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How to Accept PayPal Payments in WordPress (Best Options)

Illustration: a website with PayPal buttons

Looking to accept PayPal payments on your WordPress site? Good call!

PayPal is one of, if not the most, popular way to move money around the internet. And WordPress sites are a great platform for building a side hustle or small business.

In this article we’ll show you how to accept PayPal payments. We’ll walk you through a step-by-step setup process. We’ll also show you the best options for selling items with WordPress.

Let’s make some money! Feel free to skip around if you’d like to:


The Old Way ▶️ The New Way

The old way to accept online payments on your website is to add those stale yellow PayPal buy now buttons. This solution has many downsides.

  • 🔴 If yellow isn’t a color used on your website you’ll have to live with it or manually customize and embed each button on your website using PayPal’s outdated ‘Saved Buttons’ interface.
  • 🔴 Customers leave your website upon clicking the ugly yellow button, and then return after entering their credit card info. It’s confusing and feels odd. It doesn’t build confidence that you’re a reputable business.
  • 🔴 Managing your products or inventory is next to impossible.
  • 🔴 If you’re selling digital products there are no built-in ways to protect and manage your digital products.

A Better Way

The new (and far superior) way is to use a professional eCommerce plugin on your WordPress website.

  • 🟢 You’ll have full control of the visual appearance and customer experience
  • 🟢 Customers won’t get confused leaving your website and coming back
  • 🟢 There will be tools to manage your products, create attractive product pages, track inventory, and communicate with customers
  • 🟢 For digital products, protecting files from unauthorized downloads is built in (when you use Easy Digital Downloads)

We’ll show you how to get started using this preferred method.


Step 1: Install Easy Digital Downloads

WordPress + Easy Digital Downloads Logos

The best way to quickly get set up and sell digital products with PayPal is to use Easy Digital Downloads (EDD). EDD is one of the most trusted WordPress eCommerce plugins used by more than 50,000 websites.

If you’re selling something other than digital products, check out our suggested alternatives.

First, purchase an Extended Pass. You’ll get access to our PayPal Commerce Pro Payment Gateway extension and more than 40 other extensions to add advanced features to your store as you grow.

🤷🏾 Don’t have a WordPress site yet? Get WordPress and EDD preinstalled on a server set up and managed just for you. Easy peasy. Get SiteGround Managed EDD Hosting.

Next, install Easy Digital Downloads. If you’re not sure how to install a plugin, read step 1 on our quick start guide.

Once EDD is installed on your website you’ll have a new menu item called Downloads on your WordPress dashboard.

Screenshot: new Downloads menu item

After that, install the PayPal Commerce Pro extension. Go to Plugins > Add New. Click Install then Activate.

Screenshot: Install PayPal Commerce Pro

Step 2: Connect PayPal and Easy Digital Downloads

On your WordPress dashboard, go to Downloads > Settings > Payments > PayPal. Click the Connect with PayPal in Live mode button.

Important: Be sure to enable popups in your browser. This is how the PayPal connection page will open (in what’s called a modal). If you do not see the PayPal popup modal, close the browser and try again. If the pop-up window still does not work, you could try with the Chrome browser.

Screenshot: Configuring PayPal Connection 1

A PayPal login window will pop up. Log in with your credentials (PayPal email address/password). Don’t have a PayPal account, click here to get one (you should probably make a Business account).

Screenshot: Configuring PayPal Connection 2

Next, depending on your PayPal account settings and region, you’ll need to enter information about your business. They’ll ask questions like address, phone number, type of income, amount of estimated sales, etc.

Screenshot: Configuring PayPal Connection 3

After you’ve provided all the business information PayPal requires, be sure to click the Go back to Easy Digital Downloads button. You need to click this button to complete setup. It’s a bit like hitting the save button.

Screenshot: Configuring PayPal Connection 4

You’ll see the details of your successful connection.

Screenshot: Configuring PayPal Connection 5 - Success!

🔍 Read our PayPal Setup Doc for more information or for what to do if you get a warning or error message

Enable The PayPal Payment Gateway

Last, go to Downloads > Settings > Payments > General.

  1. Under Active Gateways select PayPal
  2. For the Default Gateway select PayPal
  3. On the Payment Method Icons select the credit or debit cards you want to accept and whether or not to let customers pay with their PayPal balance
  4. Be sure to click Save Changes when you’re done
Screenshot: Enable Paypal Gateway

Great work so far! You have a WordPress site with a full-featured eCommerce store (EDD) and it’s connected to PayPal. You can accept payments. Let’s set up something to sell!


Step 3: Set Up A Product to Sell

Next, let’s add a product to your store. These are called ‘Downloads’ in EDD. After doing this you’ll also have a product landing page (or Download landing page).

Click on Downloads and then the Add New button on your WordPress dashboard.

Give your Download a name and description, price and a Download Image. Make this image look nice. The Download Image is what potential customers see while shopping or browsing your store. Click here for a guide and free templates for on making Download (product) images.

Screenshot: EDD PayPal Setup: Download Settings

Next, configure the Download Files settings.

  • Under File URL click the link icon to upload your Download file. This is the file a customer will get upon purchase.
  • Give the file a descriptive name under File Name or give an instruction like ‘Click here to download’. This text will be a clickable link on the purchase confirmation page and purchase receipt.
Screenshot: EDD PayPal Setup: Download Files Settings

➡️ Click here for a more detailed step-by-step guide for creating a Download.


Step 4: View the Final Result

Once you’re done click the Publish button. Then click the View Download Button. Now you’ll see the Download page or product page. This is the WordPress page that website visitors will see. In our screenshot sample below we are using the Astra theme. Your site’s appearance will vary.

EDD will work fine with any theme. We also offer a list of themes optimized for EDD.

A visitor can click the Purchase button, add to cart, and complete the checkout process. After that they’ll be taken to the purchase confirmation page where your customers can click to download their new file.

Screenshot: EDD PayPal Setup: Purchase Confirmation Screen

Customers will also get a purchase receipt email with a download link.

Screenshot: EDD PayPal Setup: Purchase Receipt Email

📆 Recurring Payments / Subscription Payments

With your Extended Pass, you can easily add subscriptions with our Recurring Payments extension. Choose monthly, annual, or other less common interval options. Everything is fully integrated with EDD and PayPal.

Sample Sites

Here are a few sites using EDD to get inspired. You can help others by selling your own digital creations.

SpyBot Search & Destroy
Desktop software

Spybot Homepage screenshot

MixFonts
Fonts

Screenshot: Mix Fonts - Powered by Easy Digital Downloads

Mrs. Mactivity
Educational Resources

EDD Sample Site: Mrs. Mactivity

The Arty Teacher
Art/Graphic Templates

EDD Sample Site: The Arty Teacher


Other Best Options for Using PayPal with WordPress

What type/s of things are you selling on the internet?

Easy Digital Downloads is the best solution for digital products (aka downloads, downloadable products, or virtual products). EDD is perfect for eBooks, documents, spreadsheets, graphic templates, and just about anything you can imagine.

But if you’re selling other types of products, there are some other great options for WordPress.

  • Selling Online Courses or Memberships?
    • EDD is great for informal learning. Consider MemberPress if you need formal learning (LMS), quizzes, or organized courses with prerequisites. It’s a great solution for structured eLearning.
  • Selling single products, services, or accepting donations?
    • WP Simple Pay is a great simple eCommerce solution if you don’t need a full product store or shopping cart. Create powerful payment forms with their drag-and-drop editor or quickly add buy now and donate buttons.
    • WPForms is another great option. It’s the best WordPress form builder. You probably need WPForms either way for contact us and email opt-in forms. With their Pro or Elite plan you can also accept payments by making order forms.
  • Selling physical products (like coffee, apparel, or pet supplies)?
    • WooCommerce is a flexible eCommerce store builder for WordPress. The WooCommerce plugin trusted by millions for selling physical goods.
    • We suggest getting a managed WooCommerce web host when using Woo to make sure you’re ready for traffic spikes and protected by advanced security functionality. Check out BlueHost Premium Managed WooCommerce hosting. They’ll set you up for care-free operation and you’ll be ready for maximum growth.

Tech Tips and Requirements

Here is a list of each item you need to accept PayPal payments with WordPress.

SSL / SSL CertificateSecure Sockets Layer – An encryption layer that protects data as it’s being sent between your computer (or your customer’s computer) and a website. It prevents anyone from stealing personal information. Credit card companies require them. Check with your web host to set this up, it’s usually included, or a low-price paid option.

Choosing a Web Host

Read this guide for help choosing a web host. It has discount codes too!

Here are our top WordPress hosting recommendations, depending on what you are selling. All of them will work fine with PayPal.


Conclusion

Nicely done. You’ve learned how to accept PayPal payments with WordPress. You’re ready to build a profitable online business or side hustle.

We have many resources for digital creators like you. What else do you want to learn about today?

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Joe Wells

About Joe Wells

Joe is a Marketing Specialist at Awesome Motive. For years he’s been helping people and organizations succeed with WordPress. He is also the founder of an alternative accounting solution for your side hustle called HustleBooks (powered by Easy Digital Downloads). He and his family live and play just outside Detroit. A busy dad, he enjoys running, watching and creating films.

@thisisjoewells

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