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PodBean Review

PodBean is an old-school podcast hosting company known for its holistic approach to storing, distributing, promoting, and monetizing podcasts. But is it as great as it sounds? Read this PodBean review to find out.

PodBean Review

minimum price:

Free

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  • Free version: Yes
  • Video hosting: Yes
  • Uptime guarantee: No
  • Live streaming: Yes
  • Professional podcast website: Yes
  • Monetization features: Yes
  • Ease of use: Excellent
  • Suitable for: Novice and seasoned podcasters

works on:

Android Android
Apple Apple
Chrome Chrome
Linux Linux
Firefox Firefox

Best For

All-round podcast management

STRENGTHS

  • Free version
  • Unlimited hosting
  • Easy to use
  • Convenient monetization tools

WEAKNESSES

  • No uptime guarantee
  • Limited website customization options
  • No live chat support (except for Business users)

PRICING PLANS:

Basic plan

Free

Unlimited Audio

$9/month billed annually, or $14/month billed monthly

Unlimited Plus

$29/month billed annually, or $39/month billed monthly

Business

$99/month billed annually, or $129/month billed monthly

What Is PodBean  

Podcasts are a popular story-telling medium that allows in-depth exploration of limitless topics. Podcast hosting companies store your creations and let you share them with your listeners on platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts

But, there’s been an uptick in the number of podcast hosting sites, which begs the question:

Which to choose?

In this highly competitive landscape, PodBean is a veteran. It has the reputation of a reliable all-in-one solution for your podcast publishing, promoting, and marketing needs. 

I couldn’t wait to test it for this PodBean review!

This service features a well-rounded set of tools for:

  • Easy publishing
  • Unlimited hosting
  • Setting up your podcast website
  • Analyzing your performance
  • Monetizing your content
  • Additional SEO tailoring.

And that is only a taste of what’s to come next.

PodBean Features 

The PodBean podcast app sports a solid array of features that will aid you whether you’re a complete novice or an established creator.

Here’s the rundown:

Content Publishing

With the PodBean app, this task is effortless — and it’s free! 

Keep in mind that your bandwidth is limited to 100 GB per month with the free plan. Your storage space supports five hours total. Upgrading to any of the paid license versions lifts those limits.

PodBean’s streamlined user interface makes uploading your episodes a breeze. You can set the exact date and time for podcasts and schedule ahead. You can also publish your content on the go with the iOS and Android PodBean apps.

Domain Integration

The PodBean podcast host provides you with your subdomain as you’re setting up your account. It leads to your free website, which you can customize and shape to your liking. You’re not bound to the PodBean subdomain – you may always change it to a custom one later.

Unlimited Hosting

Upgrading to the cheapest paid plan (Unlimited Audio) rewards you with unlimited audio hosting. The more expensive Unlimited Plus option enables video hosting, too. So, no more worrying about storage! 

However, PodBean doesn’t mention an uptime guarantee — which is expected of podcast providers. That means there’s no refund in case your website goes down.

Easy Distribution

This hosting service also takes care of distribution with its RSS feed that will link you to:

  • Apple Podcasts or iTunes
  • Spotify
  • Google Play
  • Google Podcasts
  • YouTube
  • The PodBean App.

And more!

You can also automatically share your episodes on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, Youtube, and Spotify. Or, you can point people to your podcast page with embeddable PodBean badges. Your subscribers can also get email updates for your new episodes via MailChimp.

Professional Podcast Website

Your podcast website is an essential part of your brand identity — you can introduce yourself to your listeners and provide easy access to your content. PodBean has included a website on all available plans, which is excellent. 

Still, there’s a downside.

As many users have pointed out in their  PodBean reviews, the customization options are far from perfect. You unlock more options as you upgrade to higher-end plans. 

Here’s what you can edit on your PodBean podcast website:

  • The header image
  • The background image   
  • The podcast site favicon
  • The audio/video PodBean player color
  • The podcast title font and color
  • The episode title font and color
  • The sidebar widgets.

On the positive side, this is a quick way to build your online presence – no coding skills are needed.

Live Streaming

This podcast app also supports live streaming on desktop and mobile for a more engaging approach to your audience. You can set it up as an invitation-only event, with an admission fee, or as open to anyone interested. 

Your audience can interact with you via live chat, calls, or by sending you virtual gifts. Virtual gifts earn you PodPoints, which can be cashed in and give you special host privileges.

What does this mean for you?

Depending on your amount of received PodPoints and live shows per month, you can earn titles — the silver medal and gold medal in live streaming on the PodBean podcast platform. Those medals come with perks, like being featured on PodBean banners and at the top of the live stream list

And there are more benefits:

Silver and gold medal hosts have a limit of 1500 or 5000 listeners. Regular hosts have to deal with the 200 or 500 (Unlimited Plus Plan only) listener cap.

Analytics

To improve your podcast and gain a deeper understanding of your audience, you have to be aware of your podcast’s performance trends. Luckily, all PodBean plans come with a handy set of statistics and analytics tools.

Wanna take a closer look?

These are the core charts and stats you can track in PodBean analytics:

  • Trending chart
  • User interaction
  • Where your audience comes from
  • Downloads by the time of day
  • Download sources
  • Top 10 episodes
  • User retention
  • Daily listeners.

PodBean also supports Google Analytics.

The best part is that you don’t need to have a statistics degree under your belt to understand them. The charts’ clean and intuitive design makes them easy to follow. The Help section covers everything in detail.

SEO Meta Tags

Thanks to the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Meta Tags plugin, you can make it easier for people to search and find your podcast. This plugin is free and available across all plans on the PodBean app for PC. It allows you to put your custom meta tags into your podcast site’s header. 

With a smart choice of keywords, titles, and descriptions, your podcast site will stand out in search results. And that means more potential listeners! 

Monetization 

PodBean offers you a sizeable range of monetization tactics that let you profit from your podcasts — if you’re a paid plan user. This feature set has garnered a lot of positive attention from various users, shared in their PodBean reviews.

Let’s see what that’s all about.

Advertising Marketplace

To be eligible for sponsorship, you have to join the PodBean advertising marketplace to get ad opportunities. The ad time slots are fully customizable, and you can opt-out any time.

PodAds

With dynamic ad insertion, you can run and manage your own ad campaigns. A notable PodAds tool is GEO Targeting, which lets you run ads that – surprise, surprise – target specific geo-locations.

Patron Program

If you don’t feel like relying on PodBean advertising features, there’s the patron program where your fans can support you with monthly pledges. Just like in Patreon, you set up reward tiers for your patrons and funding goals. This feature is only available to Unlimited Plus and Business plan users.

Premium Podcast

The Premium Podcast feature allows you to create a PodBean premium channel that your listeners can access with a one-time payment

PodBean Mobile Apps

The iOS and Android PodBean apps are both excellently rated. In their PodBean reviews, many users have praised the company for listening to their suggestions.

Given those favorable first impressions, I expected great things when I tried the Android app — and I wasn’t disappointed. 

Overall, it’s easy to navigate and responsive, with an available night mode that’s easy on the eyes. You can listen to podcasts on the go, download them, follow live streams, and even record and edit your episodes. 

Based on your listening habits, the PodBean podcast app offers you customized recommendations. The algorithm is a bit of a hit-and-miss on this front, though. 

It’s satisfying to organize episodes into custom playlists and have different user preferences on each podcast. That makes for a more personalized experience. The silence remover and volume boost features are also neat assets.

The editing is a bit on the humbler side, but that I can forgive – it’s more of a side feature anyway. You can embellish your recording with background music and sound effects and split and merge audio tracks.

In truth:

This podcast app is definitely worth giving a try, whether you’re a listener or creator.

How To Use PodBean

Want to give PodBean a spin? 

Follow these three steps, and you’ll be running your podcast in no time.

Set Your General Podcast Info

First things first: you need to sign up for an account. With a ready PodBean account, click the Settings icon and navigate to the General Settings. On that page, you can enter your:

  • Podcast title
  • Brief description
  • Podcast category and subcategories
  • Podcast Logo (in png or jpg format).

Under “More Options,” you can edit your PodBean podcast website URL. You get a PodBean subdomain by default, but you may use your preferred one, too. Save your changes with “Update Options,” and you’re done!

Set Up Your PodBean Podcast Website

When it comes to your website — looks matter. Click on “Distribution” and then on “Podcast Website” to enhance your theme. As mentioned earlier in this PodBean review, you can edit your header image, background image, theme color, and more. When you’re satisfied with the edits, click on “Submit.”

Publish Your Episode

Now that the basics are settled, all you need to do is publish your audio or video episode. Make your way to the Episodes List page, click on  “New Episode,” and upload your file.

You have the options to edit:

  • The episode title and description
  • The type of episode (free or PodBean premium)
  • The episode artwork
  • The tags.

Finally, click “Publish” — and that’s it! 

Easy, right? 

Ease of Use and Interface 

According to PodBean’s website, “starting a podcast has never been easier,” and I have to agree. You can find your way around the PodBean app for PC with your eyes closed. The user interface is novice-friendly, with helpful tooltips. 

As soon as you sign up, you’ll find simple instructions on your dashboard to get you started. And there are numerous articles and video tutorials on both the primary and advanced features.

On the left side of your dashboard are the:

  • Episodes page, with the episodes list and media manager
  • Distribution page, with the podcast website, apps, social share, and embeddable podcast player
  • Statistics page
  • Settings.

Click on your name at the top right corner to look at the:

  • Live stream page
  • PodBean advertising page
  • Patron page
  • Account settings
  • Support center
  • Log-out button. 

To sum up, I was delighted with the web platform’s design and functionality. Good job!

PodBean Support 

For this PodBean Review, I’ve also contacted user support to see how responsive and helpful it is. The company uses an email ticketing system only, which is a shame. Live chat support is a privilege reserved exclusively for PodBean Business plan users. A live chat option for everyone would be a highly appreciated time-saver. 

So, here’s the deal:

I’ve sent my email inquiry, and I’ve received a reply in less than an hour. Nice timing! The answer was precise and polite.

Another definite positive is the PodBean support center. It’s easy to navigate thanks to the search bar and the article organization. There are short how-to articles and video tutorials on topics like:

  • How to set up your podcast
  • PodBean advanced features
  • Podcast monetizing
  • Live streaming
  • The Android and iOS apps.

You can even access free detailed webinars.

PodBean Pricing 

You can try out any of the subscription plans with the seven-day free trial. The period doubles as your refund chance — after seven days, you can’t issue any refunds. 

There’s no money-back guarantee, however. 

PodBean presents you with several pricing tiers, starting from the free Basic plan:

  • Basic plan  — free
  • Unlimited Audio  — $9/month billed annually, or $14/month billed monthly 
  • Unlimited Plus  — $29/month billed annually, or $39/month billed monthly
  • Business  — $99/month billed annually, or $129/month billed monthly. 

Let’s see what each of the PodBean pricing plans brings to the table. 

You can enjoy free podcast hosting with the basic plan, although it limits to five hours of total storage space and 100GB monthly bandwidth. You can also publish three episodes per day tops.

The next plan — Unlimited Audio — is true to its name, as it lifts those limits and provides additional features. It comes with more podcast website themes, more comprehensive stats, analytics, and monetization options. Unlimited Audio lets you access the ads marketplace, PodAds, and the PodBean Premium option — but not the patron program.

Unlimited Plus takes PodBean to the next level: video podcasts, full podcast website customization, and all of the monetization functions

The PodBean Business plan is worth checking out if you have podcast network aspirations. It offers you everything mentioned above, plus unlimited multiple podcast channels, SSO authentication, multiple admins, live chat support, and the PodBean Pro app

In a nutshell:

PodBean is a reliable podcast hosting service, which offers affordable pricing plans for all kinds of creators. They are reasonably leveled towards different types of users, so there’s a suitable choice for everyone.

PodBean Review – Verdict 

So, what is the final verdict of this PodBean review

The platform offers a free version that isn’t just barely functional bait forcing you to upgrade to paid plans. It’s a perfectly valid option for anyone wanting to dip their toes in podcasting.

The fact that you can enjoy unlimited hosting at the cheapest paid plan is another big plus. Combine that with the in-house monetization options, and you’ll understand why it’s one of the most convenient podcast hosting sites.

Let’s move on to the cons.

Having no uptime guarantee is a weird oversight for such a service. I’ve also had issues with the limited website customization. It’s annoying that you have to upgrade to more expensive plans for cosmetic changes that aren’t just basic color picking. 

In a similar vein, the fact that you can only use live chat support as part of the most expensive Business plan is disheartening. According to other PodBean reviews, this option was universally available previously.

In a nutshell, I can recommend the PodBean app without any doubt to anyone looking for a trustworthy and efficient podcast host. It lets you have fun with creating your dream podcast without sweating any of the technical stuff.

FAQ

Is PodBean really free?

Yes, PodBean has a free version with most of the features available (except monetization, understandably). If you want to try out any higher-end subscription plans, there’s a 7-day free trial.

How much does it cost to use PodBean?

Absolutely, if you go for the free plan. 

You also have the choice of paying $9/month for the Unlimited Audio plan, $29/month for Unlimited Plus, or  $99/month for the Business plan. For more details regarding each subscription, please consult the pricing section of this PodBean review.

Which is better PodBean or Buzzsprout?

Both companies are great podcast hosts, with some minor differences. Buzzsprout doesn’t offer video hosting or a free website builder. On the other hand, the 90-day free trial is a definite advantage compared to PodBean’s seven-day option. 

ABOUT AUTHOR

I'm a content writer with a love for all things nerdy by day and an internet archaeologist that likes to dig up obscurities by night. Mostly I'm trying to balance between many obsessions. Right now, it's bass playing and reading hard sci-fi about vampires in outer space - next week, who knows.