In this Castos review we look at four factors key to the buyer's decision making process. This includes “Ease of use, Features, Pricing and Support”. So if you just want the quick overview of how WP Rocket performs here it is for you.
If you just want the quick run round of how Castos podcast hosting performs here it is for you. To understand how we came to these numbers read the full review.
Introducing Castos Podcast Hosting
When that moment of inspiration hits and you make the life changing decision to start a podcast the very last thing you are thinking about in that moment is podcast hosting. But when you start a podcast you will see what other pioneers before you have discovered.
Finding a reliable home for all of your podcasts can be a technical nightmare.
Another word for this home is podcast hosting and today we are going to be looking at Castos which is tool that aims to make the whole process as seamless as possible for your show especially if you use WordPress.
This review will focus on setting up a show on WordPress but rest assured that Castos and the Castos alternatives mentioned on this page work no matter what website platform you use.
What is Castos?
As mentioned earlier Castos is a software as a service (SAAS) app and WordPress plugin for hosting your podcast episodes and then distributing that content on popular platforms like iTunes.
It primarily does this through a technology called RSS feeds which as soon as they are updated notify platforms like iTunes of your latest episode.
As sophisticated and easy to use as this technology is it’s pretty standard stuff but there are two things that standout about Castos and podcast hosting in general.
First its podcast hosting features
First as a reliable podcast host you can rest assured that your new show has a safe and reliable home where all your audio and show notes reside.
If you have already started a podcast, Castos makes the process of importing all your podcasts really easy by just clicking a button. After you do this you will have access to a customizable player and show analytics that includes:
- Your listener’s locations
- Types of devices they use to listen to your show
- The playback time for each episode
Castos also has a YouTube connection which makes starting a channel connected to your podcast just that little bit easier.
And if you are looking at rewarding your most loyal subscribers, Castos has a number of advanced publishing features such as providing exclusive content. Using this premium podcasting feature allows you to create a unique RSS feed for each paying subscriber instead of just one generic RSS feed. Through this your premium content becomes only accessible to paying subscribers for example.
The second standout feature is for us WordPress users specifically.
The Castos Seriously Simple Podcasting Plugin
This is the must-do next step after signing up to Castos if you use WordPress. Through this plugin you get a direct API key connection between your website and Castos which enables some unique options for you like:
- Easy uploads of episodes within the WordPress dashboard
- Professional and customizable presentation of episodes on the front-end
And besides the official Castos WordPress plugin there are a number of great third party addons that allows for:
- Creation of show note transcripts
- More detailed statistics within the WordPress dashboard
- Speaker highlights (such as who appeared in which show)
All in all, if you're using WordPress and Castos, you can expect to have an excellent experience setting up your new or even existing podcast show.
Now before we get into the actual how-to behind what makes Castos work, lets take a more personal look at the person behind the company.
How to use Castos?
Now let's take a closer look at this technology and what makes it possible to create and host your own show. In this part of the Castos review we will take a closer look at the controls in Castos and guide you through the process of using it on WordPress.
Next insert your show's information and decide if you want to use the WordPress site or Castos dashboard to manage your podcast.
If you decide to run on WordPress, go to your Castos account and get the API key and paste it into the section called “Castos API token”.
And that's how easy it is to connect Castos to WordPress!
Configuring Castos basic settings
The settings area features several options relating to the function and look of your podcast. This includes the RSS feed and your site's content.
In the general settings tab, you get different options on how to publish your content. You can publish a podcast as a regular WordPress blog post or keep it independent by using a podcast post type which is what Castos does by default.
You can also set:
- The specific areas to display the media player
- Choose the look and feel of the media player
- Feed details that allows you to choose up to 3 categories for your podcast RSS feed which will help in your iTunes discoverability as it also allows you to choose 3 categories.
- Passwords for your feeds if you want it to be private, however this will also block iTunes and other feed readers, so in most cases is not recommended
- You will also find a redirect feature to direct people from the old feed to the new one
Now that we have talked about some of the core settings and features let's get straight into what you will do with your first episode.
Uploading your first episode via WordPress
You don’t need to leave the WordPress dashboard when adding new podcast episode to your Castos account.
To do this, go to your WordPress dashboard and select ”Podcast” and then ”Add new”.
After this you can use the WordPress editor as you normally would to give the episode a title and text description and select these two settings.
- Series: Similar or WordPress categories that groups similar content together
- Tags: Adding tags helps your users find specific topics easier
There is also an option for uploading a featured image which will convert to your podcast cover image. You need to choose carefully as this image will also act as the cover on iTunes and other platforms online.
Other settings you will find in the podcast episode details meta box include:
- Select if its an audio or video episode
- Upload your podcast folder which will sync with your Castos account
- Highlight the time scale
- Be specific with the size
- Specify the date you recorded the episode
- Highlight if the episode features adult or explicit content
- Block the episode from getting displayed in iTunes and Google Play
Here is a screenshot of where to find the above settings:
Once you have chosen your chosen settings you can hit publish.
You can also add the episode show to other pages or posts in WordPress by using the embed code.
Your episode is now live on both WordPress and all feeds meaning your listeners can easily download it through their preferred app. It will also be available in your Castos account which could become useful in the future if you ever moved away from WordPress so you don’t lose your episode data.
So basically to sum up if you know how to add a blog post in WordPress, you will know how to add a podcast – it’s really simple.
Before we end this how to use Castos section we have to talk about statistics.
After you publish an episode you can quickly check the stats in both WordPress and Castos. However please note that when logging into the Castos website you will see more comprehensive reports.
See below for the WordPress plugin report.
Now that you know how good Castos is the natural question is price and how it stacks up to the alternative podcast hosting options.
First things first, you can test Castos for yourself completely free with their 14 day trial.
After the trial period, there are three plans to choose from.
- Audio Podcasting: $19 per month for limitless storage and episodes. Only limitation with this plan is you don’t get the YouTube republishing feature.
- Audio Podcast with republishing: $34 per month that includes the above and YouTube.
- Video Podcasting: $49 per month for all of the above and video hosting on Castos servers.
If you use WordPress we highly recommend Castos because of it’s ease of use however especially if you are not on WordPress there are Castos alternatives to consider.
Transistor makes it easy to host limitless shows for one price that includes:
- Episode analytics
- Podcast player with nicely designed look and feel
- Branded site for storing your podcast
- Numerous content distribution options
This is an excellent choice because of its functionality and professional design options but you can easily pay more if your show becomes popular. That is because you may get limitless storage for the same $19 p/m as Castos but you only get 5,000 monthly downloads.
The pricing will look as follows:
- Starter: $19 per month for 5,000 downloads
- Professional: $49 per month for 15,000 downloads
- Business: $99 per month for 45,000 downloads
Libsyn is a love em or hate em proposition.
You will love their cheap starting rates of just $5 but you will quickly get tired of their dated and clunky interface which most people are not going to enjoy using.
That being said many of the top podcast shows on the Internet use Libsyn because its cheap and I guess they have kind of got used to it.
If you are just getting started and are on a serious budget then this is probably for you but our recommendation if you are on WordPress would still be Castos as its so much nicer to use.
This is direct competition to Castos because of its excellent plugin called PowerPress Podcasting.
Blubrry supports standalone podcast hosting and allows you to manage everything on your WordPress dashboard just like Castos.
Pricing is also attractive if just starting out but you don’t get unlimited storage but rather only 100MB included at the $12 per month price level. The next step up at $20 only gives you 250MB.
SoundCloud is what you want for free podcast hosting. The service launched in 2015 and includes:
- High quality SoundCloud branded player
- Comments link to specific times in the player
You get basic stats and up to 3 hours of upload time.
For $12 per month you can unlock limitless upload time, full stats and other premium features. There is also a $6 plan for 6 hours of content and access to the premium features.
With PodBean you have both a restricted free plan and an affordable paid plan.
The free plan gives you 100MB (same as Blubrry paid plan) and gives you 5 hours audio hosting. After this you need to subscribe to the paid plan starting from $9 per month which allows for limitless bandwidth and storage.
One standout feature of PodBean is the optional PodAds marketplace that allows you to monetize your podcast through a sophisticated ad platform.
Pretty smart stuff for such a low price.
Castos Pros and Cons
Are there up-sells?
Castos is very upfront with pricing and you know exactly what you get for each of the three pricing plans they present.
You will not be presented some limited time only (have to get it now before it’s gone) upgrade.
If you use WordPress then Castos and their Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin should be right up there as your top pick. It’s really the most hassle free option right now.
Plus its ability to create your own unique podcast player with easy embedding and content distribution from within WordPress makes this the best choice. Remember you don’t have to just take our word for it either with their 14 day free trial here.
If you’re not on WordPress then definitely check out the alternatives listed above as their combinations of pricing and features may better suit you.
Is there a Castos coupon code?
Occasionally vendors share coupon codes, these will appear below (or blank if none).