This post was updated 6/18/2018
By using these options in WooCommerce, you can sell services easily as well as products such as ebooks, music, etc. In this tutorial learn what a virtual and downloadable product is and how to create them. I will also show you the settings that allow you to manage your downloadable products easily.
Lastly, I will share with you some ways to extend these features and also answer the question of whether you should use WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads for your downloads.
When creating virtual and downloadable products, you will be using Simple Products.
Examples of virtual products includes services you may be providing and want people to purchase in advance. Hourly consulting fees is just one example.
Once you click on virtual, a few of the options are removed in the left side tabs, such as shipping.
Tip: if you are listing an hourly service, and want people to be able to choose more than 1 hour, tick this box under inventory.
This is perfect if you are selling ebooks, music or any other product that involves only a file download.
A. When creating a downloadable product you will also want to check it as virtual.
1. Downloadable Files: This is where you will put the URL of your downloadable file. First name the file so it’s recognizable to the buyer, as this will be part of their download instructions. And File URL, you have two options here. You can simply upload it to your media file and the link will be automatically added. Or you can put in a URL if you are storing it on some external site like Amazon S3 or another one.
2. Download Limit: This control how many times that single customer can download the product. As note, you can leave blank for unlimited downloads. I typically give them 2 just in case they lose their first one.
3. Download Expiry: Set a date here for the expiration of the download link. I recommend about a week, as people sometimes get busy and this gives them a bit of time. On this and the previous field they will be told about the limitations.
Need to Create Subscription Downloads?
If you are using the Subscription extension, you may also want to check this out if you are offering downloads to your subscribers. The Subscription Downloads extension lets you offer downloadable products to your subscribers, while you still maintain individual listings for each of your downloadable products. This allows you to have them sold individually through your tore and also through subscriptions. Check it out here.
Creating Zip Files of Downloaded Products
If you have several products that you would like to bundle in a single zipped download, or a particularly large file that should be zipped, the WooCommerce Bulk Downloads extension let’s your customers easily create and download a ZIP file of their purchased downloads on their My Account page. You can see how easy it is to setup here.
Watermark Your Downloads
Do you want to protect your downloads such as eBooks or other PDF documents with a watermark? This extension has a variety of features that will ensure your PDF files are protected by give you the ability to easily place image or text watermarks on your PDF file downloads. They can be defined by either global, product or variation level. Learn more about it here.
WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads?
This is a fair question and one I have been asked a lot. In fact I can tell you that someone at one of my past workshops on WooCommerce asked me that question and my answer to him was, Easy Digital Downloads.
Let me explain.
He had yet to install either Woo or EDD. And he wanted to sell one eBook. I asked him if he planned on selling more on that site, eg. other ebooks, services, or additional products. He said no. Well, using WooCommerce would obviously be overkill.
I’ll make it simple.
If you are currently using WooCommerce to sell other stuff, yes, use it for you downloads.
If you are not using either and plan on selling more product and services beyond downloadable items, yes, use WooCommerce.
If you are not using either you plan on selling one of 1,00o downloadable products, strongly consider Easy Digital Downloads. It’s what is was built for