When you first begin looking into starting a podcast, you’ll come across many offers for free podcast hosting.
This can seem enticing when you’re trying to save money and on a budget, or it may seem like the path of least resistance if you’re just not sure which hosting platform to choose.
The problem with free offers, however, is that they come with restrictions that might not be obvious at first. With that in mind, below we’re sharing five reasons why free podcast hosting is a bad idea.
Limited Storage Space
A free account with many podcast hosts means that you are limited in terms of the length of your episodes, and how large your files are as well.
For example, one company offering free podcast hosting limits you to five hours of loaded content per month. If you have episodes that are longer than an hour and hope to release more than one episode a week, you’ll hit the limit quickly. In fact, some free hosting offers limit you to just two hours a month.
To make matters worse – these time limits are based on low-quality audio uploads. If you want a professional sound, it’s best to work with a paid host that won’t restrict your storage space or the length of your episodes. Time and storage limits can hinder creativity and force edits you might have preferred not to make.
Owning the Rights to Your Content
Some free podcast hosting offers come with a stipulation that you may not fully own your content, or that it can be used in advertising and/or promotions by the company without compensating you.
One company stated in their terms of service that by using their platform you grant them the right to copy, distribute, modify, publish, use, and process your content without any further notice, consent or compensation.
What happens if you make it big or want to sell your show?
When you are utilizing a free podcast host, if you hit it big and decide to sell the rights to your show, you might not be the one negotiating the sale. All that lawyer speak you agreed to in the terms and conditions when you signed up for free hosting may have given the host non-exclusive worldwide and irrevocable rights. What this means is, you might not even be allowed to sell your show.
You know how it’s against the terms and conditions of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to share social media handles? If you’re caught doing it, they reserve the right to ban you from using their platforms. Why? Because they own the rights to everything on them. Sure, you maintain the intellectual property of content you share, but they own the pages themselves so you can’t sell them.
It’s technically the same with podcasts hosted on free platforms. You own everything you think and say, but they own your profile page. Yikes! We don’t know about you, but the thought of giving away these kinds of rights to your content doesn’t sound appealing at all. Even if you’re just a hobby podcaster, your content should be yours alone.
Problems with Content Transfers
What if you decide after starting your podcast and investing in episodes that you want to switch hosts?
If you are using free podcast hosting, moving your content to a new provider may not be possible or as easy as you would like. We’ve seen users lose episodes, lose subscribers, and in the worst cases have to start building a new show and audience from scratch.
Some free podcast hosting companies put restrictions on your monetization efforts.
For example, one company states that to monetize your show on their platform you need to use their tools for sponsorship and revenue. And, they state in their terms and conditions that just because you agree to have an ad placed on your show doesn’t mean you will see a dime of that income. Furthermore, your eligibility for sponsorships and monetization is at their discretion, not yours or your potential sponsors.
When you use RSS Podcasting you are in control of who sponsors your podcast. If you want to go out and find funding and insert ad segments into your show, that’s your prerogative. As long as you’re following FTC Disclosure laws and not promoting illegal activities/products, how you choose to monetize is up to you!
Even getting new email list sign-ups is at risk
A common marketing suggestion for podcasters is to ask listeners to sign up for their email list. This allows you to reach out to listeners directly with sales offers, affiliate promotions, and other correspondence.
Here’s what you might not realize about free podcast hosting – many free hosts will insert their own email addresses into the RSS feed of your show, or even on your profile’s page. This means that direct emails from listeners, advertisers, potential sponsors, etc. will go directly to the podcast host – not to you.
While you can certainly continue mentioning your website on your show, and asking people to visit and opt-in to your email list, if a listener finds your podcast somewhere else, they might only ever see the free host’s email address or contact form.
Your Show Could Disappear Without Warning
One of the scariest reasons that free podcast hosting is a bad idea, is that when you aren’t paying for hosting, some companies stipulate in their terms and conditions that they reserve the right to remove your show completely.
Imagine painstakingly working on your podcast, loading episodes and building an audience, only to log on one day and see it’s been deleted. To make matters worse, paying customers are typically cared for first before free users, so complaints to support could go unanswered for weeks, months, or not at all.
Bottom Line: You Don’t Get What You Don’t Pay For
When you pay for podcast hosting you are in control of your show. Serious podcasters who are in it for the long-term know that paying for podcast hosting is just one of the elements of running a business.
Your podcast deserves a good host, and we’d be honored to help you get your show out there for the world to hear. Kick our tires, and get started with a free 10-day trial today!