The first time I needed a simple WordPress solution to sell a few ebooks, I checked out Easy Digital Downloads. It had been out awhile, and although I was also dabbling in other eCommerce plugins, I was intrigued with the fact that it worked solely for downloads. Needless to say, I got hooked.
Since it had been almost three years since I wrote my first post on EDD, it was time to revisit and rewrite.
Easy Digital Downloads for WordPress. There’s a Reason its Name Is Easy.
The plugin is free on WordPress.org, but I recommend that you look into their bundles of extended features that bring a lot more usefulness and functionality to your online store. I am going over the free version here, but at the end of the post are links to pieces we have written on select functionality that can be added to Easy Digital Downloads.
Easy Digital Downloads Settings
We’ll start with some general settings that allow you to assign the necessary pages you will need. These pages are automatically generated but you can assign existing pages as well— and add the shortcodes.
Next you will set your store location and choose to allow tracking from EDD.
Currency settings are available here:
Easy Digital Downloads works with a wide variety of payment gateways. PayPal standard and Amazon Pay comes with the free version, but there are add-ons that allow you to extend your options (see the end of this post) and can be added as needed.
You can add your logo, name and email to all email notifications:
When a purchase notification goes out, you can customize the content for that one here. You see several template tags are available.
You get the same options for the new sale notification with the added fields to copy multiple email addresses and toggle off the admin notifications. This is quite useful if you as an admin don’t need to be notified, but someone else on your team does instead.
If you would rather have your theme dictate the style of buttons, checkout fields, etc., vs. the style from the plugin, you can toggle that off and on. I would suggest testing both to see which you like better.
Also, you can choose your default button style and color.
And then there are taxes. Yes, we can’t get away from those. As more and more laws are put in place for taxes on downloads, when you set this up, you might want to do your research or get a professional to help you.
And as with any policy, you must offer to erase any consumer information. You will set up specific data and indicate if it is anonymized or erased.
Lastly, in the settings, there are several under miscellaneous, including checkout, button text, file downloads, accounting and terms of agreement.
Miscellaneous gives you a few random settings that you may want to check out.
For checkout, you are able to force users to a secure checkout page, toggle login on or off, allow for multiple discounts and enable cart savings, which is kind of cool. It lets shoppers create temporary links to their current shopping cart they can revisit later or share with someone.
In addition to the button style I showed you earlier, you are also able to customize the text for your various buttons.
You will also want to set some control over your downloads.
The accounting settings this give you a chance to organize your inventory better since your products are not physical. You don’t find this option in a lot of the eCommerce plugins for downloads, and it can come in handy.
Creating a New Download
Adding a new download is not different than adding products on other eCommerce plugins or adding a post, the only difference being the options you have to display and sell the download.
You will start with the name and description of your download as you would any post type in WordPress.
You have a couple of options for setting your price. A single price:
Or variable pricing with a multi-purchase option mode so customers can add more than one item in a cart at the same time.
Next you will add the download files with the choice of a single product or a bundle, which is a collection of downloads. You will notice that you have the option of uploading the file directly there or entering the URL. You will want to decide if you want your downloads stored on your hosting server or elsewhere. In most cases, I would recommend cloud storage, such as AmazonS3.
If you would like any special instructions or notes added to the purchase receipt with the file, you can do that here:
Aside from those options, on the side you will see download stats, categories, tags, and reviews. You will also add your download image there and have access to some download settings that will override the global setting I showed you previously.
Using the Easy Digital Downloads free theme, this is what a simple download product page would look like:
Depending on your theme, if you are using a page builder or any other variable, it could look different on your site.
If you are using WordPress 5.0 or higher, you can also take advantage of the download block that can be added. With the new editor this allows you to easily add a download or downloads to any page or posts.
Simply search for the download block.
Once added, you can see the control you get over what you display on the post or page.
You can also generate discount codes for your downloadables. It gives you all the details you need to control the type of discount, included and excluded downloads, expiration dates and usage.
You will access to all your customers in a list and are able to view their profile, as well as make edits.
If for some reason the stats are not updated, you can have them recalculated.
Payment history would show all sales and where they are in the process.
Same with reports. Not much to show here but you can see the different reports that you can view by filtering them by time span.
Easy Digital Downloads Extensions for Added Functionality
As I mentioned previously, there are several extensions that you can get when you purchase an EDD bundle. This is just a sampling off the popular extensions; you can view all 150+ on their site.
Whether you are selling a handful of downloads, or hundreds or thousands, you cannot go wrong with Easy Digital Downloads.
Hear About the Landscape of Digital Downloads
If you would like to hear the founder of Easy Digital Downloads talk about the landscape of digital downloads, you can listen to your podcast here as I interview Pippin Williamson.