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How to Securely License and Sell Desktop Software in WordPress

Do you want to learn how to sell desktop software? With Easy Digital Downloads and a WordPress site, it’s easy!

Selling software is a proven way to build a profitable business with passive income. It’s also a great way to help others succeed using your unique skills, knowledge, and experience.

🔎 In this article, we’ll cover:

Why Sell Desktop Software With WordPress

Selling software can offer a number of benefits. It can be easily distributed and can potentially reach a large audience. Additionally, the production cost of software is relatively low compared to physical products, making it a cost-effective business option. Furthermore, software can be easily updated and improved for continued sales and customer satisfaction.

Another advantage of selling software is the potential for recurring revenue. Software can be sold as a subscription service, providing a steady stream of income over time. This can help stabilize cash flow and increase the business’s overall value.

Using WordPress to sell software can offer several benefits. For one, it is an easy-to-use platform that requires no coding knowledge, making it accessible to beginners. With many plugins available, WordPress allows for high customization, enabling software companies and other businesses to create a unique and branded online store.

WordPress is also SEO-friendly, making it easier for potential customers to discover your store through search engines. The platform offers a wide range of plugins that can help to manage your online store, including payment processing, license key generation, and more. WordPress has a large and active community of web and software developers and users, providing a wealth of support forums and resources.

Another advantage of using WordPress to sell software is its security. The platform is designed to be secure, with regular updates and security patches to protect against potential threats. This can help keep your business and customers’ information safe.

Finally, using WordPress to sell software can be cost-effective. The platform runs on open-source code and is free to use, which can help to reduce overhead costs. Many free and low-cost add-ons are also available, enabling businesses to customize their online store without breaking the bank.

How to Sell Desktop Software With WordPress

Ready to get started? In the following sections, we’ll walk you through how to use your WordPress website for selling software.

1: Get Easy Digital Downloads & Software Licensing

If you haven’t already, the first step is to get Easy Digital Downloads (EDD):

The Easy Digital Downloads website.

This WordPress plugin, a powerful WooCommerce alternative, is the best way to sell digital products, like software.

EDD has functionality that makes it easy to sell and manage licenses for any desktop application (Microsoft Windows, Linux, or Mac desktop apps). There is a free version available. However, you’ll want to grab a premium pass to get access to our Software Licensing AND Recurring Payments extensions.

Software Licensing gives you everything you need to sell and manage software. This includes license key generation, management, renewals, and upgrades. Recurring Payments provides subscription payments and free trials.

WordPress, EDD, Software Licensing, and Recurring Payments Logos

The software products you sell are called ‘Downloads’ in EDD. Here you will manage your store, configure settings and monitor sales all within the WordPress admin:

The EDD Download menu item in WordPress.

Next, download and install the Software Licensing and Recurring Payments addons under Downloads » Extensions:

The EDD extensions screen in WordPress.

Once installed, EDD automatically activates the extensions.

2: Configure Your Software Product

We have a ton of tutorials, an onboarding wizard, and a quick start guide for getting your first product ready to sell.

Feel free to check out this video to get started:

To get started, you can go to Downloads » Add New:

Adding a new product in EDD.

Here, you can add a title, product description, and price:

Adding a new EDD download.

To the right, you can also select a Download Image. Next, you can scroll to Download Files to name your file URL and upload it:

The Download Files settings to sell desktop software with WordPress.

Setting Up Software Licenses

On this same screen, you can configure and handle software license management settings. First, scroll to the Licensing section and select the Check to enable license creation checkbox:

The EDD Licensing box for creating and selling software in WordPress.

Next, set your Version Number and License Length. Limited one-year licenses are common, as well as monthly. Below these settings, you can also add information about updates and changes in the Change Log box:

Software licensing change log box

This is useful if this isn’t the first version/release of your software.

When you’re done, click Publish. EDD automatically generates license keys/activation codes for each purchase. You don’t have to do anything else for license management.

You can add custom codes under Preset License Keys. These codes will be given to customers first until they run out, then keys made with EDD’s automation will be used afterward:

Software licensing preset license keys box

What The Customer Will See

After a customer purchases your desktop software product they will:

  1. Be taken to the Purchase Confirmation Page
  2. Get a Purchase Receipt Email

Purchase Confirmation Page

After a customer (end user) enters their credit card and other personal information to make a purchase they are taken to the Purchase Confirmation Page. This page has:

  • The order information and personal information provided
  • The license key
  • A link to download their new software product
Purchase confirmation page

Purchase Receipt Email

Anytime a customer makes a purchase they automatically get a Purchase Receipt email. You can edit the default Purchase Receipt Email template under Downloads » Settings » Email » Purchase Receipts:

Editing the purchase receipt email in EDD.

Below the area where you edit the body text, you’ll see a list of email template tags. You use email template tags to add dynamic text to emails like names, price, or payment methods. EDD automatically adds the correct text for each order to each email in place of the items within brackets. For instance, you can add {license_keys} email tag into the email body text wherever you want it to appear in the email.

Sample purchase receipt

🔎 Learn more about using Software Licensing with EDD

3: Integrate Using Our Licensing API

EDD’s Software Licensing extension was built with the WordPress theme and plugin ecosystem in mind. It’s also a fully capable cross-platform tool for selling software with the Licensing API.

Our API comes with the ability to activate, deactivate, and check licenses. You can also deliver an update package.

🔎 Learn more about our Software Licensing API on our Docs

In our Docs, we have examples of how to implement our Software Licensing API with multiple code frameworks:

4: (Optional) Set Up Subscription Payments

Software Licensing and Recurring Payments Logos

Most software is priced as a monthly or annual subscription. For this, our Software Licensing integrates perfectly with our Recurring Payments extension.

  • Offer free trials (billing once the trial ends is automated!)
  • Manage license renewals in sync with renewed subscriptions
  • Provide customers access to their license keys

Access, download, and install the Recurring Payments extension the same way you did with our Software Licensing extension.

🔎 Learn more about pricing your software and subscriptions

Examples of Using EDD to Sell Desktop Software

With EDD and Software Licensing, you’ll have a full-featured eCommerce solution for selling your software and managing licensing:

  • ✅ Automated license key generation
  • ✅ License key management (view, edit, monitor each customer’s license)
  • ✅ License renewals
  • ✅ Upgrades (if you have multiple versions, offer upgrade paths with prorated pricing)
  • 🛟 Dedicated customer support if you need help!
A demo EDD page selling software with WordPress.

⬇️ Check out some these EDD-powered desktop software websites to see it in action!

FAQs About Selling Software With WordPress

Let’s wrap up with some frequently asked questions.

What is software licensing?

Software licensing is the process of legally granting permission to use a software product. It typically involves the purchase of a license that allows the user to use the software within the license terms and conditions specified by the software vendor. There are different types of software business models, such as Software as a Service (SaaS), subscription, freemium, etc.

What are the benefits of using software licensing to sell desktop software?

Software licensing provides several benefits, including the ability to control who can use the software, how many users can use it, and for how long. It also allows software vendors to protect their intellectual property rights and generate revenue from their software products.

What is a software licensing API?

A software licensing API is an application programming interface that enables software vendors to integrate licensing functionality directly into their software applications. This allows vendors to automate the licensing process and provide a seamless, hassle-free experience for their users.

What are some best practices for selling software?

Some best practices for software licensing and sales include using a secure licensing solution, providing a clear license agreement, offering a variety of pricing options, providing excellent customer support, and regularly updating and improving your software product.

It is also important to stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices, as well as to be transparent and honest with your customers about your licensing and sales practices.

Use EDD to Sell Desktop Software

Congrats! You’ve learned how to securely license and sell desktop software with WordPress and EDD. Best of luck out there as you grow your startup or software business.

We have way more resources for developers like you. From one developer to another. What do you want to learn about next!?

📣 P.S. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more WordPress resources!

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