Podcasting refers to digital audio or video files that are episodic; downloadable; program-driven, mainly with a host and/or theme; and convenient, usually with an automated feed with computer software. The noun podcast can be likened to traditional publishing models such as books or magazines, as opposed to radio, which employs a live stream. In that sense, podcasting is also different from streamed webcasting and direct download. Audio files can be syndicated using RSS.

In order to publish a podcast, a person must create audio content and post it on their website for listeners; then create an RSS feed or edit an already existing one, including a link to the audio file in the "enclosure" field of an RSS 2.0 feed, uploading it to the website. To listen to that same podcast, people should download a news aggregator or RSS reader that supports podcasting, or sync a wireless device to a computer; enter the URL of the podcast feed into the news aggregator. Once new items appear in the aggregator, the user can review the podcast's description and listen to those which interest him or her. This process can be programmed so that new files are downloaded automatically, and stored locally on a computer or other device ready for offline use, providing simple and convenient access to the content.

In the case of video podcasts, or vodcasts, they combine the audio element of podcasting with visual media. This technology provides a forum for filmmakers and artists, vloggers (video bloggers), and the like, who film a video; upload it to a computer; may or may not use editing software to add special effects and graphics or correct any problems; decide if the video will be streaming or downloadable, and use a video encoder to format it in a manageable file size for online viewing; find a host that can accommodate the video's bandwidth; and create an RSS feed if the host does not have one.

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