What is a Podcast Host?
Podcasting isn't like creating content for YouTube! Since people can listen to podcasts in many different apps, you need a system to distribute your podcast's audio files to the hundreds of podcast apps out there. That's a podcast host's job!
A podcast host is a service where you upload your content—the host then creates a readable format, called an RSS feed, which is just code readable by all the platforms (Spotify, Stitcher, etc) where you want to make your podcast listenable. In short, you need a podcast host in order to distribute your podcast to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other apps.
Can I host my own podcast?
If you're particularly tech-savvy, you can host your own RSS feed. However, I don't recommend it for multiple reasons—if anything goes wrong, you're completely on your own, and you have to really know what you're doing. If you'd like to explore this, there are guides out there, but I advise against it since there are so many great alternatives out there nowadays.
What if I pick the wrong host?!
There are truly no wrong answers here—each host has strengths and weaknesses but they ultimately provide very similar services across the board. I'll provide my top choices for you, and you can decide what features, pricing, and experience you want.
My Pick: Acast Open
Acast Open isn't the biggest host out there, and it's relatively new. But what it lacks in flash it absolutely makes up for in quality.
Honorable Mention: Libsyn
Libsyn is the true industry standard. They've been around for a long, long time, and they really know what they are doing in the podcast world!
Honorable Mention: Anchor
And now, for a complete 180—Spotify's Anchor is completely changing the game by offering a completely free hosting platform. You heard that correctly—Spotify is looking to create the "YouTube of podcasting", where you don't pay a cent to host.
Conclusion: Don't worry about it
Every podcast is different, and every podcast's goals are different. Are you a hobbyist who never intends to monetize your podcast? Anchor is probably fine. Are you wanting to build an audience you can monetize? You'll want good ad features, so Acast would work well. But the most important thing?
You always have the option of moving podcast hosts at a later date. There are a few downsides to doing so (you'll lose your numbers from the previous host, for example) but nothing too bad. Read over the features, and pick whichever one suits you best.