ShoutCast vs IceCast? : Want to know Which is better for your internet radio station?
Our recommendation is to Go for a ShoutCast Steaming solution if you’re a beginner to internet radio. ShoutCast is easy to setup where as IceCast has advanced features which might take time to learn.
Shoutcast and Icecast are two popular streaming media software. If you are planning to start your own internet radio station, then you need to choose any of these. The question arises then, what radio streaming server software should you pick to host your internet radio?
Our company has been providing internet radio hosting since 2018 and has more than 500 active clients using these two streaming media programs. From my experience, I am sharing the differences between ShoutCast and IceCast here.
ShoutCast vs IceCast : the Key differences
|Supports Mp3, AAC, AAC+ and NSV formats||Supports Mp3, AAC, AAC+, Ogg Vorbis,Ogg Theora and NSV formats|
|directory.shoutcast.com ShoutCast Directory||dir.xiph.org is the IceCast directory|
|No native support for SSL in the free version||Native Support to SSL|
|Provides support via community||Provide support via mail list|
|ShoutCast has powerful analytics with more details||IceCast also offers basic analytics|
|ShoutCast is easier to set up for beginners||IceCast has more advance features for the Pros|
What is a Streaming Server?
Before diving deep into the detail of the Web radio streaming server, let us first understand what a Streaming server is.
A streaming server is a dedicated web server, wherewith the streaming server software you can host and deliver multi-media content to the end-user. It also has the facility to run your multi-media contents live.
As per PCMag
A dedicated Web server or streaming server software in a Web server that delivers live or on-demand multimedia content to client devices. See audio streaming, video streaming, CDN, Adobe Media Server, Smooth Streaming, HTTP Live Streaming, and RealMedia. In contrast with a streaming player.
What is Streaming radio Server software?
Streaming server software is a tool or an application using which you can manage the content and stream to your audience. Usually, it’s referred to as an encoder program.
What is Shoutcast?
Shoutcast is the most popular streaming software solution to broadcast your internet radio station. Shoutcast started its journey way back in 1998.
A whopping fifty thousand internet radios are using Shoutcast streaming Software.
Shoutcast provides a service for Internet radio stations, allowing any newbie to begin broadcasting or any large publishing company to reach a wide audience.
You have two options to get started with Shoutcast, either you can choose Shoutcast Plan or You can Self-host your Shoutcast Server.
Shoutcast Server Software ( formerly known as DNAS) have two major releases,
Shoutcast DNAS 2. x:
The first version was released in 2011 and the New SHOUTcast version is 2.6. The latest version of Shoutcast has added lots of features,
- SSL support
- Improved scalability (up to 12,000 unique listeners supported)
- Improved ad support and revenue tracking
- Powerful analytics
- Even better stability for reliable streaming 24/7
- Improved processor management saves energy
- Better memory usage for stations with big audiences
Shoutcast DNAS 1. x:
This version of Shoutcast DNAS is no longer supported. The last stable version released was 1.9.8. If you want to add your internet radio station to the Shoutcast directory or you want to use HTML5 Audio Player, you must avoid this version of the Shoutcast server.
Shoutcast Radio Stream Pricing & Packages
Shoutcast has introduced 3 different packages to host your internet radio station.
Freemium, Premium & Business.
In the Freemium package, you can download the Shoutcast server for Free at $0. But you need a Shoutcast radio Server Hosting provider to host your radio online. But the freemium Shoutcast server comes with a few limited MP3 quality of 128kbps.
With Premium Shoutcast Server software, you have to pay a monthly license fee of $9.90 + Taxes for a single server instance. You need a robust Shoutcast server infrastructure to host your internet radio.
The Business audio streaming server software package starts from $14.90 + Taxes and it comes with many more features to run your internet radio stations.
What is Icecast?
Icecast is the popular open-source audio streaming server software. Icecast was released in 1999 is now maintained by Xiph.Org. Icecast was created by Jack Moffit & and Barath Raghavan in 1998.
Icecast supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, Ogg, Opus & WebM formats. With IceCast streaming media server software you can create an Internet radio station, a privately run jukebox, or many other things.
The latest version of Icecast is Version 2. And it is distributed under the GNU GPL, version 2.
Icecast Radio Stream Pricing & Packages
Icecast is a free server software for streaming multimedia. If you want to run Icecast, you need to have a radio Web server from any hosting provider.You can download the latest Icecast version from here, https://icecast.org/download/
Shoutcast vs Icecast – the comparison
Though there are lots of similar features in Shoutcast and IceCast, many differences also exist.
A few key differentiators are,
- End-user device compatibility
- Directory listings
- SSL Streaming / Security
- User Analytics
End-user device compatibility ( Codecs)
Shoutcast & Icecast both supports high-fidelity audio signal. Two popular technologies offer such compression, AAC & Ogg. AAC is used by iTunes and Youtube, where the Ogg is the open-source version.
Shoutcast supports MP3&AAC formats, and there are no other formats mentioned on the official website. Where the Icecast supports Ogg (Vorbis and Theora), Opus, WebM, and MP3 streams and there is no mention of AAC which is a popular format nowadays.
Directory listing is a great way to discover many new radio stations. If you own an online radio station then probably you would not love to miss the opportunity to advertise your radio stream.
Shoutcast & Icecast both offer a radio stream listing directory.
But the Shoutcast directory has better internet traffic and visibility than the Icecast directory. So many broadcasters prefer to choose Shoutcast to host their internet radio.
Though there are many internet radio listing directories available to list your radio stream.
SSL / HTTPS Streams
Using SSL is now a common and best practice for security concerns. Icecast offers native support to SSL protocols, whereas previously Shoutcast doesn’t support SSL. Though stream hosting providers can offer SSL Support to Shoutcast using a “reverse proxy”.
But in the Latest version of Shoutcast’s premium package, starts offering native support to SSL Protocols.
Listener Stats & Analytics
Shoutcast & Icecast Server software both offers basic analytics information. You will only get the current listener count for each stream. If you need more advanced analytics data then you may get it from the stream hosting providers.
Though if you consider the premium package of Shoutcast, it now offers Powerful analytics features. You can track ad impressions, live and historical statistics. Also, you can download the report.
If you compare Shoutcast and Icecast server’s performance. Shoutcast performs better than Icecast in overall performance.
Support plays a great role in the streaming servers. But Shoutcast and Icecast both don’t offer any commercial-grade support to the end-users. Shoutcast’s support is offered via the community forum. Icecast provides support with a mail list.
Benefits of using Shoutcast
- Shoutcast offers the best exposure with its radio streaming directory.
- The end-user compatibility of Shoutcast is great.
- Shoutcast is very easy to set up for beginners
Disadvantages of using Shoutcast
- You are allowed to stream only one feed with Shoutcast and you’ll not be able to edit the Shoutcast DNAS page.
- If you use the AutoDj feature with your audio streaming server, you have to manually deactivate the source when you would like to go live.
Benefits of using Icecast servers software
- You can simultaneously run many streams
- No need to manually turn on-off the auto Dj mode with live sessions
Disadvantages of using Icecast servers software
- Icecast directory is not much popular
- Icecast compatibility is lower compared to Shoutcast
Shoutcast and Icecast both have advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what is best for you. If you are just getting started, Shoutcast might be a suitable option since it is easier to use. In contrast, Icecast is more flexible and offers more features, so it might be better for more experienced users.