Eight top podcast hosting platforms
At Galati Media, we see a lot of podcasters get overwhelmed with all the options out there and love helping clients choose the best podcast hosting platform for their individual needs and podcast goals.
If you’re scratching your head wondering what a podcast hosting platform IS and why you need one, make sure to go back and read our blog “How to Start a Podcast in 2023 (step-by-step)” which walks you through what a podcast hosting platform is and why you need one.
In a nutshell, a podcast hosting platform/site is your podcast’s homebase. It’s where you upload and store episodes, and it magically (it’s not actually magic, but sometimes it feels like it) pushes out your new episodes to podcast listening apps right into your listener’s ears.
Before you just select the cheapest podcast host, check out our recommendations for the eight best podcast hosting platforms and why we chose them.
Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing the Best Podcast Hosting Platform for You:
Consider what’s important to you for your podcast.
- Do you want to be able to track analytics carefully and dive deep into listener data? Episode 9 of Listeners to Leads: “Podcast Stats: What They Mean and How to Measure Success”
- What will be the average length of your episodes and the frequency at which you produce a show?
- How are you at navigating tech and how important is ease of user experience to you?
- What platforms do you want to ensure your show is distributed to?
- Will your podcast be a private, paid feed or free for public consumption?
As we compiled this list, we paid attention to each of these areas to show you the pros and cons of various podcast hosting platforms so you can decide on the best podcast hosting platform for your needs. One of our criteria was also that the platform needed to be aligned with Podcasts 2.0, an initiative to ensure the right of free speech is maintained and allows everyday people to create podcasts.
As a woman of color owned company, accessibility for all people to create and listen to podcasts is one of our driving values.
#1) Buzzsprout: Best Podcast Hosting Platform for Beginners, Hobbyists, and Thought Leaders
We refer people to Buzzsprout often thanks to its ease of use, great user interface, reasonable pricing, and multiple dynamic ad insertion options.
What we think makes Buzzsprout the Best Podcast Hosting Platform:
- Customize your podcast site with a unique domain name and your branding
- Buzzsprout automatically uploads your podcast to some podcast directories with a few simple clicks.
- They allow you to upload a transcript for your show
- For an additional fee, there are features to help provide better audio quality for your listeners
- Free visual soundbite generation
- Includes a website optimized for hearing-disabled folks.
- Advanced analytics
- Affordable pricing tiers
One of our favorite features of Buzzsprout is the ability to promote your business and offerings with dynamic ad insertions, which are ads anywhere in the show (pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll).
Buzzsprout is very easy to use and allows you to pay monthly, without commitment so it’s a great way to get started and still have access to in-depth analytics.
#2) Blubrry: Best for Backend Integration
Blubrry is well-known for its superior, trusted analytics as one of the first podcasting companies, now serving 150,000+ podcasters with hosting, distribution, stats, and helpful listener insights. It integrates well with the backend of your website, which can be a major benefit for business owners and agencies looking to publish podcast episodes right from their website. Blubrry offers data and statistics that help you make important decisions for your show.
Listeners to Leads Episode 69 “Using Your Podcast Listening Statistics to Make Better Decisions”
Make sure to check out this episode of Listeners to Leads Episode 79 with the founder, Todd Cochrane as he shares his wealth of knowledge into the landscape of podcast and his perspective on The Future of Podcasting!
#3) Podbean: Best for Podcasters Looking for a Range of Features
What Podbean does well is offer various plans and price points so that whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned podcast pro, you can access their platform. Features and benefits vary as you move through the tiers, and the free plan does not offer many features.
They do allow for dynamic ad insertion as well as a customizable podcast website and themes. Some clients we’ve spoken with have said that customer service is not ideal and statistics aren’t as detailed as they’d like.
Our main beef with Podbean is that they don’t make it easy or intuitive to maximize and customize your podcast website and direct people to your website and social links.
#4) Red Circle: Best for Growing Brands
If you’re a podcaster who’s getting thousands of downloads a month and looking to monetize with ads that extend beyond just your own, Red Circle could be the podcast hosting site for you. Red Circle offers a myriad of features including powerful analytics, cross-promotion, and fast support, but one of its highlights is their commitment to helping podcasters monetize their podcasts through:
- Brand-to-brand connection
- Dynamic ad insertions
Red Circle isn’t for you if you’re looking to use your podcast to promote your own products or services and want your ads to lead to YOU. They also do not have as many tools to provide accessibility and aren’t optimized with all of your audience’s needs in mind.
Not sure what kind of ads you’ll be sharing? Check out Episode 89 of the Listeners to Leads podcast Are Your Podcast Ads Working for You?
#5) Transistor: Best for Network Owners
Transistor is a newer podcast hosting platform that’s beneficial for podcasters who want to produce multiple shows and host them on the same site. With Transistor, you can host both public and private podcasts, and include dynamic ads.
While you can host multiple podcasts on all of the price plans, they offer limited downloads in each tier of their pricing and payments can increase when downloads increase. If you plan to maximize the use of hosting multiple podcasts, and bring in collaborators to your team, Transistor could be a great choice.
If you’re the everyday average podcaster looking to host just one show, it’s an expensive choice with more features than you might need.
#6) Libsyn: Best for a Wide Range of Budgets
You can get started with Libsyn for just $5 a month and upgrade from there to include more features. Libsyn’s been around a long time and is the go-to for many established podcasters; however, despise being budget-friendly, the lower-level tiers have limited features. Overall, the platform isn’t great for beginners who tend to struggle navigating new tech. The user experience makes it challenging to navigate their platform and setting up the analytics properly can require multiple steps.
Why do we think podcast stats are so important? Listen to episode 9 of Listeners to Leads Podcast Stats: What They Mean and How to Measure Success
#7) Captivate: Best for Monetization
If you want to use your podcast to make some cash money dollars, you might enjoy this relatively new podcast hosting platform. Captivate helps podcasters make money from their show by offering a private podcast option on every plan, a podcast sponsorship kit PDF, built in calls to action, and tools that help you get sponsors.
They give you advanced analytics, lots of podcasting resources, and quite a lot of features at every level. The plans are pricier than most (starting at $17/month) and have a cap for the number of downloads.
#8) Anchor.fm: Best for Beginners
We have so many thoughts on Anchor.fm, and “free” platforms in general. Here’s a quote from PodMatch’s Alex Sanfilippo from a recent post on LinkedIn:
“Fellow podcasters: If you don’t pay for a product, you are the product.”
When you’re using a free podcast hosting platform or just choosing the cheapest podcast host, they’re using you in some type of way to make money as a company.
A lot of people start out on Anchor because they want to use it and try it for free. Spotify owns Anchor and pressures podcasters to push their shows on Spotify. They also recommend ads that may or may not be aligned with your brand, heavily encouraging you to offer paid membership content or premium content that’s only available to your listeners on Spotify. Anytime you choose to focus on pushing your podcast out on one platform, you shut out a lot of your audience.
Trust us, we love a subscription model, but it’s not right for everyone and may not be right for you. Check out Listeners to Leads Episode 65 Adding a Subscription Model to Your Podcast to learn more.
In the case of Anchor.fm, free comes at the cost of pressure and the reminder that you are the product.
One final reminder: You can change podcast hosts down the road, if needed. It’s not difficult, but it’s also a hassle we try to save podcasters from by helping them choose the right platform the first time around.
To choose the best podcast hosting platform for you, take a look at your individual goals and needs for your podcast and start from there. This crucial first step will help you weigh the pros and cons of each host, so you don’t just hit “Get Started” with the podcast host that has the flashiest website or is the cheapest price.
Listeners to Leads episodes mentioned in this blog:
- Listeners to Leads Episode 9 – “Podcast Stats: What They Mean and How to Measure Success”
- Listeners to Leads Episode 65 – Adding a Subscription Model to Your Podcast
- Listeners to Leads Episode 69 – “Using Your Podcast Listening Statistics to Make Better Decisions”
- Listeners to Leads Episode 79 – The Future of Podcasting!
- Listeners to Leads Episode 89 – Are Your Podcast Ads Working for You?
*Buzzsprout affiliate link: www.alesiagalati.com/buzzsprout
This blog post contains affiliate links. That means we may make a small commission on items purchased through links in this post at no extra cost to you!
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