WordPress, as a powerful blogging platform, does offer webmasters the ability to manage file downloads via the inbuilt user interface. However, the native functionality can only serve basic file download needs, and you won’t be able to track and safeguard your file downloads from the WordPress backend.
In the market, there are a wide range of file download management plugins available for different download needs. At this place, we are more than happy to introduce a simple way to offer, manage and track your file downloads in WordPress by the use of a free plugin – WordPress Download Manager.
Why You Need to Track File Downloads in WordPress?
As you may notice, there are lots of websites offering resources to either the general public or to the registered members. Usually, there will a separate “Download” option for readers to know what is downloadable for them. Here, we assume that you are a retailer and plan to sell online digital products by putting the “Download” link onto your WordPress website.
If you are not tracking file downloads, the chances are that you won’t be able to know which goods are downloaded more and which items are more appealing to your customers. Given that the eBooks are much more popular than other things, you can focus your attention on eBooks later on. In the further, it is possible to create a download counter that shows the best seller for your visitors.
How About Using WordPress Download Manager?
As the documents and files management plugin, WordPress Download Manager empowers you to track file downloads and set security password for any of your downloadable files. More than that, the easy-to-use interface makes it much easier to manage and control your downloads. By the way, you have the ability to add downloadable files in any of your posts/pages with a line of shortcode.
To cover different preferences and needs as possible, this WordPress Download Manager plugin is included with more than 50 free add-ons. To name a few, you can make use of Google Drive Explorer add-on to save your downloadable files in Google drive. In the meantime, you can also take advantage of Mobile Apps to check your download stats and receive push notification whenever someone downloads.
Download URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/download-manager/
How to Use WordPress Download Manager on Your Website?
As above, we would like to walk you through how to use the above-mentioned WordPress Download Manager plugin to control and track your file downloads step by step. Now, let’s move on and get to the nitty-gritty.
Step 1 – Setup this Plugin in WordPress
At the very beginning, you are supposed to “Install” and “Activate” this “WordPress Download Manager.” As is introduced in this plugin installation tutorial, there are three different methods that you can use to enable such a free WordPress plugin. Whichever method you decide to use at length, you will take a look at this newly-activated “Download Manager” plugin within this “Installed Plugins” page as follows.
Step 2 – Manage Your Downloadable Files
Once done, there will be a new “Downloads” tab appearing on the left-side of dashboard menu. At this place, make a hit on the “Add New” option and you will be switched to a visual editor screen that is similar to what you have seen in writing a blog post. And then, you shall fill in your file name and description based on personal indulgences. If needed, you can insert certain images/pictures into this “package” as follows.
In the meantime, you would see an “Attach File” section that is used to add a new downloadable file on the right-hand side of this editing page. Here, you can either upload a file by using its “Select Files” dialogue or just drag-and-drop your resources onto this “Attach File” box. For better performance, the size of your uploaded file should be no more than 8MB. If everything goes right as expected, this newly-uploaded file will be displayed on the top of this section as below.
Note: Within this free version, this kind of upload is limited to one single file. And only in the paid versions like Pro and Business, you are allowed to select multiple files and compress them into .zip resources for download without any user input.
Step 3 – Configure File Settings
Then, scroll down and you will need to make advanced settings inside this “File Settings” area. As you may suspect, this “WordPress Download Manager” allows you to set the access level of your downloads from various aspects. To be more specific, you will be able to create a password restriction, limit the number of downloadable files and implement/hide a download counter.
Apart from that, you can choose to restrict your downloads only to registered members or open to all visitors. Of course, it is possible to change the “Link Label” of your requirement. Inside the next “Icons” tab, you can also make a selection of an icon that would be showed alongside your download link from the following options.
If you are done customizing all of those mentioned settings, you will need to click the “Save Draft” button to take effect. To check whether everything works fine, you should “Preview” this package in advance.
Step 4 – Offer Your File Downloads
Now that you have created a downloadable package (file), all you need to do is embed it into one post/page. To do that, navigate to “Downloads” > “All Files” and you will see each of your packages is associated with a unique shortcode as is showed in below. Here, you will have to copy this configuration code and paste it into any posts/pages where you wish to provide this downloadable product.
And then, take a preview of the post that includes this embed code and you will see a “Download Now” button along with an icon that you have selected early on. And when someone makes a hit on this link, the download of this video or PDF file will be initiated without any browser opening it. Here is an example of how your download button will look like.
Note: Alternatively, you are able to insert your download from the “Visual Editor” section directly. From there, it is possible to choose different shadow effects, display file description/ title and insert the downloadable file. Once you’ve done with all settings, don’t forget to click the “Insert into post” button.
Step 5 – Create a New Category
This step is optional, and you can let your visitors comprehend your file downloads better by adding a special category. To do so, you shall go to “Downloads” > “Categories” and create your preferred name, slug and description as below. By the way, there are various add-ons under the “Add-Ons” tab.