Do you want to manage and control file downloads in WordPress? Perhaps you’d like to keep track of how many times a file is downloaded.
Or maybe you need to protect content so only registered users or customers can access it.
In this article, we’ll compare some of the best WordPress download manager plugins to track and manage your file downloads.
What to Look For in a WordPress Download Manager Plugin
There are several different reasons why you might want to use a WordPress download manager plugin. You may need to do some or all of the following:
- Lock a file so only registered users with a specific role can access it
- Lock a file so only paying customers can access it
- Offer a limited number of copies of a digital file
- Reorganize and tag files in WordPress
- Prevent bots or spammers from repeatedly downloading your files
- Track how many times a specific file is downloaded
- Track how many times a type or group of files is downloaded
- Provide downloadable files as part of a larger product, like an online course
It’s hard to find a single plugin that can do all the above, but depending on the use case, you may not need all these features.
In our comparison, we’ve picked the best WordPress download manager plugins to cover all the various scenarios and use-cases.
MemberPress is the best WordPress membership plugin on the market. It lets you easily sell digital downloads. You can also use it to sell subscriptions, lock content on your site so that only members can access it, and much more.
The MemberPress Downloads addon gives you advanced download management capabilities. It lets you upload multiple files, tag or categorize them, and list them using a shortcode.
You can use MemberPress to protect files as well as posts and pages. You can lock files, so that only users with the right level of access can view them.
One great feature is that you can protect files by category and tag, too. You can set up a rule to protect all files that you’ve assigned to a specific category or tag. This makes it easy to restrict files based on user’s subscription level.
You can also list your files by their category and tag, using MemberPress’ shortcodes system. If you’re offering a lot of different downloads, then this makes it really easy to organize them for your users.
MemberPress gives you plenty of flexibility, too. It lets you go way beyond just selling downloads to create a full membership site. It even integrates with email marketing services like Constant Contact, ConvertKit, and AWeber.
For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to easily create a WordPress membership website.
LearnDash is a very popular LMS (learning management system) plugin for WordPress. It’s easy to use and comes with many powerful features.
LearnDash lets you charge a one-time fee for your product or set up a recurring subscription. You can easily insert video and audio files into your course, making it a great way to sell these types of files.
Aside from using LearnDash to lock the content on your site, you can use it to accept payments, create online courses, make assignments and quizzes, and more. There are also dynamic forums built into LearnDash where your users can interact with one another.
LearnDash works well on its own for taking payments and offering protected content. You can also integrate it with several of the other tools on this list, including MemberPress, WordPress Download Manager, and WooCommerce.
MonsterInsights, the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It’s the best option if you want to track which files on your site are being downloaded the most. This is crucial if you offer a lot of free downloads and need to know which ones are proving popular with your users.
You can choose which types of files to track, such as images, zip files, PDFs, and so on.
You can also label your different files so MonsterInsights can show which categories are being downloaded the most. For instance, you could track “Free Reports” separately from “Printable Worksheets” in MonsterInsights.
You can see the file downloads report in your WordPress dashboard along with MonsterInsight’s other user analytics report.
For detailed instructions, see our tutorial on how to use MonsterInsighs to track file downloads.
MonsterInsights seamlessly integrate with all the plugins mentioned in this list, and we recommend installing it alongside any file download manager plugin that you use. The free version of MonsterInsights also comes with file tracking, but you can upgrade to the Pro version to unlock other powerful features.
Alternatively, you can use MonsterInsights by itself too. Simply upload your files in the WordPress media library, embed the link to the files anywhere in your posts, pages, menus, etc. After that MonsterInsights will start tracking the download stats for you.
WooCommerce is a popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress. You can use it to sell both physical and digital products.
If you want to sell digital downloads, you can simply designate your download as a product in WooCommerce, so the customer only receives access after paying for it.
You can also use WooCommerce plugins to add more features to your online store. For instance, you can use smart coupons features to run sales and promotions more easily.
WooCommerce offers several different download methods and types of protection for your files. You can choose which suits your situation best. Just like regular WooCommerce products, your downloads can have variations, too.
You can also use WooCommerce to create a product that has both a downloadable and a physical component. For instance, you might provide an online video course that comes with a physical workbook.
For more details, see our complete WooCommerce guide for beginners.
5. Easy Digital Downloads
As the name suggests, Easy Digital Downloads makes it easy for you sell digital products on your website. You can also use it to provide and track free downloads.
Your files will be automatically protected by Easy Digital Downloads plugin. You can track the date, time, and IP address of all purchases and free downloads.
You can restrict how many times a customer can download their files. You can also set the download link to expire after a certain period of time. These are both good ways to prevent customers from sharing their files with others.
You can integrate Easy Digital Downloads with lots of other services, including email marketing services like ConvertKit and AWeber. You can even integrate it with AffiliateWP to create a referral program.
Easy Digital Downloads has a built-in shopping cart system that lets customers buy several digital products at once. You can easily create a customer account page where logged-in customers can see a list of everything they’ve purchased.
File Manager is a really useful FTP like file manager. You can use it to edit files through your WordPress dashboard, rather than using FTP to move them between locations.
We always recommend using an FTP client or your WordPress hosting file manager where possible. However, there may be times when you want to quickly manage files through your WordPress dashboard.
File Manager lets you put your files into the WordPress media library, too. It creates thumbnails for all types of image files. It also has search functionality, making it easy to find your files.
With the Pro Edition of File Manager, you can also create private folders. You can set these so specific user roles or even specific users have access.
You can also use the Pro Edition to control what types of files can be uploaded and downloaded. You can even set up email notifications so that you get an email whenever a file is downloaded.
WordPress Download Manager is a great simple option. You can use it to manage free and paid file downloads.
You can set a password per file, or you can specify user roles that can have access to your files.
If you’re looking for a WordPress download manager to stop bots or spammers, then you can set a Captcha Lock or IP Block feature. You can also control downloads by putting a download limit on each user. This can help improve WordPress speed and performance.
You’ll also get download logs, so you can see the date, time, and location of the user that’s downloading your files.
When a user downloads a free file, they won’t need to go through the whole checkout process. With PDF and image files, WordPress Download Manager will give the user the option to open the file in their browser or download it.
You can easily give files a price by using the free “Premium Package – Complete Digital Store Solution” addon.
There are also a number of paid addons for WordPress Download Manager. These include BuddyPress integration, a User Review addon, a Download Limit addon, and more.
Final Thoughts: Best Download Manager Plugin for WordPress
Choosing the right download manager plugin can be tricky. All of the plugins on this list are great options, depending on how you want to manage your downloads.
If you’re going to sell downloads and want to restrict access to members, then MemberPress is best download manager plugin for you. It’s comes with all the powerful features like protecting files by categories and tag, email marketing integrations, payment gateways, etc.
If you simply want to track downloads, then MonsterInsights is the best plugin for you. It’ll provide you with all the stats you need. Simply upload the files in your WordPress file manager, embed it in a post, and MonsterInsights will show you the download stats.
We hope this article helped you learn about the best download manager plugins for WordPress. We also recommend going through our experts’ list of must have plugins for business websites.