Podcast listeners are growing day by day. 55% (155 million) of the US population listens or have listened to a podcast by 2021. So, this is the right time for you to create and host your podcasts. In this post we will provide you the best podcast hosting platform available in the market.
We have picked up top 4 best podcast hosting platform for 2021 on the basis of User Friendliness, Pricing, Features, Monetization and Analytic it provides. The best podcast hosting platform for 2021 are Buzzsprout, Podbean, Transistor and Captivate.
What is a Podcast?
A Podcast is basically an audio file containing your spoken words. It is generally based on a topic, theme or event. The duration of the podcast can range from 5 mins to hours.
The audio files are in MP3 format having bitrate of 64kbps(kilobits per second) to 320kbps.
How Podcast Works?
We made a simple diagram to make you understand how a podcast works.
What is a Podcast Hosting Platform?
Your podcast audio files should be available 24 hours to your listener. That’s why you need a podcast hosting platform.
Podcast hosting platform is a platform to host your podcast audio files. Apart from hosting audio files, these platforms help to broadcast your podcast to different podcast directories. So, your podcast is available everywhere on the internet.
Podcast Directories are the audio players where users search, listen and download podcasts.
The podcast directories list podcasts automatically from the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed generated by a Podcast hosting Platform. Apple Podcast’s RSS feed requirements have become the industry standard for podcast RSS feed.
List of Famous Podcast Directories
- Apple Podcast
- Google Podcast
- iHeart Radio
- Pocket Cast
How to choose Podcast Hosting Platform?
We have researched a lot of podcast hosting platforms in the past few weeks. We ended up in 7 podcast hosting platforms. But most of them provided the same features, so we had to keep 4 best podcast hosting platforms that were unique.
Checklist for choosing the best podcast hosting platform
- Usability and User Interface of the Podcast Hosting Platform.
- Plans & Pricing
- Monetization & Amplification of Podcast
- Tools Provided – Analytics, Sound Filters, Transcription, etc.
- Customer Support, Guides, Blog
Comparison of the Podcast Hosting Platform
|Monthly Active Users||169.26K||3.18M||4.59M||252.30K|
|Free Plan||No, |
|Starting Price of Paid Plan||$15.83.month||$12.00/month||$9.00/month||$17.00/month|
|Podcast Website||Yes,Free||Yes, Free||Yes, Free||Yes, Free|
Transistor is the most promising and emerging podcast hosting platform. It was then founded by Jon Buda and Justin Jackson in 2017.
The Transistor podcast hosting platform is new in this field, but one of the most popular ones. Because it’s an easy user friendly platform removes the headaches of publishing and maintaining your podcasts.
Basic Info of Transistor
|MAU: 169.26K||Revenue Model: Paid|
|URL: https://transistor.fm||Since: 2018|
Transistor basically provides 3 hosting plans. All the plans consist of all the core features for podcast hosting.
|Plans||If paid Monthly||If Paid Yearly|
Unlimited Podcast in Single Account
Transistor allows you to host unlimited podcasts under a single account. The feature lets you experiment with your podcast. You can host the same podcast with different duration like a long podcast of 1-2 hrs, mid duration of 20-30 minutes or a 5 minute recap of your podcast.
Sharing Podcast in one go
The Transistor is the best podcast hosting platform to share and let the world know about your podcast. Transistor automatically shares your podcast published to different podcast players by RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. Presently, it supports 18 podcast player integration.
To list, some of the players are.
- Google Podcast
- Pocket Casts
Switch from another podcast hosting platform easily
This best podcast hosting platform provides easy migration tools. You can easily import podcasts from other podcast hosting platforms.
Multiple user in one account
Transistor allows you to have teams for each podcast you host. You can have multiple users under a single account. But all the users fall under three categories.
To list, they are
Each account in Transistor has only one owner. The main functions of the owner are.
- Only the owner can add new shows.
- The owner controls billing and subscription settings.
- He/She can control or edit card settings
- The owner can only delete a transistor account.
The admin is the person who basically edits and sets up your podcast episodes. There can be multiple admins for each podcast.
Members allows you to collaborate on your podcast episodes. You can have any number of members .
Own domain Name for podcast
Transistor not only host your podcast files, but allow you to grow your brand. It does this by allowing you to add your custom domain to your Transistor account.
Transistor allows you to add three types of domain.
Easy Podcast Embed
Transistors provide an easy embeddable podcast feature. If you own a website or blog, you can embed your podcast. You can embed your podcast on your WordPress website too.
This best podcast hosting platform gives you 3 ways to embed your podcast.To list, they are.
- Embedding a single podcast episode.
- Whole Podcast embeds.
- Only embedding your latest episode.
Transistor allows you to freely monetize your podcast. It doesn’t control or modify any of your podcast content. You can do the following things to monetize your podcast.
- Run your own ads
- Create Patreon Membership
- Distribute your podcast as you please.
However, Transistor provides integration with some popular email marketing tools like Mail chimp, ConvertKit etc.. By using these tools, you can gather your subscribers for email marketing.
Transistor provides a well planned detailed analytics of your podcast. It provides you minute details of each episode of your podcast like location, apps used, average downloads (no of times played) , etc.
Transistor has a well detailed blog on podcasts. If you are a beginner , it’detailed guides. For example, how to start a blog, equipment needed, promoting your podcast, etc.
You can send an email on any issues and suggestions to Transistor. The email priority for Transistor to respond can be set as low, normal, high and urgent.
Transistor provides an auto chatbot to its users.
- It allows you to host unlimited podcasts.
- You can create multiple accounts under single membership. This basically enables you to invite the whole team to your podcast account.
- It supports donations from some membership platform like Patreon, etc.
- Automatically publishes your podcast in 18 podcast players.
- Download limit for your users.
- No free version.
Buzzsprout is the most popular among our picks for the best podcast hosting platform. It has got everything a podcast hosting platform should have.
Buzzsport’s easy user interface and quick setup have attracted many podcasters to host their podcast. Buzzsprout’s Magic Mastering is a unique tool to make your podcast sound professional.
Basic Info Table
Buzzsprout dosen’t have annual plan. All the plans provide bandwidth of 250GB/month.
Easiest way to start Podcasting
Buzzsprout provides the easiest platform to start your podcast. In fact, it has the easiest interface among the best podcast Hosting platform. It provides you all the things you need to host, promote and even track your podcast.
Automatic Amplification of Your Podcast
In Buzzsprout you just have to upload your podcast and spreading your content will be taken care of. This best podcast hosting platform helps you to get listed in all the top podcast directories or podcast players.
To list some of the podcast directories are.
- Apple Podcasts
- Google Podcast
Automatic Episode Optimization
Episode optimization is done automatically by Buzzsport. You just have to upload your podcast. Buzzsprout will do the following things.
- Change to appropriate file type for podcasting.
- Convenient Bitrate for your listeners.
- Add ID3 tags.
Besides, Buzzsprout allows you to publish your podcast immediately, schedule it or leave it unpublished
Buzzsprout has an inbuilt transcription engine that transcribes your whole podcast to written words. This makes your podcast more accessible to search engines. Even hearing impaired can read your podcast instead of listening. Buzzsprout charges 25 cents ($0.25) for a minute of transcription.
Magic Mastering is similar to adding filters in your photos. It changes or adds filters to your sound and makes your podcast sound better. Your episode will sound crisp, clear, well balanced like a professional podcast.
You can add Magic Mastering as an add-on to your plan. The different rates are given below.
|Plans||Magic Mastering Rate|
Free (host for 90 days)
Buzzsprout provides you a free plan that lets you host two hours of podcast each month. The episodes will be hosted for 90 days.
Besides, it will provide advanced stats, unlimited team members, etc. in its free plan. But Magic Mastering is not available in this free plan.
Embed podcast to your website
Buzzsprout lets you embed your podcast into your website or blog. The embeddable player provides controls to skip, pause and fast forward a podcast. You even can customize the player to match your brand.
Besides, it lets you embed a single or series of episodes.
Chapters in podcast
You can add chapters to your podcast in this best podcast hosting platform. This lets your user navigate to a certain section of your podcast.
To add chapters to your podcast you have to mention start time, chapter title and adding url is optional.
You can earn money in hosting your podcast from Buzzsprout Affiliate Marketplace. Buzzsprout has partnered with some big brands to help you get started earning money. You can get $25 or 20% lifetime commissions for every paid referral.
Only hosting podcasts and getting listed in major podcast directories is not enough. You have to know in detail how your podcast is doing. Here Buzzsporut’s advanced podcast analytics come into play.
You can get to know your listeners with its podcast statistics. You can get detailed statistics. To list, they are.
- Total downloads over a time period.
- What Podcast Apps are your listeners using.
- Location of your users.
- Widely used podcast hosting platform and the easiest one
- Provide Free podcast hosting plan
- Provides a WordPress plugin and API for developers
- It doesn’t provide some of the advanced analytics features
- Buzzsprout does not support dynamic ad insertion.
- Paid Plan is costlier than some of the best podcast hosting platforms.
Podbean is one of the most preferred one among the best podcast hosting platform. It is an all-in-one platform for your podcast. It lets you host podcasts, distribute & promote your podcast and live stream your audio. Further, it has its own podcast app.
Moreover, Podbean provides lots of monetization options not found in other best podcast hosting platform.
Basic Info Table
|MAU: 4.59||Revenue Model: Free | Paid|
|URL: www.podbean.com||Since: 2006|
|Plans||Billed Monthly||Billed Annually|
Tools for Podcast Publishing
This is the first platform among the best podcast hosting platform that provides no limit on downloads. All the plans provide flat-rate and affordable plans with no limits on podcast downloads and uploads.
Professional Podcast Website
All the plans of Podbean provide a free podcast website. You can even choose from a variety of professional looking themes and also customize it.
Podbean allows you to use your own custom domain for your podcast website. Podbean provides a mobile friendly interface. You can publish your podcast right from your phone.
Distribution and Promotion of your podcast
Podbean helps you to amplify and promote your podcast. It provides many tools to get your podcast to the right listener and grow your audience. Some ways are listed below.
- Distribution to major podcast players like Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, etc.
- Embeddable players for your websites and blogs
- Social Media Auto Sharing
- Automatic distribution to Alexa devices .
- Instant availability in Podbean App (Android & iOS)
- Mailchimp Integration for growing email marketing.
This is a unique feature not found in other best podcast hosting platform. It provides a graph that shows the percentage of unique listeners stuck or retained to your podcasts over recent weeks. It basically tells how attractive your podcast is.
This will help to create that type of content your listener likes.
Podbean allows you to live steam audio shows. In the live stream, your listener can send a message and call in live. This basically helps you to engage your listener on a whole new level.
Further, you can invite a remote co-host or guest sitting anywhere in the world. Moreover, you can sell virtual tickets to listen to your live stream. Listeners can send you virtual gifts that can be converted to real currency.
Live Streaming is available in all plans.
Podbean Podcast App
Pobean has its own podcast directory or podcast player. It is a very popular podcast player with millions of active users. This basically lets your podcast reach millions of users.
Besides, a podcast player Podbean Podcast App records, edit and publish your podcast right from your mobile.
The App has community tools helps you to engage with your listeners. You can respond to comments, grow followers and even follow others.
Podbean provides you many ways to earn money from your podcast. Some are discussed briefly below.
Podbean’s Ad Marketplace is the best place to earn revenue from your podcast. It helps you earn revenue from sponsorship. Top brands around the world sponsor unique and engaging podcasts.
To get a sponsor, you just have to list your podcast in this marketplace. It will automatically get matched with potential advertisers. Podbean allows you to add dynamic ads to your podcast.
Premium Podcast Content
The next way to earn revenue is by creating premium episodes for your subscribers. You can create monthly and yearly subscriptions for listeners. This is integrated directly into your Podbean dashboard.
You don’t have to worry about anything. Podbean handles all the payments, technical and customer support in this feature.
Live Audio Streaming
As already discussed, Podbean allows you to live stream audio for all the plans. You can sell virtual tickets to your listener and earn revenue.
Besides, your listener can send you a virtual gift. These gifts can be converted to US dollars and cashed out.
Patron donation programs in Podbean allow your fans to donate you some amount of money. It is a small way for your fans to support your podcast with recurring monthly revenue.
Statistics of your podcast is important to know how your podcast performs.Podbean provides several statistics to get detailed insight and improve your podcast. Some are discussed briefly.
Download and Trends
Podbean provides the basic statistics provided by all the best podcast hosting platforms. It shows you the trends in download. This helps you to better understand how your podcast is performing with your audience.
Top Episode Statistics
Podbean presents you the top 10 episodes by downloads. By this you can easily understand what your listener likes and enable you to create that type of content.
This best podcast hosting platform provides the exact location of your listener. This will help you to target sponsors and get relevant information for creating your podcast.
User agent statistics tell you two things. They are
- Devices you user are listening your podcast
- Apps used by your listeners to listen to your podcast.
This lets you explore opportunities to engage your listeners and grow your audience.
- Free Version (5hrs/month, Basic Analytics, 100GB bandwidth)
- Unlimited audio and video hosting
- Live Streaming of Audio for all plans including free plan.
- Own property Podcast App – Podbean Podcast App (Android & iOS)
- Expensive than other best podcast hosting platforms.
- Podbean Analytics are not upto the mark.
- WordPress integration has some issues.
Along with a hosting platform, they provide their own WordPress managed podcast website – podcastwebsites.com
Basic Info Table
|Plans||Billed Monthly||Billed Annually|
Hosting your podcast in Captivate is quick and easy. It also provides a completely guided set up process.Moreover, Captivate podcast hosting platform allows you to host unlimited podcasts in a single plan.
Unlimited Team Member
Captivate allows you to add any number of team members to your podcast plan. This basically makes delegating your work and your workflow simple.
When you create a podcast in Captivate, you become the owner. Each team member you add must be given unique permission and access levels. Each member will have to create a new account in Captivate. You can invite them with an email sent from your Captivate account.
Built-in calls to action
Call to action in Captivate allow to make your podcast popular. You can generate leads or build your email list. Captivate embeddable podcast allows you to do this. It will direct your listener to take action based on your goals.
You can use Captivate call to action to do the following things.
- Build User Engagement
- Grow Email list via lead magnet
- Embed Sponer links
- Gather donations to platforms like Patreaon.
Automatic Podcast Website
Captivate provides a free builtin website in each plan. Captivate provides Managed WordPress hosting and podcast themes with all plans. Your podcast website will work on all devices like a regular WordPress website.
Besides, you can customize your site, have your own domain, and a lot of features.
Move/Switch to captivate
Captivate provides a simple way to switch or move from your existing podcast hosting platform. It provides a quick, simple import tool to impart all your podcasts from your existing podcast hosting.
Captivate provides built-in calls to action in the podcast player to help in earning from your podcast. You can add sponsored links and gather donations.
Further, you can earn revenue from the Captivate affiliate program. It offers lifetime monthly recurring payout for each podcaster you refer to.
Analytics in this podcast hosting website is simple but with a lot of features. It provides you everything to monitor the performance of your show. Captivate’s podcast analytics are designed as per IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) standard.
As of now, Captivate provides the following analytics
- Downloads Overview
- Download Averages
- Audience Overview
- Listener Behavior
- Episode Analysis
Moreover, ID3 tags are embedded in your podcast audio files. ID3 tags hold information about your audio file like title, artist, genre, duration, etc.
- Provides detailed analytics and they are IAB certified.
- Built-in Call to action in Podcast player.
- Offer 7-day Free Trial
- No Free plan
Other Mentionable Best Podcast Hosting Platform
Summing up, we have discussed the 4 best podcast hosting platform for 2021. All of them provides all the core functions like hosting, monetization tools and analytic tools. We have chosen Podbean as the best podcast hosting platform. Buzzsprout is popular and provide all the feature of Podbean but costlier. Captivate and Transistor are also good as former two but lack free plan.