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Castos Podcast Host: Review & Walkthrough

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Castos Podcast Host: Review & Walkthrough

Castos podcast hosting is a platform that’s dedicated to growing and monetizing your podcast. They’re committed to building out the ‘center of the audio universe’, in which key podcasting processes are completely automated. Where Castos doesn’t have the native, in-built features, they compensate with slick third-party integrations that build out its capabilities. And its Seriously Simple WordPress plugin has transformative powers for your wordpress site and podcast management workflows. In this guide, we walk you through all of Castos main features, as well as the pros and cons of using the platform. We highlight why Castos might be more suitable for some podcasters than others and whether it’s really worth hosting your podcast with them. 

TL:DR 

  • Castos is a podcast hosting platform that’s focussed on growth and monetization 
  • You can only monetize with private podcasts and Castos doesn’t have an integrated advertising feature 
  • Every Castos plan comes with unlimited podcasts & episodes, but a monthly cap on downloads and the number of private subscribers 
  • Best for small & medium-sized podcasts 

How we’re reviewing Castos 

Before delving into the details, we want to introduce you to our bigger picture criteria when it comes to our Castos review. These seven factors are what we think are absolutely essential considerations when it comes to picking a podcast hosting platform: 

Pricing 

It goes without saying that price and budget are a key decision-maker when choosing a hosting platform. We look at how expensive a platform is, the relative ‘value for money’ that you get with their subscriptions, as well as how they’ve chosen to structure their pricing model. 

Analytics 

No podcast hosting platform is complete without in-depth analytics. We look for platforms that offer comprehensive insights into our podcast’s performance and our audience’s profile. 

Media Player 

We expect podcast hosting platforms to give us a customizable and easy-to-use embeddable media player. We look for additional features too, such as the ability to add custom CTAs or to share on social media. 

File Hosting 

Ideally, our podcast hosting platform should support lossless file formats. This is because we believe podcasters should never have to compromise on the quality of their audio. 

Distribution 

Submitting and distributing your podcast should be made easy and quick. We especially appreciate it when platforms have automated the submission process or proactively tried to make it as painless as possible. One-click distribution and publication is a must. 

Monetization 

The ability to monetize your content is essential. We look for platforms that offer podcasters a diverse range of monetization streams that help them to maximize the revenue potential of their content. 

Useability and Additional Features 

Finally, we look for platforms that are fundamentally easy to use. At a base level, the interface and platform should be intuitive and nice to work with. 

Any unique features that actively improve the user-experience are a bonus. 

Castos: Quick Takeaways 

Quick summary: Castos is a podcast hosting platform that helps creators to grow and monetize their content. 

Price: starts at $19/month 

Castos USPs:

  • Castos runs entirely on renewable energy. This doesn’t impact the level of service, but is a unique fact about the platform! 
  • Create unlimited podcasts & episodes with no storage caps no matter what plan you’re on. 
  • Seriously Simple WordPress plugin & other third-party integrations. Castos has an impressive number of third party app integrations that maximize its functionality. 
  • Private podcast subscribers. Monetize your podcast with private podcast subscribers (made possible through an integration with Stripe). 

What is Castos?

Castos’ mission is to make podcasts easy and accessible to all. Their team boasts years of podcasting experience, and is trying to build out a platform that can act as the ‘center of your audio universe’. Castos is an all-in-one podcasting solution that helps creators to grow and to monetize through slick automation and simplification of key processes. 

They have a distinct focus on the growth aspect of podcasting, specifically involving increasing audience numbers and cultivating a sense of community. 

How much does Castos cost? 

Starter - $19 / month

  • Unlimited podcasts and episodes 
  • In-depth listener analytics 
  • Up to 100 private subscribers
  • Up to 20,000 monthly downloads 

Growth - $49 / month 

Everything in the Starter plan, as well as: 

  • Video republishing to YouTube 
  • Headliner Audiogram integration 
  • Up to 250 private subscribers 
  • Up to 75,000 monthly downloads

Pro - $99 / month 

Everything in the Growth plan, plus: 

  • Video file hosting 
  • Advanced analytics 
  • Up to 500 private subscribers 
  • Up to 200,000 monthly downloads 

Castos Premium - $499/month 

Everything in Pro plus 

  • Custom contracts and invoices
  • Single sign-on 
  • Increased limits 
  • Dedicated account manager 

What’s the catch with Castos? 

Though Castos gives all its users the ability to create unlimited podcasts and episodes with no storage cap, you’ve got to watch out for the download limits and the maximum number of paying subscribers you’re entitled to. 

The Starter plan gives you 20,000 downloads and up to 100 private subscribers. You can pay to add an additional 500 private subscribers for $50/month, but if you start to exceed your download limit, you may have to upgrade your subscription plan. 

Advantages of Castos 

Video hosting (for Pro plan only) 

Though only available on the Pro plan, Castos does support video podcasts, which is good news for podcasters who are committed to creating visual content. 

Private podcasts 

All creators, regardless of their pricing plan, can create a private podcast for payings subscribers with Castos (and their Stripe integration). This helps creators of all sizes capitalize on their captive audience and turn listeners into paying subscribers. 

Castos App

The Castos app is built to be the home to your private podcast. Your listeners can browse your content and enjoy what Castos call ‘deeper connections’ and a ‘rich listening experience’. 

One click migration

Castos makes it as easy as it should be to migrate your podcast over to their platform. One-click and they’ll take care of the rest. 

Unlimited podcasts & episodes 

If you’re a prolific creator, you’ll love Castos’ unlimited podcasts and episodes policy with no storage cap. Though, as we’ve pointed out, watch out for the download limit. 

Podcast website 

Every Castos subscription comes with a free podcast website with responsive design that looks great across mobile and desktop. You can customize your podcast website to make it your own and to align its look with your podcast.

Wordpress integration 

If you’re a WordPress user, you can make use of Castos’ Seriously Simple Podcasting WordPress plugin which helps to consolidate your podcasting workflows and centralize everything to your WordPress site. 

Podcast player 

You can share your podcast beyond the major listening platforms using the Castos Player, which is embeddable anywhere using iFrame code. 

Transcriptions 

Castos offers integrated podcast transcription capabilities, which is great for podcasters who want to make their content more accessible, repurposable, and SEO friendly. There is an additional cost of $0.10/minute for transcribing audio, though. 

In-depth analytics 

Castos offers all its creators in-depth and detailed insights into their audience and their podcast’s general performance. 

Automated YouTube republishing 

Castos helps podcasters get their content out onto YouTube with its automated YouTube republishing tool. This helps to maximize the exposure of your podcast, reach new audiences, and leverage the power (and popularity) of video content. 

Collaborative working 

You can add multiple users to your Castos account to work collaboratively with your production team. Every user that you invite to your team will have the same controls and access, so you won’t be able to toggle permissions. 

Disadvantages of Castos

No video podcasting (until Pro subscription) 

Although the fact that Castos supports video podcasting at all is a huge plus, the fact that you have to be a Pro subscriber to gain access to this functionality may exclude podcasters with smaller budgets. 

Limited monetization 

Castos doesn’t have any native podcast advertising features, which limits the extent to which creators can tap into the monetization capabilities of their content. 

No creation functionality 

Podcasters who are looking for a truly all-in-one podcasting solution, may find Castos’ lack of creation features frustrating. 

Limit on paying subscribers 

Though Castos enables podcasters to monetize directly through their community, the cap on paying subscribers presents a potential extra cost that creators may not be happy to shoulder. 

WAV files aren’t supported 

Unfortunately, Castos does not support wav (lossless) files. 

Key features of Castos  

Podcast player 

Castos podcast player is embeddable across the internet, which means you can place it anywhere you think your listeners will want it. The player works across desktop and mobile. 

  • Customize how your player looks to ensure it matches your branding. Choose between a Light or a Dark theme. 
  • Add customized subscriber buttons to reflect the platforms that your show is on. This will encourage casual listeners to become subscribers on their listening platform of choice. 
  • Add in social sharing CTA buttons to maximize the social promotion your show receives. 

Automated YouTube Republishing 

As we mentioned, Castos’ YouTube Republishing tool helps you to publish your show on YouTube without the hassle of recording video footage. Simply connect your YouTube channel to your Castos, upload your podcast as normal, select a background image, and let the republishing tool do the rest. 

Transcriptions 

Transcribing your podcast is not something that should be overlooked. A podcast transcription helps to make your content accessible to a wider audience: those who are hard of hearing or are foreign language speakers, for example. You’ll also see substantial SEO payoff because search engines can scan your transcriptions and rank you higher for key terms. 

Castos lets you transcribe your podcast right from your dashboard. Facilitated through an integration with a third–party software, Castos charges a $0.10 per audio minute for transcription. You can opt-in to a pay-as-you-go plan which you can subscribe to or cancel at any time. 

Customizable Podcast Websites 

Every Castos plan comes with a customizable podcast website that can act as a home-base for your content. Your podcast website will make it easy for your audience to subscribe, search through your back catalog and connect with your show on socials. You’ll get a unique website link for every podcast that you create. 

Here’s a little bit about your Castos podcast website: 

  • The responsive design means that your site will translate seamlessly across all screen-sizes
  • Choose your theme’s primary color to match your branding
  • Select your website font 

‘Seriously Simple Podcasting’ WordPress Plugin 

If you’re a WordPress user, Castos’ Seriously Simple Podcast WordPress plugin will make your life a lot easier. Instead of using multiple podcasting tools and platforms, manage every step of your workflow directly through WordPress. 

Designed to make managing your podcast from WordPress as smooth and simple as possible, here are just some of the features that you can enjoy: 

  • Import your podcast content into WordPress with one click 
  • Upload episodes, create multiple feeds, view listeners analytics and customize your embeddable player straight from your WordPress dashboard
  • Manage multiple podcasts from one centralized WordPress dashboard 
  • Monitor and improve your SEO performance 

Integrations with a number of third party tools 

Castos offers seamless integrations with a number of third party tools such as Headliner, Zapier, MemberSpace, Stripe, Descript and more. All these tools help build out Castos’ capabilities and maximize the value of your podcast straight from the Castos dashboard. Watch out for third-party fees, though. 

Castos is best for small & medium podcasters

Castos offers a strong podcast host for podcasters who are just starting out or are mid-way through their growth journey. The lack of limits on the number of podcasts you host with them or on the amount of audio you upload gives you the freedom you need to create as much as you want. That being said, the download caps and the limit on the number of private subscribers you have are likely to pose a challenge to podcasters with bigger audience numbers. 

First look at Castos Dashboard 

When you login to Castos, you’ll land on your dashboard. Here you’ll be able to see your active podcasts, head into your analytics, manage your subscribers, and explore some automation features. 

Castos Dashboard

How to Get Started with Castos

Step 1: When you first sign-up, click ‘Create a New Podcast’ on the welcome screen. 

Creating a Podcast on Castos

Step 2: Fill out your podcast’s information including its name and description. 

Adding in podcast details on Castos

Step 3: Upload your podcast cover art. 

Adding in a podcast cover on castos

Step 4: Claim your Castos website URL. 

Claiming a podcast on Castos

Step 5: Select your podcast’s categories.

Choosing a podcast categories on Castos

Step 6: Then review your information to ensure everything is accurate. 

Overviewing your podcast before publishing on Castos

Step 7: When you’re happy click ‘Create my Podcast’.

Step 8: If you’re ready to upload, hit ‘Add First Episode’. If not, head straight to your Castos dashboard. 

Adding your first episode on Castos

If you’re ready to upload your first episode straight away, here’s what you need to do: 

Step 1: Click ‘Add First Episode’ as above. 

Step 2: Fill out your episode details, including the title and description. Upload your audio file. 

Adding a new episode on Castos

Step 3: Paste in your episode’s transcript, if you have one. And add in keywords that relate to your content. 

Adding in a podcast transcript on Castos

Step 4: Add in your episode’s details, including episode number, type etc. When you’re happy, set the publication date and either save as draft or hit ‘Publish Episode’.

How to Migrate your Podcast to Castos

Step 1: From your dashboard, hover over your name and click ‘Imports’.

Importing a podcast as Castos

Step 2: Click on ‘Import a New Podcast’.

Importing a podcast on Castos

Step 3: Copy and paste your RSS feed URL from your existing podcast host and then select ‘Import’ anf click ‘Continue’.

Entering a RSS Feed to import a podcast to Castos

Step 4: Once you’ve done that, head to your Castos dashboard and click ‘Settings’ on the show you’ve just imported. 

Settings of an imported podcast on Castos
Image source: Castos

Step 5: Click on ‘Feed Details’ and fill out all the details that aren’t automatically imported with your RSS feed migration. When you’re done, click ‘Save Podcast Details’

Adusting podcast feed settings on Castos
Image source: Castos

Step 6: Finally, click ‘Distribution’ and paste in your new RSS feed URL 

Distributing an imported podcast on Castos
Image source: Castos

Note that migrating your podcast can take several hours depending on how much content needs to be transferred over. Remember that you also need to redirect your RSS feed.  

How to distribute your podcast using Castos 

Castos is integrated directly with Amazon Music and Spotify

Step 1: From your dashboard, click ‘settings’ on the podcast you want to distribute.

Step 2: Click on ‘Distribution’

Podcast settings on Castos

Step 3: You can distribute directly to Spotify and Amazon Music from your Castos dashboard. For other directories, you will need to go through the manual submission process

Podcast distribution on Castos

How to monetize your podcast using Castos 

As we’ve mentioned, Castos makes it possible to monetize your podcast through private podcasts. This is a podcast that can be exclusively accessed by individuals or groups that have either been specifically invited to do so by the podcaster or who have paid for the privilege. 

To a private podcast, follow the usual process. After you’ve created the show, make sure to navigate to Distribution and click ‘Podcast is Private’. This will mean that only listeners who have the correct RSS URL will be able to access your podcast feed. You can also choose to hide the podcast’s website. 

To add subscribers to your private podcast: 

  1. Add them manually by inputting their name and email in your ‘Subscribers’ dashboard
  2. Share the private RSS feed link with the relevant group of people. 
  3. Set up an automation with Stripe. Create a custom trigger ‘rule’ which automatically adds a listener when they pay through Stripe to your private podcast. 

Castos Podcast Analytics 

From your dashboard, head to Analytics to see all your podcast’s performance metrics. Here you’ll be able to see: 

  • Total listens by podcasts
  • Your listeners geographic location 
  • Which browsers and apps your audience listens on 
  • The device your listeners use 
  • Best performing episodes 

Podcast Castos analytics

Castos is also going to be adding the ability to download your analytics reports to present to sponsors, see a subscriber count, and how long the average playback is for your episodes. 

Castos Alternatives 

Acast vs Castos

If you’re trying to choose between Acast and Castos, it can be a pretty tough decision. Since both platforms offer similar features, it can be hard to tell which is best for you. 

In terms of monetization, Acast wins on all fronts. The platform offers creators a whole range of integrated monetization options including podcast advertising, sponsorship, branded content and subscriptions. For direct comparison, Acast+ for private podcasts is far more comprehensive that Castos private feed offering. However, on the flip-side, Acast also takes a 15% cut of any subscription revenue. 

Plus, if you have more than one show, Castos is probably the more sensible option considering you can have as many podcasts as you want. Meanwhile, Acast charges you per show. That being said, if you’re only just starting out, Acast’s free starter plan definitely trumps Castos’ $19 starter subscription. 

Audioboom vs Castos

At first glance, Audioboom offers a far more budget-friendly option - starting at only $9.99 per month. However, watch out because you’ll need to pay per podcast. By comparison, though Castos’ most affordable plan starts at $19, you’re able to have as many shows as you want. 

Another difference that may change your mind is that unless you’re a Pro subscriber with Audioboom, you can’t add your production team members to your account. With Castos, this feature is included from the get go. 

Finally, though Audioboom has impressive proprietary ad-insertion technology (SHOWCASE) and an in-built marketplace that automatically connects you with interested advertisers, you can’t access these features unless you’ve hit 10,000 plays per episode. For this reason, Castos wins for small and medium podcasters who want to make a start with monetizing their podcast. 

Transistor.fm vs Castos 

Transistor.fm and Castos are very similar services pitched at different audiences. With both platforms, you can host as many podcasts as you like, create private podcasts, and add team members to your account. 

Both platforms also offer the ability to create podcast subscriptions, though not always in the most straightforward way. With Transistor, creators will find themselves manually adding subscribers to their list. This is the same with Castos, though there is at least the option to automate the process with custom ‘Triggers’. 

Castos will work best for smaller podcasters, whilst Transistor.fm will fit the bill for big podcasting teams. 

Redcircle vs Castos 

Redcircle is all about growth and monetization. Castos, on the other hand, is more about streamlining basic podcast management. If we look at pricing, RedCircle actually offers a more affordable fee structure. The platform offers both a free Core plan as well as a $9/month Growth Plan. Castos’ most affordable subscription starts at $19/month. 

With RedCircle’s basic paid subscription, podcasters not only enjoy unlimited podcasts, but access to a serious range of monetization features such as a cross-promotion marketplace and unlimited dynamic ad insertion. If you’re a creator that’s looking to scale and grow your podcast, you’ll definitely get a bang for your buck with RedCircle.

Final thoughts on Castos 

If you’re considering Castos solely for its podcast hosting platform, it’s a very strong contender. For small and medium sized podcasters, Castos offers the unlimited freedom to upload and create to their heart’s desire. However, again, the download limits and cap on private subscribers are a serious let down for creators who start to outgrow their allowances. 

In addition, the fairly limited monetization features mean that podcasters looking to scale and maximize revenue may be left frustrated by the inability to advertise within the platform. Castos does compensate for where it lacks with third-party integrations, and its WordPress plugin is a powerful tool for those that know how to use it. 

FAQs about Castos 

What is Castos hosting? 

Castos is a podcast hosting platform that also integrates with WordPress and a number of other third-party applications. 

Is Seriously Simple Podcasting free? 

Yes, it’s a completely free wordpress plugin.

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