Monday, 10 July 2017 13:39

Sell large digital download files using WooCommerce & Dropbox

Sell large digital files for download using WooCommerce
Sell large digital files for download using WooCommerce Pixelfire

If you have a WooCommerce WordPress website and want to sell large digital files online you may come up against the following issues:

  • Files over 2GB files are simply too large to upload and store on the server.
  • The bandwidth required for customers to download large files is huge.

What’s the solution for selling large digital files using WooCommerce?

I have discovered a way you can sell large downloadable digital files using a Dropbox paid account as the server where you store those files.

Storing large digital files on Dropbox also means those digital files are more secure because Dropbox is https.

DROPBOX REQUIREMENTS
Create a Dropbox paid account. Upgrade to the Plus plan $11.58 per month.
I have a paid account Dropbox plus account which gives me 1TB (1024 GB) of disc space - more than enough to store large digital files for download.

Top Tip: Download and install the Dropbox app on your Computer or Mac. This will allow you to access your Dropbox folder as you would any other folder on your computer making it much quicker to add files to your 'storedownloads' folder.

See this page for more information:
https://www.dropbox.com/plans?trigger=homepagefoot

Instructions

STEP 01

In your Dropbox account create a folder called ‘storedownloads’ to store all of your digital files.

Store downloads folder on Dropbox

Note: It's best practice to name your large digital files without spaces in the name.

Example:
Learning Martial Arts.mp4  Bad X
Learning-Martial-Arts.mp4  Good √ because there are no spaces in the name.

Upload your digital files to the 'storedownloads' Dropbox folder.

Selling multiple files in one purchase?
If you have many files that form part of a digital product download, you could compress those files into a single .zip file. This will save the customer having to download load multiple files. You might use this approach when creating albums.

 

STEP 02 - Force file downloads to customers computers and prevent movie files playing in browsers.

Once your file has been uploaded to your shared folder on DropBox, right click the file and Copy Dropbox Link.

Dropbox file link

In order to make the download link work correctly in Woocommerce you need to make two edits.

Replace https://www.dropbox.com with https://dl.dropboxusercontent.comThis will force the link to become a direct download link.
You will also need to edit the URL query parameter too. This ?dl=0 becomes ?dl=1.
Doing this forces files such as movie files to download to peoples computers rather than playing in the browser window.

Example:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/hriinb9w3a2107m/iPad-intro.mp4?dl=0 will become
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/hriinb9w3a2107m/iPad-intro.mp4?dl=1

 

STEP 03 - Configure WooCommerce for large digital downloads.
After extensive testing I've noted that very large files that are over 1GB fail to download correctly because the download 'times out'. The file that is downloaded becomes truncated and corrupt. In order to address this issue you need to update your Woocommerce digital download settings.

  • Edit WooCommerce / Settings.
  • Click the Products tab / Downloadable products.
  • Set the download method to: Redirect only.

You're now ready to login into your website and edit the digital WooCommerce product you are selling.

Under the General tab, add the digital file and paste in the Dropbox URL for the product.

File link in woocommerce

When a customer buys the product and clicks to download the file, the file is force downloaded to their computer using the bandwidth from Dropbox instead of your website.

Plus, you are saving valuable discspace on the server and hours of time uploading large files via FTP.  You are also protecting your files by storing them on the secure Dropbox server.

You will need an upgraded Dropbox account though because the free account only comes with 2GB.

 

Finally, when you update downloadable files you may want to update past buyers that you've updated the product. If you have many products and many buyers this can be time-consuming to send emails out manually. Uriahs Victor contacted me after reading this article and let me know he has developed a plugin that can update buyers about a product update with the switch of a button. See the links below:

 

Reference:
https://zapier.com/learn/how-to/generate-direct-dropbox-link/
http://www.chrislema.com/woocommerce-tips-pay-play-download/
https://www.dropbox.com/help/desktop-web/force-download
https://docs.woocommerce.com/document/digital-downloadable-product-handling/

5 comments

  • Comment Link Shairu Wednesday, 07 March 2018 17:24 posted by Shairu

    Great article but users who have purchased the product would still suffer from not being able to know when the downloadable product is updated. I wrote a plugin specifically for that. You can add it within the article if you like:

    https://wordpress.org/plugins/tld-woocommerce-downloadable-product-update-emails/

  • Comment Link Simon Tuesday, 30 January 2018 10:11 posted by Simon

    Thanks! Great guide! But on iPhone when following this guide the mp3-file will start to play as soon as you click the link from the woocommerce email. No matter how I build up the path (with =dl1 in the end) or what type of download setting I select (redirect or force download).
    I allow the downloadable product for download 5 times and when the file starts to play it uses about 3 or 4 downloads right away. What is the next step I shall try with? Is it not possible to have separate private links for each user?

  • Comment Link Zee Saturday, 16 December 2017 08:59 posted by Zee

    Thanks so much...very informative.

  • Comment Link Anthony Frank Wednesday, 29 November 2017 12:10 posted by Anthony Frank

    This is very useful. I was trying to figure out how to stop someone from sharing the download via a share button. I think this will work for that as well.

  • Comment Link Bill Thursday, 14 September 2017 15:52 posted by Bill

    Thank you for the great post, it really helped out. I was struggling with the link generated automatically, having the https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com solves it.

    Thank you.

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