PodSchool Podcast | Do you need a podcast host?


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Can you house your show on your website or do you need a podcast host?

The quick answer to “Do you need a podcast host?” is YES!

Unless you know how to whittle your own RSS feed (which most of us don’t), you’re going to need a podcast host to make sure every episode of your show gets from your computer into people’s ears.

Apple Google Spotify

What is a podcast host?

A podcast host is the middleman between you and your listeners.

It’s the place where you’ll store all your podcast episodes and when you upload your first MP3 it’ll generate an ‘RSS feed.’

You can find this in the back end of your podcast host and it’s the thing you submit to podcast directories so they know your show exists and can display your episodes in people’s podcast app.

Your host is also the place you’ll see all of your show analytics.

Podcast stats don’t paint a perfect picture but they do give you important information that will help you make decisions about your content.

Podcast stats explainer


How does your podcast get into the podcast apps?

There are three things you need for a podcast to make its way to your audience…

  1. An MP3 file – this is the format you’ll save each episode in so you can upload it to…
  2. A podcast host – the website where you upload audio of all your episodes as well as your show description, artwork and any other information that’s displayed in podcast apps
  3. RSS Feed – this is what you submit to podcast apps (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify) so each new episode of your podcast is delivered straight to your subscriber’s / follower’s app as soon as it’s released

What is a podcast RSS feed?


What podcast apps should you submit your show to?

Ideally, you want to be in all of them but at a minimum, you want to make sure your podcast is in the major apps and can be listened to on iPhone and Android phones.

That means it should be in these ones…

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts


Then as many others as you can be bothered submitting to (you’ll find a very comprehensive list of podcast apps here, thanks to the good people at Podnews).

There are some apps that pull podcasts from directories like Apple Podcasts so your show might appear in some places you didn’t submit to but it’s always good to check it’s in as many apps as possible.

How to submit your podcast to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify


A note on free podcast hosts

When you’re starting out and you don’t want to spend a lot of money I understand why a free podcast host might sound appealing.

While your choice of host is ultimately up to you, one of the things I’d say about free podcast hosts is to make sure you read the Ts & Cs thoroughly because if you’re not paying with cash you want to make sure you’re not paying with something else i.e. your intellectual property.

There have been problems with free podcast hosts in the past refusing to let users move old episodes of their show to another host or making changes to show notes without their approval.

Wherever you house your podcast you need to have complete control over the content because it’s your IP and no one should be able to mess with that.

So make sure you know what you’re getting into before you start uploading your audio.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Welcome to the show. Today's episode is all about podcast hosting and it's inspired by the delightful Dylan who sent me an email asking "Is it worth getting a podcast host when you're starting out, or is it best to go solo.

The answer to this question is always - get yourself a podcast host! Unless you know how to whittle up your own RSS feed, which most of us don't, you're going to need a podcast host because they are going to make your life so much easier when you're just starting out.

When you've never done any podcasting before, it can seem like the process of speaking into a microphone and actually getting that into people’s ears happens via some kind of weird audio voodoo. I've got the image of Mike TV from the original Charlie And The Chocolate Factory in bits above the head of Willy Wonka as he goes from the little platform to the television. It feels like that's how it gets into people's ears. But when you've got a podcast host all of that Mike TV magic happens without you having to do a damn thing.

So just to break it down the three things involved in podcasting is an MP 3 (the episode you've recorded and exported in your audio editing software to MP 3), a podcasting host (a place to upload those MP3s) and what's called an RSS feed. That's created by your podcast host and is what directories and podcasting apps like Stitcher and iTunes use to find your new episodes so they can show people who have subscribed to your show that there is a new one available.

The podcasting host is the guy right in the middle who takes all of your lovely MP 3s and hides them away in a nice little storage facility. Then when somebody wants to download your episode they're the person that shows them where to find it and you don't have to do a single thing because all of the magic happens behind the scenes. So it's very very important to get a host because that's the only way directories like iTunes and Stitcher are going to be able to find your show. And if you want to be found by listeners you have to be where the listeners are going to find shows. That is predominantly iTunes but obviously a whole bunch of other places too if your listeners use Android phones or Google phones etc.

The easiest way to think about your RSS feed is like the menu section of Netflix. It doesn't really look that snazzy it just looks like a whole bunch of numbers and letters but when iTunes gets a hold of it it turns all of those numbers and letters into information that ends up being your episode list and your show name and title and your show artwork so that it looks snazzy when it gets to iTunes.

If you have a podcast host all you need to do is create an account with them and then once you've created your podcast you just upload each episode and you put all of the information into the very simple interface that they have there and they do the rest of the work. The very first time you publish your very first episode you copy and paste that RSS feed into the directories that you want your show to appear in e.g. iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and TuneIn. So every time you release a new episode those directories know exactly where to get it from and can download it and send it to the people who want to listen to your episode.

Having a podcast host means you're not housing your MP3s in the media section of your website. That is a big no no because obviously the point of having a podcast is to get an audience but if you have your MP3s housed on your website and you've got a large audience your website is going to be running at a pace that everybody will be describing as glacial. It will slow your website down whereas podcasts hosts like LibSyn, Whooshkaa and Blubrry have a whole bunch of bandwidth your listeners can use right up without slowing down your website.

There are a range of different plans you can get and I will detail everything that I'm referring to on the show notes page of this episode so head to PodSchoolPodcast.com and type "host" into the search bar and this will pop right up. I'll have all of the links to the different directories and also all of the different hosts that you can use so you know exactly where to find them.

It's absolutely impossible to go it alone without a podcast host if you are just starting out. Podcast hosts also have tutorials and analytics so that you know exactly how many people are downloading your show, where they're coming from and all the stuff you want to have at your disposal if you want to get advertisers on board in the future. Or if you just want to brag about your sweet numbers.

So the answer to today's question "Do you need a podcast host?" is a big resounding yes. Thank you so much Dylan for the question. If you have a question that you would like answered please head to PodSchoolPodcast.com and click on the contact page. Shoot me a question and I would love to answer it for you on the show. Of course if you need any extra training or anything a little bit more in-depth you can head to PodSchool.com.au to find out more about my online podcasting course which takes you step by step through every part of the process because it can be darn daunting when you're doing it by yourself.

Thanks so much for listening and I'll see you next week for another episode of the PodSchool Podcast.

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!