Both Shoutcast and Icecast are streaming servers. Both offer similar functionality. We'd recommend choosing Icecast over Shoutcast as
Shoutcast has some limitations regarding broadcasting in AAC format (maximum 128kbps at AAC). Icecast also handles switching between DJ's slightly better than Shoutcast.
Here we’ll discuss the differences between CentovaCast and SonicPanel and go through the pro’s and cons of each panel.
Both CentovaCast and SonicPanel offer Shoutcast v2 and Icecast server types and both have AutoDJ capabilities, the main differences are regarding how you control and administer the servers.
Heres a quick summary of our views on both panels.
CentovaCast is extensively used and is a rock solid, reliable panel but its interface and feature set is lacking and due an overhaul BUT it has great reporting and statistics.
SonicPanel, on the other hand, offers a great user panel with many features built in (players, SSL/HTTPS) and is much more user friendly BUT lacks the reporting and statistics that CentovaCast offers.
Both are very good, are reliable and offer the same server types and both offer AutoDJ. If you want a good feature set and a clean user-friendly interface and can live with limited statistics, then go for SonicPanel.
If statistics are important to you and and not too bothered about an older layout with slightly more limited features, then CentovaCast is the one to go for.
Both panels are available on our range of servers and infrastructure and maintained directly by us.
See a list of plans for Centovacast here and for SonicPanel here.
AutoDJ gives you the possibility of uploading your music content to our servers so you do not have to worry about broadcasting the music from your own studio
or premises. This is an ideal solution if you do not want to have a fixed studio or playout system to broadcast from. Don't worry, you can still go live any time you want with an AutoDJ plan
as all AutoDJ plans allow you to go live whenever you want, from wherever you want. When you're not live, your music files will just carry on playing until you want to go live again.
Your only decision regarding AutoDJ is how much storage you'll need to upload your music to our servers. This is measured in GB. Pick a plan that will allow you to grow your station.
You can use a number of packages to go live to your streaming server, the basic software will connect your encoding PC to your streaming server and you play music
from your PC. More sophisticated software packages will allow you to automate your station from your PC (Automation Software) which will typically come with a built in encoder.
To broadcast to your streaming server, you can use an encoder such as B.U.T.T. which can be downloaded free of charge from
here. B.U.T.T. is compatible with Windows and Mac.
PlayIt Live is an automation system that is available for Windows and can be downloaded from here.
Another part that you need to decide on, which applies to both types of packages (live and AutoDJ), is the bitrate. The bitrate is basically the quality of the stream. Bitrates typically range from 24kbps to 320kbps. We can offer all ranges of bitrates on our streaming servers. Basically, the higher the bitrate, the better the audio quality.
Talking MP3 technology, the standard bitrate is 128kbps, which is labelled ‘CD quality’ and this is the bitrate most radio stations use. If you have a talk-only radio station, you can easily go down to 64kbps. If we start talking about a newer technology, which is now pretty standard across devices and browsers, you could broadcast in AAC+ format.
AAC+ is a newer technology and allows for a lower bandwidth and improved audio quality, meaning that you can get pretty much the same audio quality in a 64kbps AAC+ stream as you can in a 128kbps MP3 stream. This equals cheaper streaming costs as one of the main factors in pricing is around the bandwidth used.
Our recommendation would be to have two streams, one 128kbps MP3 stream, which will be compatible with pretty much every device/browser and a second AAC+ stream running at 48kbps which you could use for mobile apps and other bandwidth sensitive applications.
Remember, if you broadcast at 320kbps, your listeners need the bandwidth to be able to listen at that bitrate and they may not like their mobile data being eaten up like that!
The next part applies to both types of plans, which is how many listener slots you need. Streaming plans are typically sold as packages with a certain amount of ‘listener slots’. There is often some confusion over this.
Slots refer to the maximum number of people that can tune into your station at any one time. This is not the maximum number of listeners per day, week or month, just the number of simultaneous listeners at any given time.
How to choose? Simple, start low and if you hit your limit, upgrade your package. Many people contact us claiming they want hundreds or thousands of listener slots and then they never get used… Start small, keep your costs down and grow with your audience.
If you reach your listener limits, or get close to it, just drop us an email and we’ll upgrade your package… We are also happy to downgrade too. We offer packages from 100 slots up to multiple servers with 1,000 slots each.
Just a word of warning on streaming server hosts that offer ‘unlimited’ listener slots… There is no such thing as 'unlimited'. Just bear that in mind! Nothing is ever unlimited, all servers have limits in terms of storage space and bandwidth.
This applies only to AutoDJ plans and refers to how much storage space you need to store all your shows, music, jingles and adverts.
As you’ll be storing this content on our servers in the cloud, you need to decide how much storage space you need and the pricing will reflect this.
The easiest way to work it out is to prepare all the music you want to play and upload into a folder and see how big that folder is,
add a little for some headroom and that’s how much storage space you need on our servers. A rule of thumb is that each audio track is around 4-5MB (on average) so, it you want to store 1,000 songs, you’ll need approximately 5GB of storage space on your AutoDJ plan (5MB is 0.005GB).
You can upgrade and downgrade your storage at any time.
If you need further help choosing the right plan, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at any time and we’ll be happy to help.
We guarantee 99.99% uptime of your streaming server over a rolling 30 day period. If we fall below this figure, we will credit you with the portion we go below this figure (never exceeding the value of your monthly package).
Our SLA/Uptime is monitored by a third party for transparency and can be viewed at any time using this link.
To make a claim, simply use the contact form and we'll reimburse you for any period we fall under the 99.99% guaranteed SLA.
autopo.st are pleased to launch a new service to complement our existing range of services – Premium Streaming.
The new Premium Streaming service falls under our “Enterprise Services’ and is aimed at professional broadcasters who require an ‘Always On’ streaming solution.
The service is based on a High Availability platform and includes realtime failover to alternate streaming servers in the event of a server failure. While all providers aim to provide 100% uptime, there will always be inevitable issues,
be it at a server level, a network level or any other potential component in the streaming chain.
Our new Premium Streaming service can provide Shoutcast v2 or Icecast streaming servers (live streaming only,
no AutoDJ) and the servers are continuously monitored for availability. If an issue is detected, it will switch to a backup server to keep your station on the air at all times.
You do not need to change anything to switch to the backup server in the case of a failure as all switching is performed automatically.
If the failure is at source (your studio or playout system) and the source disconnects, you can upload an audio file that will play while your stream is offline. Once you reconnect, your live stream will automatically resume.
Included in every Premium Streaming package are HTTPS links to your stream, ideal for platforms that require HTTPS URL’s (such as Alexa). You can also configure alerts to let you know if there are any issues with your stream and get alerted via email, SMS or voice call (or all three).
All packages are based on the industry standard Centova Cast panel which include listener stats and reports for royalty calculations and a whole load more rich features (more here).
If you’re serious about keeping your station on the air, can you afford to rely on just one server to stay online every minute of the day, 24/7, 365?
If you station and your audience demand no downtime, you need to look at a fault tolerant streaming platform with automatic DNS failover and keep your station on the air 24/7.
No more downtime due to server failures, server maintenance or network issues! Our Premium Streaming platform runs over multiple servers on multiple networks in multiple continents.
Contact us here for more info or click here to view our Premium Streaming packages.
I’m interested, give me more technical details!
When you sign up, you’ll be provided with your streaming server details (Shoutcast v2 or Icecast) which will point to our dynamic DNS platform which monitors our streaming servers 24/7,
every single minute of every hour of every day. If our main server should become unavailable at any time it will simply repoint to the backup server until the main server is back online again. This is called DNS failover.
You do not have to change anything at all as the operation will be virtually seamless to both your encoder/playout system and also to your listener. This is because the stream details both TO the server (from your encoder or playout) and also FROM the server (to your listeners) remains identical at all times,
hence the whole switchover will be practically seamless (it can take up to 60 seconds to switch).
Our main and backup servers are located on physically diverse servers and hardware, on different networks and in different continents, this way ensuring that either server will be available at any one time.
Why do you need DNS failover, are your servers not reliable?
Yes! All of our main servers are located in a TIER 2 datacenter and are fully redundant. Redundant servers, redundant networks, redundant power supplies and are monitored 24/7 by our team and have a 15 minute response time for any faults.
If a server fails, we have a redundant server in another server hall, so we’re already pretty covered for any faults. But faults do happen, power loss, network loss, loss of one or more network carrier. This is why we have built an additional level of redundancy by offering this extremely fault tolerant platform across multiple servers, in multiple datacentres on multiple networks and in multiple continents!
All autopo.st streaming server plans now come with HTTPS/SSL audio streams.
If your plan is via CentovaCast, your HTTPS link may not be visible in the Centova panel, but it is available using this link :
https://sx.autopo.st/proxy/account_name?mp=/stream where account_name is your account username (used to log into the Centova panel) and x is
the server number you are on. For example : https://s1.autopo.st/proxy/hitmusic80s?mp=/stream
If you are on SonicPanel, your HTTPS stream link will be shown in the SonicPanel control panel under the menu option 'SSL Connections/Play'.
The best (and quickest) way to get support is by using our ticket support system.
You may raise a support ticket at https://support.autopo.st.
We aim to respond to all support tickets within 24 hours, typically much sooner.