Gold Penguin Logo with Text

Easy Digital Downloads Review – Sell Digital Stuff with WordPress

Looking to sell something digital on WordPress? You should check out Easy Digital Downloads. You could sell plugins, pictures, and really anything else you can think of with just a few clicks. Here's all the features:
Updated August 27, 2023
a guy downloading a file on a computer in a sunny bright room as digital art 4k
a guy downloading a file on a computer in a sunny bright room as digital art 4k

The best thing about WordPress is how easy it is to make a website. The second best thing is making money from it. Right?

I mean for real, most websites are built to convert someone. Whether you're selling a service, product, or download – a website is to show your brand to the world.

If you're looking to sell a digital download directly from your WordPress site, you can do it in just a few clicks after installing a single plugin.

That's exactly the goal of Easy Digital Downloads. It's different than WooCommerce as it really just focuses on digital goods. Want to sell a song? Selling a plugin to the WP community? This is your go-to tool.

What is Easy Digital Downloads?

Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) is a freemium WordPress plugin that was established in 2012. This powerful plugin facilitates the sale of digital products such as music, ebooks, videos, and software.

EDD has a vast array of features that simplifies the management and addition of products, payment acceptance, and delivery of digital downloads on the average WordPress website.

The free version of EDD (EDD Lite) is a complete plugin that can be used to set up an online store without having to pay. Tthat being said, the paid version provides quite a bit more add-ons and integrations to further customize and enhance your online store's functionality.

EDD has helped sell over 570,000 products in 115 countries directly from WordPress websites. Pretty incredible, right?

Easy Digital Downloads Key Features

With Easy Digital Downloads, business owners can create a seamless online store experience to sell their e-goods without needing to write or understand any code. Here's what you can do:

  1. Product Management: EDD allows you to create and manage your digital products effortlessly. You can add product details, set pricing options, provide product descriptions, and upload digital files for customers to download upon purchase.
  2. Shopping Cart System: EDD provides a secure and customizable shopping cart system that enables customers to add multiple products to their cart and proceed to checkout easily. It supports various payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, and others, allowing customers to pay using their preferred method.
  3. Payment and Revenue Tracking: The plugin tracks sales, earnings, and other transaction-related information, providing you with comprehensive reports and analytics. It's a bit of a WooCommerce replacement, just for digital downloads.
  4. File Delivery and Security: Easy Digital Downloads handles the secure delivery of digital files to customers after a successful purchase. Customers can also log in to a portal to download information whenever needed. This works great if you're selling things like plugins or software licensees.
  5. Extensibility: EDD offers a wide range of extensions and add-ons that allow you to extend its functionality according to your specific needs. These extensions enable you to integrate with popular email marketing platforms, create licensing options for software products, set up affiliate systems, and more.

Flexible Payments & Easy Setup

The free version of Easy Digital Downloads supports 4 payment gateway options - Stripe, PayPal, Amazon, and Gateway/Test payments. Go to Settings > Payments > General. Check the boxes of the Active Gateways you want on to give your customers the most options.

Once you set up your pricing, you can easily add downloads to your store by going to Downloads & then hitting "Add New". Name it, add pricing, and attach your file.

If you want to set variable pricing for a given product, check the ‘Enable variable pricing’ box. If you want to show multiple price options, check the Enable the multi-option purchase mode.’ Then, enter the price and optional name for Price ID:1. To add more options, click Add New Price and do the same for Price ID:2, Price ID:3, and so on.

The download file box lets you select what type of file you'll be selling. You also will get to upload the attachment (or multiple attachments) directly within the plugin interface for quick selling. Set custom instructions if you have more information that buyers need to know.

Discount Codes

You can easily set up various types of discount codes and various pricing options. Need to change pricing based on certain characteristics of a customer profile? You could totally do that.

Adding downloads are fairly easy. Add the attachment, set the price, and enter all the metadata about what users will be buying. Then save it... and you're done!

You have tons of options to customize pricing discounts with this purchase. Some of them include:

  • Download Requirements – Use the dropdown menu to limit the discount code to certain products. 
  • Excluded Downloads – Use the dropdown menu to choose the products to be excluded from the discount.
  • Start Date – Select the date and time the discount will start.
  • Expiration Date – Select the date and time the discount will expire.
  • Minimum Amount – Choose the minimum amount of purchase before a customer can avail of the discount.
  • Maximum Uses – Enter the number of times the discount code can be used. For example, “First 10 customers can get 20% off.” You can also enter ‘Unlimited.’
  • Use Once Per Customer – Check the box if you want customers to use the discount code only once.

Customer Management Tools

Easy Digital Downloads offers a comprehensive Customer Management system that allows you to have access to your customers' personal information. By navigating to Downloads > Customers, you can view their names, email addresses, purchase history, spending amounts, and account creation dates.

This is a way better organizational plugin if you're working with custom ecommerce WordPress websites but don't necessarily want to go through the headache of setting everything up with WooCommerce. WooCommerce adds so many features that aren't needed if you're just trying to sell digital products.

With EDD, you can also view your customers' data based on their email and physical addresses. Plus, the links under each customer's name allow you to see additional details which you can download or delete from your database. The best part is that this Customer Management feature is available to both free and paid users. A very amazing analytical tool to help segment your data.

Extensive Ecommerce Reports

In addition to managing customer data, Easy Digital Downloads provides you with extensive reports about your download transactions. By going to Downloads > Reports > Overview, you can keep track of your Sales, Earnings, Average Order Value, New Customers, and Total Refund Amount. All of them are available in figures and graphs.

What’s more? You can customize the date range (Ex: Month to date) you want to see and even compare its data to another date range. If you are an Apple user, you can also download the official Easy Digital Downloads iOS App to instantly view the sales and earnings of your digital store on your iPhone.

That's something pretty unique and extensive for what seems like a normal WordPress plugin. I seem to always forget WordPress is a 600 billion dollar industry.

As you can see, our testing site has a grand total of 0 dollars in sales and earnings, how amazing. (sarcasm). We actually aren't using this on a live site at the moment, that's why the plugin looks empty.

All jokes aside, Easy Digital Downloads' eCommerce Report feature allows you to view your data according to various categories. This includes Downloads, Refunds, Payment Gateways, Taxes, File Downloads, Discounts, Customers, and Export.

You can also download reports to CSV files:

Theme Compatibility

Technically, Easy Digital Downloads is compatible with any WordPress theme. EDD also has its own set of free themes such as Themedd and Vendd, which are specifically designed for eCommerce.

You could integrate these directly within plugins like Breakdance and Oxygen if you're already using your own proprietary theme builder.

As an eCommerce platform user, it's crucial to ensure that your theme works properly, especially when installing other plugins and integrations. If you're trying to run EDD on a mission critical site, make sure to test the entire item checkout flow & look over your theme styes to make sure everything works before you actually pull the plug to launch.

EDD Extensions

This is a better freemium WP plugin because the free version of the plugin is already a complete WordPress plugin for eCommerce sites. You don't really need to do anything else. But as your digital store grows, you'll definitely find the add-on features to be very helpful.

EDD now has over 72 Extensions in different categories - Accounting, Analytics, Email, Gateways, Licensing, and Marketing available to add as plugin integration.

Some EDD Extensions are free to download, others require a paid purchase. Or you could just purchase the premium version of the plugin to get all the extensions. Simply upgrade to the All Access Pass plan and you'll get everything included.

Free EDD Extensions

  • Additional Shortcodes
  • Auto Register
  • Discount Widgets
  • EDD Empty Cart
  • EDD List File Names
  • EDD Purchase Rewards
  • External Products

EDD Pro Extensions

  • Acquisition Survey
  • ActiveCampaign
  • Add to Cart Popup
  • Aweber
  • Campaign Monitor
  • ConvertKit
  • EDD Cross-sell and Upsell
  • EDD Social Discounts
  • Free Downloads
  • GetResponse
  • Invoices
  • Mad Mimi
  • Mailchimp
  • Multi Currency
  • Slack
  • Zapier

Third-Party Extensions

  • Ajax Check Username
  • Google Sheet Connector
  • MailChimp Discounts
  • MonsterInsights
  • WP Affiliate Platform Integration
  • WP Fusion
  • WP HTML Mail
  • WSDesk            

Easy Digital Downloads Free vs Paid: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between the free EDD (EDD Lite) and the premium version (EDD Pro) is that the latter has more advanced features for scaling sites with tons of downloads. All of the plugins extensions fall under different categories and can help you serve more customers from different parts of the world.

EDD Lite only has Stripe, PayPal, and Amazon as active payment gateways. EDD Pro has more than 10 gateways including Apple/Google Pay, Authorize.net, Braintree, PayPal Commerce Pro, and Stripe Pro. You can also test each payment method without using real money.

For your shopping cart, EDD Lite and EDD Pro have almost the same features. But for the paid version, you can install the Add to Cart Popup extension.

Once you activate this feature and customers click the ‘Add To Cart’ button, a small modal popup will appear and will invite them to go directly to the checkout page or to continue shopping. Great for sites that you might have multiple things for sale that users would want to buy at once.

With EDD Pro, you can also set up a membership or subscription and add extensions such as Content Restriction, Custom Prices, and Recurring Payments. Interestingly, the paid version has a lot of other powerful extensions that you cannot find in the EDD Lite. EDD Pro also comes with a wide collection of documentation, guides, and tutorials – this is better if you're new to plugin setup & integrations.

Easy Digital Downloads Pricing

EDD Pro has 4 pricing options – Personal, Extended, Professional, and All Access Pass. All of them are yearly licenses and allow unlimited products and transactions:

Personal ($99.50/year)

  • 1 website
  • Email Marketing Tools
  • Smart Checkout
  • Duplicate Products
  • 10+ WordPress Blocks
  • eCommerce Features
  • Basic Payment Methods
  • Plugin Updates
  • Standard Support

Extended ($199.50/year)

  • 1 website
  • Everything in Personal
  • Subscriptions
  • Advanced Marketing Tools
  • Advanced Payment Methods
  • Standard Support

Professional ($299.50/year)

  • 1 website
  • Everything in Extended
  • Improve Average Order Value
  • Advanced Features
  • Run a Marketplace
  • Software Licensing
  • Premium Support

All Access Pass ($499.50/year)

  • 3 websites
  • Everything in Professional
  • Full Access to over 77 Extensions
  • Best Customer Experience
  • Improved Store Management
  • Advanced Accounting
  • Premium Support

Easy Digital Downloads Pros and Cons

PROS

CONS

  • User-friendly UI

  • Easy to navigate

  • Ideal for selling digital products

  • Unlimited file downloads

  • Free version loaded with features

  • Powerful reporting system

  • Offers a huge list of extensions

  • Add-ons can be purchased individually

  • Extensive documentation, video tutorials, etc.

  • Budget-friendly plans

  • Not fit for selling physical products (use WooCommerce instead)

  • EDD Pros offers a maximum of 3 websites only

Easy Digital Downloads Alternatives

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is probably the most popular among the alternatives to Easy Digital Downloads. Launched in 2011, this eCommerce WordPress plugin is also available as a free and premium plan.

WooCommerce was acquired by Automattic, the operator of WordPress.com, a couple years ago & is currently used by over 6.6 million live websites.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • More payment gateways than EDD
  • Tons of available extensions
  • Ideal for selling physical products
  • More suited for huge online stores
  • Very wide support community

Cons

  • Free version lacks marketing features
  • Not ideal for selling digital products
  • Steep learning curve for beginners
  • No built-in drag-and-drop design builder
  • Premium plans are more expensive than EDD

Shopify

Founded in 2006, Shopify is not a WordPress plugin but rather a separate e-commerce website builder. Unlike WordPress (which is created for bloggers), Shopify is created mainly for business owners and includes a hosting service. As another great alternative for EDD, Shopify has around 2.1 million daily active users in more than 175 countries.

Pros

  • Free trial for 3 days, no credit card required
  • Intuitive drag-and-drop UI
  • Very easy to set up and manage
  • Unlimited storage/bandwidth
  • Built-in SEO features
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Ideal for selling physical products
  • 24/7 customer support (live chat, phone, email)

Cons

  • Not best-suited for selling digital products
  • Fewer add-ons and extensions
  • You don’t have full control over everything
  • Steep learning curve for WordPress users

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is another popular e-commerce platform, just like Shopify. But like EDD, BigCommerce also has a free version as a WordPress plugin. On the other hand, the paid version is a SaaS (software as a service) solution and is a self-hosted platform. As of posting, there are over 47,100 live e-commerce websites using BigCommerce.

Pros

  • Free 15-day trial, no credit card required
  • Unlimited file storage and bandwidth
  • Applicable for selling physical and digital products
  • Powerful apps and integrations
  • The pro plan is almost the same price as Shopify

Cons

  • You don’t have full control over everything
  • The standard plan lacks major features
  • Low maximum upload file size (512 MB)
  • More expensive than EDD
  • No fixed price for the Enterprise plan

Digital WordPress Downloads? Try EDD

I've sold courses, physical products, and digital downloads all on WordPress before (for many years). I prefer plugins like LearnDash for courses, but EDD is a great option for anything digital. Zip files, pictures, literally anything digital.

You don't need to go through the whole WooCommerce fiasco just to get a few files put on your website with an easy membership integration.

If you're looking to sell digital downloads on your WordPress site, give Easy Digital Downloads a chance & let us know if you like or hate it 🙂 Best of luck!

Want To Learn Even More?
If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter
where we share tips & tricks on how to use tech & AI to grow and optimize your business, career, and life.
Written by Justin Gluska
Justin is the founder of Gold Penguin, a business technology blog that helps people start, grow, and scale their business using AI. The world is changing and he believes it's best to make use of the new technology that is starting to change the world. If it can help you make more money or save you time, he'll write about it!
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join Our Newsletter!
If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to our newsletter where we share tips & tricks on how to make use of some incredible AI tools that you can use to grow and optimize a business
magnifiercross