Need a place to upload and publish your next podcast? Want to make it available in Apple, Spotify, and the four billion other podcast listening apps out there? Then you need a podcast hosting platform. One such hosting platform is Libsyn – they’re one of the biggest, oldest, and most famous of their kind. So, should you opt for them? We’ll help you decide in this Libsyn review.
What’s New With Libsyn?
For years, Libsyn was my default podcast hosting recommendation. In fact, I still host my main podcast with them to this day. They employ some of the best people in the industry, too – folks who’ve given a lot to this medium over the past 10-15 years.
However, I think it’s fair to say that Libsyn’s popularity waned a bit in recent years. There were a few potential reasons for this.
On Libsyn’s part, their dashboard started to look dated, clunky and complicated to new podcasters.
Elsewhere in the industry, hosting platforms like Captivate and Buzzsprout offered cleaner, simpler interfaces, whilst Anchor became a popular free option for many.
At no point did Libsyn ever become a bad choice or a poor service. They just started to look a bit less appealing than their competitors.
The good news though, is that, with the release of Libsyn 5, we’re now able to work in a dashboard that looks like it was designed in the 2020s, not the early 2010s.
A Quick Word on Hosting Providers
Podcast hosting these days is ultra-competitive, with so many great choices and services out there.
Some podcasters like to jump around from one hosting platform to another, thinking that there might be one out there that’ll magically grow their show for them. But that’s not how podcast hosting works.
Ultimately, the job of your hosting provider is to give you the tools to grow your show and to be found everywhere. They can’t do it for you, though.
If you have an existing show on a platform like Transistor, Castos, or Podbean, then there’s really no reason to change your hosting provider. This Libsyn review is more geared towards aspiring podcasters looking for a place to publish their newly launched podcast.
The one exception here would be if you’re currently hosting on a free platform. Some folks do prefer to put their show in the hands of a service they’re actually paying for. There are plenty of reasons for this, including:
- better customer service accountability
- the feeling of being the customer, rather than the product
- the decreased chance of your hosting provider suddenly going out of business
With that all said, let’s crack on with our Libsyn review…
Get a month’s free hosting with Libsyn when you sign up using our affiliate coupon code podhost
If it can be hard to separate the best podcast hosting choices out there (because they’re all pretty good), then cost is an obvious factor.
You can’t use Libsyn for free, but you can get an account there for as little as $5 a month. Throw in another $2 and you’ll get basic stats too.
‘Basic Stats’ is essentially your download numbers. For many podcasters, myself included, these are the only stats you’ll ever need. But you can upgrade to more advanced stats for a total of $20 a month. I’ll talk more about these stats further on.
For the majority of podcasters though, $7 will do the trick just fine (if you absolutely must go with free hosting, though, then RedCircle or Podbean are great options). Pricing also factors into your monthly storage with Libsyn, so let’s talk about that next.
How Much Storage Will I Need?
The higher your monthly payment tier, the more storage you’ll have on a monthly basis. This has nothing to do with the number of downloads you get (which are unlimited) and is all about the amount of content you can upload in a set month.
Your storage allowance renews at the start of each month too, so you’ll never be punished for having a huge back catalogue of episodes.
- If you pay $5 a month, you get 162 MB
- If you pay $15 a month, you get 324 MB
- If you pay $20 a month, you get 540 MB
- If you pay $40 a month, you get 800 MB
How does storage allowance relate to actual podcast episodes though?
That really depends on three things:
- the number of episodes you publish in a month
- the length of those episodes
- the bitrate you encode the episodes at.
We have an article dedicated to the topic of podcast bitrates, so we won’t dive into that here. As a rough gauge, let’s just say we’re going for 96kbps mono, which is a good balance between file size and sound quality for spoken word content.
In this example, one hour of audio would be around 40 MB, so you could run a weekly podcast of hour-long episodes on the $5 tier.
Do Libsyn Alter My Files?
Libsyn doesn’t alter your files in any way, so if it’s a 256kbps stereo file you upload, that’s what your listener will get at the other end.
You do have the option of using Libsyn to embed metadata into your file though. This is the file’s info and artwork. It’ll be viewable on the MP3 when downloaded directly onto a computer.
Metadata isn’t as important as it once was because most listening takes place in apps where users never actually see the file. But it’s still good practice to add it to your episodes. This is an easy way to implement metadata into your publishing workflow.
You can get basic download number stats from $7 a month. But, if you’re a stats junkie, you’d need to be on at least the $20 tier to access their more advanced offerings.
These Advanced IAB v2.0 stats mean you can break your downloads down into countries, regions, and the types of apps and browsers used to listen to your episodes. if you plan to do some regional promotion or live events, these stats can be helpful.
The Web Stuff
When you create an account with Libsyn you’ll get a default webpage for your show. The URL will look like podcastname.libsyn.com – but you can set it up with your own domain name if you like. This costs an extra $2 per month.
If you have your own website already, you can choose to ignore or delete this webpage. It’s customisable though, so, with a bit of tweaking, you can make it your own. I think Captivate performs a lot better with the aesthetics of its default website offerings though.
You may also opt to create a free website via Podpage for your Libsyn-hosted podcast. This will give you more options when it comes to customisation and design.
Libsyn & WordPress
If you’re running your own website on WordPress, then you can set it up to publish new episodes there, from directly inside Libsyn.
Another option is to download the Libsyn WordPress plugin which means you can publish episodes from your own site. One gripe I have with this plugin, though, is that there’s no way to position the player inside the episode post – it’ll always just be right at the top.
Of course, a third way is simply to publish inside Libsyn, then copy the episode embed code over to an episode post on your site!
The Libsyn Podcast Player
Libsyn has a decent looking podcast player which will display your cover art, and has subscribe buttons on it linking to the different directories you’re listed in.
Can I Host Multiple Shows on Libsyn?
You need a separate account for each individual show. But, you can manage these all from inside your account, so you don’t need to constantly log in/log out. It’s just a case of switching tabs from one show to the next.
Libsyn does also offer a service called LibsynPro which caters to podcast networks. LibsynPro is for enterprise customers, celebrities, government agencies, professional media companies and those looking to do lots of video podcasting.
Pricing is based on how many different shows you manage and how much download bandwidth you get. This service offers unlimited monthly uploads and does allow you to have multiple shows on one account.
Publishing & Destinations
Libsyn has always strived to help you get your show into every platform where podcasts are consumed. Once you’ve published an episode (even a trailer or ‘Episode Zero‘) then you can submit your show to the many listening platforms out there. The obvious ones are Apple and Spotify, but Libsyn also has destinations for Gaana, Deezer, and JioSaavn.
With Libsyn, you can also publish episodes directly to YouTube.
Social Sharing on Libsyn
If you’re a fan of social media then you can set up social destinations from within your Libsyn dashboard, and schedule unique content to go out to places like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and LinkedIn.
Libsyn Can Build You an App
Want a dedicated iOS/Android app for your show? Libsyn can develop one for you.
App downloads are in the hundreds of billions per year, so there are definitely worse places for your content to be discovered.
To set the ball in motion, there’s a one-off $50 set-up fee, then an ongoing $10 additional fee, on top of your monthly subscription.
With your app, you can use Libsyn’s destination tools to adjust the release day/time of new episodes. This gives you the ability to release early, or even exclusive content on there, in order to encourage listeners to download it.
What About Monetisation?
In 2021 Libsyn acquired podcast monetisation Glow. With Glow, you can sell subscriptions or memberships to your podcast. You can also offer exclusive content, interviews, courses, and more.
At the moment, you can access Glow from within the Libsyn 5 dashboard, but it still requires a new account and login over there. However Libsyn promise that “soon, Glow will be fully integrated into the Libsyn podcasting system”, which should make this process a lot smoother.
More traditionally, Libsyn can hook you up with advertisers if your show is hitting around 5000 US downloads per episode within a month of its release. These are big numbers though, and few shows will ever reach that level.
There are a couple of nice additional features within Libsyn, like the option to hone in and disable dynamic ads at an episode or destination level. This might come in handy if you’re running an ad campaign on a specific listening platform and you don’t want your “normal” ads playing over there, too.
Other Handy Features
Rounding up on this Libsyn review, there are a few other features of note worth mentioning.
Libsyn integrates with Canva, so you can create unique episode-level artwork or social graphics using its powerful design tools.
There’s a nice ‘Text Expander’ feature that can improve your show notes workflow. Repetitive and ongoing sections of your show notes can be populated with the click of a short key.
Libsyn also supports the Podcasting 2.0 Namespace locked tag, which can help safeguard your show against piracy. Over the past couple of years, some creators have had the misfortune of seeing copies of their podcasts popping up (and being monetised) on free platforms like Anchor. This tag can help to combat and prevent such a thing from happening to you and your content.
Our Rating: 4.6/5
Libsyn Review: Summary
Libsyn is one of the safest pairs of hands you can choose for your podcast’s hosting and distribution. They always have been.
The big “but” in recent years was that their interface looked dated and clunky. It was definitely offputting to many aspiring podcasters who weren’t overly technical. It’s great to see that this has been tackled with the release of Libsyn 5, though.
Libsyn’s $7 tier ($5 a month + $2 for basic stats) is also the best value for money option on the market, in my opinion. This is ideal for someone starting out and testing the water.
Of course, you can then use the various tools within Libsyn to expand and grow, as and when you’re ready. You can start to dabble in monetisation. You can even have your own smartphone app created.
Finally, a shout out to Libsyn’s official podcast The Feed. This show is essential for keeping up with industry news, updates, and general best practices. Even if you don’t host with Libsyn, The Feed is well worth subscribing to.
Libsyn Promo Code
Get a month’s free hosting with Libsyn when you sign up using our affiliate coupon code podhost
Still Shopping Around for Podcast Hosting?
Hopefully, this Libsyn review has helped you in your quest to find a home for your podcast. However, if you’re still unconvinced and would like to explore some other great options on the market, then be sure to check out our Best Podcast Hosting roundup.