Fast free downloads without checkout in WooCommerce

If you offer free downloadable digital products in your WooCommerce online store you should already know that for your users it is an unnecessary hassle to go through the checkout page to download your files.

Okay, it has its advantages to make users go through the checkout page, such as making them register, and then send them your fantastic offers … maybe not so free, but if this is not the case, if you are not going to perform this clever and “novel” marketing action is totally useless and annoying to make your visitors have to go through the entire checkout process just to download a free digital product.

Besides, there are other ways to attract customers to send them offers…

Why you should consider offering a fast download button for free digital products

Returning to the initial objective, if you have in your online store digital products for free download, you can offer a quick download method, avoiding the user going through the whole process of downloading the product….

  1. Add to cart
  2. Go to the checkout page
  3. Fill in the billing information
  4. Finalize purchase
  5. Download (finally) the free digital product.

Maybe too many steps for a simple download even if it’s given for free. Wouldn’t we want something like this:

download from product page

How to offer free downloads without having to go through WooCommerce checkout page

The solution is simple, install and activate the plugin Free Downloads WooCommerce, you’ll see what a treat.

Once active you must go through its configuration page because it has lots of settings, each one more interesting.

free downloads settings

General adjustments

Here you have the basics, namely:

  • Button texts – Here you can customize the download and display buttons, whether the user is registered or not.
  • Show button to registered users only – This is perfect if you still want to offer fast free downloads, but only to registered users, encouraging new visitors to register. You can also customize the text to display.
downloads message for not logged-in users
  • Also allow downloads in product listings – To further facilitate downloads.
download from shop archive
  • Include also items with price currently on free offer – For those offers…
  • Only for included/excluded products – By default the plugin applies to all products, but with these checkboxes, you can configure it to only offer free quick downloads for specific products, by inclusion or exclusion. If you check any of these boxes you will have a new meta box in the product editor to include/exclude each product from the quick downloads.
allow free download on product editor
  • Download counter – In case you want to show a download count for each free digital product.
  • Classes and CSS – Here you can add custom classes and CSS to buttons and links if needed.

With this alone you get what we were looking for, to offer quick download buttons for free digital products, but you can still configure some more aspects in detail.

Single files

In the settings for single files, you can choose to display the download link as a button or link, specify the text of the button or link, whether you want to display the file name and even whether you want a ZIP file to be generated automatically from your digital files, e.g. for PDFs.

Multiple files

If your product offers several files for free download you can also choose the download display mode, here with more options:

  • Links only
  • Button only(to download all)
  • Button + checkboxes (to choose which ones to download)
  • Button + links (the same)
  • Button + filenames (same)

Then you can customize the different texts according to the type of display.

Owned Products

Do you also want to customize the display when the user has already purchased the free digital product? You can too, even by adding a badge that is clearly visible to the user.

owned products settings

Quick view(Preview)

This feature, in beta phase, allows you to activate a new button, which you can customize after activating the feature, for a quick product view, thus avoiding the use of this type of plugins.

quick view from shop archive

PDF Viewer

Finally, you can activate the PDF viewer so that, instead of downloading the digital products that are PDF, the user can view them in a browser window and then, if he wants, download or print them directly.

This setting is a bit weird because, as indicated in the documentation, what the plugin does is create a kind of duplicate of the PDF file using Google Docs PDF preview, to protect your original files, and then deletes them after 1 hour.


In the end what you can offer with this plugin(free), is a fast, simple and very customizable way to offer quick downloads of your free digital products, without having to make your online store visitors go through all the long and tedious purchase process.

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