@iChris if you were me and want to publish my first podcast. How would you go about that? LibSyn? SquareSpace?
— Mikey Reiach (@mikeyReiach) January 26, 2015
In my previous post I didn’t go into much detail about where and why you’d host your MP3 files for your podcast.
I firmly believe if you’re going to make something a serious hobby, you shouldn’t feel bad or afraid to put some money into it. But you definitely don’t have to – particularly if you’re short on cash.
If you’ve got an existing web hosting plan for your podcast’s website (I love A Small Orange – affiliate link) you can host your files from right inside your WordPress media uploader or via FTP. As I said in the earlier post, you want to make sure it’s ok with your hosting company but if an episode of your podcast is going to be downloaded under a 100 times – my first podcast series was downloaded ~15 times per episode – most hosting companies won’t get too worried.
It’s not ideal in terms of download speeds for your listeners but again – we’re not worrying about all that fancy stuff now, right?
Spending a Fivver with Libsyn
The next step would be to use a dedicated podcast hosting company. Libsyn has a $5 plan that you could actually run your entire podcast and website off if you really wanted to. I’m personally not a huge fan of how their websites work and prefer to host the website elsewhere – see my tutorial video on how to get a website set up on your own domain – but again, if money is tight then $5 a month is a cheap way to start your podcast.
The way Libsyn’s storage amounts work is this: you upload a 40MB podcast file to Libsyn. That file counts against your storage for the next 30 days. After 30 days if you’ve uploaded nothing else, you go back to having your full storage amount.
TL;DR: Every file only counts against your storage for 30 days.
You can add a $2/month upgrade to your account to get basic stats for your podcast. This helps give you a more accurate idea of how many downloads your podcast is getting. Not completely necessary unless your vanity requires you to check stats two to three times a day. Speaking for a friend who does that it’s completely normal and healthy. Really.
I want to mention that my favorite WordPress podcasting plugin has a hosting option. I haven’t used them so I can’t speak to how good/bad/ugly they are – their pricing seems a bit higher than Libsyn but price shouldn’t be the only reason: being able to upload right from your WordPress post entry screen would be very handy. And they apparently support automated ID3 tagging so you wouldn’t have to use a separate app (iTunes, ID3 Editor) to add metadata to your MP3’s before you upload.
Definitely worth checking out.
Squarespace can take care of both your website hosting and your podcast file hosting – depending on the plan you choose – all in one place. They prepare an RSS feed for you that you can submit to iTunes and have a great looking MP3/media player for your website. The $8/month plan gives you 2GB of storage which should be more than enough room for a starting podcast. (For example: A recent episode of Show Me Your Mic is 72 minutes long and just over 41MB. That would give you approx. 40 episodes of storage on the $8/month Squarespace plan.
Squarespace allows you to make great looking websites without a lot of hassle. Which, if your goal is to start podcasting, I’m all for things that make everything else you do easier and less of a hassle.
What Should You Do?
The quick answer: what’s right for you. Don’t stress it too much because listeners don’t care where your show is hosted as long as they can listen to it.
The longer version: Personally my recommendation is to grow your hosting plan as your podcast grows. As long as you keep a copy of your podcast episodes somewhere locally – and even if you don’t, it’s easy enough to subscribe to your own podcast and download them all again – you can upload them and redirect feeds to wherever you move your hosting to. So start with hosting it whatever web host plan you have and then as your needs and listenership grow, move along. As long as you register a domain name (included with A Small Orange or Squarespace sign ups) people won’t have to even know where your podcast files are actually hosted – and won’t care.
As long as they can listen, they could care less about whether it came from Libsyn, Squarespace or webhostingcompany.xyz.
What Do I Do?
I’ve settled on Libsyn for my personal podcast stuff. At Goodstuff we use Amazon S3 primarily because we have a custom CMS that needed API hooks that S3 provides. Or some other fancy technical words that I don’t understand.
If I was on my own and starting out again, I’d take a serious look at Blubrry. The fact that you don’t have to edit metadata is a huge time saver – but your mileage may vary.
Feel free to leave a comment below or ask me on Twitter if you have specific questions and I’ll do my best to answer all questions in a future post or a video.