I recently moved my podcast from Libsyn‘s pay service to the free hosting on Archive.org, the Internet Archive and home of the wayback machine. If you’re willing to allow a licensing model compatible with their upload system, this might work for you. Libsyn is a great and simple solution, but the monthly payments have added up and the free solution is pretty easy using Feedburner and WordPress.com to create an iTunes compatible feed.
Step 1: Create your podcast audio file
Record your podcast in a standard audio format. Mp3 is pretty common and universal. If you need a free audio recording and edition program, I suggest Audacity. That’s what I use. It’s free and open source.
Step 2: Upload to the Internet Archive
On Archive.org, click on the SHARE button. If you don’t have an account, you’ll be prompted to create one. You can even login with your usual OpenID if you have one. If you’ve already created your WordPress.com account (which you will need to do in Step 3), you can use your WordPress.com URL as your OpenID/Login.
With the SHARE button, your browser will prompt you to select the file or files. On the new page, you’ll be able to see the status of your upload. In the Title field, put the short name of your podcast. Archive.org will generate an identifier with this name that you can use to add more episodes of your podcast as your create them. Although you really don’t need to keep all of your podcasts under the same identifier and can upload anywhere, the site has what it calls Collections and it simplifies things to keep all of your episodes under the same collection. The description and keyword fields should be about the general podcast and not episode specific. Choose a license if you want. Finally, click Share My File(s).
It will take a minute or so for the site to create your page. Save the url that it generates as this is where you’ll be updating your podcast from now on. Under “Audio Files”, you’ll see the file name of your episode. Right click (Windows) or Command click (Mac) on the listand copy the link URL to your audio file to your clipboard.
Step 3: Create your WordPress.com Site
In this example, I’m using a free WordPress.com blog. You can substitute the blogging site and software of your choice as long as it will generate an rss feed.
Follow the directions on the site to sign up. It’s pretty straightforward. Create a new blog post. Put the episode title as your post title. Add any description or show notes or links about the episode as needed in the body. At the very end, paste your url to the mp3 and make the url link to the mp3. Publish the post to the web.
Step 3: Create your podcast RSS feed
This is the part that turns your blog and mp3 file into a real published and subscribe ready podcast. By default, WordPress.com will put a link to your RSS feed on your blog’s page. Copy that url. Google’s Feedburner service makes this part pretty easy. Log into your Google account or create a Feedburner account and past the URL in the field marked Burn a Feed right this instant. Check the box that says I’m a podcaster. Hit next. You’ll have to title and create a short url for your feed. Continue through the options hitting next and filling out all of the fields until Feedburner says “You have successfully updated the Feed”.
Step 4: Submit your podcast to iTunes
Most of my listeners come from iTunes, so this step is pretty important. Follow this link to Submit Podcasts to the iTunes Directory. This will open iTunes. Copy your feed URL from Feedburner, paste it into the iTunes’ Podcast Feed URL box, hit continue until your submission is complete. It could take up to a few days for your podcast to appear in the iTunes Podcast directory.
That’s it, you now have now have a podcast!
Update January 4, 2012: With sites like mypodcast.com no longer doing podcast hosting, I think it’s important to remind you to backup your content! Archive.org is much more stable and capable of holding your content than many smaller sites. Be safe anyway and make sure to have copies of your content even if it’s on the server already.
Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.