17 Best Podcast Hosting Platforms for 2020 (The Best are Free)

by Daniel Ndukwu

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our comparisons and recommendations. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

The podcast industry has hit an inflection point. Over 50% of the American population is familiar with the term and roughly 30% listen to an episode every month.

That’s millions of regular listeners. If you want to start a podcast – now’s the time. Part of that journey is selecting the right podcast hosting platform.

If you choose incorrectly, you may be stuck with a podcast host that doesn’t have your best interests at heart. In this detailed guide, we look at and rank the best podcast hosting services in the world. You’ll get a look at the core competency, key features, cons, what other customers think, and pricing.

In the end, you’ll be able to choose the perfect host for your new brand. Note: if you want to see the criteria we used to rank the hosting services, scroll to the bottom of the post and look for the subheading “ranking criteria.”

What are the best podcast hosting services TL;DR

This post is long so here’s a quick rundown of the top three podcast hosts and who they're ideal for.

Buzzsprout - best for beginners or experienced podcasters who want a simple podcasting experience, easy-to-understand UI, and an emphasis on creating the best content possible. 

Podbean - ideal for pro podcasters who want strong distribution and monetization options without having to ductape multiple solutions together. 

Transistor - the perfect podcast hosting platform for brands or creators with multiple shows who know their way around podcasting and need everything to match their brand to a T. 

What is the best podcast hosting platform?

Now, let’s get into the thick of it and look at the best paid and free podcast hosting in the world. Keep in mind that the best service for you may be very different from the best service for someone else to be on the lookout for the features you need the most.

1. Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout podcast hosting

Buzzsprout is one of the most popular podcast hosting services in the world. It boasts tens of thousands of users, millions of downloads facilitated, and a solid feature set that’ll meet the needs of beginners and experts.

Key features

  • Easily get listed in the top podcast directories
  • Advanced podcast analytics to understand downloads, device, location, and more
  • Customizable and embeddable podcast player
  • Automatically optimize your audio files when uploaded to the podcast platform
  • Get transcripts made for your podcasts as an add-on service
  • Add your team members to the platform
  • Affiliate marketplace to easily monetize your podcast
  • Create a custom soundbite for social media promotion

Cons

  • Each plan only supports one podcast
  • Inject ads into your podcast on the free tier

Pricing

Buzzsprout has multiple pricing plans which are dependent on how many hours of audio content you upload each month. It ranges from free, $12/m, $18/m, $24/m for 2, 3, 6, and 12 hours of upload time respectively.

2. Podbean

Podbean hosting

Podbean is another popular and well-regarded free podcast hosting site. It’s one of the rare companies that will be able to support your brand through all stages of your growth. With over ten million episodes published through the platform and almost seven billion downloads, you can be sure they’re equipped to handle your podcast.

Key features

  • Comes with a simple podcast website
  • Can integrate with your own website
  • Scheduled podcast publishing
  • Publish on the go with the mobile app
  • Embeddable podcast player
  • Email marketing integration
  • Advanced analytics including downloads, geography, device, user retention, and more
  • Monetize your podcast with patrons, advertising, or subscriptions

Cons

  • No direct integration with directories so you have to do it manually
  • The WordPress integration has compatibility issues with some themes

Pricing

Podbean has multiple pricing plans and they’re divided based on the features included as opposed to usage limits. The plans cost $9/m, $29/m, and $99/m and there’s a free plan. The largest plan is the only one that supports multiple channels but all other plans have unlimited storage and unmetered bandwidth usage.

3. Transistor.fm

transistor fm podcast hosting

Transistor is new on the scene but has quickly made a name for itself as one of the best podcasting platforms available. It has an emphasis on allowing you to take control of your brand and robust analytics. It has grown a lot over the last two years and shows no signs of slowing down which means they must be doing something right.

Key features

  • Start an unlimited number of podcast shows
  • Has direct integrations with popular podcast directories
  • Easily import past shows
  • Embeddable podcast player that can be customized
  • Advanced podcast analytics that shows downloads, subscribers, trends, and more
  • Manage team members with different permission levels
  • Scheduled podcast episodes
  • Social promotion features
  • Great user interface

Cons

  • Has a limited feature set because it’s so new
  • Pricier than other podcast hosting services

Pricing

Transistor.fm doesn’t have a free plan like other podcast hosting platforms because it’s targeted at a professional and business crowd. It has three pricing plans of $19/m, $49/m, and $99/m for 15,000, 50,000, and 150,000 downloads a month respectively.  It has a 14-day trial.

4. Blubrry

blubrry

Blubrry is one of the older podcast hosting platforms available and has been delivering a solid product for years. It has many features that can help take your podcast to the next level and has served thousands of creators over the years. The interface is simple and you can be up and running in just a few hours (minutes if you’re tech-savvy).

Key Features

  • Free WordPress plugin to make integrating with your site a breeze
  • Optimized for mobile devices
  • Free WordPress site with a subscription
  • Free migrations from other hosts
  • Modern podcast player
  • Can edit and republish content after the initial upload
  • Integrates with Amazon Alexa
  • Iab compliant statistics

Cons

  • Statistics are separated into advanced and professional with the advanced being a paid options
  • Plans have limited storage associated with them

Pricing

Blubrry has multiple plans for podcast hosting which are determined by the amount of monthly storage space available. They cost $12/m, $20/m, $40/m, and $80/m for 100mb 250mb, 500mb, and 1,000mb of storage respectively. Plans have a 30-day trial.  

5. Simplecast

Simplecast hosting

Simplecast has been providing an affordable podcast platform for creators for over seven years and has turned into an industry giant during that time. It has a suite of tools to help you get the most out of your podcast and friendly support that will help you navigate any challenge.

Key features

  • Unlimited storage and uploads
  • Built-in distribution options
  • Customizable website and your own domain
  • Can control multiple shows
  • Embeddable podcast player
  • Deep analytics and reporting features (geography, device, trends, subscribers, and more)
  • Invite team members and set permissions

Cons

  • Can be s difficult learning curve
  • Many key features only available in the higher pricing plans

Pricing

Simplecast pricing is determined by the features available on your plan and isn’t limited by uploads or bandwidth. It costs $15/m, $35/m, and $85/m and comes with a 14-day trial.

6. Captivate

captivate

Captivate is a podcast hosting site that bills itself as the only growth-oriented platform of its kind in the world. I won’t dispute that it’s growth-oriented but I will dispute the fact that it’s the only one.

I digress.

It’s a solid platform with all the analytics, distribution, and hosting features you need to publish a professional podcast and grow your brand.

Key features

  • Clean simple UI that lets you get up and running quickly
  • Concierge migration from your current podcast hosting provider
  • Customizable embedded player for individual episodes
  • Comes with a podcast website
  • Deep podcast statistics to let you know how you’re growing over time
  • Host unlimited podcasts
  • Invite as many team members as you want

Cons

  • Limited feature set (though what they do have works well)
  • A bit pricy for the available features

Pricing

Captivate’s pricing is determined by the number of monthly downloads your account can support. It costs $19, $49, and $99 for 15,000, 50,000 and 150,000 downloads respectively.

7. Castos

Castos came on the scene with a bang and has been growing rapidly ever since. It claims to be truly unlimited and that you’ll never have to worry about bandwidth or storage limits in your account. That means you can test out multiple shows, upload as much or as often as you want, and reap all the rewards. It also has a WordPress podcasting plugin called Seriously Simple Podcasting that has over 20,000 users.

Key features

  • Unlimited podcasts, bandwidth, and storage.
  • Easily import from WordPress directly to Castos
  • Concierge migration from your current podcast host to Castos
  • Can manage your podcast directly from WordPress (files get sent to Castos)
  • Offers an add-on service for auto transcription
  • Connect to YouTube and publish podcast episodes there
  • Create a customized podcast website with your own domain
  • Make the embeddable podcast player your own

Cons

  • Advanced analytics only available on highest tier
  • Can take a bit of getting used to

Pricing

Castos has three plans and all of them come with unlimited bandwidth and uploads. It costs $19/m, $49/m, and $99/m.

8. Libsyn

Libsyn

Libsyn has been a staple of the podcasting world since 2004 and it shows in the reliability of its platform. Over the years, it has forged partnerships with directories that make it easy for you to distribute your shows in as many places as possible. It has an add-on service called LibsynPro that caters to networks and larger podcasters with concierge services.

Key features

  • Iab certified analytics that includeS platforms, daily trends, geography, episode breakdown, and more
  • Optimize specifically for iTunes
  • WordPress integration through a plugin
  • Also, host and distribute video and PDF content
  • Get listed in the Libsyn directory
  • Scheduled release dates
  • Direct integration with over 20 platforms for direct publishing
  • Simple podcast page to showcase your brand

Cons

  • Severely limited storage on the lower plans
  • Have to pay for statistics separately on the lowest plan

Pricing

Libsyn has four main plans based on the storage space you use every month. It costs $5/m, $15/m, $20/m, and $40/m for 50mb, 250mb, 400mb, and 800mb respectively.

9. Spreaker

Spreaker

Spreaker is a free podcast hosting service that gives creators the tools to speak their truth let the world tune in. It has an emphasis on allowing you to host multiple shows and get in front of the right people through its directory. It’s one of the few podcast platforms that allows you to host live shows and engage with your audience in real-time.

Key features

  • Can stream live to your audience
  • Automatically placed in the Spreaker directory to increase your visibility
  • Host multiple podcast without an additional fee
  • Unlimited listener downloads
  • Schedule episodes to go out at a later date
  • Embedded player for each show
  • Statistics for downloads and daily listeners
  • Built in monetization options (Revenue share model)

Cons

  • Only get basic statistics unless you upgrade to one of the highest plans
  • Content locking only available on the highest plans

Pricing

Spreaker’s pricing is based on the number of audio hours being stored. The longer you’ve been publishing, the more you’ll pay. It starts at free then costs $7/m, $20/m, and $50/m for 5 hours, 100 hours, 500 hours, and 1,500 hours of audio storage respectively.

Podomatic

podomatic podcast hosting

Podomatic is a free podcast hosting platform that has many features that set it apart. There’s an emphasis on creating your podcast with simplicity and even if you’re on the go. There are multiple monetization options included with the platform that cater to independent creators.

Key features

  • Free forever plans to test the waters with podcasting
  • Podcast analytics to understand how you’re performing over time
  • Patreon integration so fans can support your work
  • Built-in advertising solution so you can easily monetize your podcast
  • Embedded podcast player
  • Share your link on social media and people can play right from their feeds. 
  • Mobile app that lets you record and publish from your phone

Cons

  • Doesn’t support scheduling
  • Lacks a podcast website

Pricing

Podomatic pricing is based on the storage and bandwidth used. The free plan has a limit of 15gb of bandwidth. The paid plans cost $9.99/m, $14.99/m, and $24.99 for 100gb, 200gb, and 500gb of storage a month.  

11. Podiant

podiant podcast service

Podiant is a podcast host with a clear mission – giving you the tools to spread your message far and wide. They’re able to do this with a robust podcast platform and deep analytics that give you insights into what’s working for your show right now. A strong feature set and reliable company make Podiant among the best podcast hosting sites in the world.

Key features

  • Connect with social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Manage guest scheduling from Podiant’s interface
  • Tips to help you grow your podcast within the dashboard
  • Podcast website with multiple themes to choose from
  • Hosts its own directory
  • Editing podcasts in Podiant is easy with the draft pages
  • Simple podcast stats

Cons

  • Lacks a few advanced features like scheduling episodes
  • Each podcast needs its own plan

Pricing

Pricing is determined based on features. It costs $12.99, $24.99, and 35.97 to get access to its podcast hosting platform.

12. Podcast websites

Podcast websites

Podcast Websites, as the name implies, is a podcast hosting site that also helps you build a compelling website to engage your audience. The platform works with WordPress and takes care of both your podcast hosting and your website hosting in the same package. There are many custom themes to choose from which can be further tweaked to match your brand. It’s an all in one solution for your podcast needs and website.

Key Features

  • Unlimited podcast hosting
  • Round the clock help and support
  • A drag-and-drop editor to design your website
  • Podcast analytics
  • Publishing to the major directories
  • Training center about all things podcasting
  • Built-in integrations with email marketing services

Cons

  • Limited features when compared to dedicated podcast hosts
  • Pricing isn’t beginner-friendly

Pricing

Podcast Websites has a single pricing plan which comes in at $97/m.

13. Audioboom

Audioboom podcast platform

Audioboom is what I’d call a two-sided marketplace. On one end, it has features for podcasters to host and grow their shows. This includes a directory for listeners to find shows and other aspects to optimize the experience for creators. On the other end, they have a platform to attract advertisers and help them get in front of podcasters. In essence, it’s an easy way for growing podcasters to build up their revenue stream without having to hunt for advertisers on their own.

Key features

  • Easily import your existing show from your previous podcast hosting company
  • Partnered with multiple directories and distribution networks to increase the reach of your podcast
  • An embedded player that can be used almost anywhere
  • Podcast analytics to track your growth over time
  • Can invite team members to help manage your show
  • Podcast page hosted by Audioboom
  • Dynamic ad insertion to help keep your revenue up and show relevant ads to listeners

Cons

  • It doesn’t have a full-blown website for your podcast – just a single page
  • Limited to 10,000 listeners a month without access to advertising network on the initial plan

Pricing

Audioboom has flat-rate pricing for its services. It costs $9.99/m and supports up to 10,000 downloads a month.

14. Podserve

Podserve takes a service approach to its podcast platform. It helps you get into the major directories and even promises to promote your show to thousands of people to help get the word out. There’s a small team behind the software so you’ll be sure to get that personalized touch.

Key features

  • Actively works to get your podcast listed in major directories
  • Makes sure you’re promoted to thousands of potential listeners
  • Embeddable player to reach your audience where they interact with your brand the most
  •  Statistics that show you the most important information at a glance
  • Deeper analytics that gives you information on geography, directory, device, and more
  • Simple podcast creation workflow
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited shows

Cons

  • The podcast website provided by Podserve is a basic one-page affair

Pricing

Podserve has a single pricing plan which costs $19/m and comes with a 14-day trial to test out all the features.

15. Fireside

Fireside podcast hosting site

Founded in 2016, Fireside is a podcast hosting company that was born to tackle the frustrations many podcasters face with other podcast platforms. It was started by podcasters and it shows in the simple UI, the focus of the features, and the personal support.

Key features

  • Fully-fledged podcast website
  • Import your show from any of the other hosting companies
  • Map your custom domain to the platform
  • Ability to distribute your podcast to multiple directories
  • Visual analytics to help you understand your performance
  • Beautiful custom player to embed on your website
  • Direct Spotify integration

Cons

  • Additional podcasts attract an $8 fee

Pricing

It has one pricing plan at $19/m and is honest about what unlimited downloads actually means. If you go over 500K downloads a month you may need a custom plan.

16. Backtracks

Backtracks has an emphasis on giving you the most advanced podcast analytics in the industry. If you’ve been podcasting for any length of time then you know the stats, no matter how pretty, are basic. For example, you can’t differentiate between listens and downloads. Why does this matter? Because many podcast apps will download a new episode to the device of everyone that’s subscribed. Backtracks hopes to change that with its approach to podcast analytics.

Key features

  • Deep podcast analytics such as downloads vs listens and even drop-off times
  • Customized podcast player
  • Podcast production editing
  • Podcast SEO built in
  • Share and play shows on social media

Cons

  • Limited feature set (though it does those well)
  • Much more expensive than competitors

Pricing

Backtracks pricing isn’t visible on the website but it starts at $49/m for the basic features.

17. Soundcloud

Soundcloud is the music streaming platform we all know and love. It recently made an official entrance into the podcast space and delivers a simple solution that gets your work in front of the people that care about it. It’s a free podcast hosting solution that can grow with you.

Key features

  • Take advantage of the Soundcloud platform to aid discovery
  • Scheduling of episodes
  • Embed on your website and social media
  • Replace tracks with updated content
  • Ability to get discounts from other vendors
  • Promote content prominently on Soundcloud

Cons

  • No podcast website
  • Advanced features are missing such as easy distribution to other directories

Pricing

It has a single pricing plan at $16/m. 

What’s the best podcast hosting for you?

This detailed guide has gone through the best podcast hosting platforms in the world. You now know the key features of all the hosts and what to expect in terms of pricing.

It’s up to you to decide which one is best for you based on your needs and current budget. Remember that you can always switch to a different host pretty easily so don’t be afraid to test out some of the top picks and see how they work for you. 

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