The best WordPress download manager plugins can save you tons of time when your WordPress website has hundreds (or even thousands!) of media files. A WordPress download manager plugin can help organize your WordPress Media Library so it’s effortless to manage, and also provide additional functionality for file downloads with lots of related features.
Some WordPress downloads management plugins even go above and beyond by offering robust features related to ecommerce, team collaboration and more.
In this post, we’ll share our list of the best WordPress download manager plugins, when you might need to use them, and when they’re not a good fit.
When You Need a WordPress Download Manager Plugin
Before you dig right into the options for the best WordPress download management plugins, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the reasons why you may want to use a download manager plugin.
There are several cases where a WordPress download manager plugin can really save you loads of times as well as increase the efficiency of your WordPress downloads.
You should consider using a WordPress downloads management plugin when you:
- Find the WordPress Media Library doesn’t have enough features
- Want to keep track of the number of times your files are downloaded
- Find the Media Library lacks organization for your specific needs
- Need to organize your files with tags and similar features
- Want to create customized download links
- Need to be able to restrict users from downloading content unless they pay for it
- Want file downloads to be an option as a part of a subscription or online course
- Need to be able to host WordPress downloads yourself rather than through an external service provider
- Sell digital downloads of your files on your website
When Not to Use a WordPress Downloads Manager Plugin
There may be instances when even the best WordPress download manager plugin isn’t going to be a good fit. Let’s cover a few examples in the hope of saving you some time and headaches.
1. Your Hosting Plan Has Limited Resources or Bandwidth
If your hosting plan can’t handle large amounts of storage space for your files, or your bandwidth usage skyrockets, a WordPress download manager plugin may not be right for your website.
For example, if your site is hosted on a shared server, your resources are often severely limited. Not only are your files hosted on the server, but so too are the files of tons of other customers. That’s how hosting providers are able to offer such competitive prices.
This ultimately means your hosting plan lacks enough resources to be able to upload a large amount of media files. It also means your plan wouldn’t have a lot of bandwidth allowance, which means there’s a cap on how many users can actually download a file.
Each time a visitor downloads a file you host on your site, its file size is subtracted from your bandwidth allowance. So, if you have a high-traffic site where users are downloading files, it can quickly add up.
If you reach the bandwidth cap, your site will either incur overage fees, or can go offline until you upgrade your hosting plan. The outcome depends on how your host handles bandwidth limits. Bandwidth overage fees are often extravagant as well.
If you have sufficient hosting or you don’t mind footing the bill for all your WordPress downloads, then installing one of the best WordPress download manager plugins is still a good fit.
2. The Default WordPress Media Library Can Fit Your Needs
Another situation where a WordPress downloads management plugin isn’t going to be particularly useful is if you don’t have a lot of files uploaded on your site and you don’t plan on uploading a lot in the future. That’s not to say it wouldn’t be useful at all, it just wouldn’t offer much in the way of time savings or efficiency. It would be like buying professional filming equipment when you just want to take a few quick videos of your pet to show a couple friends.
Helpful Features of a WordPress Download Manager Plugin
Now that you have determined that a WordPress downloads management plugin is a good option for your site, it’s worth considering what you need out of the plugin.
Below are several features to look out for in your search for the best WordPress download manager plugin:
- An intuitive user interface (UI)
- Effortless file organization and management
- Storage locations that fit your needs such as local or external file storage solutions
- A counter that keeps track of how many times your files are downloaded
- File versioning
- Being able to customize download URLs
- The ability to display PDF previews
- Thumbnails with previews of the image file
These aren’t necessarily the only useful features to look out for in your search for the best WordPress download manager plugin that suits your needs. So, if you think of other capabilities that you require, be sure to make a note of them as you consider your options.
The Best WordPress Download Manager Plugins
Now that you know what you need in a WordPress downloads management plugin, below are several excellent options. Some are more robust than others so this is where it helps to know what you need out of a WordPress download manager. No matter which one you choose, it should work well since all these plugins are popular choices that are well-maintained and updated regularly.
WP File Download is definitely one of the best WordPress download manager plugins currently available. It’s a popular premium option because it’s user interface isn’t just easy on the eyes, it’s also as incredibly intuitive as it is robust.
You can organize your files in numerous ways including as in a detailed list, grid, table or tree. You’re also able to drag and drop your computer files to your computer for a more efficient workflow.
There are so many other options available to organize your files, too, such as changing the order of your files, and organizing them into hierarchical folders. You can also copy, paste, delete, and download your upload files in just a couple clicks.
It also has email notifications, the ability to restrict downloads, and more.
Not only that, but it integrates with WooCommerce so if you need a little more from this WordPress downloads manager plugin, you’ve got it. The best eCommerce feature it has is the option to sell your WordPress downloads from a cloud storage solution including the ones listed later on.
2. File Manager
The File Manager plugin eliminates the need to manage your files using FTP. Instead, you can move, copy, edit, upload, delete, download, and zip files from your WordPress admin dashboard.
It has a familiar UI that’s similar to Mac computers, but won’t be unfamiliar to Windows users as well.
Beyond its basic file management options, you can also create and organize your files into folders and subfolders as well as view crucial details quickly including file sizes and types.
You can also edit files with its built-in code editor that has syntax highlighting and a syntax checker.
You’re also able to share files through email, mark folders as private, and you can preview files in one click.
There are also other useful features such as keyboard shortcuts and drag-and-drop file management if you’re needing a lot more capabilities.
This plugin aims to help you manage your WordPress downloads by adding the ability to insert shortcodes on your posts and pages. That way, your users can download files on the front end of your site. It also includes a widget you can use to track download statistics.
If you’re looking for a similar option, except with a user-friendly interface, consider the Lana Downloads Manager plugin.
With Download Monitor, your downloads can be managed similarly to posts. You can also sell file downloads as well.
There are also loads of other useful features including file versioning, you can add download links to posts as well as track how many times they’re downloaded, and you can also customize the download links.
Beyond that, files can be organized in categories and with tags and you can also offer alternative download locations for the same file.
It’s a great option if you want a lot of features in a free plugin.
With its clean UI, WordPress Download Manager Pro likely has most or all of the features you need. It goes far beyond basic WordPress download manager tasks such as editing, previewing, and deleting files.
You can also password-protect, restrict access to, and view detailed download logs.
But, that’s just the beginning. You can sell or license your WordPress downloads, batch files so they’re downloaded as a ZIP file, make downloads available after sharing your site on social media, and import files in bulk.
If you’re concerned about your bandwidth usage, you can control it with this plugin as well as the download speeds.
It’s a premium option that’s certainly one of the best WordPress download manager plugins.
The File Manager Plugin for WordPress is a premium option that has a classic UI reminiscent of how you would manage files on Windows.
You can organize files in folders and subfolders, amd image files include a preview as the icons.
You can drag and drop files to your WordPress site, let users access your files from the front end, and there’s also an option to share folders that includes email notifications.
There’s also a built-in text, image, PSD, and PDF editor.
If you want a plugin that has the features you need without going overboard, this is a solid option to consider.
Groups File Access is another premium WordPress download manager plugin that focuses on restricting downloads by user groups.
You can limit the number of downloads per user, send customizable notifications, and you can bulk upload files or use FTP. It also officially supports Multisite.
This premium plugin is a simple, yet effective way to offer uploading and downloading for users on the front end of your site. It’s a no frills option if you just need a simple solution without a billion features you don’t even need.
The Folders plugin WordPress download manager plugin is a GDPR-compliant option with a sleek UI.
You can drag and drop files, organize files into folders in a hierarchy, quickly move folders, and manage everything in bulk.
All these great organizational features aren’t just limited to your files, either. You can even organize your posts and pages in the same way as well.
The Real Media Library plugin adds extra organizational features to your Media Library without extensively changing the UI.
You’ll be able to organize your files into folders with its drag-and-drop capabilities. You can also create, rename, sort, move, search, and delete folders in a couple clicks.
It also works really well on touch screens if that’s your thing.
It has an advanced media uploader so you don’t have to worry if you have hundreds or thousands of files to upload.
It’s also GDPR-compliant.
More Than Just WordPress Download Management
The plugins listed above were all excellent options if you’re looking to organize your WordPress Media Library. But, what if you need more features out of a WordPress download manager? Not to worry!
Whether you need eCommerce capabilities, you want to closely track files, or you want to restrict which users can have access to your WordPress downloads, these plugins are all great options to consider.
They all go above the call of duty when it comes to WordPress downloads management, and they’re all well-maintained and regularly see updates.
Restrict Content Pro is a premium membership plugin that lets you set an unlimited number of subscription options including free and paid subscriptions as well as free trials. Then, you can manage who can access your content and files based on their subscription.
You can manage members and the emails they receive for events like receipts and reminders.
You also have access to a lot of integrations, can set up discount codes, and view detailed reports.
Easy Digital Downloads is a popular premium plugin for selling digital files. You can restrict who has access to WordPress downloads, set up discount codes, and track download activity as well as sales.
If you want to sell WordPress downloads, but you don’t need to set up memberships or subscriptions for customers, then this is definitely a plugin you should consider.
MemberPress is a premium membership plugin that also lets you sell your WordPress downloads. You can also restrict access to posts, pages, categories, tags, and your WordPress downloads based on their membership.
It’s a membership plugin that’s really user-friendly as well.
It works well with most of the popular page builders and has a lot of integrations including ActiveCampaign, MonsterInsights, Zapier, AWS, BuddyPress, bbPress, MailChimp, HelpScout, LearnDash, MailPoet, and so many more.
WooCommerce is easily the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress. It’s particularly useful if you want to sell physical items as well as WordPress downloads.
It’s a full-on digital storefront so you can do everything from create, manage, and sell products to manage shipping options and review detailed reports.
There are also so many free and premium extensions if you need specialized features such as if you want to create a membership site, accept alternate forms of payment, offer customizable discounts, and a whole laundry list of other capabilities.
If you’re looking to sell online courses, LearnDash is one of the most popular premium plugins currently available.
There are features available to engage students such as rewards, certificates, and badges. You can also choose to let users view the entire course immediately, or make content available in increments.
Users can send messages, receive notifications, create private or public courses, you can offer WordPress downloads, create user groups, review assignments, and choose whether courses are available with a one-off payment or by a subscription.
MonsterInsights is a Google Analytics plugin that lets you access everything from your WordPress admin dashboard.
It’s GDPR-compliant and you can track virtually anything you need from traffic and bounce rate to sales and ads.
It also integrates with so many plugins such as Easy Digital Downloads that was mentioned earlier. So, you can also track WordPress download sales as well.
But, if you don’t want to use that plugin, don’t worry. You can set up custom tracking for anything you want including your WordPress downloads.
You can even create and run A/B tests.
Other Options for Managing WordPress Downloads
That’s all well and good, but what if you’re keen on storing your files externally to lighten the load on your server? What if you want to integrate cloud storage with your site or just link to downloads?
Well, the solutions below should do the trick.
1. Google Drive
If sharing and collaborating is a must for you when it comes to WordPress downloads and your files in general, but you don’t want to store files locally, Google Drive is a robust option to consider.
It has advanced file sharing features that lets you restrict viewing, collaborating, or the downloading of files based on the custom options you set.
It also has built-in collaborating options for Google documents so you can efficiently work on a project without having to keep track of an unwieldy email chain.
It’s a premium option for individuals and organizations alike that require more storage space than what a free Google account offers. It’s also one of the most popular external storage options.
2. Amazon S3
If you run an enterprise-level organization, then Amazon S3 is an excellent premium and external storage option.
It’s incredibly versatile as well. You can use it as a backup option with restoring capabilities, you can use it as an archive, and you can also offload WordPress downloads and files to it without disrupting the user experience.
That way, you save on bandwidth and storage costs from your host while offering top-tier speeds for loading, downloading, and uploading.
There are so many options and capabilities available that you can customize to your needs.
It’s a burly option for those that need a heavy-duty external cloud storage solution.
Dropbox is an external and premium cloud storage solution for individuals and teams alike.
You can store and search all your files as well as collaborate directly in Dropbox. It’s also possible to create folders and restrict access to your files and folders.
You can password-protect files, or choose to let anyone with the link access them.
It also has an integrated messaging system for streamlined communication.
The Media Library can quickly become a burden when it comes to managing tons of files. Not to mention if you want to be able to organize, offer, or sell WordPress downloads on your site. That’s where installing a WordPress download manager plugin can be incredibly helpful.
No matter which option you choose from the lists above, you’re sure to have found one of the best WordPress download manager plugins that suits your needs.
What’s your pick for the best WordPress download management plugin? Do you plan on offering WordPress downloads on your site? Do you have a favorite WordPress downloads management plugin that isn’t included here? Share your experience in the comments below.