5 of the Best WordPress PDF Download Plugins Compared

Are you looking for a way to sell your latest e-book, offer your most recent white paper to readers, or give users the ability to download important personal documents? There are a few different ways to do this on your website, but it’s tough to find the right solution for your needs. This article will help! It’s going to show you some of the best WordPress PDF download plugins, along with how to use one of them.

There are lots of situations where you’ll want to offer a PDF download. As such, it’s vital that your solution can cover all of these bases, along with some you haven’t even thought of yet. For example, e-commerce websites often need to provide ‘spec sheets’, free sample downloads, and more. Courses taken online can also often include multiple PDFs, across the entire curriculum. There’s no perfect solution, but you can narrow down your options to something suitable.

For this post, we’re going to show you some of the very best WordPress PDF download plugins, and talk about why we think Download Monitor is on the top of the pile. By the end, you’ll know exactly which solution is the best one for you.

The Most Important Features for a WordPress PDF Download Plugin You’ll Want to Have

Of course, in order to narrow down the list of best WordPress PDF download plugins, you’ll want to know what features and functionality to look for. This is important to compare each solution in a direct way.

Because a download plugin deals with PDF documents, good file management for your chosen plugin is vital. You won’t only have PDF files to contend with: There will be other media and formats too.

As such, you’ll want to work with a system that’s straightforward to use, with an uncomplicated layout and feature set. A good plugin will help you manage all of these elements – and save time and money – so you can concentrate on other areas of your business.

There are a few other requirements we’d suggest too that are key for plugins in general, not just WordPress PDF download plugins:

  • Tracking and analytics. This can be optional depending on your goals and needs. However, we think that having metrics to hand can help you find out what does and doesn’t work on your site. Rather than make a guess, you can use those figures to make conscientious changes to your design and layout.
  • Security. You’ll want to protect your PDF files, your users, and your site through good security practices. The right plugin will have good development and built-in tools to protect every asset and user.
  • Marketing and integrations. A top WordPress PDF download plugin will offer you ways to integrate its functionality with third-party platforms, especially when it comes to marketing. If you can link up with email, newsletter platforms, social media, and more, you have more ways to capture users and serve them downloads.
  • Pricing. Of course, budget is important. The WordPress PDF download plugin you choose should have the right price for your budget and needs. What’s more, you’ll want value for money too. This means you get all of the features you need for the best price.

Over the next few sections, you’ll see what we believe to be the top five WordPress PDF download plugins available. We made this selection based on the list above, and we’ll have more on the order of this list next.

5 of the Best WordPress PDF Download Plugins Compared

As we note, the following list covers a number of bases when it comes to features and functionality. What’s more, it’s ordered based on how well it adheres to the essentials we believe a plugin should have.

As such, let’s start with the only pick that should be in the top slot.

1. Download Monitor

We’ll have some more to say about Download Monitor later, including a tutorial, but it’s one of the leading WordPress PDF download plugins on the market for a number of reasons.

Download Monitor

It includes a number of features that will offer you value and power in one package:

  • Fantastic file management, that uses the WordPress interface – it’s familiar and intuitive to use.
  • You’re able to display download links, along with the number of downloads.
  • There’s an option to display different versions of your file. This is great if you offer updates, as a user can choose the right version for them without any extra effort on your part.

On the whole, Download Monitor is the very best WordPress PDF download plugin on the market. It caters to digital products, and you have lots of customization options for your downloads.

It has a high number of users – over 100,000 at current writing – and has a great reputation for its intuitive and easy-to-use User Interface (UI). All in all, Download Monitor covers the necessary essentials you need and much more besides, and ticks all of the right boxes as the best WordPress PDF download plugin.

2. PDF & Print by BestWebSoft

This plugin lets you do exactly as its title suggests: You can add buttons to your WordPress posts and pages to enable users to download a PDF and print the content.

Pdf and Print

You’re able to generate custom styling for your documents, which is handy for sharing and archival purposes. What’s more, there are lots of other nice features:

  • You can display PDF and print buttons based on the user role, which increases security.
  • You’re able to create a PDF version of your entire WordPress page – not just a small section.
  • Each document’s styling is customizable, and you can also add custom code if you wish.

While we like how you can add printing and download buttons to your site in a snap, PDF & Print by BestWebSoft doesn’t have the same level of rich features as Download Monitor.

For example, it doesn’t have the best file management, which is understandable given the core focus of the plugin. Also, you may need to use third-party marketing plugins alongside this, as PDF & Print by BestWebSoft doesn’t include this functionality.

You’ll pay around $50–250 per year, per domain to use the premium version of the plugin, although there is also a lifetime license available.

3. PDF Embedder

The PDF Embedder plugin is another that’s direct in what it looks to achieve: You can embed PDF files within your WordPress website in a good-looking viewer:

Pdf Embedder

You’ll upload PDFs through the Media Library, and manage them from the dashboard. This gives you a familiar interface to use, which is helpful for quick uploads and management.

This lets you tailor the dimensions to your needs, and also means the plugin can adapt to the size of the screen – great for usability. Its premium pricing is competitive too, with a single site license at $20, and an “unlimited” number of licenses for $50.

However, while it’s intuitive and usable, PDF Embedder lacks some of the key features we recommend:

  • You can’t integrate any marketing services using PDF Embedder.
  • There isn’t any real file management to speak of.

While the plugin is hot on security, and gains almost top marks here, the same can’t be said for other areas. As such, it is great at some things, while doesn’t pass in other areas.

4. PDF.js Viewer

The PDF.js Viewer plugin is a unique solution that lets you incorporate the functionality of Mozilla’s tool into your content. You have the option to use either a shortcode or a Block, which is great if you choose not to use the WordPress Block Editor.

Pdf.js Viewer

It’s worth noting that this is essentially a JavaScript library in WordPress plugin form, and comes with a number of nice features:

  • You can password-protect a PDF file.
  • There are a number of ways to customize the download buttons.
  • Each document has search functionality.
  • There are lots of interface-related features. For example, the plugin is adaptive to your lighting mode and looks fantastic on mobile devices.

This is also the only plugin on this list with a completely free version for the entire feature set. It might make PDF.js Viewer a viable option if you need something quick. However, it won’t cover all of your bases like other solutions.

In addition, it’s not going to be the best for novice or non-technical users, because it can be tricky to use and could require extra coding. What’s more, it does lack some essential functionality, such as file management and integrations.

5. WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips

As the plugin’s name gives away, WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips will let you generate downloadable invoices and packing slips with ease.

WooCommerce pdf Invoices & Packing Slips

The plugin will let you add a button to your order confirmations and give the user a way to download a PDF version to their computer. There are lots of key features to note with this one:

  • You can generate PDFs in bulk, for both invoices and packing slips.
  • The plugin will automate the process of adding a PDF, which is a great time-saver.
  • You’re able to use a default template for your invoices and packing slips, or create your own using HTML and CSS.

There are a number of extensions available as a bundle, with a single-site license starting at around $70.

While this plugin is fantastic at its narrow use case – that of generating invoices and packing slips – it lacks the other essentials we’d expect to see. It’s simple to use and great at what it does, but it can’t compete with more full-featured solutions.

Download Monitor is the Best WordPress PDF Download Plugin On the Market

If you want a complete solution that covers almost every need you have, Download Monitor is the best WordPress PDF download plugin on the market. In addition to the core functionality, you can also extend what the plugin can do using a premium version.

The Core Extensions bundle offers a number of extra ways to enhance the way users download PDFs from your site. For example:

  • Marketing locks. This requires users to fill in their email address, complete a contact form, send a social media post, and more before they can access a download.
  • CSV import and export. You’re able to work with CSV files to manage your downloads, including the ability to work with taxonomies.
  • Terms and Conditions consent. This is similar to marketing locks, in that a user would need to access your terms and conditions before they can download the PDF.
  • Google reCAPTCHA support. You can protect your files and users by asking each one to complete a CAPTCHA before they can download the PDF.
  • Advanced Access Manager. You’re able to set specific limitations and restrictions on each download. This means you can boost your security, and protect your assets.
  • Customize download buttons. If you want to create custom buttons that match your branding strategy, this extension will let you do so.

The best news is that some or all of this could be yours within one of our packages starting at $69. Download Monitor’s core functionality is popular with users, and the premium package makes this plugin not only class-leading, but one of the best WordPress plugins on the market.

Here’s How Easy It Is to Use Download Monitor

Using Download Monitor to offer PDF downloads is a breeze. Here, we’ll show you how to offer an e-book for download.

Once you install and activate the core plugin, you’ll have everything you need in place to enable users to download PDFs. To add a new file, head to the ‘Downloads > Add New’ link within the WordPress dashboard:

Add new download

This will look like the old Classic Editor, where you can add a title and some content for your download. However, underneath will be the ‘Downloadable Files/Versions’ metabox:

Downloadable metabox

Here, the “Add File” button lets you do as you’d expect. The metabox will expand to offer a number of fields for a URL (complete with buttons to access the Media Library), a version number, and a download count. The latter two are optional:

Metabox

Browsing for the file will show you the directory tree for your server, and you’ll want to head to the ‘wp-content’ > ‘uploads’ folder to locate the PDF you’d like to offer for download:

File browser

Once you click the ‘Publish’ button, your download will be live. If you take a look at the Download Information metabox in the right-hand sidebar, you’ll see the shortcode for the download in question:

Download shortcode

You’re able to paste this into your site much like any other shortcode. However, there is also a dedicated ‘Download Button’ Block:

Download button

Once you add this to your WordPress post or page, you’ll select the download from the relevant drop-down menu in the Block sidebar, then choose an appropriate template:

Block sidebar

After you save your changes, you’ll be able to preview the page and see how the download button looks on the front end.

Conclusion

Choosing the right WordPress PDF download plugin is vital. Having the right one in place means you can concentrate on other areas of your business, and leave the plugin to handle downloads. There are five key areas that make a top-drawer WordPress PDF download plugin. Choosing a solution that covers all of these bases sets you up for the long-term, and means you won’t need to switch plugins as you scale.

Download Monitor ticks all of the right boxes when it comes to a WordPress PDF download plugin. It has over 100,000 satisfied users, a fantastic reputation from the WordPress community, and provides further enhancements through premium extensions. Other plugins might also suit your needs, but none have a full feature set like Download Monitor.
You can purchase Download Monitor’s Core Extensions bundle without risk, as there is a no-quibble, 14-day money-back guarantee for all users. You may also want to look into a lifetime Download Monitor license!

Raiber Cristian

Self-taught entrepreneur with a deep passion for learning, understanding human nature, and what drives businesses forward. CEO of WPChill. Our products are being used by over 750,000 users, every day. Connect with me on Twitter.

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