How can you tell if a podcast host reviewer is full of shit? If they recommend Libsyn.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to read reviews that paint every single product or service in a positive light. Some products suck and reviewers shouldn’t pretend otherwise just to try to squeeze out a few extra commissions.
It’s not that Libsyn is horrible—they’ve been around forever and host some of the biggest shows out there.
They’re a reliable host with good support, but with so many great options out there, a new podcaster should never use them and very few existing podcasters should switch to them.
Let’s dig into the reasons why…
Pros and Cons
- Established business
- Strong track record of hosting some of the largest shows
- Enterprise-level features
- Hard to use
- Confusing pricing
Ease of Use
Libsyn is one of the clunkiest podcast hosts that I’ve come across. They have a ton of settings, but most of us will never touch 90% of them and all the extra bloat makes getting started incredibly difficult.
Once you manage to get your podcast setup with them, you still have to fight your way through too many options and screens to do even simple things like publishing an episode.
I used Libsyn to host multiple podcasts over the years and while it wasn’t hard to do, it still took much longer than it does on other hosts. That being said, it couldn’t have added more than a couple of minutes to the process and if I wanted more control over things, they gave me the options to have it.
…but for those of us who don’t need all of that control, these settings just get in the way and make everything way more complicated than it needs to be.
Like most of what Libsyn does, their pricing is quite confusing. Instead of pricing based on the number of downloads a show gets, like Transistor.fm (read my review), they price based on “monthly storage.”
You can read more about how this works in their documentation, but basically it’s the amount of new content you can upload each calendar month.
Based on average file sizes, that means you can upload a bit over 60 minutes of new episodes each month on their $5/mo plan or more than 5 hours a month on their $15/mo plan.
Both are competitive prices in the space, but if you go long on a few shows or want to release extra episodes, it’s annoying to have to change your plan for that month.
With podcasting, you want to focus on creativity, not file sizes, and Libsyn’s pricing doesn’t let you do that.
Libsyn offers a hosted site for your podcast and for $2/mo extra you can host it under your own domain.
If you just want to check the box of having a website for your podcast, then Libsyn does that for you, but it’s not a site you want to show off…
They offer an embeddable player and while it technically does the job, it isn’t customizable and is missing important features like the ability to change the playback speed.
See for yourself:
You can host as many shows as you’d like under a single login, but you need to pay for a separate subscription for each show. Read more in their help docs.
They don’t offer private podcasts as a standalone feature, but they offer paid podcasts which are private, but you have to collect subscriber payments through Libsyn.
This functionality is also only available by invitation and their fees range from 20-30% of the revenue you collect which is incredibly expensive.
Libsyn’s support is very responsive, typically responding within a few hours and their replies are helpful and accurate in all of my interactions with them.
Libsyn has proven to be a reliable host over the years and offer enterprise-grade features that some podcasters need.
If you have a very large audience (1,000,000+ monthly downloads) and need advanced features (like SSO or Dynamic Ads), then they’re a decent option.
For everybody else, I can’t find a single reason to choose Libsyn over an easier-to-use option.
If you’re looking for the best overall podcast host, look no further than Transistor.fm.
If you want the best private podcast host, check out Castos.
Putting out a regular podcast is hard enough. Don’t make your life harder than it needs to be by using an outdated host.