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How to Add URL Assets – Delivering URLs as Downloads + Bulk-Import

attach urls

Last updated on 7 January 2023

Downloadable Digital Assets has the ability for users to host their assets on their own servers (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive) and then add them as URL assets in our app. This means the customer will be delivered the external URL at checkout. It will be delivered as a redirect URL that will send the user to the download link of your asset hosted somewhere else.

This method allows you (the store) to be in full control of your asset’s storage and bandwidth costs.

If you’re interested, we also have an API for URL Assets.

What do I need?

Which plan do I need for this feature?

You will need the Starter plan or above for the Downloadable Digital Assets app.

Please note: URL assets will not count towards your storage space or bandwidth. All storage and bandwidth amounts are controlled by the cloud service you are using (e.g. Dropbox). Learn more about comparisons of cloud service costs.

How to add URLs as assets to deliver to customers

How does it work?

This feature works by allowing you to attach external URLs (e.g. Dropbox links) to your Shopify products. Once that product is sold with the URL attached to it, then your customer will be delivered the URL after checkout.

The external URLs are added as “assets” into the app, and then you will attach those “assets” to your Shopify products.

url as asset
This is an example of two assets in the app. One is an external URL imported as an asset (Download Link), and the other is a file directly uploaded to the app (File).

The way this works is as follows:

  1. You will add your external URL as an ‘Asset’ in the app. This ‘Asset’ will be attached to your products, so when the product is ordered, the ‘Asset’ will be delivered.
  2. Once a customer purchases, they will be delivered their ‘Assets’ as download links via email (and other ways if you have enabled them), but essentially it’s the same download links with all methods.
  3. Our app will deliver custom URLs to the customer. These links will redirect to your chosen external URL.

The reason we do this is that if you are using our special features, such as URL expiry or limitations, these features work on the URL level. We want you to have control over your links, even if you’re using external links.

For example:

The customer receives an email, and the download links will appear from our app domain (https://app.digital-downloads.com/…). You can control these links in our app by adding features such as expiry dates, block access and more.

If you set an expiry date for three days after purchase, then the links will stop working after three days. This means the download links will not redirect to your external URLs if they have expired.

It’s not possible to control access to a different domain, such as Google, because it’s obvious that we are not in control of them. So this is the best method to help protect your files when using external URLs.

For the best protection against file sharing, you should upload your files directly to our app so that the URLs delivered to your customers are fully protected and cannot be shared.

Video walkthrough

Step 1 – Create the asset

Go to our app > go to the ‘Assets’ page > click the button ‘Upload new assets’.

go to assets and upload

Step 2 – Add a link and the information

Click the button ‘Add a link’, then follow the steps by inputting:

  1. Name of the asset
  2. Size
  3. Download URL
add a link

Once you have created an asset using an external URL, it will show on the assets page with the term (Download Link) in a purple box, like this:

  • Download Link – an external URL added as an asset
  • File – an asset that has been uploaded directly to the app
url as asset

Updating a file for the URL Asset & informing previous customers

To update a file when using URL assets, you will need to:

  1. Go to the cloud service where you want to upload your new file
  2. Upload your new updated file
  3. Copy the download URL of that new file
  4. Go to the Downloadable Digital Assets app > “Assets” page > open the URL asset that you want to update.
  5. Click the “Edit” button
edit url asset
  1. Click “Next” until you get to step 3. Here you can paste the new download URL
change the url here
  1. In step 4, you will be asked if you want to inform previous customers who have purchased this asset that the download has been updated.
update

You can edit the “File update” email template by going to “Settings > “Edit email templates” > “File Replace Template”.

Bulk CSV import

Yes, it’s possible to do a bulk CSV import of URLs into our app. That means you don’t need to go and add each URL one by one.

Step 1 – CSV

Make a copy of this CSV template, then update it.

Step 2 – Send

Send us the Google Sheets link via message. We will then import it for you.

View this guide if you just want to bulk attach uploaded assets to products using a CSV.

Important instructions for bulk CSV import

The assets connect to the products via the SKU. Please note – 500 maximum rows per CSV file. If you have more than 500 rows, please create a separate CSV.

All assets will be automatically linked to the products via the SKU. Please ensure everything is spelt correctly. Otherwise, the URL asset will not connect to the product.

  • SKU – This is your stock-keeping unit. You can assign a unique code (SKU) to each product & variant on the Shopify products page
  • Asset name – the display name of your asset for you and your customer
  • Asset size – Make sure you enter the byte size after the number. Otherwise, it will not work. For example, do this – 2GB
  • Asset URL – This needs to be the final download URL where your customer can download the file

The assets that you add in the blue columns will connect to the SKU that is on the same row in the orange column.

If you want multiple assets to attach to a single product/variant, just add the same SKU on another row and then add a new asset link beside it.

You can only use the CSV feature if you have 50 assets or above. You will need to manually attach the assets if you are attaching lower than 50.

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