In this episode, we’re going to answer a question that every podcaster has to face: where should I host my audio files? There are lots of options out there to choose from, and we’ll narrow it down to a few good ones for you. Listen to the episode.
- Build Your Podcast Website in 3 Days
- How I Built It
- Audio Only: Libsyn
Hey everybody and welcome to Creator Toolkit, the podcast about building stuff on the web. I’m Joe Casabona and today we’re going to talk about audio hosting.
Why gets Separate Hosting?
If you self-host, you might be wondering why you’d want to get an audio host at all. You have your own server where you can upload audio files, and modern browsers can support embedded audio with a suitable (and customizable) player.
The problem is your web host isn’t optimized for serving up audio, so while it might technically work, it won’t work well. You will also run into upload limits, and slow (or no) buffering. Plus, if you are a podcaster, your audio will be syndicated to services like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. Audio hosts will not only format your podcast to be submitted to these services, but they’ll ensure that even if your website goes down, listeners can still get your audio.
On top of that, all of the hosts mentioned today have built in stats and analytics, so you can see information like how many times your show is getting downloaded, and where you audience is coming from.
So where do you host? There are a few good options.
Types of Solutions
We’ll take a look at a couple of different services: audio only (or primarily audio only), hybrid solutions, and all-in-one solutions.
The main difference between the 3 is how much each solution does for you, and how well. Technically everything mentioned here today will be all-in-one, but some so it a lot better than others.
So as far as “audio only,” there’s only one I really recommend, and it’s the one I use for my other podcast, How I Built It. And that’s Libsyn. Libsyn has been around since 2004 and is considered one of (if not the oldest) podcast host. They are used by many of my favorite podcasts and are well trusted by big and small podcasters alike.
While they do offer feeds and a simplistic site if you want it, the other services are just OK. Generally, I recommend that folks upload they audio to Libsyn but use something else for their website and feed.
The nice thing about Libsyn and that it will work with whatever you choose for your website and subsequent services. This makes it the most portable. If you start on Squarespace and want to move to WordPress, you don’t have to worry about switching your audio over.
For hybrids, what I’m talking about is services that integrate well specifically with WordPress. WordPress is a popular platform for podcast websites, and there are a few great plugins that work really well with specific hosts.
Castos & Seriously Simple Podcasting
The first is Castos. They have a nicely designed interface for you to access stats and more services right from their dashboard. They’ll even republish your episodes to YouTube automatically.
Castos also has a fantastic WordPress plugin called Seriously Simple Podcasting, where you can easily set up your whole podcast and feed within WordPress, host multiple shows, and use WordPress’ native interface to upload your episodes directly to Castos. I’m a big fan of this service, and use it in my course, Building Your Podcast Website in 3 Days.
Blubrry and Powerpress
The other is Blubrry, which I use for this show. Like Libsyn, they’ve been around for some time and are trusted by a lot of podcasters. The benefit of using them over Libsyn is the nicer interface, easy-to-use directory, and their WordPress plugin, Powerpress.
This plugin is a little harder to use than Castos’, but it offers a lot of features, like the direct uploads, podcast SEO, subscribe shortcodes, and more. If you’re looking for a few more automated features in a WordPress plugin, this is a good one.
The nice thing about both plugins, however, is that they’ll work with any audio files, including Libsyn’s. They just integrate a little better with their own audio hosting.
All-in-one solutions are just that: they offer you the hosting, the stats, the feed, and the website. Truth be told, all of the solutions I’ve mentioned so far can be considered all-in-one solutions. But Libsyn’s sites are just OK, and Castos / Blubrry integrate really well with WordPress, which gives you a lot more flexibility than their own websites.
However, there are a few solutions out there that specialize in all-in-one, making your podcast websites one-stop shops you don’t have to worry about.
The big drawback is that you’re pretty locked into these services, making it harder to change in the future, if you want to.
My favorite of these types of hosting is Simplecast. They’ve been around for a few years now and I used them for my very first podcast. Their interface is nice to use, I liked the stats, and the websites they produce are clean and easy to navigate.
They also offer some pretty neat features like easy migrations, multiple managers, and a cool feature called “Recast,” that allows listeners to share clips from your show on social media. And the best part is it’s $12/mo, which is the most affordable option we’ve looked at so far.
The aptly named Podcast Websites is a super interesting concept to me because it’s like Simplecast but it’s built on top of WordPress. So you will get a WordPress site, and they’ve optimized their plugins and themes for your podcast.
The other thing that they offer that I think is really cool is some great educational content. So if you’re not sure where to start, their free resources can help you. The drawback is they are a little on the pricy side, especially if you’re just starting out.
The last entry in this space we’ll look at is BuzzSprout. Like the previous two, they offer common features like full hosting, websites, and feed migration from other hosts. Rumor has it their support is great too.
The big benefit is they offer a free, limited plan. So you can get in there, play around, and see if podcasting is really for you before you make a commitment.
One service I didn’t mention is Anchor. They get a lot of flack from the podcasting community, but they probably make the process from recording to published the fastest. I experimented with it a bit and really enjoyed it. I’d recommend you look at that too.
So that’s it. We looked at 3 different types of audio hosting: audio only, hybrids, and all-in-one. If you want to focus completely on content creation, an all-in-one like Simplecast is your best bet. Hybrid or audio only offers the most flexibility, especially if you use something like WordPress.
If you do want use WordPress for your show, but you’re not sure where to start, check out my course, Building Your Podcast Website with WordPress. We’ll go over everything you need to go from zero to a fully functional site for your show. As mentioned earlier, we’ll be using Castos.
For all the show notes, go to creatortoolkit.com/005/. If you liked this episode be sure to leave a rating and review in apple podcasts. And if you have any questions or want me to put together a specific toolkit, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter, jcasabona.
My question for you is: Are you thinking of starting a podcast? What do you plan to use? Let me know – again the email is email@example.com, and on Twitter I’m @jcasabona.
Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, get out there and build something.