Thinking about launching a podcast? That’s great! Before you get started, there are a few things you’ll want to map out—including which site you’ll host your podcast on. There are a number of podcast hosting sites out there and you should start your search by asking yourself a few questions. The questions outlined below will help you figure out which hosting site is right for your podcasting needs.
1. Does the podcast hosting site have restrictions on episodes or bandwidth?
Do you plan on having a podcast with a lot of episodes or multiple seasons? If yes, then you’ll need to consider your podcast’s episode length when you pick a hosting site. Podcast hosting is generally structured as a subscription service, but some sites offer free podcast hosting for a limited upload amount. Other services offer unlimited upload bandwidth for a small monthly fee. We recommend finding an option with unlimited storage to ensure you don’t hit any barriers with bandwidth when managing your podcast.
2. What podcast promotion or marketing features are available?
You want people to hear your podcast and in order to do that, you need to make it easy for your audience to find your show. Luckily, many podcast hosting sites offer customized websites for users to showcase their podcasts. In fact, Simplecast offers this feature! You can see an example of what these custom sites look like here. Ask yourself how important podcast promotion and marketing features are for your podcast and look for a host that includes these within their platform.
3. Are the podcasting analytics on the hosting platform IAB compliant?
The podcasting industry has matured these past few years and this growth has introduced new industry standards. One of the more recent changes comes from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, or IAB. The IAB rolled out guidelines for how podcasts’ analytics—like downloading and listening data—are tracked. These standards improve the accuracy of podcasting analytics and help podcasters who work with advertisers and sponsors provide information that is more transparent. A number of hosting sites have rolled out IAB compliant analytics, but not every site has kept up with these changing standards. The podcasting industry is changing all the time and it’s important for you to work with a host that keeps up with these industry changes and treats industry standards as a top priority for their platform.
4. Free podcast hosting vs paid podcast hosting - How much do you want to spend on hosting?
We mentioned earlier that the majority of hosting services run on a subscription basis. If you choose to work with a free podcast hosting site, read the terms and conditions to figure out who owns the rights to the podcast content you upload. For paid hosting, you’ll notice that most platforms offer a variety of different plans that increase as you add more features. If you’re trying to decide how much to spend on your hosting, we recommend listing out which features you need right now and your projected needs six months to a year in the future. You can use this list to cross-reference plans and get a better idea of pricing. If you’re looking for a more professional level podcasting plan, you may have to connect with each hosting company directly to learn more. If you go the professional route, be sure to ask your potential hosting sites about their support teams, multi-show podcast management options, and monetization options. This will give you a better idea of the scope of features and support they can offer to a larger show.
5. Does the podcast host alter episode files in any way?
Some podcast hosting sites may alter your episode’s file type, bitrate, or metadata when you upload it to their platform. For example, some platforms convert uncompressed WAV files into MP3 files. Others will check to see if ID3 tags are missing and will automatically insert your artwork, title, author, and other ID3 tags after uploading. If you don’t want your files altered in any way, check to make sure the host you’re going with maintains all of your original upload information.