If you offer file downloads on your WordPress website, you’re probably searching for an efficient way to manage, track, and control access to those files.
Although WordPress makes it simple to add downloadable files to your pages/posts, it doesn’t give you enough features to properly manage your assets. Fortunately, dedicated download manager plugins exist to help you better organize and monitor the downloads.
WP File Download is a powerful download manager plugin that offers drag-and-drop file management functionality. You can use it to upload files and categorize them for easy access from within your WordPress CMS.
Great, but how does it work?
In this WP File Download review, we’ll take a closer look at the plugin and discuss how to utilize its different features.
Overall, I enjoyed using this plugin and found the user interface easy to navigate, as the download manager is integrated into the WordPress dashboard.
Let’s dig in!
WP File Download Review: A Quick Look at the Features
WP File Download is a one-stop solution to organize and manage all your files. It lets you:
- Upload new files and delete existing ones
- Import files you uploaded via FTP
- Tag files for organization
- Drag and drop files from one place to another
- Restrict file access
- Search files by the date they were created
- View version history
- Download files remotely
As a download manager, WP File Download allows you to:
- Access download statistics, including data for custom date ranges
- Receive email alerts when certain files are downloaded
- Add download buttons to your front-end content
Article Continues Below
Hands-On with WP File Download
Now that you have an idea of WP File Download’s features, let’s go hands-on with the plugin.
WP File Download Set Up
First, install the plugin by going to your WordPress dashboard and choosing Plugins → Add New. Now upload the plugin’s zip file and click Install Now.
Once you install and activate WP File Download, it will ensure the plugin is compatible with your server configuration. Next, you’ll be choosing a theme from a choice of four:
Next, you’ll get options to customize the theme according to your preferences. You can make some tweaks like changing the color of your download link or skip this part and proceed ahead.
WP File Download Settings
Before we look at the plugin’s interface, let’s go through its settings.
First, open settings by going to your WordPress dashboard and click WP File Download → Configuration.
Doing so will redirect you to the Main Settings tab where you can modify various settings. This includes controlling what types of files could be accessed with the frontend viewer, tracking user downloads, and more.
Other settings include:
- Search and Upload: This setting allows you to configure the search option to make it easier to locate files. You can also use it to generate the upload file shortcode.
- Themes: If you want to replace or modify your existing theme, use this setting option.
- Email Notification: Here, you can choose to receive email alerts when a new file is downloaded or added.
Next, I’ll show you how the different features of WP File Download work.
Managing Files in WP File Download
To manage your files, you must add them to WP File Download.
First, click the big New button to make a new category.
WP File Manager lets you create different categories so that it’s easy to retrieve files in the future. You can put files in different categories depending on your project. Click the Select Files button to upload new files or drag a set of files straight from the desktop to WP File Download’s interface.
Once the files are uploaded, you’ll see them in the interface, along with some additional information (like date added). From this point onwards, organizing your files is as simple as drag and drop:
The plugin also allows you to bulk manipulate files like on a desktop. Use Ctrl + click or click Select All, then drag all the files together or use the bulk options to move your files.
Editing a File
WP File Download gives files their own settings. You’ll see them in the collapsible sidebar on the right. The settings let you:
- Change the title
- Add a file description
- Modify the published status
- Change the file type
- View download statistics
- Assign file to multiple categories
- Upload new version of the file
- And more
Editing a Category
As for files, the plugin lets you edit more detailed settings for each individual category. You can:
- Change the category’s order
- Modify the visibility
- Use a shortcode to show the category on the front-end
File Search in WP File Download
Finding files is super easy with this plugin.
You can search for files by their names and choose whether to search all categories or just a specific one:
Offering the Download Option for Files
Coming over to the exciting stuff, WP File Download makes it easy to display a download option for files on your website.
Just grab the shortcode of any file and place it on any page to allow your visitors to download that file on their PC.
You can also make categories available for download. This can be done by generating the shortcode for an entire category and inserting it on a webpage. In this case, users will be able to download multiple files as a zip from that category.
If you’re on WordPress 5.0 and have access to the Gutenberg block editor, things are much easier. With WP File Download, you get two blocks, one for individual files and the other is categories of files. ‘
Insert these blocks and voila, you’ve created downloads without leaving the editor.
Using the Classic WordPress editor? No problem. WP File Download also offers buttons in that editor to make inserting file downloads just as simple:
How Downloads Look at The Front-End
After you publish a page or post that features a file download, your front-end will display buttons to both previews and download the file.
If you embedded an entire category, the front-end will display more details for each file, along with options to preview or download:
Allowing Visitors to Search Files
To improve the visitor experience, you can also offer a front-end search engine that lets your visitors search and filter all the available files.
Go to your WordPress dashboard, then click Configuration under the WP File Download section. Now, click SHORTCODES and grab the shortcode from the Search Engine Shortcode Generator:
You can paste this shortcode on your website. Visitors will then be able to use the different search and filter options that you offer.
Enabling File Uploads
Besides allowing visitors to download the files, you can let them upload files to any of your categories.
This requires you to add a shortcode that displays an upload form at the front end of your website.
Go to the Configuration page and click SHORTCODES. Here, you can select the category for which you want to offer uploads from the Upload Form Shortcode Generator.
Now copy the shortcode so that you can insert it in any page or post to display the upload form.
Here’s how it may appear to your visitors:
Accessing File Download Statistics
While using WP File Download, you can also track the files downloaded by users, provided they’re connected to their WordPress account at the time of download.
Go to WP File Download → Download Statistics, and you should be able to see the overall download stats for your entire website.
You can also choose specific files or categories by using the drop-down on the top-left of your screen.
Plus, you can integrate the plugin with Google Analytics to help you analyze your downloads data.
Add-Ons in WP File Download
Being a premium plugin, WP File Download offers extra features to those who buy their highest tier plan. These include:
Cloud Connectors – allow you to connect and synchronize your file manager with Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive. Once done, you can upload files in WP File Download and manage them through the cloud services.
Social Locker – lets you add a social locker for Twitter and Facebook. To download files, visitors must like or share the content on your social media pages. This tactic can help drive social engagement for your business.
WP File Download Pricing
WP File Download offers three pricing tiers:
- Start: costs $29 for use on unlimited sites + 6 months of support/updates (doesn’t include add-ons)
Pro: costs $39 for use on unlimited sites + 12 months of support/updates (doesn’t include add-ons)
- Pro+Add-Ons: $69 for use on unlimited sites + 12 months of support/updates + access to all add-ons
Final Thoughts on WP File Download
Having a download manager for WordPress is a great way to organize and manage your downloadable files.
With WP File Download, you can decide how to arrange your files, view download statistics, and give visitors the ability to upload files to your site.
All in all, the plugin gives you all functions required to save time. And with a straightforward interface, you and your visitors can find what’s needed easily.