Photo Credit: br1dotcom via Compfight cc

No matter how you podcast, it needs to be hosted somewhere. Good podcast hosting includes web hosting and media hosting that can grow with your podcast. I'll suggest your best options to consider.

UPDATE: Please see this page for my updated best podcast hosting recommendations.

Web hosting for your website

The most important hosting you need is for your website. This is typically called “web hosting.” You need to have your own website for your podcast and own the domain so that no matter what service you use, your audience can always get your content from the same place.

Bad: WordPress.com, Blogger, etc.

Third-party services often provide a free or nearly free “turn-key” solution. This allows you to quickly create an account and have a website within minutes. But you lose a lot of power, features, and control with these services. These aren't ideal podcast hosting options.

Pros

  • Easy setup
  • Limited flexibility
  • Free
  • Domain options available (small annual fee)

Cons

  • Lack of total control
  • Can't install your own plugins
  • Difficult for podcasting
  • Difficult to leave
  • Requires FeedBurner to add podcasting
  • No premium podcast options

Better: LibSyn website

Not all third-party hosts are bad. LibSyn not only offers great media hosting with stats, but they also provide a very capable and easy to use website service at no extra charge.

Pros

  • Easy setup
  • Limited flexibility
  • A lot of control
  • Low cost
  • Domain options available
  • Podcasting setup built-in (wouldn't require Feedburner)
  • Easy to leave
  • Includes media hosting with unlimited downloads
  • Includes media stats on $7/month plans or higher
  • Includes mobile apps on $20/month plans or higher
  • Premium podcast options avaiable

Cons

  • No plugin system
  • Requires more HTML knowledge to change the website

Best: BlueHost or HostGator

The best solution for any website is to be “self-hosted.” This means that you are getting the hosting yourself and have full control within your account. I highly recommend BlueHost or HostGator for this inexpensive level of hosting called shared hosting.

Pros

  • Full flexibility
  • Total control
  • Low cost
  • Built to have your own domain
  • Easy to add podcasting to WordPress (with the PowerPress plugin)
  • Easy to leave

Cons

  • More complicated to setup
  • Separate media hosting recommended (see below)
  • Separate stats recommended

Sometimes, you can use this kind of account for complete podcast hosting, but I don't recommend it because every download can slow down your website. Shared hosts have the right to shut down your site if you're abusing the “unlimited” storage and bandwidth.

When to upgrade to VPS or dedicated

You may start thinking about upgrading your web hosting from shared (what you typically get for under $10 per month). With standard web hosting companies, you'll have two options:

  1. Virtual private server (VPS)—this is like running your own server with a dedicated allotment of resources. There will be only a few other accounts on the same server (as opposed to thousands of other accounts with shared hosting), but a crash on one account doesn't affect the others.
  2. Dedicated hosting—this is running your own server. You'll have full access to every bit of resources it has, and you can use it almost however you want.

I've used and highly recommend HostDime and WiredTree for either VPS or dedicated hosting. Their service is good and their prices will beat the popular competition.

A VPS or dedicated server can work well for complete podcast hosting, because you know your exact limits and can monitor performance. Though it's still not ideal to put very popular podcasts on your website server.

Before you upgrade, make sure you've done everything you can to minimize the demand your own site is making on the web server's resources (with whatever account you have).

  1. Update everything.
  2. Remove unused or unnecessary plugins, themes, databases, and programs.
  3. Simplify your website.
  4. Use a caching plugin (like W3 Total Cache).
  5. Use a cloud distribution network (CDN).
  6. Use CloudFlare.
  7. Remove websites.

If none of those work, then you may have a website setup that's more complicated than your current account can handle. Such as a complicated WordPress Multisite.

Another way to measure when you need to upgrade is how many visitors and pageviews you serve every day, and how many people visit your website simultaneously. You'll need to look at website statistics (such as Google Analytics) for this information.

Consider upgrading from shared hosting to VPS if you have any (or all) of the following.

  • 500 or more unique daily visitors
  • 2,000 or more daily page views
  • 20 or more simultaneous visitors
  • Your web host says you're using too much memory (RAM) or CPU

Consider upgrading from VPS hosting to a dedicated server if you have any (or all) of the following.

  • A very complex website
  • 1,000 or more unique daily visitors
  • 10,000 or more daily page views
  • 100 or more simultaenous visitors
  • Your web host says you're using too much CPU, or you can't upgrade your VPS memory any more

If you're in the situation that you absolutely must upgrade, check out HostDime, WPEngine, or WiredTree, and they'll transfer your site for free!

Podcast hosting for your audio and video files

Websites are usually under 1 MB, and the images on the site are easily cached by browsers. So the bandwidth demands on a web server are very low, and this is what most web hosting companies have in mind when they advertise “unlimited storage” and “unlimited bandwidth.”

They're not thinking about podcasts. And you should think about dedicated podcast hosting for your media files.

When you publish a podcast episode, let's say a 25 MB MP3, that “large” file (in website terms) will have high demand in the first three days. Each time the file is downloaded, it creates some extra strain on your website server. Most web hosts aren't setup to handle this kind of traffic. Many hosts will even outright forbid it, or will suspend your account for abusing their resources.

A media host moves this demand away from your website and to its own servers by hosting just your media files (such as MP3s, M4Vs, or MP4s). They can handle the sudden burst of traffic that your new episodes will generate, and it won't affect your website.

Potentially bad: your web host

Web hosts will advertise “unlimited” storage and hosting but they don't really mean it because they don't expect customers to actually use it (even BlueHost and HostGator). You may be able to sneak by unnoticed, but you need a plan for when you get popular or your hosting provider tells you to stop.

Acceptable: archive.org

You can host almost anything on archive.org for free, but the service is slow and you can't replace your media once it's out there.

Better: Amazon S3

Amazon S3 will be very attractive to web-savvy podcasters because Amazon can host files for extremely low costs. But Amazon's costs will increase exponentially as you get more subscribers and host more episodes.

If you're suddenly featured somewhere popular, then you could easily receive a bill from Amazon for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Best: LibSyn or Blubrry

Podcasters have specific needs and LibSyn and Blubrry media hosting both know those needs. Both companies now provide a monthly storage reset. So you're give an amount of space each month and you can use it or lose it. Blubrry media hosting takes this a step further and offers a 25% “cushion” for if you need to go over to fit in one last episode before your reset.

A 50 MB plan may sound tiny, but if you only publish an episode twice a month and each episode is 20 MB, then you'll never run out of your monthly storage.

Along with podcast hosting, LibSyn and Blubrry both provide podcast stats on your downloads, and they provide truly unlimited bandwidth. It won't matter if your podcast has 50 downloads or 5,000 downloads, you'll still pay the same monthly amount based on how much you want to upload in a month.

Use promo code “noodle” to get your first month of podcast hosting FREE with LibSyn or Blubrry.

Did my voice sound different?

I recorded this audio episode with an Electro Voice RE20 microphone (Amazon.com | B&H) instead of my usual Heil PR40 (Amazon.com | B&H). Compare the audio and tell me what you like better!

RE20:

PR40: 

Electro Voice is loaning me the RE20 and the RE320 (Amazon.com | B&H) to review. So subscribe to my YouTube channel or get my video podcats from iTunes for the upcoming video review and comparison of these Electro Voice mics and the Heil PR40Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB (Amazon.com | B&H), and Nady SP-1 for podcasting.

See me speak at in Louisville, KY on August 2–3

I will be presenting two sessions at this fast-growing The Business of Writing International Summit for writers in Louisville, KY, August 2–3. I'll present two sessions:

  • Why You Should Podcast and How to Do It RIGHT
  • How to Get Feedback from Your Readers

Need personalized podcasting help?

I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast.

Ask your questions or share your feedback

  • Comment on the shownotes
  • Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221
  • Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome)

Connect with me

Disclosure

This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.
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[…] Best Podcast Hosting options Daniel J Lewis from theaudacitytopodcast.com does a fantastic job breaking down podcast hosting for both your website as well as your media […]

tokyotony
tokyotony
10 years ago

I would have to say this was probably one of my favorite podcasts. You covered everything someone needs to know not only about hosting podcasting, but also hosting a website–and explained it in an very simple, straightforward way. This should be the very FIRST podcast that anyone getting into this should listen to. It covers everything you need to know about hosting.

And, Daniel, I did not know you had affiliate links to Bluehost. I would have used yours! Perhaps a suggestion – what about putting some kind of support widget on the front page at the right that lists out all your affiliate links (or by topic) with the title “Help support the show with these affiliate links”. Then you have “Web hosting” then “Podcast hosting”, etc. If someone clicks on that, they are taken to those pages on your website. I think a modest widget would not be too direct, and it would have helped me find your affiliate link faster. As your site stands now, I couldn’t find this easily unless I go back to a podcast and re-listen to it. (Or perhaps I’m missing something on your website?)

By the way, I’m setting up my friend’s website. I would love to show a list of posts like you have on the front page of yours. Do you use some kind of plugin for that? Thanks!

Tony from Cincy now living in Singapore!

St. Clinton
St. Clinton
10 years ago

For me, I find that Spreaker and Talkshoe to be the best places for podcast. With Spreaker I have around 13k followers, and for a poetry show that is great. Spreaker also permits you to have your show show up on iTunes and even uploaded to YouTube along with SoundCloud. With Talkshoe their doesn’t seem to be a limit as to how much stuff you can upload without having to pay anything (I expect that to change though.)

Randolph Carter
Randolph Carter
9 years ago
Reply to  St. Clinton

Talkshoe is unacceptable, because it damages the files. By design, they strip identifying information and replace it in the file with randomly-generated numbers of Talkshoe’s own choice. That is, you might come up with a good name for your podcasts that will tell the users what they have. And Talkshoe will trash it. I talked to them about it: they insist it is a good thing to do.

David Simonsen
David Simonsen
10 years ago

What do you think about podcast transcription?

Nerd News
10 years ago

Hello Daniel,

I was curious what you thought about a service such as podbean for hosting? Thinking of starting a podcast but there’s so many options out there!!!

Katrina Fox
Katrina Fox
10 years ago

Hi Daniel

What about hosting your podcast on Blog Talk Radio and using that RSS to submit to iTunes? I am guessing it is because BTR owns the RSS feed? But isn’t that the same as Libsyn ie don’t they own the feed eg yourname.libsyn.com? I am new to podcasting (I’m a print journalist of 15 years) and seeking clarification on the pros and cons of hosting using Feedburner, Libsyn, Libsyn with Powerpress plugin, or Blubrry with Powerpress?

I have a blog website (Optimize Press 2.0 hosted on Hostgator. I want the podcast on iTunes and to embed it into blog posts and be able to add text and pics to the posts. And if I want to leave the host, to be able to do so easily without iTunes stuffing up. What Fi you recommend? Thanks 🙂 Katrina

Katrina Fox
Katrina Fox
10 years ago

Thank you very much for your reply Daniel. That all makes sense 🙂

Steven Shreve
10 years ago

So if I’m already running a self-hosted WordPress blog, it’s best (in your opinion) to use the BluBrry PowerPress plugin? Or does PowerPress also work with LibSyn?

Travis Johansen
Travis Johansen
9 years ago

Podcasting question:
I am looking to launch a few different podcasts but for sure one January 1st. It is my first. I have a background in video production so the actual production of the show or graphics is not a concern, but I am 100% new to the world of RSS.

I am concerned about hosting with Libsyn since it locks me into a minimum $5/mo fee per show forever (or as long as I want my show on iTunes).

For some of my show ideas, I do not for see them “taking off” and have considered having them on my hosting company either from the beginning or after a year or so. My thought is that if I do 6 months of regular episodes and decide to pull the plug, I don’t want to have 3, 4, 5 shows at a minimum $5/mo because it will really start to add up down the road.

Please explain this if I am wrong but here’s what I am tentatively planning:
WordPress PowerPress plugin to “own” the RSS feed.
Powerpress the RSS for SEO benefits
Host on Libsyn so that I can handle the initial downloads that might spike NY shared server space on 1and1 hosting
Host on Libsyn because they can submit to 3 iTunes categories (I don’t think Power press can do this?)

Long term, I can move the audio over to my hosting company and iTunes won’t notice any difference right?

Using Libsyn for the RSS feed means I am locked into paying for their service forever right?

Tom L.
9 years ago

I’m definitely missing something, so I’ll ask the clarifying question: why wouldn’t I just use Mediafire to begin with and skip LibSyn?

Craig Gilley
Craig Gilley
10 years ago

Daniel,

I don’t know if someone else has already passed this on to you, but Archive.org has fewer limitations than you seem to think.

I have an account at the Internet Archive, and I am able to edit any item I have uploaded, replace files, upload multiple bandwidth versions of a file to allow the system to choose for the listener their best option, and I can request an item be deleted with a simple e-mail to info@archive.org

I host a podcast that I produce there right now, having moved their archives (over 100 episodes) to the Archive earlier this year, and I’ve been very pleased with them. We don’t use WordPress, so the embed player (HTML5) has been very useful as well.

Just thought I would let you know that you DO have control over your files uploaded to the Archive. The simplest way to find all of them is to visit http://archive.org/account and click the “uploads” link on the far right.

God bless.

plumez heartz
plumez heartz
10 years ago

Hello Daniel,
I am new to the whole podcast thing. but my idea is it needs to be a live feed. i would like video and audio as a option. I really do not too much about this sort of thing, but any Information is helpful.
Thank you.

Alex Kahl @probefahrer
10 years ago

Hey Daniel,

just stopped by via a little google-search about podcast-hosting and compared the 2 recrodings

I have to say: “Hope Electro Voice let you keep the RE-20” 🙂 The sound-difference is A-MA-ZING! I have to try it for myself someday.

Wes Morgan
Wes Morgan
10 years ago

This post was very helpful. Thanks a lot.

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[…] The Audacity to Podcast A detailed look on where to host your audio once it’s created, what are the better options and why. […]

Robbin Block
9 years ago

Perhaps the solution for hosting my podcasts is too simple, but I started using Weebly a couple of years ago for my radio interviews at http://mybmedia.com. Their pro account, which has no limits as far as I’ve found on file sizes has worked very well with my 44MB files. The built-in audio player they added more recently allows for some customization and it works very smoothly on desktop and mobile.

Sacha Horowitz
Sacha Horowitz
6 years ago

Has that changed meanwhile? Did Weebly adapt its requirements to match iTunes/Apple and all devices? And is Weebly to be combined with Libsyn instead? I am sick of WordPress, which I find horrible to use. Weebly is much more user-friendly it seems.

Brad
Brad
9 years ago

What are your thought on Buzzsprout?

Micah Terpstra
Micah Terpstra
9 years ago

I’m having trouble with my feed and would love advice from anyone. I’ve got a WordPress website and am hosting my files on internet archive. When I create a post of a new episode, I link to the file saved on my Archive.org account. They play from my website just fine but I don’t think my feedburner is recognizing that I have any media to pull from my website. When I test my RSS feed in iTunes, I see all my information and photo displayed correctly but it’s not pulling any audio. Any ideas where I’m going wrong? Thank in advanced!

Micah Terpstra
Micah Terpstra
9 years ago

Perfect. Thanks for the help, Daniel. I appreciate your quick response. Do you have any articles on transferring RSS feeds on iTunes? I read iTune’s article and it wasn’t very helpful. I have an existing RSS feed submitted to iTunes and I need to replace that with a new RSS feed I created with feedburner. Any ideas? Thanks again!

Micah Terpstra
Micah Terpstra
9 years ago

Unfortunately I used the service, Podomatic.com so I don’t have access to the original feed. I’ve reached out to them about it but haven’t heard anything.

Christtian Gentry
Christtian Gentry
8 years ago

Hi, I am trying to host my podcast on archive.org, but I don’t know where to get the RSS feed for the podcast, so I can submit it to iTunes. Thanks!

Christtian Gentry
Christtian Gentry
8 years ago

I have my blog on wordpress.com right here: https://youthfilmmakerpodcast.wordpress.com/. I am sure I am not doing something right when I put my audio in the blog post, and I am sure my http://www.youthfilmmakerpodcast.wordpress.com/feed/ has some tags or enclosures not par with iTunes, but I don’t know how to edit the /feed/.

Christtian Gentry
Christtian Gentry
8 years ago

Also my feed is from feedburner. http://feeds.feedburner.com/YouthFilmmakerPodcast

Christtian Gentry
Christtian Gentry
8 years ago

I’m also getting the commonly popular iTunes error message, “We had trouble downloading your episodes from your feed”

Subhendu
Subhendu
8 years ago

Hi Daniel. Thank you for all the information. I post one or two articles on my blog per month and would like to podcast the audio version of it. I’m using BlueHost shared hosting with WordPress as the CMS. I’d like a free service since I’m new and clearly not very famous, which lowers my needs. Can you suggest a solution?

Narrai
Narrai
8 years ago

nice to read the best web host

Stéphane Kapitaniuk
8 years ago

Have you had the chance to test SoundCloud’s RSS to Podcast capabilities?

daniel williams
daniel williams
8 years ago

Hello,

I came across your post listing the best podcast hosting sites and noticed that BlastPod by Podcast Blastoff was not included. Admittedly, it would have been hard for you to include as it was in production at the time of the writing.

Blastpod is not just another solution built on wordpress. It was built , from the ground up by podcasters, for podcasters. Every aspect of BlastPod was built with podcasters in mind. Every tool is built to make your podcast website something to be proud of.

Well, we are live now and offering Easy Podcast Hosting, a Website Builder (no coding required) with themes and templates to match any brand, as well as a podcast management system that makes uploading a podcast to itunes, stitcher, and your own blastpod site as easy as updating your status and a wide range of tools, statistics and widgets to make your podcast website something you will be proud to display

You can view the full range of features and give us your opinion and possibly include us in your next review. You can find us at
http://www.podcastblastoff.com.

daniel williams
daniel williams
8 years ago

Thank you for your reply. While we do consider ourselves the best option out there, we are admittedly not the most established. We are working on setting up a demo account for people to review, and would be happy to give you access if you would like an in depth look at it. But we will continue working to be considered the best hosting solution for podcasters and look forward to more podcasting articles from you. Being new to the industry myself i find great value in your site, especially when it comes to the best equipment to use. Thank you for all that you do and have a good day.

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[…] The Best Podcast Hosting Options – Video embedded  · Good podcast hosting includes web hosting and dedicated media hosting that can grow with your podcast. I’ll suggest your best options to consider. […]

Matt
Matt
8 years ago

Hi Daniel,

Great post.

I am a newbie to podcasting, having had a blog I am now including a podcast as well. I have signed up to Libsyn as my media host however I am stumped on how to have my own RSS feed not using Libsyn’s as I keep reading everywhere that you must own your own RSS feed or else when you move media host you lose all your RSS followers.

Please help.

I have a blogger account and a Libsyn media hosting account.

confused. com

Matt

Tj
Tj
8 years ago

Hello Daniel, thank you for a great episode. I came into podcasting late. I recently took out an account with Podbean. and eventhough I own my own domain, their domain is all over my files’ urls and sometimes my username plus podbean.com (e.g. user.podbean.com) appears on my files’ url feed instead of my own domain. They refuse to take it out and I when I contacted Libsyn to make enquries about whether they do that as well, they apparently do. This was Libsyn’s response : “[…] you can use your domain in the url for your RSS feed and the web page we provide, but even with that our url’s would still be used for the media files linked to within the RSS feed. That’s just not the way it works. If you wanted to completely hide any mention of our url’s you’d need to manage your own RSS feed outside of our system.” What I what to know is is this perfectly normal? And if it is should I just continue to stay with Podbean since they are providing me unlimited storage and bandwidth as well as the capacity to have more than one site pages? Thanks.

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[…] The Best Podcast Hosting Options – Video embedded  · Good podcast hosting includes web hosting and dedicated media hosting that can grow with your podcast. I’ll suggest your best options to consider. […]

jjbohn
jjbohn
7 years ago

I’d love to throw my company’s hat into the ring. Podami (http://www.podami.com/) has opened up early access. Our app is for all those serious about growing their podcast subscriber base with quality analytics. We’re also looking for prime beta users feedback on the application so we can really focus in on top podcasters pain points. We’d love to hear from you if this is something you’re interested in. Goto http://www.podami.com/ to get early access.

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[…] The Best Podcast Hosting Options – Video embedded  · Good podcast hosting includes web hosting and dedicated media hosting that can grow with your podcast. I’ll suggest your best options to consider. […]

Phillip
Phillip
6 years ago

Can you give me a run down on why I should go with a podcast hosting company instead a regular web site hosting company. Just the facts please on this would be great

Phillip
Phillip
6 years ago

Thank u. Looks like the bottom line is that it is a good idea to go with a hoster that specializes in podcasts

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