Frequently Asked Questions

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? 

FAQ: Fatal error
Please check with your web hosting provider about its PHP version and make sure it supports PHP version 5.4 or greater. Our plugin’s codes are not compatible with outdated PHP versions.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.


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

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.

Also, 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.

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=$1 [R=301,L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -s
RewriteRule wp-content/uploads(/[[email protected]/#&+-]+)+\.([[email protected]/#&+-]+)$ index.php?pre_dir_acc_61co625547=$1&is_direct_access=true&file_type=$2 [QSA,L]


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 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.
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 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.

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?

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.

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.
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
Yes, Prevent Direct Access Gold is now compatible with with a limitation that you have to use raw URLs for protected files. In short, you can use our Gold version on both self-hosted version of WordPress ( and
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.

Pricing Plans & Licenses

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 use the same (1-site) license on both staging and live site?
No, you can't. Here's why.
What happens when my license expires?
Your license must be renewed 1 year after purchase to continue getting our important updates or priority email support. Otherwise, if you let it 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 upgrade your license.
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 [email protected].

* 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.
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.

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.

Premium Support

Do you have a support forum?

Nope. We currently offer support via email only.

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.

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. So 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.