the great features when you get the most expensive plan. But even with the free or $9 plan you can get started on publishing your podcast for free. Not to mention they also come with great customer support.
The pricing plan for Simplecast is very reasonable as it appeals to different levels of podcasters according to experience. The cheapest plan is $15 per month and the most expensive plan is $85 a month. Nevertheless, all three plans come with free trials so you can have a feel before committing.
All plans include:
- unlimited storage
- unlimited uploads
- distribution to all platforms
- listener analytics and reports
- themed website
- secure RSS feed.
Even with the cheapest plan, you get an extensive list of features. They even have a bunch of features coming soon on the roadmap. The features are all in place to help you be the best in the game. One thing that sets Simplecast apart is their support team made up of professional podcasters.
Oh and Recast also sets Simplecast apart as it allows you to schedule audio clips on your social media, and your followers can also share it on their social media. It’s a “listener-powered audiogram tool” where you can get listener insights and their sharing habits.
All you need to do is make a Recast video by adding the episode to your Simplecast account. You can then launch the Recast editor to create a video. Then, you can also add visual components and share it on your social media and blogs. You can launch the recast editor anytime from the episode page once you have it saved and click “Recast and Share”.
Your listeners can also create recasts via your audio players and share their own clips from your episodes on their social media. They simply need to click on the scissor icon to select a custom clip and recast it.
Lastly, another special feature that I can’t forget is that multiple users can be used to access your single account. With unlimited storage and uploads, Simplecast definitely can be your choice for podcast host.
There you have it! My top three choices for podcast hosting. As someone who’s spent many years in the podcast game, these three hosts has helped me up my podcast game significantly! Whatever your needs are, I’m sure at least one of these hosts can help you stay on top of your game.
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