How to Track WordPress downloads (using plugins or natively)

Needless to say, WordPress is no more just a blogging platform. According to,

“WordPress is the CMS of choice for almost 23% of ecommerce websites in the Alexa Top 1 million sites.”


Track WP downloads

As ecommerce plugins like Woocommerce and WP commerce gain traction amongst the Alexa Top 1M, there is a huge demand for subsidiary plugins that are related to ecommerce business like file download monitoring plugins.

In this post, let’s have a look at a couple of popular plugins for tracking file downloads. In addition, we’ll also explain how to track file downloads without using a plugin - but rather through events which will show up on Google Analytics.

Tracking WordPress download using plugins

WordPress Download manager:

Download manager is one of the most popular file download management plugins available on the WordPress repository. It is a perfect fit for your ecommerce store if you’re looking for a feature-rich file management plugin. Its bundled with lots of features that include

  • Download speed control
  • Google Drive and Dropbox support to store your files
  • Password protection and download counter

You can get the plugin from here: Download manager

wordpress Download Manager

WordPress Download monitor:

Download monitor is an emerging file download monitoring plugins that has a very elegant user interface. Some of features of this plugin include 

  • IP address tracking of the users who download the file
  • Tracking of number of downloads of each of your file
  • Tracking of visitors’ country

Get the plugin from the WordPress repository: Download monitor

wordpress download monitor

Tracking WordPress downloads without a plugin

If you are using Google Analytics on your website, you can use its event tracking functionality for tracking your file downloads.  This is a perfect choice for those who are not interested in using a fully featured plugin for monitoring file downloads, and just want to monitor a few file downloads. If you are also looking to set Google Analytics goals along with the download event tracking - this is a perfect solution for you. Downloads of stuff such as eBooks, whitepapers, and other similar downloads are very good examples for using Google Analytics event tracking to monitor downloads.

Let’s look at an example of download event tracking using Google Analytics.

Imagine that you are providing an ebook file as download and want to track the number of downloads using event tracking functionality of Google Analytics. It can easily be done by enhancing your usual anchor text html tag as follows.

<a onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','Download','PDF',this.href]);" href="" target="_blank">Download ebooks</a>

In the above case, ‘download’ is the event category, ‘PDF’ is event action and the ‘download URL’ is the event label.

If you are using the more recent Universal Analytics, the syntax changes just slightly to:

<a onclick="ga('send','event','Download','PDF', this.href]);" href="" target="_blank">Download ebooks</a>


Whenever someone completes your download, you can track it from the Behavior>> Events>>Overview tab.

Have you ever used a plugin or Google Analytics for tracking your file download? Share your experience with us in the comments section!

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