How to use WooCommerce to sell videos

The first question you might ask is: can I do this without WooCommerce extensions?

You could indeed use a WooCommerce Virtual + Downloadable Product (stock functionality) for this, but it comes with a few drawbacks. It provides the option to specify a URL to the file/video you want people to access upon payment, and you can upload them to your hosting, however you’ll run into a few issues:

  1. The video may not always play on all devices (due to video format support)
  2. You’ll probably fill up your web hosting storage realllly fast, unless your videos are super small
  3. The video URL technically isn’t locked down. You could pop it on a page with a random name that’s hard to guess but people could still share that URL and anyone could see it once shared.

As a result of this we typically recommend using a dedicated video hosting service like YouTube or Vimeo. Both services have the option to protect video access by specifying a URL where it is allowed to be embedded, which would be your website URL.

The simplest way to then have the video embedded and automatically unlocked upon payment is using a WooCommerce Extension like Paywall for WooCommerce.

With that Extension you can specify what the visitor sees when viewing the product prior to payment – like an image from the video or a short clip – and then what they see once paid: the full video.

This extension ensures the best functionality all around:

  1. External video hosting so that it doesn’t take up space on the web hosting server
  2. Compatibility with all devices for video playback
  3. Locked down video that’s only accessible once someone pays and sharing the URL doesn’t provide access to it without the recipient paying as well.

About Jordan Schelew

Jordan has been working with computers, security, and network systems since the 90s and is a managing partner at Websavers Inc. As a founder of the company, he's been in the web tech space for over 15 years.

1 Comment

  1. andy globe on January 27, 2023 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for such an informative guide. It’s a very Useful and well-written article.

Leave a Comment