What Is A Podcast Host : Do You Really Need One ?
Podcast is something which you can subscribe, download and listen to any time you want. Podcasts are generally available in the form of shows, which are divided in various episodes.
They can be discussion on a specific topic, a film review, a series on home improvement tips, life hacks, it can be anything. The possibilities are endless.
Podcast is nothing but an audio file lying somewhere on the internet which you download and listen to. But where is this audio file actually located ?
That’s where the podcast host comes into picture.
What is a Podcast Host ?
There are four main links in the podcasting chain.
- The Podcaster : Person producing the podcast
- The Hosting Service : The Podcast Host
- The Pod-Catcher : Software used to catch , subscribe , download the podcasts
- The listener : Person who listens to the podcast on his smartphone , PC or any other device.
Let’s take a detailed look at what is a podcast host ?. If you want to read about the complete chain then you can read our article What Is A podcast ?
Most of you will be aware about the website hosts. All the websites are stored on server provided by the hosting companies and are made available to the general public with the URL or website address as they key for the location.
Similar to the website hosting , podcasts are also needed to be hosted somewhere. Podcasts are the audio files generally MP3 files , these need to be physically stored at a safe place and be made available to the pod-catchers, the software tools which locate and offer these podcasts to listeners for downloading.
If you’re looking to start a new podcast, you’ll need to sign up with a podcast hosting service to store your MP3 files and create your podcast RSS feed. Just like when you start a website or blog you need a web host, when you start a podcast you need a media host.
Jobs of a podcast host
Podcast hosting provides the file hosting and RSS feed for your podcast. Let’s look at both these functions in a bit more detail.
File Hosting: A podcast is a series of audio files. Naturally, they require a lot of space and bandwidth to be stored. However, personal website servers don’t have the amount of storage needed for the audio files that large.
Podcast hosting sites or services offer you the space to store your audio files so that your audience can easily download them.
RSS Feed: Hosting services also generate RSS feed for the podcast. “RSS” stands for “Rich Site Summary,”. In simple words it is basically a text file with all the information about your podcast.
Every time a podcaster records and puts up a new MP3 file on the host the RSS is updated with the latest information. RSS provides a summary of the podcast information to the next link in the chain i.e. the Pod-Catcher
Hosting sites also provide analytics reports on your listeners, marketing tools to grow your audience, social sharing options, 24/7 support etc.
Link between podcast host and the pod-catcher
Pod-catcher is the application which can ‘catch’ any podcast on the web and present it to the listener. A pod-catcher is an application, listeners can use to subscribe to podcasts.
The pod-catcher automatically downloads podcasts as they are posted to the hosting site and can also transfer downloaded podcast files to a portable device such as a mobile phone or a computer.
For all this to happen Podcaster first must link the RSS feed of his podcast to the Pod-Catcher. iTunes is an example of a pod-catcher.
Examples of a podcast host
There are many podcast hosts out there which you can use to host your media files. The hosting companies provide many other services such as back up , security , analytics etc for your podcast.
There are many podcasts hosting companies that are around for many years and have thousands of users and there are many new ones which are coming up every year.
Popular Podcast hosts
Can you host your podcast on your blog ?
Theoretically you can host your podcast on your blog and use the same hosting service to host your podcast. But that is less than optimum and can cause a lot of problems.
Website hosting packages, especially the shared hosting services are not designed to handle large amount of data that podcasts require.
A single blog page or website page will have a size of around 2 MB where as a podcast will have a size of around 50 MB. Handling such large size files for large number of downloads is not the job for shared website hosting services.
If you have very small number of downloads , say less than 100, then you can get away with it but for anything more a dedicated podcast hosting is mandatory.
Hosting a podcast on your blog can also slow down your blog and cause traffic issues. Hence it is better to have a separate host for podcasting. If you are really interested , there are some companies which provide a combined hosting for both websites and podcasts . You can use one of those listed below in the section podcasting websites.
There are some hosting companies which provide an all in one solution which includes website hosting , podcast hosting , email service etc.
Examples of such hosting companies are below.
A podcast host is a place where you can keep all your media files and provide a feed to the pod-catching software.
The requirements for podcast hosting are different compared to website hosting and one should use a dedicated podcast host if he/she is serious about it.
Some common podcast and website hosting services are also available.
Welcome to your podcasting journey with quickstartpodcast team.
Below paragraphs have links to all our posts in a logical manner starting from being a podcast listener to being a podcast creator.
The podcast Listener phase :
The podcasting journey generally begins with various questions such as what is a podcast , what a podcast is used for ? how to listen to a podcast , what are the best android and iOS apps to listen to podcast .
Depending upon the things that you like you will search for fiction podcasts , educational podcasts etc. Most of the people restrict their journey in podcasting to this level. They just end up being listeners to podcasts. Some of then take the next leap of faith and decide to start their own podcast.
Podcast creator Phase :
How to start your podcast ? is the main question they are faced with . Once that you have decided to start a podcast , what should be the name of the podcast , what should be the podcast format , which podcasting niche should you chose , what should be episode titles , what are popular podcast formats and what should be mine and so on ..
What is the right equipment for creating a podcast , what are the best XLR , USB , Condenser and dynamic microphones available. Can I record my podcast in an iPHONE , What should be the polar pattern , should I use an audio interface or a mixer , do I need a POP filter . There are so many question . How much podcasting will cost me , what are different setups based on my budget.
Once you in the journey of podcasting you will need to decide how should be a great podcast intro , how to record the podcast , how to record podcast online , how to test the mic , what should be length and frequency of my podcast , how to make great sounding podcasts and finally how to make money from podcasting ? ..
Whats is a podcast host and do I need one ?? , Uploading podcasts to google podcast and Apple podcasts are also crucial steps.
The journey starts from being a podcast listener going all the way to being a great podcast creator and quickstartpodcast is there with you in all this journey.