A Stroll Through Easy Digital Downloads: A Beginner’s Guide

I wrote this post specifically for my clients, so they don’t have to sift through the vast documentation on the Easy Digital Downloads site. Others may find it useful, but please note that I don’t provide support for EDD to non-clients.

Easy Digital Downloads is a simple, powerful plugin for selling (mostly) digital items on your WordPress website. Simple is a relative word though, so for anyone who’s new to EDD, let’s do a brief walk through of the primary functionality in the plugin.


This is the main tab for the plugin, and provides a list of all downloads (ie, your products, and I’ll use those terms interchangeably from here on out). Similar to how other screens that list content types in WordPress work, you can click on the name of a product to edit it.

Single Product Edit Screen

This is the screen where you actually edit a specific product / download.

screenshot of Easy Digital Downloads editor screen
Go to Downloads in the WordPress admin and click the name of any product to edit it, or click Add New to create a new product.

Here are the various options on this screen:

  • The first field controls the products Title, as with Pages and Posts.
  • You can add media and edit the main content of the product in the area below (the Content Editor), again, just as you do with other content types in WordPress.
  • Below this we have our pricing options. See my screenshot below:
screenshot of the pricing section in Easy Digital Downloads
Not all of these options are available by default…

Setting Pricing Options

The options covered below are not all default options with EDD, and some require additional purchases, which will be noted below.

  • Enable variable pricing will allow you to set up different conditions for a product. For example, you may have a digital download with a Bonus Track, and a different price for that, which you can setup here. If you are selling physical goods (additional plugin required as mentioned below), you may instead use this for products which have variations, such as a t-shirt that can come in red, white and blue. Note that advanced variations are not always possible with EDD (for that I recommend Woocommerce.)
  • Below that option is the box where you enter the primary Price. Omit the dollar sign, dollars and cents only.
  • Shipping Options is only available if you purchase the additional Simple Shipping plugin. If you’ve got it, tick the first checkbox and then enter in the amount you’ll charge to ship this item locally and internationally. What is considered “local” vs. international is configured in the settings area, as outlined below.
  • Purchase Limit also requires an additional purchase, but this option allows you to manage inventory. Enter a number, and when a new purchase is made, you’ll need to revisit this page and adjust the values accordingly. This is the only inventory-like management of products available with EDD at this time.

Download Files

If you want to sell digital goods, you’ll need to complete this section. It tells EDD where the file that you will email to your customers resides. They’ll receive a link to it, and you can limit the number of times they download any one particular file. We’ll cover that more below.

  • You can either choose Default or Bundle. The former allows you to setup just one download, the latter allows you to sell multiple files at once (for example, 12 tracks that make up an entire album).
  • Give the file a File Name, which will be shown to the user.
  • You can then upload the file in the next field, or paste a link to any valid URL.

Other Options

Most of the other panels on the screen come with inline documentation to assist you. See the text beneath Download Notes for example.

Categories and tags are similar to how those work with Posts. Featured Image serves a similar function to how it works with Posts and Pages, too.

The Download Stats panel will give you a quick overview to how this product is performing, and links to more detailed info.

The final panel is Download Settings. Here you can set a limit to how many times a single user can download a particular file. For example, Jim buys your MP3, he gets an email with a link to the file. You can set it here to only allow him to download this once, or 1,000 times.

If SKUs are setup in the Settings area, that field will show here.

You can also choose to mark this product as untaxable, ie. maybe you don’t charge tax on t-shirts or some other products due to local laws, and you can even disable the purchase button if you don’t want anyone to buy the product yet.

Downloads > Settings

There are a ton of settings that come with Easy Digital Downloads. Note that changing some of them can break your website. I will only cover those settings which most users will want to change, and will try to note those settings which absolutely should not be adjusted, unless you really know what you’re doing.


Toggle Test Mode on and off if you want to try to run a few transactions without having an actual credit card processed. If you’re using PayPal for credit card transactions, it’s actually a pretty big pain in the ass to get a Sandbox account (which is why I would have suggested using Stripe instead.)

If you are using Stripe, you can just tick the box, hit Save Changes, and go do some testing.

Stripe provides a bunch of test credit card numbers you can use to see how different errors will work / look, and to process actual orders without getting a real credit card charged. For example, on the checkout page you can use card # 424242424242, any expiration date in the future, and any 3 digit security code to checkout successfully. You can see all of Stripe’s test credit cards here.

The only other field you may want to tinker with here is Allow Usage Tracking?. I don’t have any statistics on how this affects performance, but they’ll give you a 20% discount on any future purchases from them if you do allow it.

Payment Gateways

I really don’t recommend making any changes here, and breaking your site due to changing these settings will incur an additional fee from me to get everything setup correctly again.


Feel free to go to town on these settings. They’re all just about as straightforward as writing an email in your normal email client, along with some handy codes such as {name} to include the customer’s first name and {fullname} to include their full name, for example.


Changing these settings will affect the layout of your site on the front end. I would have set this up for you to look as good as possible, so be warned. 🙂


Here you can manage what you’ll charge as far as taxes.

  • Enable Taxes can be unchecked to completely turn off taxes.
  • Default Tax Rate is what will be applied to all products, unless they meet one of the other criteria below. It’s my understanding that you mostly only need to charge tax to people in your own state, but consulting your accountant would be the way to go here. * ClickNathan is not liable, yada yada.
  • Prices entered with tax allows you to basically say, “My products already include the tax” and deal with it on your end vs. ever showing this info to the customer.
  • Calculate Tax After Discounts should be checked in my opinion, customers shouldn’t have to pay tax on the full price, but again, see your accountant to learn what applies to you.
  • Additional Rates allows you to setup different tax rates for different states or countries.


As in, miscellaneous.

  • Enable Ajax makes it so the cart updates without the customer’s browser refreshing. I recommend leaving it on.
  • Redirect to Checkout will take them straight to the checkout page after they click the purchase button. Useful if you’ve only got one product, but if you want them to shop around, leave this unticked.
  • Enforce SSL on Checkout should be checked if you’re using Stripe, but you’ll need an SSL certificate from your hosting company.
  • Disable Guest Checkout will force customers to create an account before they can checkout. This can reduce sales but ensures all customers do have an account.
  • Multiple Discounts allows you to limit customers to only using one coupon code, as discussed below.
  • Disable Redownload? If checked, once the customer clicks the download link once, that’s it. If anything goes wrong with the download or they lose it, tough luck (ie, they’ll be contacting you.)
  • Enable SKU Entry if you use SKUs in your business.
  • Sequential Order Numbers I prefer to check this vs. just leaving order numbers up to random post IDs in WordPress.

Everything else on that page is explained inline.

Downloads > Discount Codes

Want to give out coupon / discount codes? Here’s where you do it!

  1. Click Add New
  2. Give the discount a name, for internal reference.
  3. Enter the actual Code in the next field. This is what you’ll give out to your customers.
  4. You can then choose whether you want it to be a dollar value, or percentage, and enter the actual value.
  5. Download Requirements can be used to limit the code to one or more products. So Product A may be eligible for a 10% discount, where Product B, Product C and Product D are not.
  6. Excluded Downloads, the opposite of the option immediately above.
  7. You can optionally set a start date and/or expiration for the code.
  8. Minimum Amount, exclude any $ symbols.
  9. Max Uses, to limit how many times a coupon can be used before it expires.
  10. And finally, Use Once Per Customer limits the coupon to only being used once per person (though if a person uses different computers and/or email accounts he or she could get around this).

Add Ons

In this section, you can explore all of the additional, typically paid for, plugins that are available to extend EDD. Note that installing these may have mixed results or require additional programming. I haven’t used all, or even most, of them, so I can’t attest to specifically which ones would need more work than just installing a plugin.

Always happy to look into and install / theme / tweak things for you, of course, at my hourly rate.

Enjoy Easy Digital Downloads!

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