How to use the PayPal Payments Plugin

A sort of a list of hints and tips that will probably grow as I add more features. Contributions welcome in the comments.


Adding a form to your site Use the shortcode [qpp] to add a simple form on your site. To add a payment form to a sidebar use the widget. If you have more than one form use the shortcode [qpp form="name"] where name is the name of your form. The shortcodes for each form are listed on the Setup page.
Email address Add your PayPal email address to the Setup page. Miss this out and PayPal will return an error message.
Currency Each form can have its own currency. You can edit these on the Setup page. Only those currency codes list on the PayPal developers page are permitted. Errors will default to US Dollars.
Creating a new form You can create new forms on the Setup page. Enter name of the form (just letters, no spaces, numbers or punctuation) and the currency you want to use. When you update the page the new form will appear in the list. You can now edit the form settings and styles.
Copy Settings Select an existing form from the dropdown to copy the settings across to your new form.
Deleting a form To delete a form use the ‘Delete’ button on the Setup page. You also have the option to reset everything to factory (default) settings.
Testing the Form The Setup page has an option to use the PayPal sandbox. This will allow you test the PayPal settings (especially if you are using IPN) without making an actual payment. You can also test your forms from the plugin setting pages.
Form Selection If you have more than one form use the selector at the top of each settings to swap between them. If you have made any changes to a form make sure you save the settings before selecting a new form

Form Settings

Form title and blurb This is the info that appears at the top of the form. It uses your theme H2 and paragraph settings unless you change how they look on the Styling page.
Form Fields The fields you display on the form are set on the Form Settings page. The Reference and Amount are needed for PayPal to work but you can select and edit: Item number, quantity, postal charge, processing charge, coupons and a captcha. Change the order they appear on the form by dragging up and down.
Setting the payment reference or amount To set the payment reference or the amount enter the details and check the pre-set box. This will remove the form field and just display the details you set. You can also set the payment reference or the amount using shortcode attributes like this: [qpp id="Manhatten" amount="$12"] The third method is to use WordPress queries to send the information via the URL. The basic format is:£50. This is ideal if you want to add payment links to emails or pages where there are multiple products or services.
Multiple References If you have pre-set the payment reference or amount you can have a list of options. Separate each option with a comma and you will see a list on the form. You can also do the same with shortcodes. Example: [qpp id="Bed,Green,Blue"]
Coupons If you have selected the ‘Coupon Code’ form field Click on the ‘Set Coupons Codes’ link to add the actual codes. You also have the options to set the percentage or a fixed amount for each. On the form there will be a new button which calculates the discount before payment. You can also use WordPress queries to send the cookies via the URL. The basic format is: This is ideal if you want to add coupon links to emails.
Postage Charge If you set the postal charge it will be calculated and displayed on the PayPal payment page. The charge is added to the amount the payee has set.
Processing Fee If you set the processing fee it will be calculated and displayed on the PayPal payment page. The fee is added to the amount the payee has set.
Terms and Conditions Add the URL of your T&C page if you want a confirmation.
Maths Captcha An optional form field that will block the spammers
Shortcode Labels If you have pre-set the payment reference or amount you can display a label as well. Leave blank to only display the reference or the amount.
PayPal Image It doesn’t have to be a PayPal image, it can be anything. The image will resize to fit the width of the form.


Form Width Set this on the styling page. At the moment you can only set to 100% (responsive) or a fixed pixel width.
Border If you want a border you can change the style using a CSS shortcode. The format is: thickness type colour. All the options are explained on the W3C schools page.
Backgrounds You can select a solid colour or upload an image as the form background. If the image is smaller than the form it will tile (repeat).
Colour Selector This is a wordpress function. Click on the button and choose your colour. You can add a hex code or clear the selection. To close the selector click on ‘current color’.
Fonts There are 4 font areas: header, input fields, other text content, submit buttons. You can set the font face, size, colours and borders where applicable.
Custom CSS If you want a style not listed in the Styling page you can create your own. To apply the style check the ‘Use Custom CSS’ box.

Send Options

On hold Message PayPal can be a little slow sometimes so you have an option to display a submission message. This will display while the form is processing and again while PayPal is loading.
Setting the locale You can override the local paypal language using the locale setting on the Send Options page. This does not change the language on the form, it only works on the PayPal page.
Cancel and Return Pages PayPal will return your visitors to the current page. If you want to send them to a different page add the URLs in the appropriate box.
Custom PayPal Settings A number of options to tweak how PayPal processes the payment information.
Open PayPal in a new tab/window This might not work as some browsers get very iffy about changing focus.

Auto Responder

Enable Auto Responce Like it says on the box. this lets you send an email to the Payee.
Submission option Select when you want the message to be sent: after submission or after payment.
From name/email This is the name and email that the recipient will see in their email header.
Subject The email subject.
Message Content Note that some email clients block images and check link so be a bit careful what you put in here.
Add Payment Details This adds the payment details to the message.

Instant Payment Notification

Enable IPN If you have set up IPN in your PayPal account use this setting to report back completed payments in the dashboard Payments history.
Column header and label These are the labels that will appear on the dashboard Payments history and downloaded email/CSV.
Sandbox If you have checked the sandbox option on the setup page the IPN code will display in the Payments report so you can use the IPN simulator.


Error Messages If your visitor doesn’t fill in the reference or the amount they will get an error message. You can change the message they see.

Other Features

Payment history You can see and download a record of everyone who has filled in the form by clicking on the Payments link on your dashboard. It will not record if they made an actual payment unless you are using IPN. If you want to display the list on your site (if you have donors for example) use the shortcode [qppreport form="name"].
Widgets The QPP widget has a dropdown to select the form and fields to preset the reference and the amount.

  1. Paul said:

    Hi, and congratulations on the good job. A question where are stored transaction information? Database .. file ..? Thank you

    • Graham said:

      It’s stored in the WordPress options table. Th easiest way to extract all the data is to click on ‘payments’ in you dashboard and use the csv download option.

      Or write yourself a script to export the payments data from the database

  2. Jonathan said:

    On this page it states that “Column header and label These are the labels that will appear on the dashboard Payments history and downloaded email/CSV.” However on the website I help manage, although the payment complete column is shown on the Dashboard Payments page, no such column appears in the CSV file, and I need this in the CSV file. Can you help? Many thanks for a brilliant plugin otherwise.

    • Graham said:

      Hi Jonathan,
      I must have missed this when I built the downloader. I’ll get it sorted and send you an update to test

  3. Darian said:

    Hi Graham,

    It is great plugin!
    I’ve used it for a few days and it works well except one problem and I am not sure it is from your plugin or Paypal! When my clients are in our country and if they use a credit card which is issued in another country (when they are visiting), they could not process the payment or log in their Paypal account! Is this from Paypal? If you know, please let me know more information so I can fix this please!

    Thank you very much in advance for your help!

    • Graham said:

      Hi Darian,
      That’s a PayPal issue. Once the form has submitted everything after that is in the hands of PayPal. You should be able to login to your PayPal account from anywhere in the world but there may be restrictions on the use of a Credit Card. You need to check the T&C for PayPal in your country.

  4. Matt said:

    Sorry to ask so many questions – you’re awesome by the way. All of my contact forms and smtp work on the site, yet when someone submits through this paypal plugin no notification email comes through. What can I do to make this work? I took the password lock off the site.

    • Graham said:

      Try enabling the autoresponder. That seems to fix the notifications. I’m working on an update that will sort out the bug

  5. said:

    Hi This plugin just made my life way simpler thanks.

    I need help with a small detail, when a customer applies a coupon code all the page refreshes, is there a of not refreshing all the page just the form?

    • Graham said:

      It’s possible but would need quite a lot of coding. So it’s not something I van do quickly. I will look into this for the next update.

  6. diane said:

    Yes, thanks.

  7. diane said:

    I’m getting an error message when I click the submit button and it goes to PayPal: The link you have used to enter the PayPal system is invalid. Please review the link and try again.
    I’m sure the email for PayPal is correct. What am I missing?

    • Graham said:

      Hi Diane, you normally see this message when your PayPal account hasn’t been fully set up properly. However, I’ve just made a test payment and I got all the way through to agreement page. So it looks like everything is working.

    • diane said:

      Thanks so much for your reply. I got it working, yay! One more question: for the IPN, PayPal wants an URL. Can that just be the site URL or what? Thanks again.

    • diane said:

      I think I figured it out. Will let you know if it doesn’t work. Thanks.

    • Graham said:

      So did it work?

  8. John said:

    Graham – thanks for your nice plug in. I have it here (

    I get “waiting for paypal” and it never does open the next payment instructions. I’ve read and tried a number of items with no luck. Ideas?

    • Graham said:

      Can you turn off the ‘open in a new page’ option and see if it works.

  9. anyndel said:

    Hello Graham, a quick question.
    The plugin seems to be working perfectly but even when entering no value at all as the amount, no error is triggered.

    Why could that be and how can I fix it? I could add a custom check with jQuery but I’d rather rely on anything already within the plugin.

    • Graham said:

      Hi Anyndel,
      Can you give me a link to a payment page so I can see what’s happening. Normally the only way this happens is if you have got the ‘do not validate’ box checked.

  10. Brian said:

    Hi Graham,
    Quick question: When redirected to the PayPal payment page, the small link that PayPal put at the bottom of the form to cancel the payment and return currently has my PayPal email address. It says “Cancel and return to <>”
    Where is it picking this up from so that I can have it state the name of the website for instance.
    Many thanks.

    • Graham said:

      If you want the name of the website you need a PayPal Business account. If you are using a personal account then the email address displays. Nothing to do with the plugin, it’s how PayPal does things.

    • Brian said:

      Ah! grand thanks Graham. It’ll work fine when live then 🙂

  11. Stef said:

    Hi Graham !
    Back to you, all works great, your plugin rocks but I got another question :
    I want to apply coupon codes. Seems to work but the coupon is applied to item’s price, not to the total amount :
    I want to apply the coupon (fixed value) to the total amount, not to item’s price. Is it possible ? how do I do this ?

    • Graham said:

      Hi Stef,
      This is possible but would mean adding an selector to apply the discount to the total. It’s a couple of hours work. Would you be able to pay for the work?

    • Stef said:

      Of course I can make a donation with Paypal… if it’s a reasonable fee for my association : please send me an Email with details (I will do a Paypal transfer to your mail adress)

  12. StefLBM said:

    I Graham,
    I’m using your fantastic plugin and it’s just incredible ! Now i want to sell some t-shirts with different sizes : how can a customer buy 2 t-shirts in 2 different sizes, which have different prices in the same form and buy action ? (2 different items, so the form would work as a cart)

    • Graham said:

      I did look at this a while back and while it is possible it’s a lot of work. It’s easier to build a custom form to do this. For example:

    • StefLBM said:

      Thanks for your answer. One more question : how did you duplicate the lines ?

    • Graham said:

      That’s a custom plugin. I build loads of these for people, they tell me what they want and I build them a plugin to meet their exact requirements.

  13. Prasidhda Malla said:

    How can i make customer to enter address details before payment ?

    • Graham said:

      If you make the address fields required they will not be able to submit the form unless they fill in the fields. Got to the plugin settings in in the Form Settings click on the ‘Personal details Settings’ link to change the settings.

  14. Raj said:


    I have used this plug in and its work well so far. i am able to see paypal transaction details in word press admin but couldn’t able to know that the payment was completed/fail.

    Please let me know if any setting s is there?


    • Graham said:

      Hi Raja,
      PayPal will send you an email after payment. Or you can use the IPN function to get notification in your dashboard. You will need a business PayPal account if you want to use IPN.

  15. Laurence said:

    Wonderful plugin !! It is possible to have a variable email for the paypal account ? Use a different email for each form or use it in queries ?

    • Graham said:

      Hi Laurence,
      If you go to the ‘send options’ and scroll down there is an option for an alternate paypal address – which means you can have a different account for each form.

    • Laurence said:

      Yes, it is exactly what I was looking for !
      And is it possible to specify the email account in queries ?

    • Graham said:

      Here you go:

      Is there no limit to the awesomeness of the plugin!

    • Laurence said:

      But the option :£100&
      don’t work for me.
      It use the default account email and not the one in the queries. Where is my mistake ?

    • Graham said:

      Sorry, I misread your comment. You can’t use the alternate_email in the query. I can’t get this coded if you want but it probably won’t be until after the weekend.

    • Laurence said:

      You can really do that ? It will be just perfect, it is what I need ! I will make donation for your work and your time to respond so quickly to answers !

  16. Rav said:

    No videos required for me:) This is very well done. One has to read through the documentation and even diving straight into the forms like I did it is easy to use. Sure, I was confused a bit here and there but trial and error sorted it out.

    If you do attempt a video it isn’t too hard to do. Shy about using your voice? Use screen text/sub titles instead. I’d suggest a number of short videos by feature so if it needs updating you are not redoing a 10 minute video. I’d say each video could be less than 2-3 minutes for a plugin like this.

    I’m going to try and get my client to send you a $$ contribution. I’m doing a site for a family member for free else I’d make the $$ myself.

  17. Steve said:

    I plan on using your Paypal Plugins and would prefer to place them in as a Widget. When I go to Appearance/Widgets I do not see the QPP widget listed. How do I add the QPP as a widget?

    • Graham said:

      Hi Steve,
      The widget is called ‘Paypal Payments’. I will change the wording at the next update (due soon) to make it clearer.

  18. Emmanuel said:

    You really need tutorial videos for this

    • Graham said:

      I’ve never made a video in my life so wouldn’t know where to begin. What bit is causing you problems – I could maybe to a set of step by step instructions with pictures.

  19. james said:

    Hi can you let me know if i set up this paypal form for 4 different services and payment amounts?
    I see there is a add form but i dont understand how it works, any chance you have a video?

    • Graham said:

      Hi James,
      Go to the plugin settings and create 4 forms, one for each servcice. You can then use shortcodes to display these forms on a single page or acrosss multiple pages. The shortcodes would be something like: [qpp form='service' id='Repair Widget' amount='£20.99'].

      If you have three different service for the same amount you can create an options list using [qpp form='something' id='choice A,choice B,choice C' amount='$16'].

      No video I’m afraid. maybe this is something Im could investigate if people would find it useful.

    • Richard W Hardwick said:

      I would find a video hugely useful. just about to try and set this up but not feeling confident….

    • Graham said:

      Hi Richard,
      It seems that I need to work out how to make a video! I’ve got a voice like a conjested foghorn so not sure how well my efforts will be recieved. The payment form works straight out the box, all you have to do is fill in your PayPal email address and add a shortcut to your page. That’s it, there is nothing else to do.

      What you can then do is play with the settings and shortcodes to customise the form or you can leave things just as they are.

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