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How to Manage, Track, and Control File Downloads in WordPress

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How to Manage, Track, and Control File Downloads in WordPress

This is a guest post by Ahmad Awais (@mrahmadawais)

Most of the bloggers keep sharing freebies with their readers. It is one of the most common practice to make a big, gigantic button with phrases like “DOWNLOAD NOW“. This way is not cool enough! You cannot control your downloads, no monitoring is possible, no embedding, what about password protected downloads? So, today I am going to show you how to manage your downloads in WordPress using a free plugin called WordPress Download Manager.

WordPress Download Manager helps you in managing, tracking and controlling your downloads in a more efficient way. You can set access levels, you can add/embed downloadable files anywhere in the post by copying and pasting the embed code. Some other features of WordPress Download Manager plugin are:

  • Control who can access to downloadable file
  • Ability to have Password protection
  • Download Counter helps you in maintaining a good track with downloads.
  • Control who can use this plugin (author, editor, administrator)
  • Custom download link icons can be added
  • Custom link labeling
  • Shortcodes for download links make your work way easier
  • New templates for file links to make them look professional
  • WP Thickbox popup for download page looks great
  • Tinymce button to embed shortcodes right from the write post panel
  • Multi-level Categories for Downloads
  • And a lot more…

Video Tutorial

If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.


First thing you need to do is install and activate WordPress Download Manager. After activation, a File Manager Menu will be displayed below the settings menu.

WordPress Download Manager - File Manager

From File Manage » Add New you can add new downloadable files, where you can set the password, show the download counter, write description about your downloadable file. After configuring the settings, you can upload it by clicking Create Package? You will be redirected to Manage Menufrom where you can copy the embed code.

Manage Files in WordPress Download Manager

A better way to embed your download is through your Write Post panel. It is fairly easy to do. You can add different shadows & boxes with details of download package. You can see below in the image of Write Post panel.

TinyMCE button in WordPress Download Manager

Once you click insert, it will add the shortcode in your post.

WordPress Download Manager Shortcode in Posts

Screenshot of Download Package :

Demo screenshot of WordPress Download Manager

Using this plugin is probably one of the most efficient way of managing your downloads. However, if you are creating a FREE WordPress plugin, then you should consider adding it to the WordPress plugin directory instead of just offering it on your site. This plugin is best for digital products such as eBooks, free templates, icon sets etc.

Download WordPress Download Manager Plugin

Ahmad Awais (@mrahmadawais) is one of the known young bloggers in Pakistan. He blogs at about blogging, design, web development, and technology.

This post was written by a guest contributor. You can see their details in the post above. If you'd like to write a guest post for WPBeginner, then check out our Write for WPBeginner page for details. We'd love to share your tips with our community.

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  1. Alessandro Marengo says:

    Hi guys.
    I used to run successfully this solution, but it seems that wordpress 4.6.x has changed something and I have to reload page in order to download a file. This force me to reload page AND refill the form in… Very annoying and disappointing. Is there a workaround?

  2. lillian anselmi says:

    Hi, I am looking to capture the users email before downloading a PDF I want to offer on my blog. I found “email before download” plugin but it is not compatible with wordpress 4.4. Does anyone know of something that does the same thing but for a newer version of wordpress?? Help is much appreciated!!

  3. Bharath Bhushan Naidu says:

    Thank you,
    Is there any SEO issue with download links ?

  4. Ryo says:

    Hello there, I was trying to find a plugin that would simply ask the login (username and password) first before it let you download the file. Preferably, it pops up from the “Download” button to ask login credentials and once the credentials has been provided and validated, the said downloadable file will be downloaded directly. Thanks!

    • sediq says:

      amember pro can do this but it comes on a cost i am just working on a project related to this
      When u store file in the storage so if u lodgein into account u can do it other wise u can not download the file unless u have the direct download link.
      the store must be amazon s3 in order to do this

  5. graziano says:

    no way to download a category

  6. Jack Chuong says:

    Dear Ahmad Awais,
    I want to control who can download file (can see download link in my post), can Download Manager do this ?
    Ex: user1 and user2 login to view my post but only user1 can see download file and user2 cannot.

  7. Gregory says:

    Is this (awesome) plugin available to users? Or is it only available to users, i.e. those who use wordpress to create websites hosted on their own servers?

  8. Hichame says:

    Can i use this plugin to show the total of downloads on each post and display it on my Sidebar ?
    For example i have 5 freebies, each freebie has 2 downloads, is it possible to display on the Sidebar something like ” 10 downloads & counting ” or so ?

  9. andy says:

    can wp download manager be used with a form? that is, a form requiring User name, title, company, phone and email before they are allowed to download?

    thanks in advance. Andy

  10. Chris says:

    How do I upload psd files? I tried it and nothing happens?

  11. Gautam Doddamani says:

    very good plugin..i never heard of it. i actually dont prefer hosting files on my blog…simply consumes server space…i practice hosting it on dropbox or but if in future i plan to upload files then i will definitely consider this plugin..thanks! :)

    • Ahmad Awais says:

      Why not it is a very nice plugin.Worth trying.

    • Ankur says:

      Agree, I really like this plugin idea and thanks to the author for this new info.
      But I dont prefer hosting files on my hosting account.

      • Ahmad Awais says:

        Any particular reason behind this verdict of yours :)

        • Dilawer Pirzada says:

          Thank You, Bro @Syed Balkhi to share such informative information among us. The Plugin is very great awesome, mind blowing and much appreciated words for this.

    • Editorial Staff says:

      I suppose you can use this plugin in conjunction with MaxCDN or any other CDN using W3 Total Cache integration.

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