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About Anchor

Anchor began its life in a way not dissimilar to Clubhouse: an audio sharing tool frequented by Silicon Valley investors and growth hackers. In 2018 it pivoted to providing free podcast hosting, and has remained a popular choice for beginners and those wanting to save money.

Anchor has a well-considered mobile app that makes content production easy, however it’s geared more towards a style of podcasting that doesn’t really offer value or sustainability: a sort of call-in talk show with added music, thanks to Spotify. This offering adds confusion into the market, as it leads people to think that commercial music can be used in podcasts, and that the “podcasts” produced through the Anchor app can be heard on any app (which they can’t).

Anchor is simply a low-friction way to upload content that can be serialised via RSS. Onboarding is simple, and every podcast gets a cute single webpage. In that way, it’s a solid choice for those who use a podcast as a highlights package of a live Zoom call, Crowdcast show, or who are repurposing audio from a YouTube channel, since its lack of features or useful analytics essentially make it a hard-drive with an RSS attachment.

Spotify bought the product in early 2019, and it’s now IAB compliant, so although the metrics are fairly high-level, the numbers themselves should be accurate. It’s important to them since Anchor relies on DAI to make money.

About Fireside

Built by long-time podcaster and developer Dan Benjamin, using the years of experience he gained running 5by5.tv (both content and infrastructure), Fireside is a solid service for those who take their podcast seriously.

Along with audio hosting, analytics and a website for your podcast, Fireside also provides rich show notes, allowing for the addition of host and guest bios, and a blog. If your podcast has multiple hosts who aren’t on every episode, you can specify the hosts that appear on a per-episode basis, and visitors to your website can see who hosted which ones.

For Benjamin, podcasting means going live-to-tape, and having show notes with lots of links, so Fireside has tools that make it easy to gather links to the topics you discuss, while you record.

If you’re relatively new to podcasting, or you just like badges, there’s a lightly gamified element to the Fireside content management system, that lets you earn achievements for reaching important milestones.

Anchor Free vs Fireside Starter

Anchor has the best price for this plan. Anchor is also more generous in its bandwidth. They also offer IAB-certified stats, whereas Fireside doesn't. However, you can upload more episodes with Fireside. Anchor doesn't allow custom websites on this plan.

Anchor Fireside
Price $0.00 per month $9.00 per month
Number of podcasts 1 1
Episodes 0 per month 5 per month
Downloads Unlimited 10,000 per month
Storage Unlimited Unlimited
Podcast website included
Use your own domain
IAB certified metrics
Republish to YouTube
Podcast network support

Anchor Free vs Fireside Standard

Fireside offers the ability to host more podcasts. Anchor doesn't allow custom websites on this plan. You can't hook up a custom domain to your website as you can with Anchor. However, Anchor has the best price for this plan. Anchor is also more generous in its bandwidth. They also offer IAB-certified stats, whereas Fireside doesn't.

Anchor Fireside
Price $0.00 per month $19.00 per month
Number of podcasts 1 Unlimited
Episodes Unlimited Unlimited
Downloads Unlimited 75,000 per month
Storage Unlimited Unlimited
Podcast website included
Use your own domain
IAB certified metrics
Republish to YouTube
Podcast network support

Anchor Free vs Fireside Professional

Fireside offers the ability to host more podcasts. Anchor doesn't allow custom websites on this plan. You can't hook up a custom domain to your website as you can with Anchor. However, Anchor has the best price for this plan. They also offer IAB-certified stats, whereas Fireside doesn't.

Anchor Fireside
Price $0.00 per month $49.00 per month
Number of podcasts 1 Unlimited
Episodes Unlimited Unlimited
Downloads Unlimited Unlimited
Storage Unlimited Unlimited
Podcast website included
Use your own domain
IAB certified metrics
Republish to YouTube
Podcast network support

Other considerations

Fireside allows for Podcasting 2.0 transcripts. Fireside attempt to protect against feeds being imported into other providers without your consent. Fireside allows you to designate portions of your episodes that can used to create audiograms in apps like Headliner. Fireside works with apps that support Bitcoin donations. However, Anchor's user interface is a bit nicer than Fireside.