How To Protect Digital Downloads: Including Digital Products & Courses 2024

Updated on: December 18, 2023

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How To Protect Digital Downloads

Eddy Ballesteros, CEO, All of our content is fact-checked. Learn More

As a digital creator, you know the importance of protecting your digital products and courses.

Unfortunately, there are many ways for people to steal your hard work and intellectual property. This blog post will discuss some of the best ways to protect digital downloads.

We will also provide tips on choosing a secure digital product platform to host your products safely and securely.


  •  Limit downloads by allowing a certain amount of shares.
  • Watermark your digital products.
  • Make sure to host your products using a digital product platform.
  • Protect your downloadable products using a password protection system.
  • Create a Robots.txt file to prevent search engine crawlers from indexing your thank you pages.

My reason for writing this guide is that I work as a blogging coach for the blog growth engine, and after a quick Google search, I saw that many people were reselling the video lessons.

So, my goal is to make sure this never happens to you. Welcome to my guide on how to protect digital downloads.

The Easiest Ways To Protect Your Digital Downloads

In the creator economy, many people are selling digital products online

Whether it's a PDF guide, an ebook, or a digital course, these products and informational content are easy to produce and can be sold to a global audience with the click of a button.

However, once you've created your digital product, it's essential to take steps to protect it from unauthorized copying and distribution.

Let's jump into a few ways to secure your downloadable products and limit access if needed.

1. Watermark Your Digital Downloads

Protecting your digital downloads, products, and files from theft is essential. Watermarking is a quick and easy way to do this. A watermark is a visible mark placed on a pdf file or image.

This mark shows that the file is copyrighted and cannot be used without the owner's permission. There are two main types of watermarks: graphical and text-based.

A graphic watermark is an image that is placed on the file. A text-based watermark is a word or phrase placed on the file.

Watermarks can be placed on any downloadable file, including PDFs, images, and videos. To do this on any given file, you can use a free online service like IlovePDF.

IlovePDF Watermark EddyBalle

You upload the pdf file, select the type of watermark you want to use, and then click "Watermark." The process takes seconds, and your pdf file will be protected from theft. 

2. Allow A Download Limit For Each Purchase

Are you noticing that someone is abusing your product's download link?

One way to do this is to allow a download limit for each purchase of your PDF files, downloadable items, and other files. This way, if someone tries to share your link with others, they can only download the file several times.

This will help to prevent unauthorized sharing of your products and protect your revenue. So once they get their downloadable files, they will stop working after reaching the limit.

A popular hosting platform that can protect digital products and create a secure link is Sendowl or Samcart. You can set a download limit for each product and set up a license key; the link will expire after a certain number of downloads.

Sendowl secure download Eddyballe

This is an effective way to limit access, but we will go more in-depth into my favorite tools for digital downloads.

3. Use A Platform To Host Your Digital Downloads

You'll need a place to host your digital downloads if you've created digital products such as ebooks, online course lessons, or selling software.

A few options are available, but using a platform specifically designed for digital product downloads is usually the best. These platforms typically provide you with download links to add to your website.

I've always told many creators who own one-person businesses to start leveraging platforms like Sellfy or Skool.

Your customers can then use these links to download your digital products. The big advantage of using a digital product download platform is that it delivers your digital products.

You don't have to worry about configuring web hosting or setting up file directories. All you need to do is upload your digital products to the platform and add the download links to your website.

That way, you can focus on promoting and selling your digital products while the platform handles the behind-the-scenes work.

Here's A List Of My Favorite Platforms To Sell Digital Products

  1. Podia

    Ready to start selling online? Use Podia to monetize your audience by selling online courses, digital products, & more!

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  2. SamCart

    SamCart is the leading eCommerce platform for selling online. It has everything you need to drive traffic, collect payments, and ship orders all in one place with an intuitive user interface that makes managing your business easier than ever before!

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  3. Sellfy

    Sell digital products, print-on-demand, & more with Sellfy. Perfect for Content Creators & YouTubers.

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4. Password Protect Your Digital Products

If you offer digital files or downloads on your website, it's important to enable password protection. There are a few different ways to password-protect your digital products. One way is to use a WordPress plugin like Thrive Apprentice.

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This plugin will allow you to create password-protected areas on your website and restrict access to only those with the password.

This will help to prevent people from sharing your products without your permission, and it will also help to deter search engines from indexing your products.

I also love Thrive Theme's plugins because you can run your entire WordPress website while offering an online store, digital goods, and more.

Another way to password-protect your digital products is to host them on a protected server. This option is more secure but can be more expensive and complicated to set up.

Whichever method you choose, password safeguarding your digital products is an important step in protecting your Intellectual Property.

5. Create A Robot.txt File For Online Store Or WordPress Site

If you have an online store or use an open source platform selling digital products and digital downloads, it's important to create a robot.txt file.

This will help prevent search engines from indexing your store or site and showing your products in search results. Instead, potential customers will be directed to your store or place when they search for your products.

A robot.txt file can help prevent theft of your products by preventing search engines from indexing your site. Creating a robot.txt file is a quick and easy way to help protect your digital products and ensure that only potential customers can find them.

There's nothing wrong with upping your security measures as a content creator and online product owner.

These are a few of my favorite methods for protecting digital content. 

By taking these steps, you can help prevent unauthorized sharing of your products and deter search engines from indexing your site. 

You can focus on promoting and selling your digital products while a platform handles the behind-the-scenes work.

Why You Should Protect Your Digital Product Files

If you sell digital products, you never know who might steal and sell your content as their own. What sucks the most is that these scammers can create a one-page website and rank on search engines.

This allows them to bypass the digital file protection, put it on Google Drive, or use separate zip file hosting so they don't have to pay for anything.

I get surprised when I see those pages on Google's search engine without getting penalized.

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All they need to do is reach out to others on social media or other search engines and profit from your hard work.

You want to watermark or add a copyright symbol to protect your digital downloads. 

What To Do If Someone Steals And Starts Selling Your Downloadable Products

If you find that someone has stolen one of your downloadable products and is selling it on their website or elsewhere, there are a few steps to try and remedy the situation.

To prevent users from stealing or using other solutions, you should limit access to the file so that only authorized users can download it.

This will help to prevent further unauthorized distribution. Next, you should contact the site owner where the file is being sold and let them know that it is a copyrighted work that belongs to you. They may be willing to take it down if they know the situation.

Side note: 

I recommend contacting a lawyer or someone with proven credentials to help you with your situation if it gets out of control.

Finally, you can send a cease and desist letter to the individual selling your work without permission. While there is no guarantee that any of these measures will be successful, they may help stop your work's unauthorized distribution.


Digital product FAQ

How To Protect Digital Art On Etsy

If you've created digital art files you want to sell on Etsy, it's essential to protect your work.

You should first put your files in a format that can't be easily edited or copied. One way to do this is to save your files as PDFs. You can also use software like IlovePDF to encrypt your files. Another critical step is to watermark your files.

This will help prevent someone from copying your work and passing it off as their own. By taking these precautions, you can sell your digital art files on Etsy confidently.

How To Protect Digital Goods On eCommerce Platforms

First, most websites offer a secure option for ordering pages. Your customer's information will be encrypted, making it much more difficult for anyone to hack into the system and steal your products.

Secondly, it's important to have a strong returns policy in place. This way, if there is any issue with a product, your customer can easily get a refund or exchange. 

Finally, make sure to keep your inventory updated regularly. This way, if you experience any fraudulent activity, you can quickly and easily identify which products were affected.

These simple steps can help protect your digital goods and ensure a smooth transaction for you and your customers.


Now that you know how to protect digital downloads, it's time to implement these tips. Taking the necessary precautions can potentially stop thieves and help ensure your digital product downloads are safe and secure.

You can read these guides to up your online business if you are selling digital downloads.

Eddy is an AI, SEO, and personal finance blogger who uses and tests products to help others improve their lives through AI and financial literacy. With years of experience in online business, he deeply understands the latest AI and SEO trends. Eddy is also well-knowledged in personal finance and committed to sharing his knowledge and expertise with his readers.

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