While WordPress is a powerful CMS, it’s media management system isn’t functionally innovative. A WordPress user can upload videos and images to the Media folder, but once the website begins to grow, the need for additional file management system automatically arises.
A solution is to use Google Drive or Dropbox file management system to store any media type; however, it increases the workload as we need to have uploaded the media files separately and maintain a sync between the WordPress site and the cloud file management systems.
Understanding this problem, JoomUnited created a plugin called WP File Download. This is an in-depth review of the WP File Download plugin.
The Need for WP File Download Plugin
As discussed earlier, the default WordPress setup only works with videos and images for media management. As a WordPress administrator, we often feel the need for other in-built functionalities where we can upload documents, PDF files, excel sheets and more, on one manageable dashboard, without leaving the system.
With the WP File Download plugin, three major issues are solved:
- You can create a comprehensive dashboard within the WordPress interface to upload various file types and manage them internally.
- The uploaded and managed files can be set-up to give end users the feature to download the files. The files can be set in either public or private mode.
- The end users can even upload files at their end, and these files will be visible on your dashboard.
As you will see through the review, the WP File Download plugin brings tons of functionalities.
Installing WP File Download Plugin
The process is outlined below:
Download the plugin from the official website onto your system.
Login to the WordPress dashboard. Go to Plugins > Add New option. Choose the Upload Plugin option and upload the downloaded file. Once uploaded, click on Activate. Your dashboard will add the plugin in the navigation area.
Locate the WP File Download plugin on the navigation area and customize the settings accordingly.
You are done!
Features of WP File Download Plugin
Advanced File Management
The core feature of WP File Download plugin is its advanced file management systems. You can create multiple folders, and divide them into categories. There is a search function to find files and folders, and the possibility to give access to the files to external users. You can set the files in Public or Private mode. Despite multiple features, the plugin is easy to setup and simple to navigate.
The WP File Download plugin includes four themes by default. These four themes have separate configuration and settings, which can be manually overridden based on specific requirements. Each parameter is customizable, and the file manager fits into the overall design of the primary WordPress setup. You can setup files and folders into recognizable colors and customize the download link/button for the end user. With a single click, you can create your theme or clone an existing theme.
The WP File Download plugin admin interface has a drag-and-drop functionality, which makes file management seamless. The interface is responsive, that is, full features are accessible irrespective of the access system. It’s hassle-free to move files from one section to another, delete files or modify file categories. You can manage the files and folders from any internal page of the WordPress site. The cut/copy/paste feature is exactly as we see on the desktop.
If you’re selling something on the WordPress site or if you want end users to download documents directly from the landing page, you can setup the WP File Download plugin to render documents accordingly. It offers AJAX navigation through file categories. You can create a folder tree diagram to make the files easily navigable. You can share PSDs, PNGs, PDFs, DOCs and more. Simply setup the file access criteria and embed them on the main landing page through simple shortcodes.
As the WordPress administrator, you have access to all the files and its data. Do you want to extend the same features to everyone with admin access or limit them according to their roles? It’s completely your choice, and the plugin gives you the option to customize file access and setup limitation conditions. You can assign files and folders to a specific user or a group of users.
For example, yours is an eCommerce site, and you have hired a Shop Manager to handle the in-house inventory. Accordingly, there are some informative files that the Shop Manager needs to access. Simply create a ‘Shop Manager’ access category on the WordPress dashboard and give access to the relevant person. You can also limit the editing rights on hosted files and categories.
Drawing on the previous #5 point, the plugin has an inbuilt email notification system which is activated whenever anyone makes changes to the hosted files and categories. In the earlier point, I mentioned that the editing rights could be limited; but, what about tracking file edits when a group of people has access to the same number of documents?
As such, if someone from a group access segment makes any changes, the file owner and the file category owner is notified instantly. Activities like file edition, new file upload, file removal, file information edition, and files downloaded immediately trigger an email notification to the administrator and the file owner.
In case you want to maintain an offsite backup, you can use the File Import option to download all or selected files onto the computer system. You can save these files in the Cloud with Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox.
If you are sharing downloadable files for the end user, such as informative guides, ebooks, case studies, or anything else, you would want to know how many people downloaded the files. The WP File Download plugin simplifies this process within their integrated download statistics feature, which allows the administrator to view a complete file download data.
An additional boon is that this setup can be integrated with Google Analytics. You have a way to document everything happening within a stack of files. I am yet to come across anyone who doesn’t use Google Analytics for data management. This integration is very handy.
Google Drive & Integration
Before the WP File Download plugin, you had to upload all the files to these Cloud technology providers separately and give relevant people access. The plugin simplifies the process of inbuilt Google Drive and Dropbox integration. There is a two-way synchronization to help with the upload and download of files and folders. You can preview the files and limit file previews by format.
The WordPress plugin repository has multiple social content locking plugins, which prompts viewers to share the content within their social network. The Social Lockers feature is an add-on with the WP File Download plugin with which you can prompt the user to share their recent action to social channels after the user has downloaded a file. The method helps to improve social traffic.
Theme Builder Integration
The plugin is not only suitable for all WordPress themes, but it also syncs perfectly with major content builders like Visual Composer, DIVI, Beaver Builder, Site Origine, Elementor, Live Composer, ACF, and Themify.
The WP File Download plugin doesn’t have a free version. It is solely a premium plugin, and given the number of integrated features, it makes sense to make this a paid plugin only. There are different pricing plans, as outlined below.
The $29 plan is suitable if you have a single blog and looking for basic file management features. For the full suite of features, you should opt for the $59 plan. Or, for a one-time payment of $149, you can buy all the plugins created by JoomUnited.
I tested the WP File Download plugin on one of our blogs and wrote this review. It worked perfectly and without any issues. The learning curve isn’t that high. Once you get used to the system, it’s irreplaceable. Do try out the plugin for your blog.
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