I have said for years, the best way to start a podcast is to use a service to host your websites (like Bluehost or Host Gator) and then get a dedicated Media Host (Like Blubrry.com or Libsyn.com). Blue host will cost you about $7 a month. You have to buy a year in advance (so $84 out of your pocket to get started). I have never personally used them (I’m a Host Gator guy), I have used Blue Host’s control panel when clients use them. I have chatted with their tech support folks, and I have no problem recommending them.
I had a potential client tell me he was going to use them host his audio files. The idea is you are going to save the $15 for a media host. Before I went “That’s not good,” I wanted to triple (quadruple ) check for the thousandth time that this was a potentially bad idea. With this in mind, I went over to Blue Host to have a chat.This was about noon on Tuesday 9/27/2011
Here it is:
Daniel H.: [9:47:26 AM] Thank you for contacting sales today. My name is Daniel. Let’s discuss how we can make your website a success!
David Jacks..: [9:47:52 AM] Hi Daniel. What is your shared hosting plan price if I go month by month instead of a year at a time?
Daniel H.: [9:49:24 AM] The shortest plan we offer is the 12 month plan. It is prepaid up front but we do not have any contracts
David Jacks..: [9:49:46 AM] and how much is that a month?
Daniel H.: [9:50:51 AM] Our most current promotion:
1 year for $83.40 (6.95 a month)
2 years for $142.80 (5.95 a month)
3 years for $214.20 (5.95 a month)
Our hosting service is paid in advance. We offer 1, 2 and 3 years but you can cancel within 30 days and get a full refund and it’s prorated any time after that. So you’re not bound in a contract.
David Jacks..: [9:51:19 AM] Also, I have a client who is looking to order hosting for a website that features a podcast. He is wanting to use your service as it has unlimited bandwidth. Does that mean he can host his mp3 files on your hosting? Are there any stipulations for or against podcast files?
Daniel H.: [9:53:31 AM] Yes that is fine as long as it is not copyrighted
David Jacks..: [9:55:27 AM] Just to make sure we are crystal clear. If he puts out an episode once a week, and 25M and it gets downloaded 1000 times in a week, that’s OK? There are people who are stating that others from your company say it’s not allowed.
Daniel H.: [9:56:15 AM] Yes that is fine. There is no reason for that to be a problem.
David Jacks..: [9:56:30 AM] I have a podcast that has been dead for 2 years and it was downloaded 2500 times this month.
[9:57:24 AM] Apparently Jordan (based on another blog post I read).
[9:59:34 AM] I guess what I’m looking for is what would get you “kicked off” (maybe not the right word) for using too much bandwidth.
Daniel H.: [9:59:37 AM] Yes that is talking about 60,000 downloads of a 50MB file every week
[9:59:53 AM] that would use a lot of cpu and likely cause the account to get throttled
David Jacks..: [10:00:04 AM] So there are exceptions…
[10:00:52 AM] I’m just trying to make sure I understand exactly what to expect for my podcasting clients.
Daniel H.: [10:01:10 AM] no, no exceptions, as it grows bigger it will use more cpu, it is not bandwidth related
David Jacks..: [10:02:07 AM] So it’s not the bandwidth it’s that the server is trying to hand out all these mp3 files (as they now have a back catalog) and (for lack of a better phrase) it runs out of hands. Correct?
Daniel H.: [10:03:16 AM] No, in order to maintain stable servers, we limit the amount of cpu available to each account. CPU is used as processes run on your site.
David Jacks..: [10:04:19 AM] So what taxes the CPU in regards to serving an mp3? Is it the management of the request?
Daniel H.: [10:06:16 AM] yes, and the connection of the user to the site and file etc.
David Jacks..: [10:07:02 AM] Awesome. Well that clears it up. Thanks. Any ideas on how many requests are “OK” and when it would become a problem?
Daniel H.: [10:10:11 AM] No, that is very relative, it depends on the frequency of the access and the length of the recording etc.
David Jacks..: [10:11:18 AM] So there is no definitive answer on “You’ll be fine unless..” answer?
Daniel H.: [10:12:06 AM] nope, no way to know that
David Jacks..: [10:12:25 AM] Got it. Case by case basis.
Daniel H.: [10:12:28 AM] a couple thousand a week is fine, tens of thousands are too much
[10:12:40 AM] somewhere in between there
David Jacks..: [10:15:55 AM] Tha’ts where it gets tough. You may only get 700 downloads of a new episode, but the back catalog still sees traffic. Like I said, I have a podcast with 14 episodes and I had 2500 downloads this month. I haven’t had a new episode in two years. That’s basically 180 downloads per episode. If I had 300 episodes it would be 54,000 downloads.
Daniel H.: [10:17:30 AM] yeah, well you can gather an idea though. To have less limits you would need vps hosting
David Jacks..: [10:17:57 AM] Got it. Do you care if I put this chat on a blog?
Daniel H.: [10:20:32 AM] That is fine.
David Jacks..: [10:20:57 AM] Thanks Daniel. have a great day.
You will get the same answer (pretty much) with any Web Hosting provider. One of the reasons I live host Gator is you can pay month by month (you save more if you buy a bunch up front) for around $7 a month. For this “just starting” podcasters, a month by month may be a more sensible way to go until you’re sure this is something you want to do.
Here is Another Reason Not To Use Your Website as A Media Host – buffering……
Can you host your files to start out? Absolutely. However, if (when) you have a problem it’s because your too popular and now you get to fix your problem if front of a lot more people instead of just doing it right in the first place.
If you go with a web host ($7 a month and media hosting $15) you end up spending $22ish. I went to Buffalo Wild Wings with my step-son the other night. We played trivia. We spent $24. Now I’m not saying give up quality time with your family. If you look at how much you spend on fast food, coffee, vending machine snacks there are ways you could afford to do podcasting correctly. People say they don’t want to spend that kind of money on a hobby have no problem spending $40 for a video game. I’ve never won any money playing a video game, but I’ve made money creating a podcast. I’ve made friends with a podcast. I’ve been seen as an expert because of my podcast. Isn’t it time you start a podcast?