10 Best Podcast Hosting Platforms In 2021 – Review & Comparisons

man running a podcast

What makes for a good podcast host? How do you choose the best podcast host for your needs and budget?

With so many options available, it’s not always clear what makes one host different from another and why you would pay for service as opposed to just choosing a free option.

If you’re just beginning your research into starting a podcast, this comparison guide will provide you with all the information you need to find the podcast hosting service that best meets your needs, your budget, and your long-term goals.

The Best Podcast Hosting Services in 2021

1. RSS.com Podcasting

At RSS.com, our mission is to give a voice to everyone and to provide the best podcast hosting, features, and unmatched customer support for the absolute best price.

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Start Your Podcast Today

RSS.com is the easiest way to start, grow, and monetize your podcast. With unlimited episodes, downloads, a free website for your podcast, monetization options, and distribution to major podcast directories, you’ll have everything you need to succeed. 🙌🏼

Start your podcast today for free. No credit card required.

2. Anchor

As Anchor is a free option, it’s very easy to understand why so many new podcasters consider them when starting their shows. 

The truth is that Anchor is a great option for those just testing the waters and who are not fully invested in their podcast.

With that said, if you are creating your podcast for your brand or business, or plan on turning your podcast into a business at some point, we highly suggest performing more research on the pitfalls and limitations of using a free service like Anchor.

With a paid hosting service, you are in full control of ads, your content, and your podcast on major directories like Apple Music, Google Podcasts, and Spotify (while Anchor submits your show to Apple Podcasts, it’s under Anchor’s own account.)

Anchor Podcast Review

Creating an account and uploading an episode is easy on Anchor. We appreciated the ability to share new episodes to Facebook or Twitter, copy the episode link, or convert the episode into a blog post. Their app is intuitive and has useful features. 

However, hosting your podcast on Anchor isn’t without its downsides.

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The Downsides to Anchor Explained

If you get sponsored, expect to pay a lot more in fees with Anchor. For example, where Podcorn charges 10%, Anchor Sponsorship charges 30%. This means if you earn $10 with Anchor, they will take $3, and a $0.25 processing fee as well as a $0.25 cashout fee leaving you with just $6.50. If you host with RSS and use Podcorn to sponsor your show, your fee will be 10% – so if you earn $10, you keep $9.

While it is true they state you own the rights to your content, they also explicitly state in their terms and conditions that by using their platform you grant them the right to edit and modify your content and use it to promote and advertise their company and Spotify.

They also state that they have the right to remove your content without warning at their own discretion, and that they “have no responsibility or liability for the deletion or failure to store any User Content maintained or uploaded by the Services.”

As many podcasters have so aptly put it – If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.

buzzsprout

Start Your Podcast Today

RSS.com is the easiest way to start, grow, and monetize your podcast. With unlimited episodes, downloads, a free website for your podcast, monetization options, and distribution to major podcast directories, you’ll have everything you need to succeed. 🙌🏼

Start your podcast today for free. No credit card required.

3. BuzzSprout

Buzzsprout’s plans range from $12/month for up to 3 hours of audio uploaded per month to $24 per month for up to 12 hours uploaded per month. Optional add-on features for paid accounts include MagicMastering – audio filtering, and transcription at $0.25/minute.

Signing up for an account and uploading an episode for free was simple and intuitive. With that said, we found their monthly subscription rates are way too high for what you get for the money.

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buzzsprout episode player

Buzzsprout's Audience Support Programs

Buzzsprout provides monetization options that allow your listeners to support your show through accounts you’ve set up on Patreon, Podfan, Buy Me A Coffee, Paypal, and Cash App integrations. 

In theory it sounds great, however to find the “Support Podcast” button, visitors listening to your episodes need to click a tiny icon hidden in the bottom right of your player to expand and display this feature (see above screenshot). 🤔

4. Blubrry

What draws some podcasters to Blubrry Podcasting is PowerPress – their plugin for WordPress. Others are drawn to the fact that they have been offering podcasting services for more than 15 years. 

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The Downsides to Blubrry Explained:

As choosing a podcast host is a big decision, many new podcasters appreciate a free trial to get a feel for the service and features of a platform.  On their website, Blubrry doesn’t offer a free trial – however, after scouring the web, we are able to find a free trial link.

After setting up our account, it took us some time to figure how to upload an episode – the user interface wasn’t what we’d call intuitive.

Overall, Blubrry’s dashboard felt a little overwhelming and could be disconcerting to a new podcaster who is also learning how to start and grow a podcast.

Castos

Castos offers both monthly and annual plans which begin at $19/month and $190/year respectively. Similar to Blubrry, they have a WordPress plugin which allows you to manage your podcast, from inside your WordPress dashboard.

Where they stand out is they are one of the few podcast hosts to offer plans that include video hosting. However, their big features also come with larger price tags.

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Castos Podcast Hosting Review

For the lowest paid plan ($19/month) you get 100 private subscribers. At the $490/year pricing tier your private subscribers can be increased to 250, your show can be video published to YouTube and you get Headliner Audiograms for your episodes.

The $990/year pricing tier gets 500 private subscribers, all of the above mentioned features, advanced analytics and video file hosting.

For podcasters with multiple shows, they may be tempted to purchase one of these plans. But in our opinion, it’s a very large fee if you only have one show.

On the other hand, if you want to have a private show that you sell access to, such as in a course or coaching membership, paying for private hosting may be worth it to you as well.

There is a free 14-day trial on the Castos website with no credit card required.

When you sign up, you get the option to either manage your show with their dashboard, or use a WordPress plugin to sync episodes from your WordPress website to Castos.

The Castos dashboard was reminiscent of the BuzzSprout dashboard, and creating an account and uploading episodes was pretty easy. You can also integrate your podcast with Spotify and Amazon Music directly from your Castos account.

Again though – we couldn’t help feeling that the price was just too high for the features offered.

Podcasting Made Easy

RSS.com is the easiest way to start, grow, and monetize your podcast. With unlimited episodes, downloads, a free website for your podcast, monetization options, and distribution to major podcast directories, you’ll have everything you need to succeed. 🙌🏼

Start your podcast today for free. No credit card required.

libsyn

Libsyn

Libsyn’s claim to fame is that they host more than 75,000 podcasts worldwide, and packages start at just $5/month.

The question is – what features do you get for that $5/month? Let’s explore. 🧭

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Libsyn Podcast Hosting Review

If you have an episode that is an hour or longer, you will hit storage quotas fast. And, if you have multiple episodes you want to load in a single month, you’ll need a more expensive plan as well.

The most expensive plan that is publicly available is $40 per month and it features 800 MB of monthly storage. While these numbers reset each month for how much you can load, we’re betting you will find it’s far too easy to hit their maximums once you start getting serious about podcasting.

Analytics begin at the plans that are $15/month and up. Other features such as Double Opt-In Advertising and MyLibsyn Premium Paywall aren’t available until you reach the $20/month plan. The Paywall feature allows you to charge premium subscription fees for your podcast content.

In terms of loading and deleting episodes, as well as creating your account, Libsyn is easy enough to use. Again though, we can’t help but gasp at their storage limitations.

podbean

Podbean

PodBean offers both free and paid accounts to podcasters. They also offer a unique feature with their unlimited plus and business plans known as the Patron Program.

The Patron Program is a paywalled RSS feed that allows you to charge your listeners to receive access to bonus content that is not available publicly.

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Podbean Review

Paid accounts begin at $9/month (paid annually) or $14/month (paid monthly). As soon as you begin paying you get additional features including:

  • Advanced Stats such as “where your audience comes from [and] how they play your episodes”
  • Unlimited storage and bandwidth (“subject to Podbean’s Fair Usage Policy)
  • Pro Themes for your public podcast web page
  • Custom design options
  • Opportunities to monetize with Ads Marketplace and Premium Sales

 

For even more features such as access to their Patron Program, and/or PodAds monetization opportunities as well as video hosting, you will need an Unlimited Plus plan (starting at $29/month) or a Business plan starting at $99/month.

Business plans also gain access to private podcasts, groups, live chat support, and the Podbean Pro App.

Sign up was easy, and accessing the dashboard was simple as well. One feature that was interesting was the automatic social share option. You can connect your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts to automatically share new episodes upon their release.

You can also record and publish an episode from within the app for the platform. However, again we highly recommend recording with a podcasting microphone into a program such as Garageband or Audacity, and then uploading it for better audio quality.

simplecast

Simplecast

Simplecast touts itself at the best platform for podcasters who want to track their analytics. Unfortunately, you will need to choose the higher pricing tiers to gain access to them as their lowest priced plan only delivers “Basic analytics.”

Simplecast’s free trial is for 14 days, and that will give you carte blanche to explore it’s interface and features. That is until you want to actually publish an episode at which point, you’ll need to select a paid plan. Plans begin at $15/month if paying month-to-month or $13.50 if paying annually.

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Simplecast Podcast Hosting Review

If your show goes viral and takes off, having the basic plan can be problematic!

The next tier jumps to $35 monthly ($31.50/month if paying annually), and it only permits 50,000 downloads per month. Finally, their growth plan is $85 monthly ($76.50/month if paying annually), and it allows for up to 120,000 downloads per month.

While the platform seems easy to use, we can’t help feeling like the pricing structure encourages podcasters to stay small lest they end up having to pay huge podcast hosting fees.

Call us crazy, but we don’t think podcasters should get penalized for their shows gaining popularity!

spreakr

Spreaker

Spreaker is owned by Voxnest, who in October 2020, announced that they were going to be acquired by iHeartMedia (aka iHeartRadio).

Spreaker is one of the few hosts that allows podcasters to live broadcast their show, making them ideal for call-in style shows.

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Spreaker Podcast Hosting Review

Their paid plans begin with their “On-Air Talent” plan at $7/month on the month-to-month plan, or $72 for a year. At the $7/month price, users gain access to the following features:

 

  • Up to 100 hours of audio storage
  • Unlimited episodes and listeners
  • Episode scheduling
  • Up to 45 minutes of live podcasting with a listener’s chatbox to engage with your audience
  • Basic statistics
  • Ad revenue sharing and dynamic ad insertion monetization opportunities

To gain access to advanced statistics you’ll need to move to their “broadcaster” plan, starting at $20/month. This tier also gives you access to paid subscription monetization opportunities, 500 hours of audio storage and up to 3 hours of live podcasting.

Finally, their “anchorman” plan starts at $50/month and gives you access to 1,500 hours of audio storage and up to 5 hours of live podcasting. This plan is also the only one that provides what Spreaker calls “Full Statistics.”

podcast host

Choosing a Podcast Host That Perfectly Meets Your Needs and Budget

We’ve covered a lot in this post, and we understand there are a lot of options and factors to consider when choosing a podcast host.

Here’s some final advice to help you in making your choice:

1. Open a word processing document or get out a pen and paper
2. Write down what your short-term and long-term goals are for your show
3. Write down how often you plan to release episodes, and how long you intend for them to be
4. Do you plan on hosting just one show or multiple shows?
5. Do you plan on video podcasting?
6. What is your budget?

Let your answers help guide who you ultimately choose as a podcast host. For example, if video hosting is a top priority, many options on this list will be instantly removed.

Also, you can always take advantage of free trials and offers to test the features and functionality of the podcast hosts on this list before making your final decision. With a little searching, there are codes and links for free trials for nearly every podcast host listed above.

The Easiest Way to Start a Podcast

Get your podcast up and running in less than 5 minutes. With an easy-to-use interface, unlimited audio storage, real-time analytics and episode scheduling, RSS Podcasting is the hosting platform you'll love.

picture of podcasting equipment

More to Explore

Looking for inspiration? Check out our latest podcasting tips and resources! 

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