Starting a new podcast can be a daunting prospect, especially when you think about where you're going to host all those MP3's you're making! What starts off as a handful of episodes can quickly spiral into a large chunk of data that costs a small fortune to support. By making plans in advance, you can avoid facing high hosting fees or cutting off your audience.
If you're a podcaster with your own suggestions or advice to add, feel free to share and I'll update this post!Measuring a Host
There are two things you'll need to consider when selecting a host:Storage Space
is the amount of space you can devote to your podcasts. The more storage space you have, the more episodes you can house before you need to make room for new ones. As a guideline, a CD quality stereo MP3 is about 60MB for one hour of audio. This means that for 2GB of storage space, you'll run out after about 34 episodes.Bandwidth
controls how many times your episodes can be downloaded, and is usually set on a monthly basis. As an example here, if produced one 60MB episode a month and had 15GB of bandwidth a month, your episode could be downloaded 250 times before you run out of bandwidth. More episodes means more bandwidth, so a weekly podcast would only handle about 60 downloads an episode with 15GB bandwidth. Running out of bandwidth means that your listeners can't get your shows, which stops your audience from growing.
When picking a host, ensure that you start off by planning how much bandwidth and storage space you're likely to need based on the length of your show, your frequency (weekly, fortnightly, monthly) and how many listeners you think you might get. It's worth making sure that it's easy to upgrade hosting if you need it if your show becomes unexpectedly popular, and that those upgrades are easy on the wallet!Hosting Types
In the main, there are three different types of podcast hostsSpeciality hosts
are usually dedicated to hosting podcasts and offer specific hosting deals tailored to it. They might also offer additional services like analysis of downloads. They don't usually provide much else, so aren't useful if you want to run other services on your hosting like a blog, forums, guild website and so on.Integrated Hosts
take a lot of the hard work from you by managing recording, upload, streaming and distribution for you. These generally work by providing a slot for you to call in with and perform your show, usually at a predetermined length.Standard or Traditional Hosts
provide the most flexibility about what can be stored and how, but can require a fair amount of technical know-how to set up. They can also be quite expensive if your show becomes popular, as they tend to charge more for bandwidth. Hosting Tips
Hosting SuggestionsTBC - Can you help with this?
- As said before, make sure your host supports easy upgrade/ downgrade of packages. If you see yourself running out of bandwidth, make sure you can buy more!
- Keep track of how many downloads your show is getting. This will help you forecast when you need to upgrade your hosting.
- Use Feedburner to create the feed to your podcast and point iTunes to this feed. That way, if you ever need to change hosts it's as simple as redirecting your Feedburner feed in order to update your listeners!