230: What is a Podcast Media Host?
From Ep143 of Mike Murphy Unplugged
In this podcast & article:
What is a podcast media host?
How Does Podcast Media Hosting Work?
What should you look for when choosing a media host?
What podcast hosts do I use?
What are some popular podcast media hosts?
Curious about what gear I use to podcast?
What is a Podcast Media Host?
A podcast media host is where you upload and store the final media files for your podcast. The most common podcast media file is an mp3 audio file, but for some could be PDFs, or video files if you are a video podcast.
–When you publish a new podcast episode, you upload your mp3 audio file to your podcast media host.
-When someone opens up Apple Podcasts or Overcast or any pod-catcher to download or listen to a podcast, it is the media host that serves up the file for download.
–Podcast media hosts do more than just serve up files. They offer stats and analytics, distribution to multiple channels and you can generate your RSS feed from your podcast media host.
Comparison: What is a Website Media Host?
A website host stores all of your website files and media. Every time someone visits your site, it is your website host that serves up the necessary files to the website visitor.
HOW DOES PODCAST MEDIA HOSTING WORK?
Here is the podcast 101 version:
- RSS Feeds: Every podcast has an RSS feed that you submit to Apple Podcasts/iTunes and all of the podcast directories like Spreaker, TuneIn, Google Play, Spotify, etc.
- The role of an RSS Feed is to syndicate or distribute your podcast to the directories and to subscribers (listeners) of your podcast.
- The RSS feed is created either by your media hosting company or by a plugin (Powerpress by Blubrry) on your website which is how I do it, but just know that every podcast has an RSS feed.
- Publishing Episodes. Every Friday morning I publish a new episode on my website in a blog post and upload an mp3 file to my media host. You can also publish a podcast on your podcast media host platform (for example, on Libsyn or Blubrry or Spreaker…)
- Distribution. Once podcast is published, it is the RSS feed that magically distributes new episodes to Apple Podcasts and several other podcast directories and also sends a notification to all of my subscribers that a new episode has been released.
- Listener Devices When a listener opens up their Apple Podcast App or pod-catcher of choice and downloads or press play on a podcast, the podcast media host gets the request and pulls the episode out of storage and allows you to download and/or listen.
- The podcast media host is the storage facility for all of your podcast episode mp3 files. It is the warehouse that is always on call and ready to zip out the file whenever it is requested.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A MEDIA HOST?
AKA, What makes a good podcast host?
Choosing a media host is a really important decision for new and experienced podcasters and it can be a little overwhelming as there are a lot of choices and it can get confusing if you really do not know what you are looking for in a good media host.
You want a podcast host that you can trust and depend on because you work hard on your podcast and you want your listeners to have a seamless experience when they want to listen to your podcast, right?
3 big factors to consider when choosing a podcast media host:
- Longevity & Dependability. You want a podcast host that has been around the block and has stood the test of time. You want to choose a company that has a good reputation and is financially stable. You want them to stick around for the long-haul and know that you can depend on them. There are a lot of really cool and hip podcast hosting solutions that appear out of nowhere and many are even free, but they have no proven track record and you really do not know their business model or if they will be around next year, and I would steer you away from that. It can be a real pain to switch podcast hosting companies so set your self up for success and choose a host with some skin in the game.
- Flexibility & Expandability. You want a podcast host that will grow with you and be there for you as your show gets popular. Back to financial stability, you want a podcast host that is invested in podcasting and dedicated to providing state of the art podcast servers can handle heavy traffic and downloads and provide unlimited bandwidth so when Tim Ferriss or Leo Laporte gives you a shout out, your podcast downloads will not miss a beat.
- Affordability. Price matters to most people. You want to find a podcast hosting solution that fits within your budget so you can produce and maintain your budget for the long-haul.
WHAT PODCAST MEDIA HOSTS DO I USE?
I use two.
1. Podcast #1:
- Podcast Host: I pay Libsyn $15/month to host my podcast mp3 media files.
- Web Host: I pay $15/month to Siteground to host my WordPress.org website.
- Podcast Plugin: Free plugin Powerpress by Blubrry to generate my RSS feed and publish my podcast episodes each week.
Total for Mike Murphy Unplugged: $30/month podcast & website hosting.
This is a very common setup for many podcasters to pay for each separately, but it is not the only option and not the most affordable option either.
2. Podcast #2:
Podcast & Website Host: Wordpress.com ($4/month)
Wordpress.com is both a podcast & media host (it’s one of the reasons I wrote the eBook. It’s a good deal and a great option for many podcasters).
Total for Podcast #2: $4/month for podcast & website hosting.
If you are interested in my new eBook, you can find it here:
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Podcast Media Hosts Examples
Here is a list of some podcast media hosts with links to their website for you to research and compare pricing and features. This list in alphabetical order and not in order of preference.
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