Podcast Hosting vs Podcast Distribution | What’s the difference?

If you’re new to podcasting, you might be confused about what we mean by “hosting” or “distribution.” It’s easy to be confused about the two terms and what they mean for publishing your content online. Below we’ll go over the differences between the two and explain their importance in depth. 

What is a podcast hosting platform?

When starting a podcast, you need to choose a hosting platform to store all of your audio files. It’s a must for getting your content on the web and for professional formatting. At its core, a podcast hosting platform is a website that provides optimal storage for large audio files and also provides an RSS feed for podcasts. 

Note: An RSS feed is a page of code that contains all of the relevant information per episode such as titles, descriptions, and other information, which is then continuously monitored by distribution sites, keeping your podcast information always up to date. *

With a plethora of podcast hosting platforms out there, it can be pretty overwhelming to decide on one to host your show. Here at LPM, our most used platform is Spreaker. We prefer Spreaker because of its ease of use. On this platform we can see podcast stats including current and total downloads, what apps listeners are using to tune in, where listeners are tuning in from, how many downloads individual episodes receive, and much more.

There are many other beloved podcast hosting websites. Each platform ranges in price per payment and suits different needs better, like business or personal. It all depends on what you’re podcasting for and what you want to get out of it. Here are some of the most used services besides Spreaker:

  • BuzzSprout
  • RSS.com
  • PodBean
  • Anchor FM
  • Transistor
  • Libsyn
  • SimpleCast

Why choose a podcast hosting platform?

Using one of these services is an excellent way to professionally manage your podcast and to distribute content to the web. The number one reason we use a podcast hosting platform is to keep track of analytics for each show and to watch audience growth over time. Platforms like Spreaker are excellent for tracking these metrics because not only can you monitor your podcast’s growth, you can also view most used listening sources and countries where the largest parts of your audience are coming from.

What is a podcast distribution service?

A distribution service is a website or an app that allows the audience to tune in to podcast content. These are generally easy to use and fairly common platforms you already likely have on your phone. Many of these apps share space with musical artists so you get the best of both worlds in streaming audio content. They include:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • Google Podcasts
  • Amazon Music
  • PlayerFM
  • Stitcher
  • Podchaser

How are distribution services helpful?

The main goal with distributing a podcast is to grow the audience. Whether that’s to get more listeners or to attract more people to your business by translating listenership into sales, podcasting is a great way to do just that. By including links in the episode descriptions to social media or business websites, these distribution services can act as a channel for sales and internet exposure. This is why so many modern businesses are opting for podcasts as a way to market their brand to younger audiences because podcasting is for everyone. There are shows for all ages and interests, so why not give it a try rather than buying advertising?

What are their differences? 

Think of a hosting platform as something for the podcast creators or hosts to use to gain insights for their show’s performance across the internet. A distribution service is for the audience to listen and subscribe to their favorite podcasts. 

A hosting service is excellent for hosts to babysit their shows and watch their metrics evolve, track what episodes do or don’t perform well, and to see where their main audience is geographically located. Information like this can be super helpful for curating your content to the masses and giving your audience more of what they like. 

While distribution services differ from hosting services, they are both essential for helping your podcast analytics grow. The hosting side of things allows you to enter select keywords into the podcast description. This helps to grow your online presence, working behind the scenes. Distribution services, on the other hand, grow your audience. By using both platforms, it accelerates podcasting success!

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