How to Add Password Protected Downloads to Your WordPress Website

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Offering downloadable content is a great way to increase a user-base and reward loyal followers of your site. If you want to provide content to subscribers only and not the general public, you will need to offer password protected downloads. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the steps required to make this happen.

Simple Download Monitor

As with most WordPress features, the best way to create password protected downloads is by using a plugin. The standout option for this task is Simple Download Monitor, which is available free from the Plugins Directory. There are other good plugins, such as WordPress Download Manager and CM Download Manager, but Simple Download Monitor is the one we like the best.

To install this plugin go to Plugins > Add New from your WordPress dashboard and enter ‘Simple Download Monitor’ into the search field. Locate the plugin from the list of results and click on Install Now, followed by Activate when the installation is complete.

Adding a Download

Once the plugin has been successfully installed and downloaded, it will add a new Downloads menu in the dashboard, from which you will have the opportunity to configure the settings according to your needs. For most people, however, the default settings are fine as they are.

To add a download to your site, go to Downloads > Add New and provide your file with a name and a description.

Click on Select File from the Upload File section and choose the file you wish to make available for download from your local computer or WordPress Media Library. Select Insert into Post to add the file.

If you have a thumbnail you wish to use for you download you can add it from your local computer or Media Library by clicking on Select Image, but this is optional.

Next, to the right of the screen, in Publish Settings, click on Edit next to Visibility and select Password Protection. Give your download a password (always use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters when doing this) and click on Publish.

You will now be provided with a shortcode that can be placed where you want the download to display in a post or page. Copy this code.

In a new or existing post or page, enter Text view and paste in the shortcode that you copied from the download creation page. From Visual view, you can click on the Download Icon from the toolbar and select a download from the dropdown list. You can also choose whether to add in a download box.

Once you entered the code and editing your post or page as required, click on Publish to save the changes. The reader will now see a message prompting them to enter a password before a download can commence.

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