How to make a free but restricted download for newsletter subscribers?

I want to offer a small ebook for free download on my WordPress site, but I want users to subscribe to my MailPoet newsletter to get access.

Now it’s pretty simple: I create a subscription form, and after subscribing and confirming his email with an activation link, the user receives the welcome mail with a download link for the file or is redirected to a page with the download, or both.

But what I don’t like is that the form can be easily bypassed if someone simply passes on the download link. What can I do to prevent this?

  1. There’s nothing you can really do about this and you shouldn’t worry about it. Most if not 99.99% of people will get that ebook by signing up on your website.

    Worst case scenario, someone does start passing the link around and people are getting your book without signing up. Ok? So now your ebook, which presumably has your website address on it, is being read by lots of interested people. If it’s actually good, those people are going to come check out your website to see what other info you have to offer.

  2. You can use Download Monitor for this. Free version will suffice.

    Upload download into DLM, use that link in fhe MailPoet newsletter.

    Make sure to tick the “members only” checkbox. This way, users will have to have an account with you to be able to download the file.

    Disclosure: it’s one of my products.

  3. Well if you don’t want to manage users or in WordPress parlance subscribers you can email the ebook. However having a page that is non-restricted you cannot block anyone from accessing it that would make sense. Yes, you could password protect it, but then the user thats trying to get the ebook is just not going to bother or gets annoyed. Especially if they have to wait for “the code”

    You can either make the user a subscriber and force them to create a password (which might be a big turn off) or just ensure the page isn’t indexed and named complicated enough so it not easy to guess.

    There are some plugins that do allow for that and some page builders have that built-in, in the end as someone else has said, most users won’t bother trying to circumvent it.

    If the reward is good enough and the easy way short enough to get the book then most people will follow that path. If your ebook is really valuable then you way want to look into a better integration.

  4. Not sure on MailPoet (never used it), but my typical process would be:

    1. Visitor completes a form, gets “pending subscribed” and sent a confirmation email to confirm the subscription
    2. Visitor confirms subscription, tag gets changed to “subscribed” and they get added to an automation
    3. The first step in the automation fires an email over with a link to download (hosted on, for e.g., Google Drive, AWS)
    4. Some time later, the automation adds the visitor to a specific group

    There’s no way here of them guessing where the file is hosted, or a link to it. They only get that email (download link) sent to them once they’ve confirmed their subscription.


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