How to Protect Downloadable Files in WordPress Membership Site

Membership sites refer to websites containing private content that serves members within that community only. Users must sign up and log in to access protected content for free or for a fee.

You have multiple ways to protect content in membership sites. You can password-protect pages and posts or force users to enter both their usernames and passwords.

When it comes to securing media files on membership websites, the process seems more complicated. You need help from WordPress download management plugins to better manage the file access and secure them.

In this article, we’ll explain why you have to use supporting tools to protect images and videos on membership sites. Then, we’ll show you how to restrict files access to certain user roles only.

Let’s jump in!

Before you read further.... Free Download (PDF)

Secret Side Door

Secret Google Search Tactic That Will Skyrocket Your Sales, Connect You to the Perfect Partners, Influencers & Affiliates and Send Your Google Rankings Soaring! FREE when you sign up for Digital Creators Edge, a free newsletter for Digital Creators who wish to take their business to the next level.

Why Protecting Downloadable Files in WordPress Membership Sites

It’s undeniable that WordPress allows you to upload media files to your site with ease. These files include images, videos, white papers, podcasts, audio content, and many more. While images and videos for blog posts can be shown publicly; product and private files shouldn’t be available to every user.

  • Increase user engagement – Membership sites prove a great place for you to keep restricted files for only paid customers or certain user roles. Since visitors must register to view and download the protected files, you can increase user engagement on your site.
  • Prevent unlimited file downloading – Protecting files in WordPress membership sites creates a chance for you to limit the number of copies for each digital file. One member has permission to download his/her file at a certain time. This effectively blocks bots and spammers from repeatedly downloading your files.
  • Keep track of your file downloading – Besides securing files, some file protection and management plugins give you the right to track how many times a private file is downloaded from the membership site. Since then, you can have an insight into your digital files such as which files receive the most clicks and downloads.
  • Block search indexing – In most cases, hidden files are still visible to the search engines even though they’re contained on a password-protected page. As a result, visitors still randomly find your files on search results. That’s why you must stop crawlers from crawling and indexing them.

These issues require you to apply the link-sharing protection method in your WordPress membership site.

Protect Downloadable Files in WordPress Membership Site Using PDA Gold Plugin

Prevent Direct Access (PDA) Gold, proves the no.1 solution to secure your WordPress media files, from images, documents, to videos, and even audio. It doesn’t matter you’re a photographer, online course provider, or any digital product seller, PDA Gold is just the plugin for you to protect your high-value files.

You can protect unlimited of your WordPress files right in the Media Library with just a few clicks. Once secured, your images and videos become inaccessible to all users immediately, except the site admins by default.

Plus, the plugin enables you to grant file access to specific logged-in users or paid members only. Other roles, without the right permission, will be led to a 404 page despite having the correct file URL.


One thing you should notice is that PDA Gold supports protecting files in membership sites on the basis only. If you want to set access permission to custom membership levels, you have to integrate with its Simple WordPress Membership Plugin Integration.

The extension works perfectly with PDA Gold allowing you to protect your WordPress files by custom member levels. The plugins assist various membership sites, including User Access Manager, Paid Membership Pro, WooCommerce Memberships, WooCommerce Subscriptions, AR Members, Restrict Content Pro, and Simple Membership.

It’s possible for you to securely apply this protection rule to multiple files at a time too.

2 Steps to Protect Downloadable Files in WordPress Membership Site

Following is how you can get started with PDA Gold and its Simple WordPress Membership Plugin integration to hide files in your membership site.

Step 1: Install PDA Gold and Simple WordPress Membership Plugin Integration

Before restricting your membership file access, you need to have PDA Gold and the Simple WordPress Membership Plugin integration installed and activated on your site.

Once downloading these plugins from our website via zip files, you can refer to this installation guide to successfully have them ready for your site.

Upon activation, a new section of Prevent Direct Access Gold is added to your admin navigation menu immediately. Open the Settings option and go to the Memberships tab. You can enable any membership plugin that you want to protect media files there.

Step 2: Give Members Access to Single Protected File

  1. Head to MediaLibrary in your admin dashboard
  2. Click on Configure file protection option of your desired file
  3. Go to the File Access Permission tab and select “Choose custom memberships” in the Membership integration drop-down
  4. Select the membership roles that you plan to grant access to your protected file next to your membership plugin name
  5. Hit Save Changes and you’re done

Bonus: Grant Membership Access to Multiple Files at Once

Instead of securing and assigning membership roles to individual files, you can use the plugin Bulk Actions. This saves you time when granting membership access to a number of files at a time.

  1. In the Media List View, tick on checkboxes before file names to pick files you want to change the permission
  2. Under Bulk Actions, choose Assign Memberships
  3. Select your membership plugin and membership types you want to give access permission
  4. Hit the Apply button to save your changes

That’s it!

Ready to Protect Downloadable Files in WordPress Membership Site

It’s significant to secure downloadable files in your WordPress membership site for many reasons. You can prevent non-members from viewing and downloading your premium images, documents, and videos. You also know who can access and how many times they’re allowed to download your files.

We’ve provided you with 2 easy steps on how to restrict media file access in membership sites using the PDA Gold plugin and its Simple WordPress Membership integration.

These 2 plugins integrate seamlessly with various WordPress membership plugins to effectively block unwelcome visitors from seeing and downloading your files.

Install PDA Gold and Simple WordPress Membership integration to have your membership downloadable file secured now!