Woocommerce v6.5.0 New Feature: Approved Download Directories - image
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Woocommerce v6.5.0 New Feature: Approved Download Directories

Woocommerce - the most popular shopping cart plugin for WordPress CMS Websites used by millions of users worldwide - has just added a new feature in the latest release, version 6.5.0 called "Approved Download Directories".

This feature is being introduced in WooCommerce 6.5.0 and will be enabled by default for brand new installations.

It enhances security for digital downloads by only enabling file downloads from folders and or locations that the administrator has pre-approved and listed within the shopping cart settings.

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This is great, however you should be aware that if you are upgrading to this latest version from an earlier one then you will need to spend some time ensuring that your download file locations are listed and approved.

If you don't, then your customers will not be able to download files after they purchase. However, it's very easy to do:

1./ After updating, go to WooCommerce >> Settings >> Products.
2./ You will see a new link called "Approved download directories". Click on it.
3./ From this location, approved directories can be added, edited or removed and it is also possible to disable or enable this feature entirely (rules can also be disabled or enabled on an individual basis).
4./ Enable the locations that you want to have enabled.
5./ Press the "start Enforcing Rules" button. And you are done!

See the image below for a visual screenshot of the settings page:

Woocommerce v6.5.0 New Feature: Approved Download Directories - image

Some things to be aware of........

Note that all approved directories, including filepaths, are expressed as URLs. Some things to bear in mind about this:

  • The scheme, or protocol, matters. In other words, http://example.com/ is not the same as https://example.com/ (although you can add both if needed, and you can also use the //example.com shorthand).
  • You can enter file paths directly, and once saved they will automatically be converted into URLs using the file:// scheme
  • Each approved directory implicitly covers all possible sub-directories. For example, if https://my.site/files/ is added to the list of approved directories, then it is perfect fine to add a file located within https://my.site/files/nested/sub-directories/ to a product.
  • These settings only impact digital downloads: they have zero impact on the WordPress media library or image handling generally.

Don't want it? - then simply disable...

It is also possible to disable this functionality entirely. To disable this feature, an administrator can simply click on the Stop Enforcing Rules button and, similarly, it can be enabled by clicking on "Start Enforcing Rules" (a toggle is present on the settings screen so you can start or stop enforcement of these rules). This is also useful for cases where management of approved directories proves impractical.

Only Administrators can modify it....

To emphasize, only site administrators (or network administrators, in the context of multisite networks) have the power to modify this list. Anyone else, including shop managers (and vendors or vendor admins, if you happen to use the Woocommerce Product Vendors extension) will not be able to add downloadable files to products unless there is a corresponding entry on this page.

(Note: As this is a brand new feature, if you are using another Muti-Vendor plugin that depends on WooCommerce then in my opinion it would be prudent to just take a minute to check and ensure that only administrators have access... just saying.....)

But for most other websites it shouldn't be a problem - According to the Woocommerce developers, "if you are the site administrator, and you are the only person managing your store, then you don’t need to worry about any of this: any time you add a downloadable file that is not covered by an existing rule, a new rule will automatically be added."

What happens when someone tries to supply a URL that isn't within an approved directory?

In cases where a user such as an editor or shop manager tries to supply a URL that is not within an approved directory, they will see an error like the following one, which will encourage them to contact the administrator for further help:

Note: in the case of Woocommerce Product Vendors, error messages like these are not displayed to vendor-level users.

Updating to WoCommerce 6.5.0

This feature is being introduced in WooCommerce 6.5.0 and will be enabled by default for brand new installations.

If you are upgrading from an earlier version, WooCommerce will take care of automatically populating the Approved Download Directories list in the background and it will notify you when the process is complete: that will give you as the site administrator a chance to review the locations currently being used for product downloads before enabling this functionality (until then, it will be disabled).

Control/Edit it via the Tools Screen....

There may be occasions when you find you need to exercise additional control over this functionality. For instance, if you import product data using some method other than the WooCommerce official importer tool then the creation of new download paths may not initially be noticed by WooCommerce. For this reason, a couple of extra tools can be found in the WooCommerce ▸ Status ▸ Tools screen:

Disabled Files....

It is possible that a downloadable file may be added to a product and, later on, the corresponding rule in the Approved Download Directory list may be disabled or deleted. In these cases the affected downloadable files will also be marked as disabled (within the downloadable product's page):

NOTE: Customers who had purchased the product will no longer be able to access the disabled downloads, until or unless a site administrator corrects the problem

SOURCE: https://woocommerce.com/document/approved-download-directories/

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