There are a few different WooCommerce Facebook groups and all of them have great discussions. Earlier today there was a question about selling videos with WooCommerce:
If I have video files in a cloud storage independent from my WordPress site can I link those videos and sell them as digital, downloadable products? I don’t want to store videos in my WordPress site.
The short answer is yes – WooCommerce can sell downloadable videos (or any sort of downloadable product).
The longer answer is that there are a ton of ways of selling videos. You can do it with WooCommerce all on its own or you can enhance the experience with a few extensions.
How to Sell Downloadable Videos With Just WooCommerce
Alright – let’s start with the easy option – you have WooCommerce (no extensions) and you want to sell videos.
You can start by creating a new product in WooCommerce. You’ll want to check both digital & virtual.
Store Videos on Your Site
Under the downloadable settings you can upload a video directly to your WordPress site. When you do this the downloadable file URL will be set. And when a customer checks out they’ll get the link to download the file directly from your site.
Unfortunately – videos do tend to take up a lot of hard drive space. So most hosting plans won’t let you upload large videos. To get around this you can use a number of services. The easiest is to use a 3rd party streaming service like YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia.
I’ll go ahead and use YouTube because just about everyone is familiar with it. When you upload a video you can set the visibility to Unlisted. This will prevent it from popping up in the search results of YouTube. The only way to get to the video is with a direct URL which only you have.
You then copy this url and under the advanced tab you can paste this into the purchase notes.
The customer will see the message:
Streaming is great but sometimes you really want to have downloadable videos. If that’s the case YouTube isn’t the best. You might want to use a service like Dropbox that let’s you upload any type of raw file. And those files can be accessed via a public link that you create.
I’ll upload something to my Dropbox, right click on the file, and then copy the public link.
I’ll copy that link into WooCommerce
And as per usual once the purchase is complete an email will be sent with the link. Or customers can view it on the My Account page.
But what about piracy!?!?
Someone is inevitably worried about piracy. And I get it. It’s your hard work that created this video and you don’t want anyone else stealing it and making money from it. That’s a totally normal feeling.
Unfortunately there will always be (a small amount of) piracy and it’s usually not worth the investment in time to protect your videos.
None of the methods above are fool proof. Someone could share the link or file with a friend. If you see lots of piracy then you can change links or you invest in something a bit more secure.
Downloadable Videos With Amazon S3
If you want to have a lot of storage for videos you can look into WooCommerce Amazon S3 Storage. Amazon S3 storage is a hosting platform built for hosting large files. It’s very affordable. And the WooCommerce integration pulls all of that power into WooCommerce.
You can upload files to Amazon S3 and then copy those links into WooCommerce. WooCommerce will handle all of the download permissions which are far more secure than just sending someone a link.
If you’re selling a course or an actual film it can be helpful to have a preview video. And WooCommerce handles that beautifully. There are a few featured video plugins for WooCommerce. I personally like YITH WooCommerce Featured Video which replaces the featured image with a video.
So when someone asks if WooCommerce can sell videos the answer is most definitely yes. You can stream the video and you can distribute the actual file yourself.