Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-sale Questions

When should I start protecting my private files?

We would say as soon as you can. Once you've uploaded your files to your WordPress website, they could be indexed by Google and other search engines very quickly especially when your site is popular.

Does Prevent Direct Access Gold slow down my website?

No, our Gold version won't slow down your website at all. Please refer to this article on how we handle and protect your files.

What file formats are supported by Prevent Direct Access Gold?

Prevent Direct Access (PDA) Gold supports and protects almost all file types (formats) including but not limited to PDF, MP4, MP3, DOCX, PPTX, ZIP, JPEG, JPG, GIF, PNG, ZIP, RAR and FLV.

Also, PDA Gold can protect other file types not supported by WordPress by default such as DWG and XCF as long as you can upload and add them into your WordPress Media library using other media uploads plugins such as Add From Server and Media Sync.
Can I swap the file content without changing the protected link?
Yes, you can update and change the file content without affecting their protected file URL. Our plugin also works with Enable Media Replace plugin, which allows you to swap your media file without changing its name within your WordPress dashboard.
What if others somehow obtain full file URLs of my protected files?
Prevent Direct Access Gold doesn't just obfuscate or hide your file URLs from Google or the public. It does set a real file access permission to your protected files. So even if people somehow get your protected file URL, they still cannot directly download the file without proper permission.
Can I protect files that are not in WordPress Media library or the "uploads" folder?

No, you can't for now. However, you can use Add from server plugin to add these manually uploaded files to your WordPress media library.

Please note that we don't support protecting file uploads via other file download and management plugins, which aren't in WordPress media library either.

Most of our customers agree that as long as their private files are protected, it doesn't really matter where they are stored. So a better question would be while WordPress does provide a friendly and easy-to-use UI to manage all your media files, why don't you utilize it?

Alternatively, you can protect selective folders under "uploads" with our Access Restriction extension.

There are also various ways to protect your HTML files and folders located outside of WordPress. So please contact us with your specific setup so that we can advise you accordingly.

Does this plugin disable PDF download (save as) and print option?

"Print", "Downloads", and "Save As" are the default browser's options, which is out of our control. Our plugin, therefore, can't disable or stop users from doing such actions.

The right solution is to use our Prevent Direct Access (PDA) Gold with Watermark WordPress Files (WWF) plugin to prevent your PDFs from being printed and downloaded.

The PDF viewer provided by WWF plugin allows you to embed PDF files directly into your content. Users are able to view the file directly on your website but not download or print it.

What is the difference between using PDA Gold and normal htaccess rewrite rules?

Here are the key differences between using our PDA Gold and inserting htaccess rules manually:

  • PDA Gold provides you with a friendly User Interface to protect and unprotect files with a single click
  • You can set different access permission for each file
  • You can create private download links to share your protected files with certain people who are not necessarily members of your website
  • Most importantly, PDA Gold only handles protected files. Unprotected ones are served directly from your server, which doesn't affect your site loading speed and performance
    • On the other hand, manual insertion of htaccess rules redirect and handle all file types. That means even if your images/videos are not protected, they will still go through these htaccess rules which slow down your website significantly in case of images
  • PDA Gold is also integrated with many popular platforms, e.g. WooCommerce, top membership, contact form plugins, and Amazon S3.
Can I use PDA Free version with the extensions?

No, you can’t.

Our extensions are add-ons of our main plugin whose core is built based upon our PDA Gold. As a result, they only work with PDA Gold. Please make sure you have the Gold version before getting any extensions.

Pricing Plans & Licenses

Does PDA Gold plan contain all extensions?

No, the extensions are not included in the PDA Gold Personal and Plus plans. The Pro - 15-site license plan comes with the Statistics and Multisite add-ons though.

You can purchase the extensions individually according to your needs.

We're going to provide Membership plans where you can purchase top popular extensions at cheaper prices.

What do Single, Plus & Pro license mean?

First of all, there are 2 versions of Prevent Direct Access: Free (lite) and Gold.

Our Prevent Direct Access Gold then comes with 3 main licenses: Personal, Plus and Pro license.

Depending on how many websites you want to install our PDA Gold plugin on, you should pick the right license accordingly:

  • The Personal license allows you to install our PDA Gold on 3 site only
  • Plus: 10 sites
  • Pro: 15 sites
    The Pro license, in particular, works with Multisite by default. You'll get the Statistics extension for free as well.
Can I use Pro license on 15 sites in a multisite or 15 networks?

Yes, our 15-site Pro license (or the normal license with the Multisite extension) allows you to use our plugin on up to 15 sites (inside or outside a particular multisite network). Basically, it's counted per site and not the network or domain.

In order to use the license on your multisite network with more than 15 sites in total, you'll need to get another 10 or 15-site license or our Developer license. It's much cheaper for you to use our Developer license that way.

Can I upgrade my license later?

Yes, absolutely. If you would like to use Prevent Direct Access Gold on more sites, just let us know. We'll handle all the hassle and you’ll just pay the difference in cost.

Can I cancel my annual subscription after purchase?

Yes, you can.

Your license subscription is auto-renewed every year for you to continue getting our important updates or priority email support. However, you can cancel the subscription at any time after purchase.

What happens when my license expires?

You should renew your license 1 year after purchase. In case you cancel the subscription and let your license expire, you will no longer have access to our premium support and updates. While most of the main features of the plugin will continue to work even after your license has expired, a few non-essential features and its extensions will be disabled until you renew (upgrade) your license.

Can I use the same (1-site) license on both staging and live site?

No, you can't. Here's why.

Do you offer a discount to educational institutions or non-profit organizations?

Yes, we have special offers and discounts for both educational institutions or non-profit organizations on our lifetime and developer licenses*. For more information on the ongoing offers, please email us at

In the email, please tell us a little bit about your nonprofit as well as which lifetime license you'd like to get.

* The discount codes cannot be applied to our yearly subscriptions as our payment system won't be able to differentiate if the discount is for every payment or just the first one.

Do you offer refunds?

Yep. We offer a 60-day money back guarantee as long as you follow our refund process.

Can I get Prevent Direct Access Gold with just one-time payment?

Yes, you can. Since mid-2018, we have offered one-time payment with lifetime usage and unlimited updates for all our license types.

What does "get the PDA lifetime license and only pay once for add-on plugins!" mean?

First, our PDA lifetime license does not include its any addon (extension) plugins.

Second, all PDA Gold extensions are on annual subscription. That means you will need to pay annually for the extensions just like our PDA Gold subscription license.

In case you buy a lifetime license of PDA Gold, you will still need to buy the addons individually - just that you will only need to pay once instead of annually for these addons.

Do you offer a developer license for the Prevent Direct Access Gold?

Yes, We do. Please read more about our developer license and how to get it.

Could I reactivate a cancelled subscription?

No, you can't. Cancelled subscriptions cannot be reactivated due to a restriction from our payment partner SendOwl.

If you reactivate the subscription, it will count as a new order and you will be charged again right after that.

There are a few solutions for this:

  1. Reactivate the subscription manually when the expiration date is nearly due
  2. Upgrade to our lifetime license which is cheaper in the long run as well as enabling you to pay once for the extensions

Anyway, even though your subscription was cancelled, you can use our plugin till your license expires.

Which types of payment do you accept?

We accept all credit and debit cards supported by our payment partner Stripe including but not limited to Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club.

We also support PayPal for both subscription and lifetime payments.

Why do my payments keep getting declined?

In order to prevent scams and fraud, many banks decline payments to uncommon locations, to Singapore in our case, that you've hardly made before. That's likely to be the case here.

When a charge is submitted to the issuer of your customer’s card, they have automated systems that determine whether or not to authorize it. These systems take various signals into account, such as your customer’s spending habits, account balance, and card information like the expiration date and CVC.

When this happens to you, we suggest you making the payment again. It will probably work on the 2nd and the 3rd attempt. Don't worry, you won't be charged twice or thrice as your bank already declines previous attempts.

Alternatively, you can also make payment via PayPal. We do accept Discover Card as well.

Supported Plugins & Platforms

What file formats are supported by Prevent Direct Access Gold?

Prevent Direct Access Gold supports and protects almost all file types (formats) including but not limited to PDF, MP4, MP3, DOCX, ZIP, JPEG, JPG, GIF, PNG, ZIP, RAR and FLV.

Is Prevent Direct Access Gold compatible with WP Media Folder?

Yes, it is. Our Gold version is compatible with most WordPress media library and management plugins. Please check out these compatible plugins with our Gold version.

Which plugins are compatible with Prevent Direct Access Gold?
Please check out this list of compatible plugins with our Gold version and its extensions.
Is Prevent Direct Access Gold compatible with WordPress MultiSite?

Yes! Prevent Direct Access Gold with Pro and Developer license works perfectly with WordPress Multisite network, both network activated and activated on individual sites. The automatic updates also work for Multisite as well.

Will the plugin work on multisite with a Single or Plus license?

By default, no. You'll need to get our WordPress Multisite Network Integration extension for these licenses to work on WordPress multisite. In contrast, the Pro license will work perfectly with multisite by default.

Can I use the Gold version on

Prevent Direct Access (PDA) Gold is not compatible with

While you can use our raw URLs with limitations, we wouldn't recommend using our PDA Gold on Its cache server stops our file protection from working properly.

Does Prevent Direct Access plugin support NGINX web server?

Yes, we do support NGINX servers including WP Engine – one of the most popular hostings, that makes use of NGINX web server. If you’re struggling to set up our Prevent Direct Access Gold's redirect rules on your NGINX server, please contact us for support.

Getting Started

I installed the plugin, now what?

Our step-by-step tutorial will help you get started with Prevent Direct Access Gold.

Can I protect multiple files at the same time?

Yes, you can with our built-in bulk actions.

Can I change who can access my files individually?
Yes, you can do so under our file protection popup. You can also enable the full access permission for each individual file with our Access Restriction extension.
Do I have to upload files through WordPress media library or can I upload files using FTP too?

Yes, you can upload files using FTP via tools like FileZilla. After that, you can use Add From Server plugin to add them to your WordPress media library, and then, protect these files there.

Our PDA Gold including our auto-protection feature is working perfectly with Add From Server plugin.

Please note that you shouldn't upload them directly to our _pda  folder though.

Basic Troubleshooting

I get this error “Plugin could not be activated because it triggered a fatal error” when activating the plugin, what should I do? 

Please check with your web hosting provider about its PHP version and make sure it supports PHP version 5.6 or greater. Our plugins are not compatible with outdated PHP versions. As a matter of fact, WordPress also recommend your host supports:

  • PHP version 7 or greater
  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.0 or greater
  • HTTPS support

Older PHP or MySQL versions may expose your website(s) to security vulnerabilities.

There could be problems with your file/folder (owner) permission that stops our PDA Gold from moving files correctly or triggers fatal errors. If you're getting prompted for FTP credentials when activating our plugin, please add the following line into your wp-config.php.

define('FS_METHOD', 'direct');

Why can I still access my files through non-protected URLs?

First of all, please clear your browser’s cache (press CTRL+F5 on PC, CMD+SHIFT+R on Mac) as files and especially images are usually cached by your browsers.

Besides, if you’re using a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache to speed up your WordPress website, please make sure you clear your cache as well. Your browsers and caching plugin could still be showing a cached (older) version of your files.

Also, there are a lot of modern hosting providers who are using Nginx to serve your static files. Check out our compatible hosting providers and how to get our PDA Gold working on those hostings.

Last but not least, please refer to our troubleshooting process for more information.

Why am I getting “page not found” 404 error when accessing private links?

It seems our custom rewrite rules are not inserted into your .htaccess file properly. There are a few reasons for this:

  • You edit and mess up your .htaccess rules
    Please enable "remote debug log" and validate your .htaccess rules under our settings, ‘Helpers” tab
  • Your WordPress folders are structured differently from usual

For example, your domain’s root folder is located at, let's say, home/ directory but your WordPress files are put under home/wp/ directory. In such cases, our plugin can't insert our .htaccess codes properly, and so, you have to manually update your .htaccess located at home/wp/ directory with our plugin's custom rewrite rules.

Why am I getting the error below when activating the plugin?

The error message is descriptive, isn’t it?

If your .htaccess file were writable, we could insert our codes automatically for you, but it isn’t.So you must either make your .htaccess file writable (with 644 permission) or manually put the mod_rewrite rules found under Settings > Permalinks (you can find the code below) into your .htaccess file.

Why nothing happens after I activate the plugin?

First, Prevent Direct Access supports Apache HTTP Server (“httpd”), which has been the most popular web server on the Internet since April 1996.

Please note that although our plugin (both Free & Premium version) does support websites hosted on WP Engine who utilizes NGINX web server, you need to manually configure some htaccess redirect rules.

Second, the plugin also needs to flush some mod_rewrite rules to your website’s .htaccess file to prevents direct access to your files on the server.

As mentioned, in order for the plugin to work properly, you must either make the .htaccess file (located on your website root folder) writable or manually update our mod_rewrite rules to your .htaccess.

Why are all my images and files are missing after removing or deactivating the plugin?

By default, if you deactivate and remove our plugin via WordPress, our .htaccess rule will be removed together with its files. However, in case you remove it manually using FTP, you will have to remove these codes from your .htaccess for your Media files & images to work normally.

# Prevent Direct Access Rewrite Rules version 3.0 and above
RewriteRule ^private/([a-zA-Z0-9-_]+)$ index.php?pda_v3_pf=$1&pdav3_rexypo=ymerexy [L]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} !facebookexternalhit/[0-9]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} !Twitterbot/[0-9]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} !Googlebot/[0-9]
RewriteRule ^wp-content/uploads(/_pda/.*\.\w+)$ index.php?pda_v3_pf=$1 [QSA,L]
# Prevent Direct Access Rewrite Rules End
# Prevent Direct Access Rewrite Rules version 2.0 and below
RewriteRule private/([a-zA-Z0-9-_]+)$ index.php?pre_dir_acc_61co625547=$1 [R=301,L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -s
RewriteRule wp-content/uploads(/[A-Za-z0-9_@./#&+-]+)+\.([A-Za-z0-9_@./#&+-]+)$ index.php?pre_dir_acc_61co625547=$1&is_direct_access=true&file_type=$2 [QSA,L]
Why am I getting this "No no to verify-nonce-fails" when activating my license?

That is a rare browser issue that we couldn't completely reproduce on our side. Basically, your license somehow couldn't be submitted successfully.

If you happen to face this issue, please try to activate our license on another browser such as Firefox and Safari.

Why can't my protected videos autoplay?

Most popular web browsers disable auto-playing videos with sound by default. To enable this function, you'd need to change the settings on each browser such as Safari, Firefox, and Chrome.

Premium Support

Do you have a support forum?
At the moment, contact form & email are still our official support channels. We're creating a support forum showing common errors as well as new Feature Request voting.
Can I call and talk to you directly?

As of now, we only provide email support. Having said that, our team always standby to help you! Just submit a support ticket at any time and we’ll get back to you typically within 1 working day. Please get the "Pro" license to get the highest priority support.

How do you handle our confidential information and access?

Our team has always tried to improve our tutorials and documentation so that it's easier for you to understand as well as implement certain configurations and settings on your own.

Sometimes, you want us to set them up for you. We know not everyone is tech-savvy, and so, our support team will be very happy to assist. That would save us a lot of time going back and forth as well.

In order to assist and/or troubleshoot the reported issues, we may need your website's temporary admin account, and sometimes, hosting provider access. As you may know, every website is set up differently with different plugins, themes, and settings.

Anyways, please ensure that all your provided information is always kept confidential. In fact, only our customer support supervisor and probably another top senior developer if necessary can access this information. No one else could.

For security reasons, we've always recommended you to change the password(s) or delete the temporary account(s) once everything is done.

Why are there so many plugin updates?

There are 4 major reasons why there have been a lot of updates for Prevent Direct Access (PDA) Gold:

  • New feature release: We have been getting lots of new feature requests for our plugin. Whenever possible, we have always tried to squeeze them into our Gold version. As a premium users, you will get these new features absolutely for free.
  • New extension release: In some cases, your requested features are too big or irrelevant to the development of our Gold version. That's when we have to separate these features into extensions or brand new plugins. Our team is, in fact, developing a lot of extensions for our PDA Gold and will continue to do so in the future.
    Once a new extension is released, we have to update our PDA Gold core functionality as well to make sure they're integrated well with one another.
  • Compatibility release: Apparently, no one installs and uses our plugin alone. That's why we believe it's part of our job to make sure our plugins work well with other top WordPress plugins.
    Oftentimes, the conflicts are not caused by our plugins. However, to help you resolve the issue fast, our team usually goes ahead and helps fix the issue(s) on our side if possible. As you may know, other plugins usually require more tedious and sometimes unnecessary reviews before any new releases and integrations. It would've taken much longer for you to ask them to make changes on their side.
  • Hotfixes & improvement release: While we're confident of our plugins, we cannot claim that they're 100% error-free. To be really honest, there were minor bugs here and there once in a while too. What's more, we constantly review and improve our plugins in terms of both coding, UI and UX to make sure it's user-friendly, and particularly, will not affect and slow down your website.

In short, frequent plugin updates are never a bad thing. For the above reasons, it's key that you renew your subscription to continue getting our priority support and important updates to the latest version of our Gold and its extensions.

Can I get an invoice for my purchase?

Sure thing, please drop us a support ticket via this form.

Do provide us with your VAT number and/or company name (address) if you want to include them on the invoice.

Why can’t I download the latest version of PDA Gold?

Related question: Why do I have to update the latest Gold version after purchase?

To prevent spam downloads, our installation files are not always the latest version.

Once you download and install the plugin, you will be able to get the version update when the license is activated. That means only those with the active licenses will be able to get the latest version.

That’s why we set the download limit to the installation files as well.

Having said that, we will upload the latest version to our 3rd-party payment gateway, i.e. SendOwl, when there are significant changes in our Gold version, e.g. bug fixes and new major features.

In short, this is how you should install our plugin:

  1. Download the installation files
  2. Install and activate your license
  3. Update the plugin to its latest version (if any)
What does the "download remaining" mean?

I've seen this notification: 3 downloads remaining before 29/03/2019 07:19:43 PM. What does it mean?

We set the download limit to the installation (ZIP) files just to prevent spams. We can reset it for you at any time upon request.

In reality, you can just download the ZIP file once and activate our plugin on as many sites as your license permits.