Where and How To Host Your Ebook as an Online Download

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You created your ebook, now it’s time for you to host it somewhere so that people can have it as a free or paid download. Having a downloadable PDF ebook is a great little bonus you can provide to your readers. It can also serve as a way to share useful documents to your clients or customers.

When it comes to delivering an ebook to your user, you can achieve it in many ways such as:

  • Emailing it to your subscriber
  • Third-party ebook hosting services
  • Self-hosted solution

Emailing the PDF ebook directly

This is no brainier when the PDF ebook is just under a few megabytes. It’s also convenient when you just have to mail it out to a few recipients every now and then. But this approach is not scalable and you are left with a chore to manually send out emails to your interested parties. 

You can solve this issue with the use of an email auto-responder system but even then they will only do the delivery part and not the hosting part. You will be left with the same issue as before.

Third-party ebook hosting services

These are services that offer both free and paid solutions. But I would want you to stay away from these services because oftentimes these services put advertisements alongside your ebook. This does not look professional if you are profiting from the ebook or from your blog. Also, even if you pay them to serve your ebook, your customers are still going to be in their system. So the best option for a blogger to host their ebook would be the self-hosted solution.

Self-hosted solution

Your web hosting company allows you to host the ebook directly under your website brand. This is the best solution because you can keep your blog branding and not sending your users to third-parties. It is also the most convenient and cost-effective solution because you can host the ebook directly on your blog hosting and no need to pay for an extra fee.

For the rest of this article, I am going to show you how exactly you can take advantage of your hosting account and set up the self-hosted ebook option. 

If you are not blogging on a self-hosted platform, I highly recommend you do and get started by following this tutorial.

No matter which option we choose below, we are going to:

  1. Upload the pdf ebook
  2. Get the public link to that PDF
  3. Copy the link and use on the download page

Preparing the ebook before uploading:

Have the ebook ready on your computer.

Make sure the ebook is a PDF file.

Rename the ebook to make the name of the ebook easy to read and understand.

Don’t use any spaces in the ebook name, replace spaces with hyphens (-)

Host Ebook on WordPress Media Library

Login to your WordPress dashboard and choose Media > Add New

Now click on the “Select Files” button to find the ebook from your computer or drag and drop the file from the folder to this window.

The ebook will be uploaded and you can see it below. Click on the Edit link to open the file properties page:

Now copy the public link from File URL field and put the public link in a text file for future use.

Some caveats to this approach:

WordPress limits the maximum file size for file uploads. Depending on your WordPress installation and server configuration, this value can be high or low.

If your ebook happens to be larger than the allowed file size shown, you will have to have it increased by a server administrator. Don’t worry, if you are using a modern web hosting company such as Bluehost, you will find that the upload file limit is 256 MB. However, if for some weird reasons you find the limit is too low or the file you want to upload is crazy large, then you can ask their support staff to increase the WordPress media upload limit.

Also, when you upload this way, the public file link is not very pretty:

https://blogkori.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/my-ebook.pdf

If you would like to have an easier to memorizable link to the public download file, follow the next option below.

Host Ebook on File Manager

Instead of having an ugly link to your ebook file, you can make it pretty and professional like this: yourblog.com/the-ebook.pdf when you upload it directly to your website file manager.

This can make it convenient to share with other people. For example, I have uploaded my web developer resume on my site like this. Whenever someone asks for my resume, I can just point them to this pretty link: tamalweb.com/resume.pdf

This is easy to memorize and makes me look professional.

In order to get a sweet link like this, you will have to upload the ebook directly to your website root folder. And for that, you will have to log in to your web hosting control panel.

I am using Bluehost as an example of how to host your ebook directly but the steps can be similar if you are using a different hosting company.

Log in to your web hosting control panel (Bluehost makes it a much more friendly user interface) Click on the “Advanced” menu:

You will be now directed to the control panel options. Click on File Manager:

This will open the file browser of your website. Click on the public_html folder:

Locate your website root directory. When you see wp-admin, wp-content and wp-includes, you will know that you are in the right folder. Click on Upload button to upload your pdf ebook in this level:

You will see a new window where you can upload your PDF file. Select the file and choose from your computer.

It will upload…

Go back and you should see your ebook in the directory listing:

Now you have a sweet link to your PDF ebook or document you can share to your friends or interested parties. Visit: yoursite.com/my-ebook.pdf to verify that the ebook is loading correctly.

At the end of this process, you will have a download link like this:

https://blogkori.com/my-ebook.pdf

One downside of this approach is you have to do this process every time you want to make an update to your ebook. When the next time you upload a new ebook make sure you are overriding existing files from the file uploader:

How to Deliver Your PDF ebook

Now that you have hosted your ebook on the internet, it’s time to distribute it.

One way to do that is to make a “Thank You” page or a “Downloads” page on your website.

Once again, WordPress makes it very easy for you to create a page and offer the download.

Go to Pages > Add New:

Enter the copy of your page:

You can then make a link that will act as the download button. Just edit the page and link out that word or download button as your ebook download.

Select the appropriate text and click on the chain icon:

Now paste your public URL to the ebook file we created from earlier steps:

Click the Apply button to make it a download link:

The link is ready!

Save and publish your page

It’s a common strategy to have a download or thank-you page that we will redirect the user to after they perform an action.

You may also put this download link in an email auto-responder system. Just put this link in the welcome email when someone signs up to your email newsletter.

Next steps

  • Create your ebook and distribute it
  • Add value to your brand by blogging regularly
  • Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts


14 thoughts on “Where and How To Host Your Ebook as an Online Download”

  1. Globay HR Consultants

    Amazon has always been one of a favorite place for many people to find e-books, making money from amazon is a nice way to earn money. Thanks for this fruitful idea. It gave me a new insight.

  2. Hi Tamal,

    I’ve been researching online how to offer my free ebook to new subscribers and your site is the only one that teaches it comprehensively and easily!

    I just have a question, could I use Sugarsync instead of Mediafire for online service as you suggested above?

    Thanks again and more power!

  3. Hey Tamal,

    Thanks for all of the info.

    I am getting ready to release my first for sale e-book on Clickbank. Would S3 be the most secure and reliable hosting service?

    1. S3 is reliable considering the speed and efficiency. One extra tip: On the download page provide at least 2 download links, one is S3 and other is an alternative source.

  4. Darren Sanford

    Great article. I already have AWS with my WordPress blog. I’m going to attempt doing what you suggested.

    Thanks so much.

  5. This is a well written step by step guide Tamal.

    Question: if we’re offering the PDF file for subscribers; free or otherwise, couldn’t Google end up indexing that file in their search engines especially if it’s in the root?

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