Podcast Hosting Reviews: Firstory vs Captivate.fm

We receive a lot of questions from users about how Firstory matches up to other podcast hosting sites. We know that gathering a sufficient amount of information to make a decision on the best podcast hosting platform is not an easy task. In fact, it’s a big decision to make!

Everyone wants a hosting platform equipped with the right tools for growth and ease. Surely, you wouldn’t want to team up with a hosting platform that limits your podcast growth or is constantly involved with content ownership controversies

We intend to help you make this well-informed decision through honest, objective comparisons between Firstory and other hosting platforms. Learn why Firstory is the best Captivate alternative and determine which podcast hosting platform is better for you.

Firstory features against Captivate- at a glance

Click the button below to view a side-by-side comparison between Firstory features and how they match up against Captivate. Further analysis will be made on specific features later.

best captivate alternative firstory vs captivate

Pricing and Plans

What it means to have a Freemium option

Perhaps the most obvious difference between Firstory and Captivate is the pricing plan. Firstory is a freemium service. That is, our basic hosting plan is FREE forever, while our paid plans have free trials. On the other hand, Captivate does not provide a free-forever option for users, and all plans only include a 7-day trial. At Firstory, we believe that providing a completely Free Plan is the best way users can have an overall, fundamental, pressure-free experience in “feeling” the platform. This is especially important for beginner and aspiring podcasters who have no experience with hosting sites.

Are free trials enough to get a FEEL of the platform? No, not exactly. A free trial can give you a peek at the interface and functions available. However, you don’t really get to EXPERIENCE what it’s like to house your show on the platform for an extended period of time, know how customer service responds on a normal basis, or see how your show will fare along with your hosting provider.

A Free Plan, like what Firstory provides, can give you an overall view of what it would be like to host your show on the platform. The best part being the fact that since it is THE Free Plan, you can be assured that whatever you’re currently getting is the most basic pack; upgrades will only get better and not worse. On the other hand, a free trial alone like what Captivate offers might be the window of time when users experience the best service. Once this time is up, who knows whether the services offered (i.e. customer service) will continue to be as great?

Gain better customer value

Apart from the Free Plan, Firstory provides 2 paid plans, the Pro Plan being $15/month. Captivate, on the other hand, has 3 paid plans, the cheapest Personal Plan being $17/month. As a user, apart from just looking at the price, you must weigh out which features are important to you and which plan can give you better customer value. In short, take what you need and get the most out of your money’s worth!

Unless otherwise stated, succeeding comparisons will mainly be between Firstory’s Pro Plan and Captivate’s Personal Plan.

Firstory VS Captivate pricing and bandwidth

Core features

Core features are fundamental elements we believe should be available at all podcast hosting platforms. Sadly, not all hosting platforms offer the same package of features; and many do have limitations. For this segment, we will take a look at the core features common to both platforms and some notable differences. 

The common ground between the two platforms are as follows:

  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited number of podcasts under one account
  • Data analytics
  • Downloadable CSV stats
  • Listener demographics
  • Auto-generated podcast website
  • Embeddable players
  • Scheduled episode publishing

Storage represents how much space you are allowed on the hosting platform. Simply put, it is how much podcast episodes and other files you can upload onto the hosting platform within a certain amount of time. Both Firstory and Captivate offer UNLIMITED storage for ALL PLANS. Yes, that includes Firstory’s Free Plan!

Bandwidth is how much traffic your podcast can have within a certain timeframe. In other words, we can also refer to this as the number of downloads your show can have within a certain timeframe. Some hosting platforms measure and charge this by gigabytes. However, Captivate charges and measures their bandwidth by downloads; a commendable move on their part, considering that downloads are much more measurable for most users.

Captivate’s cheapest Personal Plan offers 12,000 downloads bandwidth spread and shared among all of the podcasts hosted by a single account. On the contrary, Firstory provides UNLIMITED bandwidth for ALL PLANS, including the free one! This means you can drive as much traffic as you want to your show!

Storage and bandwidth are both very critical aspects when it comes to podcasting. Limiting this is equivalent to limiting your show’s growth and potential. Why would creators have to worry about having “too many” listeners or uploading “too many” episodes? At Firstory, we let our beloved podcasters grow without restrictions.

Chapters and timestamps are built-in functions utilized by many podcast players. They allow listeners to get a glimpse of the episode’s content before listening and allow them to skip to sections of their interest. In Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Overcasts, and some other apps, these can be found when playing the episode. On other platforms such as Spotify, these are found as “clickable” text in the description box.

While Captivate allows users to place timestamps into their podcast website, they do NOT have a built-in online chapter editor, which can be a bummer for players integrated with this feature. Firstory users, on the other hand, are able to input the podcast chapters directly from Firstory Studio and can even switch to text mode for these chapters to automatically convert to the supported “clickable text” format. Learn more about the importance of podcast chapters through this article.


Distribution and Spotify Integration

Distribution refers to the process of getting your podcast to podcast players like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and the rest. These players are sometimes referred to as Distribution Platforms or Directories. Firstory and Captivate both support one-click distribution platforms, manual (external) distribution, and aggregator platforms. Both are also integrated with Spotify, providing one-click automatic distribution to this platform.

Firstory’s Built-In Music Library houses an abundant collection of original royalty-free music creators can download and use for free! Consequently, creators can also upload their own original music for other podcasters’ use. The attribution process has been streamlined to a simple copy-and-paste process to make it even more convenient for users to maximize this feature.

Mobile apps are becoming increasingly important and common through the innovations of digital technology. In an era of increased mobility, it was a huge shock for us to learn that a number of established podcast hosting platforms still DO NOT have a mobile app, Captivate included! Firstory provides Studio apps for both iOS and Android devices so that podcasters can monitor their podcast dynamics and feedback while on the go!

Why choose Firstory over Captivate?

Now that you’ve seen the commonalities and differences between Firstory’s and Captivate’s pricing, core features, and integrations, we take a step further to introduce certain innovative Firstory-exclusive features. These features are specially designed to help podcasters increase audience engagement and consequently promote podcast growth.

Voicemail Function

Firstory’s Voicemail allows podcasters to receive voice messages and audio recordings from listeners. A barrier we have identified and improved (when compared to other hosting platforms) is the sign up requirement. We found that people are less likely to participate when required to create an account. This is why Firstory Voicemail is designed in such a way that audiences DO NOT need to create an account to send in their voicemail.

What are voice messages for? There’s really no right or wrong way to use a function. It’s entirely up to you and your creativity to decide! These audio files can be played directly from Firstory Studio or downloaded and saved offline. They can even be edited and inserted into future episodes to spice up your content! Read this article to know more about maximizing Firstory’s Voicemail function.

Most hosting providers haven’t been able to catch up with this innovative tool. Does Captivate.fm have this function? Nope, but we sure do.

Cross-platform and Apple Podcasts Comments

Firstory’s cross-platform comment link allows listeners to leave their thoughts, ratings, and feedback just by accessing the link from any listening platform. How does it work? As a creator, you can insert this link into your episode description or share it via social media. When listeners get to this page, they can easily leave their messages. Podcasters can then VIEW AND REPLY to these message threads directly from Firstory Studio! Read more on Firstory’s cross-platform comment link here.

To top it all off, Firstory users can also view Apple Podcasts reviews directly from Firstory Studio! However, due to Apple’s strict guidelines, creators would have to go to Apple Podcasts in order to respond to these reviews.

Captivate users would have to gather audience feedback through third party platforms, social networking sites, or other external websites. These comments can often easily get buried under all the social media updates and notifications. A constant switching and jumping across social media platforms would be necessary to maintain the momentum. Most importantly, it will be extremely difficult to tell which episodes the comments pertain to. This is what the comment link is all about, and it can become increasingly helpful as your podcast grows.

Episode-Level FLink and Private Episodes

What’s FLink? This is the Firstory-exclusive solution (and upgrade) to regular bio-link tools such as Linktree and Link in bio. Check out this article to get a side by side comparison between FLink and Linktree.

With Firstory’s FLink, not only can you share and promote your podcast on a show-level, you can also do so on an episode-level. This means you can direct your audience EXACTLY to whichever episode you wish! You can even share unreleased episodes with your production team, family members, advertising partners, and other internal audiences. This article expounds on this further.

What does Captivate.fm have to offer? Captivate has a “Single Promotional Link,” which works similarly with FLink’s show-level dimension. Can Captivate’s promotional link share on an episode-level and unreleased episodes? As of this very moment, they haven’t come up with anything close to these functions.

Should I host my podcast on Captivate?

We’re NOT here to tell you that Firstory is better than Captivate. Of course, we have our own opinions on the matter; but we would never wish to impose our own opinions on creators. Instead, what we have done was simply give factual information as to how Firstory features and packages matchup against Captivate.

Each podcaster values and prioritizes different elements. Even Firstory users have differing thoughts on which among our features are the best. However, one thing to keep in mind is to keep an open mind on the endless possibilities before you as you make this huge decision. Does Captivate offer enough to give you your money’s worth? Only YOU can answer that.

Try Firstory

Still unsure? That’s perfectly alright! We are a freemium service, which means you can get an overall feel of Firstory through our Free Plan as long as you’d like or need. No monetary pressures and force-upgrades, we warmly welcome everyone to try out Firstory. Whether beginner or experienced, the platform is intuitive enough for aspiring podcasters to explore!

Ready to make the switch? We have prepared a simple step-by-step guide to assist creators with their seamless move from Captivate to Firstory.

Got some questions in mind? Feel free to join our Firstory Discord Community to talk to us and learn more about what we try to achieve at Firstory (no strings attached, leave anytime you wish!).

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