3 ways to grant members access to protected downloads

There are many cases where you might want to give your site members access to restricted files. Maybe you run an online magazine and your subscribers should have access to download the monthly issue as a PDF. Or maybe you run a stock image site and want your members to be able to download 10 images every month.

Restrict Content Pro has three different ways you can grant members access to protected files. We’ll highlight each of the three methods so you can decide which one best fits your membership site and business model.

1) Offer a specific number of free EDD downloads each subscription period

This first method is with our EDD Member Downloads add-on. It’s an excellent solution if you use Easy Digital Downloads alongside Restrict Content Pro to sell access to individual files.

When the add-on is activated, a new setting is added to the Add/Edit Subscription Level page allowing you to specify a number of free downloads allowed each subscription period.

Restrict Content Pro - EDD Member Downloads - Add new level screen
The Downloads Allowed option on the subscription level add/edit screen.

In this example we have a subscription with a duration of 1 month and have set the “Downloads Allowed” to 10. That means active members will be able to download up to 10 EDD products for free each month.

When an active member views an Easy Digital Download product, the “Add to Cart” button is turned into a “Download” button. The member can download the file immediately for free.

Restrict Content Pro - EDD Member Downloads - Cart button override
A download button is shown to members with a membership that allows downloads, as long as his or her download limit has not been reached.

When the member reaches his or her download limit, they’ll start seeing regular “Add to Cart” buttons again and can still pay full price to get access to the download if desired. When their subscription is renewed for another period, the allowance resets and they can continue to download more products for free.

EDD Member Downloads is a great solution for stock photography sites. You can sell photographs individually, but also give subscribers a monthly allowance. This add-on is available for free to all Restrict Content Pro license holders.

Download EDD Member Downloads

2) Automatically apply discounts to EDD products

This is our second option for those of you also using Easy Digital Downloads. The EDD Restrict Content Pro Member Discounts add-on allows you to create discount codes that will automatically be applied to paid RCP subscribers when they purchase an Easy Digital Downloads product.

EDD Restrict Content Pro Member Discounts
A new page is added allowing you to select a subscription level and a discount percentage to automatically apply on checkout.

In this example, if the person adding the product to their cart is an active “Silver” member, a 100% discount will be applied during checkout automatically.

This add-on is an excellent choice if you want to give your Restrict Content Pro members discounts to items in your shop, or even free access to all downloads by making the discount amount 100%.

RCP Member Discounts is available for purchase from $19 on the Easy Digital Downloads website.

Purchase RCP Member Discounts

3) Give members access to downloads with Download Monitor

Our third option is perfect for those of you who don’t want to sell your downloads separately outside of Restrict Content Pro. This option requires two extra plugins:

  1. Download Monitor
  2. The Restrict Content Pro Download Monitor bridge add-on

Download Monitor is a plugin that allows you to easily upload and manage file downloads within WordPress. On its own, Download Monitor only has two options: allow anyone to access the downloads, or restrict access to logged in users only. The RCP Download Monitor add-on allows you to set extra restrictions on your downloads. It adds the standard Restrict Content Pro meta box to the Add/Edit Download screen.

Restrict file downloads meta box

You can embed your download link on a members only page and add extra restrictions to ensure only active members have access to download the file. If an unauthorized user attempts to download the file, they’ll be redirected to an error page.

This option is perfect if you want to offer members complimentary material, such as worksheets to go along with a paid e-course. The RCP Download Monitor add-on is free download for all active license key holders.

Download the Download Monitor add-on

Do you run a downloads site with Restrict Content Pro? We’d love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments how you’re serving downloads to your members.

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    1. We don’t currently have an option to limit the downloads on a daily basis – just overall for the whole subscription cycle. So if the subscription duration is 1 month, you can specify a maximum number of downloads in each 1 month period.

      1. Will this feature be added later?Want to control to a free 30 times a day to prevent members of the one-time use of authority.

        1. It’s not on our immediate to-do list, though we might consider it if we get a lot of other requests.

  1. How about protecting an existing folder. Is there any solution for restricting access to a folder which contains download files for paid members only?

    1. Hi Brad,

      Easy Digital Downloads handles file protection already. Are you referring to something different, like an arbitrary folder of files not uploaded to a product already?

        1. Due to how WordPress stores uploaded files, probably not unless you pass them through something like Download Manager – which we integrate with. Shoot us a support email if you want to share some specific details about how the files are stored and linked currently.

  2. Excellent and informative post. THANKS.
    One Q: Can a site have subscription using rcp and pay per individual item download at the same time?

    1. Hi Lauren!

      Yes, this is possible if using both RCP and Easy Digital Downloads. Someone can buy an RCP subscription, but then also buy individual downloads from EDD.

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