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How To Sell Large Digital Files on Shopify + Expert Tips

sell large digital files on shopify

Last updated on 4 August 2022

Depending on your industry, you may need to sell large digital files on Shopify. With the rise of digital products in recent years, you want to know the best solutions to doing this, while keeping costs low.

With the rising costs of bandwidth and storage, it’s difficult to find the right solution, but we have you covered.

Sell large files using the “Downloadable Digital Assets” app – 3 Methods

Downloadable Digital Assets gives you the power to sell assets using pretty much any server you want, meaning you are in control.

You can either use the built-in storage/bandwidth servers, or you can connect your own Amazon S3, or cloud server using URL assets.

This app allows you to upload and add large files using:

  1. The app’s built-in server – storage/bandwidth included
  2. Connect your own Amazon S3, Digital Ocean Spaces or Backblaze server
  3. Cloud servers as “URL assets” using Google Drive, Dropbox etc.

The app’s storage/bandwidth limitations only apply when you are using our server (option 1) for storing your files. Using option 2 or 3 will bypass any storage or bandwidth limitations the app has.

That means using an Amazon/Backblaze server, or the location where you are hosting the digital files will be in control of storage and bandwidth. Please check your host for their storage/bandwidth usage.

downloadable-digital-assets-app

1. Built-in server storage/bandwidth

Once you install the Downloadable Digital Assets app, you will automatically get storage and bandwidth included within your plan by using the app’s servers.

You can see the prices and details by going to our pricing page. The app uses top-grade servers by Amazon and Digital Ocean, which means you get the best of the best. But if our storage solutions aren’t suited for you, you can see more options below.

2. Connect your own Amazon S3, Digital Ocean Spaces or Backblaze server

You can connect your own Amazon S3, Digital Ocean Spaces or Backblaze server to our app, so it acts as the complete storage and bandwidth solution. That means you control your storage and bandwidth costs via your Amazon, Digital Ocean or Backblaze account.

You can learn how to connect your own Amazon S3 to the Downloadable Digital Assets app here.

Below is the pricing comparison between our server, Amazon’s and Backblaze’s.

DDA server (Pro plan)Amazon S3Digital Ocean SpacesBackblaze B2
Storage75GBUnlimited250GB ($0.02/GB for additional)$5/TB/month
Bandwidth3TB/month ($35 plan) (overage available)$0.023/GB (3TB is $69)1TB included in $5 plan ($0.01 per GB additional transfer – 3TB is $30)$0.01/GB (3TB is $30)
Pricing$35/month$0.023/GB Bandwidth$5/month (only 1TB bandwidth included, costs for more)Backblaze B2 Pricing

Important note:

  • All storage and bandwidth limitations are controlled by the server company that you choose, such as Amazon S3 etc.
  • You will need to subscribe to the Scale ($19/month) plan or higher to connect an Amazon S3, Digital Ocean Spaces or Backblaze B2 server to our app.

3. Cloud servers as URL assets

If you want to connect your own cloud server such as DropBox or Google Drive to deliver your files, you can by using the URL assets feature.

This doesn’t work the same as connecting an Amazon S3, it works by basically adding the download link for the server and connecting it to a product. So when the product is ordered, the customer will receive the download link for your files on the cloud server.

Reasons why this may not be the best route

You can learn how to add URL assets here. Although, we would recommend using the built-in server or an Amazon S3 account.

To put it short, the app delivers download links to customers that are protected to prevent prohibited file sharing. These custom URLs include special features such as download limitations and order tracking.

When using URL assets with external cloud services, our app only has the option to redirect from our URL directly to your external URL (eg. dropbox.com/file-download). It’s simply not possible to get around this because we do not own those domains.

The problem with this is that when the customers get redirected to the final download URL, the store owner will lose control over limitations and file sharing. The customer can simply copy and paste that dropbox link and share it with anyone they like.

When using the in-built server or Amazon S3 server, all download links are protected completely, giving the store owner full control and visibility of who is using the download links. Learn more here.

Cloud server options

Most cloud services have bandwidth limits. You may be surprised, but bandwidth costs a lot on the internet. Ever watching YouTube or Netflix and then it pauses and asks if you’re still watching? That’s to save bandwidth.

If you want to use URL assets with our app, this is possible. You can attach any cloud server to our app to deliver large files. I will list some below with details.

You can learn how to attach URL assets here.

FilemailWeTransferMediafireTransferNowDropBoxMASVGoogle DriveOpen Drive
StorageUp to 5TBFree – no storage
Paid – up to unlimited
Pro – 1TB
Business – 100TB
Free – no storage
Paid – 1TB
2TB – 5TB$0.10/GB/month100GB, 200GB, 1TBUp to unlimited
Max file size sendFree – 5GB
Paid – Unlimited
Free – 2GB
Paid – up to unlimited
20GBFree – 5GB
Paid – 100GB
50GBUnlimited750GBUnlimited
Bandwidth limitUnlimitedUnlimited1TB per monthNot mentionedFree – 20GB/day
Paid – 400GB per day
$0.25/GB750GB per dayBetween 1TB & Unlimited per day
full download speedYesYesNoUnsureNoUnsureYesMostly, if you abuse it then it slows down
PriceFree plan, up to €48/monthFree plan, €10/month, €20/month$5/month, $50/monthFree plan, €8.33/month$10/monthPAYG $0.25 per GBFree plan, $10/monthFree plan, $10/month, $80+/month

Most cloud storage companies have limitations in some sense. One thing could be great, while they are missing something else. You just need to take a look and see what suits you best.

Important note:

  • Using this method, all storage and bandwidth limitations are controlled by the host that is hosting your files. You are not limited by storage or bandwidth from the app when using URL Assets.
  • You will need to subscribe to the Starter ($5/month) plan or higher to use URL Assets.

How to sell large files on Shopify – the process

Below, I will show you a step-by-step process on how to set this up.

1. Firstly, install the “Downloadable Digital Assets” app

Go to the app store and install Downloadable Digital Assets. This will be your tool to sell large digital products on Shopify.

downloadable digital assets shopify app

2. Decide which method you want to use to control assets

  1. Using the in-built server included with the app
  2. Connecting your own Amazon S3 or Backblaze server
  3. Using URL Assets with external cloud storage

Using the server that’s included

If you want to use the in-built server, just carry on to step 3.

Using your own Amazon S3

Create your own Amazon S3 server and connect it with Downloadable Digital Assets using API keys. You can learn how to connect Amazon S3 to the app here.

Using Digital Ocean Spaces

Spaces use the same technology and allow you to connect to Downloadable Digital Assets. Learn how to set up a Spaces account.

Using Backblaze B2

You will need a developer to help set this up as it’s complicated.

You can use a server that uses the same tech as Amazon S3 such as Backblaze. Backblaze is a cheaper alternative to Amazon S3 but is compatible with any S3-compatible service.

It uses the same architecture and allows you to connect to our Downloadable Digital Assets app.

You can learn how to connect it by following the same Amazon S3 guide.

3. Upload your large digital files

In-built server or Amazon S3/Backblaze

If you are using the in-built server or Amazon S3/Backblaze, then you can upload your assets using the upload tool inside the app.

  1. Go to Downloadable Digital Assets
  2. Click on the “Assets” page
  3. Click on the “Upload new asset” button
  4. Begin uploading your assets

Uploading your large files may take some time, but once you have uploaded them, you can begin connecting those assets to your products.

uploader

URL Assets

If you are using URL assets, you can:

  1. Go to Downloadable Digital Assets
  2. Click on the “Assets” page
  3. Click on the “Upload new asset” button
  4. Click on the “Add a link” button. If you have a lot to add, you can bulk import URL assets using CSV.
add a link

4. Connect those assets to products

The next step would be to connect your large files to your Shopify products. You can do this by:

  1. Go to your product by going to the app’s “Products” page
  2. Click on the relevant product or variant you want to connect the assets to
  3. In the search box, search and select the assets that you want to attach to the product
  4. Click the “Attach” button
attach assets to product

Follow this same method for all of your products until you have attached them all to the right products.

5. Set your settings

The next step now is to set up your settings to suit your store. This is where you can begin to brand the app to your store’s branding. You can do things such as:

set up your settings

6. Test the process

Once you have set everything up, make sure you read our short checklist to make sure your store is set up correctly for selling large digital products.

Now you can begin testing by placing a test order to make sure everything is working as it should.

If you run into any problems or have any questions, just contact us and we will get back to you as fast as possible.

Video walkthrough to sell digital files on Shopify

Final words

There you have it, an easy solution to sell large files on Shopify. Remember to contact us if you have any questions or need help setting up your store.

Happy selling!

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