Are you considering changing your podcast host but unsure if it’s worth the hassle?
Well, with so many options available, it’s natural to question whether making a switch is really necessary. But, if you’re worried that switching is too hard, I’m here to tell you the opposite.
As someone who has switched podcast hosting platforms several times, I can actually tell you that it’s quite a straightforward process. But it has to be the right one for you. At this stage, I’ve hosted my podcasts with 3 different podcast hosts: Buzzsprout, Captivate.fm, Spotify for Podcasters, and Megaphone. Each has its pros and cons, and I’ve moved hosts for a variety of reasons.
From improved features and functionality to better monetisation opportunities and audience growth, there are a tonne of reasons why you might want to switch your podcast host. So, in this post, we’ll delve into the benefits that come with switching hosts. Additionally, we’ll address common concerns and provide practical tips to ensure a smooth transition. So, if you’re ready to take your podcast to the next level, let’s dive in and uncover whether changing your podcast host is a decision you should bother with.
Understanding podcast hosting: What it is and why it matters
Before we discuss the reasons to change your podcast host, let’s first understand what podcast hosting is and why it’s important.
When you create a podcast, you need a place to store and distribute your audio files. This is where podcast hosting comes in.
Choosing the right podcast host is crucial because it directly impacts the success of your podcast.
A reliable host ensures that your episodes are always accessible to your listeners, provides analytics to track your podcast’s performance, and offers features that enhance your podcasting experience. It’s like having a solid foundation for your podcasting journey.
Signs it’s time for a podcast host to change
Now that you understand the importance of podcast hosting, let’s look at some signs that indicate it might be time for a change.
One of the most common reasons to switch hosts is limited functionality. As your podcast grows, you may find that your current host lacks advanced features, such as dynamic ad insertion, episode scheduling, or detailed analytics. These features can greatly enhance your podcast and help you monetize it effectively.
Another sign is poor customer support. If you’re facing technical issues or have questions about your podcast, having a responsive and helpful support team is crucial. If your current host is slow to respond or doesn’t offer adequate support, it might be time to consider a switch.
Additionally, if you’re unhappy with your current host’s pricing structure, it’s worth exploring other options. Some hosts charge based on the number of downloads or limit the number of episodes you can upload. If these limitations are hindering your podcast’s growth, finding a more flexible and affordable hosting solution can be beneficial.
Switching hosts can also be prompted by the need for better audience growth opportunities. Some podcast hosting platforms offer built-in promotional tools, integration with social media platforms, or even access to podcasting communities. If you’re looking to expand your listener base, a host that provides these growth-oriented features can be a game-changer.
It’s important to figure out what is making you want to switch hosting platforms and that you aren’t just chasing the ‘next big thing,’ or the hosting platform that your mate says that they like.
In short; your podcast hosting platform needs to work for you. And most importantly, you need to ensure that you are producing high-quality audio content. After all, you can move podcast hosting all you want, but one thing that a hosting platform cannot do is improve your content. At the end of the day, listeners care about your content and what it can do for them; not where your podcast is hosted.
Benefits of changing podcast hosts
Now that we’ve identified some signs that indicate a need for a podcast host change, let’s explore the benefits that come with making the switch.
One of the primary advantages is improved features and functionality.
Upgrading to a new host can give you access to a wide range of advanced tools and features that can enhance the overall quality of your podcast. From customisable players and episode management tools to better analytics and monetisation options, a new host can provide you with the resources to take your podcast to the next level.
Another significant benefit is better monetisation opportunities.
Many podcast hosting platforms offer monetisation features such as dynamic ad insertion, sponsorship integrations, and listener support options. These features can help you generate revenue from your podcast and turn your passion into a sustainable venture. If your current host doesn’t offer these opportunities or limits your monetisation capabilities, switching hosts can open up new avenues for financial success.
Changing your podcast host can lead to audience growth.
Some hosts provide built-in promotional tools, integration with social media platforms, and access to podcasting communities. These features can help you reach a wider audience, increase your podcast’s visibility, and attract more listeners. With the right host, you can tap into a network of podcasters and leverage their audience to expand your own.
How hard is it to change your podcast host?
Honestly? Changing your podcast host is way easier than you probably think. It needs to be done correctly to avoid issues down the road, but it is far from a challenging and difficult process. You just need some proper planning and preparation in place.
Most of the time, when you decide to switch to a new host, you will need to create a new account, and then search for your podcast using their directory. Once located, the host will import your podcast information, including your episodes and any details (such as titles, show notes, etc) associated with your episode.
You’ll then need to find instructions from your current podcast host to transfer the RSS feed.
But don’t panic. This isn’t difficult.
Your new host will provide you with a new RSS feed (it’s just a weblink), which you will need to copy and paste into a box as instructed by your current hosting platform.
This step is crucial because it’ll tell podcast directories where to look for your episodes and future content that you publish on your podcast.
Most hosting platforms provide step-by-step instructions on how to import your podcast, and some even offer migration assistance. Follow the instructions carefully, and if you encounter any issues, reach out to the support team for guidance.
After you’ve successfully migrated your podcast, it’s crucial to test everything to ensure that your episodes are playing correctly, and your RSS feed is working as expected. Conduct thorough checks to confirm that your podcast is live on various podcast directories and that all the episode metadata is intact. You can check your podcast by selecting some episodes at random to check that they play correctly and that show notes and titles associated with the episode are all correct.
Moving podcast hosting is usually a quick process. But, it can take up to 48 hours to switch everything across properly. Therefore, I’d highly recommend not releasing any new episodes for 2 days after you switch podcast hosts, just in case there are any issues and your listeners don’t get your latest episode on time. (However, on saying that, I’ve never had the process of switching hosts take more than a few hours, but I might have just gotten lucky).
How to choose a new podcast host
Choosing the right podcast host for your needs is essential. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a new host:
Features and functionality
Evaluate the features offered by different hosts and determine which ones are essential for your podcast. Features that might be important to you may include:
- Episode scheduling
- Monetisation options
- Promotional tools
Consider your budget and compare hosting plans from different providers.
Some hosts offer free plans with limited features, while others have tiered pricing based on storage, bandwidth, or number of downloads. Remember ti choose a plan that aligns with your podcast’s needs and growth potential.
Never underestimate good customer support – you never know when you might need it!
Check the host’s reputation for customer support. Read reviews, reach out to their support team with questions, and assess their responsiveness and willingness to assist.
Consider the future growth of your podcast. Will the host be able to accommodate increased storage and bandwidth requirements as your audience grows?
But remember, you can always switch podcast host again if your show grows bigger than you originally expected!
Integration and distribution
Ensure that the host seamlessly integrates with popular podcast directories, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
Check if they offer one-click distribution or submission assistance.
Which is the best podcast hosting platform?
The best podcast hosting platform ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. However, there are a few popular hosting platforms that consistently receive positive reviews from podcasters:
With its user-friendly interface and comprehensive podcasting tools, Buzzsprout is a popular choice for beginners and experienced podcasters alike. It offers easy integration with podcast directories, advanced analytics, and a seamless migration process.
Podbean is known for its affordable pricing and ease of use. It offers various hosting plans, including a free option, and provides features such as monetisation, social media integration, and a built-in podcast website.
Megaphone by Spotify
Whilst this host can be seen as being pricey at $99 per month, Megaphone by Spotify provides a host of serious monetisation options that are particularly popular with podcasting networks.
Known for its reliability and robust features, Libsyn has been a trusted name in podcast hosting for many years. It offers a range of plans to suit different podcasting needs and provides detailed analytics and monetization options.
Remember to thoroughly research and compare different hosting platforms before making a decision. Consider your podcast’s unique requirements and select a host that aligns with your goals and budget.
The migration process: Moving your podcast to a new host
When it comes to migrating your podcast to a new host, proper planning and execution are key to a smooth transition. Here are some practical steps to guide you through the migration process:
- Back up your podcast – Before initiating the migration, ensure that you have a backup of all your podcast files, including episodes, show notes, artwork, and metadata. This ensures that no data is lost during the transfer.
- Export your podcast – Most hosting platforms allow you to export your podcast data in a standardised format. Follow the instructions provided by your current host to export your podcast. If you’re new host exports and imports for you, you can skip this step and step 3.
- Import to the new host – Once you’ve exported your podcast, it’s time to import it to the new host. Each hosting platform has its own process for importing podcasts, so carefully follow the instructions provided by your new host. Some hosts even offer migration assistance to ensure a seamless transfer.
- Verify and test – After importing your podcast, thoroughly check that all your episodes, show notes, artwork, and metadata have been transferred correctly. Test your podcast on different devices and platforms to ensure that everything is functioning as expected.
- Update your RSS feed – Once you’ve confirmed that your podcast is successfully migrated, update your RSS feed to reflect your new host. This ensures that your podcast directories and subscribers receive the latest episodes from the correct source.
Avoiding common pitfalls when changing podcast hosts
While changing your podcast host can bring numerous benefits, it’s important to be aware of potential pitfalls and take precautions to avoid them. Here are some common challenges to watch out for:
- Data loss – To prevent data loss during the migration process, always back up your podcast files before initiating the transfer. Having a backup ensures that you can restore your podcast in case of any unforeseen issues.
- Downtime – While migrating your podcast, there might be a temporary interruption in availability. To minimise downtime, try to schedule the migration during a period of low listener activity, or not when a new episode has just been released. Communicate the migration to your audience in advance and inform them about any potential interruptions.
- Broken links – After migrating your podcast, ensure that all your episode URLs and links are updated to reflect the new host. Broken links can negatively impact your podcast’s discoverability and listener experience.
Changing your podcast host is way easier than a lot of podcasters realise and could be the way to drive your podcast forward.
If you’re experiencing limitations with your current host or are looking to unlock new features, monetisation opportunities, and audience growth potential, making the switch might be worth it.
By understanding the importance of podcast hosting, recognising the signs that indicate a need for change, and following the steps for a successful migration, you can take your podcast to new heights. Research different hosting platforms, choose the one that aligns with your goals, and embark on a journey to enhance your podcasting experience. Remember, the right podcast host can be a game-changer, opening up doors to success and helping you reach a wider audience. And what works for one podcaster, might not work for another.