Using Amazon S3 for Podcasting: A Viable Storage Solution?

by | Hosting

S3 stands for “Simple Storage Service.” It’s one of several options that Amazon offers for storage. Although many podcasters haven’t heard of it, this resource is heavily utilized by some of the world’s most comprehensive streaming platforms, including Netflix.

If you have a Netflix account and watch shows or movies, you’ve benefited from Amazon S3 technology.

When you use S3 for podcasting, Amazon can store the data in multiple physical spaces. That feature gives you affordable redundancy and an uptime rating of 99.99%.

The durability rating for storage on Amazon S3 is 99.9% to the eleventh decimal.

Related: Best Podcast Hosting Platforms.

Amazon S3 Charges Based on Data Storage and Access

Many podcasting beginners look to platforms like Soundcloud to store their recordings. You get about three hours of free uploads, but then you’ll pay a monthly fee to have unlimited storage capabilities.

If you’re producing several hours of content per week, that approach might save you money over the course of a few years. For most podcasters, one episode per week is a good target. That’s why the cost profile of Amazon S3 is worth considering.

When you work with Amazon, they charge you just over two cents per month for the first 50 TB of storage you need. There’s also a free one-year free tier where 5 GB is available on S3 without cost.

If you use more data or storage services, you’ll pay more for your Amazon S3 access. Each region has different costs to consider, so it is important to review the stipulations for where you live to ensure the cost profile works for your needs.

Related: Host Your Podcast On Google Drive – Good Or Bad Idea?

What Are the Pros and Cons of Amazon S3?

Cloud-based storage is available through numerous providers. You can even choose to store your files on a server under your control. It all depends on how many files you want to keep online while using this service.

Every service has different pros and cons to consider, and Amazon S3 is no exception to the rule. Here are the points you’ll want to review before settling on this option for your podcasting needs.

List of the Pros of Using Amazon S3

List of the Cons of Using Amazon S3

Extensive documentation is available for podcasters to get started with S3, including videos, tutorials, and API reference guides covering each task. If you need any serious support because of problems encountered while using S3, Amazon requires a separate plan that bills independently of your cloud storage services.
It’s a friendly platform for developers, with SDKs provided in several programming languages. Uploading files to S3 is relatively affordable, but there are also costs to download your files if you need to use them as a backup.
Different storage classifications are available for user necessity. Glacier is for long-term storage, IAS (infrequent access storage) is self-explanatory, and the Standard option is for frequent use. It can be a challenging system for beginners to use because the web interface isn’t 100% intuitive. You’ll need to configure additional services to maximize its potential, including IAM.
Podcasters can easily integrate other products, including CloudFront or EC2, to expand their options. The complex pricing schema includes costs per request, retrieval time, and other factors that could make it cheaper to work with another provider.
Simple server-side encryption is available at a low per-key cost per month. S3 is like any other cloud-based service, so you’ll need access to the Internet or a data connection to upload or download your files.
New users receive a free 5 GB of storage each month during their first year using S3, minimizing the initial expenses of starting a podcast. Although the platform has extensive uptime and durability, there have been times when extended outages have occurred.
Multiple storage regions are available for your podcasting files, including Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas. Data in S3 is eventually consistent, but it isn’t visible in the object store until the entire output stream is written.

How Much Space Do I Need for My Podcast?

Most podcasts work well when the episode file is 200 MB or less. That’s why Amazon S3 is such an affordable solution. Even if you reach the high end of that recommendation, you can still store 25 full episodes within the initial 5 GB free tier.

Large download files can make it harder for some mobile users to access your content. Subscribers will even unsubscribe from a show when the files are too large.

If you record a podcast in MP3, around 128 kb per second, at 44100 Hz, you should be able to fit within the size recommendations for each episode file. That way, you can take advantage of the benefits that Amazon S3 offers.

Related: How To Get Your Podcast On Alexa