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 Our plugin’s codes are not compatible with outdated PHP versions.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]

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.
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.

Supported Platforms

What file format 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.

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.
Is the Gold version compatible with

Yes, Prevent Direct Access Gold is now compatible with platform. 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. We support WP Engine – the most popular hosting that makes use of NGINX web server. If you’re using a different hosting running on NGINX, 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?
We do have special offers and discounts for both educational institutions or non-profit organizations. For more information on the ongoing offers, please email us at [email protected].
Do you offer refunds?

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

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.

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, top plugins with a bigger team 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.