10 Best WordPress Download Manager Plugins in 2022
WordPress is great for sharing content and files with your audience. The content management system has a default tool to upload downloadable files and make them available to web viewers.
However, that feature offers limited ways of embedding the downloads to a website and lacks file management functionality.
WordPress download manager plugins are a great alternative as they offer more advanced features like a download counter, access restrictions, and file management. This article will list the 10 best WordPress download manager plugins and share some useful tips to pick one for your site.
How to Pick a WordPress Download Manager Plugin
It can be difficult to determine the best WordPress download manager plugins with plenty of options available. However, the following criteria should help you narrow down the download manager plugins in this list:
- Download lock – whether it’s membership, form subscription, or social sharing, having an option to control and limit file downloads is important.
- File organization – a good WordPress download manager plugin should have an intuitive interface for creating and organizing files, including the option to use tags and categories.
- Download history – a download counter for each file helps site owners see how many downloads a specific file has, while logs and stats show how many file downloads occur over time.
- Easy embedding – the plugin should have a shortcode or Gutenberg block that makes it easier to insert downloadable files into a post or page.
After gathering the potential WordPress plugins, we tested them by installing them on a WordPress test site. We used the plugins to upload downloadable files and embedded them in a post to check their performance and usability.
You can conduct similar testing to choose the right download manager plugin from this list. Most of the plugins here are free or freemium, meaning that you can install them on a WordPress site at no cost.
Top 10 WordPress Download Manager Plugin
We’ve picked the 10 best WordPress plugins that offer the core functionality of a download manager but vary in other features, making them suitable for different kinds of websites. We also include premium and eCommerce plugins that have a download management functionality.
- Downloads: 100,000+
- Rating: 4.5/5
- Best for: creating digital downloads with an eCommerce option
- Price: freemium (starts from $39/month)
Download Monitor uses the same WordPress interface and file uploader, making it easy to use without a steep learning curve.
This plugin lets you add multiple files and specify the file versions, making it great for software downloads. Users can opt to upload a new file from their computer or pick one from the media library. Options to restrict the file’s access to members only and make a featured download are also available.
The download button block lets you easily embed the downloadable files to any post or page. It includes a dedicated block settings tool for users to select the download and the file version. Several template options are also available to customize the link appearance.
Users can see the download count on the plugin’s download list. Alternatively, the built-in download report provides extensive insights, including the most popular download, average downloads per day, and total downloads over time.
Despite not being an eCommerce plugin, Download Monitor offers an online store functionality with PayPal as a payment gateway.
- Sell digital products in a single click.
- Built-in download tracking.
- Option to restrict access to members only.
- Google Drive and Amazon S3 integrations let you easily host files on these cloud platforms and link them to your WordPress site.
- Setting up a digital download store can be slightly tricky.
- Downloads: 100,000+
- Rating: 4.1/5
- Best for: managing downloadable files with content-locking options
- Price: freemium (starts from $59)
WordPress Download Manager is a popular plugin that does more than just create download links on your website.
This plugin uses the classic WordPress editor interface to add downloadable files with a drag-and-drop uploader that accepts most major file types.
The download package settings enable users to specify information such as the file version, package size, and link label. It also lets you configure the access permissions with three lock options – password lock, terms agreement, and CAPTCHA.
There are other tools for access controls. Download link masking prevents public access to the download, while an IP blocklist lets you specify IP addresses that are not allowed to download files from your site.
Additionally, the plugin’s asset manager provides a file browser interface to manage digital files. Although it is still a beta feature, it makes uploading, downloading, and organizing files easier.
Upgrading to WordPress Download Manager Pro provides more content lock options, email address submissions, and social shares, priced at $59 for a single site license.
- A drag-and-drop file uploader.
- Download reports for each downloadable package.
- Three content lock options – terms agreement, password, and CAPTCHA.
- Download link masking and the IP block feature prevents unauthorized downloads.
- An asset manager for managing uploaded files.
- Requires separate plugins for Gutenberg Blocks and Elementor add-ons.
- Downloads: 50,000+
- Rating: 4.7/5
- Best for: selling digital downloads
- Price: freemium (a premium plan starts from $99.50/year, while premium extensions start from $29)
Easy Digital Downloads is an eCommerce WordPress plugin to sell downloadable assets.
The plugin has complete eCommerce functionality, including checkout and payment processes. Site owners can simply list the digital downloads as products, and buyers will receive a download link after finishing the checkout process.
There are many options when it comes to listing and uploading digital downloads. For example, you can add multiple files at different prices to one download. This is useful for selling the same product in different versions.
Once the download is embedded in the post, visitors can choose which file version they want to purchase.
Easy Digital Downloads supports PayPal and Stripe payment gateways. More payment options are available with Easy Digital Downloads’ premium extensions.
The built-in analytics report is easily accessible from the plugin’s dashboard. Use the drop-down menu to show earnings by category, downloads, and payment methods.
While the free version packs a lot of basic eCommerce tools for digital products, you can expand the plugin’s functionality with the premium version or plugin extensions.
- File download limits.
- Integrated support for PayPal and Stripe.
- Comprehensive reports with the option to export to a CSV file.
- Extensions are available for a full-fledged eCommerce environment.
- Requires a premium extension that costs $49 to create free downloads without checkout.
- Best for: managing many downloadable files with complex categorization
- Price: premium (starts from $49/year)
WP File Download plugin is a premium WordPress download manager that integrates a built-in file manager to your dashboard.
Instead of uploading downloadable files individually, the plugin offers an intuitive file manager interface that lets you upload files and manage them based on category folders. A drag-and-drop uploader also lets users add multiple files at once.
Since WP File Download supports various page builders, including Elementor, Gutenberg, and Divi, placing download links is easy. Users get widgets or blocks to add download categories and individual file downloads.
Four themes are available to customize the download appearance. Additionally, if you have many files inside a download category, use the file search shortcode to add a search function so users can find specific files easily.
This plugin also lets you define authorized actions for each user role. In addition, you can change the category or file visibility to public or private.
There is also a statistics panel that shows a graph of the download history. Choose whether to see the analytics based on category, files, or total downloads.
- A built-in file manager on the WordPress dashboard.
- Four themes to customize the appearance of the downloads.
- Customizable statistic report graphs.
- Cloud service integration.
- Premium subscription cost.
- Categorizing files using the file manager can be tricky.
5. File Manager
- Downloads: 900,000+
- Rating: 4.6/5
- Best for: managing website files
- Price: freemium (starts from $25)
File Manager is different from other download manager plugins as it primarily focuses on providing file browser access to your WordPress site’s back-end.
Instead of using a file manager or an FTP client via their hosting control panel, users can download, upload, delete, and edit website files and folders directly from the dashboard. Simply go to WP File Manager to access the plugin’s interface.
The plugin has a built-in code editor, meaning that you can open and edit files directly. The syntax checker will review the code before saving the file to ensure there are no errors.
The premium File Manager Pro expands the usability of the file manager with features like multiple file operations, maximum file size controls, and email notifications for any file changes.
However, one of the most notable features of the premium version is the shortcode functionality that lets you embed the file manager on the front-end of your site, making it available for non-logged-in users. With it, users can download files from a permitted folder on your site.
- An integrated file manager on the WordPress dashboard.
- Multiple interface themes with various toolbar styles.
- A shortcode to embed the file manager for front-end accessibility.
- The premium version is required to provide access for non-logged-in users.
- Downloads: 5+ million
- Rating: 4.5/5
- Best for: online stores with multiple product types
- Price: free (optional add-ons starting from $6/month)
As the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce is a great choice for selling digital products. The plugin is especially useful if you sell a combination of physical and digital products.
Adding a digital product to your online store simply requires you to choose the Downloadable option upon configuration. Then, the file uploader, download limit, and expiry options will appear.
There’s also an option in the plugin’s settings page to grant download access even when the purchase is still processing after payment completion.
This allows buyers to get the downloadable product without having to wait for the physical product to be delivered. The plugin also lets you restrict downloadable products to registered users only.
WooCommerce comes with built-in analytic tools to track purchases. They also separate physical and downloadable assets to make it easier to track each product’s performance.
WooCommerce Payments is the standard payment gateway for this plugin. However, you can add more payment methods via the extensions library.
- The option to combine downloadable files with physical or virtual products.
- A restriction option for members-only downloads.
- Download limit and expiry options.
- Built-in analytics that separates downloadable products.
- Shopping cart and checkout page templates.
- Requires extensions for payment gateways other than WooCommerce Payments.
- WooCommerce requires more resources than other plugins in this list.
- Downloads: 2,000+
- Rating: 5/5
- Best for: simple download management
- Price: free
Lana Downloads Manager is a lightweight plugin suitable for adding simple download management functionality to your WordPress website. It’s completely free, and the simplicity means that it’s less likely to cause incompatibility issues with existing WordPress themes and plugins.
Users get a simple file uploader to add downloads to their sites. The shortcode lets you embed downloadable files easily, while the download button text is customizable with a minor shortcode modification.
There’s also a download logs page that shows the download history, complete with details of the downloaders’ usernames and IP addresses.
While this plugin has no advanced features, Lana Downloads Manager is a solid choice to extend the native WordPress file download functionality.
- Completely free.
- Lightweight with a lower risk of it conflicting with your site’s existing plugins.
- Lacks comprehensive features compared to other WordPress download manager plugins.
- Downloads: 30,000+
- Rating: 4.5/5
- Best for: managing downloadable files with free advanced features
- Price: free (optional add-ons starting from $39)
Simple Download Monitor is a free download manager plugin, yet it packs many useful features.
Three shortcodes are available to embed the download button – the standard download button, the download button with a counter, and the direct download URL. The download button text and color are also customizable for each download entry.
The plugin supports reCAPTCHA and terms agreement, and users can also insert ads beneath each download description.
Another unique feature of this plugin is the built-in debug logging that makes it easier to troubleshoot if an error happens.
The download stats section provides comprehensive insights where you can see the download history based on date, country, browser, and operating system.
Add-ons are available to expand the functionality of this plugin. The Squeeze Form add-on lets you collect email addresses from downloads, which is helpful for lead generation. Another great add-on is All File Type Uploads, which removes file type limitations for WordPress.
- Supports reCAPTCHA and terms agreement.
- Built-in debug logging.
- Comprehensive download stats.
- Great add-on options.
- Requires opening the download editing page to find the shortcodes.
9. Shared Files
- Downloads: 2,000+
- Rating: 4.6/5
- Best for: creating a front-end upload and download manager
- Price: freemium (starts from $3.99/month)
Shared Files is a download manager plugin that offers plenty of embedding options and a front-end file upload feature.
You get plenty of shortcode options to embed downloadables, even on the free version. However, the simplest method is to embed all your downloads using the [shared_files] shortcode.
In addition, you can insert various parameters to customize the embedded downloadable files, such as a search field and a download tag drop-down menu.
Another significant feature of this plugin is the front-end upload. Use the specific shortcode to insert a file upload field on a post or page, and visitors can upload any file and make it downloadable. You can restrict this feature to registered users only.
The premium version of this plugin provides more shortcode options, such as for a countdown page, limiting the number of files displayed in a post, and changing the download display layout.
There are also several premium features for each download, such as options to limit the number of downloads, set an expiration date, and lock files using passwords.
- Various shortcodes provide plenty of embedding options.
- Front-end file upload with user restriction settings.
- Add password protection, download limits, and expiration dates using the premium version.
- Utilizing and finding the right shortcode from the shortcode list can be tricky.
- Downloads: 8,000+
- Rating: 4.8/5
- Best for: integrating Google Drive for download management
- Price: premium ($36)
Use-your-Drive is a premium plugin that links your WordPress website with a Google Drive account.
This plugin is handy for posting downloadable files from your Google Drive folders. Instead of uploading the files to the WordPress media gallery, simply use the shortcode to display them on a post or page. Then, users can browse through the folders to download the available files.
This plugin is helpful if you have plenty of files or folders available for downloads, such as a photo collection from an event or audio files. If you try to embed these files using other WordPress download manager plugins, you’d have to upload them manually.
There are various modules for embedding, including a file browser, photo gallery, upload box, and video player. Visitors can upload files into the designated folder using the upload box module.
Use-your-Drive also comes with a shortcode builder. Simply select the module you want to embed and configure the layout, content, and user permissions. Then, the shortcode builder will generate a specific shortcode with all these configurations.
The plugin’s report panel will show you statistics like file previews, downloads, and uploads. It also has a built-in file browser to manage Google Drive files and folders from the WordPress dashboard.
- A shortcode builder that generates custom shortcodes.
- A built-in Google Drive file browser that lets you manage files and folders from the WordPress dashboard.
- An upload box on the front-end that lets visitors upload files.
- Requires a Google Drive account.
WordPress download manager plugins give users more control over their downloadable files compared to the default WordPress file download tool. Every plugin offers a different set of features, so choosing the right one for your needs is crucial.
Here’s our quick verdict of the best download manager plugins listed above:
- WordPress Download Manager. Best all-rounder download manager plugin, offering many useful features with the free version.
- Easy Digital Downloads. Best for selling downloadable products thanks to its core eCommerce functionality, comprehensive download reports, and payment gateways, with more optional add-ons.
- Simple Download Monitor. Best free download manager plugin with many advanced features that other plugins offer at an extra cost.
- WP File Download. Best premium download manager plugin with comprehensive features. Its built-in file manager offers a unique way of managing downloadable files.
- Shared Files. Best download manager plugin for file sharing. Use this plugin to let visitors or members upload downloadable files to your website.
We hope that this list helps you narrow down the best WordPress download manager plugins. Remember that it’s possible to review these plugins in a test staging environment first before settling on the right one for your website.