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Add Audio, PDF, MP3s, and Downloadable Files Using the Protected Content Feature

With AccessAlly you can upload MP3s, PDFs, and other file types and password-protect them through tags, just like any other page on your membership site.

How to Use Protected Content in Your Membership Site

AccessAlly is designed to show or hide your website’s pages based on whether a user is logged in or not, and what permission tags that logged-in users have.

The Protected Content feature allows you to configure these same tag-based permissions for files that you upload to your site (PDFs, images, etc.).

The tutorials on this page will show you how to set up the Protected Content with proper permission tags (as well as any conditional redirects, if necessary).

How To Set Up Protected Content

Step 1: Enable protected content

Go to: AccessAlly > Settings > Display Settings > Check the box to Enable Protected Content.
Screenshot showing where to find protected content and enable that setting

Step 2: Add protected content

Add your protected content through the AccessAlly Offerings wizard.

Go to: AccessAlly > Offerings > Choose the course and page where you’d like to add protected content.

  1. Add content to each week/module/lesso release that’s applicable
  2. To add protected content, Click the +Add button for that particular section
    Screenshot from AccessAlly showing where to add protected content through the offerings wizard
  3. Name your protected content, specify where the file is located, and choose the file. If your file is located on Amazon S3, that’s covered later in this article.
    Screenshot from AccessAlly showing how to name protected content from the content wizard
  4. Your content will be added as a draft. Click Save to publish your new protected content.

When you add protected content through the Offerings wizard, permission tags and redirects are automatically applied. You can edit those permissions, redirect, and/or icons by clicking on the pencil icon after the protected content is created and saved. If you want to add the link to a specific module page, you can copy the protected content URL. If you use a badge (or icon) for the protected content, you can easily add the icon to your offerings page.

Screenshot from AccessAlly showing where to edit protected content after it's created

How To Integrate Protected Content With Amazon S3

Instead of simply uploading the Protected Content file to your WordPress page, AccessAlly allows you to integrate with Amazon S3. Using Amazon S3 to host your files frees up valuable space on your website to keep things running quickly and smoothly.

Integrate with Amazon s3

Here are the steps for uploading content to your Amazon S3 account once you’ve integrated AccessAlly using your Amazon S3 API keys.

First, you’ll want to create Amazon S3 “buckets” to help organize your files.

Screenshot showing how to create bucket to integrate AccessAlly and Amazon S3

Choose the “block all public access” checkbox to protect files that you’ll be uploading from unauthorized visitors.

Amazon S3 Management

Once inside of your bucket, you can click the upload button to start uploading files.

Screenshot from Amazon S3 showing how to upload when you integrate with AccessAlly

Select the files you want to upload from your computer. You can upload multiple files at a time. This is a handy way of doing things, because once they’re on Amazon S3 you can add them to AccessAlly at a later time.

Screenshot from AmazonS3 showing the steps of integration between AccessAlly and AmazonS3

When clicking through the upload wizard, you’ll come to a section where you decide on the permissions of your files. With AccessAlly you do not need to make the files public – simply keep the default of “Do not grant public read access” and your files will be secured from prying eyes.

Then when you use the AccessAlly Protected Content feature to link to your Amazon S3 files, AccessAlly will check that a person has the right tags to access it and make it available to download or view. Otherwise, it’s securely hidden.

Once you’ve integrated with AmazonS3, add your protected content using the How To Set Up Protected Content, start with Step 2 above. Select AmazonS3 as your file location.

How To Watermark or Stamp a PDF

If you’d like to stamp or watermark your PDF with the member’s email address that can’t be removed, you can do that the following way:

1. Add a new protected content item.

2. Choose the option “Watermarked PDF File” and the location where you would like the email address of the member to appear.

Watermarked PDF Setting

3. Upload your PDF and save your Protected Content item.

4. Once that’s set, you can run a test download using a test user to make sure the email address displays correctly.

You can add a “download button” for this watermarked PDF by using the URL for this Protected Content, in any of your usual button settings in your theme or builder plugin.

Screenshot of URL for protected content

For example, if you use Elementor, Beaver Builder, or Divi you can use their “button modules” and control of the style of your button. Just insert your protected content URL, and when people download they will get the watermarked version with their email address.


Test your protected content access before your course goes live by using a test user.

Remember to use an incognito or private browser.

Remove Protected Content From Google Search Results

If you’re using AccessAlly’s protected content, you might do a search in Google or another search engine and find some of your files are indexed and showing up in the results.

The good news is that no one can access these files unless they’re logged in and have the correct tags.

You can remove protected content from Google search results by following the instructions in this tutorial.

Hiding Protected Content

But it might not be the best user experience to have people click through to a protected file, so you might want to remove them from the search engines entirely.

Here’s how to do that!

Blocking Files In Robots.txt

The best way to block the search engines from indexing and linking to files you’d rather keep private is to edit your site’s “robot.txt” file.

Every website has this file at the root directory, and it tells the search engines what’s fair game and what’s off limits.

This is the text you’ll want to add to this file to stop the search engines from indexing your protected content files:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /accessally_protected/*

Two Main Ways of Editing Robots.txt

If you’ve never edited your robots.txt file before, there are a few different ways of doing it. Here they are, and the resources walking you through the steps:

Frequently Asked Questions About This Article

Q: Can I link to a video URL or use the Protected Content feature for videos?

A: When adding videos to your site you’ll add them directly to the WordPress page using embed code or by adding videos to the Media tab inside the ProgressAlly page settings.

Q: Can I add .JSON files using this feature?

A: Yes you can!

Q: Can I add Canva templates using this feature?

A: Yes, you can! Add your shared templates in Canva Pro plans using the URL link option and linking out to the template file.

Updated on October 12, 2022

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