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Easy Digital Downloads: A WordPress Plugin for Selling Digital Products

Updated on  24th October

9 Min Read
Easy Digital Download WordPress
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Ecommerce has been booming in recent years and according to Statista:

Global retail ecommerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion by 2021.

This huge number only goes on to show the upward exponential growth of global ecommerce.

An ecommerce store can offer a diverse range of inventories including physical goods, multi-vendor store, and digital products. This article will focus on creating an online store for digital products like video, audio, PDF etc. using an easy to use WordPress plugin, Easy Digital Downloads.

What is Easy Digital Downloads?

Maybe you intend to sell either physical products or digital products (or both) online. Easy Digital Downloads will help you create an ecommerce store without needing to tinker with a single line of code. As you will see, the Easy Digital Downloads WordPress plugin was specifically created to sell all types of digital products with WordPress.

With the EDD plugin, you can create an ecommerce store to sell:

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Software
  • eBooks
  • PDF
  • Photos
  • Theme
  • Plugin
  • Any product in digital format

Easy Digital Downloads Features

EDD is a feature-rich ecommerce solution for selling digital products. Let us take a look at the exciting features of the plugin.

  • Add single or multiple variable price points for individual product
  • Add multiple files to the same product package
  • Use shortcodes to add purchase links anywhere in posts/pages
  • Offer discount codes
  • Display responsive product grids on the site
  • Unlimited file downloads
  • Download activity tracking
  • File access control
  • REST API
  • Full data reporting
  • Accept payment via PayPal and Amazon Payments (or upgrade to get other gateways)

Easy Digital Downloads Extensions

The EDD developers and EDD Community have developed more than 250 extensions for Easy Digital Downloads.

Setting Up Easy Digital Downloads

In this guide, I will be using Cloudways as my EDD hosting provider because you can quickly set up WordPress on DigitalOcean, Vultr, Google, Amazon, and Linode servers. The good part – you don’t have to worry about installing Linux, Apache/NGINX, MySQL, PHP, and other stack components on the servers. Everything is ready for you to start selling your digital products using easy digital downloads.

Now let’s move to the installation process.

First Thing First

Launch WordPress on your Cloudways server. If you are using a different WordPress hosting provider, ask them to guide you accordingly. Or, if you want to set up your digital store on a VPS, you may need to follow the steps to install WordPress on any Linux distribution.

Install Easy Digital Downloads Plugin

Login to your WordPress admin dashboard and install EDD plugin by navigating to Plugin → Add New and search for Easy Digital Downloads.

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Install and Activate the plugin.

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After successful installation, the Download tab will appear on your left sidebar.

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Configure Easy Digital Downloads

First, you need to check out the default Easy Digital Downloads settings by going to the Settings tab, where you can see the options like General, Payment Gateways, Emails, Styles, Taxes, Privacy, Misc.

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EDD General Settings

By default, Easy Digital Downloads creates some pages in your WordPress website for Checkout, Purchase Confirmation, Purchase History, and Transaction Failed. In addition, you can set your country and state/province by going Store Location. After setting up everything, click Save Changes.

Navigate to Pages → All Pages to check if all the pages are created successfully.

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Currency

You can set the default currency for your digital store. According to my settings, the default currency is the US dollars, and the amount is 10 (like $10). If you want the dollar sign to be present after the amount (10$), set the Currency Position to After.

In addition, you can also set the Thousands and Decimal separator.

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REST API

Easy Digital Downloads includes a complete RESTful API that retrieves store data remotely in either XML or JSON format. The API consists of methods for retrieving information about the products, customers, sales, and earnings.

Use the API if you know what you are doing, otherwise, leave it unmarked.

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EDD Payment Gateways

The next tab is the Payment Gateways. Here you can select the appropriate payment gateway for processing transaction on your WordPress website. In the free EDD plan, PayPal standard and Amazon are the available choices. In addition, EDD provides a testing environment to test out the payment gateways using a sandbox account. Once everything checks out, select the default gateway that the checkout page will load automatically.

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PayPal Standard

Next, you have a page to connect your PayPal account with the digital store. The process is pretty straightforward as each field is well-defined, and you can follow the documentation link mentioned in the description of each field for further clarification.

Emails

The next is the Emails tab. The good news is everything is already set up in this tab, and you only need to add the name, email, and images/logo of your product/services. Emails are automatically generated and sent out to all stakeholders including customers.

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Purchase Receipts

This is a Purchase Receipt email settings/template that a customer gets on every purchase. The good part is that you can customize it according to your requirements.

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Purchase Receipt (Default Template)

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As you can see, I have added the email subject, receipt heading, picked and mentioned pre-defined shortcodes in the email body.

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Here’s how the new receipt looks like:

I recommend using HTML and CSS in the text area to customize the email templates according to your store theme.

New Sale Notification

Just like the Purchase Receipts, you can configure the email sent out as receipts for sales. The New Sale notification offers an easy way of customizing the email customers receive at the end of a successful transaction.

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Style

The next is the Style tab. Here you can set your Button Styles.

Tax

The next is the Tax tab. Here you can add Tax Rates for specific regions.

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Privacy

EDD offers a simple solution to a common problem – asking shoppers to agree to a privacy policy before the transaction is finalized. If this is the case for your store, mark the checkbox with the caption “Agree to Privacy Policy”, and set it up accordingly.

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Misc.

The next is the Misc tab. Here you can see the sub-tabs for advanced settings such as Miscellaneous, Checkout, Button Text, File Downloads, Accounting, and Terms of Agreement.

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Checkout

You can configure the checkout settings here. As always, the best practice is to use HTTPS secured URLs on the checkout. For this, you need to add a free SSL certificate to your WordPress site.

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Button Text

You can customize the text on the checkout fields and buttons to suit the content tone of your store.

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File Downloads

This is a great option for stores that deal in digital downloads. Consider a scenario where the campaign allows for downloading 10 copies of a file. By setting the file download limit to 10, you can have complete control over the download process.

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You can also set up the download limit for individual products while adding/editing the product.

Accounting

This tab allows you to set and manage the Stock Keeping Unit (or SKU), an alphanumeric string assigned to individual products so that they can be price-checked and tracked across the store’s inventory process.

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Terms of Agreement

If you want to show an agreement to terms on the checkout page that users must agree to before purchasing, mark the checkbox where it says Agree to Terms and set it up accordingly.

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Let’s explore the other features offered by the Easy Digital Downloads WordPress plugin. Navigate to Downloads from the left pane on WordPress admin dashboard, where you can see a list of settings that can be easily configured.

Payment History

By clicking the Payment History option, you will see the history of every purchase done from your store.

Discount Code

In this section, you will create discount codes that you can distribute to increase sales on specific occasions. Just go to Download → Discount Code, and click the Add New button.

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Reports

The Reports section allows you to create reports about the sales performance of your store. The reports are pretty comprehensive and allow you to drill down to the basics of the sales performance of the store.

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Customers

The Customers tab offers information on the customers of your store. In addition to the contact details, the tab offers important information such as the number of purchases and the total spent on the store.

Creating Your First Product

To create the first product, you need to go to Downloads → Add New and add the product title, product description, upload file, product price, etc. When done, click the Publish button.

Lock EDD Download Directory

You might have observed a warning with text such as, “Download Files Not Protected on NGINX.” This warning is often visible on WordPress websites hosted on an NGINX server. The solution is very simple – You need to lock your digital download folder so no one can browse to it, and download the files for free.

Ask your hosting provider, and they will take care of it.

If you are managing a server by yourself, add the following line to the NGINX config file. Note that this line is valid for .zip files. To apply it to other formats, simply replace “zip” with the extension you wish to target.

Visit the plugin documentation for more details.

P.S: If you are on an Apache web server, you don’t need to worry about it. EDD takes care of it automatically.

Easy Digital Downloads on Cloudways

Page caching and ecommerce have always struggled to work well together. EDD has an extensive guide on setting up the caching rules. I recommend giving it a read and then utilizing Cloudways exclude URLs and cookies feature. EDD has created documentation to fix common problems that may arise.

Easy Digital Download is very much compatible with Cloudways. However, if you run into a rare difficulty, contact Live chat support or open a support ticket, and our agents will help you out.

Final Words!

That’s it! I hope you can easily set up a high-performance ecommerce store powered by the Easy Digital Downloads WordPress plugin. If you have questions or wish to clarify something, please do not hesitate to ask in the comment section below.

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Saud Razzak

Saud is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WooCommerce Hosting Platform. Saud is responsible for creating buzz, spread knowledge, and educate the people about WordPress in the Community around the globe. In his free time, he likes to play cricket and learn new things on the Internet. You can email him at m.saud@cloudways.com

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