Creating a PayPal Sandbox for Testing Your Ecommerce Website

With so many people using PayPal in various forms on their ecommerce websites whether your working with PayPal Pro, PayPal Standard or PayPal Express Checkout I wanted to show you how to create a PayPal Sandbox for testing.  The first step in creating a PayPal Sandbox is to go to and sign-up for a PayPal Test Sandbox Environment.  When you go to you’ll be greeted by the following website…

For the purposes of this article I’ll be talking about Test Accounts and API Credentials that should be able to get you up and running but naturally there is more functionality available then this in a PayPal Sandbox account.

Test Accounts

Test Accounts make up an important part of testing PayPal on your website because they allow you to simulate a business account and a personal account to see how your transactions will function when you are running PayPal on a live website.  Select the “Create a preconfigured account” option similar to the screen shot below.

When you click on this option you will notice that you can set the test account up to allow it to be either a business or personal test account, the balance on the account, the password and email and other elements.

Best Practice:  If you are going to create a business account you should also create a personal account to properly test transactions on your website.  Doing this creates the proper simulation of a buyer and seller relationship in PayPal and testing this will save you from any problems that you may have in launching your ecommerce website.

API Credentials

The other point worth mentioning is the fact that you can test using API Credentials.  You may be asking “Where would I use API Credentials anyways?”  If you are using PayPal Pro (also known as “Website Payments Pro”) or PayPal Express Checkout then you should known that testing these two types of PayPal payment options means that you will be using the PayPal API Credentials to do so.  You may have noticed in one of my previous articles for the Shopp ecommerce plugin that it makes mention of the same API credentials to set up PayPal Pro.  This isn’t a coincidence and its pretty easy to setup as well.

As you can see below API Credentials are made up of three components including an API username, password and signature that allows you to authenticate your credentials with PayPal.

You can run a lot of test scenarios in your PayPal Sandbox so that you can work out the problems before you ever might notice them on your live website.  Feel free to read more about this at and get your sandbox setup there today to test the hell out of your ecommerce website.

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