Using PayPal Standard IPN

  1. Edit and add paypal.standard.ipn to your INSTALLED_APPS and PAYPAL_RECEIVER_EMAIL:


    For installations on which you want to use the sandbox, set PAYPAL_TEST to True. Ensure PAYPAL_RECEIVER_EMAIL is set to your sandbox account email too.

  2. Update the database

  3. Create an instance of the PayPalPaymentsForm in the view where you would like to collect money. Call render on the instance in your template to write out the HTML.

    from paypal.standard.forms import PayPalPaymentsForm
    def view_that_asks_for_money(request):
        # What you want the button to do.
        paypal_dict = {
            "business": settings.PAYPAL_RECEIVER_EMAIL,
            "amount": "10000000.00",
            "item_name": "name of the item",
            "invoice": "unique-invoice-id",
            "notify_url": "" + reverse('paypal-ipn'),
            "return_url": "",
            "cancel_return": "",
        # Create the instance.
        form = PayPalPaymentsForm(initial=paypal_dict)
        context = {"form": form}
        return render_to_response("payment.html", context)

    For a full list of variables that can be used in paypal_dict, see PayPal HTML variables documentation”


    <h1>Show me the money!</h1>
    <!-- writes out the form tag automatically -->
    {{ form.render }}
  4. When someone uses this button to buy something PayPal makes a HTTP POST to your “notify_url”. PayPal calls this Instant Payment Notification (IPN). The view paypal.standard.ipn.views.ipn handles IPN processing. To set the correct notify_url add the following to your

    urlpatterns = patterns('',
        (r'^something/paypal/', include('paypal.standard.ipn.urls')),
  5. Whenever an IPN is processed a signal will be sent with the result of the transaction. Connect the signals to actions to perform the needed operations when a successful payment is received.

    The IPN signals should be imported from paypal.standard.ipn.signals.

    There are four signals for basic transactions:

    • payment_was_successful
    • payment_was_flagged
    • payment_was_refunded
    • payment_was_reversed

    And four signals for subscriptions:

    • subscription_cancel - Sent when a subscription is cancelled.
    • subscription_eot - Sent when a subscription expires.
    • subscription_modify - Sent when a subscription is modified.
    • subscription_signup - Sent when a subscription is created.

    Several more exist for recurring payments:

    • recurring_create - Sent when a recurring payment is created.
    • recurring_payment - Sent when a payment is received from a recurring payment.
    • recurring_cancel - Sent when a recurring payment is cancelled.
    • recurring_suspend - Sent when a recurring payment is suspended.
    • recurring_reactivate - Sent when a recurring payment is reactivated.

    Connect to these signals and update your data accordingly. Django Signals Documentation.

    from paypal.standard.ipn.signals import payment_was_successful
    def show_me_the_money(sender, **kwargs):
        ipn_obj = sender
        # You need to check 'payment_status' of the IPN
        if ipn_obj.payment_status == "Completed":
            # Undertake some action depending upon `ipn_obj`.
            if ipn_obj.custom == "Upgrade all users!":

    The data variables that are return on the IPN object are documented here:

    You need to pay particular attention to payment_status.

  6. You will also need to implement the return_url and cancel_return views to handle someone returning from PayPal. Note that these views need @csrf_exempt applied to them, because PayPal will POST to them, so they should be custom views that don’t need to handle POSTs otherwise.

    For ‘return_url’ you need to cope with the possibility that the IPN has not yet been received and handled by the IPN listener you implemented (which can happen rarely), or that there was some kind of error with the IPN.