Founded in 2004 by Dave Mansueto and Dave Chekan, Libsyn is one of the biggest and most reputable podcast hosting platforms in the world. The firm is a subsidiary of FAB Univeral Corporation and is based in Pittsburg Philadelphia.
Besides allowing its users to share podcasts, Libsyn also provides hosting services and ad selection technology on portable media devices offering RSS Creation tools, storage, and bandwidth. This post is part of our series on podcasting and the best podcast hosts in 2020. You can read the entire guide here.
Media hosts like Libsyn create podcasts for clients by filling out the title and description, uploading cover art, and eventually releasing an episode or album. Popular music directories like Spotify and iTunes use data from Libsyn to list podcasts on their platforms.
How to get started with Libsyn
Before moving ahead to purchase a plan with Libsyn, you might want to take some time and make sure your video qualifies for a podcast. Podcaster apps have different requirements depending on the market and type. There are five primary types of podcast apps offered by Libsyn: Podcast Source, Single Show, Network app, Private Show, and Premium Show.
If you are interested in signing up for a Private Show App or Network app, you may need to contact Libsyn’s customer care for additional information and pricing from their enterprise hosting solution. All other Libsyn apps have the requirements listed below except the Podcast Source listing which is offered in all hosting plans at no additional cost.
The podcaster app requirements include:
The requirements below are used to approve your app and list your podcasts in your preferred marketplace.
- Ten published and currently available episodes
- No copyrighted content, branding, or graphics
- Completed Podcast App build forms in your Libsyn account
- Libsyn Advanced 400 plan
- Ability to deliver professionally branded graphics via your app
For IOS Users
- An Organizational developer account for IOS ($99 yearly fee)
- Access to an iOS device for app creation and maintenance
- A developer account for Google Play ($25 One-time fee)
An overview of Libsyn app process and timeline
It takes about a month to six weeks to complete the Libsyn app build process epending on the amount of support required and the type of app you intend to offer. Here is a run-down of the process:
Signing up for App Accounts
- Sign up to Lybsin’s advanced 400 plan or higher
- Purchase an iOS and/ or a Google Play developer account
- Upload your artwork through Libsyn build forms
- Make sure you have at least ten published episodes
- Customize the content or episodes that you wish to publish to your app
Management and Support
The Libsyn team, will guide you through the entire process of creation and maintenance of your app. Once your app is up and running, you can view the amount of downloads coming from your apps. From your analysis, Lybsin allows you to manage the various aspects of your podcast that could improve its popularity.
What is the cost of setting up a Libsyn account cost?
When it comes to hosting, price is one of the primary concerns amongst customers. There are plenty of services that offer to host your podcast for free. However, Libsyn does not offer free podcast hosting. Why then would you pick Libsyn? Well, my advice would be to trust the firm with the most experience and repute. While it is important to consider the cost, free services often die and your podcast could die with such.
Some people may be put off by the lack of a free trial plan like in Podbean and Buzzsprout. However, you can sign up for a Lisbyn account for just $5. There are also tiers from $15 to $75 for any hobbyists or business owners. A majority of subscribers choose to sign up for the $5, $15 and $20 per month tiers. The main difference between the tiers is the storage availed in each.
With higher plans, you get more storage on a monthly basis and pay more, of course. Storage is all about the amount of content you are allowed to upload to your podcast in a given month. With Libsyn;
- You pay $5 a month for 50mb
- You pay $15 a month for 250mb
- You pay $20 a month for 400mb
- You pay $40 per month for 800mb
Storage allowance depends on the number of episodes you publish through the month, the length of the episodes and the bitrate at which the videos are encoded. On average, you could upload 15-20 minutes footage weekly at 96kbps bitrate on the #5 tier.
With Libsyn’s Advanced Plans, clients get opportunities for monetization. They can also access more reporting options with the Advanced Tools.
It is hard for any webmaster to ignore the experience that Libsyn has gathered over the years. With the endless resources they provide to support their clients, you can tell they have been doing it for a while. If you are looking to take the time to learn about the different features offered by Libsyn, it is definitely worth it. Below are some of the top-notch features offered by Libsyn.
- You can easily and quickly remove or add new content to your podcast
- You get to know your target audience’s favorite platform
- Customize the destination delivery
- You get the control of where and when to publish
Custom Mobile Apps
- Libsyn has apps for all podcast levels
- Libsyn provides assistance through the entire app building process
- They provide custom graphics and colors
- End-user support
- Consistent presence of the apps in all platforms
- Pretty straightforward to publish your website
- Episode playlist
- Mobile-friendly player
- Custom sizes
- Custom start time
- Thumbnail settings that are easy to configure
- Playback direction
- Custm colors
- You can listen to podcasts that were hosted with libsyn
- Premium podcasts
- You are provided with advertising management tools
- Multi-user account management
- Unlimited new content uploads
- Phone support service
- SLA guarantee (industry’s best 99.99%)
- Exclusive custom mobile apps
- SSO and private podcasting support
One of the most stand-out features on Libsyn is they get their brand out to their target audience. They created a podcast called “The Feed” which has exquisite graphics and acts as a guide to their clientele.
There is a horde of podcast hosting firms around the world. While a majority of these firms do not match up to the likes of Libsyn, there are a handful that are well-known in the podcast hosting space today. Our review was based on a couple of features; price, stats, ease of use, storage, and embed player.
Libsyn or Buzzsprout
One of the features that make Buzzsprout standout is the ease of use: You do not have to tangle with ID3 tags. It is, however, important to note that Libsyn offers the same feature, which on its own, will save you a ton of time. Nevertheless, you will find that Buzzsprout offers a design and an attractive UI that is not as memorable in Libsyn. Accessing various features on the platform is, therefore, more intuitive in Buzzsprout than in the former. For instance, you will not need to “go hunting” to figure out where the RSS feed is.
For the most part, pricing in Libsyn is comparable that in Buzzsprout. However, Buzzsprout unlike Libsyn, offers a free plan. The catch being that all the episodes you upload will be deleted after 90 days. If you don’t mind getting a few of your older episodes being deleted, this could be a solid option. Generally, Libsyn’s prices seem more attractive with $5 and $15 plans for low budget customers. With Buzzsprout, prices start at $12 per month for 3 hours of uploads, then move up to $18 for 6 hours, and then $24 for 12 hours.
Lybsin comes out as the better option in terms of the embed player. While Buzzsprout offers both a show (or season) and an episode player, Libsyn offers a much more customizable and intuitive player. You can easily customize colors, sharing buttons, and much more.
While Libsyn is the older and more experienced of the two firms, Buzzsprout appears to be the better option for armature podcasters. However, Libsyn is the better option if you are looking to build your podcast’s popularity steadily.
Libsyn or SimpleCast
While SimpleCast’s motto is ease of use, it is more or less equal to that in Libsyn. That said, it is extremely easy to get around simplecast’s design. The dashboard is also modern and intuitive. So how does SimpleCast’s design stack up against Libsyn’s. I’d say SimpleCast edges Libsyn in their design and user experience. While Lisbyn’s design is sort of solid, SimpleCast has managed to create a more attractive yet intuitive interface.
SimpleCast offers its basic plan at $15, which is their lowest pricing. While Libsyn offers a much cheaper plan, it is key to note that they do not offer unlimited bandwidth and storage in their lower plans as compared to SimpleCast, which includes unlimited storage even in their basic plan. SimpleCast, therefore, offers more value for your money as compared to Libsyn in this aspect. I would, however opt for Libsyn if I were an armature podcaster. Their team of experts will easily guide you through the functions and management of your podcast, and all for $5 per month.
SimpleCast offers rather unique features as compared to other hosting firms in its category. For instance, their basic plan ($15/month) offers a ranking of your top ten successful episodes, and download for each episode is exportable. What’s more, you can design an audiogram from your clips using Recast on SimpleCast, which you can share to advertise your episodes. While Libsyn’s Onpublish allows you to post your entire podcast on social media, it is much easier to use SimpleCast’s Recast.
For people on a budget, I’d suggest signing up on Libsyn as they offer a much cheaper basic plan. However, SimpleCast redefines most of the features available on Libsyn making them work more efficiently. Compared to Libsyn, SimpleCast seems an excellent option for hobbyists.
So, should you host with Libsyn? It is not a straightforward yes or no. It depends on a few factors. Libsyn offers the safest hands in the industry, with involved experts, they make one of the most formidable hosting firms in the industry. However, if you are just looking to test out podcasting, you might want to opt for Buzzsprout or SimpleCast where you have the option to upgrade when you finally decide it is your thing. The Libsyn website on the other hand, looks clunky and out-dated. It does not look beginner-friendly and it is, in-fact, not beginner friendly.
Lack of a free introductory plan and a couple of other factors may be deal breakers for most folk out there. However, Libsyn remains one of the best hosting solutions in the market. What’s more, you could use the coupon code podhost and get a month free upon signing up.
My name is Nate, a digital nomad and the founder of this blog, Nomads HQ. I am a SaaS expert with 4 digital nomad visas and 8 years of experience using 50+ different web tools ranging from podcast, web hosting, email marketing, and much more. I previously managed a team offering support services to a large conglomerate that utilized tens of software solutions. I now run this blog full-time and when I am not reviewing or testing software, I enjoy riding bikes and supporting my clients achieve internet success. You can reach me directly at email@example.com