Podcast creator, come on down. You’re the next contestant on the Four Pillars of Podcasting! Not really, and if you thought that the beginning of this fourth and final pillar was actually about that type of “host”, let me apologize now. We’re talking about podcast hosting sites, not to be confused with a “podcast host”, someone who sits behind a microphone and hosts a show. In this article, we’ll be covering the best podcast hosting sites of 2022.
Podcast hosts are not the same as game show hosts or even television talk shows or late-night hosts. Podcast hosts aren’t going to announce special guest stars, grand prizes, or call you down to be the next superstar.
However, they are super important when it comes to getting your podcast out onto Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and all the other listening directories/apps. In fact, that’s exactly what podcast hosts do. They distribute your episodes.
*We review products independently and only write about products that we believe in and trust. If you signup or purchase anything from the links below, we may receive a small commission, at no extra charge to you.
Let the Countdown Begin
You’ve recorded, you’ve downloaded, you’ve bought and built, and edited, now it’s time to launch that first episode out into the ears and minds of waiting listeners everywhere. But, where do you begin? You choose a podcast hosting site of course. This is where you’ll upload your episodes and fire them off into the podcast universe.
Now, if you are thinking, “Great, I’ll upload my show to Spotify and Apple each week”, that isn’t going to work. Apps like Spotify, and Apple are not podcast hosts, they are directories. Podcast directories are where you listen to podcasts. Apple Podcasts and Spotify are the most popular directories for listening. Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Overcast, Audible, and Amazon Music also bring in a lot of listeners.
Think of a podcast hosting site as your distribution hub. Still, scratching your head? You could also think of your podcast host as the store stock person placing products on the shelves, and those shelves are your listening apps, like Stitcher, Apple, or iHeartRadio. This is where you’ll peruse the available products, which will represent your podcast.
You upload an episode to your host, and your host sends your episode to the various podcast directories you’ve selected, through what’s called an RSS feed. An RSS feed is an XML code that acts as the messenger between your podcast host and podcast directories. Stay tuned for more on RSS feeds in the coming weeks. There’s no need to complicate this for now.
Once you publish an episode in your podcast host, your host sends your RSS feed to the directories that you’ve opted to list your podcast. Next, the directories you’ve chosen intercept your RSS feed, approve your episode and make it available for listening and download on their platform. Your episode will go live on directories almost instantly after you’ve hit publish in your host.
To put it simply, an RSS feed creates an automated process to syndicate your podcast.
Analytics Provided By Podcast Hosts
Your podcast hosting site is where you’ll see your download numbers and listening demographics across all podcast directories. Podcast analytics are the catalyst you’ll use to make the decisions that will grow your show. Tracking your best-performing episodes and listener demographics will give you insight into what is working with your podcast.
Podcast hosting sites offer different tools and analytical breakdowns. Not all of them provide the same type of data.
Here are some analytical tools you may want to look for when choosing your podcast host:
- Total Downloads
- Total Downloads Per Episode
- Number of Unique Downloads
- Downloads Per Directory
- Location of Listeners
- Which Device Was Used to Download Episodes
The Best Podcast Hosting Sites of 2022
Castos, “Gives you the tools to grow your audience and connect with your community”. With Castos you can publish unlimited episodes regardless of which plan you choose. Users can record longer episodes, or launch a second show without hitting a storage limit. Their free WordPress plug-in enables podcasters to create and manage episodes from within their WordPress dashboard. Also, Castos’ easy-to-read analytical insights give podcasters the data they need to increase engagement and pitch sponsors.
Looking to repurpose your content? With their YouTube Republishing, you can automatically convert your audio podcasts to video, and auto-publish them to your YouTube channel. YouTube is the world’s 2nd biggest search engine, so this feature will significantly boost your podcast’s SEO.
All these features make Castos one of our favorite podcast hosting sites of 2022.
Boasting that it will host podcasts from beginner to professional, Podbean allows its users to create, monetize and promote their podcasts. Starting with their free plan, users have the ability to host up to 500MB, or five hours’ worth of storage space per month. The free avenue allows users the basics of analytics. Podbean’s higher-end plans offer unlimited storage, unmetered bandwidth, and depending on which plan you go with they do bill annually for a cheaper rate, or monthly at a higher rate.
One thing that sets Podbean apart is its live stream feature. Podcasters can set up a high-quality audio live stream, quickly, with call-in options. You can even sell virtual tickets to your stream.
Omny Studio is one of the most advanced podcast hosting sites around. Like all hosting sites, with Omny Studio you can effortlessly publish episodes to all the main directories, transcribe episodes, and generate revenue from a variety of monetization options. But, that’s just the half of it.
Their coolest feature is their built-in audio capture system. You can record high-quality audio directly into their website, similar to Riverside.fm, or Squadcast. Recorded files are securely stored on their cloud storage system.
Also unique to Omny Studio is its editing feature. You can edit your podcast audio, on their site, right in your web browser. There’s no software to install, and you can dynamically insert ad markers.
If all these features sound like overkill, they might be. Omny Studio is geared more toward enterprise level podcasters and people who podcast for a living. It’s a pricier option.
The OG of podcast hosting. Libsyn starts with a monthly storage of 50MB for $5 a month, and travels all the way up to 3,000MB at a deal of $150 a month. Libsyn offers you six different plans, with advanced tools and the ability to monetize.
Libsyn’s features include a variety of statistics to better see how your episodes are performing, with stats that narrow the demographics down to days, weeks, and months. You’ll be able to see where your podcast is performing the best geographically, and on what platforms it is downloaded the most. This will be beneficial to you when it comes to marketing.
You’ll have access to an unlimited audience, directory listings, app listings, and comments that can be switched on and off per episode.
Not sure which podcast to use, try Simplecast and their free 14-day trial. They give podcasts of all “shapes and sizes” the ability to use the same tools as the leading brands already out there. With basic analytics, unlimited storage, and uploads, Simplecast starts with a basic package that’s $15 a month. Their two other plans increase in features and range from $35 a month to $85 a month, all with the ability to purchase a plan annually at a lower cost.
“Upload and distribute with one click”. Covering directories like Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Apple Podcasts, Spreaker as a podcast host, offers you several plans from free, to $120 a month. If you love those statistics, you’ll want to go with their midgrade plan at $20 a month. This seems to be the most popular plan.
Not to be outdone, Spreaker actually has a really cool monetization system. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, Spreaker will set you up to be able to monetize your first episode, regardless of the size of your audience. What’s even cooler is that you don’t have to go and find sponsors, Spreaker will do that for you. Sure, you might only make a few cents starting out, but you will have officially monetized your show and you’ll be stoked about the momentum you’re building.
Oh, and they also have a recording app built into their website. https://www.spreaker.com/podcast-recording-software
Which Host Is Right For You?
Whichever podcast host you go with, be it one of these choices or another you have found, be sure to research what they offer and compare that with your needs. You have put a lot of work into your podcast, do not let it fall by the wayside by using less than your podcast requires.