Can’t I Just Host My Podcast On iTunes?

I was talking with someone about a podcast they are starting, recently, and I asked if they already had a plan for hosting it. The response I got was surpising:

we have not yet gotten to the question of hosting the podcast yet. i was assuming we would do it though iTunes, but i haven’t thought farther than that.

This seems to be an common misunderstanding about iTunes, unfortunately. Your subscribers find you through iTunes, right? So, isn’t that where you host your podcast?

Sorry, but no – podcasts distribution doesn’t work like that. Instead of uploading podcast episodes directly to iTunes, it’s only a network for finding and subscribing to podcast RSS feeds. You still need your own host, bandwidth for streaming and RSS for your podcast.

iTunes And Google Maps

Think of iTunes like Google Maps for podcasts. With Google Maps, you can quickly and easily find an address and a business, but Google Maps won’t actually take you there. You have to walk, drive, fly, or otherwise get yourself to the real location that the map shows you.

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Podcasts in iTunes work the same way. iTunes will list your podcast like Google Maps lists a business with an address and phone number. You can quickly and easily find a podcast that iTunes has listed, but your computer is only finding the address and description of the podcast. The computer then has to travel to the actual podcast location – where the RSS feed is hosted.

When you subscribe to a podcast through iTunes, the podcast listing that you found in iTunes was only the map for your computer to find the actual podcast and subscribe to it.

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In the case of Get Up And Code, as shown in the above screenshot, your computer will be redirected to the RSS feed hosted at http://GetUpAndCode.com to create the subscription and to get updates from their RSS feed.

So, How Do I Host My Podcast?

You can’t host your podcast directly in iTunes, but there are plenty of services and other options for hosting. The choices come down to a few basic things:

  • Do it all yourself
  • Get a podcasting plugin for a blogging platform
  • Pay for a podcast hosting service

DIY

The “do-it-yourself” crowd tends to be the software developer and techie person that can build the software and services needed for hosting. If you’re not a software developer, I don’t recommend this path. If you are a software developer, I still don’t recommend this path. It’s tedious and painful, and fraught with problems.

Blogging Plugins

If you’re an avid blogger and you’re already deeply entrenched in to WordPress or any of the other major blogging platforms, you can find plugins to make podcast hosting easy. You can upload a file, use the <audio> tag in your post and be done with it. But unless you’re hosting your own servers and/or uploading your episodes to another service, you’re probably going to run in to bandwidth and other limitations.

Everyone that I have spoken to, that says they are hosting a podcast on WordPress, says they eventually ran in to problems. It can be done for small podcasts, and it can be cheap and easy. But with substantial growth in the populartiy of the podcast comes potential for substantial cost and problems.

Podcast Hosting Services

The last option listed, paying for a podcast host, is going to be the best option for any serious podcast. You don’t want to manage file security. You don’t want to deal with server configuration. You don’t want to build traffic reports, manually. You just want to podcast.

There are a lot of options for hosting your podcast episodes, including SignalLeaf. I don’t claim to be the one-and-only solution, or the one that fits everyone’s needs. I do have a very simple, very flexible solution, though. If you’re looking for a podcast host that focuses solely on providing storage, bandwidth, RSS feed generation and traffic analysis, then SignalLeaf is a great choice for you.

Start Your Podcast Today!

If you’re starting a podcast, or are looking for a new host, then you’re in the right place! SignalLeaf offers a range of flexible plans, with top-of-the-line podcast hosting and streaming services.

Start Your Free Trial, Today! You can get your podcast submitted to the iTunes “map” and get subscribers driving to your new address, in minutes!