Podcast hosting and website hosting are two different things and must not be confused together. Of course, both are crafted online, using reliable internet services such as Charter Spectrum Internet and others; but the IT infrastructure for both is different and so are their purposes and ways of functioning. In order to understand the differences between the two, let’s first define them individually.
Podcast hosting refers to an audio show run by a podcaster on a podcast hosting platform. The reason why this online software platform is essential for a podcaster is because it serves as the middle ground between them and directories such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. You can’t just record audio files and load them to iTunes; you need a podcast host to store and distribute your files. The platform not just allows you to upload files and descriptions but also generates an RSS feed that notifies the directories about your latest publishing activities. Most importantly, it notifies the podcaster about the number of downloads that the show/podcast has received, both on an episode-by-episode level and overall show level.
Website hosting on the other hand is an online service through which you can publish your web application or website on the internet. When you sign up for web hosting, you’re actually renting a space on a server where you can store your data and files that would enable your website to function properly.
Can you Host a Podcast on your Website?
A lot of people think that paying for a dedicated podcast hosting service is a waste of money when you are already paying for a web hosting service. It sounds very simple and easy but in practicality, it’s not. Here’s why.
1. Podcasts make for a Big File
Your web host offers you a great amount of storage as part of your plan, some even offer unlimited bandwidth and storage. However, this does not mean that you can also store a podcast on your website. Podcasts are very large files and hence require a lot of space. A 30-minute MP3 podcast can take up to 3MB of storage. Remember, while your web host may be happy to host tons of pictures, text files and small video clips, they do not wish to be a large depository.
2. Violation of Terms of Service
A very integral part of podcasting is submitting your media files through the RSS feed. This means that when a user subscribes to your podcast, they will automatically be notified when you publish a new episode. Since podcasting involves a lot of downloads, if you’re hosting your media files on your website, it means all the downloading data is being transferred to the user from your page. This is a clear violation of the terms of service of the web hosting platform and they may even ban your website for it.
3. It’s Expensive
Some web hosting platforms may be lenient enough to not ban your website. But that is no reason for you to take them lightly as in such cases you could be faced with an even more unpleasant situation, which is huge bills for the large amounts of data transfer through your website. This is particularly expected from hosting services that do not offer unlimited bandwidth. In case you exceed the limit, you’ll have to pay hefty charges for it.
4. Low Speed
Suppose your website neither gets blocked nor do you have huge bills to pay for data transfer. Is that a good enough deal? The answer is no. As a podcaster, you need your files to be delivered to your subscribers at a good speed. And a web hosting service does not offer the same speed that a podcast hosting platform does. The slow delivery of your media files would drive your subscribers away and eventually kill your podcast.