So I’m in full podcast creating-mode and I’m trying to decide on my podcast host right now. I’ve narrowed down my choice to 2 platforms, so here I’m going to break down the pros and cons of each and share with you my final decision!
If you’re also looking to get into podcasting, then I hope this helps you to make your decision too!
(Pssttt – there’s affiliate links in this post!)
Libsyn is the big-name in podcast hosting and has been around since 2001, so it’s been reliably hosting podcasts for quite some time. As well, the really legit and most successful podcasts I listen to are most often hosted on Libsyn. Makes for an easy decision, right? Wrong.
I took one trip to the Libsyn website and assumed I was in the wrong place and went Googling to find what I thought was the correct site. The Libsyn website and backend dashboard looks like it hasn’t been updated since they launched the company in 2001, as if the business was an afterthought for the owners and that they clearly didn’t care about their product anymore.
As a website designer, really terrible websites really annoy me, so I was quite underwhelmed with my first impression of Libsyn.
Libsyn has all the features you’d want in a podcast host. You can have your podcast art, a widescreen version for YouTube and Facebook sharing, you can replace episode files in case you need to change some content in the show later, schedule episodes to release at certain dates and times and pushes your podcast out to all the relevant podcast listening services (eg. iTunes, Spotify, Sticher, etc.).
Basically, it’s got it all covered. But, again, the dashboard is just so terribly outdated, which actually makes finding what you’re looking for pretty tough. So while all the options are there, you’ll spend quite a bit of time finding the setting you want.
Libsyn has a few options of players which I do genuinely really like. You can customize one of them with your preferred style and color. Though again, the technology seems a bit outdated. You need to set the width manually, when I would expect it just automatically fits the size of the screen it’s on, especially with people viewing things so often from mobile these days.
This is the Libsyn standard player:
And the customizable one.
While the standard one isn’t so much to my liking, I would be happy to put the custom one on my site.
My audience is always asking me for recommendations on what softwares I use, which books I’ve read, which courses I’ve taken, etc. I gladly share the behind the scenes of my business, and review the softwares, books and courses I take on the blog. The added bonus is that with affiliate programs, my business is able to generate income by me explaining how I run the back end and by creating reviews, perfect!
Affiliate income is one of my major focuses this year, so I especially like when the softwares I use have affiliate programs. Then I create free video tutorials or blog posts explaining how I do something (eg. send an opt-in gift in my email marketing system, design something on my website, etc.) which isn’t just helpful for y’all, but it’s also profitable for my business.
Libsyn doesn’t have a public affiliate program, so that’s a bit unfortunate.
At the moment I plan to be releasing weekly episodes that are up to 1 hour in length. So up to 4 hours of audio/month. I would expect that I’ll likely increase that to 2 shows a week in the future, but I’m starting with something I can consistently dedicate to while I start.
So when I head over to the Libsyn pricing page . . . I’m met with MB upload limits. How many MB is a 1 hour podcast episode normally? No clue as I’m yet to record my first episode and it also depends on the quality you save the file as.
Good old Google let me know that “The average hour-long audio podcast is about 25 MB. Specifically it’s .46 MB per minute assuming that, like most audio podcasts I’ve seen, it’s encoded at 64kbps mono.” Source.
Granted, I have been recommended to encode my podcast at a better quality than 64kbps, sooo yeah.
I’m assuming I could get away with the $15/month plan for 250 mb while doing 4 episodes a month.
Buzzsprout has been around since 2009, and while there are a few big shows hosted on Buzzsprout, I’ve gathered that there’s not as many as are hosted on Libsyn. Generally Buzzsprout isn’t as well known and widely used.
In contrast to Libsyn, Buzzsprout’s website and dashboard is modern and clean. It’s also easy to navigate and find the info and settings you need.
I had read that Buzzsprout didn’t have the option to replace old files, which would have been a deal breaker for me. It looks like they updated the platform though and this is now an option, which I’m super thankful for. So from first look, Buzzsprout has all the same options that Libsyn has and isn’t lacking anywhere vital.
The one feature that Buzzsprout has which Libsyn doesn’t is their video soundbite feature. Example here:
You can use a service such as Wavve to create these. For how much I’d want to create them, it’d be $10/month. Not super pricey or the end of the world, but it’s even nicer to have that feature built into the host. I would like more customization over how the Buzzsprout visual soundbite looks, but overall, it’s nice to have.
The Buzzsprout player in my opinion looks a little bit more modern than the Libsyn ones, and it’s more customizable. It also automatically fits the size of the screen it’s one, which is pretty much a necessity with people consuming content so much from their different sized devices these days.
Buzzsprout has a public affiliate program and it’s a software I could actually see myself creating tutorials on (I’d feel a bit off creating tutorials on Libsyn as it looks so out of date.)
Buzzsprout prices by the length of your podcast episode, which is much appreciated in that I don’t need to guesstimate my episode file size. When I begin with 4 episodes a month, I believe the $12/month plan should work.
Ultimately, the look and feel and ease of use of the Buzzsprout dashboard definitely won me over. I spent weeks making my site perfect and putting some old fashioned podcast player on it just won’t do for me.
I also love the ability to make the visual soundbites so easily, and that it has an affiliate program which adds to my businesses bottom line. Lastly, it’s slightly cheaper for what seems to be a better product.