Podcast hosting can be a valuable asset, especially when you have a limited upload plan (as with most media hosts). When you fill up your monthly media upload limit, you still have a few options.
If your media host gives you an allotment of storage space (not podcast length, as Soundcloud and Spreaker do), then you can save some space by re-encoding your files at a different setting. You may not lose any noticeable quality, either!
Many podcasters will release their episodes with 128 kbps stereo audio. But most podcasts would be fine with 64 kbps mono audio. Encoding your file in mono will require only half the space, so this alone may be enough to fit your new episode in with the space you have.
You you host a video podcast, you could apply the same audio encoding to save some space, or you could reduce the framerate to 25 frames per second (FPS) instead of 30 (or the technical equivalents). With this small reduction, you can also reduce your mbps quality a little and still have a great picture.
You can also re-encode old episodes
Even if re-encoding your new episode doesn't make things fit, you could re-encode some of your other recent episodes and replace them on your media host. This will usually give you the saved space back.
LibSyn allows you to replace an existing media file with another, and it won't mess up your stats. If the new file is smaller than the previous one, you get that savings back in new space for uploading. But this will reset the “archive timer” on the episode, so it will be another 30 days before its space is available.
Blubrry hosting is similar, but you need to delete the old episode that you want to replace. Again, you won't lose your stats (as long as the file name is the same), but it will reset the “archive timer.” Soon, Blubrry will allow you to replace files instead of deleting and re-publishing.
2. Force “archive”
Some media hosts, such as LibSyn, will allow you to force “archive” episodes and buy back the space. Currently, this costs 10¢ per MB from LibSyn. But it can be an effective way of getting back some space you urgently need, when your other options aren't the best.
This will not change your media URL, break your stats, or remove the podcast from LibSyn's fast servers. It's mostly a label that will mean you can no longer just replace this file, and that it's old enough that you consider it among your archive.
Soundcloud will remove your old episodes when new episodes need the space. This means your old episodes cannot continue being downloaded.
3. Upgrade your storage
It may be a better value for you to upgrade your media hosting plan. This could be a short-term upgrade (LibSyn allows you to change plans on a monthly basis), or a long-term change to your billing.
I recommend a single-month upgrade if this is a rare occurrence. But if you have this problem frequently, then you need a bigger account.
4. Host your episode elsewhere
In very rare circumstances, when you don't think your episode will get more than a couple hundred downloads, you could consider hosting it somewhere else. This could be temporary or permanent, depending on your situation.
If your media host also provides your primary podcast statistics (like LibSyn), then you will completely miss these statistics for this episode. But if you use Blubrry stats, which attach to any media URL, then it doesn't matter where you host the media.
You could even consider moving old episodes to a different host. This would let you delete the episodes from your current media host and free up that space. But this may break download URLs if anyone linked directly to your file instead of to your shownotes.
This other “media host” could be your website server (if the files won't be in high demand), Amazon S3 or Rackspace Cloudfiles, or even archive.org.
Your final option could be the hardest, but is certainly the least expensive. Just wait.
Since many media hosts, such as LibSyn or Blubrry, give you a monthly upload allotment, it may only be a few hours or a couple days before you get enough space back that you can upload your new episode.
This may not always be practical, especially when you have a consistent publishing schedule upon which your audience may rely.
I've done all of these before
When I first switched to encoding audio episodes at 64 kbps mono, I could re-encode some olds and get half the space back. This is no longer an option for me as I know that my encoding choice is now optimal and I have nothing more I can squeeze.
Sometimes, when I need just a few more MB, I will pay LibSyn the 10¢/MB fee to force “archive” an old episode.
Right now, I recognize that I need to upgrade my media hosting because Once Upon a Time is back in season, so that means many more episodes every week, and we launched a new Once Upon a Time in Wonderland podcast, which will require more space on a weekly basis.
For my low-priority stuff, like my clean-comedy podcast, I will often host the media on my website server (a virtual private server (VPS), so I know my limits).
And when I'm close enough to a particular file automatically archiving, I may just wait up to one day in order to earn my space back.
What do you do?
How have you handled running out of media hosting space, or even bandwidth? What's the closest you've ever come to your limit?
Please comment and tell me about your experience!
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