Top 8 Free (and Awesome) Web Podcast Players

Khamosh Pathak

I love listening to podcasts when I’m out and about. Whether going for a stroll, when in a commute, or when I’m working out. Podcasts make for a great time filler. Not only are you passing the time, but you’re also being entertained and learning something new. How great is that?

Web podcasts

But sometimes I want to listen to podcasts when I’m using my laptop as well. And usually I put my phone right next to the laptop and start the podcast. It would be better if I could just resume the podcast on my laptop – the speakers are a lot better. There are couple of ways to do that. If you’re using an app on your phone – Stitcher or PlayerFM, just look for their website. Or you can get dedicated web clients as well. There’s a lot to choose from here so let’s get started.

1. The Podcast’s Website

Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 4.46.19 pm_result

It sounds almost silly to say this, but almost every podcast you listen to will have a website where they’ll have a streamable/downloadable archive of all the episodes. So if you know what you want to listen to, just go to the website, choose the episode, and start playing.

How about iTunes?: iTunes is not a website but a desktop app. If you have any Apple device, you probably have iTunes installed. It has a built-in Podcasts section where you can auto-download podcasts and play them. Of course, because this is iTunes, the experience is far from the best. But at least it’s integrated.

2. SoundCloud

Depending on what you listen to, you might find your podcast hosted or available on SoundCloud. The Talk Show and podcasts from Gimlet Media are prime examples. You can follow their accounts and new episodes will show up in your news feed.

3. ShortOrange

ShortOrange

I’ve only recently come across ShortOrange but so far, I like what I see. You create an account and then subscribe to a podcast. Right now, all it does is keep track of subscribed podcasts and show podcast episode lists (pulled from RSS feed). Click an episode to play it. That’s it. There’s no news feed for new podcasts, filters, or a saved podcast state. But for a free and decentralized service, ShortOrange isn’t that bad.

4. PlayerFM

PlayerFM

PlayerFM is an Android app and there’s also a web component. PlayerFM asks you to select some interests and generates a feed of podcasts for you. But you can also subscribe to individual podcasts. Going to Subscriptions page will show a news feed of all latest podcast episodes. All your podcast data is synced between web and Android.

5. Stitcher Radio

Stitcher

Stitcher is similar to PlayerFM in that they’re trying to create an ecosystem of podcasts instead of keeping it all decentralized (like with RSS subscriptions). Because you can’t just subscribe to any podcast, you might run into problems. For example, Accidental Tech Podcast isn’t available on Stitcher Radio. But you’ll find most of the 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 it’s for people who aren’t a fan of the centralized approach that apps like Stitcher take. With Cloud Caster you can subscribe to any podcast with an RSS feed, keep track of new episodes, refresh feed, play episodes, and remember your position.

7. SmarterPod

SmarterPod

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

8. Overcast Website

Overcast

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 podcast from iPhone to web when you’re on your desk. The website is really barebones, but it works.

Bonus: Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts

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

How Do You Listen to Podcasts?

What’s your preferred method for listening to podcasts on your phone, web or the desktop? Share with us in the comments below.

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