Why you may WANT to host your own podcast RSS feed

What-Is-Podcasting-RSS

Should you really let Google or a third-party company host your podcast RSS feed? Or should you be hosting it yourself with WordPress and PowerPress?

This post is a followup and counter to my previous post, “Why you may NOT want to host your own podcast RSS feed.”

Where you host your podcast feed is one of the most-debated topics among podcasters. One thing is absolutely true, you must own your feed.

Some podcasters will tell you that owning your feed means hosting it on your own server and you risk stability issues. Others will say that you should host with a third party that gives you

Here are three reasons why you may want to host your own podcast RSS feed on your own server.

1. Full ownership

When your podcast RSS feed is on your own domain, you fully own it. You can transfer it to another domain, use whatever software you want to create it, or redirect to anywhere else.

You’re never at risk of another company shutting down their service (there have been rumors of FeedBurner’s demise for many years) because you own your feed, not them.

And if you’re ever dissatisfied with the performance of your feed on your server, you can take it anywhere else that you want for better results.

2. Total control

Hosting your podcast feed on your server opens up a world of possibilities for how you generate and manage that feed. You can do anything you want with it.

Your total control of your RSS feed let’s you change media hosting as fast as a find and replace tool (PowerPress has a great one built in). You can also integrate any stats provider you wish.

When new RSS features become standards (like Apple’s Podcasts app for iOS’s supporting the <itunes:image> tag on the episode level), it’s easy to implement in your own feed.

You can change, add, or remove anything you want when you create and host your own RSS feed. And all of this can be with powerful self-hosting tools (like WordPress with PowerPress) that don’t require you to know anything about RSS or XML.

3. Simple workflow

You should already have a platform for your podcast on a self-hosted website you own and control. I highly recommend WordPress hosted on either BlueHost or WP Engine.

As your platform, this should be the home for your content. If you use well-designed tools like WordPress and PowerPress, then this platform can also be the tool to create your podcast RSS feed. But it’s not complicated.

A podcasting plugin like PowerPress allow you to continue your regular, familiar workflow of blogging with WordPress, and then add a simple extra step to turn a blog post into a podcast episode.

This means your platform is where you create your blog, sell your products and services, engage with your community, and create your podcast RSS feed without much extra work. It’s all coming from a single website so you can manage everything in one place.

Some media-hosting companies, like LibSyn, offer the ability to cross-post from the LibSyn feed to your WordPress site (called “OnPublish”). But I’m not a fan of this because it misses out on all the power that WordPress provides—SEO, automation, rich show notes, and more. LibSyn’s “OnPublish” feature isn’t bad, but it’s not ideal for leveraging all of the features of your WordPress site. This would also mean you have to write your episode titles and show notes somewhere else from where you’re used to writing.

If you want the most simple workflow with your WordPress site, then consider using Blubrry media hosting. This allows you to not only create your text in WordPress, but also upload your media directly through WordPress, manage your episodes, and even automatically add ID3 tags!

4. Extendability

When your feed comes from your own platform, it’s also very easy to launch additional podcasts or offer additional feeds for the same podcast. Other hosts, like LibSyn, do provide these features, but usually at extra costs.

If you use your website to create your podcast feed, then you can use a single media hosting account, but use PowerPress to give you multiple podcast feeds. For example, you could have one account with LibSyn, but use PowerPress to create an audio edition and video edition of your podcast, each with their own RSS feeds.

Or you could use the same media hosting to power multiple podcasts, either coming from a single website or from multiple websites. You don’t easily get that kind of extendability with the feed coming from a media host. (Yes, you can sometimes generate additional category feeds, but then you have to use FeedBurner to adjust that feed for your needs.)


Hosting your own RSS feed isn’t for everyone, so also consider why you may not want to do it yourself.

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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.

18 comments on Why you may WANT to host your own podcast RSS feed

  1. Ron says:

    I agree with most everything you said here on hosting your own RSS feed. I decided on a hybrid of Libsyn and WordPress to do mine. I made this change about two weeks ago and the jury is still out. iTunes continues to pull from my feedburner feed, but thanks to the kind folks at Libsyn that soon will change as well. I will let you know how it goes.

  2. Chuck says:

    So I assume you would use Libsyn to host just your file, using the upload file option and not creating a new show in Libsyn. Then you would use the direct link and paste that into PowerPress to create your feed when that post was published in WordPress? So if you are creating an RSS feed with a link, is it really necessary to create ID3 tags for the file. I know that Bluburry creates those directly if you use their service, but since iTunes pulls the show info off the RSS feed why do you need to also creat ID3 tags?

    1. Yes, that’s essentially the process. But I recommend that you upload to LibSyn as a post with at least your episode title instead of “for download only.” This gives you more exposure in the LibSyn apps and directory.

      ID3 tags are still necessary as there are many apps that still use the ID3 instead of RSS for episodic information. iTunes is actually one of them. iTunes 11 will pull your podcast cover art for each episode from the ID3 tags, not from the RSS feed.

  3. I’ve been struggling over this one Daniel, I must admit. I’ve been doing a daily podcast which I’ve now added a video podcasting element to using Google Hangouts. It’s not supposed to be my main podcast but more of an inspiration daily but it began consuming my life. I was inspired by what Pat Flynn was doing with his Ask Pat podcast and so I was happy using the Smart Podcast Player using Soundcloud, but the issue is which feed to give to iTunes. Creating a blog post daily was taking over my life and I understand that if I just do short show notes, it will impact my SEO. At least for this shorter daily podcast, I’m thinking of switching to using my Soundcloud feed and the nice folks at iTunes have offered to help me.

    1. Not having _any_ post on your site will hurt your SEO more than having a minimal post. The Soundcloud feed is almost the worst feed to give iTunes.
      If your show is already in iTunes, then you need to place a 301 redirect, not have the iTunes staff change your feed. If they change it for you, that won’t affect your current subscribers.

      1. Point taken Daniel. iTunes have just come back to me to show me how to update my feed. I will stick with your expert advice though I’m trying to cut down on the amount of work … like adding posts to my blog. But like I said, I hear you! 🙂 BTW, I see the link to purchase your icons is fixed. Looking forward to adding them to my site.

  4. sempei13 says:

    You forgot one (I don’t know how I missed this episode, so I’ll listen to make sure you didn’t say it). I have four audio podcasts and 5 video podcasts. I use PowerPress to create my feeds so I can use one libsyn account as a media host and not a blog (I don’t even get how what they give you is all that helpful) or a feed generator.

    I don’t want 4 libsyn accounts to host all my shows. They all fit in one account. If I went with the $5 plan, I’d be paying $20/month, but now I use the $12 account AND I get basic stats.

    I’ve got separate video hosing through my live-streaming host, so that’s covered.

    Rob Walch seems VERY insistent that no one should ever have their own feed. As a libsyn employee, I get where he’s coming from. Someone with a single podcast might be able to get away with one account, but I just can’t. The extra pays for my web hosting and since I’m not making a ton of $$ right now every bit counts.

    Paul Alan Clifford
    TrinityDigitalMedia.com and
    ChurchTechCast.com

    1. I did kind of already mention that, but I think it’s worth expanding into a full point. Thus, I updated the post.

      1. Hey Daniel, regarding the capability to host multiple podcasts from multiple sites with 1 Blubrry or Libsyn account, is that basically ignoring how they try to get you to set it up?

        So, I’d use some generic or company name for the ‘show’ and then dump the audio files for multiple podcasts in that same ‘show’ area, but my individual sites and RSS feeds would point only to the particular files/episodes for that show?

        If that’s the case, are there any gotchas aside from probably not appearing properly in that particular companies’ media directory? I suppose it’s more straight-forward to just buy two base accounts… but I’m curious. 🙂

        (I’m also guessing you could host audio files there that weren’t available via an RSS feed if you don’t let their RSS feed building tools add those files… that might be useful for adding an audio file to an e-commerce system, if you aren’t using all the storage for podcast episodes… and that’s probably better than putting them on the web server.)

        1. Yes, if you use a media host without using their RSS feed, you can generate your own separate feeds with PowerPress.

          The main disadvantage is that all your stats will be mixed.

          I don’t recommend using media hosts to store digital products. That might even be a violation of their terms of service.

          1. Thanks Daniel, good points. I’ll use separate accounts, knowing this, but initially was thinking that the plan would have plenty of space for multiple uses, but hadn’t realized these downsides.

            Also, good point on the ToS. I’m aware of places like Vimeo to host out video files (for purchase, etc.), which is the bulk of the data size, but are you aware of any services that do this kind of thing for audio files (or other generic big files)?

            Using website hosting space is expensive (and not technically specialized for it), and might also break ToS. Services like Dropbox and Media Fire exist, but then you don’t get domain-related links (if you want that), and there are also daily download caps (at least on Dropbox). There must be some file-hosting solution built for this (aside from Amazon S3 or such, which are too complex for most users to use directly).

            I’ve done some searching, and have yet to find a good solution.

          2. You could consider renting your own VPS and using it only for file storage.

          3. Yea, that’s true, though it might end up costing more than something like Amazon S3, and isn’t as specialized for doing so. That’s kind of where I came from, actually, as I had TBs of space available to me on a friends monster-server (which is going away). It wasn’t optimized for that particular job or incredibly speedy (in terms of CDN-like) distribution, but it got the job done. I’ve looked at VPS, etc. but there are typically pretty low transfer caps and/or low storage. I’d probably look into co-lo at some point, I suppose.

            I’m just kind of amazed that services dedicated towards that don’t seem to be more prevalent. 🙂 I guess Amazon S3, but that’s pricier than I had anticipated… I need a Vimeo/YouTube like service for audio/other file types. I’m not sure why video (and podcasting) seem to be the only well-priced solutions in terms of storage/transfer.

  5. Ted Friedli says:

    Do you have any updates on this information?

    1. I think it still stands. Are you looking for an update on a particular thing?

      1. Ted Friedli says:

        I am just getting started in podcasting, and find myself in the education process at the moment. I am trying to gather as much current knowledge as possible.
        Everything from microphones to publishing.
        Thank you!

        1. I think the information is still correct. No matter what, you need to own your RSS feed. How you generate that depends on the tools you prefer to use.

  6. Paul says:

    This is some great information. I am currently researching on if it is plausible and worthwhile FULLY hosting my own podcast. What I mean by fully is having my own web server at home, that will serve the blog to port 443 and also host all of the MP3s and the RSS feed.

    I cannot find much info online about anyone actually doing this which surprises me as this would give you (to use your words from this article) complete control over your content and not have to pay a penny more.

    Do you have any opinion on fully hosting a podcast?

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