On iTunes, there are more than 18.5 million podcast episodes available. If you’re hoping to start your podcast and join in this media revolution, there are a few skills you need to have. The most important of these is knowing what to look for in your podcast hosting solution.
This article does not cover the ins and outs of being the host of a podcast. You know, like Joe Rogan or Dax Shepard. Podcast hosting is the service you use to house and distribute your audio and show notes to podcasting platforms.
How Does Podcast Hosting Work?
So you’ve recorded an episode of your podcast, now you want the world to hear it. Here’s where podcast hosting comes into play. But what, exactly, IS Podcast Hosting and how does it work? As explained by Rachel Corbett, the podcast host acts as a go-between for you and your audience.
They keep your audio on their servers and provide you with the means to get it listed on podcast apps. There are three components to putting your podcast out there:
- The audio file itself, typically an MP3, complete with metadata
- The podcast host who stores your file
- An RSS feed which can be accessed by various podcast apps or used to list your show on iTunes
You could, theoretically, run your own server, but unless you have very strong technical skills, you’re not going to be able to make your own RSS feed. Without an RSS feed, your podcast will have a very limited audience, as podcast apps won’t be able to find it. This is why podcast hosting is so useful.
Should I Use Free or Paid Podcast Hosting?
There are a ton of different podcast hosting solutions out there. If you’re figuring out how to start a podcast, you might not know whether to stick with the free, basic options or go for a paid podcast hosting solution. Free hosting might sound like a good place to start, but it comes with some severe limitations, such as:
- A limited number of downloads per month
- Temporary storage, with your podcast deleted after a while
- A strict storage limit can hamper your upload schedule
If you want to know how to start a successful podcast, then here’s the truth: a paid solution will always beat a free one. If you intend to record your podcast long-term, investing in paid podcast hosting now can help you in the future.
If you’re new to all this, you might be wondering what to look for in a podcast host. We’ve got you covered.
What Should I Look For In a Podcast Host?
Everyone has different needs but there are a few crucial things you need to look for when trying to find the best podcast hosting site for your work.
If you intend to record regularly, the last thing you want is to have to delete old episodes of your show to make room for new ones. You don’t want there to be a limit on how long your podcast is or how many episodes you can upload each month. These limits are going to stifle your creativity.
Pro Tip: Look for a podcast hosting service offering unlimited storage. One way these “free” services make money is by incrementally charging more for storage. You’ve heard the old saying “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” That certainly applies to podcast hosting.
Podcast hosting sites should take your security seriously and store your work in safe, secure servers. They should back up your work for you too, so you never lose an episode.
Reasonable Terms of Service
When you upload your content to a podcast hosting site, it shouldn’t mean signing away your rights to the content you’ve worked so hard on.
A good podcast host shouldn’t make claims on your content, shouldn’t lock you in to any contracts, and it shouldn’t have permission to use your work without your permission. You’d be surprised at the language in the ToS from many of the larger, “name-brand” podcast hosting services. Make sure the host still treats your podcast as yours, not theirs.
Fast Directory Updates
You need to make sure the host will update your RSS feed fast. You don’t want it to take hours for your new episode to show up in podcast directories. Ideally, you’d want your podcast host to have the capability to push your podcast to all platforms the second you publish it. Many still wait to be crawled.
Strong Customer Service
Does the hosting site put you first? It should have robust customer service so if anything goes wrong, you can get it fixed. If you are new to podcasting, you are gonna have questions. Make sure you can get them answered.
You don’t want to second guess your podcast hosting provider. They should tell you exactly what is and isn’t included from the start. Avoid podcast hosts charging on a sliding scale. If you are looking at a podcast host and it says it’s free or if they heavily advertise a low price point–say $9.99 a month–make sure you look closely at all pricing so you don’t get popped with fees further down the line. Airlines already wait until you make it to the front of the line before they start telling you about “baggage fees”. Let’s skip that, shall we?
A Good Price Point
Your podcast hosting service should position itself at a good price point to help you get the best value for your money over the long haul. Being short sighted or blinded by a starting price point can come back to bite you. What seems like a good price may not actually be a good price if the services being offered are limited to just hosting. Don’t pass over a higher price point until you take a look at what you receive for your money. Some price points are higher because they give you far more than just podcast hosting. These products can end up saving you money and time in the long run.
The Best Podcast Hosting Site
In our opinion, the best hosting platform is OmnyStudio. We believe in them so much, we included their hosting capabilities inside of every Podcave subscription. OmnyStudio manages all audio and rss feed related activity in Podcave.
OmnyStudio offers unlimited storage, so you can keep your show’s archive alive. All of your content will be securely stored and backed up. You can upload your own custom artwork and write rich descriptions for each one of your episodes, too.
What’s more, OmnyStudio has a super-fast distribution network meaning listeners can just hit play and go. They don’t even need to download it first. You can rest assured your new content will be getting listeners right away.
BUT! You Need More Than Podcast Hosting.
You should definitely find a great podcast host, since this is foundational technology for whatever kind of podcast you’re creating. You’ll also need to learn the art and science of podcasting, which is much bigger and far more important than podcast hosting alone. Check out our article about what other things you should be looking for.
With Podcave, your new hosted and full website, the planning tools, it’s all included WITH your podcast hosting. So, it’s possible to have your cake, and eat it too. Your Podcave subscription also includes licensed music, the ability to text and email your fans, guest booking, and more useful features you’ll need to be the best version of yourself. All of this at a fraction of the cost of bundling services and eliminates the cost of a hosting platform using your content as their own. We built this platform so we could help you. So, the platform is robust. It might be good to mention too, Podcave is the ONLY place you can actually get everything you need to plan, publish, and promote your podcast. All in one spot. If you want to check out the features, feel free. If you want to start your free trial, we’re cool with that too.