Choosing the right podcast hosting service: tips for selection and setup
If you want to start your own podcast, sooner or later you'll come across the term "podcast host" or "podcast hosting". But what exactly is it and why do you need such a thing? A podcast hosting service allows you to store and distribute your audio content online, which is essential for making your podcast episodes available to a wide audience.
Why do you need a podcast hoster?
A hoster provides various functions and tools that help you with the administration and marketing of your podcast. This includes the ability to organize episodes, see statistics on listener numbers, and publish your podcast on different platforms.
In brief, you need a podcast hoster in order to publish your podcast. So choosing a hoster is an important step.
Once the first episode is in the can, it’s time to find a home for your podcast, because unlike with YouTube, podcasts are not uploaded directly to Apple Podcast, Spotify etc. You need a feed. There are some outstanding podcast hosting services, like Podigee, that set up the podcast feed.
For a low monthly fee your podcast will be listed on all the usual platforms, and you’ll get a web player for your website, analyses on your listeners and most-heard episodes, etc.
But one thing at a time.
Why do I need a podcast feed at all?
What is a podcast feed
Some (beginner) podcasters record audio and include it in blog articles. That’s nice, because you can reach people with these audios, but only if they have a screen. And you can’t reach them through the popular podcast platforms of the world.
If you want to get audios to your target group without them needing a screen, you have to have a feed. A feed is basically a container in which all the relevant data on the podcast, the episodes, descriptions etc. are coded and contained. You can add further episodes to the feed, or change the descriptions.
To be listed on podcast platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcast etc., the container needs to be posted to the platforms. You do that with the feed link you get from your podcast hoster. People can subscribe to the feed, and will be informed of new episodes and can download them if they want. So to turn an audio on a computer into a subscribable podcast, you need a feed. And that’s what a podcast hoster does for you.
Can you host a podcast yourself?
The short answer is yes. But we don’t recommend it. It’s time-consuming, takes a lot of expertise, and you don’t get any analysis data.
You can also set up your own RSS feed. There are basically two options:
- Via a WordPress plugin. There are numerous plugins for WordPress that generate a valid feed that works on all platforms. However, these plugins can sometimes conflict. You have no doubt run into that, when a page slows down or one plugin influences another. You want to avoid this negative effect.
- Hosting on your own server with your own RSS feed. This is also doable. An RSS feed is nothing but a little HTML, so it’s very, very logical. But this type of feed doesn’t have the analytics you need for success measurement.
A podcast feed via a hoster like Podigee really is easier, faster, and more effictiveprecise. But why?
What can you expect from your podcast hoster?
A valid podcast feed
OK, that’s what you expect from your podcast hoster. The feed just needs to work. Period! No discussions.
And that’s exactly what you get from a hoster. They are designed so that the podcast feed works on all the familiar platforms, and the new episodes always get posted to the feed. There are no surprises.
Experience and knowledge about podcasts
This might sound kind of banal, because that’s just what you expected. The problem is that there are audio platforms that you can also make a podcast feed with.
However, in the past there have repeatedly been problems with these feeds, be it insufficient data security or unannounced maintenance work that interrupted podcast accessibility.
You naturally don’t want that. You want a podcast hoster who understands you as a podcaster.
Secure data and Backups
The best way to make sure that nothing happens and your data is always safe is to keep it on a server with multiple security and backups, like AWS by Amazon. There are no surprises with this server, and even if it crashes the backups are done so quickly that subscribers never notice it.
Speaking of subscribers...
aturally you also want to know how many downloads your podcast has gotten and how it’s doing. In order to measure that, good podcast hosters use the IAB 2.0 standard as a basis for data capture.
One of the criteria for clean measurement, for example, is that a download or stream only counts if at least 60 seconds of the episode were streamed or downloaded.
Of course you also want to know which platforms these streams and downloads come from, and what episodes perform better than others. That gives you statistics you can use to measure the success of the entire podcast.
And downloads aren’t the only thing. There is also monetization of your podcast.
The podcast monetization trend continues unabated. Listeners accept advertising, and dynamic ads also make it more interesting for podcasters.
At Podigee we also have a dynamic ad server, and the ad planner gives you easy campaign management with which you can not only insert current ads in all desired episodes (at every point in the podcast with pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll), but also define from when to when the advertising should run.
That makes it easy to monetize your podcast, which brings us to the next point.
Ease of use
It’s not you who should adapt to the podcasting concept, but your podcast that should adapt to you and your resources. Only then is it easy, and you can do your podcast with enjoyment and endurance.
Nobody wants to use a complicated tool to make a new episode. A good hoster makes it easy, and gives you everything you need inneed to in an easy-to-use interface.
GDPR - conformity
If data protection and the General Data Protection Regulation matter to you, there are some things to be aware of in choosing your hoster.
Your listeners access the various platforms with their IP address. It can be a quality feature to have your hoster’s server in Europe and have an order management agreement with it.
An exclusive podcast can pay off for you or your company. Either because you sell access, or because you make a podcast for internal communication.
Podigee gives you these options, as well as integration with membership provider STEADY, that makes it easy to decide which episodes will be behind a paywall.
Helpful and capable support
It can always happen that you have a question, or that something goes wrong. For many people support is an important point in selecting a hoster. After all, you want knowledgeable help in your language from people who know what they’re talking about. Ideally you won’t need it, but it is a very good feeling to know that if you do, the people in support can help you out.
No interest in this theme? Choose directly, what you need:
- Part 1: Define your podcast
- Part 2: Create an editorial plan and first episodes
- Part 3: Buy the right equipment
- Part 4: Podcast title, music and cover
- Part 5: Find a location for your podcast recording
- Part 6: Quiet please, recording!
- Part 7: Voice recording and editing
- Part 8: Choose a Podcast Hosting service
- Part 9: List your Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and co.
- Part 10: Promote your podcast
Start your podcast today with Podigee
- Publish your podcast in just a few clicks: on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Youtube and everywhere else where podcasts are available.
- Unlimited storage for your podcasts, secure and privacy-compliant, detailed playback analytics.
- Outstanding support at every step of your podcast journey, right from the start.