How to Protect Digital Products

10 Ways on How to Protect Digital Products

Digital products are intangible and non-physical products that exist solely in the online or digital realm. Digital products today encompass almost everything from software applications to eBooks, music, video files, and online courses.

Today, we not only enjoy and use these products but also many of us do good business with them. Just look at the software industry – how big it is. But safeguarding digital products from unauthorized access, piracy, and threats has become a serious challenge.

So, how to protect your digital products? This article will cover a detailed analysis of how to protect digital products with proven approaches. Before that, take a quick look at different types of digital products and why you should protect them.

Types of Digitial Products at the Risk of Piracy

Types of Digitial Products at the Risk of Piracy

There are different types of digital products. We’ve listed the most common and popular types of them in this section below.

a. Software and Applications

Software and applications are a type of digital product that automates various functionalities that take us a lot of time to do manually. These products are created through computer coding and programming. For example, WordPress plugins, themes, Adobe Photoshop, WhatsApp, etc.

b. Digital Arts

Digital arts refer to creative works, like digital paintings, illustrations, graphic designs, animations, and 3D models. They’re often created by specialized software like Figma, Illustrator, and Canva. In addition to images, many CGI animations are also a part of digital art.

c. eBooks

eBooks are digital versions of printed books that can be read on electronic devices, like mobiles, tablets, and laptops. Today, you’ll find the eBook versions of many popular and best-selling novels, educational textbooks, and courses.

d. Music and Audio Files

Digital music and audio files have revolutionized the world music industry long ago. These products include songs, albums, podcasts, audiobooks, and sound effects. Popular digital music platforms today are Spotify, iTunes, and SoundCloud.

e. Subscription-Based Content

Almost any digital content can be sold and distributed on a subscription basis. Popular subscription-based product types are streaming services, online courses, SaaS applications, digital magazines, etc. Protecting this type of content means preventing unauthorized access of users to these platforms.

Note: The following will cover several effective tips on how to protect digital products from downloading. But we’ll focus mostly on software-centric products.

How to Protect Digital Products from Downloading

We’ll now explain several proven tactics by which you can protect digital products from downloading and unauthorized usage. According to your product type, choose the suitable tactic from below.

Tip 01: Utilize License Keys or Activation Codes

License keys and activation codes are one of the most widely used methods to prevent piracy and safeguard digital products. License keys are mostly used in activating mobile apps, web applications, and computerized software.

When customers buy such a product, respective developers provide them with a license key through emails. Buyers have to copy-paste the key in the respective section to activate the product.

Activation codes are almost similar to license keys. They are usually sent as OTP codes to emails and mobile phones. You just have to copy-paste it while logging into any respective service platform.

License and activation keys

Explore answers to common licensing-related questions.

Tips 02: Set Download and Activation Limits for Each Link

By setting the download and activation limit to any certain number, you can prevent the unconditional usage of your products or software. If you allow unconditional usage of a product on limitless devices and software, some users may exploit this by reselling.

This can negatively affect your revenue generation. For this reason, most software companies specify how many products can be activated against each license.

Set Download and Activation Limits for Each Link

Note: However, there are many companies that allow unlimited activation against certain licenses. If you want to have such a scheme, definitely charge a high price for it so that only genuine users can apply to purchase it.

Tip 03: Implement Secure Download Links

A secure download link prevents unauthorized users from ever getting a way to download particular digital products. So, how to secure the download links? Secure download links are mostly tied to specific user accounts.

Respective users have to log into their accounts, place the license key, generate the download link, and then use it to get the product downloaded. For further security, you can define that the link will expire after a certain time.

Users then have to generate the link again. That means the more layers you add, the stronger the security. One more layer you can add is encryption. If someone wishes to share the download link, you may encrypt it beforehand so no third-party people can breach and use it.

Tip 04: Track Suspicious IP Addresses

Tracking IP addresses is another valuable way to protect your digital products. Using IP addresses, you can track the location of users accessing your products and services. You can completely block all IP addresses of users in locations that are not your target market segment.

But some users will try to access your product by changing their IP address with a VPN. In this case, you will try to track which users are repeatedly trying to change their IP. In this way, you can block suspicious users completely.

Track Suspicious IP Addresses

Tip 05: Allow Customers to Download with Verified Accounts

Just a few blocks above, we talked about the importance of implementing secure download links. And doing this becomes remarkably easy when you allow customers to create verified accounts for downloading digital products.

Because you can ensure that only legitimate users have access to download the digital products. Once you implement the verified account system, this will reduce the risk of piracy and illegal distribution of your products.

Tip 06: Use Anti-Piracy Software and Monitoring Tools

Indeed, you can’t prevent piracy manually alone. You must use some reliable tools specialized in this niche. You’ll find many of them online. They will allow you to detect suspicious and fake users and block them immediately from using the product or receiving premium services.

Anti-piracy software includes numerous features to do this. Appsero is a product you can use for managing your WordPress themes, plugins, and addons. This is actually a licensing and deployment tool. It offers outstanding licensing features to make your WordPress theme and plugin business hassle-free.

(We’ll talk about this plugin later after this section)

Tip 07: Regularly Update and Patch Software to Fix Vulnerabilities

Bugs and vulnerability issues arise in almost any software product every few days. If you leave them unsolved, hackers and pirates may exploit these vulnerability issues to gain unauthorized access to your products by breaking into the firewalls.

This is why keeping your products up-to-date by releasing regular updates and fixing security pitches is so crucial. If you are a WordPress plugin developer, Appsero can make the release deployment super-easy and time-saving.

Tip 08: Ensure Secured APIs and Integrations

Ensure Secured APIs and Integrations

If your product relies on APIs or integration with other platforms, software, or services, make sure the connection is secured. Here again, insecure API connection and integration can cause severe damage to your product ecosystem, allowing hackers and pirates to steal valuable codes and information.

Using this information, they may also develop new products similar to yours, ultimately causing a catastrophe for your software business. Reliable APIs and integrations require secure authentications, encrypted data transfer methods, and regular updating. Learn how an API works.

Tip 09: Use Encryption on Your Files

We have uttered the word ‘encryption’ several times in the above discussion. Encryption refers to converting a file into a format that can be accessed only with a decryption key. Many communication platforms like WhatsApp use the encryption method.

You can apply this tactic not only for software but also for any digital products like eBooks and multimedia files. This will make it difficult for pirates to share and distribute unauthorized copies.

Tip 10: Add Secure Payment Gateways

You must ensure an encrypted payment process that ensures user data is completely protected. Because payment gateways will receive various sensitive information like card numbers, customer information, etc.

If you have an encryption method enabled with the payment gateway, it will be difficult for hackers to steal this information even if they can break into your site. Adding secure payment gateways will not only satisfy customers but also prevent authorized distribution of your products.

Use Appsero to Protect Your WordPress Themes and Plugins

Use Appsero to Protect Your WordPress Themes and Plugins

Appsero is a comprehensive SaaS WordPress tool for managing the licensing and deployment of WordPress themes and plugins in Github. It provides a centralized platform from where you can streamline all these activities.

So, as a developer, if you are worried about safeguarding your WordPress products (themes and plugins) from piracy while doing business in perfect shape, Appsero can make your life easy. Below is a short list of the important things you can do with Appsero.

a. License Management

With Appsero, you can instantly generate licenses as soon as customers buy products. You can view all the licenses from the Appsero dashboard and manage all the subscriptions.

b. Automate Deployment

With the Appsero plugin, you can easily manage the deployment of versioning, changelogs, and updates. This can save you from doing repetitive tasks and much valuable time.

c. Analytics and Insight

Not only licenses but also user activities can be tracked with this plugin. You can track usage statistics, user behavior, and performance metrics. Thus, developers can make data-driven decisions.

d. Integrations with Popular Services

Appsero has integrations with many popular platforms and services like Easy Digital Downloads, WooCommerce, MailChimp, Envato, Fastspring, and more.

e. Secure Payment Gateway

Hope you already know Envato, Paddle, FastSpring, and Gumroad are some popular WordPress product-selling platforms. As Appsero has integrations with them, you can easily skyrocket your business with your favorite selling platforms.

FAQ on How to Protect Digital Products

As product is a very sensitive part of any business, apart from the above discussion, there might be many other points about which you are seeking clarification. This FAQ section will cover answers to some of these common questions.

How do I protect digital media content?

The copyright law automatically grants ownership of your works and content. You can show the copyright sign on any digital product like images, videos, audio files, and software.

You can display the copyright sign as a watermark on graphical content, and apply encryption on audio files.

Can I protect media products with the Appsero plugin?

No, Appsero doesn’t have any feature to safeguard your multimedia content. Appsero helps only to protect and manage WordPress plugins and themes.

Total how many users can I manage with Appsero?

The total number of users you can manage with Appsero depends on the pricing plan. Please check Appsero’s pricing plans.

What is the minimum pricing plan a tAppsero?

Appsero has a forever-free plan with very limited features. With the limited-feature version, you can’t do much in terms of business. Besides, the minimum pricing plan at Appsero is $16.

How many plugins can I manage with Appsero?

You can manage unlimited plugins with Appsero. You’ll be charged monthly or yearly, not for how many plugins you are using.

Final Notes

It’s really difficult to calculate the market size of the global digital product industry. However, according to Precedence Research, the market size of the global software industry in 2022 was $589.6 billion. It’s anticipated that this market will keep expanding by over 5% each year onward.

So, if you are a developer or digital content creator, you really have a big market opportunity if you can grab the market while safeguarding your products. Hope you have benefited from this article. If you have any queries still poking your mind, share them with us in the comment section below.

We’ll try to answer and help you with viable information. Have a nice day ahead!


Fuad Al Azad is a creative writer who loves to blog on everything in between tech, marketing, and eCommerce. Alongside, he is an admirer of fact, fiction, and philosophy.