A few days ago, I was perusing the internet looking for new sites that talk about podcasting and I tripped over this website that was talking about how you can host your MP3 Files on Google Drive. I jumped in Guns blazing ready to take out these charlatans for spreading wrong information. After my rant about being a violation of Google’s TOS and that it doesn’t support Byte Range Requests the writer asked a good question. Where is this information. So I was ready to drop some knowledge bombs on this guy. Then I learned something.
Can you host Podcast Files with Google Drive?
Google Drive does not support web resources that make use of server-side scripting languages like PHP.
But still I was surprised that you could share your files that publicly on a site like Google Drive. but then there was the Byte Range Requests. Google’s not going to support Byte range requests. So, maybe I could save some face still. So I uploaded an MP3. Shared that folder. Then opened the shared link.
Saw the file and started playing the promo. As the file was playing I checked to see if Google was doing byte Range Requests and sure enough they are! Google does actually allow for you to do this server function. So yeah you can host your files and share them but if you look at actual link it is not direct link to the file. So how is the writer of this article able to use this as an actual podcast host?
The steps are fairly simple.
- Allow a Google Script access to your Google Drive account. It will create a shared folder labeled “Podcast#########” the # is a string of numbers.
- Then you upload a file in that script.
- You then click a link to get the Direct link like https://googledrive.com/host/0ByneYj3oEthrTmdhNjgxX21ma0U/HayrollingPromo1.mp3 you then have to remember “https://googledrive.com/host/0ByneYj3oEthrTmdhNjgxX21ma0U/” or you will have a whole new folder you will have to deal with each time, you go to post a new episode .
So there is a lot of work to go into trying to host on Google Drive for free, and the work is just as difficult using Dropbox or even Skydrive.
Dropbox’s TOS reads as follows
You’re free to stop using our Services at any time. We also reserve the right to suspend or end the Services at any time at our discretion and without notice. For example, we may suspend or terminate your use of the Services if you’re not complying with these Terms, or use the Services in a manner that would cause us legal liability, disrupt the Services or disrupt others’ use of the Services. Except for Paid Accounts, we reserve the right to terminate and delete your account if you haven’t accessed our Services for 12 consecutive months. We’ll of course provide you with notice via the email address associated with your account before we do so.
Another way to put it is, if you cause to much strain on their servers guess who has lost all of files. So there are risks that are being taken by trying to skirt the system.
Should you host with Google Drive?
Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea. I take you, my ideal audience, seriously, and I have struggled to build a strong following. I wouldn’t risk losing to because a company, that has no problem shutting down a service (remember Reader), tomorrow. Not do I think Google is going to shutdown Drive? No they are making some money off of it. But all it takes is for people trying to share pirated software, and music to abuse the system and it is gone. I would rather apply my money to Libsyn or Blubrry
In closing you can do a lot of things you can chop a tree down with a sledgehammer and you can Use a hammer on a screw but it is not the best choice. With there being no free lunch, so you are paying in time and frustration when Google changes something and breaks your feed. In fact is you read the comments this is a common problem for many readers who did try this. I am not faulting them for trying to find a free solution to the hosting problem but I am finding out more and more, free is really expensive.
Listeners Email –
Just curious how you measure analytics on your podcast? Also, do you by any chance use podtrac/feedburner to give iTunes stats? It’s all so confusing!
Vanessa producer for Zestology
I started writing the response and as I kept going, I kept adding more information to the point that I asked if it was OK if I publish this for you to read. and Vanessa has graciously allowed me to share my response. So I wrote Using your Stats to find Your Listeners. Give Tony Wrighton and Vanessa I big hello and let them know you heard about them from Podcast Dojo.