With so many different podcast platforms, it might become a bit confusing to understand who’s who and what’s what in the podcasting world. For those of you who are just getting started, there are a few key podcast platforms you should know. In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and share a list of the best podcast platforms in 2021.
What are Podcast Platforms?
There are actually a few types of platforms in the podcasting world you should probably know about. First and foremost, podcast hosting platforms are those who would host your actual audio files on their servers, and they typically also generate the podcast RSS feed for you.
Beyond hosting, there are several publishing platforms which would help making your podcast available to the masses. These are well known across podcasters and listeners alike – these giant companies like Apple (Apple Podcasts), Spotify, Google (Google Podcasts), and Amazon (Amazon Music) all have millions of regular users who find and listen to podcasts through their platforms.
There are also podcast website platforms, ad platforms, and much more. So let’s go ahead and go over a few of these platforms –
Podcast hosting platforms
Podcast hosting is probably the first step you’ll need to think about once you’re ready to publish your podcast.
Most of the podcast hosting platforms usually also offer analytics, integration with podcast ad platforms, editing tools, automatic distribution and other types of functionality you might find useful as well.
There are dozens of podcast hosting companies, we briefly reviewed some of the most popular ones on that page, so you can read more and learn about the basic offering of each one of these companies. In reality, the difference between the different podcast hosting companies is not too big, so you should really pick the one that works best for your needs and budget.
The most popular podcast platforms according to ListenNotes are Anchor.fm (49%), Souncloud (6.4%), and Buzzsprout (~5%). They might be the most popular ones due to the simple fact they offer free plans, we’ll check some of their offerings below.
Best free podcast hosting platforms
If you are looking to use a free plan, Anchor seems to have the best offering. Unlimited storage, monetization options (if you are based in the US), and advanced data and analytics insights.
|Unlimited||Basic||U.S only. Sponsorship or donations|
(they take % from your revenue)
|* Engagement insights|
* Aggregated age, gender, geolocation
* Listening apps
|Unlimited||No||Donations, subscription, and ads (they take % from your revenue)||*Downloads by location, device, podcast app, and more.|
|5-hour audio storage||Basic||No||* Listener Geographies|
* Downloads and Trends
* Devices and apps
* User Retention
|5-hour audio storage||No||No||* Downloads|
* Daily Listeners
Best paid plans for podcast platforms
If you’re ready to take your podcasting initiative to the next level and pay for a podcast host, here are the recommended plans:
Pinecast is a great option for a podcast host. You can start with the free plan that includes up to 2 podcast shows, and unlimited uploads (but only the ten most recent episodes per podcast will be available, and each episode is limited to 48MB). They also include some basic analytics (total listens per episode, a breakdown of listens by source, etc.).
When you’re ready to move to a paid plan, the Starter plan is available for you for $10/month. It includes unlimited shows, storage and episodes (the size limit grows from 48 to 80MB), and a bit more analytics. Two unique features to help you monetize the podcast are a no-fee tip jar, and private paid episodes (you can mark an episode as private and it will be only available to the listeners that have a recurring tip set up with your podcast’s tip jar).
There’s another pro to using Pinecast. They offer additional added-services, so you can add them only when you need to. You don’t need to pay a full-blown price for features you don’t really need yet. The add-ons include advanced analytics (subscriber locations, top episodes, etc.), crew access (add team members as collaborators), and other growth add-ons. Most of these cost additional $10 per month.
If you have more than one podcast, Castos Starter’s plan might be better for you. For $19 a month you’ll get unlimited podcasts under your account, unlimited episodes and downloads. You’ll also get advanced analytics, and episode transcription ($0.10/audio minute charge). Finally, you can use their basic podcast website which can be somewhat customized. They don’t have a built-in monetization offering, but you can be creative and add donations or other tools.
Simplecast Basic plan is great to start a podcast. This $15/month plan comes with access for 2 team-members, unlimited storage and uploads, basic analytics (All-Time Total Downloads, Downloads by Location, Unique Listeners for the Last 7 Days, and more). It also includes multiple shows from one account, and a website. This plan is limited to 20k downloads per month.
Podbean’s Unlimited Audio plan is quite attractive as well. For $14 per month you get unlimited storage space and unlimited bandwidth. Additional features include comprehensive podcasting stats, monetization tools.
They also offer a mobile app that lets you record and edit audio. It’s probably less professional than using a mic and editing on your desktop, but it can help in edge cases.
Podcast website platforms
Most of the podcast hosts are offering a basic podcast website to display your episodes. For some podcasters, this might be enough, but the truth is, these websites are usually way too basic if you want a real website for your podcast. In many cases, these mini-sites don’t even offer custom domains or custom pages, so it’s not a long term solution.
Exactly for that reason, we created Podcastpage.io – the top website builder for podcasters. Podcastpage works with all podcast hosts. You don’t need to change your existing host or use any specific ones in order to get started with Podcastpage. Also, if you ever migrate between hosts, your website would remain intact, so it’s a good idea to minimize migration-related risk around your podcast hosting platform.
Creating a podcast website is highly important for your podcast. There are many inlided benefits, like owning your brand, attracting new potential listeners via SEO and organic traffic, growing your audience, additional analytics options, and much more.
More types of popular platforms
Podcast monetization platforms
You might pick a podcast host that does not offer a built-in podcast monetization tools. No worries, you can add it externally.
Patreon is probably the most popular platform for podcasters looking to generate some basic income from their podcasts. It’s fairly simple to get started with, and offers the ability to provide premium content for paying members.
Supercast is another tool that helps you share exclusive content with paid subscribed members. With this tool you can offer many premium offerings like: early access to content, ad-free listening, exclusive content, etc.
Podcast analytics platforms
If you want additional analytics to those your podcast host is offering, check out Chartable. Their free plan includes 20,000 downloads/month, 30 days data history, and Daily stats update. It does not include analytics by player & episode, so if it’s something you’re interested in, you’ll need to upgrade to the $20/month plan.
Podtrac is another popular podcast analytics platform. They’ve been in the market for the past 14 years. The Podtrac analytics tool is free and lets you add your existing metrics to their measurement.
Podcast distribution platforms
It’s important to make sure that your podcast is on all of the podcast distribution apps. But if you just want to focus on a couple, go for Apple podcasts, Spotify and Google podcasts.
Other podcast directories like Amazon Music, ListenNotes, PodChaser, Stitcher, TuneIn, and others are pretty popular as well, and many of their users are avid podcast listeners, so ensure you’re on any available platform.
According to the Statista, after the 3 platforms we mentioned above, comes Pandora, podcast websites (stream), and Audible.
Bonus – 3 Podcasting tips for 2021
- Join a podcasting community – It’s always easier to be part of a community and go through the process together with people that are going through the same thing.
There are many podcast communities out there (on Facebook / Slack / Discord / Reddit and so on). You can consult with other podcasters, ask questions, read their stories, and learn best practices.
Make sure to read the rules of those communities, as it’s less acceptable to spam and promote your own content most of the times.
- Promote your podcast – It’s not enough to just post your podcast on social media from time to time.
If you want to maximize your full podcast potential, be creative and find ways to make sure other people know about it. Use marketing channels that are relevant to your podcast niche and share your knowledge to attract more listeners. Try to get well-known guests for your show and leverage their audience as well.
- Just do it– Your requirements are different from others. What you find convenient might be less convenient to someone else.
Most of the podcast hosts have a free plan or at least a free trial. Pick a few and see which one you like the best.
Start with one episode and see if you like it, if you find it interesting to talk about the topic you picked, and if the format is working well. It’s not to say you shouldn’t consult and get feedback from others, you should. But you can’t know the answers to your doubts until you deep your toes, so just start.