Changing podcast hosting provider

I have learnt a lot about podcasting over the past two and a half years. And recently I have learnt a lot about podcast hosting….

You might remember (or you can just read my previous post on this topic) that the Scene From Above podcast is hosted on the Amazon Web Services S3 service. Due to unexpected popularity, the hosting costs were starting to outweigh those of dedicated podcast hosting platforms. This was mainly down to data transfer charges rather than the storage itself. I know trhat there must be ways to tweak the S3 setup to reduce these charges, but it was also taking an hour or so extra every episode to manually update the RSS feed and update the website HTML, and generally faff about to make it work. A hosted, dedicated site would hopefully reduce costs and save time.

After hunting around on price (the podcast is self-funded so finances play a role!) and getting a few recommendations from other podcasters, I thought that Podbean looked the most suitable platform. And indeed, switching to Podbean from another provider looks to be super easy… except for an unforeseen issue with my originally using S3. In order to switch hosting provider, there is a need to:

  • move the media onto the new platform
  • set up a 301 redirect from the old feed to the new feed so listeners don’t get lost in the transition
  • update the feed link in iTunes

Setting up a 301 redirect for a website hosted on S3 is trivial (hint: just change the metadata of the file to be redirected) but to do so only works externally to AWS if there is a domain name associated with the site. Redirecting a single file withe the direct AWS S3 path name i.e. ‘….’ does not work. So if you are setting up a podcast on AWS, do not use the S3 link – add a domain.

So I’d hit a bit of a snag. But because the media had been moved into Podbean, I noticed that there were now two copies of the podcast – not great, but also something I could work with. The next thing to do was update the feed links in both Blubrry (our podcast downloads provider) and iTunes (the catalogue through which hopefully most listeners get the podcast) to the new feed. I then added a new episode to the Podbean hosted podcast and it showed up in iTunes. Job done! Well, almost.

The issue now was that I didn’t know how many listeners get the podcast through iTunes and other amalgamation services (which should all start to update to the new feed). Indeed, a search in Podbean itself showed both the original and the new feeds. So I recorded an ‘episode’ called Whoops explaining that if you were hearing me then the update had gone awry and that a refresh of the podcast client was required. So now the original feed on AWS differs from the new feed on Podbean. Podbean will continue to get updated, and the original AWS feed will remain in play for a month or so, allowing people to hear the Whoops episode.

In addition, I’ve been putting out lots of Tweets and LinkedIn posts to make listeners aware of the changes. The shownotes are in the process of being transfered to Podbean, the old feed will be removed in a month, the new feed will be submitted to Spotify, Google Podcasts and other places that people requested. Hopefully we haven’t lost too many listeners along the way.

The next thing to do is move the podcast website and domain name into Podbean. But that is for a later date and another blog post!.


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