Are you a podcast creator? Or maybe someone interested in breaking into the world of podcasting?
Perhaps you are just curious and want to learn a bit about podcast hosting.
If so, you are in the right place!
We are here to make a detailed comparison of three of the best podcast hosting platforms out there: Blubrry, Libsyn, and Podbean. If you are in a rush, you will find a comparison chart that sums it up at the end of this post.
What is a podcast hosting service?
Well, once you have figured out all the creative aspects of your podcast, such as name and topic, and even started recording yourself, you need to find out how to get your podcast out to the public.
That’s when these companies become important.
The main service a podcast hosting platform provides is storing and distributing podcasts. After storing your audio -or video file of the podcast, they create a link distributed through RSS feeds. RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication, and it’s a great way to access updates in a computer-readable format.
It works on websites, desktop computers, and mobile devices with apps like Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcast.
It’s important to say that these platforms don’t own your content, though. They have the right to promote it and distribute it, of course, but you are the owner of the content.
If you want to migrate your podcast to another platform, you can totally do it, and they will kindly help you in the process.
But apart from storing your files and generating an RSS feed, podcast hosting companies offer tons of additional features.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at the most outstanding features of some of the best podcast hosts and compare different aspects of their service so you can decide which would be best for you. Ready?
Blubrry vs. Libsyn vs. Podbean: The Comparison
All three of these podcast hosting services started almost simultaneously, in the early 2000s, in different United States cities.
Since then, they have been providing innovative podcasting services as industry leaders and helping people host, distribute and monetize their podcasts. So let’s take a look at what they have to offer, shall we?
- Blubrry‘s plans might not be the cheapest, but they sure are complete. Their lowest plan, which costs $12, includes 100MB of monthly storage and the same features as the higher plans like professional statistics, unlimited bandwidth, and a WordPress Site. For $100, you get Pro Hosting and access to unlimited monthly storage, advanced statistics, and a network plugin.
- Libsyn. Starting at $5, Libsyn has some of the cheapest options. Their Classic 50 plan includes 50MB, an unlimited audience, and a podcast page mini-site in case you don’t have a website. On the other hand, their Advance 3000 plan has up to 3000MB and includes advanced statistics. Businesses can opt for LibsynPro, which helps them with private podcasting and multi-user account management, among others.
- Podbean. Unlike the other podcast hosts, Podbean offers a free tier, and it allows a limited amount of content. Their first paid tier, the Unlimited Audio plan, costs $9 and offers unlimited content uploads and bandwidth. The business plan costs $99 and gives you a full custom design, live chat support, and other great features for business podcasts like engagement intel.
As you can see, you pretty much get what you paid, so it’s more about knowing what you need to pick the best one for you.
Here are all the pricing options of each one so you can contemplate finance. In case you are looking for an enterprise-level plan, you will have to contact sales because there’s a custom plan.
- Blubrry’s prices:
- Small: $12/month for 100MB
- Medium: $20/month for 250MB
- Large: $40/month for 500MB
- Extra Large: $80/month for 1000MB
- Professional: Contact Sales.
- Libsyn’s prices:
- Classic-50: $5/month for 50MB.
- Classic-250: $15/month for 250MB.
- Advanced-400: $20/month for 400MB.
- Advanced-800: $40/month for 800MB.
- Advanced-1500: $75/month for 1500MB.
- Advanced-3000: $150/month for 3000MB.
- LibsynPro: Contact Sales.
- Podbean’s prices:
- Basic: $0/month for 5 hours and 100MB.
- Unlimited Audio: $9/month for unlimited storage and unmetered bandwidth.
- Unlimited Plus: $29/month for unlimited storage and unmetered bandwidth.
- Business: $99/month for unlimited storage and unmetered bandwidth.
- Enterprise: Contact Sales.
Libsyn has more options when it comes to plans and pricing. That might be advantageous if you have your needs quite clear and prefer to start small and spend more as you grow.
If you are like me and can’t decide easily, taking a look at their free trials is a great way to better understand what you will be getting in.
- Blubrry. With Blubrry, you get your first month on any plan for free. They also provide a Free Basic Podcast Statistics service for individual content creators (podcasters). Yes, that’s right, you get away to measure your podcast’s success for free.
- Libsyn. Although Libsyn has very cheap plans, it’s worth noting that they don’t believe in giving free stuff, so you won’t get a trial or anything of the sort. Sorry.
- Podbean. Besides having a free plan, they have an API Widget Playground where you view examples of the plugin, control it, and see the results live on your screen. It’s both useful and fun. Not that I’ve played with it or anything…
Website and Podcast Player
Whether it’s to find your latest episode or learn about your podcast, your audience will go to your website. According to Blubrry:
A website builds authority and organic search results (SEO) over time. When your audience lands on your website, they’ll have the opportunity to learn about what your show represents.
- Blubrry has the option to publish on their website but encourages users to have their own. A custom WordPress blog for your podcast is included in all plans, giving your podcast an outstanding online presence.
Then there’s the Powerpress plugin which it’s kind of Blubrry’s key feature. This plugin is widely used and ranked as one of the best. Once it’s set up, you can write your blog post and upload your media without ever coming back to Blubrry. It manages various chores such as channel listing, SEO, migration and imports, and inserting the audio player.
- Libsyn. They have a Publisher Hub for WordPress, which easily embeds your RSS feed into your blog. You can customize the size, color, and start time of the player, and your audience can easily download and share episodes. However, it only lets you place it at the top or bottom of your show notes. They offer a dedicated ‘mini-site’ for the podcast to give prospective listeners a short introduction to your work. And if you want to publish through your host website, Libsyn has great templates too.
- Podbean. A free podcast website comes with all hosting plans. Podbean’s WordPress plugin is an embed code that allows you to curate the media player to your specifications, just as the other platforms. You can see how your player would look and customize it on their website. However, it might be worth noting that Podbean’s plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years.
When it comes to players, though, nothing beats Fuxebox Smart Player. It’s powerful, pretty, and easy to use at the same time.
- Blubrry works with Reactor, which, if you use the Blubrry PowerPress plugin for WordPress, is the easiest way to use your existing podcast in a mobile app. With it, you can build and design your app to highlight your podcast content and have Reactor update automatically when you make updates to your WordPress website.
- Libsyn. For an extra $10 per month (with advanced packages), Libsyn has a list of available apps for download on the App Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore for you to choose from. Customers can come up with suggestions, like the kind of graphics and colors they want to display. However, make sure your show qualifies its requirements before purchasing a plan that includes an app’s options.
- Podbean. Podbean doesn’t have the option of a custom app for your podcast, but it does count with the Podbean Podcast app, one of the most popular podcast apps for iOS and Android. Audiences can enjoy their favorite podcast anywhere, and podcasters can record and publish right from the app. It also has a very pretty design.
Getting powerful audience insights is key to keep in control of your podcast, and they are well aware of this. Just take a look at what Blubrry offers:
- Blubrry. Here you will find top-notch analytics in all of their plans and advanced statistics in their Pro plan. Blubrry is the first company to be IAB Certified Compliant with Podcast Measurement Guidelines, so they know what they are doing.
Find out what device your audiences are listening on, who is linking to you, detailed listener demographics, and geographical data with worldwide mapping. Last January, Blubrry released play tracking as part of its Advanced Statistics, so now you can see if listeners are consistently skipping over a certain segment. What’s even greater is that Blubrry offers free statistics too.
- Libsyn. If you want analytics, you will have to pay extra. The lowest package has a $2 opt-in per month for a basic stats analysis, while the advanced packages offer IAB statistic reports. These show you total downloads, geographic heat map, destination stats, user agents stats, social media stats, episode breakdowns, and more.
- Podbean. Statistic reports include downloads and trending graphs, listener geographies, download number, and top 10 episodes. Their free package includes basic statistics, which means you can get insight into your podcast without spending any money. User Engagement Intelligence basically reveals in-depth insights into your users’ behaviors on the Podbean app and players for those who want to dig deeper.
- Blubrry. They use insertion advertisement. Depending on the package, you will decide how many ads have each episode and where they are placed. There’s also the option to offer premium content to your audience inside your website. In that case, you will give special members access to your podcast via password.
- Libsyn. Libsyn has two advertisement options: insertion and live read. One is edited in the pre-recorded episode, while the other is read by the host during the show. The revenue will vary based on the listener’s numbers. On the other hand, their MyLibsyn service lets you set up premium content that listeners can subscribe to through their app. This way, you can quickly monetize audio and video content, pdfs, back catalogs, and bonus episodes.
- Podbean. For $1 per month, you PodAds service geo-targets allowing catered advertisements for listeners in different regions. You can also have recurring revenue streams by selling premium content and products. But perhaps their most interesting service is their Patron Program. Ever hear of Patreon? Podbean offers a similar service in which patrons pledge a monthly amount to provide you ongoing support. You determine support levels, giving your fans a range of ways they can support you.
Nowadays, depending on ads for getting money might seem out-of-date for many people. Being able to reach your fans and get paid directly from them is a dream, and Podbean offers exactly that.
Support and Resources
- Blubrry. There are plenty of ways to get in touch with Blubrry’s support people to answer your doubts: email, phone, video call. And if you have the time and don’t want to contact anyone, Blubrry has a lot of free resources and guides to help you start in the world of podcasts. In there, you’ll find a wide range of topics, from how to choose a podcast title to powerful women in podcasting.
- Libsyn‘s support team is only reachable via email. However, they also have tutorials, FAQs, a podcast called The Feed, and status reports on the system, so you will be getting all the information and support needed. Sometimes they even organize free webinars for beginners.
- Podbean offers email and live call support Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm, plus a knowledge base with a plethora of resources. They have a blog, a Youtube channel, a podcast, and even free webinars. If you get a business plan, you also have access to live chat support and on-boarding service. So truly, these guys won’t ever leave you all alone.
It’s safe to say that the three of them have really great customer support. No matter whichever you choose, you will have a satisfying experience.
Finally, let’s consider some one-of-a-kind features of Blubrry, Libsyn, and Podbean to make up your mind and let the best one win.
- Blubrry. Go to another podcast host, and they will charge you if you exceed the storage limit. But at Blubrry, you don’t have to worry about that because they have a “no-fault” overage that allows a 25% storage overage on all their plans. The free WordPress Site included in all plans is another of its outstanding features.
- Libsyn. They have published a tool that allows podcasters to connect with their audience on the most popular platforms, services, and apps. They are always adding new OnPublish destinations and ensuring compatibility with the most popular podcast directories. Plus, podcasters can add, edit, or remove content easily and customize destination delivery. They also get reports, so customers know the platforms that their audiences visit most.
- Podbean. Do you want to make a live podcast? No problem, Podbean has you covered. They are the only ones to provide a live stream feature so you can interact in real-time with your audience. They also have an Alexa skill, so as soon as an episode is live, it’s available on Alexa devices, and you can use your voice to listen to your favorite podcasts. However, currently, it doesn’t seem to work for many people.
All these platforms have pretty nice features, as we could see. It’s hard to pick one, but Blubrry’s “no-fault” overage feature and free WordPress Site remain unbeatable.
Quick Podcast Hosting Comparison Chart
After all this information, to help you better understand the differences and similarities between Blubrry, Libsyn, and Podbean, we have this comparison chart that sums up all we covered.
Undoubtedly, each platform has its strengths and weaknesses. No matter which one you choose, you will get plenty of benefits and have a really nice podcasting experience.
While reading this, you might have noticed that Libsyn is an excellent choice if you are just starting out. If you are interested in daily uploads or just don’t want to worry about space, though, Podbean’s unlimited storage plans are awesome.
However, if what you’re looking for is a supportive, creator-driven platform, then Blubrry is the one for you. It’s the one we choose since it’s the most powerful podcast hosting in the market right now.
Are you still not convinced or can’t decide? Want to read about other platforms? Then see our Blubrry vs. Buzzsprout comparison.