How to Password Protect and Encrypt PDF Online

First created in 1992 by Adobe, ​​Portable Document Format, aka PDF, has developed and become popular worldwide. This electronic file format greatly assists everyone in delivering information in text formatting and images.

Creating a PDF document is a no-brainer. You can apply it to your ebooks, product catalogs, invoices and packing slips, cheatsheets, and infographics. Still, knowing how to secure it properly seems tougher than you think. They can be prime targets for hackers and digital pirates everywhere.

It’s your responsibility to proactively protect your PDF files and keep your data safe and secure. We highly recommend password protection and encryption to prevent unauthorized users from viewing or copying your PDFs.

In this article, we’ll introduce 2 methods to password protect and encrypt PDF files. You can either use an online tool like Adobe or upload files to your WordPress site and lock the site with PPWP Pro.

Before digging into the detailed guide, let’s discuss the main differences between password protection and encryption of your PDF files.

What Is the Difference between Password Protection and Encryption?

As the name indicates, the password protection method allows you to lock your PDF with a password layer. Anyone with the correct password can open and read the file. That’s why you need to provide a strong and unique password. It should include more than 8 characters with both uppercase and lowercase letters as well as special symbols.

As a matter of fact, your protected files sometimes get hacked due to the lack of effort to strengthen passwords. That’s where the encryption solution comes into play.

It’s more complex and considered a step-up of password protection. For a detailed explanation, encryption refers to a process of scrambling data into illegible ciphertext. This means that even though your important PDF file falls into wrong hands, they couldn’t be able to read or copy it.

To decrypt the document, people have to use a password or a digital certificate.

Method 1: Password Protect and Encrypt PDF with Online Tools

If you own PDF files on your computer and send them to others via email/message attachments, consider using online tools to password protect and encrypt them. Some tools to password protect PDFs online are also packed with the encryption function so you can take two actions at the same time.

Adobe Password protect a PDF stays on top of the online PDF password protection niche. You can assign a password and encrypt your files with this tool. It takes you just a few clicks to get started.

  1. Open the Adobe Password protect a PDF tool
  2. Drag and drop your file or click the “Select a file” button
  3. Set a password and retype it to confirm
  4. Click Set password
  5. Download your protected file

Below is what users see when opening your secured PDF. They won’t be able to read it unless entering the correct secret security key.


As mentioned, the Adobe Password protect a PDF tool will automatically encrypt your file once you password protect it. This enables you to add an additional security layer to your PDF item.

For more advanced encryption features, you must upgrade to the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC version. You can encryption with certificates, security settings management, and editing/printing/copying restriction.

Method 2: Password Protect and Encrypt PDF in WordPress

It’s possible for you to make money from your PDF ebooks, data reports, or cheatsheets. To help customers easily buy and pay for your files, you should upload them on your WordPress sites and sell them on your WooCommerce store.

The challenge now lies in securing your files from unauthorized access. Once uploaded to your site, the PDF items will be indexed and appear on search engines. It’s necessary to block unpaid users from accessing and viewing them.

PDA Gold and PPWP Pro are doing a perfect job in securing PDF files. PDA Gold protects files’ URLs and encrypts to prevent unauthorized access while PPWP Pro allows you to lock files with passwords.

How to Encrypt PDFs Online with PDA Gold Plugin

PDA Gold primarily safeguards PDFs in the media library. Sometimes, users manage to download your private file and they can still view it without permission. To stop this, you should encrypt your file.

  1. Install and activate the PDA Gold plugin
  2. Head to Media > Library in your WordPress admin dashboard and view your files in the list view
  3. Find your desired file and click Configure file protection then hit Protect this file
  4. Press the Encrypt this file button

The plugin gives you a chance to decrypt files as well. All you need to do is click on the Decrypt this file button

That’s it!

How to Password Protect PDFs with PPWP Pro

PPWP Pro primarily supports you in locking WordPress content, including pages, posts, custom post types, partial content, categories, and even the entire site. To password protect a PDF, install its Smart Restriction extension.

  1. Install and activate PPWP Pro and Smart Restriction plugins
  2. Go to Media Library to find the files you want to password protect
  3. Right-click the View option and copy its URL
  4. Visit Smart Restriction under the Password Protect WordPress section in your admin menu
  5. Switch to the File Protection tab click Add New
  6. Enter the file ULRs you have just copied and paste them into the File URL box
  7. Hit Manage passwords and auto-generate new passwords or create your own ones

Anyone accessing your file via its URL will see this password form forcing them to enter the right password to unlock it.


PPWP Pro gives you an option to restrict file access by user roles. In other words, users have to log in with the granted role in order to enter the passwords. Otherwise, they’ll receive an error message.

On top of that, you can prevent users from entering passwords based on time and usage. After a given day or a number of usages, they can’t use these passwords anymore.

You can embed these protected files into your content too.

  1. Open the page you want to insert the protected PDF
  2. Use the <iframe> tag as below
    <iframe src="your-file-url">


Update the post and finish.

Password Protect and Encrypt PDF for Maximum Safety

Encryption proves the best method to safeguard your PDF. Although users enter the right password, they’re unable to read or copy it. Password protection is not as secure as encryption; however, it is still a good safety option to consider. Your strong and unique password can save important files from any prying eyes.

We’ve walked you through 2 main ways to password protect and encrypt PDF files. You can use the Adobe tool for offline PDF document protection. To protect files uploaded to WordPress sites, make use of PDA Gold and PPWP Pro.

What are you waiting for? Password protect your WordPress PDFs with PPWP Pro and encrypt them with PDA Gold now!