Podcast Hosting Reviews: Simplecast vs. Anchor

4 min read

Looking to switch your podcast to a new platform? Or maybe you’re a new creator and have some podcast ideas you’d like to try out. When hunting for a hosting service for your podcast, it can be incredibly tempting to sign up on a free site like Anchor, especially if you’re just getting started and not sure about this whole podcasting thing. The idea of a free host platform for your work with no subscriptions or other fees definitely sounds great

But remember that old adage: there’s no such thing as a free lunch. And that other one: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And that slightly newer one: if you’re not paying for the product, you’re the product. So before you port your show over to Anchor, take a moment to really look at how their service differs from a professional option like Simplecast.

Longevity and stability

Let’s get the least sexy category out of the way: Simplecast has been around since 2013. While that might not sound like long, it means we’ve got a stable business model, and a sterling track record. Plenty of podcast hosts have shuttered and gone out of business since we started–the absolute best-case scenario in those situations is that you still have control over your RSS feed and are able to redirect your show to a new host. Unfortunately, sometimes that doesn’t happen, and people’s shows can be left in limbo, effectively trapped. This tends to happen with newer companies, and it’s something we’d never want any podcast creator to have to deal with.

Grow your reach with detailed analytics

Knowing your numbers helps you focus your outreach and get the most out of your content. This is the easiest metric to measure and compare when it comes to host services. Anchor is a free service, so it can’t devote too much of its resources into parsing and organizing podcast listener data. With Anchor, you’ll be able to view your overall plays by date and the number of downloads per episode, but not much else.

Simplecast provides much deeper insight into how your podcast is performing and which audiences it’s reaching. Simplecast marks the following analytics:

  • Downloads per episode (broken down by custom time range)
  • Downloads overall
  • Listener demographics (ie: location)
  • Comparison of listening methods (iOS, web browser, etc.)
  • Percent variance in downloads by week
  • Unique listeners
  • Web-player analytics
  • & more!

Retain your ownership rights

Not long ago, Anchor had a bit of negative press over their Terms of Service. While most people just skim the TOS for most services, enough people read Anchor’s closely enough to spot some concerning mentions of advertising and usage rights.

The original wording of Anchor’s TOS said in not uncertain terms that while you, as a creator, would retain the rights to your work, Anchor would also have the right to rework, reuse, remix or otherwise distribute your podcasts without compensation or even permission. Originally, this control even extended to podcasts that creators had discontinued or even removed from the platform.

Anchor’s Terms of Service have since been updated, and they’re a little less draconian now. Most importantly, creators now seem to be able to opt out of any use of their material that they don’t agree with. That’s definitely a positive step, but it’s worth remembering how broad and overreaching the original TOS was.  And if you get settled with Anchor, there’s no guarantee that their TOS won’t change again in the future. As a matter of course, we tell podcasters: don’t be fooled by the “don’t worry, you own your content” lingo some vendors like to tout; if you’ve given someone a broad enough license agreement, you still “owning it” might not be worth much at all.

Simplecast’s Terms of Service are trusted by thousands of podcasters and have always been user friendly–and if you ever have any questions about it, feel free to ask us!

Create the perfect site

Simplecast gives you access to a host of website customization options. You’ll have the opportunity to set up your own domain, custom-designed to make your podcast pop. Simplecast domains are SSL-enabled, ensuring you a safe, competent connection.

Broadcast with confidence

Distributing your podcast through a hosting service shouldn’t be a daunting decision, but things change very quickly in the Internet age. Simplecast also offers support for creators from members-only Facebook groups, Ask the Experts webinars, and live support from a team of actual podcast creators.  

Which is better: paid or free?

There’s no denying that a paid service will almost always boast more polish and offer more advanced tools than a free one. So it becomes a questions of individual need. Is your podcast just for fun, or are you trying to make a living? Do you think your podcast might grow into something more in the future? A free service like Anchor may be suitable for you if you’re just playing around. But if you have bigger plans for your content, then you’ll get what you pay for. We believe your content is worth taking seriously, and using serious tools. Investing in a good start for your podcast (or restart if you’re moving it) can be the difference between success and not.

Looking to make a switch? Start your two-week free trial today! When you’re ready to go steady, use code ANCHOR to get a month free when you start a yearly plan.