Last updated on 12 October 2022
If you’re running an online store and you need to sell digital products, then you may be a little conflicted about the app you should use. Of course, not everything you find is reliable or secure, and this is where we come in! Let’s take a look at the best 4 digital download apps for Shopify, so you can choose reliability for your store!
If you’re interested, check out our ultimate guide on how to use Shopify.
The best digital downloads app for Shopify is Downloadable Digital Assets. It’s built by Shopify experts and was staff picked by Shopify’s app store staff. The app features the best protection features available and it’s the easiest app to use overall.
The best Shopify digital download apps are:
- 1. Downloadable Digital Assets – Best overall
- 2. Digital Downloads – Simple
- 3. Single music – Best for Music Sales
- 4. SendOwl
What do you need to look for in a digital download app?
There are a few things you need to keep an eye on for this, here is a list of the main things:
Fast download speeds
This is ultra-important for any digital product delivery app, the customers need to download the files fast. Our top picks all chive fast digital download speeds.
It’s got to be easy to use. Using a bad interface is so painful trying to get your head around it when it’s confusing. Many Shopify apps have bad interfaces, which is why our top picks are only 4 choices.
Uptime and maintenance
It’s crucial the digital download apps are up 100% of the time. Of course, sometimes things happen where sites go offline, even Shopify goes down on occasions. But we expect Shopify apps to have an uptime as long as Shopify is live.
You want the app to be customizable to suit your brand. Luckily, our top picks have this feature, giving you the ability to customise the email templates and PDF templates.
Protection and security
It’s so important to protect your digital files from scammers and sharing. You need an app that will protect the URLs from being shared by customers. This will keep your profits higher and prevent your assets from being shared.
Fast support is so important. Ecommerce stores are live 100% of the time and if someone in the world needs help fast, the developers should be available quickly. Our top picks all have amazing support teams.
1. Downloadable Digital Assets – Top pick
It’s possible to deliver personalised files to your customers after they have placed an order. This app stood out due to having a powerful fraud-protection system, it integrates well with Shopify’s security.
This app also has a solid combination of cost-effectiveness and customer service. When pricing starts at being free, there’s nowhere to go wrong.
On another note, Downloadable Digital Assets was awarded a staff pick by the Shopify App Store Staff.
3 Methods of digital delivery
Other features include download links in customers’ accounts, email, and on the Thank You page.
Customisable email templates
The ability to include customisable email templates starts at the “scale plan”, but several pre-built templates automatically get sent once a purchase has been made.
PDF Stamping is quite a unique feature, providing you with the tools to stamp the customers’ personal details onto the PDF to prevent them from sharing the files with others. You can also choose to lock the PDF so the customer cannot remove the stamping.
Import previous order history – upgrade from other apps easily
It also integrates with Shopify stores that have pre-existing orders with the click of one button. So if you want to switch from an old digital downloads app to this, it’s really easy to do. This feature is useful because if a customer asks for you to send a new download email, then you can go to the old orders and resend them easily.
Deliver personalised files to any order
Ability to attach personalised assets to any order. So if your customer requests specific requirements, you can then attach the asset to their order once you have completed it, then easily send a download email.
Set limitations for time and amounts
It’s possible to set limitations on downloads such as download limit, time expiry date, time limit and more.
Allow customers to only download from a number of IP addresses
This is a unique feature is designed to prevent customers from sharing their files. The app can block more IP addresses from downloading the assets.
Built by experienced Shopify developers
It’s built by a team of experienced Shopify developers at Massive Monkey Applications. After building eCommerce stores for the past decade, they realised Shopify was lacking a secure, easy-to-use system for digital downloads.
Pricing & Storage
You may purchase additional storage by contacting customer service. From my experience, their support is incredible. I always get a reply pretty much instantly and that’s what really makes me trust the developers.
The free plan comes with unlimited products but only allows you to attach one asset per product. Download speed is fast across all plans.
The starter plans have two assets per product, a statistics page, and the ability to attach personalised assets to any order. You can also connect custom URLs as assets from platforms such as DropBox, Google Drive and more.
The scale plan has five assets and includes fraud features to halt downloads if the order is fraudulent. You can also get a list of customisable email templates making it easier to go beyond the “canned response” most customers get.
The professional plan allows for unlimited assets and the ability to send downloads from your own email address automatically.
The team at Massive Monkey have thought about how they can make the app the best it can be. Simply install the app, upload the files/assets and attach them to the products! Then you’re done.
The user interface is the best out of all the digital downloads apps on Shopify. It’s very easy to use and designed beautifully.
All of your products sync directly from Shopify automatically, so there’s no need to manually add products yourself, unlike the other apps.
Below is a quick video walkthrough showing how to set up the app.
Video walkthrough for the setup
- Send download emails from own email address
- Attach personalised digital files to customers order after they have ordered
- Show digital downloads in customer accounts
- PDF Stamping
- Ultra-fast download speeds
- Customisable email templates
- Very quick and easy setup, just 3 steps
- Super easy-to-use interface
- No file size limit within your plan
- Once customers get a refund, access to files will be removed
- Attach unlimited files per product
- Attach URLs as downloads
- Does not support license keys
- Limited to attaching assets to products depending on pricing plan
2. Digital Downloads – Simple
Given that it is free software, there are numerous issues. These issues relate to the reason why it has less than three stars.
Still, as a starter software, you can’t go wrong with free and the trust behind it’s built by Shopify. Plus, it has no outstanding security issues that would knock it off this list.
We would still recommend Downloadable Digital Assets as the number one free choice due to upgradability when you scale.
If you’re interested, you can learn how to set up Digital Downloads by Shopify.
Basic and reliable
It’s great for basic use. However, there are many limitations that come with this app. First, there is no option to send files larger than 5GB. There are more than a few reports of customers struggling to receive files. This problem is compounded by browser-based issues related to Opera and Safari.
No limits on overall storage
You can have as many files as you want on this app. But none can exceed its 5GB file size limit. Another thing to note is you cannot attach multiple files to one product. It is only possible to attach 1 asset per product.
Limited on options
It doesn’t have any extra features or upgrade options, and you can’t send files larger than 5GB. Also, you can only attach one file per product.
It’s as simple as you can get. But if you want customisable features, then you may need to upgrade to a better app. One issue with this is that it can cause a huge pain for previous customers not being able to access their links delivered by this app once you switch. Probably best to start with a professional app with a free plan.
Pricing & storage
Pricing is free, which is a good thing for people who don’t like to pay for things. With that in mind, transactions at checkout can suffer from the per-item storage limitation of 5GB.
Because it is a Shopify-owned app, storage space is limited to the available website space. So when it comes to overall storage, there isn’t any limit.
Digital Downloads is super easy to use. Just like Downloadable Digital Assets, it works within Shopify and doesn’t take you to another website. Once installed, it takes you to a products page where you can attach a file to a product. Really simple.
The app’s navigation is laid out for maximum ease of use for beginners. You can’t go wrong with an app built by Shopify, as they have deep pockets. The Shopify Help Center has a video showing how to use it:
- Basic intuitive interface
- Created by Shopify for basic stores
- Unlimited storage amount (but each file is capped at 5GB)
- No upgrade options
- Limited features
- Limited to 5GB Maximum per file upload
- Only attach one file per product
- Cannot customise the download email template
- Cannot add downloads to customer accounts
3. Single music – Best for Music Sales
Single music is considered to be the best digital download app if you’re selling music online. It offers live streams, video rentals, and music delivery services. Here is what you can expect:
This app offers you the possibility of adding audio previews, lossless or MP3 tracks, and your songs can be bundled with physical products. They have many features for creating campaigns synced with platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. Single Music also allows Livestream ticketing, a unique feature for Shopify apps.
The analytics utilizes data from your store to capture information from repeat buyers. The system is built to identify superfans who love your music, an asset in a world where people just stream you and throw your music to the side.
This system automatically allows you to enrol music customers on your email for accessible communication. So the next time you release a new single, album, or merch, get ready to plug the email list.
Its biggest problem comes from the potential for mild confusion on its pricing. Given the payment scenario (which we will discuss later), there are some situations you can end up owing Single Music money.
Pricing & Usage
Single Music is free to install, but that doesn’t mean it is free to use. Here is where the pricing confusion comes in:
It is customary for artists to release a free track in exchange for something. This includes being on an email list, subscribing to a newsletter, or having an optional donation.
Because you pay per song (about 15 cents, with a cap at $2/album), “free releases” are charged to your account per download. This means if you have a campaign, Single Music will charge you per download.
This charge happens regardless of whether you charge. Livestreams are also unusual and non-specific, billing you on a per-day basis.
However, because we are more interested in digital assets, we’ll focus on that feature for usability.
The app doesn’t work within Shopify unfortunately. Once opened, you will be redirected to another website in a new tab to sign up. This means you will need to create a secondary account to use it.
Regardless, it is an excellent tool if you want to boost sales of your upcoming album. Here’s a video walkthrough showing you how it is done:
- Free plan available
- Great for music
- Audio previews
- Livestream ticketing
- Syncs with music platforms
- Create campaigns
- Scheduled delivery automation
- Not the most intuitive interface
- Not used within Shopify platform (need signup)
SendOwl has been around for some time now and is one of the most established platforms. Much of this comes from the dedicated support staff and available servers.
Send Owl is known for reliability above all else, having numerous servers to bounce off of. However, the customer has to go through multiple clicks, making it a less-than-seamless process.
Despite that, it isn’t likely to affect your sale performance, as the multi-click issue happens after a purchase has already been made.
Read more about the comparison between SendOwl & Downloadable Digital Assets.
It has the option of offering “drip files,” enabling you to release a series of links to the customer over some time.
The package also enables Dropbox integration and the delivery of multiple files. It also works with Shopify’s anti-fraud system.
PDF Stamping & license keys
A unique aspect is PDF stamping, enabling the owner to “claim” their product by associating a PDF with the owner’s name and email. It also allows for license keys if you sell software.
If you are looking for features, Send Owl has some good ones. But there is a trade-off we will discuss in a minute.
Send Owl sends the products to the customers via email and the Thank You page but not in the customer accounts.
Their app does have some brilliant features once you get set up though. They boast compatibility with using license keys for software, PDF Stamping and attaching URLs as a download.
Pricing & storage
Send Owl doesn’t have any free plans, but you get a 30-day free trial. The smallest plan includes 1GB of storage and up to 10 products, while the biggest one goes up to 250 products and 15GB storage.
Unlike other providers on this list, Send Owl does not offer anything free. The minimum payment is $15 per month, making it more expensive than other bottom-line options.
The allowable storage is small for $15 per month, only allowing 3GB of storage. It also limits you to 30 products, which is pretty limited.
The latter two plans are $24 and $39 per month, where you can get 100 and 250 products respectively. You can also get 5GB and 15GB of storage.
Additional features with the upper tiers include allowance for multiple users and customization.
The user interface of Send Owl isn’t the easiest to get your head around. After install, you will be redirected to the website in a new tab, meaning it doesn’t work within Shopify.
The problem with having many features comes from having more things to worry about. Because of this, the interface is a bit more confusing.
For those who just want to send digital content files or software and streaming isn’t necessary, I’d instead change it for something else. Send Owl justifies this choice by being much more flexible than many options.
Here, you can set up your products manually, then attach a file, URL, software with license keys or a drip. It has a proven system that works, but it’s just a little complicated for beginners and it’s UI is old school.
- Good interface for music
- Usable on other platforms other than Shopify
- License key generator for software
- PDF Stamping
- Once customer gets a refund, they lose access to files
- Attach URLs as downloads. For example – using a DropBox download link.
- Plans have order limitations
- Products not automatically synced from Shopify, manually need to add them yourself
- Very limited storage space
- Complicated setup
My personal recommendation for the best digital download app for Shopify is Downloadable Digital Assets. It’s without a doubt the easiest interface, quickest setup, fastest download speeds & overall winner.
Be sure to check out what are the best platforms to sell digital products guide, Shopify is number 1.
|D. Digital Assets||Digital Downloads||Single Music||SendOwl|
|Pricing||– Free plan|
|Free, no upgrade options||– PAYG + $0.15/unit|
– $24/month + $0.10/unit
– $49/month + $0.07/unit
– $119/month + $0.05/unit
When finding the best digital option for you, always prioritize security. Don’t bother with it if it doesn’t integrate well with platforms of providing secure customer-specific download links. We hope this helps you when finding the best apps for digital products.
If it interests you, I have written an in-depth article based on the best SEO apps for Shopify here.
How do I upload Digital Downloads to Shopify?
Shopify doesn’t have an in-built system for digital downloads, so you will need to install an app from their app store called Downloadable Digital Assets. It’s created by Shopify experts and has the best protection features. This app allows you to upload digital downloads to sell on Shopify.
Can I offer free downloads on Shopify?
Yes, you can use the Downloadable Digital Assets Shopify app because it’s free. It allows you to deliver downloads to your customers without paying a dime. Get it now from the Shopify app store.
How do digital downloads work?
Digital Downloads work by allowing someone to click a download link, and then download a file to their device. This is mostly used in the e-commerce or software space. You can sell digital downloads to customers that will download the files to use them.
How do I protect a PDF eBook?
Protecting a PDF eBook is easy. On Shopify, you can use the Downloadable Digital Assets app to protect your PDFs using PDF Stamping. PDF Stamping allows you to permanently stamp the customer’s personal details onto the pages and then locks the PDF so they cannot be removed. This prevents the customers from ever wanting to share the PDF with others.
Is Shopify good for digital products?
Shopify is the best platform to sell digital products. You own the domain and space, not relying on marketplace rules. The Shopify app store has a wide range of trusted apps to deliver digital products, one of which is called “Downloadable Digital Assets”, built by Shopify experts.
What is the best digital downloads app for Shopify?
The most trusted app for selling digital downloads on Shopify is “Downloadable Digital Assets”. It’s created by Shopify experts and features the best protection tools to prevent copyright.