Best Digital Downloads Plugin for WordPress

In today’s review, we will be taking a look at Easy Digital Downloads, a plugin created by established WordPress plugin author Pippin Williamson.

Pippin started creating plugins on CodeCanyon and later created Pippin’s Plugins, a very valuable tutorial site which I recommend to anyone wanting to learn how to create high quality WordPress plugins.

Anyways, back to our main topic. Many bloggers and website owners sell digital products from their sites, these could be anything from Ebooks, WordPress themes, Photoshop files, music files etc. The question is, how can you easily go about selling such intangible products from your website in the easiest way possible?

After trying out Easy Digital Downloads, I think we have the answer to that question. Join me as we take a look at how this great plugin works.

Features

You can find a description of Easy Digital Download’s features on the EDD website, but here’s a convenient list:

  • Easy solution to sell digital downloads
  • Focused and powerful
  • Completely free
  • Shopping cart system
  • Discount codes
  • Many payment gateways supported
  • User purchase history
  • Earnings and sales graphs
  • Payment history
  • Detailed purchase logs
  • Easily extendible
  • File download log

You can check out the plugin’s workflow on Pippin’s own video walkthrough:

Custom post types are used to power the Downloads section. As the site administrator, you can upload files and enter details such as the price, and the location of the file to be made available for download.

The payment history is your quick summary of all purchases that have passed through the system.

Reporting is quite comprehensive and gives you all the data you need to know about sales in general, and also specific product performance.

On the settings screen you can set up the payment gateways, some general options and also the purchase receipt email that the buyer receives after buying a product.

In your pages and posts you can then drop in short codes for purchasing a download. The plugin also comes with some ready made attractive buttons for your to use.

The shopping cart is very clean and easy to use for the user, no fancy stuff here, this is a crucial step and we don’t want our customers to get scared just before they seal the purchase.

Everything seems so well-integrated and the whole user experience is very coherent. All the features blend together perfectly, and the feature set is truly impressive, showing evidence of an extensive thought process that was undertaken before this plugin was built.

User Interface

Easy Digital Downloads using the WordPress Settings API, which means that the user interface is the same as the one used by the WordPress core. This makes it easy to find your way around the plugin, and is the recommended way for developing plugins.

Unfortunately many plugin developers create their own custom UI, which many times lead to a very messy admin interface. Kudos to Pippin for sticking to the guidelines, this is a very easy to use plugin.

Pricing

Easy Digital Downloads is using the free plugin + paid support model. That means that the plugin itself is freely downloadable from the WordPress plugin repository. You can also access the extensive documentation section from the plugin’s homepage. Finally you also have free access to the ‘Questions about the plugin’ forum. This is not a support forum but a place where you can ask questions about the plugin’s features, kind of a pre-sales knowledgebase.

Support for Easy Digital Downloads is provided via a paid subscription. Subscription to premium support allows for an unlimited number of questions and will not be restricted in any way. All premium support requests are answered as quickly as possible by the developer of the plugin, or a qualified tech support person.

These are the subscription levels available:

  • Free – free – unlimited
    Access to “Questions About the Plugin” forum
  • Monthly Support – $29 – 1 Month
    Get access to the premium support forum for one month.
  • Yearly Support – $99 – 1 Year
    Gain access to premium support forums for a whole year

Add-Ons

The plugin is designed to be extensible, a concept which Pippin recently blogged about. In the extensionssection one can find a number of handful plugin extensions. A quick look reveals a healthy collection of interesting ones, offering things such as:

  • Integration with different payment gateways (PayPal, Stripe etc.)
  • Integration with email systems (Mail Chimp, AWeber etc.)

I really like this idea of extensible plugins, and look forward to more plugins adopting this strategy. Current prices of extensions vary between $12 and $59.

Why Choose Easy Digital Downloads?

A valid question you may ask is why you should choose Easy Digital Downloads over the multitude of other e-commerce plugins for WordPress. My quick answer is that this plugin is especially created for digital downloads. 

That means that you don’t get any unnecessary bloat, and you can rest assured that the developer will continue focusing on adding features directly for this type of online selling.

Selling digital downloads is something that not a single one of the large WordPress ecommerce plugins has ever gotten really right. This plugin aims to fix that. Instead of focusing on providing every single feature under the sun, Easy Digital Downloads tries to provide only the ones that you really need. It aims to make selling digital downloads through WordPress easy, and complete.

I can highly recommend this plugin if you intend to sell digital downloads from your WordPress site. It’s a solid plugin with a clean UI and is developed by two very reputable WordPress developers (Matt Varone was also involved together with Pippin).

I will gladly bet this plugin will continue to be developed with frequent updates (it’s also available on GitHub), and will become a clear leader in the digital products e-commerce niche.

The plugin has already achieved success with many downloads, and you can also take a look at the Easy Digital Downloads showcase page to see how people have been using this plugin to date.

If you’ve been toying with the idea of selling digital products but have been thwarted by the difficulty of setting things up, it’s now time to get going and start selling, because Easy Digital Downloads lets you sell digital products in the most straightforward way possible.

Get Easy Digital Downloads

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About Jean Galea

Jean Galea is a WordPress developer, entrepreneur and padel player. He is the founder of WP Mayor, the plugins WP RSS Aggregator and EDD Bookings, as well as the Mastermind.fm podcast. His personal blog can be found at jeangalea.com.

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5 Responses

  1. Robert Lilly
    Robert Lilly December 30, 2012 at 19:57 | | Reply

    I really like this plugin, but unfortunately can’t use it (as-is) because I need to also be able to sell tangible goods. Primarily people will purchase our products in digital format, but we also want to be able to offer the option of CDs. The CDs will be produced on demand and drop shipped. So, I’m looking for a plugin that gets digital downloads right AND allows me to integrate with the API for the manufacturing service. I wonder if the extensibility feature of this plugin will allow for that. Any comments or suggestions?

    1. Pippin
      Pippin December 30, 2012 at 20:48 | | Reply

      Tangible goods are very possible (I’ve done it), but only if shipping rules are left pretty simple.

      How comfortable are you with WP hooks / filters?

      1. Robert Lilly
        Robert Lilly December 30, 2012 at 21:45 | | Reply

        Thanks for the reply Pippin!

        I’m just learning WP’s hooks/filters, so there’ll be a learning curve, but I’m up for that. I’d to talk with you a bit more in depth about this, but don’t want to hijack the comments for this article. What is you preferred way of being contacted?

        Thanks!

  2. Liam
    Liam December 31, 2012 at 09:30 | | Reply

    very useful! thanks for sharing

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