A guide to sell digital downloads online

Digital goods or electronic goods or digital products are anything you can sell that is in a digital format. The types of products include ebooks, software, website templates, music, videos, licence codes, ringtones, apps are just a few. The upfront costs of creating digital goods is tiny so it can be a great way for an entrepreneur or small business to add a side stream income. Here are just a few of the perks to selling digital downloads:

• No inventory – you have no stock levels to maintain so you have a smaller initial outlay.

• Costs the same to sell one or thousands

• No shipping

• Little to no startup cost

• Consumers instantly receive the product

• Transaction is quickly completed so you have the money in your account straight away

Some online services specialize in selling digital goods, including invoicing, payment, and delivering the digital copy.

Picking a service can be challenging, here’s some guidelines to help you get started:

1) Fees

Transaction and hosting fees will vary, some require a monthly subscription and others, just a percentage or both. Just know which ones they require and what you can afford.  Selling through PayPal is often a convenient way and they have a transaction fee.

2) Integration with your website

Make sure the service can integrate with your blog or website, it’s best to use a service that has a cart that can blend in with your website. Sometimes a provider that has code you can cut and paste code into your web page!

3) Features

Here’s a few of the features that might be helpful:
Automatic product download
Have the option of no shipping
The ability to simultaneous sell tangible goods and e-goods

4) Security

It’s critical that the purchase made by the client is secure. You should expect your customer, after purchasing your product, to receive a secure link to immediately download the purchased item. The link should expire within a certain amount of time. Some systems offer “digital stamping” with a unique ID so you can track who is sharing your digital download. Some services offer rules that allow you to choose # of clicks or # of days the link is valid.

5)  Easy to Use

Make sure the transaction is smooth and easy for your customer, you don’t want them to jump through a bunch of hoops and make it easy to keep coming back and making purchases.

Here’s a great ecommerce guide from my site at http://withinweb.com/global/hints_tips_and_tricks/digital_files.pdf on further concepts for digital downloads.

Resetting admin password in PHP-eSeller

The only way to reset the admin password is to do a SQL update statement on the database.

You will need to go into phpmyadmin or a similar program which can be user to administer the database tables.

The update statement that you can use is :

UPDATE ipn_tblpasswords SET userpassword = md5(‘admin’) WHERE username = ‘admin’

In this case it is assumed that the username is ‘admin’

Using different currencies in PayPal

What currency should you sell your products in ? 

PayPal is able to handle quite a wide range of currencies and you have to descide which currency you should sell your products in. 

I guess the question really is “are you selling to the world or are you expecting payments from customers who are based in your locality ?”  This will depend on the type of products you are selling.  Digital products have the advantage that you have no shipping to worry about so you can choose whatever currency you want. 

The only issue that I have discovered with selling in different currencies is to do with the set up of your associated PayPal account. If your ‘native’ PayPal currency is GPB and you want to sell in Euros, you have to tell PayPal to automatically accept ‘foreign’ currency transactions (the default is to ask).  If you do not do this and you receive a purchase through your shopping cart you will receive an email saying something like “PayPal purchase verified and order is waiting to be processed” with body text of :  “Unknown pending reason was received.”
Telling PayPal to accept all currencies and convert them to GPB resolves the issue.

Configuring the fckeditor HTML editor

The fckeditor is described on the web site http://www.fckeditor.net and is a configurable html text editor with many add ons and plugins.

The configuration file in the fckconfig.js file is set to use the english language ‘en’ with a toolbar set called ‘pg_toolbar’. The FCKEditor web site provides full desciption on its options and configuration.

The fckeditor has the ability to upload images and files with a file manager system. This is disabled by default.

To set up the upload facility in fckeditor.


In the file \fckeditor\editor\filemanager\browser\default\connectors\php\config.php

change ‘false’ to ‘true’ to allow uploads.

The relevant line in config.php file :
// SECURITY: You must explicitly enable this “connector”. (Set it to “true”).
$Config[‘Enabled’] = false ;


Create a folder on the server where you want the files to be located and identify
the folder in \fckeditor\editor\filemanager\browser\default\connectors\php\config.php

Then change the permissions on that folder to 777.

The relevant line in config.php file :
// Path to user files relative to the document root.
$Config[‘UserFilesPath’] = ‘/UserFiles/’;

the document root being the root of the web server.

Another area of customisation that you may want to implement is defining the toolbar that appears above the text box which is used to enter product descriptions. The toolbar has been trimmed to make it more manageable and to remove tools that are not required all that often. However, you may want to add back in some buttons which is very easy to do.

Open up the file /fckeditor/fckeditor.js with a suitable text editor.

The toolbar that we use is called FCKConfig.ToolbarSets[“pg_toolbar”].

The default toolbar is FCKConfig.ToolbarSets[“Default”].

If you want to add a button from the default toolbar, just copy it and place it into FCKConfig.ToolbarSets[“pg_toolbar”].

Or if you want all the buttons, rename FCKConfig.ToolbarSets[“Default”] to FCKConfig.ToolbarSets[“pg_toolbar”] and remove the old FCKConfig.ToolbarSets[“pg_toolbar”].

Note that the very last button on the toolbar is used to maximise the editor window which can help if you are doing more detailed work with the html.

Things to check if username / password is not sent

When you have completed the set up of PHP-eSeller, here are a few pointers which you should check if emails are not being sent out after a purchase.

  • Make sure that you have assoicated a digital file with the product that you are purchasing.  If you have not assoicated a digital file with the product, an email will not be sent to the purchaser although an email will be sent to the admin email address saying no file is assoicated with the product.
  • Check that your web server is able to send emails using PHP.    Most web servers will not have a problem with this so is unlikely to be the issue now.
  • Check if you have entered the installation url correctly in the Global Set up admin page. I have seen http://wwww/ rather than http://www. or even just www.
  • Check that your PayPal email address is the PayPal PRIMARY email account which you set in Global Set up admin page.

Restoring Your mySQL Database From Backup using phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin is a program used to manipulate databases remotely through a web interface. A good hosting package will have this included.

  1. Login to phpMyAdmin.
  2. Create a new blank database first.
  3. Click databases, and select the database that you will be importing your data into.
  4. Across the top of the screen will be a row of tabs. Click the Import tab.
  5. On the next screen will be a Location of Text File box, and next to that a button named Browse.
  6. Click Browse. Locate the backup file stored on your computer.
  7. Make sure the SQL radio button is checked.
  8. Click the Go button.

Eventually you will see a success screen.