I started a podcast about a month ago that helps programmers develop a writing habit. I looked at all the podcast hosts and ultimately decided to self-host. This is probably not for everyone, but here was my rationale:
- I already use WordPress for this blog, and I didn’t want a site specifically for the podcast as it is related to the other content here.
- I am unsure if I’ll make new episodes indefinitely, but I know that I want the episodes available indefinitely.
- I don’t have plans to add sponsors. If it ever got popular enough where that was an option, I think I’d rather point it towards my own products.
- I have enough technical skill to understand how podcast publishing works and can deal with rolling my own pieces if I need to.
- I am unwilling to compromise on privacy and the published URLs for files.
Given those attributes, most podcast hosts weren’t worth it for me. I just don’t care about analytics that much. I have no problem parsing web-access logs to get download counts.
So, I looked around and for WordPress, there is a great option, PowerPress, a free podcast plugin from Blubrry.
The plugin will handle generating the RSS feed and will walk you through submitting it to Apple, Google, and other directories. It has embeddable players that you can use on your episode pages.
If you don’t want to self-host, they provide a hosting service that you can access via the plugin with reasonable options, even for small shows.
But, they also support you hosting the mp3 files yourself and don’t require that you use their service at all. They even have a free, minimal analytics service for self-hosters. I don’t use it, because they require that you use their URLs and they redirect.
I’ll follow up this article about how I use Amazon S3 for the mp3 files and how I get some idea what the download counts are.