PayPal Standard

PayPal Standard works by sending the customer to PayPal to enter their payment information.

Video: How to set up PayPal Standard ↑ Back to Top

Configuration ↑ Back to Top

The only information you need to configure before taking payments is your PayPal email address.

You can enable PayPal Sandbox as a testing area during the development of your store. With sandbox enabled no payments will be taken. See PayPal Sandbox.

Logging can also be turned on which can be useful during development. Log files will be added to wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/logs/paypal.txt (you may need to create the logs folder and set permissions so that it is writable).

Please note: When selecting the option to send Shipping details, PayPal verifies passed addresses and can often reject the customer if they don’t fully recognise the address.

Data passed to PayPal ↑ Back to Top

The PayPal gateway will pass individual line items to PayPal (product name, price and quantity) unless:

  • You have an after-tax coupon applied
  • Your prices are defined including tax
  • You have more than 9 line items (including shipping) – PayPal only supports 9 items.

This is to avoid rounding errors and to ensure correct totals are charged. When line items are not sent, the items are grouped and named ‘Order #x’.

The PayPal notification URL ↑ Back to Top

This gateway passes the correct notification URL to PayPal.

If this is not the case, set up the URL via your PayPal account. To do this, use the following URL:

Auto-Return ↑ Back to Top

You can setup auto-return in your PayPal account. Set it to:

Regardless of this setting, it redirects dynamically to the correct receipt page.

Add ?utm_nooverride=1 to the end of your URL if you want to ensure that transactions (i.e. conversions) are credited to the original traffic source, rather than PayPal.

When configuring Auto-Return, please ensure that “Use form submission method” is off.

PayPal FAQ ↑ Back to Top

I have pending orders, but no payment was received?

If the customer abandons the order in PayPal (and not your WooCommerce store), the order will be ‘pending’ (unpaid). No action is necessary.

Do I need an SSL certificate?

The payment is made off-site on the PayPal website and not your checkout. Adding an SSL certificate is optional.

Why am I getting payments, but my orders are still pending? *OR* Why is my cart not clearing after making payment?

In this case the PayPal IPN is failing, check your server. See below.

Why do I get an Internal Server Error?

If you see the following error message after hitting the purchase button, the email address you entered in PayPal settings is incorrect:


What is PayPal IPN?

PayPal Instant Payment Notifications tells your store that payment has been made successfully (or not). To learn more about how to set this up on PayPal, please see their doc here: How to Activate IPN in your PayPal Account.

Using the same PayPal account with more than one website

WooCommerce uses an “invoice” system. There is a setting that “blocks duplicate invoices”. With 2 websites using invoices it is inevitable that there will be duplicate invoice numbers. By de-selecting that setting in PayPal, the invoices have no issue. Please check that the Invoice Prefix setting in your WooCommerce PayPal settings is different for each site.

Debugging IPN issues ↑ Back to Top

Are you testing locally?

If you are testing locally, on MAMP for example, PayPal won’t be able to talk to your store. This is normal – it will work when you host it on the web.

Check your server has support for fsockopen

The gateway must talk to PayPal to check the validity of notifications – for this it needs fsockopen support. The exact function used is

*To check if this is supported by your server go to WooCommerce > System Status and see the results.

Check if your server has a firewall

The gateway talks to PayPal via a https url – your firewall needs to have the outgoing port 443 open.

Enable Logging

After enabling logs via the settings, check to see responses are actually being received. If they are not then the problem may be due to your WordPress install or a plugin conflict. Turn off other plugins.

Check Email Addresses

Check the Email Address (in the PayPal gateway settings) matches the email address passed back by IPN. Use your primary email address for your PayPal account. Failure to do so will mean the IPN response will be rejected.

Check for conflicts

If the order status is not changing on order complete please check if there is a conflict with W3 Total Cache.

Still not working?

Talk to your host. Some hosts, like Godaddy, are known to have problems with IPN but it is out of our hands.

Other Issues ↑ Back to Top

“Seller only accepts payments from unencrypted payments” message

The “seller only accepts payments from unencrypted payments” message is from PayPal.

This error is displayed because your PayPal Account Profile is set to only accept payments from “encrypted” buttons however, your item button code is “not” encrypted. This condition interrupts the payment process and displays the error message.

To turn off this option:

  1. Log in to your PayPay Account.
  2. Select Profile tab or the Edit Profile link.
  3. Under “Selling Preferences”, select Website Payment Preferences.
  4. In the section titled “Encrypted Website Payments” select Off.
  5. Save changes.
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