What is a Podcast Host?
One of the important decisions you are going to have to make when starting a podcast is where you want to host your podcast. Your podcast host is where your audio files will be housed, where you will find your RSS feed, and will be your hub for managing your podcast.
Typical podcast hosts will run you anywhere from $15 – $99 per month to provide you with these services. Anchor podcast hosting is a free alternative that has a bit more to it than meets the eye.
Contrary to popular belief, the platforms where you listen to podcasts are not where the podcasts actually live. When you listen to a podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify that does not mean that Apple Podcasts or Spotify actually has that audio file on their servers. They are simply distribution channels that will ask your podcast host for the audio file that you as the listener are looking for.
All of that is going on behind the scenes and for the time being it is not terribly important to understand all of the ins-and-outs of picking a good audio host if you are just starting out.
Most importantly, know that your podcast host houses your files and provides you with an RSS feed. Your RSS feed is what the podcast distributors like Apple Podcast and Spotify will reference to find the episodes of your podcast.
What is Anchor?
Anchor is a free podcast host (acquired by Spotify) that will house your audio files and provide you with an RSS feed for free. They’re also going to provide you with stats on your audience demographics, episode downloads, and the various platforms you are distributed to.
Anchor will also facilitate sponsorships and listener support through Anchor Money and allow you to monetize your podcast with little work.
Additionally Anchor also automatically distributes your podcast to all of the major platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, etc. at the press of a button.
This makes things pretty convenient because if you are going to do this on your own you’ll likely need to invest a few hours registering with each directory individually and waiting for manual approval.
How is Anchor Free?
I don’t know about you, but whenever I see something is free it makes me instantly curious about the business model and how they are giving something away for “free”. However with Anchor it’s pretty clear how they are monetizing. When they match you with podcast sponsors they are taking a 30% cut.
Currently this 30% cut is not generating enough income to make them a profitable company, but with the recent acquisition by Spotify I would not expect them to run out of money anytime soon.
There are some rumors out there warning that when you use Anchor as your podcast host they actually own your content. However Anchor’s terms of service make it pretty clear that this is not the case.
You retain ownership of your User Content. Using Anchor does not cause you to lose ownership of your content.
Therefore there is no need to worry about losing ownership of your content or any other sketchy stuff going on behind-the-scenes.
What’s The Catch?
My only beef with Anchor is that they are a little light on nitty gritty data. If you want to see exactly how many people listened to each of your episodes, or you want to see a breakdown of how many of your listeners are coming from each platform, or you’re looking for your weekly, monthly, or any other breakdown of total listens, you’re going to have no problems finding that info. But that’s about it.
You can’t dig as deep into the analytics as you can with some of the paid podcast hosts. This isn’t a huge deal and it’s more curiosity than anything that makes me want to see some more specific data. If you aren’t a numbers geek though this is generally not too big of an issue.
If you are looking to start a podcast and don’t know if you’ll be sticking with it long-term I think Anchor is the best podcast host for you to start with. Given the fact that you do not have to make any initial investment to get up and running it is a great option for people who want to get their show live and on all of the major podcast platforms with very little work.
In addition, you are also free to easily transfer to another host at any point so if you get to a point where you feel like you have “outgrown” Anchor podcast hosting that is definitely an option.
If I was starting my show from scratch I would definitely opt for Anchor. After working with over a dozen podcast hosts, those that are in the $15 – $50 / month range are generally over complicated for what most podcasters need and more difficult to navigate, while those that are over $50 / month are not accessible to the beginner podcaster.
If you’re a podcaster on a budget, Anchor is the way to go for podcast hosting.
Apple is a long-time podcaster and personal finance enthusiast. He runs Podblade full-time with his cofounder Rom Raviv and is determined to make podcasting a more accessible medium by providing affordable services to podcasters large and small. When he’s not podcasting you’ll likely find him swing dancing or traveling.