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How to Quickly Sell Digital Downloads with Stripe

Illustration: Credit cards with their magnetic Stripe

Do you want to quickly get set up for selling digital downloads? Great idea! This is a great way to make money online with passive income. With little up-front costs, you can get started building a small business or side hustle.

In this article we’ll show you how to use Easy Digital Downloads and Stripe to start selling digital downloads for free! You can have a full-featured professional store on your WordPress site in no time.


Get Started

The best way to sell your digital downloads is on your own website.

The best way to do that is to combine three amazingly powerful, yet free, eCommerce tools. WordPress + Easy Digital Downloads + Stripe.

Logos: WordPress, EDD, and Stripe

Install Easy Digital Downloads

First, if you have never installed a plugin on your WordPress site, here is a great detailed tutorial. You need to have your WordPress hosting/site all set up.

To install EDD here are the quick instructions…

  • On your WordPress dashboard go to Plugins > Add New.
  • Then click the Upload Plugin button.
  • Locate the Easy Digital Downloads ZIP file you just downloaded and click Install Now.
  • After that be sure to click the Activate button.
Screenshot: Selling Digital Downloads - Install EDD

After you install Easy Digital Downloads you’ll have a new menu item called Downloads on your WordPress dashboard menu on the left side.

Screenshot: new Downloads menu item

Configure Stripe

Before we start, be sure to make sure Stripe is available in your country. If not, we suggest PayPal as another great option. Click here to learn more about setting up PayPal.

Next, integrating EDD with Stripe is easy. Especially if you already have a Stripe account.

Have a Stripe Account?

If you have a Stripe account it’s almost as simple as hitting a magic blue button.

On your WordPress dashboard go to: Downloads > Settings > Payments > Stripe.

Click on the almost-magic blue button that says Connect with Stripe.

Screenshot: Selling Digital Downloads - Connect with Stripe
  • You’ll log in with your Stripe email address and password
  • You probably have two factor authentication so you’ll have to enter a code
  • Then you’ll be able to choose your account and click Connect → to link it to EDD.
Screenshot: Stripe Connect get started log in

You’re pretty much done. You’ll see a green notification box that confirms your connection status.

Screenshot: Selling Digital Downloads - Connection Status

Don’t Have a Stripe Account?

No worries if you don’t have a Stripe account. Stripe makes it easy to create a new one (for free) and connect it to EDD all in one place.

This process will look a bit different depending on which country you are in. We’ll walk you through what a typical setup looks like from the United States. These screenshots may change slightly over time, as Stripe tweaks their interface.

  • On your WordPress dashboard go to: Downloads > Settings > Payments > Stripe.
  • Click on the blue button that says Connect with Stripe.
  • You’ll be taken to the Stripe Connect screen
Screenshot: Selling Digital Downloads - Connect with Stripe

Be sure you see our logo and ‘Easy Digital Downloads’ on the left side.

You’ll be taken through a multi-page form. It’s simple to use. It’ll ask for your contact information, business information, and guide you through setting everything up. Like we said, it varies by region. But you’ll probably have to provide things like:

  • Name, address, phone number
  • Personal information, like the last 4 digits of your social security number in the US
  • Business information, contact, type of business
  • The last step in most regions will be connecting a bank account for Stripe to deposit your money into when you make a sale!
Screenshot: Stripe Connect get started

Configure Webhooks

Next you need configure something called a webhook. Most things just work ‘right out of the box’ with Stripe and EDD. However, you have to do this configuration so that refunds are communicated between Stripe and your EDD store.

On your Stripe Dashboard go to Developers > Webhooks. Or use the direct link below (you must be logged in to your account):

https://dashboard.stripe.com/webhooks

Click on the Add Endpoint button.

Screenshot: Stripe Connect - Add endpoint

Add your domain name with ‘/?edd-listener=stripe’ at the end of it. It should look like this:

https://yourwebsite.com/?edd-listener=stripe

Replace ‘yourwebsite.com’ with your website’s domain name. Or you can copy and paste it from the screen located at: Downloads > Settings > Payments > Stripe in the Webhooks section.

Screenshot: Selling Digital Downloads - Webhooks

On the Stripe Dashboard use these settings:

  1. Make sure the box “Listen to events on Connected accounts” is unchecked
  2. The API version should be “Latest version”
  3. Select the following events:
    • charge.succeeded
    • charge.refunded
    • customer.subscription.deleted
    • customer.subscription.updated
    • customer.subscription.created
    • invoice.payment_failed
    • invoice.payment_succeeded
    • review.opened
    • review.closed

You find these events in this set of drop-downs and select them. Here is the Review one being selected:

Screenshot: Stripe connect webhook configuration drop-downs

Once completed, your webhooks page should look like this.

Screenshot: Stripe Connect - Listen to Stripe events

Hit Add Endpoint and you’ll save these settings. Your integration with EDD will complete.

🔍 Click here for more details on Stripe Setup

Set Stripe as Default Payment Gateway

To finish up, head over to Downloads > Settings > Payments > Gateways.

  • Under Payment Gateways check the Stripe box
  • Make sure Stripe is set as your Default Gateway via the dropdown
  • And choose which credit card brands to accept under Accepted Payment Method Icons.
    • Not sure which ones? Choose Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover unless you have a reason not to use these popular brands. Credit card availability will vary by country/region.
  • Be sure to hit the Save Changes button
Screenshot: Selling Digital Downloads - Payment Gateways, select Stripe

Free As In Free? Or Fees?

Stripe is free to use, but there are per-transaction fees. This is great if you are just getting started out, because you only pay money when you make a sale.

💳 Pay-as-you-go pricing is a 2% per-transaction fee + Stripe/credit card fees.

Once your online store is humming along, and you are processing a higher volume of payments, you can skip the 2% fee by purchasing either:

Create A Product (Download)

Now we’ll walk through setting up a product with your digital file/s. In EDD they are called Downloads.

Step 1

First, unless you have a specific reason not to, we suggest selling your downloads as ZIP files. Bookmark this link to learn why later.

On your WordPress dashboard, hover over Downloads and click Add New. We’ll be uploading a spreadsheet exercise tracker template as an example.

Give the Download a name. Then add a description in the main text area below.

Screenshot: EDD download name and description

Step 2

Next, give your Download a price under Download Prices.

Screenshot: EDD download pricing

Step 3

Next, we need to configure your Download File. This is the file (or download link) that the customer will get after purchase.

  1. First, under File Name type in a phrase that describes the product. We suggest, for this example, typing something like “Spreadsheet Tracker”. This is the clickable link text that will be used on the confirmation page and email.
  2. Second, under File URL click Upload a File and upload your ZIP file. It will automatically be protected from search bots and unauthorized file downloads by non-customers.
Screenshot: selling spreadsheets | EDD download files

Step 4

Last, you need to add an attractive Download Image. This is important. It’s what the customer sees as they are shopping. It needs to look appealing.

Free Templates

Not sure how to? Snag one of our free Canva templates below to quickly and easily make a nice graphic. 

Screenshot: Spreadsheet image in Canva

You can edit the text, pictures, colors and all layers. All you need is a free Canva account!

🎨 eBook product image template

🎨 Document product image template

🎨 Spreadsheet product image template

Once you have an image ready, go under Download Image and upload your PNG or JPEG file.

Screenshot: EDD download image

Great work! It’s ready for display on your site. Click Publish.

Next, look at it as the customer will see it on your website.

Click on View Download on the top notification banner that appeared after you published.

Screenshot: selling spreadsheets | view EDD download

You’ll see your download on the frontend of your site.

This is the ‘download page’. Note that we are using the free WP Astra theme in this example. Your site look will vary depending on which WordPress theme you have.

Screenshot: selling spreadsheets | view EDD download on website

Checkout

Try adding the product to the cart. Make sure you’re happy with the way everything looks.

Screenshot: Selling Digital Downloads - EDD Shopping Cart

Purchase Confirmation

When a customer completes a purchase they’ll get a purchase confirmation email in their email inbox. It looks like this:

Screenshot: Selling Digital Downloads - EDD Purchase confirmation email

The text presets for this email work fine. Or, you can customize this email text all you want under Downloads > Settings > Emails > Purchase Receipts.


Start Selling!

We recommend running a test before you start going public with your new digital downloads.

🔍 Click here to learn more about Stripe test purchases

One way to run a quick test is to temporarily set the price of your product to 1 dollar (or your chosen currency). Then try purchasing it with your own credit card or debit card. 

This will allow you to see the entire checkout process from the perspective of the customer.

🎉 If you like everything you see, you’re ready to start selling!

WordPress + EDD + Stripe can get your business or side hustle up and running pretty quickly.

You’re ready to start telling others about you products.

Marketing and Promotion Tips

  • Share your downloads on Social media
  • Build an email list with lead magnets to find new customers
  • Write blog posts about your products so they can be discovered by search engines
    • Be sure the posts are SEO (search engine optimized), we recommend using All In One SEO to help you with that. We love this WordPress plugin and use it here at EDD.

If you’re not sure where to start, be mindful that have a powerful marketing tool ready and waiting…your blog! WordPress with EDD is the best digital downloads ecommerce platform. Bonus…WordPress is also the best blogging tool.

Write posts about your new products and existing downloads.


The Advantages of EDD and WordPress

👍 WordPress is the amazing website platform that powers 43% of the internet. You can be sure it can handle any task you can ever think up.

There are more than 59,000 plugins and an ecosystem of professional developers and service providers you can trust for help.

All you need is a web host. Even though WordPress, the CMS software is free, a web host costs money. But not too much money. Click here for a guide and discount codes!
👍🏿 Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) is the full featured eCommerce plugin for WordPress trusted by more than 50,000 businesses.

It’s purpose-built for selling digital products (downloads). It has everything you need to quickly get up and selling. Click below to download it for free!
👍🏽 Stripe is the best way to accept payments online. You can accept credit cards and even allow customers to pay with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Microsoft Pay which can attract potential customers.

It provides a professional checkout experience and is easy to work with, which is why it’s popular with web designers.

Compared to Other Solutions

👎 Other ecommerce solutions, including WooCommerce, are not built for selling digital downloads. While Woo is great for physical goods, selling digital goods are an after thought. You’ll waste time setting up inventory and shipping features that you don’t need.

👎🏿 Many platforms and apps, including Shopify, charge hefty monthly fees, before you even get started. 

👎🏽 Marketplaces, including Etsy and Amazon, charge fees, often take a cut of your revenue, and usually have limits on how much you can charge for your own products!

🎓 Smart entrepreneurs take full control of their businesses with WordPress + EDD + Stripe. 

Use EDD and Stripe for free. We’re not talking about a free trial. Use them free forever. As your business grows, you’ll find EDD is a robust ecommerce platform. Simply add features if and when you need them with an EDD Pass.

 🔑 WordPress + EDD + Stripe = Future-proof

With Easy Digital Downloads you get:

  • Protected product files, only paying customers will have access to digital downloads
  • Shopping cart
  • Full control over pricing
  • Flexible checkout options
  • Discount codes
  • Customer management (basic CRM)
  • eCommerce reports
  • Stripe and/or PayPal integration
  • White label (full control over branding)

What are you waiting for? Get started with EDD today.


Why Should I Sell Digital Downloads?

There are tons of benefits of selling digital downloads. It’s much easier to get started with digital products than physical products. Physical products require:

  • Expensive raw materials
  • Supply chain logistics
  • Manufacturing
  • Inventory and warehousing
  • Shipping

Digital downloads (digital products) require none of those things. You can make your product once, and sell it an unlimited number of times. Click here to learn more about all the benefits (there are tons!).

Use your unique mix of skills and experience to craft digital content and create digital products. There are countless types of digital products:

  • eBooks
  • Audiobooks
  • Documents or spreadsheets
  • Audio or music
  • Graphic templates for:
    • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Creative Cloud Express
    • Affinity Photo or Designer
    • Canva
  • Stock photos
  • Graphics or digital art
  • Printables
  • Embroidery cut files
  • Online courses
  • Fontss
  • Or one of thousands of ideas…

Click here for our complete list of product ideas. There are countless kinds of digital downloads you can sell.

🔑 The main reason to be selling digital downloads is because they can be highly profitable💰. They also allow you to help others in unique ways.


Conclusion

There you have it! You’ve learned how to start selling digital downloads. We hope you are able to build a profitable online business as a digital creator!

We have a lot more resources for digital creators like you. What do you want to learn about next?

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get our latest resources for digital creators.

Joe Wells

About Joe Wells

Joe is a Marketing Specialist at Awesome Motive. For years he’s been helping people and organizations succeed with WordPress. He is also the founder of an alternative accounting solution for your side hustle called HustleBooks (powered by Easy Digital Downloads). He and his family live and play just outside Detroit. A busy dad, he enjoys running, watching and creating films.

@thisisjoewells

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