The Best Free Podcast Cloud Hosting Services 2020
Podcast hosting is different than website hosting because it offers specific tools built to optimize the subscriber experience (we’ll explain more later in the article).
Choosing a reliable podcasting hosting platform is crucial for your podcast because it will help you grow your audience faster while making it easier to manage your podcast files.
A podcast hosting service acts as the home for your show. Just like a website needs a hosting provider, podcasts also need some way to help store and distribute the podcast audio files. Though most have cost tiers associated with them, and you can read about our favorite podcast hosting services here, several have more affordable options and some even provide free podcast hosting. Below is a list of the pros and cons and reviews of the best free podcast hosting services.
In general, podcast hosting services:
Create an easy method to upload audio files
Generate an RSS feed to describe the files as well as establishes file locations for download
Distributes your podcast RSS feed to iTunes (Apple Podcasts), Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and more
Provides a server where listeners can go and find the audio files
Another way to look at hosting is it serves as a vehicle that transports the show from its upload to its storage to its distribution and finally to its analytics as well as potential money-making opportunities. The host helps simplify everything in the creation and management process.
What to Look for with a Free Podcast Host
Best Practices and How to Start a Podcast
In addition to its means as a platform that stores your important mp3 files and data, free services are also geared toward startup shows and traditionally has a lot of extra features and resources. These services may provide valuable tutorials and other reading material to learn more about what makes a good podcast and how to improve the overall quality of the audio recording. If you’re just starting out, make sure to check out our guide on how to start a podcast.
Though the analytics for a podcast are basic at the free level, they can still help deliver important information and where and how your generating an audience as well as build upon that audience. The goal is to eventually have enough listeners that you can turn a profit on the podcast, though many still do it simply for the hobby of podcasting.
Pitfalls of Free Podcast Hosts
There are many other advanced features that are sometimes included with a free version and other times only granted to podcasters with paid accounts. These include a blog or website for listeners to stop in and visit, methods for listener feedback, automatic uploads to popular directories (Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, etc.) and customer service for any questions or problems you run into regarding the hosting or RSS feed.
The same rule applies with podcast hosting with any product: you get what you pay for and once again the old adage is true, “if you’re not paying for the product, you’re the product.”
If after some time your podcast outgrows the free host tier, there is always the opportunity to upgrade to a paid subscription. Many are reasonably priced between in $10 to $20 per month. Until then you can expect the upload time and bandwidth to be limited, which not only impacts the number of hours you can upload each month but also the playback speeds. Advanced metrics and potential money-making opportunities are usually restricted to paid subscribers as well.
In the end, free versions are basic means to an RSS feed and file hosting, but as your audience grows you’ll want to consider an upgrade. When you get to that point, make sure to read our best podcast hosting services review. For now a free account is sufficient for most new podcasts.
Best Free Podcast Hosting Services
Podbean is self-described as an “easy and powerful” way to podcast. The podcast hosting service provides four different plans for users, including one completely free version. As your podcast grows it also offers two paid versions.
Podbean currently hosts over 240,000 podcasters with more than 7.4 million episodes combined. The site also boasts around 6 billion downloads.
Provides excellent resources for sharing and building audience
Features an app for Android and iPhone users
RSS Feed and iTunes Support included even with free plan
One of the largest podcast hosting platforms available
Will scale as you grow
Free version is limited to 5 hours of storage
Cannot use your own domain name for a podcast through free subscription
Podbean advertises as a service that presents everything you need to create, manage, and promote a podcast. The website features everything from custom domains to upload and publishing tools, methods to promote a podcast, as well as embedded players for the episodes.
The provider is like a lot of the podcast hosting companies featured in the article in that little programming knowledge is necessary to record, produce, upload and share your new podcasts. It is also mobile-ready which is a must for any podcast hosting service these days.
Though the three paid options do deliver unlimited bandwidth, the free version is capped at 100GB monthly, and five hours of storage space. The hosting is described as reliable with a robust network that is flexible based on where and how your viewers listen.
Podcasters may connect their own website to the hosting provider or embed a player on their own domain for easy playback. Sharing tools enable listeners to connect with you on social media, while other types of audience engagement like enabling feedback are nice additions.
Podbean presents a breakdown of how the podcast is performing, and also provides advertising sponsorship opportunities for its members. The website can help introduce premium subscription services to your podcast as well as crowdfund.
Libsyn vs. Podbean Podcast Host Review
Blubrry vs. Podbean Podcast Host Review
Plan Bandwidth Storage Analytics Monetization
Free 100 GB 5 Hours Basic ☓
$9 month Unmetered Unlimited Advanced ✓
$29 month Unmetered Unlimited Advanced ✓
Deal: Get your first month free if/when you upgrade for a paid account. Click here.
Buzzsprout is a hosting service that features a basic, free plan along with affordable monthly options that require no contract or credit card to sign-up. Buzzsprout currently works with notable podcast directories like Apple/iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcast and Stitcher.
The website has worked to provide hosting for over 50,000 people since the website was launched in 2009. It boosts several 5 star reviews from satisfied customers.
Subscription includes your own custom website and ways to sync with popular directories
250 GB of bandwidth each month for paid plans, even less for the free version
Supports multiple audio file types then optimizes the quality of the file
Easily migrate a podcast from another source onto Buzzsprout with minimal effort
Unlimited storage for free plan, but can only upload 2 hours each month
Only 90 days of hosting for a free podcast before Buzzsprout wants you to upgrade to a paid version
Buzzsprout is promoted as one of the easiest ways to host, promote and track a podcast. Like a lot of providers it includes detailed analytics to learn more about the audience tuning in.
The website is designed to make it easier to upload and publish once an episode is recorded. Publishing can take place within minutes of an upload, or even get scheduled days or weeks in advance.
It supports a number of different audio files. Not only that but the website optimizes the file based on if it’s more spoken word, or a show that also incorporates a lot of music. A purchasable add-on will event boost audio to 128k stereo.
One great feature on the dashboard is that it provides a notification of how much upload time is left in the current cycle, so you do not have to guess approximately how many more minutes you have left to upload each month.
Podcasters may learn everything about where and how listeners are connecting, what device or directory they are using to play the episode, and more advanced stats.
Buzzsprout helps get you listed on popular podcast directories and is also mobile-friendly. An embedded version is provided for your own domain. The hosting provider also includes your own website upon sign-up.
The free subscription delivers 2 hours of upload time each month and the episode is hosted for 90 days before its removed. The next step up costs $12 per month, and only one more hour of upload time each month yet is hosted indefinitely.
Plans Storage Hosting Bandwidth
Free 2 hours 90 days Limited
$12 month 3 hours Indefinitely 250GB
$18 month 6 hours Indefinitely 250GB
$24 month 12 hours Indefinitely 250GB
Deal: Get a $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up. Click here.
Spreaker is a well known provider for podcasters as it’s an all-in-one system for new as well as established shows. It provides a versatile program that helps you create, distribute, as well as potentially make money on your podcast.
Spreaker was launched in 2010, and now hosts thousands of publishers along with millions of active listeners. It includes apps for Android and iOS as well.
The best recording studio of any free hosting service for podcasts
External tools like broadcasting software and mixers supported for advanced audio production
Unlimited bandwidth on all subscriptions including the free version
Live streaming, including up to 15 minutes per episode for users not paying a dime
Lacks any type of tool to earn income through your podcast on the free version
Advertisements are included with free plans, you’ll have to pay to remove them
Spreaker is unique in that it also features an onboard recording and editing system on its platform. Users may record a podcast and post at a later date, or even broadcast live. Content may also get migrated from an existing service through its RSS importer. The studio app is extremely resourceful and easy to use.
After you record or upload an audio file, it’s time to distribute. Spreaker supports various forms of social media for uploads as well as mainstream directories like Apple Podcasts and YouTube. Like most podcast hosting services, you may also embed a widget onto your own website for immediate playback.
Analytics are crucial to the success of any new podcast and Spreaker provides basic statistics for its free and $5.99 per month plans, as well as more detailed stats for the higher priced monthly subscriptions. The analytics for the free plan is good but not great, about what you would expect as well as comparable to other free hosting providers.
The free plan also includes 5 hours of audio storage and 15 minutes of max live streaming (in a single session). However, the podcast monetization tool is not available with the free sign-up. Bandwidth is unlimited on every type of subscription.
Plans Storage Bandwidth Monetization Analytics
Free 5 Hours Unlimited ☓ Basic
$5.99 month 100 Hours Unlimited ✓ Basic
$19.99 month 500 Hours 3 Unlimited ✓ Advanced
$49.99 month 1,500 Hours 5 Unlimited ✓ Full
Deal: First month free with code “discoverpods”. Click here.
Update: Podiant’s free podcast host tier is currently only hold.
Podiant offers a well-rounded list of features as its dedicated to everyone from beginning podcasters (that are likely seeking a free version) and seasoned, well-established pros.
The provider services nearly 20,000 uploads daily and almost a million minutes consumed by listeners. Podiant claims they are smaller than some of the other publishers, which is true, though at 4 million downloads and growing it is far from tiny.
No bandwidth limits and unlimited storage space for new podcasts that are eligible for the free program
Consulting service and community support forum can help newbies get adjusted to the world of podcasting
Compatible with Apple and Spotify podcast directories
Not everyone will qualify for the free offering, next available plan costs $12.99 per month
Audio editing is a nice addition yet not quite as in-depth as Spreaker
Podiant hasn’t lost sight on what podcasting is first and foremost, a craft and hobby for those that want to get the word out about something. Fittingly, while it also endorses analytics and ways to monetize your podcast, it’s also just as much dedicated to newbies looking to produce their own show for fun.
The dashboard of Podiant is very good and interactive. It’s arguably not quite as good as Buzzsprout, yet they provide the best one on the market. You can get a quick overview of stats as well as helpful pointers to expand your audience.
Podiant features a production consultant service which is unique yet something those new to podcasting may want to take advantage of. The consulting does cost extra, but they can help get you on the right track if you are completely new to not only the production process, but also distribution and promotion.
The website is compatible with social media like Facebook and Twitter, and broadcasters may also integrate comments with Disqus. File uploads are also compatible with Dropbox.
The free version is kind of unique in that new podcasters are asked to submit their new recordings for review and those that are deemed eligible receive free hosting. If you do pass their upload standards, you receive unlimited bandwidth and storage for no cost which is exceptional.
However, their guidelines are a little more stringent than your typical hosting service. But if you get into the “Podiant Community” you have a great launching pad for a new podcast. The free plan also includes a blog and static page for the podcast, along with community support.
Plans Storage Website/Blog Analytics
Free Unlimited ✓ ☓
$12.99 month Unlimited ✓ ☓
$29.92 month Unlimited ✓ ✓
Deal: First month free with code “discoverpods”. Click here.
Anchor is advertised as being 100 percent completely free and insists that most other services get away with murder for charging its users to host their podcasts through them. Like the other providers, it’s a complete all-in-one package for podcasts of varying skill levels and audiences.
That said, it still remains to be seen what will happen to the service after Spotify acquired them in February 2019. They also came under fire in 2018 when their terms and conditions claimed they own any content you upload through their app, in essence they own your podcast. They have since revised their T&Cs to remove any mention of ownership.
Anchor was founded on the principle of “democratizing” audio. It believes that everyone should have a voice and not restricted by paid subscription services that cap a limit to the number of hours or bandwidth you can use in a given month.
100% free to use with unlimited storage and no cap on number of shows
Earn income through a couple of different sources, both provided through Anchor
Great hosting partner for podcasts that feature a co-host or lots of guest speakers through the app’s recording function
May not have the esteemed connections of some of the other hosting services yet still works with Apple Podcasts, Google, and Spotify
Basic analytics yet a small price to pay for all the other great features provided for free
May not be the best podcast host to scale as you grow
Future of the service may be questionable after the Spotify acquision
Anchor is a platform that provides a place to create and distribute an unlimited number of episodes, as well as delivers tools to help turn a profit. Unlike other free accounts, Anchor charges absolutely nothing for unlimited storage as well as no cap on the number of different shows you seek to host.
Distribution is provided on everything from Apple Podcasts to Spotify and Google Podcasts. The monetizing tools are also top notch as most hosting services require a monthly subscription in order to provide means to make money from the podcast.
Podcasters are presented with two options: 1) get paid for the number of episode plays or 2) collect monthly payments from listeners that subscribe to the station. You can also earn income through both methods.
Anchor is also really great for collaboration for shows that feature a number of guest speakers, or even like interjecting audio comments from listeners. The collaboration is available via Anchor’s app (supports Android and iOS) which is a really cool feature.
The analytics are basic and mostly straightforward yet still provide some insights into what is working (and not working) with a new podcast.
Plans Storage Distribution Monetization Analytics
Free/Basic Unlimited ✓ ✓ ✓
Comparing the Best Free Podcast Hosts
Although Anchor and Podiant may stand out for their unlimited bandwidth and storage space for a free version, neither have been around nor have the resume that Buzzsprout, Podbean, or Spreaker have. It’s difficult to say Anchor will be a good podcast host once your podcast gains a following.
Furthermore, Buzzsprout and Podbean may limit the storage space for the free plans yet they are well regarded for their connections to crucial podcast directories as well as their thriving online communities and ability to earn income.
Here is a table the compares the five different podcast hosting services based on the free version of the platform:
Podcast Host Bandwidth Storage Submit to Apple, Spotify, and Google Analytics Monetization
Anchor Unlimited Unlimited ✓ ✓ ✓
Buzzsprout 250 GB 2 hours ✓ ✓ ☓
Podbean 100 GB 5 hours ✓ ✓ ☓
Podiant Unlimited Unlimited ✓ ✓ ✓
Spreaker Unlimited 5 hours ✓ ✓ ☓
Which podcast host is the best?
It really depends on your individual needs: Do you already have professional audio equipment and recording or are you starting from scratch? Are you looking for hosting that provides the most storage or has comprehensive directories? Are you seeking a service that is more dedicated to earning income and distribution or also serves as a second-party recording platform?
These are all important questions to answer and will help dictate which popular podcast hosting platform is the appropriate provider for you
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