How to Sell your Digital Products, Securely and Easily

Sell stuff with WordPress

If you produce digital content that you want to sell, there’s a plugin which makes the process extremely simple. You could be looking to sell an e-book, imagery, or a WordPress plugin or theme for instance.

Install Paid Downloads

The plugin that will facilitate turning your site into a small online store is called Paid Downloads. Once you install and activate it, you can head to the settings page in the new menu on the left-hand side of the screen. From the settings page, you can set up your email templates, email settings, terms and conditions, payment processors (choose from PayPal, AlertPay and/or InterKassa) and the life of a download link (how long a download link will work for, from the time it is sent to the user).

Add new files

Paid Downloads - Add New FileTo add a file that you want to sell, click on Add File from your Paid Downloads menu. That will present you with a very simple screen to enter information about the file that you’re going to sell, including the product title, price and number of copies available (if you wish to limit it). This is also the screen where you will upload the file. If you have multiple files to sell as a single product, you should zip them up and upload the ZIP file as the product for sale.

Once you’ve added the file, you’ll be sent to a screen showing all of the files you’ve uploaded and the information about them. This is where you’ll find the shortcode for the Buy Now button to display the button to users, which will then enable them to purchase the product.

Add the shortcode to your content

So you can now either create a new page/post, or edit an existing one, and paste the shortcode into the content, which will then allow people to pay for the product. Once the payment is complete, an email will be sent to the user with a unique link for downloading the file.

This plugin is quite simple in concept, but is actually quite powerful. It’s a great way to securely sell your digital content, without going for a fully-fledged e-commerce solution.

So, what are you using it for? How do you like the plugin?

12 thoughts on “How to Sell your Digital Products, Securely and Easily”

  1. Konstantin says:

    While I really like the motivation behind the plugin, I do not like the plugin itself. Appart from creating three(!) database tables and not cleaning up after itself, it is very poorly coded with no regards to WordPress APIs and lacks even basic security measures (no permission or nonce checking and begging for xss attacks) :(

    1. Hmm, I never really delved into it that deeply. Have you experienced issues with it in the past? I must say that dissecting plugins in that fashion is a bit beyond me!

      1. Konstantin says:

        No, I never activated it.
        I just like to learn from good plugins, so I look at the code. :)

    2. @Konstantin thanks for the insight. The points you mentioned always concern me when looking at plugins. I like the idea behind the plugin as well, too bad the execution is poor.

  2. Carrie Dils says:

    WordPress Download Monitor might be a good alternative, but I don’t think it integrates with pay… http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/download-monitor/

  3. Great Care says:

    This looks like a great plugin, we normally use e-junkie for stuff like this. You didn’t mention what the pro version does, does the free version have some type of limit?

    1. The main difference between the two versions is that the Pro version supports more payment gateways – authorize.net and 2Checkout. So, if PayPal is goo enough for you, then Paid Downloads is the way to go.

  4. I have been developing a booklet on a system to store comic books and would like to charge something for it (it took awhile to develop and really works). So this is very interesting, Dave. I guess I might be willing to put up with suboptimal coding if it gets the job done.

    1. Well, since I wrote this, I have come to know and love Easy Digital Downloads. I highly recommend you check that out instead – I’ll be writing a review some time soon.

    2. Carrie says:

      Since my last comment, I’ve started using WooCommerce to do digital downloads. Maybe overkill for what you’re needing, Corky, but I’m enjoying it. It’s well-documented and integrates with multiple payment gateways.

      1. Yeah, that’s pretty robust. What I love about Easy Digital Downloads is that it’s not trying to be something it’s not – it’s just making selling digital content very easy. Watch out for my write-up of that.

  5. Julian says:

    I agree with @Konstantin, I am in process of installing Easy Digital Downloads into my WordPress website and after testing locally it seems to be exactly what I need. I also find interesting the community and addons marketplace that exist around this plugin and the integration with other solutions (newsletter, analytics, other payment processors, etc.). Definitely I will try this to sell some of our premium PowerPoint templates.

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