Learn all of the popular podcast media hosting models and how LibSyn will be changing in February, 2014 for their current and new customers.
Before I explain LibSyn's change (“monthly reset storage” below), you should understand the different models media hosting companies
Confusing: “rolling storage”
LibSyn and Blubrry have previously employed a “rolling storage” model for quite some time. Let's say you get 100 MB per month. With “rolling storage,” you could upload a 20 MB file today, and you would get that space back in exactly thirty days from when you uploaded/activated the file. If you upload another 20 MB file next week, you would get that space back another thirty days from then. And so it goes. The potential storage is unlimited, but you only upload so much at a time.
The easiest way to picture this is as a conveyor belt. The belt can only hold 100 MB at any time, but anything you place on that conveyor belt will consume space for 30 days from when you placed it.
This is often confusing and frustrating to podcasters. Even I have struggled sometimes to figure out whether I have enough space to upload an extra episode today, and then another episode in a few days.
This all changed for LibSyn in February, 2014, and Blubrry changes in August, 2014.
Limited: “fixed storage”
Some media hosts (like PodOmatic, Spreaker, and SoundCloud) will treat your storage as a regular web hosting company would and give you “fixed storage.” These plans are like hard drives; you can use the storage at any time, but once you fill it up, you need to delete stuff or upgrade.
This method is the easiest to understand because you can know that your limit never changes or resets. But this model can also be difficult for growth because you may eventually run out of space and have to remove old episodes if you can't afford to add more storage.
Crazy: “unlimited storage”
Amazon S3 and Rackspace CloudFiles are popular file hosts for much more than podcast media. These and similar companies will host as much as you give them, but they'll charge you for how much you store and how much it gets downloaded. The more you grow, the more expensive this gets.
Other companies, like one plan from SoundCloud, will offer unlimited storage but place limits on how much your media can be downloaded. This is fine for small audiences, even if you have a lot of content. But if you have a large audience and release a lot of content, you may hit these bandwidth limits every month.
This unlimited storage with limited bandwidth is like a speed limit to your podcast's growth (although actual download speeds aren't affected).
Easy: “monthly reset storage”
LibSyn's and Blubrry's new media hosting model, which I call “monthly reset storage,” is a lot easier to understand.
You can use your upload storage at any time within the calendar month; the storage will reset on the first day of each month. Your potential storage is unlimited, but you can only upload a limited amount per month.
If you pay for 100 MB per month, you can upload up to 100 MB at the beginning of the month or the end. It really doesn't matter because you'll get another 100 MB to use for the next calendar month. If today is the last day of the month, you could fill up the rest of your 100 MB today (even if it's for episodes you'll publish next month), and you'll get a new 100 MB of space to use starting tomorrow.
No matter how much of your upload limit you use, or when you use it, you get it all back on the first day of every month. It's like a glass that you can fill slowly or quickly throughout the month, but the glass gets emptied for new content every month. (Your old content will always remain accessible.)
This will be much easier to understand and manage. You will no longer have to schedule your uploads for just the right time and plan out how much storage you'll need in a week. It's now simple math.
Comparison of podcast media hosts
The other, popular podcast media hosts offer different storage methods. As of January, 2014, here's how each of them stack up.
- LibSyn offers “monthly reset storage” with unlimited bandwidth for fixed monthly fees.
- Blubrry will soon offer “monthly reset storage” with unlimited bandwidth for fixed monthly fees. They will also offer up to 25% of padding for when you need a little extra space near the end of your term.
- PodOmatic offers fixed storage with monthly bandwidth limits for fixed monthly fees.
- SoundCloud fixed and unlimited storage plans, based on minutes of audio (not file size), with unlimited bandwidth for fixed monthly fees.
- Spreaker offers fixed storage plans, based on minutes of audio (not file size), with unlimited bandwidth for fixed monthly fees.
- PodBean offers “monthly reset storage” with limited and unlimited bandwidth plans for fixed monthly fees.
- Amazon S3 and Rackspace CloudFiles offer unlimited storage with unlimited bandwidth for monthly fees based on how much storage and bandwidth you use.
- Standard web hosting companies (like BlueHost or HostGator) offer fixed storage with fixed bandwidth (even though they claim “unlimited”) for fixed monthly fees.
|LibSyn||Monthly reset||Unlimited||Fixed monthly|
|Blubrry||Monthly reset||Unlimited||Fixed monthly|
|PodOmatic||Fixed||Monthly limits||Free and fixed monthy or yearly|
|SoundCloud||Fixed or unlimited||Unlimited||Free and fixed monthly or yearly|
|Spreaker||Fixed||Unlimited||Free and fixed monthly or yearly|
|PodBean||Monthly reset||Limited or unlimited||Fixed monthly or yearly|
|Unlimited||Unlimited||Monthly, based on usage|
|Standard web hosting||Fixed||Limited||Fixed monthly|
Recommendation: Libsyn for simplicity
I think LibSyn continues to offer the storage best value and flexibility. They're also the only third-party company you can trust with your RSS feed if you don't use your own website's feed or don't have your own site.
You can use LibSyn to create your basic podcast site, power your RSS feed, and host your media.
LibSyn offers great stats, too, so you can see how many downloads each episode gets and how it is being downloaded.
If you want an Android or iOS app for your podcast, LibSyn provides great and affordable options.
Sign up for LibSyn podcast hosting with promo code “noodle” and you'll get your first month free for any plan!
Recommendation: Blubrry for control with WordPress
WordPress is my top recommendation for owning and controlling your own platform. Blubrry's media hosting give you the power to manage everything about your podcast feed—media hosting, RSS feed, posts, and even ID3 tags—all within WordPress.
Blubrry offers my favorite stats, so you can see how many downloads each episode gets and how it is being downloaded.
Sign up for Blubrry podcast hosting with promo code “noodle” and you'll get your first month free for any plan!
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