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Easy Digital Downloads: A WordPress Plugin for Selling Digital Products

November 11, 2019

11 Min Read
easy digital downloads
Reading Time: 11 minutes

Have you ever thought about creating an ecommerce store where you can sell your digital and downloadable products exclusively? Do you want to know what the best WordPress ecommerce plugin is for that purpose?

Some plugins are suitable for selling digital products, such as ebooks, photos, videos, or any other type of media file, while others are suitable for selling physical goods that require shipping and inventory management.

There are also ecommerce plugins that work for both cases but my focus is on selling digital products, so I will choose the best plugin, EDD, popularly known as Easy Digital Downloads. Let’s begin reading about it!

Easy Digital Downloads Plugin

edd plugin

If you are a musician, a writer, or a digital content creator who wants to sell digital products, giving your customers the opportunity to download your content after successful payment, then Easy Digital Downloads is for you!

Unlike other WordPress ecommerce plugins, Easy Digital Downloads offers an experience designed specifically for selling digital products. It comes with two different versions: free and paid (plans ranging from $99 to $499 per year).

edd plugin pricing

The free version of the EDD plugin supports PayPal Standard, Test Payment, and Amazon Payments. With free or premium extensions, you can also integrate it with other platforms to extend your ecommerce store’s functionality.

More than 200 themes and extensions of Easy Digital Downloads adapts perfectly to your needs. If you only sell digital products, the EDD plugin will be your best option. It is also very easy for a developer to make changes to the codebase.

At the time of writing this article, Easy Digital Downloads has more than 60,000 active installations. A feature-rich and powerful plugin has obtained positive ratings of 4.5 out of 5 from WordPress users who have already tried it.

Features of EDD Plugin

Let’s talk a little about the most important features of Easy Digital Downloads. However, these features are not limited to the following:

Free to Use

Zero transaction fees, powerful features, and a setup process that only takes only a few minutes to make it a great choice for ecommerce stores of all sizes.

Simple and Intuitive

Selling your digital downloads will be easy right from the start. You will not find any difficulty adding products and viewing them. It is easy to use even for beginners.

Third-Party Extensions

There are hundreds of extensions available for Easy Digital Downloads. You will have a wide choice for gateways, accounting, analytics, marketing to add additional features.

Using extensions such as ConvertKit, Software Licensing, EDD Message, and MailChimp, you can add massive features to your EDD-based ecommerce store.

Shopping Cart

It helps your customers buy multiple digital products with just a few clicks. The system will also provide you with a complete record of the products that customers add in the cart.

It works with AJAX, so your users don’t even need to refresh the page. It updates and displays the values immediately as customers add new products to their cart.

Discount Codes

The different formulas to offer discounts on digital products is surprising. It will help you convert leads into sales in a fluid and continuous way.

Reporting System

It has a powerful reporting system that not only helps keep track of customers’ purchase history but also shows your earnings, sales, and analytics of your ecommerce store.

The integrated system displays through graphs, statistics and data tables. You can even generate customized purchase invoices and export all the data in the CSV format.

Themes Compatibility

It works with almost all WordPress themes. However, if you haven’t chosen any theme yet, Easy Digital Downloads has themes built specifically for the plugin (see full list).

Always Up-to-Date

The developers of the EDD plugin keep it continuously updated to ensure compatibility with the latest versions of WordPress, so it enjoys an excellent reputation and credibility.

Installing Easy Digital Downloads

Log in to your WordPress admin; go to Dashboard → Plugins → Add New → search “easy digital downloads” → select Easy Digital Downloads → click Install Now.

install edd plugin

In the next step, click the Activate button.

activate edd plugin

When you install and activate the plugin, you will notice the Downloads tab in your WordPress Dashboard (if you don’t find it, please refresh your page).

edd plugin in dashboard

By default, Easy Digital Downloads creates some pages to your WordPress, such as Checkout, Purchase Confirmation, Purchase History, and Transaction Failed. You can check these pages from Dashboard → All Pages.

The next thing is to configure the basic settings of the Easy Digital Downloads plugin.

Easy Digital Downloads Settings

To configure the Easy Digital Downloads plugin, go to your Dashboard → Downloads → Settings. By default, you will see the following screen that has seven tabs for different settings: General, Payment Gateways, Emails, Styles, Taxes, Privacy, and Misc. Let’s see each tab in detail.

easy digital downloads settings

Note: When you change any field, please click Save Changes on each page.

1. General

The first tab is for General settings and it has three different subsections: General, Currency, and API.

General

It has been further categorized into three sections. You can skip the Pages section as it is. In the Store Location, select your Base Country and Base State/Province. In the end, there is a checkbox for Allow Usage Tracking. If you check that, Easy Digital Downloads will anonymously collect your website’s data – better leave it unchecked.

edd plugin general settings

Currency

By default, Currency is set to US dollars ($) and the Currency Position is Before – $10. You can change them from the drop-down menu of each option. Besides, there are Thousands Separator and Decimal Separator – you can represent them with (,) or (.).

edd plugin currency

API

It includes RESTful API that retrieves data remotely in either XML or JSON format. The API consists of methods for retrieving information about the products, customers, sales, and earnings. Use EDD’s API if you know what you are doing otherwise leave it unmarked.

edd plugin api

2. Payment Gateways

The second tab is for Payment Gateways settings and it has two different subsections: General and PayPal Standard.

General

In the General section, you can select your Payment Gateways and Payment Methods your ecommerce store support will support. In EDD’s free plan, PayPal Standard, Test Payment, and Amazon are the available options.

edd plugin payment gateways

In addition, EDD provides Test Mode to test out the payment gateways using a sandbox (test) account. Once you check your settings, select your Default Gateway for your checkout page.

PayPal Standard

Enter the required details to connect your PayPal account to Easy Digital Downloads. The process is simple and is well defined. You can also follow the documentation link mentioned in the description of each.

edd plugin paypal standard

3. Emails

The third tab is for Emails settings and it has three different subsections: General, Purchase Receipts, and New Sale Notifications.

General

For the email delivery system, you can Connect SendWP to Easy Digital Downloads. If you want to go with a default option, upload your logo; enter the sender’s name (From Name), and the sender’s email (From Email).

edd plugin emails

Purchase Receipts

This section lets you customize the purchaser’s receipt and email. Enter your Purchase Email Subject, Purchase Email Heading, and Purchase Receipt. You can also use template tags available right after the text area.

edd plugin purchase receipts

For example, I use {fullname} and {subtotal} for my email and click Preview Purchase Receipt.

edd plugin email template

Here’s how my receipt looks like:

edd plugin email sample

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

New Sale Notifications

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

edd plugin new sale notifications

4. Styles

The fourth tab is for Styles settings so that your website can have an attractive appearance. You can enable and disable different styles of the plugin from here.

The first option is a checkbox to Disable Styles. Check this box to disable all the styles included in the plugin, so you can add your own styles using CSS.

Then we have a separate section for buttons. Here you can see two different configuration options, Default Button Style and Button Default Color.

edd plugin styles

5. Tax

The fifth tab is for Tax settings. You can configure tax percentages depending on your base country, the appearance of taxes in store, fallback tax rates, prices entered with the tax rate, and tax rates during checkout.

edd plugin taxes

6. Privacy

The sixth tab is for Privacy settings and it has two different subsections: General and Export & Erase.

General

EDD plugin offers a simple solution to let customers agree with the privacy policy before the transaction. If this is the case for your store, mark the checkbox with the caption Agree to Privacy Policy, and set it up accordingly.

edd plugin privacy

Export & Erase

When a customer wants to purchase anonymously, these are the actions you can configure for payments associated with their status.

edd plugin export and erase

7. Misc

The seventh tab is for Mis settings and it has six different subsections: Miscellaneous, Checkout, Button, Text, File Downloads, Accounting and Terms of Agreement.

Miscellaneous

This section allows you to enable the following settings:

  • Enable Redirect to Checkout when a user adds products in the cart.
  • Adjust Cart Item Quantities when adding downloads to the cart and while viewing the checkout page.
  • Enable Debug Mode to see debug log in Downloads → Tools → Debug Log.
  • Check Remove Data on Uninstall? box if you want EDD to remove all your data.

edd plugin miscellaneous

Checkout

You can configure your checkout page settings from this section. The best practice is to use secure URLs (HTTPS) on the checkout page. For this, you need to add an SSL certificate to your WordPress site.

edd plugin checkout

Button Text

You can customize the text on the checkout fields and buttons to match the aesthetics of your ecommerce store.

edd plugin button text

File Downloads

This is a great option for stores that deal in digital downloads. Consider a scenario where a campaign allows for downloading 24 copies of a file. By setting the file download limit to 24, you can have complete control over the download process.

edd plugin button text

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

Accounting

This section 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.

edd plugin accounting

Terms of Agreement

If you want to show an agreement to the 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.

edd plugin terms of agreements

This is all when it comes to basic settings of Easy Digital Downloads.

Other Settings of EDD Plugin

Let’s see the other settings of Easy Digital Downloads. Go to Dashboard → Downloads, where you can see a list of settings and configure them easily.

edd plugin other settings

Payment History

When you click the Downloads → Payment History tab, you will see the history of every purchase including the details that customers used while checking out. Besides, you can filter all entries by start/end data and payment methods.

edd plugin payment history

Customers

Go to Downloads → Customers to all your customers’ data including their names, primary emails, purchases, and time spent on your ecommerce store. You can also search for a specific customer using the Search Customers button.

edd plugin customers

Discount Codes

Go to Downloads → Discount Codes, and click the Add New button to add discount codes. This tab also lists all existing discount codes sorted chronologically along with their code, amount, uses, start date, expiration date, and status.

edd plugin discount codes

Reports

You can access reports from the Downloads → Reports tab to see the earning of your store. These reports are comprehensive and allow you to drill down to the basics of sales performance.

edd plugin reports

Easy Digital Downloads Tools

The Tools section contains some additional settings called General, API Keys, System Info, and Import/Export. I explain each tab one by one in detail.

General

You can block any customer that is creating affecting your store. Simply add the customer’s email ID in the text field provided for Banned Emails. Once you have completed this field, click the Save button to confirm your settings.

edd plugin banned emails

API Keys

You can generate an API key to retrieve data from your store and can access different information, such as products, sales, and store revenue in a JSON or XML format. The API is a way through which you can connect to any mobile App related to the EDD plugin.

edd plugin api keys

System Info

It contains information about the system, which you can download as a reference and forward it to a developer when needed.

edd plugin system info

Import/Export

This tab allows you to import or export the entire data (in CSV) and settings (in JSON) of your EDD-based ecommerce store.

edd plugin import and export

Creating a Product with EDD

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

add new product with edd plugin

Lock EDD Download Directory

You might face a warning, Download Files Not Protected on NGINX”.

This warning is often visible on WordPress websites hosted on an NGINX server (see documentation). That’s why you need to lock your folders, so no one can browse and download your files for free.

If you are managing a server, 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 need.

rewrite ^/wp-content/uploads/edd/(.*)\.zip$ / permanent;

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

Wrapping up!

Easy Digital Downloads has many interesting and intuitive features that can help you create a digital product store in record time. The plugin also benefits customers, as it will allow them to easily download any digital products after the successful payment.

Have a query about the EDD plugin? Please feel free to write it in the comments section below.

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Mansoor Ahmed Khan

Passionate about technology, entrepreneurship, and marketing, Mansoor Ahmed Khan is in computing since he knows how to type on a keyboard. His daily life is rocked by his family, projects, and his screen. Probably in this order, he likes to be convinced at least.

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