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
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!
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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