WP File Download is a file manager plugin from JoomUnited for the WordPress platform that lets you easily insert files within pages and posts for download. The files can be made public or private and you have full control over the users that have access to your files.
In this review I take the plugin, and its extension called Cloud Addon, for a test run and see how well it works.
Installing the plugin was simple. After installation you can see the menu within your dashboard. The menu screen has a list of categories (folder to hold your files) and a button that makes it easy to make them. It also includes a box where you can upload your files.
It’s easy to create new categories and name them. Select the New Category button and the category appears. You can edit or delete the category by selecting the right side of the category box. The lines that look like a hamburger menu is the area you grab with a mouse if you want to drag and drop the folders.
At first I couldn’t get them to move. I watched the video and looked through the documentation and it shows that I could click on that section and drag the folders but nothing worked. I was using Google Chrome and decided to try a different browser. I used Microsoft Edge and it worked perfectly. I went back to Chrome and it would not work. I decided to finish the review using Microsoft Edge. Tech support mentioned there is an incompatibility issue with my touch screen. Problem solved. Quickly.
Folders can be embedded within folders, up to 7 folders deep, by dragging and dropping them under the folder you want to embed them within. You can open and close the hierarchy using the tags.
Parameters for each category appear on the right of the screen. Here you can choose the theme, whether it’s public or private, who has permission to see the category, choose sorting, colors, etc.
Uploading your files works the same as uploading any media. Instead of using the standard WordPress media upload manager you’ll use the one provided by the plugin. You can then add all of the files within a folder or select one file to add to a page or post. Before uploading you’ll need to choose which category they’ll be placed under. I saw no way to move the files from one folder to another.
Tags work the same as post tags. You can give them a name, post slug, description, and edit.
Adding Your Files to Your Content
You can add the files but using a shortcode or the button that’s added to the Visual Editor. The button allows you to select your files and add them to your posts and pages.
Once you click the button you’re taken to the file manager where you can choose the category you want to add to the post. The files are added to your content. You can choose how the files are sorted and how the files look within the post. You can either insert the category itself or choose an individual file within the category. If you want to insert specific files just create a category with only those files in it.
The post will show the files for download and you can navigate through the parent categories using the navigation buttons that are included within the table.
You can choose a different look and layout for each post, so you can have one that’s sorted by size and has a tree navigation structure, and another that’s sorted by title and has a table, etc. There are four themes to choose from which includes a single file, grid, table, and tree.
I like this feature because you can structure and style the download links and posts based on file-type if you want. This means you can have a completely different look and feel for audio downloads as you would for documents or zipped files.
When adding your files to pages and posts you can choose between lots of options including how they look within your content. The option that determines how the files are displayed is called themes. There are several themes to choose from and each one has its own features and customizations for display options.
You can choose any theme you want when adding the files to your posts and pages but you can’t just select the theme from the dropdown box. If you do it will revert back to your default theme. You have to save the theme before inserting the files into your content. By choosing the theme and saving the settings every time you add files to your content you can use the same files with different themes. You can also set up a default theme and not have to make selections every time.
The themes have their own navigation through the files. This is based on the folders’ categories that you set up when you create the new category. You’ll have to enable some of the features.
With Singe File you can customize the Background, hover, and font colors.
The single file shows a clickable link with the proper information.
With Tree Theme you can customize colors and show statistics for the files. You’ll have to enable tree navigation in the configuration screen.
Here’s what the Tree theme looks like. I changed the download button to blue.
Table Theme includes the statistics, colors, breadcrumbs, and folder tree, and lets you show a stylized table.
This is the Table theme. I left all the features at default.
The Ggd Theme includes the statistics, colors, breadcrumbs, and folder tree and adds adjustments for the margins.
The Ggd theme places the files within a grid.
Privacy and User Roles
You can set privacy settings for each category. This gives you control over who can access the files. You can also set user roles and choose what tasks users can perform. For example, you could allow authors to create and edit categories but not delete them. I like the level of control you have over users’ abilities. You can get as specific as you want.
With the importing feature you can choose files from your uploads to place within categories. You have to turn it on in order to use it. Just go to Configuration and select Yes in the dropdown box next to Show files import in Main Parameters and save your settings.
Once you’ve enabled the feature you can then import files into categories that you’ve already created. This is a great way to add existing files to your categories without having to re-upload them.
The cloud addon lets you connect to Google Drive and Dropbox for full integration with 2-way syncing. This means you can store your files offline and allow your visitors to download them from there, but they appear to be on your website.
Within the Configuration tab you can connect to Dropbox and Google Drive. It has supporting documentation if you need help configuring Google Drive or Dropbox. I gave this a try and it works perfectly. You can sync with either service any time you want and you can set them on an automated schedule.
Connecting To Dropbox
It connected to Dropbox without any issues. Connecting to your Dropbox account is simple enough that you probably won’t need the documentation.
Connecting to Google Drive
I did use the instructions to connect to Google Drive. You have to create a Google Drive project which then gives you a Client ID and Client Secret key in order to make the connection. The instructions were clearly written and I was able to connect on the first try.
Prices start at $24 for unlimited website installs but does not include support. The next level, and most popular, is $29 and includes 6 months of support. The 1 year support edition is $39.
At first the usability wasn’t as intuitive as I would like, but after watching the video I was able to use the features with no problem. I do recommend pausing the video and watching it several times as it steps through the features quickly.
Files are easy to upload and manage. I like how easy the folders are to manage using drag and drop. You can simply grab a folder and drop it to the right under another folder to make it a sub-folder. I kept wanting to drag a file from one category to another. That’s a feature I’d like to see added.
There are lots of configuration choices. I especially like the options for themes and user configurations. The importing feature is nice too so you don’t have to re-upload your files in order to add them to your categories. Connecting to your Google Drive and Dropbox accounts couldn’t be easier and they work seamlessly.
Even the least expensive package includes all of the features. WP File Download is easy to recommend.