Cheap is good... Free is better!
Low-Cost Entry Into Podcasting with Podtopia.net
"Buy our cheapest package! You'll like it!" You probably won't hear this very often from a company, but that's what we're telling you. Podtopia.net has three levels of membership:
The Three Levels
- Basic Podcasting: The basics for creating your podcast feeds and generating your podcast page
- Podcast Extended: 300MB hosting for your files and 1Gig data transfer each month, along with all the features of Basic.
- Podcast Complete: 1Gig of hosting space, and lots of bandwidth each month (along with all the features of Basic)
Of these three, we actually like our cheapest one the best. For less than $5/month, you can create unlimited podcasts with precious little space restrictions. It takes a little more work on your part, and it's less "guaranteed" than the full-featured Podtopia service, but if you're willing to put up with ad-supported services, and the uncertainty that can accompany free hosting services, you can get your podcast on, at very, very, VERY low cost.
- Sign up for our Basic Podcaster package and get your account set up.
- Check out our list of free file hosting services and choose one that suits you. Keep in mind how much space you'll need and how much bandwidth (size of your audio file(s) * the number of subscribers who download each version (see our bandwidth calculator for help).
- Record and upload your podcast audio to the outside server and keep track of the url(s) to your audio.
- Sign in to Podtopia.net and use those urls when you fill in the info about your podcast. When you publish, your podcast feed will point to the files on the other server, so folks can stream and download from there.
It's way simple. And way cheap. Way.
Here's the math...
Say you want to create a 4-hour podcast of Estonian folk music each week. An hour-long music show can take up as much as 50 Megabytes of space, or more (if the sound quality is good -- it can take less space, if you go with a lesser quality recording, but who wants that?)... so that's a minimum of 200 MB of space you'll need each week. Plus, you'll need bandwidth -- if 10 people download your podcast each week, you're using 2 Gigabytes of bandwidth each week. That's 8 Gigs a month... not counting all the show archives that people download, in addition to your regular podcast.
Needless to say, that's a lot of bandwidth. Now don't get us wrong -- Podtopia.net can serve up a whole lot of content, but it'll cost you. We need to cover our bandwidth costs, too! While you're more than welcome to sign up for our Complete Podcaster Package and pay us the money, you don't *have* to, to get started with Podtopia.net. If you go with the Basic package and host your files on another servier, you can push the envelope on space or bandwidth limits and not worry about your file sizes.
Free free file hosting services that are popping up all over the web, and a lot of podcasters are taking advantage of them. Use our Resource page... search the web... check out other podcasters who may know cool places to "stash" your audio. There's a lot of space out there for the having, if you know where to look. Some services offer more space than others, but by and large, you can find a number of them that provide 100+MB of space with no strings attached. Audio files are BIG -- the better quality they are, the bigger they are -- so if you want high quality, you'll need to find space to "spread out". Free file hosting services give you a lot of flexibility -- and room to breathe -- in creating your podcast episodes. And if you hit the upper limit of file size with one host, you can find another and host more files there.
Now, keep in mind that these "free" services need to pay their bills, too. So they may ask you to click through a bunch of ads while you're uploading. Or they may ask you to create a user account. Or they may not give you enough space for 150 4-hour podcasts. What's more, if they end up growing faster than they planned for, they can slow down... and sometimes crash(!) That comes with the territory -- especially in the emerging field of podcasting. Free services are a mixed bag, and not all of them are as reliable as we'd like. But if you're willing to handle a little risk, the reward can be considerable -- as in, practically unlimited space and bandwidth for your huge-honkin' audio files.
Just sign up and follow the steps outlined above, and you can be on your way to publishing podcasts as big and as often as you like.
Note: Another alternative, is to sign up for your own huge honkin' web server with your own domain name, where you can "stash" your audio and have total control over your audio content. Omnis offers hosting plans up to 2Gig web space, 200Gig data transfer at a very reasonable price. Omnis rocks!
Copyright © 2005 by Kay Stoner - All Rights Reserved
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