Sunday, July 5, 2009

How to Make a Podcast

A podcast is an easy way of distributing media files over the Internet. This article will tell how to make a podcast.

The first thing you need is a hosting service on which to store the media files for the podcast, ideally with our own domain name. Buying a domain name is simple and easy. There are many domain registrars that can register a domain for someone for a small fee. The same goes for hosting. There are loads of hosting service providers out there.

Some of the domain registrars are Intaserve, HostMonster,, Dotster, or Network Solutions. Personally if you need a domain and hosting, I recommend you go with HostMonster. Their service is extremely reliable and fast, the price is amazingly low for everything you receive (a lot of things are unlimited), AND they provide you with a FREE .com domain of your choice, provided of course that it is not already taken. I have been using HostMonster for many years and am totally satisfied.

Whoever you chose, the domain registrar will, for a small fee, enter the chosen domain, provided it is not being used, into the computers that form the backbone of the Internet. These computers will be told where the domain is located on the Internet, that is to say, which host holds the domain's information.

In order to publish and distribute that information across the Internet, the name servers that are held by the host need to be associated with the domain. They need to be identifiable as the authority on the Internet for information pertaining to the domain.

Once the domain is in place, a good hosting service should be found. The hosting service that is chosen should offer a large amount of both disk space and a much larger amount bandwidth (really data traffic allowance). Disk space is necessary because the site that holds the podcast will be storing large media files; audio or video files that take up a lot of space. These files are typically difficult to compress and so the storage requirements of your hosting service will need to accommodate this.

The large bandwidth is necessary because transferring these large files many times to many different (potentially thousands of) people will use up a small quota very quickly. A good amount of disk space would be at least 50 (fifty) GigaBytes (GB), and bandwidth should be in the several hundreds of Gigabytes or tens of TeraBytes (TB – a TeraByte is equal to 1,000 GigaBytes). Ideally you should be looking for a service with unlimited disk space/storage and unlimited bandwidth/data traffic allowance.

Once the hosting service is set up, it should offer you a couple of addresses called nameservers. Inputting these server addresses into the site where the domain was registered will complete the domain setup and allow your site to be found on the Internet.

Again, because of all of the above, I recommend HostMonster. The disk storage is unlimited, the data traffic allowance (bandwidth) is unlimited, AND they register a .com domain name for you for FREE with their hosting package. The HostMonster hosting package costs (the last time I checked) about US$5.95 a month.

The next step for people who want to know how to make a podcast is installing the software necessary to maintain the podcast. A small piece of coding called dircaster.php can be used to set up a basic level of podcast. Dircaster.php can be found easily by searching for it in any search engine.

Once it is located, it should be edited to reflect the particulars of the domain and uploaded to the site. You may want to ask a web programmer to do this for you but with a little effort you can most likely figure it out yourself. Dircaster.php will generate an RSS file, or feed, that tells the subscriber about the new files available for downloading.

To begin podcasting, create the audio files that should be podcast, fill in the information about the file such as date, author, etc, and upload them to the same directory that contains dircaster.php. You now have a podcast, and all that is needed is to publicise the address of the file dircaster.php. To update the podcast with new information, just upload the new files. Other things to make the podcast better might be a site that contains information about the podcast, such as a marketing site, but it may not be necessary depending upon the purpose of the podcast and/or possibly your business model.

I hope this has been helpful.


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