Libsyn Vs Blubrry | Where Should I Host My Podcast?

Libsyn Vs Blubrry

Blubrry and Libsyn are two veterans of the media hosting world. If you were in a room full of podcasters then the majority would no doubt host their show on either Libsyn or Blubrry.

They both have a great reputation and offer a fantastic service. But if you’ve narrowed your hosting choice down to these two, how do you split them?

Firstly, full disclosure. At The Podcast Host we host most of our shows on either Libsyn or Blubrry and are affiliates of both services.

We offer a free month with Libsyn when you sign up using the coupon code podhost and a free month with Blubrry when you sign up using the coupon code podcraft

We eagerly recommend either service to anyone who asks about media hosting, so this article isn’t about ‘which is better’. This is about finding the differences between the two, and recommending the right one for your context. That’s the real purpose of this article.

Price & Storage

The bottom line here is that Libsyn are slightly cheaper if we were to base it on monthly storage allowance. 250MB of storage at Libsyn is $15 a month, the same amount of storage at Blubrry is $20 a month.

The smallest monthly payment you can make with Libsyn is $5 for 50MB, whilst Blubrry’s is $12 for 100MB.

It’s worth mentioning however that Blubrry allows a 25% storage overage each month on all their plans as part of their No-Fault Podcast Hosting. You can also replace your files at any time with no storage penalty.

How Much Space Will I Need?

Of course, space is a bit meaningless here – what you want to know is, how much do I need?!

Well, a decent quality minute of audio is just under a single MB in size. That’s if you mix your show down at 128kbps. In this instance, a 10min episode would be just under 10MB.

I tend to mix spoken word content lower than 128kbps, and if you’re using iTunes or Adobe Audition (rather than Audacity’s LAME encoder) to create your MP3s, then you can go as low as 96kbps without any noticeable loss in quality. Many people actually go as low as 64kbps. If you want to read our full coverage of this debate, check out the podcast bit rate article here.

10mins of audio at 96kbps drops below 7MB, so you can cut down on storage (and help save your listener’s data plan) by using this bit rate.

The upshot is, a weekly podcast doing 30 minute episodes every week is likely to use around 84MB per month at that rate. But extend much over the half hour mark and you’ll be going beyond the 100MB per month plan.

Websites & Publishing

When we get to publishing, there are a couple of differences worth noting. First of all, let’s look at the mechanics of creating your podcast episodes online

Plug-ins for Self-Hosted Podcasting

Firstly, Blubrry stand out for the simple reason that they publish Powerpress – the de-facto king of WordPress podcasting plugins.

Powerpress gives you a huge amount of power to publish a show within your own WordPress website. It ties in with the WordPress editor to allow easy uploading of podcast episodes, never leaving the WordPress space.

Powerpress also comes with a slew of options around controlling your RSS feed, allowing you to work with multiple feeds should you need to have more than one podcast on the one site.

Libsyn is, however, catching up here. They released their own WordPress plugin in 2015 which allows direct uploading to Libsyn servers via the WordPress editor. The plug in is still in Beta, and thus far it doesn’t offer half the flexibility that Powerpress does. For example, you can’t set up your own RSS feed, instead relying on a Libsyn.com one.

Libsyn do consider this latter point an advantage though. They can certainly provide a reliable feed that doesn’t eat up your bandwidth – two things that can’t always be said for low-cost, shared web hosting.

Back to plug ins, in both cases you need to install the tool and enter your account details to set up the link, but after that uploading a podcast is a one step process, regardless of which service you use.

Additionally, with Libsyn you can create a post on WordPress directly from the Libsyn side with their On-Publish feature.

Now this assumes that you’re publishing the episode on your own self-hosted WordPress website (remember we’ve got a course on how to self publish on WordPress). But that’s not the only option.

Publishing Episodes With Your Media Host

The alternative to running a self-hosted WordPress website is to publish with either Libsyn or Blubrry.

Libsyn specialize in this and put a lot of work into their templates, offering a range of options in creating a home for your podcast on their website. That means you’ll be running a mydomain.libsyn.com website, which is a great option for some people.

You can also whitelabel it, using your own domain, but running on Libsyn. This takes a lot of the technical stress out of podcasting. You don’t have to run a website, keep it updated or worry about glitches. Libsyn will take care of the tech while you can stick to presenting!

Blubrry have always had a mydomain.blubrry.com option too, though they don’t promote it as a service. It’s Blubrry’s belief that shows should have their own website, though some of their customers still choose this option.

Blubrry are on the catchup here too, having already announced their own ‘Podcast Websites’ package which is due out as of the time of writing. The early specs look great, rivaling Libsyn’s already great offering.

But, right now, if you want to host with the media host, rather than keep it on your own site, Libsyn is the best option.

Podcasting Statistics

Libsyn Podcast Hosting Statistics

Country Stats in Libsyn

Both platforms offer exceptional stats. If I want to find out how many people listened to my show on Stitcher on an iPhone in Detroit last month, I can do that.

A big difference here is that Libsyn’s stats are staggered based on your pricing platform. You get no stats for $5 a month, but you can add $2 to bring it up to $7 per month for basic stats. You’re still on the basic stats package at $15 per month, and move up to advanced stats by paying $20 per month or more.

Blubrry Podcast Hosting Statistics

Client Stats in Blubrry

Blubrry on the other hand offer their Professional stats on all packages, from their lowest monthly rate of $12 per month and up.

In terms of Blubrry’s Professional stats v Libsyn’s Advanced stats, I’ve not found any way to split them and say that one is better than the other. There are a few little differences but, for your average podcaster, there’s very little in it.

On this front, it really depends how important stats are to your show. Measuring basic download numbers is important in the long run, but is knowing exactly where these downloads are coming from, what they’re coming through, etc?

Well, it can be, depending on your show. Especially if it’s a location-specific show and you offer some sort of physical product or service that requires your customers to be on location.

If you’re looking for comprehensive stats at a lower cost, then Blubrry is the best option here!

Players

In December 2015 Libsyn launched a brand new player that embeds or publishes in your posts. The player is fully customisable and displays your cover art (either your series artwork, or an episode specific cover), along with share buttons, a full episode playlist, and a download button.

Libsyn Podcast Player

Podcast episodes hosted on Blubrry are commonly displayed with the Powerpress plugin player, which is free to install and use. Powerpress can also be used with other media hosts (such as Libsyn), so it isn’t Blubrry exclusive.

Blubrry Powerpress Podcast Player

Not to be left behind, though, Blubrry recently released a new player as well. This player is available to Blubrry hosting customers, working with Powerpress.

The new player has social and subscribe buttons and can be used on almost any website, so you don’t necessarily need to be using a WordPress site to host externally. The player is designed to work on all devices too, be it a phone, tablet, or otherwise.

Blubrry Podcast Player

Apps

Your show can have its own custom mobile app built by Libsyn if you are on their $20 a month plan, or higher. There’s a one-off development fee of $50 to have this done. It’s paid during sign-up, after you complete the forms which detail your requirements, and then there is a $10 a month additional fee for the apps.

Libsyn’s smartphone apps aren’t directly connected to your RSS feed, so you can publish app specific content such as PDFs, photos, videos, and extra audio. These can be used as an extra incentive for listeners to download your show’s app, instead of subscribing in a podcatcher.

Blubrry don’t have an in-house app option. Instead they direct you to an external app development partner, reasoning that they prefer to send you to someone who does that exclusively.

If an app is important to you, and you want to have it included in your hosting, Libsyn is the way to go.

Premium Content

You can offer your listeners premium content with both Blubrry and Libsyn. If you want to offer a paid subscription service to your listeners then premium content is a necessary incentive. So how do both platforms differ in the services they offer here?

With Libsyn, your premium content is set up and delivered through their MyLibsyn subscription management service. With this, the end user can consume your premium content on the webpage Libsyn has set up for you on your own website with their HTML5 player, and also via a free custom smartphone app for your show for iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 devices.

Libsyn’s goal with their premium service is to “make it easy for your audience to consume your premium content – but also lock it down so people can’t share it out of your control.”

With Blubrry, you’d set up your premium content inside your website (on PowerPress, and not via the Blubrry interface). This means your paid subscribers would be given an I.D. and password to your site, where they could log in and consume your premium content.

Social Media

Libsyn have a feature where you can drop your episode URL into Facebook and it creates a player in your timeline. This is a nice way to share your content on this social media platform.

On top of this, you can set up Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in as destinations and publish custom messages and links to each destination.  Libsyn offers up what they call destination publishing which means you can control exactly where each new episode does or does not go.

Summary

Whether you choose to host your podcast on Blubrry or Libsyn, I know you’ll be completely satisfied with the service you receive. It’s really about weighing up these differences between the two and deciding which service best suits your podcast’s needs.

I think it’s fair to say that they both have a slightly different ethos when it comes to media hosting.

For Blubrry, it’s very much about the simplicity and speed of “post – upload – publish” from the dashboard of your website. If I wanted to work within my own site as much as possible, then I’d host with them.

As for Libsyn, it’s about letting their site handle the distribution of your files, and their belief in having different feeds for different destinations. If I wanted to publish episodes exclusively to destinations like Google Play for example, I’d host with them.

I’d love to hear what you think of each provider.

Why did you choose Libsyn over Blubrry, or vice versa?

Let us know in the comments below.

Remember, you can get a month’s free hosting with either service by using our coupon code podhost during the Libsyn signup process, or podcraft when signing up to Blubrry. 

 

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19 Comments

  1. Curious: what is the purpose of either service? Why can’t I store it anywhere in the cloud, and have people download it while I monitor metrics?

    Reply
    • Hi Zack. Signing up with a media host (like Blubrry or Libsyn) gives you an RSS feed that your listeners can subscribe to, and you can submit to podcast directories (like iTunes) to be listed there. Some cloud-based services will allow you to set something like this up, but as they are not designed to operate as podcast media hosts it’ll often be much more bother than it is worth, and you’ll run in to many problems. The stats you can get from both media hosts mentioned here are outstanding for monitoring metrics too. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  2. I am just starting a podcast. I am recording episodes and creating my website. My question is this. I plan on hosting with Libsyn and have just assumed I would use Powerpress. But in this article, and others I have read, including getting info directly from Libsyn, you mention the concern about the RSS feed eating up shared hosting website bandwidth. I thought that was only a concern if you hosted the podcast media files on your website hosts servers? Libsyn says that even having just the RSS feed from your website is a big concern because of bandwidth issues. So if I host my podcast files with Libsyn, use Powerpress to generate the RSS feed, is my shared hosting provider going to come back to me and say I am using too much bandwidth if my podcast really takes off and garners a high volume of downloads? If you could help, that would be great.

    Reply
    • Hi Darin, thanks for the question, and it’s a good one.

      Yes, some people argue that bandwidth can become a problem if you’re hosting your own RSS feed. The thing is, your RSS feed is never going to be huge. Even the biggest RSS feeds that Powerpress will produce might reach around 1MB but no more generally. But, the problem is, as you say, if you become really popular, you might have thousands of people loading this page every day. And often multiple times a day. You have all of the podcast directories doing so too, like iTunes, Stitcher, etc. This adds up.

      For example, one show we know has been around for years and has a feed which is a few bytes over a megabyte. They get a decent number of listeners – around 1k per episode – but their RSS feed gets 82,000 hits per month. That works out at 88GB in total bandwidth over the month.

      Now, most hosting plans claim to give you free bandwidth but, of course, there’s ‘fair use’ in there. They don’t tend to tell you what their ‘fair’ maximum is, but you’ll be told what your storage is. The common bottom-end webhosts, like Bluehost or Hostgator, tend to offer something like 30 to 50GB of storage. So your bandwidth would be expected to be at least a factor of 10 to 100 more than that. So, 88GB on an RSS feed isn’t really going to worry them. But… if you become a LOT more popular, that increases fast.

      What I would say is that having control over your RSS feed has it’s pros. It’s good to have full control over something that important to your show. But, with that comes a bit of responsibility. And that means paying a little more than your basic web hosting is going to cost. As soon as you move up to the higher level hosting packages then you don’t have to worry about that kind of bandwidth at all. And if you’re serious about your show, you want to make sure you’re on a decent hosting package anyway.

      Alternatively, if you don’t want to have to worry, nor pay a bit extra for web hosting, then by all means outsource your RSS feed to Libsyn or Blubrry. They’ll both let you move your RSS feed if you need to anyway, which is the biggest concern, and they’ll handle any amount of bandwidth requirements you can throw at them with the great service they’re both known for.

      Hope that helps!
      Colin

      Reply
  3. I’m hosting my website with Squarespace. Would this mean that I’d be better off with Libsyn rather than Blubrry due to Blubrry’s affiliation with Powerpress? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi James. You could still embed the Blubrry player in your posts, but yeah I’d probably go with Libsyn on this one.

      Reply
  4. I currently have a podcast in blogtalkradio and am tires of them. I was thinking of going to Libsyn (your blog has me now considering Blurry). How hard is it to move from blog talk to one of these platforms? Are they somewhat similar?

    Reply
    • Hi Ky. I’d start by contacting Blogtalk and asking them the process for moving to a new host. They should have something in place. Libsyn or Blubrry will also help you with anything you need over at their end.

      Reply
  5. I’m planning to have the option to read transcripts of my podcasts available on my site. Would I be able to do this on either Libsyn or Blubrry? I don’t expect my site to have heavy traffic (maybe a few hundred visitors and/or streams per day) but I am planning to publish a short 5-10 min episode every day. Do you think signing up for a shared hosting plan with Bluehost or HostGator be better than going with Libsyn or Blubrry?

    Reply
    • Hi Beashi, you can certainly get your website from Bluehost, HostGator etc, but you’ll also want a media host like Blubrry or Libsyn to host your podcast files. If you don’t want to pay for both, you can get a basic website/landing page through your media hosting account and you can copy transcriptions into your episode posts.

      Reply
  6. I currently have self-managed hosting via AWS Cloudfront. I was controlling the amount of bandwidth and data via a subscription service, which worked great until it didn’t.

    Being the only person running the show, providing ongoing customer support became too much of the focus and less on content. Now, I rely on donations but my bandwidth has exploded. It’s now doubled in costs and expected to triple by the end of this month. This is not only sustainable but not affordable.

    So, I’m looking at Libsyn and Blubrry. I use category podcasting (which is a big deal for a lot of my subscribers) and it’s not clear that Libsyn offers that where Blubrry totally does. I can cut back on the size of my offerings to fit into the smaller storage offering of Blubrry but it will be tight.

    In the meantime, I’ve had to put up a roadblock to my site because I just can’t afford it until I can get switched over to one of these services.

    I run a music podcast. I’ve used Libsyn before and their customer service is outstanding. I currently use PowerPress for my categories and player of choice and Angelo from Blubrry is truly outstanding to work with when there is an issue.

    I’m leaning more towards Blubrry despite the higher cost and lower storage. Can you provide any guidance as to what else I should consider when making my final decision? I don’t see myself going back to Premium Content even though I know Libsyn handles all customer issues.

    i don’t want to regret my decision and frankly just want a place I can permanently call home. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi Keith. Yeah Blubrry or Libsyn will sort out the bandwidth issues. To choose between them, just curious as to why you’re using category podcasting? Cheers

      Reply
  7. Good afternoon, I want to start a podcast and I currently have an account with Blubrry and I am a little unhappy with my experience. I hate working with word press. I want something clean and simple to upload. Again, I create content for the podcast, I am not a web designer, just the mp3s really. I just want something clean and simple that allows me to easily integrate my stuff to iTunes and google play, etc. I want something simple to use and maintain for someone again, who does not know coding. I really like the Joe Rogan podcast interface and player on his site. Should I go with Libsyn or Blubrry? Thanks in advance for your help.

    Reply
    • You can use either purely as a media host without involving WordPress or your own site, if that’s the route you were looking to go down? I’d probably sway with Libsyn on this one.

      Reply
  8. Hi, I am using Blubrry and planning to shift to Libsyn. the sole reason for this is: I want my podcast to get onto Spotify and from what I’ve heard, Libsyn can help your podcast get on to Spotify. Is that true? Please guide me a little her. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Muhammad. At the moment podcasts on Spotify hasn’t been opened up to everyone so there’s no guarantee you’ll get listed in there until that changes. Libsyn can recommend shows to Spotify, but the folks at Spotify have the final word over whether they get listed or not. Once podcasting on Spotify is open to everyone I’ve no doubt you’ll be able to get in there using Blubrry too, so if this is your only reason for wanting to move then I’d caution against it.

      Reply
  9. Hello,

    Excellent article. Thank you.
    I’ve been contemplating a podcast for some time. Initially, this will be a solo act –No interviews or other hosts. Optimistic, of course, that the content (and how it’s delivered) can stand on its own.

    I’ve thought about two avenues for media hosting: Soundcloud and converting the Audacity recording from MP3 to a YouTube video (a slideshow really).

    Later, I’m hoping to interview/panel over Skype. But I’ve not yet looked into that. Given the content theme, I’m hoping it’s a recorded audio-only Skype dialogue (no video). In other words, I don’t currently anticipate this to be a live stream (not against it though).

    The website, I was hoping to keep simple; which’s why I’ve chosen Google’s Blogger platform (not a WP guy).

    Finally, I’m trying to avoid Libsyn, Blubrry, and Spreaker (thoughts on that one, btw?).

    Any advice for me given all of that?
    TIA

    Reply
    • Hi TIA, any reason for wanting to avoid Libsyn, Blubrry, or Spreaker? They are pretty much the 3 best podcasting media hosts available right now. You mention also publishing to Youtube – Libsyn has a very easy way that let’s you do that without doubling your workload, worth a look https://support.libsyn.com/faqs/social-youtube/

      Reply
  10. This has been the most helpful article that I have read comparing Libsyn and Blubrry. It helps that you actually use both for different purposes. Thank you so very much.

    Reply

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About the author: Matthew McLean

Matthew is the head of audio production at The Podcast Host, taking care of client podcasts and our own shows alike. He also produces audio dramas galore, and talks enthusiastically about them on the Audio Drama Production podcast every week.