There are over 100 companies offering podcast hosting services worldwide, so the decision and process regarding how to choose a podcast hosting are not simple.
Given many different functionalities, providers offer it might be challenging to compare and make a decision just looking at their website and comparing pricing and few purposefully highlighted features.
On top of that, there are free hosting accounts and even providers offering all unlimited offers, that lure beginners and additionally complicate comparison. Because, how can you easily compare a provider that has a free account and few paid options to a podcast hosting that gives everything for free.
Let’s quickly analyze what steps you should follow when deciding how to choose a podcast hosting that will best suit your need.
Detailed Comparison of Podcast Hostings
I actually already prepared a detailed comparison of best podcast hosting providers and their offers, and I have my definite favorites. Go to that article if you are looking for a high level of detail. I won’t repeat all of them in this post.
Here I will focus on a few scenarios and check how to choose a podcast hosting in very specific situations.
Understand and Define Your Requirements
If you don’t analyze what you need, you will end up with a podcast hosting provider that has the best marketing, most beautiful website, or simply that was recommended by a friend or someone random online.
There are many things you will want to analyze, but few things definitely stand out.
To make a good decision regarding how to choose a podcast hosting, here are a few questions you need to answer yourself:
- How much content will you produce?
- How fast will your audience grow?
- Do you want to monetize with the help of your podcast hosting?
- How many analytics features do you need for your show?
- Do you need a good podcast player for your website?
- Usually, how often do you use tech support?
Let’s try to work out how to find answers to those 6 questions.
1. How much content will you produce? Assess your Storage Requirements
What impacts how much storage do you need for your podcast?
- Frequency of publishing – to have a successful podcast, you should publish a new episode once a week. When you have shorter episodes, you can publish more often. In most cases, 52 hours of new audio content per year should be sufficient for most creators.
- Length of your episodes – your episode should be between 10 and 60 minutes, depending on the type of content you create.
- Mono or stereo format of your episodes – stere episodes occupy double the amount of storage required for mono episodes, as you save separate tracks for each channel.
If you are analyzing how to choose a podcast hosting, you need to review the amount of space for your show that you will need. Below you have a calculation of storage, hours, and bandwidth requirements, such as publishing schedule.
How much storage do you need for a podcast?
|Episodes per week||Length of an episode||Length of an episode||Yearly GB of mono storage||Yearly GB of stereo storage|
|1 episode||15 minutes||13 hours||0.38 GB||0.76 GB|
|30 minutes||26 hours||0.76 GB||1.52 GB|
|60 minutes||52 hours||1.52 GB||3.04 GB|
|2 episodes||15 minutes||26 hours||0.76 GB||1.52 GB|
|30 minutes||52 hours||1.52 GB||3.04 GB|
|60 minutes||104 hours||3.04 GB||6.09 GB|
|3 episodes||15 minutes||39 hours||1.14 GB||2.28 GB|
|30 minutes||78 hours||2.28 GB||4.57 GB|
|60 minutes||156 hours||4.57 GB||9.14 GB|
|4 episodes||15 minutes||52 hours||1.52 GB||3.04 GB|
|30 minutes||104 hours||3.04 GB||6.09 GB|
|60 minutes||208 hours||6.09 GB||12.1 GB|
|5 episodes||15 minutes||65 hours||1.90 GB||3.80 GB|
|30 minutes||130 hours||3.80 GB||7.61 GB|
|60 minutes||260 hours||7.61 GB||15.2 GB|
|6 episodes||15 minutes||78 hours||2.28 GB||4.57 GB|
|30 minutes||156 hours||4.57 GB||9.14 GB|
|60 minutes||312 hours||9.14 GB||18.2 GB|
|7 episodes||15 minutes||91 hours||2.66 GB||5.33 GB|
|30 minutes||182 hours||5.33 GB||10.6 GB|
|60 minutes||364 hours||10.6 GB||21.3 GB|
Check exactly how much do you need and avoid overpaying.
Most podcasters will require between 26 hours and 104 hours of additional storage per year.
2. How fast will your audience grow? Assess your Bandwidth Requirements
What impacts your bandwidth requirements?
- A number of episodes – in many cases, podcast hosting count downloads so more episodes will mean more downloads in the case of the same audience size.
- A number of listeners at the start and their growth
In some cases, hosts give you unlimited storage, but their accounts differ in the number of downloads they will serve during a month. So when considering how to choose a podcast hosting, you need to make a quick estimate of your audience’s initial size. Try also to estimate how fast your audience will grow. With a successful show, you can quickly reach more than 10,000 downloads per episode.
What are realistic listeners’ estimates at the start?
If you already have an engaged mailing list, you can assume that you can convert between 5% to 20% of people who open your emails to join your podcast. For example, with a 10,000 subscribers large mailing list, and an average open rate of 20% (2,000 emails opened), you can probably reach between 100 to 400 downloads per episode, without any additional marketing.
For a new show without an established audience, it is possible that you will have below 500 downloads per episode at the start.
If you have a website that gets 100,000 organic visits from Google, you can probably convert between 0.5% to 1% of those visitors into listeners with simple banners. That could give you an additional 500 to 1,000 listeners.
With a focused podcast marketing launch campaign, you can find anywhere between 2,000 to 5,000 listeners at the start, although obviously here, the only limitation is your budget.
For benchmarking, established top shows get on average:
- >5,800 downloads for shows in the top 10% of podcasts,
- >14,000 downloads for shows in the top 5% of podcasts,
- >41,000 downloads for shows in the top 2% of podcasts,
- >88,000 downloads for shows in the top 1% of podcasts.
Most shows won’t reach 5,000 downloads per episode in their first year, without focused marketing.
3. Do you want to monetize with the help of your podcast hosting?
You can monetize your show in many different ways. I’ve discussed them already in detail in a dedicated guide on how to make money podcasting.
Some podcast hostings offer few basic monetization options. In most cases, this should not be a deciding factor, as there are many more and profitable ways to monetize your show. But in some cases, when you are really busy and want some options available, a few podcast hostings offer them.
There are 3 monetization options offered by hostings that are worth considering.
The most popular form of monetization offered by hosting providers are auto inserted ads. In this case, your podcast hosting works just like a podcasting network. Sometimes it might be simpler to get ads this way than joining a podcasting network, and this is the most valuable option for monetization using your podcast hosting.
Patronage / Donation Program
Some podcast hostings offer a way for your listeners to donate to you directly from a listening app. The idea is very similar to having a monetization strategy with Patreon, and in most cases, using Patreon would be better for most podcasters who choose this option.
Host Read Ads
Some podcast hostings offer a form of affiliate marketplace, or they might directly link you with a potential sponsor.
This doesn’t work smoothly, and in most cases, it makes the most sense to look for a potential podcast sponsor on your own.
4. How many analytics features do you need for your show?
Only through tracking and analyzing the success of your episodes will you know how to grow and develop your podcast.
In this detailed post, I’ve already described over 55 different metrics on how you can measure your show’s success and performance.
When analyzing how to choose a podcast hosting check if the provider you like is offering:
- Number of Unique Downloads
- Downloads per episode
- Number of Downloads Month over Month
- Number of Subscribers
- Subscribers Month over Month
- Subscriber and Listener Locations
- Subscriber and Listener Locations by City and Top Cities
- Top Episodes
- Listens by Source
- User Agents
- Downloads by Time of Day
- User Retention
- Sources of traffic
For more details on what kind of insights and benefits you will get from this data, I again encourage you to visit the post on podcasting metrics, where they are all explained.
Some of the recommended hosts from the analytics perspective are buzzsprout, Transistor, Captivate, Audioboom, PodServe.fm, Fireside, Podbean, Castos, and BluBrry.
5. Do you need a good podcast player for your website?
First of all, I strongly recommend you set up a website for your podcast. It will help you get discovered in Google and will build you a bigger audience over time.
Some podcast hostings also offer a free website in the package. Most hosts usually provide this, but you should skip it and set up an independent site.
When it comes to players, all of the media hosts offer embeddable players.
If you are looking for some of the best website players, you can find them provided by buzzsprout, Podbean, BluBrry, libsyn, Castos.
6. Usually, how often do you use tech support?
Finally, we have reached a point concerning tech support. Unfortunately, sometimes there comes a moment when we all need to contact tech support when an issue with our show comes up.
In most cases, 24/7 mail or chat service should be enough for most people.
If you are a person that prefers phone contact, look for hosting that gives you an option to contact them over the phone. Phone service usually costs a bit more, so you need to be prepared for a bit more expensive plan than average.
My final recommendation
My recommendation for you if you are wondering how to choose a podcast hosting is actually to pick one of the offers from my overall top 10 recommended hosts.
Hostings on the list meet all the criteria that I have mentioned in this post, i.e.
- Have a good amount of hosting hours and storage for your show,
- Will server high amount of downloads when your podcast grows and increases in popularity,
- Supports few monetization channels,
- Provide a lot of useful analytics,
- Offer good quality player for your website,
- Offer a good level of customer support.
|TOP||Podcast Host||Score||Register here with a bonus (if available)|
|1||Podbean||9.9||30 days free|
|2||BluBrry||9.3||30 days free|
|3||Spreaker||9.3||none – but it’s still good|
|4||buzzsprout||8.9||$20 Amazon gift card|
|5||Castos||8.9||14 days free|
|7||Captivate||8.7||7 days free|
|8||Transistor||8.7||14 days free|
|9||Podigee||8.7||14 days free|
|10||Fireside||8.6||14 days free|
Out of over 100 podcast hosting providers on the market, you can easily find an offer that will work for you best if you know exactly what you need.
You need to evaluate your needs.
Don’t go comparing offers before you understand how many functionalities you will require. The more features are being provided, the more you will have to pay.
Also, avoid free hostings. I know that free sounds exciting and like a great decision, but in truth, the quality of service is usually below that provided by paid hostings.
If you are looking for a detailed comparison of podcast hostings, check this review.
Which podcast hosting meets your needs the best?