Here is the updated (January 2021) review of most podcast hosting services available. We try to be impartial and look at all services from a podcaster point of view (we have been podcasting since 2011). For ease of comparing we review first 1 or 2 available plans (some podcast hosts have 6 or more! crazy I know). This article is not sponsored by any of the hosts, does not include any affiliate links and is made with 100% honest review in mind. One thing to look for when comparing prices is the fact that they often advertise the annual price as a monthly bill. So if you don’t want to pay for a whole year in advance do look at the small print. To compare them one for one, like for like I have included pay per month prices only.
What is a podcast media host?
It’s essentially a service provider with plenty of storage available, that is able to take the pressure of multiple people downloading your audio (or video) media files all at the same time. Why should you pay for podcast hosting? Some companies have great free plans (that work fantastically for starting podcasters) and then enable you to add more features (and pay) as you grow. You will find that having a podcast host has many benefits (like automatic feed distribution to major players like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts , Stitcher etc). So without further ado, here is likely the most comprehensive list you will find, all in one place with main features explained.
Free (no paid plans, the whole service is 100% free). They are very keen to be transparent on costs and ask one important question – “Why are not all hosts free?”
For almost every single podcast Anchor hosts, the cost to us is less than 10 cents per month. That means that hosting your podcast for an entire year costs Anchor around one dollar. If Anchor were to charge you $10 per month for file storage and basic analytics, we would either be grossly exaggerating our costs, or grossly overpaying our vendors. – Nir Zicherman, Anchor co-founder.
Anchor started initially as a short format podcast distributor with your phone, they have morphed into a fully fledged podcast host since. Some impressive features there – especially that the service is 100% free. Even now they advocate “the best microphone is the one you have with you” kind of thing.
- Recording on the go – they have a really comprehensive mobile app, makes it easy to record episodes on your phone (if that’s your thing).
- Royalty Free Library of sound effects you can drag and drop into the episode using their visual builder.
- Unlimited free hosting – hard to beat for sure!
- Supported platforms (one click distribution): Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn
- Listener Messages – ability for your listeners to send recorded audio clips, you can easily drag and drop them into your episodes inside the Anchor Podcast Builder.
- Monetization – integrated tools to enable your listeners to support the show with a monthly or one-off donations. WOW – that’s really the next level feature and so forward thinking!
- Co-Host Podcasting – you can have your co-host tune in via the app and corecord with you inside the app. That’s neat – although my initial worry is about the quality of audio (which don’t be fooled – is important!).
- Easy and not overwhelming analytics.
- Easy to migrate from other hosting sites (including paid).
$9.99 per month. No free plans available (they may periodically offer coupons that will entitle you to a free trial of some sort so worth to scout the internet for that if Audioboom is your choice).
The basic plan includes the following:
- Unlimited episodes per month
- Up to 10,000 plays per month
- Distribution via Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Stitcher
- Advanced analytics
- Embeddable Players for your website and social media integration
If you have over 10,000 plays per month Audioboom does not display pricing beyond that. You need to “get in touch” – frankly that’s one of the biggest pet peeves I have when it comes to pricing. WHY not be transparent? Perhaps I just “don’t get it”.
Advanced plan – aimed at pro podcasters adds extra features to the table:
- Live Reads and Host Endorsements from all the top podcast advertisers
- Unlimited plays per episode
- Access to Audioboom’s targeted ad-network
- Branded content partnership opportunities
- Event and Live Show sponsorships
- Ability to insert mid-roll ads
- Ability to manage multiple podcast channels via contributor access.
All plans come with 14 days free trail. The Starter plan costs $15/month, the top plan $75/ month (designed for podcasters with multiple shows and high monthly download figues). The top plan does not have limits on monthly downloads.
The Starter pack includes the following:
- Up to 10,000 downloads per month
- 2 hours of audio transcription service (reallt fab tool and nice to see it included as part of the hosting service!)
- Ability to insert “audio inserts” into all of your episodes – great when you have promos you run every month or have podcast sponsors and want to dynamically change those as you go along in all of your episodes
- Custom domains enabled
- Guest notifications – you can inform your guest when their episode goes live right from inside the host platform.
The top Legendary Plan gives you an ability to go entirely “white label” and remove bCast branding all together, you are also given 10 hours of transcription and unlimited number of podcasts to host.
Blubrry is one of the podcast hosting giants, the grandfathers who have been around since the start of (podcasting) times. They do deserve special “high five” for incredible support to the podcasting community, their work on the PowerPress plugin for podcasters and likely one million other things they do to help podcasting community in general.
5 different price tiers available. Starting at $12.00 per month. No free plans available. The whole principle behind the plans is based on the storage size you may need for your podcast. We see many podcast hosts slowly moving away from this model (likely due to massive decrease in the storage costs for those giants).
The first plan is at $12.00 per month and comes with 100MB storage limit (renews on the 1st of each month). With the $20.00 per month plan you have an option to also store video. 250MB storage limit makes me question – what kind of video would you store that’s under that size in the first place? I record relatively small videos (under 10 minutes in length) and can’t get it smaller than 500MB at least. With YouTube being free – I would strongly suggest not looking at the video features of the host as they simply are not made for video creators.
- You get good quality stats for your bucks – Blubrry is known for being ahead of the game on that front.
- Nice looking player.
- Free WordPress site included – this is a great feature if you need that support! Although do note the website does look rather basic and doesn’t scream “I am 2019 ready!”. Let’s hope the visual aspect of this will be improved.
- Easy publishing tools for WordPress users (you can upload the files from your WordPress site) – this is a bonus as saves you time in the long run.
- You can add ID3 tags to the files inside your media host account.
- Easy tools to move from other hosts.
- Complete RSS tag control
One feature here is making me very “aware” here.
Buzzsprout automatically optimizes files upon upload to save you time and keep things simple. Our standard optimization is based on industry best practices for spoken word podcasts (64k mono).
You can choose to pay $6 per month to take this away and make it 128k instead. For audio savvy users this certainly is bad news. If you have an intro or outro with a voice artist and music theme – basic plan with Buzsprout is not for you (unless you want it to sound watery!).
There are 4 plans in total. Free plan includes up to 2h of files each month HOWEVER they are only hosted for 90 days. So certainly plan designed only to get you to try the service, not a regular show that you would like to remain ” the evergreen content”.
$12 per month will give you:
- 3h of uploads each month – decent length for sure for most podcasters.
- Files are hosted indefinitely – good to know, phew!
- 250GB bandwidth per month – this is to do with how many listeners you get, if you get over 10,000 plays per month – this is not the best host for you. It makes it harder to grow as you can be welcomed with a $49 per month bill for higher bandwidth usage.
- Magic Mastering – available at extra cost (between $6-$12 per month). They call it “instagram filter for your audio”.“Magic Mastering applies an adaptive leveling process to correct any distracting volume differences between multiple speakers or segments in your episode. It will also fix some minor problems like noise and hum reduction. Beyond that, Magic Mastering automatically masters episodes to match the Apple Podcasts Authoring Best Practices. Apple says that podcast episodes should be “pre-conditioned in such a way that the overall loudness remains around -16 dB LUFS, with a +/- 1 dB tolerance and a true-peak value that doesn’t exceed -1 dB FS.”Certainly an interesting option for those less saavy podcasters who post produce their own shows. Any podcast producer will do the above for the episodes they work on.
- No contract, you can cancel any time.
- Nice looking audio player for your website.
- Easy to comprehend stats.
- And of course an easy way to switch providers too.
Captivate unlike many other platforms doesn’t restrict your analytics, number of shows and upload times. All plans give you access to the full range of features, the only difference between the price plans is the number of downloads per month. In other words – the better you do as a podcasters – the more you pay. I like that – it links your success with the bill, which makes sense especially in the early growing stages.
Podcaster plan starts at $19 and gives you 12,000 downloads a month. Next up at $49 you get 60,000 downloads and the top plan gives you access to 150,000 downloads with $99. (Price will display in your local currency based on your location).
Features included with all plans:
- Advanced analytics – nothing is held back and I love it. So many plans give you access to only basics at the lowest plans.
- Unlimited podcasts (note – PODCASTS not PODCAST EPISODES) – this means you can have multiple RSS feeds under the same plan. Fantastic option for those with multiple shows.
- Very attractive podcast player.
- In-built podcast player calls to action – you can set those at specific times during the podcast. Note – podcast player does have Captivate branding prominently on (and so do other players) – I don’t see if there is a possibility for a full white label experience.
- Team access – multiple (unlimited) team seats for those who help you with your creations – another killer feature that isn’t very widespread right now.
- No contract – cancel any time.
- 7 days free trail.
This is a new addition to our list (added in 2020). Certainly worth to keep a good look at how they develop. Their plans are definitely competitive for teams and those who value good quality analytics.
3 different plans. Starting at $19 per month all the way to $49. They do offer 15 day trial period – so a nice way to test the waters with the host. No contract either – you can cancel any time. It seems one of those hosts offering more bespoke services and it certainly feels more individual than other services I reviewed here.
The Audio Podcasting plan ($19) has the following features:
- Unlimited storage
- Unlimited episodes and length of them
- Podcast web page – looks really nice.
- Podcast stats – include playback duration (you can see how far into the episodes the listeners last – that’s GREAT feature).
- Nice looking media player
- WordPress plugin for podcasting
- Episode transcriptions – Get A complete transcription of all your episodes with downloadable PDFs. It’s pay-as-you-go with transcriptions starting at $0.10/minute.
- Exclusive content behind the wall for paid subscribers – Invite individual private subscribers via email to a password protected feed. This is a great way to keep your private content secure.
- You can pay extra (from $75 per episode) to have your episodes post produced by their own team.
From $49/month you get Video Republishing to YouTube – Convert audio files into video and automatically upload your podcast episodes to YouTube. Set it and forget it by connecting your YouTube channel and Castos dashboard once.
The top $99/month plan offers advanced analytics as well as video file hosting.
Those guys keep things simple – one plan only – $19 per month.
- Unlimited storage
- Unlimited downloads/bandwidth (although in small print it does say that if you have 100,000 downloads per episode you may be required to have a custom plan in place).
- Automatic ID3 tagging of the mp3 – FAB feature! You don’t need to add things like artwork, title, artist, description etc – this is done for you automatically.
- You can create more than one page website for your podcast. It is fully responsive and build with user experience in mind. You can also use your own domain with the site.
- Comprehensive analytics.
- Donations/membership option for your listeners.
Another one of the grandfathers of podcasting. Around since 2004. Massive supporters of podcasting community. Huge virtual “high five” from us on that front. Definitely one of the “giants” in the space. With over 50,000 shows on their books.
6 different pricing plans. Starts at $5 per month plan and can go up to $150 per month for plans focused on more storage needs (3GB in the top plan).
The basic $5 plan includes the following
- 50MB storage per month (renews on 1st of each month). To compare the next plan up $15 does include 250MB of monthly storage.
- Podcast page (one page website).
- HTML5 Media Player – looks great when sharing your episodes on social media as well.
- No stats included in the $5 plan.
- No limit on downloads (you can in theory have 1,000,000 downloads per episode on any plan).
- Media hosting does include both audio and video
- You can opt into advertising platform and try to monetize your content that way.
4 different plans. First one being free, going up to $129/month levels.
The free plan includes the following:
- 5 hours or storage space (doesn’t renew though!).
- 100GB monthly bandwidth.
- Basic podcast stats included in the free plan.
- Podcast theme web page (with free themes to choose from).
Certainly a neat amount of features designed to get you to try the service. If you want to podcast regularly you will need to get the wallet out of your pocket though. The first paid plan comes at $14 per month or $108 per year and includes the following (in addition to what the free plan has):
- Unlimited storage space.
- Unmetered bandwidth (you can have 1,000,000 downloads per episode – they will be fine with that!).
- Comprehensive podcast stats.
- Advanced Themes available for your podcast page. Includes ability to add your own domain.
- Basic monetisation options (you can add ads to your podcast). You can choose to pay $39 per month and have the concept of your audience supporting you as patrons as well as your own dynamic ad campaigns – may be a nice idea when you have multiple sponsors you manage and want to insert ads dynamically – instead of having to edit the episodes each time. First service I came across that does offer that option.
NOTE: If you have 100 downloads per episode do not think there are big $$$ waiting for you. More like ¢¢¢ if that. You do need to have audience size in thousands of downloads per episodes to see any revenue worth talking about. I would certainly not put monetization (external ads) as one of the first features to look out for in the host.
3 plans. Starts with basic free plan and goes up to $35.97 per month (although they wording on the website left me confused and I think you can only pay annually for their top plan). The middle of the road plan that has comparable features to the rest of the hosts in this article is the $12.99 plan (once again I don’t know if you need to pay annually).
The $12.99 plan includes the following:
- Unlimited storage
- Advanced analytics
- Well done, user experience friendly website which is mobile responsive too.
- Auto posts to social media
- Comments integration via Disqus
Podiant seems to be more of a boutique company with more bespoke services such as podcast production and editing, transcriptions, show notes, even jingles! No prices for those are advertised – you need to “get in touch” to learn more.
European proud service!
3 different price plans. Starts at $17 per month and end with a professional plan which does not show the price on their website. Although the $17 plan is for individuals only, if you have a business then you need to be looking at $33 plans up.
The $17 plan has the following features available:
- Up to 20,000 downloads & streams per month.
- Basic podcast analytics.
- Web player that you can embed on your website.
- WordPress plugin.
- Integration with Headliner to help you create promo videos for social media (it isn’t clear if you need to pay extra for this feature).
- Unlimited audio storage.
- 4 hours of audio encoding per month.
Advanced plan ($33 per month) is designed to support you up to 50,000 downloads, supports teams (2 people), gives you ability to connect your own domain (which in my opinion really negates the basic plan – in my opinion your own domain is absolutely key!). 6 hours of audio available each month.
5 different plans. First one is FREE and goes up to $24.99 per month (the top plan does not have price displayed at the type of review). The basic free plan includes 15GB bandwidth per month, 500MB storage and doesn’t expire as such – but you will likely run out of space relatively quickly.
The next plan up is $9.99 per month (at the time of writing paying annually saves you 50% on the price so worth to consider!).
- 100GB Bandwidth per month
- 2GB storage on the lower plan and 5GB storage on the top $24.99 per month plan. This can be relatively restricting – especially if you plan to podcast daily. You may run out of space super fast.
- Design your podcast web page with some cool tools.
- Advanced stats
- No post processing to your files – big plus! As you can choose what quality to serve to your listener.
- Pateron integration (your audience can support you with one off fees and monthly pledges).
- App for iOS and Android (although this is a well optimized version of your podcast website for mobile device that looks like an app, so don’t get over excited on this front just yet).
One of the biggest changes since initial review in 2018. Now the host moved to 3 different plans. From $15 on th ebasic plan to $85/month on the growth plan. Offers 14 day free trial of the service (no credit card required).
The basic plan for $15/month includes the following:
- 2 team member seats (I like this! First host to offer this – let’s face it – podcasts more often than not are more than one person affair).
- Unlimited storage and uploads.
- Basic analytics (you need to pay $85 for their most advanced analytics options).
- Manage multiple shows with one account (again a nice feature for those with multiple podcasts).
- Podcast website (with ability to add your own domain – phew!).
- 20,000 downloads included per month.
- Recast intergration – Recast® is a podcast sharing and discovery tool which allows you and your listeners to share custom clips of your episodes, optimized for social media. It’s like a listener-powered audiogram tool. Sounds really interesting!
- Custom API – first podcast host I have come across to talk API in the first place!
In 2018 they have been offering discounted (or free) rates to public organizations and non profits. This clearly paid off with a very impressive list of users (includes the likes of Harvard, Kickstarter, Slack and others. It looks like the company has come a long way since 2018. In my opinion one worth to keep a close eye on.
Full disclosure – we have been working and recommending Spreaker for years now and seen it grow and change as the podcasting was changing too. We have a great working relationship with those guys and have formed a good friendship with the founder Francesco Baschieri. For this article we are remaining entirely neutral and showcasing their product with the same critical view as we do for all others listed here so that you can choose the host most relevant to your needs.
5 plans – starting with FREE and going up to $120 per month tier. Free plan includes 5 hours of audio storage, basic analytics, player, multiple shows (you can have 10 podcasts under one account). Good starting point!
The $7 per month plan has some decent features and storage too.
- Unlimited bandwidth (amount of plays you get does not impact your price plan).
- 100 hours of audio storage. The next plan up is $20 and has 500 hours included.
- iHeart Radio Distribution (unique feature that I have not come across with any other host).
- Audio compression – yes Spreaker does compress your files to 128kbps which is enough to keep your intros sounding good!
- The $20 a month plan has option for private episodes (good for in house training materials for example).
- Pre-Roll ads on dynamic basis can be inserted from $20 per month plan up.
- Basic analytics on this plan with more advanced view from $20 per month up.
- Spreaker has their own ecosystem with listeners as well. Established a while back ago the user base is decent enough to bring native listeners from Spreaker over to you.
- Nice looking audio player (although if you don’t want Spreaker logo you need $20 plan up for that).
Now over to you. Who is your podcast hosting provider? What are the features you love and that matter to you the most? Have we missed a feature or provider and you think we should update it. No problem – share in the comments!
I try to get my podcast found where ever there is a community surrounding the host. For example I use Spreaker like you and I’ve been with them from the start. They even interviewed me once upon a time.
But for my iTunes feed I use Libsyn. Here are a few other places you can find Ms. Ileane Speaks:
Thanks for the list of hosts! Chat soon.
Awesome list of essential places for podcasters to be Ileane. I didn’t think of Mixcloud for podcasting – that’s an interesting one!
Thanks for this episode, very insightful! I had no idea that that a solution to host multiple podcasts existed (Spreaker)…
Do you know if that work if I was running a podcast production service and wanted to host several client podcasts on one account?
I do have a different opinion about archive.org as a free solution – although I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the speed as well as saying that it’s a risky idea to host with them if they go out of business, my experience has been different – I haven’t been able to notice the difference in download speed between archive.org and other providers. For an example of a popular podcast hosted on archive.org, there’s the Daily Tech News Show by Tom Merritt https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/daily-tech-news-show/id790864884?mt=2)/.
As for whether or not they will be around for ever, archive.org been going since 1996 and you could say the same argument applies for any hosting provider – many paid-for solutions have folded and will continue to go out of business. I would suggest hosting your files on at least 2 servers (or backed up locally) at the same time to avoid this situation (using auphonic is a good way to make that process easy). So if, for say, you’re using spreaker, you could also back up files on archive.org for free, just in case.
Thank you for the comment Jonathan and it’s very interesting to hear your experience with Archive.org especially as a backup option. I agree that you should certainly host/backup in more than one place. I’m throwing all my raw and produced podcasts into a Dropbox for Business account which is great as I have few size restrictions.
As for Spreaker being a great place to host multiple client podcasts it’s possible although I’m not sure the user experience was created with that use in mind. You’d need one overall account which could be either your name or your company name and those clients would need to be OK with the idea that they’d essentially be visible under your brand name. Also, remember there is currently a maximum total hosting limit, on the top paid plan, of 1,500 hours which is plenty but it could fill up fast if you had a few hundred clients 😉
Let me know how you get on Jonathan!
Thanks for clarifying that Mike, I’ve also followed that up with Spreaker and they agree that the clients podcasts would have to accept to be under your own brand name.
I also found some further discussion about Archive.org here, with a couple of points that hadn’t occurred to me before: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JeffreyPowers/posts/eocRaMW6n6o?cfem=1
That’s great to hear your confirmation. I will check out that thread too – looks like an interesting one – thanks Jonathan!
any thoughts on poderator?
Thanks for asking Shannon. I’m not familiar with this service.
I’m interested, and a bit surprised, that there’s nothing about BlogTalkRadio included here. Not in the write-up, at least. Not because BlogTalkRadio is necessarily “the best” host site for podcasts, I’ve heard it’s not, but rather because it’s one of the most common and frequently used.
Thanks for mentioning BlogTalkRadio, Jon. We did our best to cover as many hosts as possible – that’s a good shout!
Hi Mike, thanks so much for your thoughts here. I am in a quandary… I jumped the gun and bought my domain name through Squarespace (with the intention of it being an umbrella site for a collection of podcasts.) Now, I’m thinking I should have bought it through WordPress… I’d like to eventually sell products, webinars, have comment sections like this one. What should I do? If I cancel my Squarespace purchase it will let my domain go. And it says I have to wait two months before I can transfer it! I need something that is user-friendly as I am learning as I go (obviously!) Thanks so much, in advance.
Thanks for the question Jennifer. I highly recommend WordPress. You should be able to transfer your domain even if you leave Squarespace – most providers have this option – you may need to open a support ticket to find out the process with them. Good luck with the launch!
Your missing almost all of the great features blubrry provides to podcasters. This is not a comprehensive or fair review.
Hey Todd, we have based a review on the information provided on each host website and tried to focus on most usable features. If there is anything you feel we should add to Blubrry list feel free to drop me an email with details to firstname.lastname@example.org – I will happily review if anything valuable is missing 🙂
Hey Mike, love the content you produce, both on here and youtube. Love to pay you back, just about to sign upto Libsyn, do you have an affiliate I can use, not much, but would like to pay you back for all the work you do.
P.S looking forward to the release of the podcast producer course coming at the beginning of February.
Thank you so much Dean! Very kind of you and I am glad you are finding our content helpful 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions when the course comes up – we don’t have Libsyn affiliate unfortunately but thank you for checking on that!
It was interesting to see Blog Talk Radio mentioned, I used that site, oh 10 years or so ago – I had no idea they were still around.
When wanted to get back into podcasting after a very long break, I signed up with Libsyn, but got frustrated with a couple of things. My podcasts are now hosted with transistor.fm. Rather like MRC, if you have a question, it’s one of the owners that answers. I’m very happy with them.
Thanks for your comment David! I have never heard of https://transistor.fm/ – I will make sure to check them out.