Podcasting has grown quickly over the last few years. Not so long ago it was considered somewhat of a niche social media outlet, but increasingly people are becoming aware of just how powerful a platform podcasts are.
Buzzsprout vs Podbean, two of the best podcast hosting platforms go head-to-head in this matchup.
Buzzsprout and Podbean are both fully featured podcast hosting platforms that make it easy for beginners and pros alike to create and publish professional quality podcasts.
But there are key differences between them and depending on what your needs and goals are, these differences could be the swaying factor when choosing between the two podcast hosting services.
- Related Article: Buzzsprout Full Review
Features and Benefits Comparison
In this section, I will discuss the main features and benefits of both platforms.
Audio Quality and Players
Audio Player – Buzzsprout has a highly customizable audio player that can be published on your Buzzsprout site, embedded on your own website, social media post, or wherever else you want to publish your podcast.
There are three different versions of the podcast audio player –
- Individual Episode Player – This is the simplest player. It will only play the single episode you’ve decided to embed.
- Single Episode Player – This player will also only play a single episode. The difference between this and the individual player, is that the single player will automatically play the latest uploaded episode of your podcast.
- Multiple Episode Player – This player can play many podcast episodes, it automatically updates the playlist as you publish new podcasts. It can also be customized to play specific episodes only.
Audio Quality – Having great audio quality is essential if your podcast is going to be successful. Of course, a large part of this depends on the quality of the mic and the environment where the recording was made.
Once you upload your file, Buzzsprout will optimize your audio files to a standard mono MP3 file at 96kbps.
There is also an add-on available in the paid packages called Magic Mastering. This optimizes the audio files to industry standard and smoothens the audio levels across the entire podcast recording.
Audio Player – There isn’t much difference between the two podcast hosting platforms as far as audio player generators are concerned.
Podbean also offer a customizable, embeddable player that can be configured to play single or multiple podcast episodes. With the customization options you can change the color, shape and size of your player. Like the Buzzsprout player, you can also customize the podcast episodes that it will play.
Audio Quality – Podbean does not have any audio optimization service, so it is critical if selecting this platform that you are comfortable producing high-quality audio yourself.
They do offer a large amount of advice and how-to’s detailing how to get the best audio quality and the best podcast equipment with which to achieve it.
Analytics and Statistics
Having accurate analytics and exact statistics at your fingertips is essential for monitoring the performance of your podcasts. Both Buzzsprout and Podbean offer advanced statistics and analytics reporting that detail exactly how your podcast is performing.
Buzzsprout offers advanced statistics in all their packages, including the free podcast hosting plan. These stats include:
- Total Downloads – How many times your podcast has been downloaded and listened to, you can also see which episodes are attracting most listeners. Download statistics is the top metric most experienced podcasters use in measuring success.
- Locality – This shows the geographical location of your listeners. This information can be used to tune your podcasts more towards this demographic.
- App and Platform – This statistic lets you know what app and through which platform (i.e. Spotify, Apple etc.) that people were streaming or downloading from.
Access to statistics from the dashboard is intuitive and simple to use, with all essential statistics available on an overview page that can be displayed per episode, or to get a wider overview by a number of episodes, or all episodes.
Podbean also offers comprehensive statistics and analysis. One big difference is that the free package that Podbean offers, only includes basic statistics.
The main features of the enhanced statistics include:
- User Retention – As the name suggests, this feature is useful for showing the percentage of listeners that have been retained over several weeks.
- Listener Location – A map interface displays the geographical demographic of the listener base.
- Downloads and Trends – Shows download numbers for podcasts and underlying trends in user engagement.
Overall, both Podcast Hosting Platforms offer comprehensive analytic tools. Buzzsprout does offer this package across their whole range of pricing options at no additional cost, including the free package.
Websites for Podcast
Podbean offers a full range of professional themes that you can use when you sign up for one of their premium plans, for the free plans the user is restricted to their free themes.
Buzzsprout is more limited in what they offer. With Buzzsprout, you get a single page either using an allocated subdomain on buzzsprout.com or a custom URL. Although there are still customizations available, it is more limited than the Podbean feature.
However, in both cases this feature is a huge benefit to those just getting started in podcasting and want to keep the start up costs low.
For experienced podcasters with an audience, you may want to set up your own WordPress websites to provide a home for your audience base. Websites give podcasters more monetization options, like with affiliate marketing programs. There are also podcast website builders like PodcastPage that make building websites easy.
- Related Article: Do you Need a Website for a Podcast
Submit to Directories
Getting your podcast listed on podcast directories is crucial if you want to get your podcast noticed. Both podcast hosting platforms have features that allow you to list your podcast on all the popular podcast directories.
Both platforms have gone to great lengths to make this process as simple as possible, the main directories that they can list to are detailed below:
- Apple Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
- TuneIn + Alexa
- Amazon Music
- iHeart Radio
- Google Podcasts
- Podbean App
- Amazon Music
- Apple Podcasts
- TuneIn + Alexa
One advantage that Podbean offers in this category is its own Podbean App as a unique directory to list your podcast on.
Audio and Video Storage
Both platforms offer unlimited storage space on all their paid plans. However, there are restrictions that apply to the free packages in both instances.
- Podbean – The free plan supports types of files of MP3 format only (Podbean supports Video podcasting for premium users) and provides a total of 5 hrs of storage space (approximately 500 MB of audio). File sizes are restricted to 100 MB of storage.
- Buzzsprout – Buzzsprout does not specify file size storage limits. However, they do restrict the free package to a total of 2 hrs of uploaded audio per month. They will host the files for 90 days, after which the content is removed. Episode files are hosted indefinitely for paid plans.
Ultimately, everyone that creates a podcast would love to gain more listeners and earn money to make all the effort worthwhile.
While there are many monetization opportunities available through the podcasters’ own channels, one great benefit of both these podcast hosting platforms is that they offer additional monetization options as part of their packages.
Buzzsprout Monetization Opportunities
Buzzsprout has three ways to help earn some income from your podcast.
- Buzzsprout Affiliate – This option enables you to earn money either by promoting Buzzsprout and getting paid $25 from each referral that subscribes to a paid package. Other popular options are to earn commissions for promoting products and brands that have teamed up with Buzzsprout.
- Support Links – You can add your own links to the likes of PayPal, Patreon, or any other link that enables your listener to donate/support you.
- Sponsors – If you have an existing sponsor, Buzzsprout’s platform can incorporate this. You can also find sponsors for your show through Podcorn.
Podbean Monetization Opportunities
Podbean also has three separate Monetization opportunities.
- Premium Content – By listing some of your podcasts as premium content, Podbean allows you to sell these episodes or ‘specials’ as premium content.
- Patron – Similar to Patreon, Patron allows your listeners to directly support your podcast by pledging a set sum of money each month.
- Podcast Advertising – Podbean has an Ad marketplace that users can join and use to attract advertisers to support their podcasts.
Downloads and Bandwidth
There are some major differences when it comes to how these podcast platforms allocate and charge for their download, upload, and bandwidth usage.
Podbean’s bandwidth per month for the paid packages is unlimited (unmetered). For the free plan, the total allowed bandwidth is 100Gb per month and there is a 3 episodes per day limit that can be published. That gives a total of 36 episodes to upload per month.
The Buzzsprout podcasting service structures its bandwidth pricing differently. Each package has a bandwidth cap of 250gb per month and also has restrictions on the uploads. I will cover this in more detail in the pricing section, but as an example the $12 per month package restricts users to 3 hours per month of audio uploads. There is an option to pay extra to upload more than this.
In this section, I detail each pricing structure that the podcast hosting platforms offer to a potential user.
Buzzsprout has four plan options.
- Free Plan – Their free package offers the following: Advanced Stats, Free website, 2 hrs upload limit per month, 2 hrs podcast limit per month, podcasts hosted for 90 days.
- $12 per month – Upload limit is 3 hrs per month (additional content is priced at $4 per hour), advanced stats, unlimited storage, indefinite podcast hosting.
- $18 per month – Upload limit is 6 hrs per month (additional content costs $3 per hour), advanced statistics, unlimited storage.
- $24 per month – 12 hrs upload limit per month (additional hrs charged at $2 per hour), advanced stats, unlimited storage.
There are also some extras that can be added to the premium plans, including Magic Mastering from $6 per month and an episode transcription service at $0.25 per minute.
Podbean also has four different plans for different type of podcasters..
- Podcast Starter – This is the free plan and offers 100 GB Monthly bandwidth, 5 hrs of total storage space, free webpage, and basic statistics.
- Unlimited Audio – $9 per month (If paid annually otherwise $14 per month) – this package has unlimited storage space and bandwidth, Pro themes for your webpage and comprehensive statistics.
- Unlimited Plus – $29 per month ($39 per month if paid monthly)- this is geared towards professional podcasters and is perfect for those who make video recordings and video podcasts. It features unlimited storage space and bandwidth, free webpages with pro templates, and comprehensive statistics.
- Business – $99 per month ($129 per month if paid monthly) – Offers all the advantages of the other paid pricing plans, but also adds some business features such as business podcasts, live chat support, multiple admins, and private podcasts with SSO authentication.
Buzzsprout could be the best podcast host for those starting out as a podcaster, the pricing plans have an advantage over Podbean. While this advantage is somewhat negated by their upload limits, for most recreational podcasters and for those just starting, this won’t be much of an issue.
Another area where Buzzsprout is the better package is in the podcast analytics and statistics they offer. Even the free package has full statistics available. The Audio optimization features are a great benefit too for those who have little knowledge of audio recording.
Overall, Buzzsprout offers a great selection of plans, that paired with an easy-to-use user interface and good customer service make this an excellent option. They will suit all levels of podcasters.
Podbean offers a better selection of plans for those who want to go down the video podcasting route, they also have the advantage over Buzzsprout in the bandwidth limit category. This package would be better for those who plan to publish many hours of podcasts each month.
It also offers a more comprehensive set of customizable templates for their free webpage that users can set up. Another advantage that they offer is they offer better bandwidth and storage options in the free package when compared to Buzzsprout.
Buzzsprout vs Podbean Conclusion
These are both top quality packages that offer great features to existing and potential podcasters. There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems. At the end of the day whichever one is best for you will be down to your own needs and abilities.
If you see yourself publishing a few hours of podcasts each month and are more of a beginner to intermediate with audio recording, then Buzzsprout would be a better choice.
- Buzzsprout Sign-Up Special Deal: Get $20 Amazon gift card if you sign up for a paid plan
For those who would like to publish many hours of podcasts or video podcasts each month and are happy to manage the quality of their audio recordings, then Podbean is the better platform.
- Podbean Sign-Up Special Deal: Get 1 Month Free