EasyPayPal v3.2 modification

Dec 18, 2008 at 5:16 AM
Edited Dec 18, 2008 at 8:53 AM
My website requires a automatically recurrent payments, which means that EasyPayPal v3.5 won't work for my purposes.  That's why I've been working on a modification of EasyPayPal v3.2 with its PayPal IPN.  Another benefit of the PayPal IPN is that the subscriptions are handled by PayPal and not by WordPress.  I'm of the opinion PayPal should handle subscription/payment stuff.

Here's what I need it to do:
  1. Allow website visitors to register for free.
  2. Allow any registered user to view and edit their profile.
  3. Allow the administrator to check a box in the post/page editor to make that particular post/page for paid subscribers only.
  4. Allow the administrator to add a custom tag or category (I don't think it matters which) to make that particular post for paid subscribers only.
  5. When a page or post is protected/for paid subscribers only, the content and comments must be hidden or otherwise made unavailable.  (My idea is to truncate comments to a certain length specified in the settings and turn it into a link to the subscription page).
I believe I can accomplish all of the above.  However, I'd also like to be able to give users the option to go to their profile and select a number of options (could be a series of check boxes, several input boxes, multiple select, etc).  Allowing the user to save these options settings is easy.  However, I also want the user's automatically recurring payment to be an amount that varies according to the number of options they select.  Does anyone know if this is possible with the PayPal IPN?



Jan 11, 2009 at 1:57 PM
PDR, you and I want the same things from EasyPayPal. I have been working with Shannon to get my site to work, but so far to no avail. My registered users are directed to PayPal to make the payment, but then they cannot access the site afterward. Upon signing in they are automatically redirected to PayPal to be charged again, even though they have already paid. Shannon has spent a considerable amount of time on the problem, as have I, but again to no avail. It still is not working.

I can place the user in the Exceptions List, which allows them to visit the site without the PayPal redirect, but then this means that I must get involved with user to make the necessary change to the Exceptions List. This is not acceptable, because I could just as easily use Recurring Subscriptions at PayPal to accomplish this.

I have noticed that PayPal is discontinuing their IPN in February. I am wondering if this might impact EasyPayPal.

I noticed in another post that you may have created a workaround to EasyPayPal that might allow my site to work. Can you give me some specific information as to what you have done and how I might utilize the code that you altered to make my site work. My site is at http://solutionsjournal.com. Can you supply me with your site name so that I might view your site as well?

Thanks for your help,

Bill Hood
Publisher, Solutions Journal Magazine
Jan 11, 2009 at 6:52 PM

You can find more details about my mod of EPP v3.2 in this thread.  In that post I include a description of my own mod and offer a slight tweak for EPP v3.5 for those who use WP v2.7.
  • The tweak I offered in the above thread was designed to EPP v3.5 from breaking a user's profile page in WP v2.7.  This doesn't like like it your problem.  If Shannon can't solve your problem, I doubt I could...
    • Which post of mine are you referring to?
    • What version of EPP are you using?  EPP v3.2 has the IPN and v3.5 doesn't.
    • What version of WP are you using?  EPP v3.2 and EPP v3.5 don't work well with WP v2.7 and need to be modified slightly.
  • I believe that if PayPal discontinued their IPN, it would effectively kill EPP v2.3 (and any of my modifications) as a viable method of automatically recurring payments.  Where did you hear this?  I'd appreciate a URL/link, if possible.
  • Since you asked: My own website is a collection of free online workers' compensation permanent disability calculators.  There's also a link to my website is in my profile.    ;)

Jan 14, 2009 at 4:43 PM
Edited Jan 14, 2009 at 4:49 PM
Hi PDR, I note that billhood has not responded to your request for more info about the supposed discontinuation of IPN.

I have searched on Google and Yahoo with many variations of keywords, and checked both the PayPal site, and the developer site and forum, and cannot find any reference whatsoever to it. I am sure you must also have been investigating this since the potential impact (to you and I at least!) is huge - so my question is, have you uncovered any further information about it?

Thanks in advance,

Jan 15, 2009 at 9:30 PM
  • @JE:  You're right, I've been searching everywhere for anything about the IPN being discontinued.  I can't find anything via google, yahoo, paypal, or anywhere else.  Its the kind of thing you'd think would be well publicizied by PayPal. I'm at a loss to explain.
  • @BillHood:  Where did you hear the IPN was being discontinued?
Jan 20, 2009 at 7:49 PM
I received the following email from PayPal on December 17, 2008:

Tired of email clutter? So are we. To make your life easier, we're eliminating some of the automatic emails we send after transactions. These changes will take effect on February 11, 2009. Though you will no longer receive certain emails, all transaction details will still show up in your PayPal account for your record keeping.

What you need to do:
If you don't use PayPal emails to trigger any automated processes, do nothing.
If you've been using any of the emails listed below to trigger actions such as updating accounting and inventory or sending customer communications, you will be able to access this information on the "History" page in your PayPal account. If you want to automate your processing, you may implement Instant Payment Notification (IPN). IPN provides a free, reliable solution for automatically notifying businesses of transaction status. For more details send your developer to www.paypal.com/ipninfo
The emails we're discontinuing are:
The email you receive when you cancel an order (Merchant cancel email: ID# PP594)
The email your customer receives when you cancel an order (Buyer void email: ID# PP592)
The email you receive when funds move out of your customer's PayPal account (Merchant capture email: ID# PP593)
The email your customer receives when funds move out of their PayPal account (Buyer capture email: ID# PP591)
The email you receive after you initiate a refund to a customer (Merchant refund email: ID# PP286)
To see examples of these emails, visit www.paypal.com/discontinuedemails.

As stated in another post on this site, I cannot turn off my IPN as I have a WebSites Pro Account on PayPal.

Bill Hood
Solutions Journal Magazine
Jan 20, 2009 at 11:45 PM
Edited Jan 21, 2009 at 12:52 AM
That email is about them discontinuing certain email notifications.

IPN is not an email notification.

Not only does that email say nothing about discontinuing IPN, it actually says;

"If you want to automate your processing, you may implement Instant Payment Notification (IPN). IPN provides a free, reliable solution for automatically notifying businesses of transaction status"

How you managed to misinterpret that to get the complete opposite I don't know - but even allowing that mistakes can be made (yes, I've made a few myself) that is a humdinger.

That error has caused considerable concern to both myself and others, and wasted a not inconsiderable amount of time - in my opinion much greater diligence is called for before posting something of such gravity.

Jan 21, 2009 at 1:52 AM
IPN is an acronym for Instant Payment Notification and does indeed have to do with emails and other forms of notification. In fact the subject line of the email I received states, "Paypal to Suspend IPN." At the present time, the only way I have of knowing whether someone has paid for a subscription is through the PayPal IPN or physically logging into PayPal every few hours to see if I have received a payment for a subscription.

When the IPN ceases, it seems it will have an effect on software, as at this moment many work only by turning off IPN.
Jan 21, 2009 at 4:18 AM

You're right that IPN is an acronym for Instant Payment Notification.  However, the IPN does not necessarily have anything to do with e-mails.  The IPN is a system where the PayPal website, in response to a transaction, will interact with a file you specify on your website or server.  That file on your website/server (should) process the information provided by the PayPal IPN.  Using that information, that file (typically called an IPN processor) could do any number of things.  One of those things could be, if you so wish, send e-mails.

As long as you are using the IPN, there's no reason you can't set up your IPN processor to notify you via e-mail.

I must admit I share some of John's frustration.  If you have an e-mail which says "Paypal to Suspend IPN", please post it in its entirity. 

Jan 21, 2009 at 4:53 AM
I did post the email in it's entirety. What you read was the entire email with the exception of the header and the footer, which contained my private information.

I suppose what you are referring to is the Automated Return, where the client is directed back to the website upon payment. It is true that this is part of the IPN, in that the IPN is triggered by the same processor.

As a Website Pro Account on PayPal, I cannot disable the IPN.

Bill Hood
Solutions Journal Magazine
Jan 21, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Edited Jan 21, 2009 at 4:02 PM
@ billhood;
I think the only thing we all understand and agree on here is that IPN is an acronym for Instant Payment Notification!

I posted two links above that will, if followed and digested, serve to clarify what that is....

The first ( PayPal site ) says;

"Instant Payment Notification (IPN) allows you to automate certain aspects of your business by posting transaction details to your server whenever you receive a PayPal payment or whenever a status change occurs on a transaction. When used with a credit card or Express Checkout transactions, IPN is not useful to get the status of a payment, but only to get asynchronous notification such as an eCheck clearing or a chargeback.

How IPN Works

When a customer pays you, PayPal posts a notification to your server at a URL you specify. Included in this notification are all of your customer's payment details (eg. customer name, amount) as well as a piece of encrypted code. The variables included in the notification are listed in the IPN Variable Reference."

This is not email. A notification to the server url is just that - at this stage no email address is involved.

I do not have a pro account, and am not attempting or intending to comment on the difference that that may or may not make.

I am lost as to the relevance of being unable to "disable the IPN" - are you trying to use 3.5 (no IPN), or 3.2 - as used by myself and PDR (with IPN)?

Since when does an email subject line from a business like PayPal contain sensitive personal or private information? It never shows passwords, and I've never had one that includes even my PayPal email address... though there's not normally anything secret about that anyway...  and if it does include a username or something you don't wish us to know then just edit it out....

That said the only reason I wish to see it is to attempt to prove accuracy and authenticity, which I am certainly doubting at the moment, and if it is edited it won't prove much, if anything...

The second link was to the IPN forum - and I still see no mention there of it being discontinued.... but there is an interesting one from "glencarr" -"Should I still receive email notifcations aftering activating IPN? " - perhaps his lack of emails is nothing to do with IPN, but rather down to him having a Pro account and Pay Pal no longer sending the emails! Either way the response from the mod (dated yesterday) says nothing about IPN being discontinued.

Plus which - as I have already highlighted in my post above - the body of the email says to use IPN!

Jan 21, 2009 at 4:44 PM
I am not sure why anyone would want to spend an inordinate amount of time looking into this matter or exactly how it will effect the world, but I can assure you that there is no conspiracy here to create an illusion. What purpose could it serve and who would benefit from such a conspiracy? Gee!

As for the statement, "I am lost as to the relevance of being unable to "disable the IPN" - are you trying to use 3.5 (no IPN), or 3.2 - as used by myself and PDR (with IPN)?" I was told by Shannon to turn off the IPN at PayPal. With my current account, i.e. Web Pro Account, the IPN must remain on. To turn it off, violates the PayPal policy governing my account. That is why the email stated "use IPN" within the body.

As to the second part of your statement/question,  I was using v3.2 without success, i.e. had the same problem with IPN. When 3.5 came along, I upgraded and still had the problem. When I read that PDRater had used his mod and got things to work, I tried it on v3.2. WPv2.7 kept crashing on the inclusion of the second part of the mod, so I gave up and went back to v3.5 for now.

Bill Hood
Solutions Journal Magazine
Jan 21, 2009 at 5:05 PM
My frustration, as PDR calls it, is that not only do I have a site that relies on IPN, I also have a video series I have paid for, and a web site that has been developed to market it, all about how to set up a membership site using EPP and IPN - so whilst it may not affect the entire world but it sure matters to my bit of it!

Thank you for clarifying the 3.2 v 3.5 issue, at least I now have a better understanding of that problem.
Jan 21, 2009 at 5:11 PM

@billhood et al.

Just to clarify a couple of things -- Bill was kind enough to provide me with access to his web server.  I performed a test using the PayPal sandbox against his server.  I performed the same test against my server.

I echoed all of the return values from PayPal following a successful payment.  On my server, I saw all of the expected values coming through.  On Bill's server, none of the expected values were displayed.  I didn't see the custom form field or any of the items fields being echoed from Bill's server.  I assume PayPal posted the same values to Bill's server, but for some reason Bill's server would not process the values.

Unless I'm missing something, I have to assume that there is some sort of issue with the setup on Bill's server (not PayPal because I was using my PayPal account).  I referred this back to Bill to troubleshoot with his web host.




Jan 21, 2009 at 5:19 PM
Thank you, Shannon, for clarifying that - could you please also tell us whether you have heard anything about a proposed or imminent discontinuation of IPN, and your take on the issue.
Jan 21, 2009 at 5:25 PM
Shannon, what is the correct IPN return to activate the EPP plugin? I do not have a copy of the EPPv3.2 documents, and obviously the EPPv3.5 does not mention this anywhere. I fear that may be the problem.

Bill Hood
Solutions Journal Magazine