Podcasts are fun to create, but they can be expensive to host. Typically they’re larger than 10 megabytes, and when you have a thousand plus people downloading each of your weekly episodes, your bandwidth bill can get pretty large. (They can also eat up a lot of your server’s disk space.)
Many podcasters, rather than pay for ever-increasing amounts of bandwidth, use podcast syndication services like Libsyn to host their shows. Libsyn charges $12/month for unmetered bandwidth, and a monthly upload quota of 250MB. (There are a few other pricing tiers they offer, but the “libsyn250″ is probably the one most weekly hour-length podcasts will require.)
There’s another option, though.
Amazon S3 is a neat service that allows you to “pay as you go,” and host your files on Amazon’s speedy cloud servers. They charge $0.15 per gigabyte in bandwidth, as well as a monthly $0.15/GB storage fee.
I’ve been using Amazon S3 for off-site storage of my server backups for awhile, and it recently occurred to me that would be a great place to host podcast files.
If your subscribers were to download 20GB worth of podcast files in a month, for example, you would pay a mere $3. (You would technically have to pay a little more for the storage of the files, but it probably wouldn’t even be another dollar.)
If you coupled it with Amazon’s CloudFront service, a CDN that pulls from your S3 account, you could help speed up your subscribers’ downloads. (A CDN, in case you were wondering, is a service that mirrors your files across servers in different geographic locations, to ensure that your users are downloading from a nearby server.) It costs the same $0.15/per gigabyte, minus the silly “thousandth of a cent” HTTP request charges.
I wonder how many podcasters are using Amazon Web Services. It seems like a fairly affordable, and certainly reliable, option.