9 Best Podcast Hosting Sites for 2023 (Free & Paid)
Of all the podcast hosting services out there hosting over 1 million podcasts, what should you use?
What you have to pick among these podcast hosting platforms is one that fits your demand and budget but also with a provision to upgrade as your podcast grows.
Today, I will show you the best podcast hosting sites for 2023 that you can choose. There are dozens upon dozens of podcast hosting companies, all of which tout their brand as the best.
What I want to do is to reduce your research efforts. But, in the end, I want you to choose a podcasting site by which you cannot go wrong.
Which are the Best Paid Podcast Hosting Sites?
Best For beginners looking for an easy-to-use software program
Buzzsprout is the leader among all podcast hosting platforms. From features to pricing, there is one plan that suits anyone who wants to start a podcast.
Those who already have an existing podcast can also transfer their content to Buzzsprout’s servers. It is like migrating a WordPress website to another host.
Buzzsprout is a leader because of the following reasons:
- The system is easy to use
- They provide a step-by-step guide on how to get started
- There is extensive support to people who need guidance to succeed
- There are training videos and manuals on how to do your podcasting the right way
- They offer several distribution channels for your podcast episodes
- Podcasters love Buzzsprout because the system offers an automated file conversion. It could be good or bad, depending on your perspective.
After uploading an audio file, the system automatically converts the file into a mono MP3 file. The speed is at 96kbps.
Why is Buzzsprout doing this? Because they know that many podcasters are not audio experts. They merely want to help the podcaster produce good audio quality.
Audio experts, however, do not like this. They want better audio quality, which they already did during the recording and editing process.
The problem with this is that at a low plan, Buzzsprout would be hosting big files. Big files mean more extensive storage. So if you want higher audio quality, you have to upgrade to a better plan.
What I love about Buzzsprout is its support for promotion and engagement. First, it has Video Soundbites. It is a feature where you could pick a short portion of your episode and then create a video trailer from that.
The final product of that video is called an audiogram. Buzzsprout has it in the system, so you no longer need to pay for another software.
Buzzsprout has been around since 2009, and they are considered a big player among all podcast hosting platforms. They offer affordable plans and have a free plan for 90 days (No credit card required).
Buzzsprout is undoubtedly the best podcast hosting site for beginners because they created the software with user intuition in mind.
More than 100,000 podcasters use Buzzsprout. In addition, they partner with top podcast directories such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.
Buzzsprout gives you the advantage to reach millions of podcast listeners around the globe.
The core features in Buzzsprout is what makes this platform stand out from the other podcast hosting sites.
- Directory Listing
BuzzSprout, as a podcast hosting service, has partnership directories like Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, and many more. You do not have to market your podcast in these directories as they are automatically available.
- Reporting and Statistics
In business, knowledge is power. If you know how your business is performing, you will make informed decisions. With its reporting dashboard, you will see the total downloads and what apps people are using to listen to you.
- Magic Mastering
It is a technology that makes your audio files better. It matches your podcast audio with standards across industries. It is like the Instagram of podcasting.
- Episode Optimization
All the tech aspects of your audio files are in the backend. You do not have to understand bitrates and ID3 tags. All you have to worry about is your content and what value you deliver to your audience.
- Free – upload up to 2 hours of episodes each month; these episodes are only hosted for up to 90 days.
- $12 per month – three hours of episodes per month with indefinite hosting period; upload more episodes at $4 per hour.
- $19 per month – six hours of podcast per month; get an extra hour for only $3.
- $24 per month – maximum of 12 hours per month; an extra hour of an upload is only $2.
Get the free Buzzsprout plan to try it. Then, upgrade later to a higher plan as you deem fit.
Best For: People looking for distribution and powerful podcast analytics.
Simplecast has been around since 2013. As one of the most tenured podcast-hosting service companies, they have positioned themselves at a sweet spot in the industry.
What Simplecast provides to its users are industry-leading tools and systems. They offer analytics, tools for sharing, and buttons for publishing.
What makes Simplecast so robust next to Buzzsprout is that it also has a publication and distribution network. As a podcaster, the last thing that you want is to upload your podcast episode on each platform like Apple, Spotify, etc.
Simplecast also makes it easy to select a plan. It does have multiple types of plans by which you could choose one that fits your needs. You must, however, know that the features you get have limitations according to what you pay for every month.
Here are some of the strengths of Simplecast:
- Member seats – at the basic plan, two people can have admin access to the podcast account.
- Unlimited – you can upload as many files as you want with no limitation to the file size.
- Distribution – the platform has a partnership with several publication and distribution channels in the podcasting industry.
What I love about the company is that they also offer embeddable players. If you do not know it yet, perhaps you have seen websites where you could play videos. That video player is the embeddable version of it.
In the podcasting world, a podcaster could embed an audio player in his website. Then, as the site visitor scrolls, he can play the podcast from the browser. This system is the embeddable player.
I also love that Simplecast allows its users to manage several podcasts with one account. This process makes it easier to launch new episodes with only one log-in credential. It is too cumbersome to do this with different accounts.
Security, of course, is of utmost importance. It is not negotiable. Simplecast excels at this because any plan includes a robust HTTPS site RSS feed. What it means is that your podcast is not likely to get hacked.
Even though Simplecast is priced at the higher end, it does give you value for money.
- Big Download Allowance
Even the basic plan gives you a download allowance of 20,000 downloads. That is a lot of people, even those who have a professional podcast.
- Powerful Analytics
The analytics algorithm of Simplecast is robust. It allows you to see which devices your listeners ate using, how two of your episodes compare with each other, how many of your listeners are unique, and so much more.
- Multiple Shows With One Account
You only need to sign up for one account and yet host several podcast channels. In some podcast software systems, this is not possible. What makes this an excellent feature is that you do not have to keep multiple logins.
- Embeddable Web Player
The web player is the equivalent of a video player in YouTube. It has play and pause buttons for browsers. It also provides the listener on the browser a way to choose other episodes.
- Basic – costs $15 per month; you get two team member seats and basic analytics.
- Essential – costs $35 per month; your seat count is increased to 4, and you can now access analytics between two episodes.
- Growth – costs $85 per month; you have nine team members, not unlimited team members, plus you can now view location analytics. On top of this, you will have access to device and ISP analytics.
Simplecast is free for 14 days. After that, you can try the features with the free trial and then only pay if you want to proceed with the service.
Best For: Podcast hosts who want unlimited uploads.
The main intention of Castos was to make podcasting easy for WordPress users and blog owners. So far, they have over 20,000 installations of their popular podcasting plugin.
Apart from the flexible plans, Castos is also known for its migration and auto-publishing services. There is no doubt that this hosting platform is for people looking at podcasting as their career and wanna build their audience online.
- Customizable Website
You can create a website that will house your podcast. This site is what your audience would see upon visiting your podcast marketing links.
The website is mobile-friendly, which is good because it is going to be easier to navigate.
There are many pre-built websites or templates that you can choose from. There is no need to write code. Everything you see in these templates is ready for launch.
- YouTube Republishing
Not all people want to listen, but many people love to watch. With the republishing feature, your podcast automatically gets uploaded to YouTube.
A feature like this from a podcast hosting service is excellent if you are shooting videos of your show. It is going to be like the Joe Rogan Experience or the Howard Stern Show.
- Podcast Analytics
You can measure the stats that matter. As such, you can make informed business decisions and not rely on guesswork.
In your analytics dashboard, you can view reports that will show you total listens or sessions, best-performing episodes, the device used by your audiences, and so much more.
- Automatic Podcast Transcriptions
Transcription is expensive. Typically, you would pay $0.25 per minute for this. It is that, or you subscribe to a speech-to-text platform like VEED for at least $30 per month.
A transcription software from the best podcast hosting services is invaluable, especially if republishing on YouTube. It not only saves you money but also time.
- Starter – costs $19 per month; enjoy unlimited uploads of your podcasts and episodes.
- Growth – costs $49 per month; get access to the YouTube video republishing, and then access its Headliner Audiogram integration.
- Pro – costs $19 per month; it is now inclusive of video file hosting, and you can get up to 200,000 downloads per month.
You can use Castos for free with their 14-day free trial.
Best For People looking for an affordable podcast hosting site.
Suppose you are searching for a platform that is suitable for individual podcast hosts.
Then Captivate is the one. Despite being new to the podcast hosting services, Captivate has made its way and built its name.
Captivate’s primary goal is to encourage individual podcast hosts to start their journey while dealing with less tech hassle. Hence their services are dedicated to your personal growth online.
- Unlimited Hosting
A podcaster needs unlimited hosting so he can upload as many episodes as possible. While many people say that shows are not about quantity but quality, it still makes sense that the more you publish, the faster you will grow.
With Captivate, there is no limit to the number of episodes you can upload. However, there is a limit to the number of subscribers you can have.
- Podcast Downloads
Many podcast hosting companies that offer podcast hosting services limit the number of downloads that audiences can do.
Unfortunately, this limit puts the creator in a tough spot, as the audiences will no longer listen to the shows if the limit is reached.
Captivate starts at a generous limit of 12,000 downloads per month. In many other companies, you have to pay a lot of money to get beyond this.
- Private Feeds
Sometimes, you want to share some episodes with only a few people. Perhaps these are your loyal followers who deserve exclusive content. You can do this with Captivate on any plan, but it may not be a feature that is available on some podcast hosting platforms.
- Basic Statistics and Reports
On any plan, you will get access to reports and conclusions from these numbers. You will see reports like episode analysis, where your fans are, how they listen, and how many downloads there are.
- Personal – costs $12 per month; get unlimited podcast websites and storage. Apple, Spotify, and other platforms will list your podcast.
- Professional – costs $12 per month; get two private podcasts. You will also get an upgrade of up to 1,000 subscribers.
- Business – costs $12 per month; your limit will increase to 5,000 subscribers. In addition, you can have up to 3 private podcast websites.
Captivate offers its podcast hosting service for free for seven days.
Libsyn has no free trial, but you can have the most affordable podcast host from this system.
Which are the Best Free Podcast Hosting Sites?
5. Buzzsprout – The Best Free Podcast Hosting Platform
Talking about free podcast hosting platforms and not mentioning Buzzsprout isn’t doing justice for newbies.
My top three reasons for recommending Buzzsprout are:
- It is the simplest and easiest platform to use and start your podcasting.
- Availability of primary and advanced features helps you publish a better podcast show and present yourself as a podcasting expert.
- It is the most trusted hosting platform, backed by multiple industry veterans on its excellent customer support.
Buzzsprout certainly tops this list and is the best option out there for beginners and expert podcasters. As of now, Buzzsprout provides a free plan where your episodes get hosted for 90 days.
BuzzSprout is free for beginners with a limit of 2 hours of episodes per month.
6. Soundcloud – Free Podcast Hosting Platform For Wide Exposure
You might’ve heard about SoundCloud, and we popularly know it as an online music streaming service. They have recently launched their podcasting services, offering a free plan for new users.
Key Features of the Soundcloud Free Plan:
- Free 3 hours of content per Month
- Basic analytics for podcasts
- Scheduled releases
- Distribution to millions of SoundCloud users
The significant advantage of choosing SoundCloud over the other podcast hosting sites is its exposure.
As a podcaster, you have a chance to leverage millions of SoundCloud users to listen to your podcasts.
For a beginner content creator, exposure is everything, and due to this exact reason, SoundCloud edges ahead in this list. But yet, the overall features included in their free plan are relatively less when compared with Buzzsprout.
SoundCloud is a big brand that is still trying to make a name in podcasting services. So it’s probably the right time for you to sign up on this platform and use their free plan.
Get SoundCloud for free and start uploading your podcast today.
7. Anchor – A Free Hosting Provider With No Strings
Anchor is one of the best free podcast hosting providers. This platform is straightforward and can even be great for someone new to the industry.
The interface and the ease of use to publish, distribute, and promote on Anchor is way more comfortable than any other podcast hosting platform.
One main reason for such ease of use is the unavailability of advanced features and functionality. Thus this limits the potential of podcasters to grow due to the lack of advanced tools.
Anchor is great for those who do not want to deal with any fuss. It is also an excellent choice for people who wish their audio files to be out there on the internet.
Get Anchor for free and monetize your podcast today.
8. Podcastics – Free And Affordable Podcast Hosting Plans
Podcastics offer a free hosting plan but with a twist. The free program requires you to own a server to host your shows, and in turn, they will do all the management.
For beginners, you can choose this free plan to start. But their most affordable one is at $4 per month.
Key Features with Podcastics Free Plan
- Two clicks import from Apple podcast (or) any feed
- Unlimited podcasts
- Detailed analytics with a simple interface
- 24×7 built-in customer support
- Using Amazon servers for hosting
- Free and fully customizable website
- Monetize in multiple ways by integrating your Patreon, Paypal, and Stripe
It is an all-one solution for simple, effective, and powerful podcasting like most podcast hosting sites. Podcastics is on this list due to its easy-to-use and solid management dashboard for beginner podcasters.
Their paid plans have features that are significantly less expensive than other podcast hosting services.
The above features can compete with all premium podcasting hosting services. But in terms of their free plan, Podcast hosting is tricky because you have to own a server to use their free program.
Thus their free plan is suitable for people who already own a server.
I highly wouldn’t recommend it if you’re just starting. But if you’re willing to spend a few bucks, then their paid hosting plans are worth considering.
Get Podcastics for free and enjoy it for a month.
9. Fusebox – Podcast Hosting For WordPress Users
Fusebox is the creation of Pat Flynn, the founder of the Smart Passive Income Blog. Currently, they offer a free plan and a basic plan of $8 per month.
This platform was launched recently by Flynn to help WordPress users who are looking to engage with their blog traffic via embedding audio in the articles. The main focus was to increase website conversions and make people spend more time on the site.
Key Features of FuseBox:
- Simple podcast player
- Easy host migration
- Email capture
- Social sharing buttons
- Speed control
- Fully customizable
Fusebox is a WordPress plugin that can embed audio files into your blog posts. I wouldn’t recommend this plugin to someone just starting and who doesn’t even own a website.
There is no point in using the plugin if you don’t have a website to publish your podcasts. Thus, this free podcast hosting platform is the least recommended by me.
Even though its free plan comes with many limitations, the paid plan seems promising for actual WordPress website owners.
Fusebox offers a free account where you can get up to 10,000 monthly views.
How to Decide the Best Podcast Hosting Platform for You
It’s fair to say that you have multiple choices. Choosing the best podcast hosting site could be confusing. Too many options can be misleading while making the right purchase for you.
In this section, I want to help you clarify your mind and consider these factors before choosing the best podcast hosting platform for your podcast shows.
Before going for any hosting platform, as a podcaster, you need to consider several factors.
1. User Interface
A simple dashboard for operating is essential these days. Being a content creator, you don’t want to deal with hardcore technical things to edit and publish your podcasts.
Since you will be dealing with everything inside a dashboard, its interface should be user-friendly. In addition, you must find it easy to upload, host, and publish.
An excellent navigational menu and straightforward user panel are more than enough for podcasters to keep them focused on their content rather than spending time on the admin panel.
Even some podcast hosting platforms have apps where you can manage all your podcast shows. If you are more sort of a mobile person, then check with their mobile app’s interface.
2. Storage Capacity
Storage capacity is necessary, and you should know how much content you want to upload every month. Most hosting platforms will have sufficient storage, but it is safe to check their capacity twice.
Many free podcast hosting platforms will provide you with less storage capacity. And further down the line, you will be asked to upgrade plans to increase your storage capacity.
3. Detailed Analytics
Podcast analytics is crucial because, as a creator, you want to know which part of the world is listening to your show and which kind of audience likes your content.
Deep analytics allow you to categorize your audience based upon their regions, interests, average listening time, and social engagement.
Because as you get to understand your analytics better, you’d get to know about your subscribers better.
Most podcast hosting platforms provide us with unlimited bandwidth, but few hosting platforms limit this to a certain number. So, having adequate bandwidth can be life-saving for you and your subscribers.
Unlimited bandwidth means unlimited reach and unlimited downloads of your audio files. Thus, it helps your content to be accessible and downloadable for your subscribers.
5. Monetization Options
You can monetize a podcast in multiple ways. However, most podcast hosting platforms will limit your monetization in one way (or) another.
Podcast hosting sites should allow you to:
- Make money through their ad network.
- Accept payments with integrations like Paypal and Skype
- Become an affiliate to any products
- Sell your products
Multiple monetization options will help you increase your income streams and will motivate you to produce more content.
6. Unique Website Builder
Since you would be offered a free customizable web page for your podcast shows by most podcast hosting sites, it would be wise to understand that not all website builders used by hosting providers are the same.
It is a factor to consider because more than half of the online traffic comes from mobile devices. So an unresponsive and non-mobile-friendly web page can tip off your visitors.
As a creator, you don’t want your potential traffic to leave your podcast webpage without subscribing.
Thus, choose a podcast hosting platform that can offer a responsive website builder to help you create mobile-friendly and personalized web pages.
A podcast hosting should be very flexible with integrations. For example, everybody has different publishing requirements for podcasts.
You can use integrations to:
- Create sign up forms to build your email list
- Run paid ads effectively
- Monitor subscribers with better analytics
- Accept payments directly from subscribers
- Do advance editing for your audio clips
- Host live events with few clicks
There will be occasions where you might need additional tools outside of your hosting plan, and your hosting provider should allow those multiple tool integrations.
Which Podcast Directories Should I Publish My Podcast On?
Finding the right podcast hosting platform is necessary. But it is also essential for you to distribute your podcasts to the right podcast platforms.
Today, the most popular platforms to distribute your podcasts are Apple podcasts and Spotify. But several other large podcast sites can get you thousands of listeners for free.
Here I will take you through the exact steps to get your podcasts published on seven major podcast platforms and grow your subscriber base.
1. How To Submit Podcast To Itunes
iTunes features more than 500,000 active podcasts, and it’s an excellent opportunity for you to get your episodes out there.
The process to submit your podcast to iTunes is easy, but you do need to follow these steps to publish your podcasts successfully, they are:
- Create an account on Podcasts connect and create an Apple ID
- Open your podcast hosting platform and upload at least one podcast with supported specs for iTunes.
- Go to the distributions section and connect with Apple.
- Log in to your Apple ID and follow this Podcaster’s Guide to RSS while submitting.
- Once you’ve submitted your podcast, please wait until it gets approved.
2. How To Submit Podcast To Spotify
Spotify, as we know, is the undisputed king of podcasting and music streaming services. Currently, Spotify is growing strong with 144 million premium subscribers.
There shouldn’t be any second thought while submitting your podcast on Spotify. Instead, follow these steps to get your podcasts published.
- Create a Spotify account
- Log into your podcast hosting platform and search for ‘Spotify’ in the distributions.
- Connect your Spotify account and paste your podcast’s RSS feed URL
- Add podcast info like the category, language, and country.
- Submit it and wait till it gets approved
3. How To Submit Podcast To Google Podcasts
As of now, Android phones are still the most widely used smartphones throughout the globe. Therefore, it is another excellent place to be listened to by millions of people.
Google podcasts recently launched, and it went through a redesign. Over time, they could cover a good portion of android listeners. So, it’s worth it for you to publish your podcast shows on Google Podcasts.
Their submission process is pretty easy; follow these steps:
- Confirm whether your podcasts meet Google’s guidelines
- Open your podcast hosting platform and connect it with your Google Podcasts
- After logging in, manually submit your podcast’s feed URL
- Verify ownership and review your podcast info
- Click “Publish Podcast” and Wait for the approval
4. How To Submit Podcast To Pandora
Pandora is one of the most extensive audio streaming services, with over 64 million monthly users. So getting your podcasts into Pandora is excellent exposure for your content.
To submit your podcast shows on Pandora. Please follow these steps:
- Create a Pandora account and log in here
- Copy your podcast’s feed URL from your podcast hosting site
- Paste your podcast’s RSS URL in the Pandora playbook
- Fill in some information about your podcast
- Submit it to Pandora and wait for the approval
5. How To Submit Podcast To Stitcher
Stitcher is a premium media company that specializes in the creation, distribution, and monetization of podcasts. They have been doing this since 2008.
To get your podcasts published on Stitcher. Please follow these steps:
- Join Stitcher partner program
- Open your hosting platform and copy your podcast’s RSS feed URL
- Paste your RSS URL after joining
- Confirm your email address
- Once your podcast listing is approved, you will get an email, and you can listen to your podcast on Stitcher.
6. How To Submit Podcast To Player FM
PlayerFM has been one of the largest mobile and web audiences with an excellent search engine for podcasts. So it’s no harm to try such a platform where there is less competition.
To submit your podcast to PlayerFM. Please follow these steps:
- Sign up for the PlayerFM account
- Get your podcast’s RSS feed URL
- Paste that RSS feed URL here and share some details regarding your podcast
- Confirm your email address
- Wait for the podcast approval
7. How To Submit Podcast To Tunein
TuneIn is the most underrated podcast directory used by podcasters. It’s an excellent source to reach thousands of potential listeners.
To submit your podcast on TuneIn, follow these steps:
- Create your account on TuneIn
- Add your brand new show here.
- Enter your podcast or program’s ID found at the end of your program’s TuneIn URL. Program IDs start with a ‘P’ (ex. P123456)
- Wait for the TuneIn support team to update you.
Podcast Hosting FAQs
1. Is starting a podcast worth it?
Starting a podcast is always a great idea. Creating a podcast show isn’t expensive. All you need is content.
Once you’ve got the content in your mind, it’s just a matter of time for you to talk to a microphone.
Since podcasts are still evolving, it’s an ideal space for people with no audience and no traction to build their name.
You should hop onto podcasting ASAP before the whole industry gets saturated with gurus.
2. Where can I host my podcasts?
Multiple sites can help you host your podcasts. However, a good podcast hosting platform with the proper distribution will give you an edge in podcasting.
To help you with it, here I want to mention both free and paid sites where you can host your podcasts.
Best free podcast hosting sites:
Best paid podcast hosting sites:
3. Do I need podcast hosting?
Yes, you need a podcast network hosting in a similar way you need a web host. The hosting site will take care of the technical aspects of the server and storage side. All you need to be busy with are your content, marketing, and audience engagement.
4. Can you make money from podcasting?
Yes! There are multiple ways to monetize your podcasts and build income through them.
The earning potential for podcasters is lucrative. However, it entirely depends on what kind of content you upload and how you can build an audience.
5. How often should you publish a podcast?
The frequency of posting is entirely dependent upon the individual and his audience. If you’re looking long-term into podcasting, publishing 4-5 podcasts in a month is sufficient.
Most people try to upload daily podcasts. But unfortunately, podcasts don’t work like YouTube videos, and podcast listeners are not willing to listen to 30 mins of your audio every day.
Thus it’s wise to have a weekly plan of 1-2 podcast releases and make them less than 20-30 minutes each. So that listeners won’t buzz off from your show.
Some core podcast episodes can be 1-2 hours long. But it only works if it’s important to you and your audience.
How can you make money with podcasting?
To make money from your podcasts, here are the most common ways you can try and implement:
- Ad revenue from podcasts
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsorship deals
- Selling your own product/course
- Host live events
- Accepting direct payments
Surprisingly, you don’t need to be a significant creator to make money through podcasting. Instead, many small creators have effectively proven themselves to earn money in multiple ways through podcasting.
Making a choice is a tough one. Before you decide about the best podcast hosting service you want to look at, my advice is you consider the following:
- Frequency and length of your episodes
- The money you can burn
- Podcast analytics that matter to you
- Distribution channels you want
If you know what you need, making a choice should be easier because you choose based on your business requirement.
Without a doubt, the best is BuzzSprout. It is the reigning king of all podcast hosting service providers. But it is a tad expensive.
Best for Value
The one that I recommend is Simplecast. It is the best podcast hosting service if you start because it allows you to upload as many episodes as you want.
Best for Monetization
Castos is what I would recommend as the best podcast hosting provider for monetization. It has plans that allow you to make ads run without having to code. You can also get paid via subscription to your channel.
There is no perfect podcasting service, but you can choose the best for you from my list of the 13 Best Podcast Hosting Sites for 2023. It all boils down to your needs and current budget.
My advice is you understand what you would require for the first year. Then, get the most affordable one, but choose a backup plan where you can migrate to better services once you are ready to pay.
If you’re also considering creating your online course, check out my guide on the best online course platforms.