HomeBlogCase StudiesEasy Digital Downloads VS WooCommerce: An In-Depth Analysis

Easy Digital Downloads VS WooCommerce: An In-Depth Analysis

Caught in a dilemma between Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) and WooCommerce for your online venture? We feel you! This decision is a game-changer for your digital goodies, physical wonders, or services. It’s like choosing the right sidekick for your online superhero journey. To help you out, we’re diving deep into the details, comparing Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce, so you can make the best call for your online store.

Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) and WooCommerce are like the Batman and Superman of the plugin world, each with its own superpowers. EDD is the digital product specialist, while WooCommerce is the all-rounder, handling digital and physical products, services, and subscriptions with flair. The key features and extra plugins they bring to the table can make or break the deal for different online businesses.

Join us on this adventure as we unravel the core features, product types they support, bonus functionalities, user experience, payment options, software licensing, and even the impact of the legendary Pippin Williamson, the brains behind Easy Digital Downloads. By the end of this analysis, you’ll be armed with all the knowledge you need to choose between Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce for your online kingdom. Let’s embark on this journey of discovery!

Overview of Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) and WooCommerce plugin

WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) are two of the most popular options for establishing online shops on WordPress. Each possesses unique powerful features suited to different types of products.

WooCommerce, with a staggering 5 million+ active installations, is a robust WordPress eCommerce plugin offering a wide range of extensions and themes. Originally crafted for physical products, its core plugin now adeptly facilitates the sale of digital products as well. An impressive statistic reveals WooCommerce’s dominance, securing 8% of the global market and 21% of the top 1 million sites.

In contrast, EDD, with 60,000+ active installations, provides a more niche service. Initially centered around digital products, EDD has carved a distinct reputation for ease in listing and selling digital files, though it now also supports physical goods. The EDD plugin, developed by Pippin Williamson, has evolved to embrace a wider product spectrum and, like WooCommerce, offers premium extensions to enhance its core features.

Both platforms support a variety of payment options and have marketplaces for additional plugins to extend functionality. Acquired by Automattic, WooCommerce is part of a larger family, whereas EDD remains prominent with steady backing from Sandhills Development.

Core Features

Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) is designed with a sharp focus on providing an optimal platform for selling and managing digital products. While its core feature set is streamlined for digital sales, it stands out with powerful tools tailored for this niche. Detailed reporting allows vendors to track sales and earnings with precision, while customer and order management enable seamless interaction with buyers. With over 104 options, extensions, and themes allow the integration of multiple currencies and serve a global audience.

The versatility of EDD is further highlighted by its adaptations for mobile use, complete with a dedicated app and support for 10+ WordPress blocks, simplifying on-the-go management of digital stores. Subscription services and a wide range of third-party integrations are supported out of the box, making it a popular choice for vendors focusing on downloadable files.

However, it’s important to note that for those looking to sell physical goods, EDD requires additional plugins like Simple Shipping to expand its capabilities.


WooCommerce’s reputation as the most popular eCommerce platform comes from its extensive features that cater to both physical and digital products. It offers full shopping cart functionality, which includes default shipping options for physical products—an area where WooCommerce excels without the need for additional extensions.

Shipping and inventory management are baked into the free core WooCommerce plugin. It is also known for its comprehensive payment processing solutions, including pre-integrated gateways such as Stripe and PayPal. The sheer volume of available extensions bolsters WooCommerce’s feature set, with a repository hosting themes and additional plugins, some free and others paid, which can add advanced options like bookings, memberships, and subscriptions.

The WooCommerce plugin aligns itself with a broad array of online retailers through its ability to accommodate an unlimited number of product listings. This flexibility is paired with product sorting and filtering capacities, ensuring a user-friendly shopping experience. While WooCommerce itself is a free plugin, many advanced functionalities demand premium extensions, which could potentially increase costs depending on business requirements.

A comparison of the core features of both plugins

When looking at EDD and WooCommerce side by side, both share common core functionalities such as adding a shopping cart, listing products, and managing orders and payments. They cater to users with different focuses: EDD zeroes in on digital products, with its out-of-the-box features and its streamlined user experience for digital sellers. Its core plugin and extensions are designed to meet the needs of online shop owners whose inventories are purely digital or predominantly so.

On the other hand, WooCommerce provides a broader range of features that address the requirements of both digital and physical products. It affords store owners a more versatile platform due to its inherent support for physical goods, a feature that EDD only acquires through the use of additional plugins.

For businesses with a primary focus on digital products, EDD offers simplicity and efficiency. WooCommerce, however, stands as the more powerful option overall, serving as a full-fledged eCommerce solution with inbuilt capabilities for shipping and inventory which EDD lacks at its core. Despite this, both platforms can be customized extensively with respective add-ons and themes, ensuring that they can adapt and scale according to individual business demands.

Types of Products

When it comes to selling products online, the type of product you offer can significantly influence the choice of the eCommerce platform. The two popular options in WordPress eCommerce—WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads (EDD)—are designed to cater to different types of products. They provide specialized features depending on whether you sell digital products, physical goods, services, or subscriptions.

Digital Products

Easy Digital Downloads: EDD is a powerful plugin purpose-built for the sale of digital goods. Its core functionality is geared towards digital products, such as e-books, WordPress themes, audio files, and more. It simplifies the process of attaching digital files and ensures automatic delivery upon purchase. The EDD core plugin offers finely-tuned management for digital files, including defining download limits and providing valuable product notes to customers.

WooCommerce: Although WooCommerce is known for its flexibility in handling a wide range of products, it also excels in facilitating the sale of digital goods. From software to music files, WooCommerce allows the sale of virtual products without the need for shipping. Moreover, features such as product protection, download expiration, and access control are also available to create a secure environment for digital sales.

Physical Products

WooCommerce: WooCommerce truly shines when it comes to selling physical products. It offers a variety of product forms—simple, variable, grouped—to align with different business needs. With native features for shipping options, inventory management, and tax settings, WooCommerce equips merchants with all the necessary tools to handle the complexity of selling tangible goods.

Easy Digital Downloads: While EDD is primarily focused on digital downloads, selling physical products can still be achieved but requires more effort. Through the use of third-party plugins such as Simple Shipping, EDD can be extended to manage physical product sales. However, this isn’t its core strength, and EDD is best suited for merchants whose primary inventory consists of digital items.


Both WooCommerce and EDD can be used to sell services, expanding beyond products to offer appointments, consultations, and other non-tangible offerings. With additional plugins, both platforms can manage service variations, booking calendars, and customizable service features. The integrations provided allow for a streamlined approach in managing and delivering services to customers. The choice between EDD or WooCommerce for services depends primarily on the other types of products offered by the business.


WooCommerce, with its extension WooCommerce Subscriptions, provides merchants with the ability to create and manage subscription-based products, be that membership programs, recurring service payments, or digital product subscriptions. Features such as free trial periods, subscription management, and automatic renewals cater to both convenience and flexibility. However, these capabilities do necessitate the purchase of additional premium extensions. Conversely, EDD offers subscription functionalities tailored for digital goods, aligning with its digital-focused ethos.

Choosing between WooCommerce and EDD depends largely on the types of products you plan to sell, as their specialized features highly complement the respective product categories.

Additional Features and Plugins

WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads both strategically position themselves to enhance the core functionality of online shops through a range of additional plugins and features. They cater to varied business requirements by allowing the store owners to integrate multiple extensions.

How EDD and WooCommerce support additional plugins for added functionality

EDD, with its specialized focus on digital products, provides around 95 third-party apps and integrations. This includes tools for improving accounting, analytics, marketing, and introducing email marketing capabilities into EDD-powered online stores. For EDD users looking to extend their store’s functionality, options are accessible either through a Professional Pass ($599 per year) or an All Access Pass ($999 per year), with individual extensions also available for purchase, generally priced between $50-$100 each. These addons let users selectively boost their online business capabilities as their requirements evolve, with specific enhancements like software licensing and customizable deliverables.

In contrast, WooCommerce surpasses EDD in the sheer volume of available integrations, boasting over 250 free and premium extensions developed both in-house and by third-party developers. These plugins span across various functionalities, including shipping, marketing, and payment processing, with price tags ranging from roughly $30 to $250 per year. WooCommerce’s Extension store is actively populated by solutions like WooCommerce Bookings for appointment scheduling and Mailchimp integration for email marketing, further enhancing user experience and store capabilities. The WooCommerce plugin library on WordPress is also extensive, offering more than 7,000 plugins that cater to a broad spectrum of eCommerce needs.

Comparing the availability and compatibility of additional features and plugins for both plugins

When comparing the availability of additional features and plugins, WooCommerce clearly holds an edge with its vast selection of over 7,000 plugins from the WordPress library, including marketing, SEO, and payment gateways – a collection that highly surpasses EDD’s offering. The expansive number of premium plugins developed by WooCommerce or third-party developers augments this selection considerably, adding premium features and superior support.

Easy Digital Downloads, although not as extensive as WooCommerce in terms of quantity, still offers a powerful range of extensions tailored for digital product shops. Users can access addons across various categories such as software licensing, recurring payments, and SEO. With this targeted assortment of plugins, EDD ensures that users running digitally-oriented stores have access to tools that specifically enhance the digital selling experience.

Both eCommerce solutions allow for an impressive level of customization and added functionality through their additional features and plugins. However, the type of product and the extent of features required by the online shop significantly influence the choice between EDD and WooCommerce. While WooCommerce provides an unparalleled variety of addons to optimize a wide range of online shop needs, EDD’s curated set of extensions ensures specialized and efficient management for stores focused solely on digital products.

User Experience

User Experience is paramount in driving customer satisfaction and repeat business. Both Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) and WooCommerce emphasize delivering an exceptional User Experience, albeit through different approaches tailored to the needs of different types of products being sold.

Ease of use and customization for both EDD and WooCommerce

EDD and WooCommerce are designed with user-friendliness in mind, incorporating intuitive interfaces that integrate seamlessly with the WordPress dashboard. They provide onboarding aids; for instance, WooCommerce features a comprehensive setup wizard that acts as a personal guide through the configuration stages—from product details to managerial functions like inventory and shipping methods. WooCommerce’s robust nature means customization possibilities are almost endless, supported by a multitude of themes and addons.

On the flip side, EDD offers simplicity, ideal for merchants solely dealing with digital products. EDD’s ease of use shines in its product creation process, mirroring the familiar WordPress ‘add new post’ function. This removes learning barriers, allowing users to easily upload product files, and set important parameters like download limits, without additional complication. For customization, EDD leverages shortcodes to integrate product pages within existing posts, promoting a streamlined aesthetic that merges with the site’s content.

Here’s a comparison list to further illustrate their ease of use and customization features:

  • WooCommerce:
    • Guided setup wizard for full shop configuration
    • Extensive customization with themes and plugins
    • Inventory management and order fulfillment for physical goods
  • Easy Digital Downloads:
    • Streamlined setup via settings page
    • Shortcode integration for product pages
    • Tailored options for digital downloads (limits, expiries)

How each plugin handles the online shopping experience for customers

EDD orchestrates a focused online shopping experience, particularly attuned for customers in pursuit of digital goods. The simplified listings and settings aid in a hassle-free checkout process, valuable for those seeking efficiency when buying digital products like ebooks, software, or audio files.

Conversely, WooCommerce furnishes a dynamic experience for a broader product spectrum—catering equally to digital and physical goods. Its detailed dashboard and setup wizard ensure shop owners can provide a comprehensive service to customers, from product browsing to the final purchase stage. Importantly, WooCommerce boasts powerful analytics tools that give sellers insights into customers’ behaviors, which in turn can enhance the shopping experience.

Both platforms manage to cater to their target audiences effectively. EDD removes complexities for digital-only stores, while WooCommerce’s flexible and feature-rich platform is apt for stores demanding a wider range of functions. This dichotomy is best summarized in the table below:

AspectEasy Digital DownloadsWooCommerce
Product TypeDigital Products (streamlined process)Both Physical & Digital (detailed process)
CustomizationShortcodes, tailored digital product settingsThemes, plugins, and extensive add-ons
Shopping ExperienceSimplified, fast checkout for digital itemsCustomizable, comprehensive for all items
Setup & ConfigurationSettings page, user-friendlySetup wizard, extensive configuration

In conclusion, User Experience is not a one-size-fits-all, and as such, both EDD and WooCommerce have carved niches that best serve their intended customers while providing flexibility and scalability for shop owners.

Payment Options

When choosing an eCommerce plugin for a WordPress site, the array of payment options available is critical. Both WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) fare well in this regard, supporting major payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, and 2Checkout. This support ensures that customers have the flexibility and security they need when making online transactions.

Comparing the variety and flexibility of payment options for each plugin

When delving into the variety and flexibility of payment options for each plugin, WooCommerce distinctly offers a more extensive range. With over 100 payment gateway options listed on its website, WooCommerce outshines EDD, which also boasts a comprehensive list but does not match the sheer volume of WooCommerce’s offerings.

The rich plugin ecosystem around WooCommerce helps even small and local payment gateways find support, enabling customization to meet the specific needs of an online shop’s customer base. Even though EDD facilitates additional payment gateways through extensions, the lack of consistent maintenance for many third-party options is a notable shortfall.

Below is a comparison table showcasing the differences in payment options between the two plugins:

FeatureEasy Digital DownloadsWooCommerce
Major Gateways SupportedPayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, 2CheckoutPayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, 2Checkout
Stripe Access Cost$89 for Stripe gatewayFree Stripe and PayPal gateways
Payment Gateway OptionsComprehensive list with some maintenance issuesExtensive list over 100 options including small & local gates
Flexibility & CustomizabilityLimited variety with some flexibility in extensionsHigh flexibility with vast plugin ecosystem
Mobile Payment IntegrationDepends on third-party extensionsDirect integration with Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.

Overall, while both WooCommerce and EDD equip their users with solid payment gateway options, WooCommerce leads with its broader variety, offering more flexibility to accommodate different customer preferences and regional requirements. This powerful feature set enhances the potential for WooCommerce-powered online stores to reach a wider audience and offer a more customized shopping experience.

Software Licensing

When it comes to software licensing for digital products, Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) stands out as a robust solution specifically designed with digital goods in mind. It offers advanced licensing and access control extensions that are crucial for software and subscription-based products, providing a much-needed edge for businesses focused on these types of products. On the other hand, WooCommerce can also sell digital products but is primarily built with physical goods in mind. Its digital product functionality may not be as streamlined for licensed digital goods, which could lead to an inefficient use of its broad feature set and potential bloat from unused features meant for physical products.

EDD has a software licensing feature that is highly regarded within the WordPress eCommerce space, especially among those businesses that offer software, digital assets, or online courses that demand secure and flexible licensing options. Brainstorm Force provides a compelling use case, leveraging EDD for the sales and license management of their suite of products, including Astra, UABB, and Schema Pro. This choice highlights EDD’s proficiency in managing and delivering licensed digital products effectively.

In contrast, the WooCommerce software licensing capabilities, although present, were not part of the core plugin’s original design. They were added later as the platform evolved to accommodate digital products. As a result, WooCommerce’s licensing functionalities are deemed less sophisticated than those offered by EDD, particularly for products with complex licensing requirements.

Below is a comparison table demonstrating how each plugin manages software licensing:

AspectEasy Digital Downloads (EDD)WooCommerce
FocusPredominantly digital products with efficient license managementPhysical and digital products, with licensing not as central
Advanced Licensing ExtensionsDedicated solutions for software and subscription-based productsAvailable but may not be as specialized
UsagePreferred by businesses for products requiring licensing (e.g., Brainstorm Force)Adequate for simpler digital product scenarios
Tailored for Software LicensingYes, with around 95 third-party apps and integrations offering diverse business supportAdded later with less emphasis and a more generalized approach
Complexity of Licensing NeedsWell-equipped to handle complex licensing scenariosLess comprehensive for complex licensing, potentially leading to bloat

EDD is specifically preferred for products that require a nuanced licensing approach, setting it apart as the go-to eCommerce platform for digital-only stores. This distinction is not to diminish WooCommerce’s capabilities; however, for those seeking an efficient and powerful licensing mechanism, EDD is often the more suitable choice.

Payment Options and Flexibility in WooCommerce vs. Easy Digital Downloads

The flexibility in payment options differentiates WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) as they cater to various online business models. WooCommerce boasts over 100 payment gateway options, displaying an impressive level of flexibility that caters to a wide range of customer preferences and regional requirements. This extensiveness is facilitated by a rich plugin ecosystem, enabling even small and local gateways to find support, which is pivotal for the localization of online stores.

EDD also supports major payment gateways such as PayPal and Stripe and provides a comprehensive list of options. Still, the maintenance of its third-party gateway extensions can sometimes lag behind, impacting overall reliability. This does not undermine the fact that EDD’s core payment options are robust, but WooCommerce’s expansive offerings may give it the edge for businesses aiming for a global reach and maximum customer payment flexibility.

List of key payment features for each platform:

  • WooCommerce:
    • Over 100 payment gateways
    • Free integration with Stripe and PayPal
    • Direct mobile payment integrations like Apple Pay and Google Pay
    • A vast ecosystem of plugins for payment customization
  • Easy Digital Downloads:
    • Major gateways like PayPal and Stripe supported
    • An additional cost associated with Stripe gateway integration
    • Flexibility offered by extensions, though some may lack consistent maintenance
    • Less emphasis on mobile payment integration within the core plugin

Overall, while both platforms offer robust payment gateway support, WooCommerce outpaces EDD when it comes to the sheer variety and flexibility of payment options. This makes WooCommerce more adaptable for a broader demographic and geographical user base, enhancing the user experience in its online shops globally.

Pippin Williamson and EDD

In the realm of WordPress eCommerce solutions geared towards digital products, Pippin Williamson is a name synonymous with innovation and expertise. As the founder and lead developer of Easy Digital Downloads (EDD), Williamson revolutionized the online digital market space when he introduced the EDD plugin in 2012. This platform emerged from a clear vision: to provide a user-friendly, efficient, and specialized solution for selling digital files and software licenses directly on WordPress websites.

Under the leadership of Williamson, EDD has evolved to become much more than just a plugin—it’s a comprehensive ecosystem. His acute understanding of the complexities involved in selling digital goods, combined with his software development prowess, has set a high standard in the WordPress eCommerce domain. The result is a plugin that encapsulates reliability and customization, making it an indispensable tool for entrepreneurs and businesses, both big and small.

Williamson is not just a developer, but a craftsman deeply engrossed in the WordPress community. His passion and dedication are reflected in the continuous refinement and advancement of EDD, which are vital to the platform’s enduring success and popularity among digital product sellers.

How Pippin Williamson’s involvement impacts EDD as a powerful plugin for digital products

Pippin Williamson’s continuous involvement in EDD’s development has a profound impact on its standing as a robust and powerful plugin for digital sales on WordPress. By focusing his efforts on the specific needs of the digital product sector, Williamson has ensured that EDD remains at the cutting edge, integrating powerful features and expansions that directly respond to the challenges and requirements of online business owners.

Listed below are the key areas where Pippin Williamson’s influence has particularly strengthened EDD:

  • Feature-Rich Environment: Under Williamson’s guidance, EDD is constantly enriched with features designed to streamline the sale and management of digital goods, including software licensing, access control, and more.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regular updates and enhancements, driven by Williamson’s active engagement, ensure that EDD adapts to the evolving landscape of digital product sales.
  • Community Engagement: His commitment to supporting users through forums and dedicated resources exemplifies Williamson’s vision of not just providing a plugin, but fostering a supportive ecosystem for EDD’s clientele.
  • Innovation and Trends: Williamson’s attentiveness to new trends in the digital market ensures that EDD stays relevant, incorporating the latest functionalities to meet emerging needs.
  • User Satisfaction: Through his direct involvement in community support, Williamson has played a pivotal role in building EDD’s reputation for exceptional customer service.

In essence, Pippin Williamson’s hands-on approach and unwavering dedication to Easy Digital Downloads have been catalysts for its growth into a leading and preferred eCommerce solution specialized for digital products. His expertise and vision continue to shape EDD into a solution that is powerful, reliable, and aligned with the ever-changing dynamics of the online digital product market.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP Payment Gateways

Unlock the full potential of your WordPress site with our WP gateways plugins. Get started today and start monetizing your website like a Pro.


Our partners

© 2024 · WPayo.com · WordPress Payment Gateways Plugins

  • Home
  • Payment Plugins
  • WP Gateways For WordPress
  • Pricing