The 9 Best Podcast Hosting Platforms in 2021

Podcasts are continuously growing in popularity. It doesn’t matter what niche you are in, there is probably a podcast surrounding it.

We all know how important it is to be on the first page of the rankings, but it can be challenging to land here if your show doesn’t have many downloads every day.

But podcast hosting can be tedious. With iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Podbean, it’s hard to know which is the best platform for your podcast and how to gather more traction.

This article will give you an inside look into the best podcast hosting platforms that might take your show to that number 1 position.

What is Podcast Hosting Software?

A podcast is a free on-demand digital audio or video file download that accompanies some media outlets. There are many types of podcasts, which you can listen to on basically any mobile phone, computer, or tablet device (also on televisions via apps like Apple TV).

Podcast hosting software makes it easier for anyone to start a podcast by putting all the necessary tools into one software platform designed specifically for podcasters. The best podcast hosting services host, secure, deliver, edit, and even monetize your podcast episodes.

It’s a service where your audio podcast episodes are hosted for you so that users can find them on the Internet. This means that as a podcaster, you’ll have a single place to upload your audio files rather than storing them all on your own web server.

What Features to Look For in a Podcast Hosting Platform?

Whether you’re an existing podcaster or just thinking about getting into the podcast game, what you need in your podcast host will directly relate to your style of show and how much help you’ll need when it comes to actually getting the episodes up online.

I did some homework and came up with a list of essential requirements to consider while picking a podcast hosting software.

  1. Bandwidth and Storage Capacity – Opt for the platform and pricing version that aligns with your storage and bandwidth requirements. What I mean by this is that your podcasts can be 2 hours long or 5 minutes long, have 10 subscribers or 3k – they all have different needs.

For instance, if you produce many lengthy episodes, then go for an option that provides high storage in your budget. Similarly, if your podcasts get downloaded a lot, it’s best to go with options that offer high bandwidth.

  1. A Website for Your Podcast – When you publish a podcast, it’s very important to build your own website to create a brand name. If you have a website, people are going to invite you as guests on their shows, link to you, and spread the word.
  2. Podcast Monetization Options – Do you want to collaborate with advertisers and bag sponsorship deals for your podcast? Or add a store where listeners can donate money but get something in return? Or maybe just create membership tiers to give access only to private members? If you want to do this, make sure to consider the options that allow podcast monetization.
  3. Podcast Analytics – Advanced analytics help you understand how your podcasts are performing at a granular level. Statistical reports also help you identify the sources of explosive growth, so you can replicate them and scale your podcasting business.

Editor’s note: I’m going to use some affiliate links when possible to try to earn some revenue from my content. These don’t change the opinions espoused in the content nor the style in which they are written. If I think a product sucks, I’m not going to say otherwise. This is just a bonus and a way to fund the whole operation. Anyway, enjoy the article!

Podcast Hosting Platforms Comparison Table

Freemium Plan Starting Price (Monthly) Storage (with the base plan) Monthly Downloads (with the base plan) Built-in Monetization Options
Simplecast No (14-day free trial) $15/mo Unlimited 20,000/mo No
Buzzsprout Yes $12/mo Unlimited 250GB/mo Yes
Spreaker No $7/mo 100-hour audio storage Unlimited Yes
Transistor No (14-day free trial) $19/mo 15,000/mo No
PodBean Yes $9/mo Unlimited Unlimited Yes
Libsyn No $5/mo 50MB/mo Unlimited Yes
Blubrry No (30-day free trial) 12/mo 100MB/mo Unlimited Yes
Captivate No (7-day free trial) $17/mo Unlimited 12,000/mo Yes
Castos No (14-day free trial) $19/mo Unlimited Unlimited No

The 9 Best Podcast Hosting Sites and Tools in 2021

Here’s my list of the best podcast hosting platforms:

1. Simplecast

Best For: Beginners, small and mid-sized businesses, and even large enterprises.

G2 Score: 4.1

Simplecast makes it easier than ever for you to broadcast your show to the world. Whether you’re starting from scratch or importing a show from another platform – they’ve got you covered.

Simplecast is a podcasting platform that simplifies the whole process of recording, editing, and sharing your audio. It also offers a number of audio and video advertising features that you can use to promote your podcast.

You’ll be prompted to add your podcast details initially, including the title, description, uploading the show artwork, publishing time zone, categorization, author, show owner, and more.

The next step would be to upload your episodes. You can either drag and drop the audio file or browse it in your system. Simplecast supports several file types, including MP3, WAV, and M4A. Audio files will be encoded up to 128kbps MP3s, and the file size cannot exceed 1GB.

You’ll also get prompted to upload episode’s art, search keywords, contributors, title, title, episode URL, and more.

Everything moves in a streamlined, step-by-step manner. You just have to keep adding details and upload files one after another.

You can schedule or publish your episode when you’re done adding all the podcast details and files.

Your final podcast will appear something like this.

This is the homepage for Omniscient Digital’s podcast. And since Omniscient Digital uses Simplecast to host their podcast The Long Game, it’s safe to say that using the platform is a breeze.

Simplecast also has a handful of podcast promotion features.

For starters, you’ll get a short link to share your episode. When shared, it will automatically embed a web player on Medium, WordPress, Twitter, and many other popular sites. You can also use a custom timestamp to share at the exact point you want someone to hear.

Then there’s Recast, Simplecast’s social sharing and discovery tool that makes it easy for you to create short audio clips from the podcast and share them on your social media pages, blogs, and even messaging platforms like iMessage and Slack.

You can also add a transcript to your Episode that will display on your Simplecast site. But you have to add the transcripts manually – there’s no advanced tool to automate this process.

All in all, Simplecast is an easy-to-use and simple podcast hosting platform perfectly suitable for a beginner.

Coming to the statistics and analytics, it provides access to “the Audience Overview” with at-a-glance analytics you need to start understanding your show’s performance. You’ll get access to stats based on downloads, unique listeners, location, web players, etc.

Cons:

  • It lacks an automatic subtitles feature.
  • There have been some complaints regarding the delay in live broadcasting.

Pricing:

Starts at $15 per month for two team member seats, unlimited storage & uploads, basic analytics, embeddable episode web player, etc. It also offers a 14-day free trial.

2. Buzzsprout

Best For: Beginners and mid-sized businesses; and for creating high-quality podcast episodes.

G2 Score: 4.7

Buzzsprout is a podcasting hosting application that lets you upload, edit, publish and analyze your audio files.

The dashboard is pretty neat, and it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to get your way around it.

To upload a new episode, you can either drag and drop your audio file or choose a file from your system to upload. You need to upload a file with the extension .wav or .mp3.

There are tons of advanced features as well to make your podcasting experience optimized.

Take Buzzsprout’s Magic Mastering feature, for instance.

The built-in Magic Mastering tool helps with loudness correction and audio sweetening. It takes the audio you have and makes it better, making your episodes sound crisp, clear, and aligned with industry best practices for overall loudness.

Then there’s the “Dynamic Content” feature that lets you add and remove pre-roll and post-roll segments to and from your podcast episodes.

It also gives you an option between two players: separate players for each episode or multiple episodes in one player.

Another key selling point is a free podcast website where you can embed your episodes. You can set the color and background of your choice and add your social media links to the site.

However, it’s going to be a simple site. You’re better off creating a site on your own if you require a fancier podcast site.

It also helps you distribute your podcast to almost every major podcast directory directly from the dashboard. Popular directory options include Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Deezer, and more.

Once listed in Apple Podcasts, your podcast will automatically be available in popular podcast apps, including Overcast, Castro, Castbox, and Podfried.

Buzzsprout even helps you with podcast monetization. And if that’s not enough, you have three options to monetize your podcast.

For starters, Buzzsprout partners with Podcorn to help you find suitable sponsors for your podcast. If you already have sponsors, they’ll automatically keep track of everything and add them to your episodes when mentioned.

In addition, Buzzsprout has a built-in affiliate program in its marketplace and even lets you add a link to your payment, membership, donation, Patreon, etc., to the description of every episode.

Buzzsprout’s Chapter Markets is another one of its key features. Chapter markers are built into the player to allow the viewer to skip forward to specific parts of your podcast.

This feature also helps listeners skip to see what’s coming next and skip spoilers.

Other key features include:

  • Advanced stats, including metrics like total downloads over time, directories people are using to listen to your podcast, etc.
  • Automatic episode optimization (ID3 tags, bitrates, filetypes).
  • Transcription integration.
  • The ability to create multiple podcasts under one account.
  • Set up a visual soundbite (audiogram) that matches your brand.

Cons:

  • Episode transcription comes with an additional cost of $0.25 per minute.

Pricing:

Starts at $12 per month and lets you upload 3 hours of audio per month. You’ll have to pay $4 per hour to upload more content. There’s also a free plan that enables you to upload 2 hours of audio each month.

3. Spreaker

Best For: Podcast recording and editing for all types of businesses.

G2 Score: 3.7

Spreaker is a one-stop shop for podcast creation, hosting, promotion, monetization, and even distribution. It’s actually one of the few podcast hosting platforms that also provide native podcast monetization services.

It enables podcast monetization through Patreon, dynamic ad insertion, built-in programmatic, and marketplace.

One of its key selling points is the “Spreaker Studio” that lets you record and publish your episodes from anywhere you want.

You can do it with the click of a button and even adjust the sound with features like audio ducking and mic controls.

The Spreaker Studio eliminates the need to get a separate app for podcast recording.

Spreaker also has a CMS to help you manage seasons and label and sort your episodes into different seasons.

Coming to Podcast promotion, Spreaker partners with AdHub and uses dynamic advertising technology to automatically insert your advertisement into different podcasts. This means that you don’t need to collaborate with third-party ad agencies to reach potential listeners.

Not just your podcast, it’s a great way of promoting your business as well.

What’s more, Spreaker lets you enable auto-sharing in your podcast’s settings so that every time you publish a new episode, it gets automatically shared to your connected social networks.

Other key features include:

  • The ability to trim and crop your recordings directly into the app.
  • Live podcast recording and chatting with listeners in Spreaker Studio.
  • Skype podcast recording.
  • One-tap podcast distribution (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Podcast Network, Google Podcasts, and more).
  • Podcast software is available for desktop and mobile.
  • Access real-time podcast statistics (IAB tech lab-certified stats) on the mobile version of Spreaker.

Cons:

  • Advertising revenue is low.
  • Some online reviews hint at poor customer support.
  • No free trial or a freemium plan.
  • It doesn’t provide a podcast website. That said, you can embed its podcast player into your existing website.

Pricing:

Starts at $7 per month and offers features like multiple podcast hosting, distribution to iHeartRadio, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, customizable RSS feeds, programmatic monetization, etc.

4. Transistor

Best For: Team collaboration and assigning roles to team members.

G2 Score: 5

Transistor is a podcast hosting platform that helps you import, create, and host an unlimited number of podcasts on your account. They don’t charge you for creating multiple podcasts on a single account.

The dashboard is simple and easy to use.

You can either upload a new podcast, enter show information, upload artwork – or import an existing podcast from other podcast hosts or even your RSS feed.

You can also create a private podcast and restrict access to a group of subscribers. Each subscriber allowed inside your private podcast will receive an invite via email.

With every account, Transistor also offers a unique RSS feed, advanced podcast analytics, and a basic webpage to embed your podcast.

And while the website they provide is basic, you can customize it to align with your business and branding colors and a custom domain name.

You’ll also be able to invite your team members and make them admins to manage the podcast show. Aside from admins, you can manage and assign roles like editors, producers, etc.

Another great thing about Transistor.fm is its podcast player that can stick at the bottom of your site. This means the podcast will play uninterruptedly in the background while listeners browse your site.

Detailed podcast analytics include metrics like average downloads per episode, popular podcast apps, number of subscribers, trends, and more.

Cons:

  • No in-built monetization options.

Pricing:

Pricing plans start at $19 per month (or $190 yearly) for unlimited podcasts, advanced statistics, up to 2 logins, up to 50 private podcast subscribers, 15,000/mo podcast downloads, etc. There’s also a 14-day free trial.

5. PodBean

Best For:

G2 Score: 4.7

Podbean is one of the best podcast hosting platforms on this list. It’s an all-in-one podcast hosting, publishing, monetization, and distribution solution.

What’s more, it’s one of the few podcast hosting platforms that offer a built-in website editor and even multiple customizable theme options (three free and eight paid) for the website.

While reviewing all these podcasting hosting platforms, I realized that Podbean offers more customizable options than most of its counterparts.

It offers plenty of customization options (fonts, colors, themes, etc.) for both the podcast website and the audio player.

You also get to pick between single-episode and multitrack players, which you can customize based on their sizes, shapes, and colors.

It also enables mobile podcast publishing through its mobile app, unlimited hosting, branded domain integration, and scheduled publishing.

Besides the built-in website, Podbean allows one-click distribution to prominent podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Podbean’s own podcast app. In fact, as soon as you publish a new podcast episode, Podbean makes it available on Amazon Alexa devices and the Podbean app for iOS and Android.

It also provides native integration with MailChimp, one of the best email marketing platforms, allowing you to collect email addresses and automatically share your new episodes with your subscribers.

What’s more, Podbean offers extensive monetization options – more than most podcast platforms on the market.

For one, it lets you create membership tiers for your podcast, allowing you to make money out of them. You can offer podcasts at a one-time cost or a monthly or yearly recurring cost.

You can also accept donations via Podbean’s patron setup or sell an ad spot anywhere in your podcast’s episode.

And that’s not it.

One of Podbean’s most significant selling points is its freemium plan that provides a storage space of 5 hrs, 100GB bandwidth, basic podcast statistics, a website, RSS feed & iTunes support, and more. However, the monetization options are only available with the paid plans.

So, if you’re looking to capitalize on your podcast and make some cash while at it, then you’d have to upgrade to a paid plan. It shouldn’t be too much of a hassle either since it’s reasonably priced.

Other key features include:

  • Detailed podcast statistics, including metrics like listeners’ locations, user retention, daily download rate, trends, etc.
  • Auto-sharing option for social media channels.
  • Live-streaming directly from the dashboard.
  • Invite co-hosts and guests while live streaming.

Cons:

  • The podcast website isn’t as professional as some podcasters might prefer.

Pricing:

Starts at $9 per month for unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, comprehensive podcast stats, multiple monetization options, and more. There’s also a free plan.

6. Libsyn

Best For: Individuals with small storage requirements.

G2 Score: 4.5

Libsyn has been around for a long time. And, if you’re a podcaster who uses hosting services, then Libsyn is one of the names you have no doubt heard.

It offers access to an unlimited audience & downloads, a custom website & player, and distribution to all major podcast listening and social media platforms. It also enables audio, Video, PDF, and Text Hosting & Publishing.

There’s also an auto-publishing option to social & audience listening apps and the ability to integrate headliner audiograms.

While it doesn’t offer anything unique that other podcasting platforms don’t, it does focus on podcast statistics. You get access to IAB-certified and downloadable statistics reports.

It lets you measure metrics like your audience’s geographic in-depth stats, browser stats, social media metrics, episode breakdown, date range selector, and more.

It’s also a convenient podcasting platform if you’re looking to monetize your podcasts. You can offer paid podcasts or run targeted ads in between your podcast episodes.

Other key features include:

  • Direct listing to all major podcast directories
  • Built-in CMS and file manager
  • Geographic heatmap and targeted ads with custom slots
  • A mini-site for podcast hosting
  • The ability to optimize for Apple Podcasts
  • FTP upload support
  • Customizable HTML5 media player

Libsyn is a simple podcast hosting software that’s been around the block since inception – and it shows. The user interface looks dated, and it doesn’t have the option to transcribe the podcast episodes either.

Here’s a quick glimpse inside the software.

It’s where you add a new media file:

And here’s how you add your podcast details:

The overall user interface could do with some improvements.

Another letdown is its lack of a freemium plan or even a free trial. It’s certainly helpful to be able to test the software and see how your podcast works on it before having to commit to it.

While there are better options available from the list, Libsyn has an edge when it comes to the pricing plan. The paid plans start at $5 per month for 50MB storage, which is too small, but overall, Libsyn is not a bad option if it’s suitable for you.

However, I wouldn’t suggest Libsyn if you’re a seasoned podcaster who frequently needs to publish new episodes.

Cons:

  • Outdated admin area and dashboard.
  • No transaction option.
  • No free trial or freemium plan.

Pricing:

Starts at $5 per month for 50 MB of monthly storage and other core features of Libsyn.

7. Blubrry

Best For: Hosting and embedding your podcast in a WordPress website.

G2 Score: Not available.

Blubrry is not your regular podcast hosting software. It comes with a free WordPress website and native integration with PowerPress that provides managed WordPress hosting. And it’s safe to say that PowerPress is one of the best WordPress plugins for podcasters that helps publish and manage podcasts directly from the WordPress website.

And it’s all free with your Blubrry account (even with the entry plan).

Then there are features like advertisement insertion to help you monetize your podcasts and network promotion tools.

Other core features include:

  • The ability to provide private/premium podcasts.
  • A sound and tone editor.
  • The ability to transcribe the episodes in the dashboard.
  • The ability to create short clips called ‘bursts’ out of your podcasts.

It also offers (Interactive Advertising Bureau) IAB-certified stats that give you insight into your progress and audience.

You’ll also get access to advanced metrics like trending podcasts, top countries your listeners are from, devices your listeners use, and more. However, these advanced stats are not included in their paid plans and come at an additional cost of $5 per month.

Cons:

  • The interface is a bit outdated.
  • No freemium plan.

Pricing:

Paid plans start from 12 per month for 100 MB of monthly storage. There’s also a one-month free trial.

8. Captivate

Best For: Growing your podcast audience using an optimized, mobile-friendly podcast website.

G2 Score: Only one review is available.

True to its name, Captivate helps you create podcasts with an attractive, captivating media player.

And unlike some of the other podcast hosting providers on the list, you won’t have any complaints when it comes to Captivate’s user interface either. Designed by a fellow podcaster, the podcast hosting platform is easy to use and has a neat interface.

You’ll get a glimpse of your podcast’s statistics and progress details as soon as you sign in to your dashboard.

The statistics are IAB-certified and give you metrics like total downloads, listener demographics, unique listeners, web traffic stats, and more.

It also offers a marketing suite with free podcast hosting websites, sponsor kits, private feeds, and more.

Not just that, it also offers editable cover art, podcast trailer, and show notes templates. This saves a lot of trouble it takes otherwise to prepare all the bells and whistles for your podcast. How come other podcast hosting software companies didn’t think of it before?

Since Captivate especially focuses on appearance, the embeddable podcast player and the podcast website are also attractive and easy to use. You get to choose from three customizable templates, add your team members and their bios, embed lead magnets and email signup forms, etc.

Here are some sample podcast websites by Captivate:

These opt-in email forms and CTA buttons are explicitly designed to help you convert visitors into permanent podcast listeners.

Captivate’s focus on this area of the podcast makes it stand out from other tools on the list.

It also enables single-click submission to every major podcast directory, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon, etc. In addition, it helps you submit your podcast to well-known listening apps like Overcast, Castro, and Podcast Addict.

Other key features include:

  • You get access to their private Facebook group and live Q&A sessions.
  • The ability to assign and manage team roles.
  • Comes with a podcast plugin to upload and manage podcasts quickly.
  • Email marketing features.
  • Ready to use sponsor pitches.
  • Built-in donation support with the podcast website.

Cons:

  • No freemium plan.
  • Pricier than other podcast hosting tools.

Pricing:

Starts at $17 per month for unlimited storage and 12,000 downloads/month. There’s also a 7-day free trial.

9. Castos

Best For: Promoting your podcast (through features like YouTube republishing).

G2 Score: No ratings available.

Castos is another podcast platform on this list that comes with its own podcast hosting plugin to help you upload and manage podcasts quickly. It also provides unlimited storage and bandwidth with all of its plans – even with the entry plan.

Castos’ WordPress plugin helps you:

  • Upload episodes
  • View listener analytics and statistics
  • Create multiple feeds for your podcast
  • Customize the media player

Plus, Castos is one of the few podcast hosting services that offer automated transcription functionality. You just have to upload your podcast episode, and the transcriptions get added automatically to your podcast.

You can also offer private podcasts to your audience at a specific price, making it an excellent option for those looking to create a membership site, online course, or paid tutorials.

There’s also an option for automated YouTube republishing that boosts your podcast’s visibility and your SEO efforts.

Other key features include:

  • Easy-to-understand insights like the total number of listeners, top episodes, audience demographics, listening pattern, and more.
  • Unlimited shows on a single account.
  • Customizable podcast webpage.
  • Ready-to-publish tweetable quotes and audiograms.
  • Podcast editing to take out misspeakings, awkward pauses, and other errors.
  • Auto-publish your podcast to directorates like iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and more.

In addition, it comes with audio editing services, albeit at an additional cost – starting from $75 per episode. Editing services include mixing tracks, audio leveling, noise-reduction, normalization, removing filler words and dead space in episodes, etc.

Cons:

  • Slightly expensive.
  • No freemium plan.

Pricing:

Starts at $19 per month (or $190 per annum) for an unlimited number of podcasts, no episode upload limit, unlimited downloads, and up to 100 private subscribers. There’s also a 14-day free trial (no credit card required).

Wrap Up on the Best Podcast Hosting Tools

Podcast hosting platforms are the most popular way to deliver your podcast content for consumption by your audience.

They can be an integral asset to your podcast production. These platforms provide you with the ability to host your podcast content online so that you can send submission links to directories, create RSS Feeds, and bring in listeners from around the world.

And this is just scratching the surface. As you know by now, podcast hosting services offer so much more – even audio editing and podcast monetization features.

So, what’s your choice?

It all boils down to your requirements, budgets, and company size.

For instance, I’d suggest Simplecast and Podbean if you’re looking for an all-in-one podcast tool suitable for both new podcasters and professional podcasters.

Worrying over a low budget? In that case, you can use Buzzsprout or Podbean, both of which offer a forever free plan. You can also add Libsyn to this list since it starts merely at $5 per month.

For attractive websites and media players, you might prefer Captivate.fm.

These were my top picks for the top podcast hosting platforms. Which one do you plan to use to kickstart your podcast?

Deepti Jain

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