how-to-publish-a-podcast

How to publish a podcast in 4 easy steps? (Beginners guide)

  1. Record, edit and save your podcast
  2. Choose a media host (like Podbean) which will store your files and serve them to listeners
  3. Get an RSS feed link from your host (a web feed allowing to access updates to online content)
  4. Submit your RSS link to directories where users search for and listen to their podcast

How a file should be formatted correctly before publishing a podcast?

Given the nature of how podcasts are being listened by most of the users (home, public transportation, in a car) and usually either on open speaker or lower quality earbuds and very often using wi-fi size of the file is most important. A great setting for your file which will also provide very good audio quality for your listeners are:

  • mono, 64 kbps MP3, constant bit rate (CBR), 44.1 kHz, 16 bit with a target loudness of -19 LUFS – this formatting will keep your 30 minutes recording below 15MB

Technical parameters, however, are not the only determining factor of your podcast audio quality. Extremely important are also:

How to format a stereo file podcast?

Optionally you can use stereo, 128 kbps MP3, CBR, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit with a target loudness of -16 LUFS formattings. This will increase your 30 minutes recording to below 30MB. When you are starting however this might not be necessary unless you have for example a music intro/outro requiring two channels or stereo effect is important for the type of podcast you are recording.

Why a podcast file should be small?

  • You have to think about the international audience as English is a universal language and you don’t want to cut down on your reach and potential revenue.
  • People listen on mobile devices. In 2017 over 70 percent of Americans who listen to podcasts primarily do so via mobile. The majority of global listeners also access their episodes from a mobile device.
  • Mobile devices have limited space. Many users have a limited amount of storage on their device and they may choose to keep their favorite photos instead of listening to you. You don’t want to force your listeners to choose. If you are not an established brand this can cause frustration and they might not come back to revisit your podcast.
  • Users have limited data plans. Again you don’t want users to consume all their bandwidth for your episodes. This can cause frustration, bad user experience, loss of listeners and hinder your start as a podcaster.

Choose a media host for your podcast

Can’t I host my podcast on my own website for which I’m already paying for?

No, although technically possible it is not advisable. It probably will violate terms of service. Website hosts prohibit using their storage as backups and repositories of large files. They are fine with accepting a lot of small text, image and media files but will not allow for serving large files to thousands of users of your podcast episodes. Their infrastructure isn’t fit to handle this workload and will provide bad user experience for your website visitors and to your podcast listeners. Eventually, this might get your site banned and terminate your contract with your provider.

So you can’t host your podcasts on your own website directly. However, there are other extremely important reasons why you should definitely have a website dedicated to your podcast. We have a great guide written about it: Podcast Website Marketing Guide – increase the number of listeners and improve monetization

A dedicated media hosting platforms come to the rescue.

Dedicated media hosts are specialized in storing large media files and serving them on a regular basis to thousands of users globally. The benefits of their specialized services are:

  • Sufficient storage limits / unlimited – ideal to host large amounts of your large media files
  • Sufficient bandwidth limits / unlimited – scaled correctly to large amounts of users downloading your content
  • Content Distribution Network (CDN) – a network of servers distributing content to your users based on their geographical proximity providing faster downloads and better user experience
  • Panels with analytics – data dashboards helping you to understand how the audience is interacting with your material thus helping with creative decisions and monetization
  • Optimized fields for directories – allowing you to configure your podcasts title, description, category, and cover image and optimize for relevant keywords
  • Audio players for the website – so you can easily embed a player with your episodes directly on your website
  • Your own podcast website (if you need one) – a great place to start building your brand and image
Relevant post:  Can I Use Music In My Podcast? Clear and Easy Answers

Are there free media hosts?

Yes, there are free hosts but such a business model is unreliable. To host large files and serve them to thousands of users requires a lot of resources. There have been cases of free hosting platforms shutting down and causing problems for authors. Avoid those solutions.

Additionally, free offers are basically a magnet for you to join a site and then upgrade to a paid plan, once their limited offer will no longer satisfy your needs and since you are already using their service an effort to switch might be too high.

Regardless if you would like to check free offers consider one of these two offers:

  • Podbean – free account allows you to upload 5 hours of content without additional restrictions. The monthly bandwidth limit is 100GB.
  • Buzzsprout – free account allows you to upload 2 hours of new content each month, which is hosted for 90 days (deleted afterward), so at once you can host up to 6 hours of content.

What is the cost of the media host?

Average prices for media hosting are between $5 and $20 depending on a number of episodes, size of episodes and number of downloads.

When your podcast becomes popular you may be forced to upgrade to more costly plans ranging up to $50 but at this level, you should slowly start monetizing your shows and cover for those costs.

Which media host is best for beginners?

The competition in this field is very large. There are dozens of offers on the market but below you can find top 5, thoroughly filtered, market reputable and reliable services. Choose one of them to start your podcasting. All of these providers include free dedicated to your podcast website and a lot of additional features depending on the final plan you are going to choose.


buzzsproutPodbeanBluBrryTransistorlibsyn
Podcast media host buzzsproutPodcast media host podbeanPodcast media host blubrryPodcast media host transistorPodcast media host libsyn
Free accountYesYesNoNoNo
File typesaudioaudio & videoaudio & videoaudioaudio & video
Price per month (for paid accounts)from $12from $9 (audio) or $29 (video)from $12from $19from $5
Storageunlimitedunlimitedfrom 100MBunlimitedfrom 50MB
Bandwidth per month250GB Bandwidthunlimitedunlimitedfrom 5,000 Downloadsunlimited
Bonus for a new account$20 Amazon gift card1st free month1st free month2-week trial

The number 1 recommendation is Podbean.

Top 5 reasons we are recommending it for starting are:

  1. Unlimited storage and bandwidth, so we don’t have to worry about those details and can focus on content creation
  2. Good and useful analytics helping to understand the performance of your content and help you with making creative decisions in the future
  3. Mobile application available for users and easy and reliable embeddable player for your website
  4. Monetization possibilities from the beginning with smoothly working ad solution and automatically being listed on Podbean directory (only available when you also have a Podbean hosting)
  5. Competitive pricing – for just $9 you receive a premium package of services which will satisfy all your needs when starting a podcast

What is the RSS feed link?

RSS feed link is a type of web feed which will allow podcasting directories like iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, etc. to access updates to your online content. This allows directories to keep track of many different content creators and allows also listeners to have quick and easy access to their favorite material. RSS feed allows services like iTunes to automatically check your podcast for new content, catalog it and display it to listeners using their services.

Where do I get the RSS feed link?

You will get your RSS link from your media host and you have to look into your account settings. Here are examples of how easily you can get your RSS feed link from top hosting providers:

  • Podbean – when logged into your account go to “Settings” then to “Feed/iTunes”.
    • The link will have this format: http://your_podcast.podbean.com/feed/
  • Buzzsprout – when logged into your account go to “iTunes & Directories” and then go to “RSS feed”
    • The link will have this format: https://www.buzzsprout.com/your_podcast.rss
  • BluBrry – when logged into your account go to “Podcast Settings” and then to “Hosting Settings”
    • The link will have this format: https://www.blubrry.com/feeds/your_podcast.xml

What is a podcast directory?

A podcast directory is simply a catalog of podcasts available to users on their music listening services like iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, etc.

Relevant post:  Implement Personas in Podcasting to get 80% more Business

There are an estimated 75 million podcast listeners in the United States in 2019, a number which is forecast to grow to around 132 million by 2022 and to get access to those users you need to submit your podcast to most popular directories. Like with media hosts there are dozens of directories but your podcast will be easiest found where there is a lot of users.

If you want to understand more podcasts’ listening audience (including their habits and annual income) you may like our article: Podcasting Demographics 2019 – Marketing Guide to Understanding Your Audience

What are the biggest podcast directories in 2019?

Currently, there are 5 directories with over 20 million active monthly mobile users where your podcast should be present, and those are:

  1. iTunes / Apple Podcast – 50 million Apple Music users with 5% monthly growth rate (while 1.3 billion of users globally has access to iOS devices with preinstalled iTunes)
  2. Spotify – 48 millions of users
  3. Pandora Radio – 37 millions of users (they have just launched their podcast directory in the fourth quarter of 2018)
  4. SoundCloud – 34 millions of users
  5. Google Play Music – 22 millions of users

If you want to find out more statistics about podcasting landscape we have a great article about it: Number of podcast listeners in 2019 & outlook for 2022

About the Author
Chris Land

Chris Land

I'm the owner and creator of ImprovePodcast.com, the site dedicated to providing actionable solutions for podcast creators. My goal is helping people to develop their podcasts into effective marketing and sales tools.

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Comments 2

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    The website loading speed is amazing. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece. You have done a fantastic job on this topic!

  2. Avatar

    Thanks for the information. Can you publish a bit more in-depth review of media hosting?
    What are the other factors I need to consider when choosing a media host for my podcast?

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