PayPal WooCommerce Setup – Easy Guide


Your WooCommerce site is coming together and it’s time to add a payment method. It’s not as exciting as adding product photos and designing the site. But, you’ve finished the grueling task of doing your research and have picked PayPal.

Maybe you’ve already got a PayPal business account. Maybe you trust their level of security. Whatever your reasoning, you’ve made the decision and that’s halfway there. Now, it’s time to setup PayPal for WooCommerce. In this article, we’ll help you create your PayPal account (if you need it) and walk you through WooCommerce PayPal integration.

TL;DR: Integrating PayPal to your WooCommerce site can seem complicated, but we’re here to break it down into safe and easy steps. It’s also a process that could bring you compatibility issues or crash your site. So, before you get started, we highly recommend using the BlogVault plugin to back up your site with the utmost ease. 

Video Tutorial:

What do you need for WooCommerce and PayPal set up?     

Before you figure out how to add PayPal to WooCommerce site, here are a few things to make sure of:

  • Your site should have WordPress version 5.3 or higher. An updated WordPress version keeps your site safe and secure. So, we recommend you update your site anyway if it doesn’t have the latest version. 
  • WooCommerce version 3.9 or higher should be installed. Again, every new update comes with fewer bugs and better security. So, we highly recommend you update your WooCommerce site
  • PayPal requires PHP versions 7.1 or higher. Newer the version, the more secure and faster your site will run. So, much like WordPress versions, we recommend that you go ahead and update the PHP version if you haven’t already. However, try the update on a staging site first. Create one in minutes right from your BlogVault dashboard. 
  • Backup your site before you install any new plugins. Whether you’re migrating from one payment plugin to another or starting afresh, we recommend you backup your site so you don’t lose anything. BlogVault has the most bulletproof WordPress backups. If anything goes wrong, restore your site with the utmost ease and efficiency. 

How to Create a PayPal account

PayPal is a globally trusted and all-in-one checkout solution. While the process is largely self-explanatory and seamless, it will vary from country to country. PayPal requires legal details of your business and yourself. The following steps break them down for you. 

  1. Create your account: Go to the PayPal website and click Sign Up.
  2. Create Business Account: Select Business Account and click Next. Enter your email address and create a password. Fill in details about your business and then click Agree and Create Account.

  1. Finish your business profile: Select the appropriate Business Type. Fill in the products or service keywords and select monthly sales. Fill in an employer ID number as well as the company website and click Continue
  2. Add personal details: For verification purposes, you have to add in details about yourself. If you’re in the USA, you’ll be asked for the last 4 digits of your social security number, DOB and home address. 
  3. Add details about your shop: Select the type of product, how you’d like to sell and whether it’s a single transaction or subscription. Also select A prebuilt solution that doesn’t require coding and click Next. 
  4. Verify your email address: If you check your email account, you’ll get an email reminder to verify your email address. Go ahead and verify it. 
  5. Link to bank account: Once you’ve verified your site, you can also link to your bank account or just continue to use your PayPal account to receive and make payments. 

How to Setup PayPal for WooCommerce

A plugin is a popular way to integrate PayPal with WooCommerce site and there are many to choose from. In this article, we will walk you through the installation and setup of the WooCommerce plugin, WooCommerce PayPal Payments

  1. Install and activate the plugin: Hover over the plugins tab and click Add New. Search for WooCommerce Paypal Payments. Click Install and Activate.
  1. Connect to PayPal: Click the WooCommerce logo and then Settings. Go to the Payments tab and toggle PayPal as your preferred payment gateway. Click the Activate PayPal button. Here, you’ll need to login to your PayPal business account. Click on Agree and Connect and Go back to WooCommerce Developers. This will lead you back to your wp-admin dashboard. If you check your website, PayPal should be one of the payment options available at checkout.
  2. Enable PayPal payments: Go the Payments tab of WoCommerce. Enable PayPal Payments. This will allow your customers to pay with PayPal, Pay Later and Venmo.
  3. Enable Card Payments: To allow you customers to pay with card, you’ll have to enable PayPal card processing. This will let you pick between picking Standard Card Processing (customer gets redirected to PayPal to make a payment) or Advanced Card Processing (customer stays on the site to make a payment).

    We recommend you test the PayPal integration and its success with the help of the PayPal sandbox. To do so, follow the steps given below.
  1. Login to PayPal Developer: Go to the PayPal Developer site and click Login to Dashboard and login or create an account with your PayPal credentials.
  2. Create a sandbox account: Next, in the Sandbox tab, click Create Account  and select Business Account. Fill in your email and click Create.
  3. Connect your WordPress site with the sandbox account: Click Manage Accounts, next to your associated sandbox account, and you’ll see an email and password. Copy these details. On the WordPress dashboard, go to the WooCommerce tab and select the PayPal tab. Scroll down and click Test payments with PayPal sandbox. On the next page, paste the email and password of your sandbox account. Click Agree and Connect. 
  4. Add business details: Follow the instructions to fill in your business email and business details. and when you’re done, go back to wp-admin and check the PayPal settings. 
  5. Create a personal sandbox account: Go back to the PayPal developers dashboard and create a new sandbox account. This time, select Personal (Buyer Account). Click the user and you’ll be able to see a dummy name, email and password that you can use to test the process. This will help you test the customer’s experience.
  6. Buy a test product: Sign out of your account and go to your site. Use the personal sandbox personal account and dummy information to buy a product. Test PayPal while buying the product and you’ll be redirected to a site where you’ll have to add the sandbox email and password. PayPal provides you with dummy payment options that you can use.  
  7. Disable sandbox and go live: Once you’re done testing, go back to the PayPal settings on your admin dashboard and click Test payments with PayPal sandbox to disable sandbox. Click Save Changes and your live PayPal account credentials should be connected to your WooCommerce site and then you’re ready to go.

Features of WooCommerce PayPal Payments: 

When thinking about which payment plugin to use, there are a few important things to consider – What payment options do they accept and what features do they offer? In this section, we’ll highlight a few benefits of using WooCommerce PayPal Payments.  

  • Offers major payment methods for USA, UK, France, Denmark and Australia. 
  • Subscriptions are offered with PayPal Recurring Payments but features like upgrading or downgrading a subscription plan are very difficult
  • Pay Later feature allows customers to pay for a product in installments while the merchant gets paid up front. This policy varies from country to country as well. In the USA, for example, the customer can pay in 4 installments that happen every 2 weeks. 
  • Fraud protection
  • Global compliance
  • Easy onboarding and integration

Alternative integration plugins for PayPal Standard: 

  • PayPal Express Checkout Payment Gateway for WooCommerce: This plugin integrates PayPal Express Checkout with PayPal and allows you to accept payments from credit/debit cards, PayPal money or PayPal later. The installation process is the same as any plugin. Head to the plugins directory, search for the plugin install and activate.
  • PayPal Plus: It’s the official PayPal Plus plugin and allows you to accept PayPal, direct debit, credit cards and pay upon invoice. Though, this plugin is only available in Germany right now. Just install and activate the plugin from the plugins directory and connect it to your PayPal Plus account. 

Migrating from PayPal Standard to WooCommerce PayPal Payments

With versions 1.5 and above of PayPal Standard and PayPal Checkout, PayPal recommends making the switch to WooCommerce PayPal Payments. It requires deactivating the old plugin, installing the new one and signing into your existing PayPal account. We recommend you migrate from one plugin to another when your site’s traffic is at its lowest so your customers aren’t impacted.

PayPal Standard hidden notification
Source: WooCommerce PayPal Standard

Note: We found a lot of bad reviews of sites crashing, but we didn’t have this experience. To err on the side of caution, we recommend using BlogVault. The plugin not only backs up your site daily but also has easy-to-use restore and staging features. 

To migrate from one plugin to another, follow the steps described below:

  1. Disable the PayPal Standard and PayPal checkout settings: Click the WooCommerce logo on your WordPress dashboard. Click on Payments and disable both. 
  1. Install the WooCommerce PayPal Payments plugin: Hover over the Plugins tab on the left sidebar and click Add New. Search for the plugin and click Install and Activate. 
  2. Connect to PayPal: You can now connect to your PayPal business account. You’re now all done and ready to go. We recommend you follow the steps in the How to Setup PayPal for WooCommerce section above to finish the integration.

Why should you use PayPal?

PayPal is typically favored when it comes to payment gateways because it is globally accepted and trusted. In this section, we’ll talk about two other important things to consider when picking your payment gateway: fees and payment cycles

  1. Fees: PayPal is free to install and there are no setup fees. However, PayPal does charge for every transaction. These costs vary by country, type of payment, and currency accepted. Here’s a PayPal article that describes in detail how much they charge. 

  1. Payment cycles for merchants: When a customer makes a payment, it might take some time for the payment to get processed. But, once that is done, it will get credited to your PayPal account. At that point, you can either leave it in your PayPal account or withdraw it into your bank account. This may also require 2-3 days depending on the bank.

Other PayPal products and plugins

Two other popular PayPal payment products are PayPal Zettle and Braintree. They vary primarily in features that are offered and targeted to different types of merchants. 

  • Braintree: Formerly known as PayPal powered by Braintree, this product allows a merchant to accept major cards and many other types of payments. Customers can also save their bank details on their WooCommerce site account because of the tokenization feature. It’s also secure with Braintree’s state of the art fraud tools. To install it, look for Braintree for WooCommerce Payment Gateway from the plugins directory and connect it to your Braintree account. Braintree is used by larger companies that have a multinational presence, and is typically too complicated for a small- or medium-sized e-commerce store. 

  • PayPal Zettle: WIth this payment product, you can accept card, contactless and mobile payments. When you integrate it with a WooCommerce site, the dashboard also lets you manage stock and gives you up to date information about it. For in person transactions, they provide a card reader. Everything is also managed on an app. This is great for a brick and mortar store that also sells online. To integrate it with WooCommerce, install Zettle POS from the plugins directory and activate it. Head to the Zettle settings page and set up your payment gateway,

Final thoughts

PayPal caters to a global audience and provides customers with a sense of trust and security. It is also an incredibly popular payment gateway for smaller merchants and individuals as a quick means of making payments. These are key points to consider when you pick a payment gateway, making PayPal a great option for your site. 

However, there are downsides too. Reviews have said that sites have crashed or compatibility issues have occurred when an update has been made in the plugin. To circumvent this, we highly recommend that you backup your site with BlogVault, a plugin that backs up your site regularly and lets you restore your site easily. 


  1. What is better? WooCommerce Subscriptions or PayPal Recurring Payments?

    PayPal was never meant for subscription models and basic features like upgrading and downgrading a plan are cumbersome processes. WooCommerce Subscriptions, on the other hand, costs $199 a year and is much better suited to payment plans. 
  1. Why should you use the sandbox feature?

    PayPal sandbox is a way to test your payment gateway. You can test security, performance, and the overall experience of buying something from your store. This is a good way to make sure that your customers have a smooth experience that reduces friction, and mitigates issues like cart abandonment.


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