This morning I replied to a post on Reddit seeking recommendations for a free podcast host. Someone recommended Anchor as a suitable free podcast host. As I have recently used Anchor, I replied to the thread highlighting what I liked and did not like about Anchor as a free podcast host. After writing my review on Reddit, I decided to publish it on my blog as someone in my network may find my review useful.
So, without much ado, here are my thoughts about Anchor as a free podcast host
Background to my podcast setup
When I first started my podcast The Segilola Salami Show, I was with Blubrry. I LOVE Blubrry for many reasons. In fact, anyone starting a podcast should start off with Blubrry. The most important thing about Blubrry is that you get your own podcast feed. So even if you migrate your hosting, everything is still under your control and no break in transmission. I use the Blubrry Power Press plugin to publish each episode of my podcast on my website and distribute it to podcast directories. Under the media player on each episode of my podcast on my website is the link to my podcast on other platforms like iTunes and Spotify.
My current free podcast host
A few years ago, I was poached by another podcast host who offered me free hosting + dynamic ads (so I get paid a stipend instead of my paying out). I like this hosting company because I did not have to change anything about my current podcast set up. I upload my files on their site, get the link to the media file, add the link to the episode page on my website and schedule it. Easy peasy.
Unfortunately, this company got bought over by another company and their once excellent customer service disappeared. After hearing so much about Anchor, I decided to give it a try.
Using Anchor as a free podcast host
After signing up with Anchor, I was able to import my podcast to their platform using my podcast’s RSS feed. However, Anchor gave me their own RSS feed. My current host did not generate a feed for me because my podcast is distributed through the PowerPress plugin which uses my domain name. I have no interest in replacing my RSS feed with the Anchor RSS feed.
I sent Anchor a support ticket asking for further info on how to resolve this. It took about 3 days before I got a reply. Their reply was to ask if I was happy for them to break the link with my current host. I did not give them permission at that point. Who are they breaking the link with? My free podcast host or Blubrry PowerPress? Would doing so affect how I publish my podcast? These were questions I needed answers to first.
Anchor podcast app
I discovered that the Anchor app allows you to record your episode on it and even invite guests. I normally used the Zoom app on my desktop. The only limitation with the free version of Zoom is that you can only record for 40mins max. So if you spend 15mins explaining things to your guest, that reduces the recording time. This is not always a problem for me because most of my guests are quite with it and we can start recording almost immediately.
Anyhoos, I decided to give the Anchor app a try. It was fairly straightforward to download the app. To invite someone to record with you, the person needs to be your friend on the Anchor app. All they have to do is like your podcast to become your friend.
To record my first episode, even after inviting my ‘friend’ it took about 15 minutes for him to connect with me. The app starts recording immediately the guest joins the call. I would have preferred for there to be a start recording button instead. On the app, you have a library where you can upload useful files like your opening tune etc. So I upload my opening tune, recorded my episode, uploaded an audio drama then recorded my closing message.
After recording, I scheduled my episode for the date it would go live. Doing so did not give me the option to download a copy of the episode. I had to publish it immediately to get to download the file. I looked around the app and the desktop version and couldn’t find the link to the media file. I sent an email to Anchor asking where I would find the link to the media file on Monday. It’s Saturday now and they’ve still not replied.
My conclusion on using Anchor as a free podcast host
My conclusion is YES Anchor does offer a free hosting service but the use of their free podcast hosting is according to their own terms and needs.
I did find a bit of interference with the recording I made on Anchor. You can listen to it here.
I should add that I will continue to use the Anchor app as a podcast recorder and editor. I found it straightforward to cut out segments from the recording and add my opening tune and closing message. When I downloaded the media file, it was an MP4a file.
Will I recommend Anchor as a free podcast host?
If you are a serious podcaster (eg with over 100 podcast episodes published), I think you should opt for podcast hosting companies that charge for their podcast hosting service per month. Blubrry has different hosting packages, so you are bound to find a podcast hosting package that meets your needs. They also have really good support. You never have to wait more than a few hours to get a reply to your question.
If you do not have a hosting plan with Blubrry but use their PowerPress WordPress plugin, they provide adequate technical support through a forum on their website. Please note that I have not used this service for at least 3 years at the time of writing this review.
However, if you do not need your own podcast RSS feed in your domain name and don’t need access to your media file, then Anchor is a suitable free podcast host.
If you are a hobby podcaster, just starting your own podcast or do not have your own website (eg a WordPress site) and domain name, then Anchor is a suitable free podcast host.
If you have found my review on using Anchor as a free podcast host useful, please leave a comment below. I would also love to know what your experience of using Anchor as a free podcast host