Sell downloads on WordPress

How to Sell Downloads on WordPress Easily (2023)

Do you want to sell digital downloads on WordPress? Selling digital products is a great way to monetize your website and get extra passive income.

In this article, we’ll show you the easy way to sell downloads on WordPress. You can start selling your downloads today without writing a single line of code.

Create Your WordPress Download Form Now

How Do I Sell Downloadable Files on WordPress?

The easiest way to sell downloadable files is by using the WPForms plugin.

WPForms is the best form builder for WordPress. It lets you add a payment field to any form on your site and instantly send out download links via email.

Selling downloads is a little different from selling physical products. You don’t need a full eCommerce platform. And offering instant downloads is a great way to increase form conversions and FOMO.

WPForms is the best WordPress Form Builder plugin. Get it for free!

You can easily use a digital download form to sell digital goods like:

  • Ebooks and courses
  • Video, music, or art
  • Printables
  • Tickets
  • Video streams
  • Software or WordPress plugins
  • And more!

In this tutorial, we’ll show you the easiest and fastest way to take payments for downloads. You don’t have to make your visitors go through a full checkout, so it’s easy for customers too.

Let’s look at the steps we need to work through to get your download form up and running.

How to Sell Downloads on WordPress

Step 1: Install the WPForms Plugin

The first thing you’ll need to do is install and activate the WPForms WordPress plugin. WPForms makes it easy to sell digital products. And you can set it up a lot faster than WooCommerce.

If you’re not sure how to install the plugin, see this step-by-step guide on how to install a plugin in WordPress.

Next, you’ll need to set up the addon for the payment provider you want to use. WPForms integrates with PayPal, Stripe, Square, and Authorize.Net.

For this tutorial, we’ll use the Stripe addon, but the process is basically the same no matter which payment addon you use. To install an addon, go to WPForms » Addons in the WordPress sidebar.

WPForms addons menu

Find the Stripe Addon here and click Install Addon.

Install the WPForms Stripe addon for recurring payments

If you want to take payments with Square, PayPal, or Authorize.Net instead, install the addon for your chosen payment gateway before moving on.

Step 2: Set Up Your Payment Provider

Before we start making the form, we need to check that WPForms has the right currency set up.

To do that, open up WPForms » Settings.

Now click the Payments tab at the top.

WPForms download settings for download forms

This screen lets you easily customize the currency for your payment form.

Just underneath the currency field, you’ll see the connection settings for your payment addon. Use these to connect the payment gateway you want to use.

Stripe Payments settings

Did you notice that we’re using Stripe Test Mode? This will let us test all of the functionality in our form without making real payments. You can also turn on test mode for PayPal, Square, or Authorize.Net if you need to.

We’ve also chosen to enable Payment Element Mode for the Stripe addon which will let users check out using alternative payment methods like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Save your settings when everything’s set up the way you want it. Let’s start making the form next.

Step 3: Create Your WordPress Download Form

In this step, we’ll make a form from a template and customize it to sell ebooks. We don’t need a checkout page because we’ll have the items and payment fields on 1 form.

And in the email notification, we’ll link to the digital files that the visitor’s purchased.

To start, click WPForms » Add New. You’ll see the form builder open in a fullscreen window.

Type in a name for your new form at the top.

Name your form

Next, scroll down to the Select a Template section.

Let’s search for “content download form.” This is one of the 500+ pre-made templates in WPForms.

Click on Use Template to select the content download form.

Selecting the Content Download Form template

Great! Now we can start to customize your form.

This template has 4 fields to get you started:

  • Name
  • Business Email
  • Company
  • A field for questions or comments.

You can see them on the right-hand side.

Content download form builder

Did you know that you should have no more than 3 fields in your form to improve form conversions?

Depending on what you sell, it could be tricky to have so few. But let’s try to make the form as short as possible.

First, let’s remove the Name field. We’re going to click the trash can here to delete it.

Deleting a Name field

If you wanted to collect visitor details for an email marketing list service like Mailchimp, you might want to keep the Name field.

Next, add files and prices.

Add Files and Prices to the Form

Next, let’s add the items we want to sell. We’re going to add a Dropdown Items field and sell 2 different downloads.

If you want, you can use dynamic field choices here. We’ll show you how to set up the fields manually for now.

Scroll all the way down to the Payment Fields section.

WPForms Payment Fields

Drag a Dropdown Items field from the left-hand panel over to the right. Then click on the dropdown field to edit it.

Opening the Dropdown Items field options

First, we’ll change the label to “Choose your ebook.”

Edit Dropdown Items field label

You can also see 3 answer choices. These are created by default, so let’s customize them now.

On each line, type in the name of the download that you want to sell.

Edit Dropdown Items choices

We’ve also edited the price for each item. You can click the minus (-) icon to remove items and the plus (+) icon to add more.

Next, we’re going to turn on the Show price after item labels option here. This will automatically show the pricing in the dropdown.

Dropdown Items show price

This makes it easy for your customer to see how much they’ll pay.

On this form, we don’t need to add a Total field because the visitor can only buy 1 item at a time.

The last field we need is the Stripe Credit Card field. Let’s drag that onto the form now.

Adding a Stripe Credit Card field to a form

The credit card field works out of the box, so you don’t need to edit anything here. But if you do want to change the label or description, you can click on it.

Changing the label of the Stripe Credit Card field

You’ll also see an Email subfield included in your Stripe Credit Card field. This field will enable customers to check out faster in the future via Link, Stripe’s one-click checkout service. If you would rather use the address in the Email field of your form, you can change this in the Stripe Credit Card field’s Advanced field options.

Changing the Stripe Credit Card Field Link Email field

OK, that’s the form set up and ready to sell downloads on WordPress!

Next, we need to set up the download links.

Step 4: Customize Your Download Form Settings

In this step, we’ll edit the form settings and turn payments on. You can have different payment settings for every form in your online store.

On the left-hand side of the form builder window, click Settings. The General settings page for the form will open up.

Accessing a form's general settings

You can change several settings here:

  • Form Name — Change the name of your form here if you’d like.
  • Form Description — Give your form a description.
  • Tags — Add form tags to organize your WordPress forms.
  • Submit Button Text — Customize the copy on the submit button.
  • Submit Button Processing Text — Customize the text that will show while your form is submitting.

There are also some advanced settings, which include:

  • CSS Classes — Here you can enter any custom CSS classes you want to apply to your form or Submit button.
  • Enable Prefill by URL — Automatically fill in certain fields using information from a custom URL.
  • Enable AJAX form submission — This option is turned on by default. It lets users submit your form without reloading the page.
  • Disable storing entry information in WordPress — Disable the storing of entry information and user details, such as IP addresses and user-agent info. Check out our step-by-step instructions on how to add a GDPR agreement field to your form.

Next, move down to the Spam Protection and Security settings.

Opening the form spam and security settings

These options include:

  • Enable anti-spam protection — Turn on the WPForms anti-spam token to prevent bot submissions.
  • Enable Akismet anti-spam protection — If you use the Akismet anti-spam plugin, you can connect it to your form.
  • Enable country filter — Block entries from certain countries.
  • Enable keyword filter — Prevent submissions that include certain words or phrases.

You can also enable your preferred CAPTCHA option. Check out our complete spam prevention guide for more details.

All set? Click Save.

Next, let’s set up the way Stripe works on this form.

On the left-hand side of the form builder, click Payments. Then select the payment addon you’re using to sell downloads.

Opening and enabling Stripe payment settings

You’ll want to toggle on the Enable Stripe payments setting to turn on payments for your form.

You can also customize:

  • Payment Description: This text will appear on your customer’s credit card statement.
  • Stripe Payment Receipt: Choose where to send the payment receipt for the purchase. You’ll normally want to choose Email here so that the receipt goes to the customer’s email address.

Filling out Stripe payment settings

Click Save at the top to save all of these settings.

OK, now we’re ready to add our file download links.

When someone pays for a download, we’re going to email them a link so they can instantly grab their file.

We can use conditional logic to send different emails depending on the item that was purchased.

This makes it easy to send the right links without using a full shopping cart.

On the left, click Settings to back to the general form settings. Then click Notifications in the list.

Accessing a form's notifications settings

WPForms automatically creates 1 notification here. This one will email you to let you know the form has been submitted.

For our download form, we need to add 2 more notifications: 1 for the first file download, and a different one for the second file download. Each notification will have a different download link.

Adding Your First File Download Email

Start by clicking on the Add New Notification button in the Notifications section.

Adding a new email notification

Type in a name for your first notification. You’ll want to type in a name that matches the file so it’s easy to identify later.

Naming your ebook download notification email

Now we have a new notification ready to customize. You’ll see that it’s added right at the top of the Notifications window.

We want this email to go to the person who bought the download. So delete {admin_email} from the Send to Email Address, then click Show Smart Tags.

Showing Smart Tags for the email notification Send To address

And now, let’s select Email from the available fields.

Pulling the Send To email address from the Email field

Now the email notification will be sent to the email that was typed in on the download form.

Next, scroll down to the Email Message section and enter the message you’d like your customer to see when they receive the email from you.

We’re going to delete the {all_fields} Smart Tag and replace it with a link to the file.

Ebook download email message

Did you notice the Enable conditional logic setting? This will let us control which customers receive this notification email.

Enabling conditional logic for an ebook download email notification

Let’s toggle on the setting. Then, we need to tell WPForms to send this email if the customer bought the first ebook, but not the second one. We can use the conditional logic fields underneath to do that.

Here’s how it looks:

Setting up conditional logic for an ebook download email notification

That’s it! Click Save to save the notification.

Adding Your Second File Download Email

To add your other download email, retrace your steps. Create a 2nd notification email just like we did before.

Remember the 2 important changes you need to make here:

  • Add the link to the second file in the email message.
  • When you create the conditional logic, make sure that this email will be sent to people who picked the second file in the dropdown.

Here’s what our second notification looks like.

A second conditional email notification for ebook downloads

That’s it! Now the customer will automatically be sent the right download link to the file they paid for.

Be sure to click Save to save your form. Now let’s publish it on your website.

Step 6: Publish Your Download Form in WordPress

After you’ve created your digital download order form, you need to add it to your WordPress website.

WPForms allows you to add your forms to many locations on your website, including your blog posts, pages, and sidebar widgets.

You can use a shortcode, but it’s a lot easier to use the Embed wizard.

At the top of the form builder window, click the Embed button to get started.

Embed form button

When the popup window opens, click Create New Page.

Create a new page

And then type in a name for the page. When you’re happy with it, click Let’s Go.

Name download form

Check that everything looks good, and add content or blocks here if you need to. You can also set up your SEO for the page.

When the page is ready to publish, click Publish at the top.

Publish ebook download form

And that’s it! You can go ahead and sell digital downloads on your WordPress site and take payments right away.

It’s a good idea to make a test purchase for both items before you start to advertise your new page. Don’t forget to turn off test mode when you go live!

Once you’ve started collecting orders, you can look up specific customers using their transaction IDs or receipt numbers by going to WPForms » Entries.

payment details search

Create Your WordPress Download Form Now

Next, Customize Your Download Form

Did you know that you can use images in your forms? WPForms lets you embed images using the Content field, or add images as choices to the Multiple Choice or Checkboxes fields.

Check out this guide to adding images to your forms. You can easily add a picture of each digital download instead of just using text. That way, you can sell downloads on WordPress using images of your products.

Want to capture even more visitors and turn them into customers? Check out how you can use an exit intent popup in WordPress.

Plus, you might also want to see our list of the best WordPress eCommerce plugins.

Ready to build your form? Get started today with the easiest WordPress form builder plugin. WPForms Pro includes a free download form template and offers a 14-day money-back guarantee.

If this article helped you out, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more free WordPress tutorials and guides.

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  1. Thanks for the wonderful step by step wp form set up for digital downloads. Is it possible to add a discount coupon if you are offering to your buyers. Is there a way to add it to the payment page?

    1. Hey Mani- Currently we do not have a coupon code field integrated with WPForms. I do agree it would be super helpful, though, and it’s certainly on our radar as we plan out our roadmap for the future.

      A possible workaround might be to use conditional logic to display the correct payment field depending on the user’s input in another field. Please see the guide here

      I hope this helps! If you need any further help on this please feel welcome to reach out to our support team.

      Have a good one. 🙂

  2. hey can i use this plugin to sell serial keys, if a user buys a product then he will get that product aka serial key via instant email delivery and every key will be diffrent

  3. The sale of purchase of digital assets are on rise, since there are embedded legla rights and obligations, sale and buyer should clear all legal points, , I appreciate you sharing this good post. you write it in such a way that it makes even a common man to understand it.

    1. Hi Shahid! Thanks for reading our articles and letting us know you’re enjoying them 🙂 We really appreciate the kind words as well! Please come back often as we’re always adding new content and updating old ones.


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