When looking for a place to host a podcast, cost of bandwidth is a huge consideration. Not only file size and duration of an episode matter, but how many people actually access it to listen. Also, if those episodes are archived long term, it adds to the amount of bandwidth that has to be paid for.
Since a beginner would be guessing at the numbers, they might want to choose a site that can help them estimate how much bandwidth they’re using and charge accordingly. Amazon S3 even has a calculator for those who want to crunch numbers before they start uploading. They also have a free option that lasts for a year. It comes with 5GB of storage and the data can be retrieved, or listened to, 20,000 times. It is a good way to see how much storage a person is using while not spending money.
Castmate is a podcast company that is designed for ease. They claim the user only has to record their show, convert it into an MP3, and they will do the rest. They’ll even help with the file conversion if needed. A more experienced user can even move podcasts hosted on another site for free so they can all be available in one place. They have stats that show not only how many people are listening, but also where they are, what time they’re listening, how long they listen, and a number of other pieces of listener behavior.
An 800 number comes with the plan so that listeners can get in touch with the podcast maker or leave messages with their browser. Those messages can then be incorporated into shows. Their $5 plan comes with 100MB of storage, full stats report, ability to receive voicemail by browser, RSS feed, Podcast page, ability to have the page show up on a custom domain, and an embeddable web player. The tiered prices go up to $80 and the features become more impressive as the amount of storage goes up.
If a podcast maker wants something with a built in audience and good features, Libsyn is a good choice. The company has existed for more than ten years, has a specialty in iTunes and iPhone, and a claim of involved customer service. They serve an audience of over 44 million a month. Their pricing plans start at $5 per month for 50MB of storage and go up to $75 for 1500MB. Even the cheapest plan includes RSS feed, HTML media player, On Publish, a podcast landing page, network app listing, and a directory listing on Facebook.
The host for a podcast depends on what is most important to the user. A lot of storage for a low price with relatively few features, ease of use with a good amount of storage, lots of features with higher cost for storage, or a mix of all of those things. They all have to be taken into account before choosing a host, but there is a hosting company, and a price plan, for everyone.