What is Icecast? Icecast servers are the most diverse open source software for streaming radio broadcasts online. Even though not the most popular, candidly, Icecast servers can run circles around Shoutcast servers or any other streaming media out there. Read more on that topic in our Shoutcast versus Icecast article.
The Icecast configuration file itself is completely comprehensive: listener authentication, burst on connect, queue size, mountpoints, fallbacks, master relay, etc. Installation is somewhat difficult due to dependencies. Yet, then again, that’s why the compatibility of so many audio formats play nice: MP3, AAC, WebM, Ogg, Theora, Real, the list goes on and on, you name it. Of course, as an Icecast server hosting provider, ROCKHOST.COM deploys Icecast servers for the end user.
The community is great too. Contacting the developer(s) is as simple as reaching out the forum. I don’t know how many problems I’ve solved thanks to its moderators and members.
Icecast servers are continually being improved by a proactive web dev. Icecast isn’t so much of a product as it is a labor of love. Please donate.
How to Icecast? Well, ROCKHOST.COM welcomes you to our Icecast hosting family, where, Icecast server hosting experts help guide newbies every day.
Icecast hosting packages start for as little as just $9.99 per month.
I’ll never forget the methodic tick tacking and pecking of my Father’s electronic typewriter each morning as I woke before school. As the son of a French and English teacher I was planning to inherit these skills. But, apparently, I’m not a writer. Or, not much of one anyway, because I haven’t checked in on this blog for a half year easy. The goal was to amp up ROCKHOST.COM’s social media and SEO strategies with keyword rich content like “band web hosting” and “shoutcast server hosting”, but I’m done chasing Google search down the rabbit hole. It is what it is. You need a spark, a hit, popularity. That’s what lands first page listings, plain and simple. And should, I suppose, but that doesn’t help me, the little guy.
Instead I wisely chose to take a break and come back fresh. The Be Heard newsletter is practically dead. Then again, a little revival never hurt anyone.
When consuming cecastnternet content, no one wants to go to a website that is not efficient. As a heavy Internet user I often come across streaming audio and video websites that offer the service I desire but I when hit the play button I see buffering and the spinning wheel of death. This is one of the most frustrating times for me as I purposefully bought the high speed Internet access from Time Warner Cable in my area. I can download at 50 mbps and upload at 5 mbps so there is no reason I should see a website slow to download audio or video content. Fortunately, for websites that serve streaming audio or any type of media there are Shoutcast server hosting options available at ROCKHOST.COM. Avoiding downtime or buffering could help a website increase viewership tremendously.
Internet Users Love The Music and Radio
When I was in college in the early 2000s I can clearly remember downloading WinAMP and trying to find music online. There were very few band websites. Music websites that would allow you to play music straight from a web browser were non existent. This was back in the day of Netscape Navigator and Webcrawler. Google, Apple and Facebook were not players yet. In fact, Google was just getting off the ground and Facebook wasn’t even an option. Apple was digging out of the brink of bankruptcy and the Internet was a free for all.
Things have changed drastically in the last decade. Many bands recognize that they need to promote some of their music online through a streaming option. When looking for the right type of hosting or servers many of these bands will seek out Shoutcast servers as it will allow them to avoid dead air or downtime. If a potential fan finds a band’s website and they cannot listen to the music it is comparable to going into a movie theater and none of the movies will actually roll film. Would customers walk into a Target and be pleased if they couldn’t buy a pack of chewing gum? These are problems that can be alleviated with the right type of hosting and customer support.
Hosting a Website with Music and Streaming Audio
A novice webmaster may go online and search for the cheapest possible hosting to get a website up and running. There are many common players in the industry but they offer a variety of products that may not be suitable for a website that has streaming audio files. Rather than taking the chance on a cheaper hosting plan it is a very wise decision to do the research up front. Having downtime on a website means that fans will be unable to listen to their favorite songs. Most Internet users have been on YouTube or another streaming video service when it does not work well. It can be very frustrating and we, as users, miss out on the experience of enjoying the tune or the moment.
To avoid this downtime it is suggested that webmasters look at the best options available with Shoutcast hosting. There are services available and finding the best option could be the difference in growing a fan club by 50% or losing fans. There are millions of websites that have irked potential fans so much that they will seek other options. From personal experience, I would rather go to a very well done, well hosted website even if the music is not the best. At least I can listen to an entire song or an entire album without having to see my browser jump to different parts of the song solely because the website server is not up to par.
It is important to note that bands play a big part in Shoutcast hosted websites but radio stations can benefit from this type of service. Year in and year out millions of diehard sports fans seek out radio broadcast options that are available online. This is especially true in small towns where the sporting events are not aired on TV. As consumers of content, Americans have accepted that it is now easier to find streaming audio or radio options online rather than bringing out the old fashioned radio and looking on the AM or FM dials.
Sports websites have realized this and they are willing to invest a little more money to gain access to premium hosting services. If there are any type of lengthy audio files on a website it is best to look at Shoutcast server hosting.
ROCKHOST.COM also offers a “Band Hosting” option that will make life much easier on a webmaster that wants to stream audio files. There are only so many hours in the day and band members and radio stations do not want to have to deal with the hassles of a website that is providing dead air rather than amazing music. These hours of the day should be put into creating the best music possible, not having to call customer service of a hosting company because a website is having issues handling the work load.
The Next Step
By contacting ROCKHOST.COM you will find there are quite a few options that will help fit your needs. To make life easier on bands and webmasters RockHost offers an option to submit a ticket and check server status. Being an experienced webmaster, I can assure you that some of hosting websites will force you to just wait out an issue. This is not the case at RockHost. There is also a pre sales contact form that will allow potential customers to ask any question that might be of importance. Rather than frustrating fans it is wise to get a server that will hold up during those peak traffic days.
First off, I must confess that I’m partial to Icecast servers. Thanks in part to the bias AOL’s attorneys at law bred after harshly taking ownership of a domain name from my possession, that includes the trademark, Shoutcast. I might add that Shoutcast 2 servers comprise of mountpoints, a long time Icecast server hosting configuration, but hey, I guess the AOL legal team on retainer decides to neglect that minor detail.
While AOL bought out the original Shoutcast creators, Nullsoft, for millions, Icecast is still the pioneer with its head hacker and code warrior, Icecast forum king, Karl Heyes. Icecast servers remain a free open source. You can donate to the development of Icecast servers on GitHub. Shoutcast servers require an authentication key and small mp3 fee.
Ok, what about functionality, you ask? Get to the point, you say. Well hell, Shoutcast v2.0 is still in beta. So, I would be careless to go too in depth, but comprehension tells me Icecast v2.4.1 is far more elaborate. Don’t get me wrong. Shoutcast v1.9.8 is solid. As a matter of fact, generally speaking, we suggest the text book basics of Shoutcast to newbies over the complexity of Icecast to old school streamers. Both are made easy through our streaming control panel, Centova Cast. Try the demo.
Last but not least, a comparison of Auto DJs would certainly land on the Ices side of the spectrum. Sc_trans is not hard to crash. Additionally, Ices is compatible with Shoutcast. Sc_trans does not return the favor.
So, that’s my two cents, which apparently I’m lucky to still own. That and the shirt on my back. Hopefully big brother won’t be reading this Shoutcast versus Icecast article anytime soon.
Securely process credit cards as an Internet merchant.
It is pretty rough having the “Man” constantly in your back pocket as a vendor or merchant of any kind. Yet, the fees increase dramatically for Internet businesses who don’t use terminals and never see the actual plastic. Sure, it is true, the risks are higher, but when I see that debit post on the first of each month in our DBA account flames of fire shoot across my forehead and cheeks.
Depending on the gross volume of transactions you process each month, the payment gateway you choose can cost or save you money. Oh, and the paper statements you receive? Most of them look like some type of hybrid calculus. The big companies purposely do their best to hide what they take. Why? Because it does feel like they are a little dirty, taking a small businesses hard earned cash.
In my ten years of experience as an Internet merchant I have found only a few payment gateways or credit card processing services (out of dozens) who shoot straight. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t exactly like seeing money go the wrong way out of our bank account. But then again, I know it is at a fair rate from a company that I can depend on. Whom, I have called before about an erroneous charge or fraud attempt. At the top of this list is a highly reputable company known as Authorize.net.
What is Shoutcast? Shoutcast is a free open source software. As a Shoutcast hosting provider ROCKHOST.COM deploys the D.N.A.S. (Distributed Network Audio Server) to stream data to the masses. Shoutcast server hosting is a necessary evil, cough a’hem, service, because rarely, if ever, can an ISP compensate the average Internet user with a large enough amount of data transfer to serve hundreds or even thousands of listeners simultaneously. The bandwidth pipe to our Shoutcast hosting servers is a full 1 Gbps uplink. Most companies like Comcast, Cox, or AT&T are unable to sustain a single Mpbs of upstream, a one thousandth of our Shoutcast server connectivity.
Shoutcast Hosting is a platform that connects professional and amateur online broadcasters alike with an audience. Shoutcast servers act as a common hub where listeners tune in to DIY, pirate, and commercial radio stations. The Shoutcast Yellow Pages directory will automatically index a Shoutcast streaming server. A listing on Shoutcast.com is searchable by title, artist, genre, etc. Gain exposure by selecting the public setting in our state of the art Centova Cast control panel.
Bounce between local Shoutcast server side streaming via an Auto DJ, or a remote source through the Winamp DSP plugin or any other similar streaming software: Nicecast, SAM, VLC, whatever. Both options have pros and cons. While the Shoutcast Auto DJ has some function limitations, the chance for buffering or skipping between the remote source and Shoutcast hosting server itself is eliminated. The less distance or number of hops that a signal has to travel negates potential bottlenecks or intermittent networking issues. A mix of the two choices can also be mutually beneficial. For instance, archive on demand content, schedule general rotation, but then go live for a regular show or big event.
The first version of Shoutcast is a proven stable release originally written by Tag Loomis (love the nickname), Tom Pepper and Justin Frankel in the late nineties. After more than a decade version two is the new comer packaging many fresh features including Icecast type mountpoints into the beta release. However, one catch, a small fee is required for mp3 streaming. Also, a free authentication hash key is a necessity for all public listings.
Off and on we hear the argument for or against unlimited Shoutcast hosting. Now, this marketing terminology, as well as the buzz word “cloud”, can have many different meanings. Do the research. Technically though, no, unlimited Shoutcast hosting or web hosting of any kind does not exist. It is literally too good to be true. However, from time to time you may see us pitch promotions introducing unlimited shoutcast listeners. The scalability for unusually high peak times is an important element to consider.
How to Shoutcast? Well, ROCKHOST.COM welcomes you to our Shoutcast hosting family, where, Shoutcast server hosting experts help guide newbies every day.
Shoutcast hosting packages start for as little as just $9.99 per month.
Web hosting in Mom's basement since 1999, ROCKHOST.COM, Inc. became a do-it-yourself start up company during the very infancy of the Internet. Ever evolving, now, ROCKHOST.COM, Inc. is a legal incorporation. Read the back story (coming soon).
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