PayPal Express IPN Issue

I’m trying to get Membership set up, and can’t seem to test in a way that activates a new member upon a successful transaction. There is a thread going ( that gets to this issue. I’ve followed, and seem to have everything properly set up, but still no activation.

Here’s what I have done:

Set up Membership with the appropriate PayPal Express account info

Enabled Test Mode (Sandbox)

Set up a PayPal developer Sandbox account, and successfully tested the IPN using the URL – got the green check

Ran through the Membership registration process, and successfully completed the transaction using a PayPal sandbox account.

Looked at the Members list in the Membership dashboard. The user account is created but not activated.

I really need to get a handle on this ASAP, and am hoping someone can quickly point me in the right direction.

  • airfoil
    • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    I should probably mention that I am using Membership Premium 2.1.4, and that there are no values in the Subscription, Membership Level, Expires or Gateway columns after a transaction is completed.

    Also, I am testing this in Sandbox mode, as mentioned. Will the IPN work in this mode?

  • aecnu
    • WP Unicorn

    Greetings airfoil,

    Thank you for being a WPMU Dev member!

    Wow this is a tough one to discern because I do not know what the sandbox mode is supposed to return in the IPN.

    I’ll see if I can get the lead developer in here to assist / give you some advice.

    Cheers, Joe :slight_smile:

  • airfoil
    • Site Builder, Child of Zeus


    I went out of Sandbox mode, and processed a few live transactions as a test, and all is working as expected.

    While this is good and confirms that the system will work at launch, it would be great to figure out why it wasn’t working in sandbox mode. When doing work for a client, running a bunch of live transactions against their PayPal account is a little awkward.

    Given how critical a system this is for those who use it, it would be great if WPMU Dev would create some detailed documentation on how to test in Sandbox mode before going live.


  • Arun Basil Lal
    • New Recruit

    Hello airfoil,

    Thanks for your suggestion. Actually at the moment we are working towards updating and drastically improving all our documentations, hopefully this will also be taken care of :slight_smile:

    Thanks for being a member here at WPMU Dev!

    Arun Basil Lal

  • Barry
    • DEV MAN’s Mascot

    While this is good and confirms that the system will work at launch, it would be great to figure out why it wasn’t working in sandbox mode.

    You don’t want to be within ear-shot of me when I’m testing with the PayPal sandbox. It’s unpredictable at the best of times, and crashes so regularly that I tend to do my final testing with two live PayPal accounts and numerous back and forths with small amounts of money.

    At least then I can be assured that the ipn is being hit, sometimes the sandbox doesn’t send anything, then hits the ipn with 10 identical records.

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