Guide: Best Free Web Pod­cast Players

I like to listen to podcasts when I’m on the go. Whether I go for a walk, commute to work or when I am exercising. Podcasts make for a great time filler. Not only do you spend the time, but you are also entertained and learn something new. How great is that? But sometimes I want to listen to podcasts when I have my laptop also. And usually I put my phone right next to the laptop and start the podcast. It would be better if I just put the podcast on my laptop – the speakers are a lot better. This can be done in a number of ways. If you have an app on your phone – Stitcher or PlayerFM, just search for their website. Or you can also get dedicated web clients. There is a lot to choose from here, so let’s get started.

1. The website of the podcast

It almost sounds weird saying this, but almost every podcast you listen to has a website where they have a streamable / downloadable archive of all episodes. So if you know what you want to listen to, just go to the website, choose the episode and start playing. What about iTunes ?: iTunes is not a website but a desktop app. If you have an Apple device, you probably have iTunes installed. It has a built-in Podcasts section where you can automatically download and play podcasts. Of course, since this is iTunes, the experience is far from the best. But at least it is integrated.

2. SoundCloud

Depending on what you’re listening to, your podcast may be hosted or available on SoundCloud. Gimlet Media’s talk show and podcasts are good examples. You can follow their accounts and new episodes will be shown up in your news feed.

3. ShortOrange

I recently came across ShortOrange but so far I like what I see. You create an account and then subscribe to a podcast. At this point, it only keeps track of the podcasts you have subscribed to and shows podcast episode lists (pulled from the RSS feed). Click on an episode to play it. That is it. There is no news feed for new podcasts, filters, or a saved podcast status. But for a free and decentralized service, ShortOrange isn’t that bad.

4. PlayerFM

PlayerFM is an Android app and there is also a web component. PlayerFM asks you to select a number of interests and generates a feed of podcasts for you. But you can also subscribe to individual podcasts. Going to the subscriptions page will bring up a news feed with all the latest podcast episodes. All your podcast data is synced between the internet and Android.

5. Stitcher radio

Stitcher is similar to PlayerFM in that they try to create an ecosystem of podcasts instead of keeping everything decentralized (like with RSS subscriptions). Since you can’t just subscribe to a podcast, you can run into problems. For example, Accidental Tech Podcast is not available on Stitcher Radio. But you will find most mainstream podcasts and public radio shows, including news shows, here without any problems. I also like Stitcher’s web player better than PlayerFM’s.

6. Cloud Caster

Cloud Caster is similar to ShortOrange and is intended for people who are not fans of the centralized approach of apps like Stitcher. With Cloud Caster, you can subscribe to any podcast with an RSS feed, track new episodes, refresh feed, play episodes and remember your position.

7. SmarterPod

SmarterPod is the weird one on this list. It is not a website but a Chrome extension. It lives in the extension bar and works exclusively on RSS feeds. Add RSS feeds for the shows you like and you can listen to episodes without visiting any websites. However, SmarterPod doesn’t seem to refresh automatically, you have to do that manually.

8. Cloudy website

Overcast is a free podcast app for iOS with a web component. If you’re using Overcast on your iPhone / iPad, just log in to the website (you can’t create an account from the web, you’ll need the iOS app to do that) and you’ll see all your podcasts right there. Overcast also supports Handoff, so you can seamlessly switch from podcast from iPhone to the web when sitting at your desk. The website is really barebones, but it works.

Bonus: Pocket Casts

Yes, we are talking about free web podcast players, but I couldn’t help but sneak these in. Pocket Casts web is the counterpart of the iOS and Android app, and it costs $ 9 to enter. But if you’re serious about listening to podcasts on the desktop, that price might be worth it. If you are not sure, sign up for the trial period of two weeks.

How do you listen to podcasts?

What is your preferred method of getting to podcasts on your phone, internet or the desktop? Share with us in the comments below.

Best Free Web Pod­cast Players: benefits


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