Recurring Payments – Subscribe Buttons

Use Subscribe buttons to obtain subscription payments automatically from buyers for access to online content and services or for regular delivery of goods.

To create a Subscribe button, you can write the HTML code yourself for a PayPal hosted Subscribe button or use a tool on PayPal's site. If you're in a hurry, you can even create Subscribe buttons (with limited functionality) before creating your PayPal Business account.

Read the following topics to learn more:

Important: For your Subscribe buttons to support credit/debit cards, you must be approved for PayPal Payments Standard Enhanced Recurring Payments (ERP). Unless you sign up for ERP, your Subscribe buttons will accept payment from PayPal accounts only. For more information, contact your PayPal representative.

Getting Started with Subscribe Buttons

The easiest way to add a Subscribe button to your website is by using the button creation tool on the PayPal website. As soon as you add the button, you can begin selling subscriptions on your website.

Follow one of these procedures to get started creating your own Subscribe buttons:

Creating a Basic Subscribe Button on the PayPal Website

The following instructions create a basic Subscribe button that sets up subscriptions with a monthly billing cycle that recurs until subscriptions are cancelled.

  1. Log in to your PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com.

    The My Account Overview page opens.

  2. Click the Profile subtab.

    The Profile Summary page opens.

  3. Under the Selling Preferences heading, click the My Saved Buttons link.

    The My Saved Buttons page opens.

  4. In the Related Items box on the right, click the Create new button link.

    The Create PayPal payment button page opens.

  5. In the Choose a button type dropdown menu, select "Subscriptions."
  6. Enter the payment details of your subscription.
    • Subscription name – Enter a name for the subscription. For example, enter "Alice's Monthly Digest".
    • Recurring amount to be billed – Enter the amount you want to bill subscribers for each monthly billing cycle. For example, enter "20.00".
  7. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the Create Button button.

    The You've created your button page opens.

  8. Click the Select Code button on the Websites tab to select all of the generated HTML code.
  9. Do one of the following to copy the selected text to the clipboard:
    • For Windows and Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Copy.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+C.
    • For Mac, press CMD+C.
  10. In your web editing tool, open the webpage where you want to show the button.
    Important: Be sure that your tool is ready for you to paste HTML code, such as by switching to an HTML view from a design view of your webpage.
  11. Do one of the following to paste the text from the clipboard onto your webpage, where you want the button to appear:
    • For Windows or Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Paste.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+V.
    • For Mac, press CMD+V.

To learn how to create buttons for other kinds of subscriptions, see Creating Advanced Subscribe Buttons on the PayPal Website.

Creating Subscribe Buttons Before You Create Your PayPal Account

You can create basic Subscribe buttons and add them to your website to see how they look before you sign up for your PayPal account. However, for the buttons to work, you need a PayPal Premier or Business account.

Read the following topics to learn more about creating Subscribe buttons before you create your PayPal account.

Creating a Basic Subscribe Button Without a PayPal Account

The following instructions create a basic Subscribe button that sets up subscriptions with a monthly billing cycle that recurs until subscriptions are cancelled.

Note: You cannot create payment buttons without a PayPal account if JavaScript is disabled in your browser.
  1. Go to the PayPal website at https://www.paypal.com.
  2. Click the Business tab.
  3. Click Accept Credit Cards on a Website.
  4. Under the PayPal Payments Standard heading, click the Select button.

    A page that describes Website Payments Standard opens.

  5. Click the Try it now button.

    The Create PayPal payment button page opens.

  6. In the Choose a button type dropdown menu, select "Subscriptions."
  7. Enter the payment details of your subscription.
    • Subscription name – Enter a name for the subscription. For example, enter "Alice's Monthly Digest".
    • Recurring amount to be billed – Enter the amount you want to bill subscribers for each monthly billing cycle.
    • Email address to receive payments– Enter the email address that you will use when you sign up for your PayPal account.
  8. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the Create Button button.

    The You've created your button page opens.

  9. Click the Select Code button on the Websites tab to select all of the generated HTML code.
  10. Do one of the following to copy the selected text to the clipboard:
    • For Windows and Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Copy.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+C.
    • For Mac, press CMD+C.
  11. In your web editing tool, open the webpage where you want to show the button.
    Important: Be sure that your tool is ready for you to paste HTML code, such as by switching to an HTML view from a design view of your webpage.
  12. Do one of the following to paste the text from the clipboard onto your webpage, where you want the button to appear:
    • For Windows or Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Paste.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+V.
    • For Mac, press CMD+V.

Sign up for your PayPal account. Your Subscribe button will not work fully until you sign up successfully for your PayPal Business Account.

Limitations of Subscribe Buttons Created Without a PayPal Account

Consider the following limitations of payment buttons that you create and add to your website before you sign up for your PayPal Premiere or Business account.

  • The buttons that you place on your website will not work fully.
  • PayPal limits the features that you can specify with the button creation tool, such as:
    • Saving your buttons in your PayPal account
    • Tracking inventory or profit and loss
    Note: You cannot create payment buttons without a PayPal account if JavaScript is disabled in your browser.

The Checkout Experience with Subscribe Buttons

This section demonstrates the PayPal checkout experience for people who click Subscribe buttons on your website. The following diagram illustrates the steps.

Figure 1. The Checkout Experience with Subscribe Buttons

Read these topics to better understand the checkout experience with Subscribe buttons:

Checkout Starts on Your Website

The basic checkout experience begins on your website when a buyer is ready to sign up.

Figure 2. Buyers Begin PayPal Checkout on Your Website

In this example, Bob begins on Alice's Used Books website and decides to sign up for a subscription to Alice's Weekly Digest. He clicks the Subscribe button to check out.

Buyers Choose a Way to Pay

PayPal displays a billing information/log-in page, which lets buyers enter their credit card information to sign up. Buyers with PayPal accounts log in to sign up.

Figure 3. Buyers Enter Billing Information to Sign Up by Credit Card

In this case, Bob does not have a PayPal account. He enters his billing information. He also enters his contact information – email address and home phone number– so that PayPal can send him a PayPal transaction receipt and can contact him if necessary to complete the transaction. Then, he clicks the Continue button.

Buyers who already have PayPal accounts click the PayPal radio button near the top of the billing information page in order to sign up. The page changes to let them log in to PayPal.

Figure 4. Buyers with PayPal Accounts Log in To Sign Up

Buyers Review Their Payment Details

PayPal displays a payment review page to let buyers check the details of their automatic payment plans before they complete their agreements.

Figure 5. Buyers Review Payment Details Before They Sign Up

In this case, Bob reviews the details of his subscription and recurring payments. Then, he clicks the Pay button to complete his sign up for the subscription.

Buyers View and Print Payment Confirmations

PayPal displays a payment confirmation page to let buyers know that they checked out successfully.

Figure 6. Buyers View and Print Their Payment Confirmations

In this case, Bob prints the confirmation page for his records.

Enhancing the Checkout Experience with Subscribe Buttons

Website Payments Standard offers these features to enhance the basic checkout experience for your subscribers:

Co-Branding the Checkout Pages with Your Logo and Colors

The basic checkout experience displays your email address or your business name in the upper left corner of the checkout pages. You can set co-branding options to help blend the PayPal checkout pages with the rest of your website and maintain your brand throughout the checkout experience.

Enhance the checkout experience by setting up custom page payments in your account profile to specify your logo and colors. Then, PayPal uses your logo and colors to display the checkout pages. In addition, you can specify you logo and colors with advanced HTML variables in the code of your payment buttons.

For more information, see:

Prepopulating the Checkout Pages with Billing Addresses

The basic checkout experience has forms for filling in billing addresses. You can enhance the checkout experience by prepopulating the forms with subscriber information that you have on your website.

To learn more about pre-population, see Filling Out FORMs Automatically with HTML Variables.

To learn more about the HTML variables to use, see HTML Variables for Filling Out PayPal Checkout Pages Automatically

Returning Buyers to Your Website After They Check Out

The basic checkout experience with Subscribe buttons leaves subscribers on a PayPal webpage when they complete their subscription sign ups. Use one of the following techniques to alter the basic checkout experience so that subscribers return to your website:

Managing Subscriptions

Tracking Subscription Transactions

Using the Recurring Payments Dashboard to Track Subscription Plans

PayPal displays subscription plans in the Recurring payments dashboard, soon after buyers complete their subscription sign ups.
  1. Log in to your PayPal account.
  2. Navigate to My Account > Profile.
    The Profile Summary opens.
  3. Under the Financial Information heading, click Recurring payments dashboard.

    The Recurring payments dashboard opens.

From the Overview section of the dashboard, do any of the following:

  • See counts of Active and New plans, counts of plans with Outstanding Payments, and counts of plans that are Suspended or Canceled.
  • See only plans with a specific status in the My customers list by clicking the corresponding status link. Or, choose a status from the Filter status by dropdown menu, and then click the Go button.
  • Manage a specific plan by clicking the Customer Name link in the row for the plan.
  • Cancel plans by selecting checkboxes in the rows of plans, and then clicking the Cancel link at the top of the list.

Using Email Notices to Track Subscription Transactions

PayPal sends you email notices when:

  • Buyers sign up for new subscriptions.
  • Subscription payments occur.
  • Subscriptions end or buyers cancel them.

For some button types, such as Buy Now buttons, PayPal can send email notices to an address other than the primary email address on your account. However, for Subscribe buttons, this features is not available. Instead, for Subscribe buttons, PayPal always sends email notices to the primary email address of your account.

For more information, see HTML Variables for PayPal Payments Standard.

Using Recent Activity to Track Subscribe Transactions

PayPal displays Subscribe transactions in your recent activity, soon after subscribers complete their subscription sign ups.

If you accepted your first subscription payment before October 15, 2009:

Subscription information displays on your Account Overview page as shown in the figure below.

Figure 7. Using Recent Activity to Track Subscribe Transactions

If you accepted your first subscription payment after October 15, 2009:

Subscription information displays on your Account Overview page as shown in the figure below.

  1. Log in to you PayPal account.
  2. Navigate to My Account > Overview.
    The My Account Overview opens.
  3. Scroll down to the Recent Activity table near the bottom of the page.

Using Transaction History to Track Subscribe Payments

PayPal lets you search for Subscribe payments on the History page. The status of payments found there can be:

  • Completed – Transactions were successful, and funds were credited to your account
  • Cleared – Payments cleared senders' accounts, and funds were credited to your account
  • Uncleared – Payments have not cleared sender's accounts, and funds were not credited

To learn how to work with transaction history, see the Merchant Setup and Administration Guide.

If you accepted your first subscription payment before October 15, 2009:

  1. Visit the History page.
  2. Above the activity list, click the Subscriptions link.
    Note: If the link is not shown, select More filters > Subscriptions and agreements > Subscriptions.

    The activities list displays subscription payments, which are identified as "Subscription Creation From" or "Payment From" in the Type column.

If you accepted your first subscription payment after October 15, 2009:

  1. Visit the History page.
  2. Above the activity list, select More filters > Subscriptions and agreements > Recurring payments > Transactions.
    The activities list displays subscription payments, which are identified as "recurring payments" in the Type column.

Using Downloadable History Logs to Track Subscribe Payments

PayPal lets you download a file that contains all of your subscription payment history for a time frame that you specify. You can choose comma delimited, tab delimited, Quicken, or QuickBooks as the file format.

To download a file with your subscription payment history:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com.
  2. Move your mouse over the History tab and then click the Download History link.
    The Download History page opens.
  3. Click the Customize Download Fields link.
    The Customize My Download History page opens.
  4. Scroll down the page, and select the Subscription Number checkbox.
  5. Click the Save button.
    The Download History page opens again.
  6. Specify the time frame for the subscription payments you want to download and the file type you want.
  7. Click the Download History button, and follow the on-screen instructions.

For more information on the Download History page, see the Merchant Setup and Administration Guide.

Using Instant Payment Notification to Track Subscribe Transactions

PayPal lets your web server receive messages about Subscribe transactions and payment activity on your account. If you activate Instant Payment Notification, PayPal sends messages when:

  • Payments first occur with a status of Completed or Pending.
  • Payments clear, fail, or are denied, if the initial status was Pending.
  • Subscriptions begin, end, or are canceled, if you use Subscriptions Password Management.

To learn more, see:

How Billing Cycles and Recurring Payments Work

PayPal attempts to collect recurring payments from subscribers on the day after the previous billing cycle or trial period ends. Billing cycles can be daily, weekly, monthly or yearly, depending on the terms of the original subscription.

How Subscriptions with Weekly Billing Cycles Work

For weekly billing cycles, recurring payments are collected on the same day of the week.

When Weekly Recurring Payments Are Due and Collected

The subscription terms are:

  • $10 USD a week; the subscriber signs up on Tuesday, December 23.

The subscriber is billed as follows:

  • Tuesday, December 23 = $10.00 USD
  • Tuesday, December 30 = $10.00 USD
  • Tuesday, January 6 = $10.00 USD
  • and so on...

How Subscriptions with Monthly Billing Cycles Work

For monthly billing cycles, recurring payments are collected on the same day of the month. If the initial recurring payment falls on the 31st, PayPal eventually adjusts the billing cycle to the 1st of the month. If the initial recurring payment falls on the 29th or 30th, PayPal adjusts the billing cycle to the 1st of the month on the following February.

When Monthly Recurring Payments Are Due and Collected on the 31st

The subscription terms are:

  • $25.99 USD a month; the subscriber signs up on Thursday, July 31.

The subscriber is billed as follows:

  • Thursday, July 31 = $25.99 USD
  • Saturday, August 31 = $25.99 USD
  • Wednesday, October 1= $25.99 USD
  • Saturday, November 1= $25.99 USD
  • and so on...

Notice that no recurring monthly payment was collected in September, but recurring payments were collected roughly every 30 days.

When Monthly Recurring Payments Are Due and Collected on the 30th

The subscription terms are:

  • $25.99 USD a month; the subscriber signs up on Tuesday, December 30.

The subscriber is billed as follows:

  • Tuesday, December 30 = $25.99 USD
  • Friday, January 30 = $25.99 USD
  • Sunday, March 1= $25.99 USD
  • Wednesday, April 1= $25.99USD
  • and so on...

Notice that no recurring monthly payment was collected in February, but recurring payments were collected roughly every 30 days.

How Subscriptions with Yearly Billing Cycles Work

For yearly billing cycles, recurring payments are collected on the same month and day each year. If the initial recurring payment falls on February 29th of a leap year, PayPal adjusts the billing cycle to March 1st the following year.

When Yearly Recurring Payments Are Due and Collected

The subscription terms are:

  • $125.99 USD a year; the subscriber signs up on a Friday, February 29.

The subscriber is billed as follows:

  • Friday, February 29, 2008 = $125.99 USD
  • Sunday, March 1, 2009 = $125.99 USD
  • Sunday, March 1, 2010 = $125.99 USD
  • and so on...

Downloading Subscriber Lists

If you accepted your first subscription payment before October 15, 2009:

You can download a text file that contains all of your non-payment subscription history – sign ups, cancellations, and ends of term. You can manipulate the download file to produce these kinds of lists:

  • All current and past subscribers – Exclude "Subscription Cancellation" and "Subscription Completion" activity
  • All active subscribers – Include activity with an "active," "active-completed," or "active-cancelled" status

To download a file with your non-payment subscription history:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com.
  2. Move your mouse over the History tab and then click the Download History link.
    The Download History page opens.
  3. Specify the time frame for the subscription activity that you want to download.
  4. From the File Types for Download dropdown menu, select "Subscriptions."
    Note: The "Subscriptions" choice is available in the dropdown menu only after someone has signed up for a subscription with you.
  5. Click the Download History button, and follow the on-screen instructions.

For more information on the Download History page, see the Merchant Setup and Administration Guide.

Canceling Individual Subscriptions

As a subscription service provider, you can the cancel the subscriptions of individual subscribers from the Subscription Details pages of your PayPal account. In addition, your subscribers can cancel the subscriptions that they have with you from their Subscription Details pages. The procedure, described below, is the same in either case. Canceled subscriptions cannot be reactivated.

Note: For the convenience of you and your subscribers, consider adding a Cancel Subscription button to your website.
 
For more information, see Working with Unsubscribe Buttons.

If you accepted your first subscription payment before October 15, 2009:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com.
  2. Click the History subtab.
    The History page opens.
  3. Specify the time frame in which the subscription was set up.
  4. From the More Filters dropdown menu, select Subscriptions and agreements > Subscriptions.
    The History pages displays a list of subscription transactions.
  5. In the Subscriptions list, locate the subscription you want to cancel.
    Make sure of the following:
    • The Type column reads, "Subscription Creation."
    • The Status column reads, "Active."
  6. In the row for the subscription that you want to cancel, click the Details link.
    The Subscription Details page opens.
  7. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the Cancel Subscription button.

If you accepted your first subscription payment after October 15, 2009:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com.
  2. Click the History subtab.
    The History page opens.
  3. Specify the time frame in which the subscription was set up.
  4. From the More Filters dropdown menu, select Subscriptions and agreements > Recurring payments > My profiles.
    The History pages displays a list of recurring payment setup transactions.
  5. In the My profiles list, locate the subscription that you want to cancel.
  6. In the row for that subscription, click the Details link.
    The Recurring Payments : Profile Details page opens.
  7. Click the Cancel link under Profile Status.
  8. Click the Yes button to confirm the cancellation.
    The Recurring Payments : Profile Details page refreshes with a message confirming that the subscription is canceled.

Canceling Multiple Subscriptions at One Time

As a subscription service provider, you can cancel multiple subscriptions at one time from the Subscription Details page of your PayPal account.

Follow the procedures described in this section to cancel multiple subscriptions at one time:

Requesting Mass Subscription Cancellations

Before you begin this procedure, create a text file that contains the email addresses of the subscribers whose subscriptions you want to cancel. Enter each email address on a separate line. You will upload this mass cancellation file during Step 7 of the procedure below.

Important: If a subscriber in your text file has more than one subscription with you, all of that person's subscriptions will be canceled.

To request the cancellation of multiple subscriptions at one time:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com.
  2. Click the History subtab.
    The History page opens.
  3. From the Show dropdown menu, select "Subscriptions."
  4. Click the Search button.
    The History page displays a list of subscription transactions.
  5. In the row for any subscription where the Status column reads "Active," click the Details link.
    The Subscription Details page opens.
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the Cancel several subscribers link.
    The Mass Subscription Cancellation page opens.
  7. In the Attach Mass Cancellation File text box, enter the path and filename of the mass cancellation file that you created earlier, or click the Browse button to locate the file on your local computer.
  8. Click the Continue button.
    The Mass Cancellation page opens to display the number of email addresses that PayPal found in your mass cancellation file.
  9. Confirm the number of email addresses found by PayPal against the number of email addresses in your mass cancellation file. Then, click then Cancel Subscriptions button.
    The Mass Cancellation page refreshes to inform you that your mass cancellation file has been registered by PayPal and will be processed.

Monitoring the Progress of Mass Subscription Cancellations

It may take PayPal a while to process your mass cancellation file. You can monitor the progress from the History page by looking at the status of the cancellation transaction.

Note: It may take up to one hour to process your mass subscription cancellation.

To check the status of your mass subscription cancellation:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com.
  2. Click the History subtab.
    The History page opens.
  3. From the Show dropdown menu, select "All Activity - Simple View."
  4. Specify the time frame in which you requested the mass subscription cancellation.
    Generally, select the Within radio button and select "The Past Day" from the dropdown menu.
  5. Click the Search button.
    The History page displays a list of subscription transactions.
  6. In the Subscriptions list, locate the row where the Type column reads "Mass Subscription Cancellation."
    The Status column reads "Processed" after PayPal finishes processing your mass cancellation file.
  7. Click the Details link to see statistics about your mass subscription cancellation and to download a mass cancellation log file.
    The Transaction Details page opens to display the following statistics:
    • Total Emails – Number of email addresses uploaded from your file.
    • Emails Matched – Number of email addresses that matched one or more active subscriptions.
    • Emails Not Matched – Number of email addresses that matched no active subscriptions or matched subscriptions that were already completed or canceled.
    • Successful Cancellations – Number of subscriptions canceled. This number may be higher than the number of emails matched if any email address had more than one active subscription.
  8. Click the View Details button to download a mass cancellation log file.
    PayPal prompts you to open or save a file named BatchLog.txt. Each line in the file represents the actions taken against a subscription. Each line begins with the subscription ID and has the email address of the subscriber and the processing date. The log file reports the following processing results:
    • Success – The subscription was canceled.
    • Failed Already cancelled – The subscription was canceled already.
    • Failed Already completed – The subscription ended already.
    • Failed – A general failure occurred, as identified by the failure code.
    • No Match – The email address did not match any of your subscriptions.

Suspending Subscriptions

If you accepted your first subscription payment after October 15, 2009:

You can suspend a buyer's subscription. Suspending a subscription lets you stop charging the buyer, but keep their subscription profile active so you can use it for future charges. For example, if your subscriber is going on vacation and wants to stop receiving the subscription material during that time, you can suspend their subscription. Only PayPal merchants can suspend subscriptions.

  1. Log in to your PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com.
  2. Click the History subtab.
    The History page opens.
  3. From the More Filters dropdown menu, select Subscriptions and agreements > Recurring payments > My profiles.
    The History pages displays a list of recurring payment setup transactions.
  4. In the My profiles list, locate the subscription that you want to suspend.
  5. In the row for that subscription, click the Details link.
    The Recurring Payments : Profile Details page opens.
  6. Click the Suspend link under Profile Status.
  7. Click the Yes button to confirm the suspension.
    The Recurring Payments : Profile Details page refreshes with a message confirming that the subscription is suspended and no further amounts will be collected.
    Note: You can reactivate the subscription later to resume the collection of payments by returning to the profile and clicking the Reactivate link under Profile status.

Editing a Subscription Profile

If you accepted your first subscription payment after October 15, 2009:

As a subscription service provider, you can edit a buyer's subscription profile in the Edit Profile page. Use this page to update buyer information, adjust the cost or cycles of the subscription, and specify how to handle missing or failed payments.

  1. Log in to your PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com.
  2. Click the History subtab.
    The History page opens.
  3. From the More Filters dropdown menu, select Subscriptions and agreements > Recurring payments > My profiles.
    The History pages displays a list of recurring payment setup transactions.
  4. In the My profiles list, locate the subscription that you want to edit.
  5. In the row for that subscription, click the Details link.
    The Recurring Payments : Profile Details page opens.
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the page and then click the Edit Profile button.
    The Recurring Payment Details page opens.
  7. Change the subscription service name by entering the new name in the Product/service text field.
  8. Change the limit of failed payments allowed for this subscription in the Failed payments maximum field.
    • To set a limit, click the Suspend after radio button and enter a number in the failed payments field.
    • To remove a limit, click the No limit radio button.
  9. Indicate whether to include missing payments in the next billing by selecting Yes or No from the Add missing payments to next billing dropdown menu.
  10. Edit the subscription payment cycle in the Total Number of cycles section. Click the payments radio button and enter the number of payments, or click the Indefinite radio button to continue payments until the account is cancelled.
  11. Enter any changes to the subscription cost in the Cost section.
  12. Update the buyer's shipping information in the Shipping address section. You can change the name, address, city, state, or zip code. You cannot change the shipping country.
  13. Click the Save button.

End-of-Term Messages Sent Through Instant Payment Notification

This feature is available only if you accepted your first subscription payment before October 15, 2009.

Instant Payment Notification sends end-of-term messages when subscriptions end. Use these messages to automatically terminate subscription password access to members-only content.

For more information about Subscriptions Password Management, see Generating Usernames and Passwords with Subscribe Buttons.

For subscriptions with no recurring payments, end-of-term messages are sent when the subscription period ends. For subscriptions with recurring payments and a limited number of billing cycles, end-of-term messages are sent at the end of the last billing cycle. For subscriptions that are canceled, end-of-term messages are sent when the subscription period or the current billing cycle ends. For subscriptions that PayPal cancels due to failures in attempts to collect recurring payments, end-of-term messages are sent immediately.

End-of-Term Examples

  • Term – $10 USD for 6 months, paid on the 1st of March
  • End-of-Term – sent on the 1st of September, 7 months after sign up
  • Term – $9.99 USD per month, paid on the 1st of March
  • Cancellation – manually on the 15th of June
  • End-of-Term – sent on the 1st July, at the end of the current billing cycle
  • Term – $10 USD for 6 months, paid on the 1st of March, with reattempts of failed recurring payments enabled
  • Payment failure – on the 1st of June
  • 1st reattempt failure – on the 4th of June
  • 2nd reattempt failure – on the 9th of June
  • Cancellation – final payment failure on the 9th of June
  • End-of-Term – sent on the 9th of June

For more information, see Reattempting Failed Recurring Payments with Subscribe Buttons.

Advanced Features of Subscribe Buttons

Offering Trial Periods and Introductory Rates with Subscribe Buttons

Offer trial periods to let people try your subscription service before their regular subscription and its recurring payments begin. You can set the prices and durations of trial periods independently of the regular subscription price and billing cycle.

How Subscriptions with Trial Periods Work

The following example shows how subscribers are billed for trial periods.

Subscriptions That Include Trial Periods

Subscription Terms:

  • An initial trial period, free of charge, that lasts for 7 days
  • A second trial period for $5 USD, that lasts three additional 3 weeks
  • A regular subscription for $10 USD per month starting after both trial periods expire

The Subscriber signs up on Aug.1, and is billed as follows:

  • Aug. 1 = $0.00 USD
  • Aug. 9 = $5.00 USD
  • Aug. 31 = $10.00 USD

Specifying Trial Periods with Subscribe Buttons

Do one of following to add Subscribe buttons to your website that include trial periods:

Limiting the Number of Billing Cycles with Subscribe Buttons

If you want subscribers to renew periodically, limit the number of billing cycles with your subscriptions. Recurring subscription payments stop after that number of billing cycles has been reached.

How Subscriptions with Limited Billing Cycles Work

The following example shows how subscribers are billed on installment plans with a limited number of billing cycles.

Subscription Terms That Limit the Number of Billing Cycles

Subscription Terms:

  • A regular subscription for $19.95 USD a month, for a total of 3 months

The Subscriber signs up on Aug.15, and is billed as follows:

  • Aug. 15 = $19.95 USD
  • Sept. 15 = $19.95 USD
  • Oct. 15 = $19.95 USD

Specifying the Limit on Billing Cycles with Subscribe Buttons

Do one of following to add Subscribe buttons to your website that limit the number of billing cycles:

Offering Product Options with Subscribe Buttons

Prompt subscribers for product options, such as size or color. You can prompt buyers for their option selections with dropdown menus or with text boxes. PayPal limits you to 7 product options on a single Subscribe button. One option can prompt for selections that affect the price with a dropdown menu. Up to 4 options can prompt for selections with dropdown menus, and up to 2 options can prompt for selections with text boxes.

Specifying Product Options with Subscribe Buttons

Do one of the following to create Subscribe buttons that offer product options:

Working with Modify Subscription Buttons

Let subscribers modify their active subscriptions by adding a Modify Subscription button to your website. If you offer different subscriptions levels, Modify Subscription buttons let your subscribers upgrade to a higher level without an interruption in service.

How PayPal Lets Subscribers Modify Their Subscriptions

Modify Subscription buttons let subscribers accept a new set of subscriptions terms and pricing for their current, active subscriptions.

You can write the HTML code for Modify Subscription buttons that allow subscribers to:

  • Modify their active subscriptions, or sign up for new subscriptions
  • Modify their active subscriptions only

The following example shows how subscribers use Modify Subscription buttons to upgrade their subscriptions from one level of service to another.

Subscribers Use Modify Subscription Buttons

Subscription terms:

  • A basic subscription for $29.95 USD a month, for one year
  • A premium subscription for $69.95 USD every six months

Bob signed up on Feb. 15 for a basic subscription.

  • On Apr. 26, he decides to upgrade his basic subscription to a premium subscription:
    • Bob visits the subscription website, finds a webpage that lets him upgrade his subscription, and clicks the Subscribe button.
    • PayPal displays a log-in page. Bob enters his PayPal credentials and logs in.
    • PayPal displays the Review Subscription Details page, which lets Bob see his current subscription terms and the new terms he is about to agree to.
  • Bob retains his current subscription with Alice's Used Books.
  • The new terms take effect at the end of the current billing cycle, May. 15.

Specifying Options for Modify Subscription Buttons

To create a Modify Subscription button, you must be able to write HTML code. You can generate most of the button code with the button creation tool on the PayPal website. Then, you manually add your own code to the generated code.

Do one of the following:

Using the Button Creating Tool for Modify Subscription Buttons

To create a Modify Subscription button by using the button creation tool on the PayPal website:

  1. Follow the procedure for Step 1 – Specifying Basic Features of Your Subscribe Button.
    • Select a button image that reads "Subscribe."
    • Specify the terms and pricing that will apply after subscriptions are modified.
  2. (Optional) Click the Step 2 bar, depending on whether you want to save your button in your PayPal account and whether you want to track inventory for the items you are selling by subscription. Follow the instructions for Step 2 – Tracking Inventory and Profit and Loss with Your Subscribe Button.
  3. Click the Step 3 bar, and then follow the instructions for Step 3 – Adding Advanced Features to Your Subscribe Button.
    • Add any advanced features that you want for the modified subscription.
    • Select the Add Advanced Variables checkbox; then in the text box below it, enter one of the following lines of code:
      modify="1" – Add this line of code to let subscribers modify their active subscriptions or sign up for new, additional subscriptions. If a subscriber has an active subscription, PayPal displays a page during checkout for accepting the new terms and pricing, with a link to a page to sign up for a new, additional subscription with the new terms and pricing. If a subscriber has a prior subscription that ended or was canceled, PayPal lets the subscriber sign up for a new subscription with the modified terms and prices.
      modify="2" – Add this line of code to let subscribers modify existing subscriptions only. If a a subscriber has an active subscription, PayPal displays a page during checkout for accepting the new terms and pricing. The page does not allow subscribers to sign up for new subscriptions.
  4. Click the Create Button button.
    The Add a Subscribe button to your website page or the You've created your button pages opens, depending on whether you are saving the button in you PayPal account.
  5. Follow the procedure for Copying and Pasting the Subscribe Code.

For more information, see Sample HTML Code for a Modify Subscription Button.

Creating Modify Subscription Buttons with JavaScript Disabled

To create a Modify Subscription button with JavaScript disabled:

  1. Follow the procedure for Creating Advanced Subscribe Buttons on the PayPal Website.
    • Specify the terms and pricing that will apply after the subscriptions are modified.
    • Select a button image that reads "Subscribe."
    • Make sure you select the No radio button in the section about button encryption.
  2. Click the Create Button Now button.
    The Add a Subscribe button to your website page opens.
  3. For a payment button, follow the procedure for Copying and Pasting the HTML Code for Your Subscribe Button to copy and paste everything in the HTML code for Websites text box onto your webpage. Then, add the following code.
    Do one of the following between the <form> and </form> tags in the pasted code:
    • To let subscribers modify their active subscriptions or sign up for new, additional subscriptions, insert the following line of code:

      <input type="hidden" name="modify" value="1">

      If a subscriber has an active subscription, PayPal displays a page during checkout for accepting the new terms and pricing, with a link to a page to sign up for a new, additional subscription with the new terms and pricing.

      If a subscriber has a prior subscription that ended or was canceled, PayPal lets the subscriber sign up for a new subscription with the modified terms and prices.

    • To let subscribers modify existing subscriptions only, insert the following line of code:

      <input type="hidden" name="modify" value="2">

      If a a subscriber has an active subscription, PayPal displays a page during checkout for accepting the new terms and pricing. The page does not allow subscribers to sign up for new subscriptions.

  4. For an email payment link, follow the procedure for Copying and Pasting the Code for the Email Payment Link to copy and paste everything in the Link for Emails text box into your email. Then, add the following code.

    Do one of the following at the end of the pasted URL:

    • To let subscribers modify their active subscriptions or sign up for new, additional subscriptions, add the following variable and value:

      modify=1

    • To let subscribers modify existing subscriptions only, add the following variable and value:

      modify=2

For more information, see Sample HTML Code for a Modify Subscription Button.

Working with Unsubscribe Buttons

Let subscribers cancel their active subscriptions by adding Unsubscribe buttons to your website.

How PayPal Cancels Subscriptions

When subscribers cancel their subscriptions, they avoid future recurring payments. If subscribers cancel their subscriptions before payment is sent on the due date for the recurring payment, PayPal cancels their subscriptions immediately and does not deduct the payment.

The example described below shows how subscribers use an Unsubscribe button to cancel a subscription.

Note: Subscribers can cancel their subscriptions from the Subscription Details pages of their PayPal accounts. For more information, see Canceling Individual Subscriptions.
Subscribers Cancel Their Subscriptions

Subscription terms:

  • A regular subscription for $20.00 USD a month, for one year

Bob signs up for a subscription on Feb. 15:

  • On Aug. 28, Bob decides to cancel his subscription:.
    • Bob visits the subscription website, finds a webpage that lets him cancel his subscription, and clicks the Unsubscribe button.
    • PayPal displays a log-in page. Bob enters his PayPal credentials and logs in.
    • PayPal displays the Subscription Details page for his subscription.
    • Bob scrolls to the bottom of the page and clicks the Unsubscribe button.
  • Bob's subscription remains active through Sep. 14.
  • PayPal collects no more recurring payments from Bob.

Creating Unsubscribe Buttons

Complete one of these tasks to add an Unsubscribe button to your website:

Generating Usernames and Passwords with Subscribe Buttons

Let PayPal generate unique usernames and passwords for your subscribers when they sign up for subscription memberships to your website. Use PayPal Subscriptions Password Management to enable access to members-only content on your website automatically.

Important: Subscriptions Password Management and Auto Return are incompatible. Turn Auto Return off if you want PayPal to manage subscription passwords.
 
For more information, see Auto Return.

How Subscriptions Password Management Works

After subscribers sign up for your subscription, PayPal generates their usernames and passwords automatically. PayPal displays the generated values to subscribers on the PayPal payment confirmation page and in the PayPal confirmation email. In addition, PayPal displays generated usernames and initial passwords to subscribers from their PayPal accounts.

Your website uses the generated usernames and initial passwords to set up new accounts so that your subscribers can log in. Your website receives new subscription messages through Instant Payment Notification, which requires advanced programming skills to implement.

After you implement Instant Payment Notification on your website, you write additional programming code that captures the generated usernames and initial passwords for new subscriptions. You should also write code to capture cancellation and end-of-term notices, so that you can update your member database to turn off access to members-only content.

For more information about Instant Payment Notification, see the Instant Payment Notification Guide.

Downloading the Subscriptions Password Management Perl Script

PayPal provides a Perl script that you can use to help automate access to members-only content for new subscribers, provided your website uses "Basic Authentication" with an Apache web server that runs on Linux. The Perl script interacts with Instant Payment Notification to automatically activate and deactivate subscriber accounts on your website.

Note: You must agree to the terms of use before you can download the installation manual and the Perl script from the PayPal website.

To download the manual and the Perl script for use with Subscriptions Password Management:

  1. Log in to your PayPal Business account at https://www.paypal.com.
  2. Click the Merchant Services tab.

    The Tools for existing PayPal merchants page opens.

  3. Under the Create Buttons heading, click the Subscribe link.

    The Subscriptions & Recurring Payments button page opens.

  4. In the text beside the first checkbox on the page, click the IPN and server modifications required link.

    The Subscriptions Password Management page opens.

  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the Download the Perl script link.

    The User Agreement page opens.

  6. Read the PayPal software license agreement, and then click the I agree button.

    The Subscriptions Download page opens.

  7. Do both of the following:

Specifying to Generate Usernames and Passwords with Subscribe Buttons

Do one of following to add Subscribe buttons to your website that generate usernames and passwords automatically for subscribers:

Reattempting Failed Recurring Payments with Subscribe Buttons

PayPal cancels subscriptions when recurring payments fail. A recurring payment fails if funds cannot be moved from the subscriber's PayPal account to your own. Limits on the availability of funds in PayPal accounts occur rarely, for a variety of reasons.

Temporary limits that PayPal places on subscribers' accounts are often lifted quickly. To avoid unnecessary cancellations, you can specify that PayPal should reattempt failed payments before canceling subscriptions.

How PayPal Reattempts Failed Recurring Payments

PayPal reattempts to collect recurring payments three days after the day on which recurring payments fail. If the first reattempt to collect a recurring payment fails, PayPal waits 5 days to reattempt a second time. If the second reattempt fails, PayPal cancels the subscription.

Note: PayPal automatically reattempts payments made with bank accounts 3 days after PayPal notifies subscribers that their payments failed.

Reattempts will not occur if another subscription payment is scheduled within 14 days of the failed payment, so that payments do not overlap.

PayPal Reattempts to Collect a Failed Recurring Payment

Subscription Terms:

  • A regular subscription for $20.00 USD a month, for one year

Bob signs up for a subscription on Feb. 12.

  • On Apr. 12, PayPal attempts to collect Bob's recurring $20.00 payment, but the payment fails because of a temporary limit placed on Bob's PayPal account.
  • On Apr. 15, PayPal reattempts to collect Bob's recurring $20.00 payment for April, but the payment fails again because the temporary limit remains on Bob's PayPal account.
  • On Apr. 18, Bob takes action on his PayPal account, and PayPal lifts the temporary limit.
  • On Apr. 20, PayPal reattempts to collect Bob's recurring $20.00 payment for April, and the payment succeeds.
  • On May 12, PayPal attempts to collect Bob's recurring $20.00 payment for May, and the payment succeeds.

Specifying to Reattempt Failed Recurring Payments with Subscribe Buttons

Subscribe buttons reattempt failed recurring payments by default. To override the default, specify the sra HTML variable with the value set to 0.

For more information, see Sample HTML Code for a Subscribe Button That Reattempts Payments.

Creating Advanced Subscribe Buttons on the PayPal Website

The Basic Steps for Using the Tool with Subscribe Buttons

The button creation tool on the PayPal website is a single webpage with three sections:

  • Step 1 – Choose button type and enter payment details – This section lets you specify the basic details of your payment button.
  • Step 2 – Save your buttons (optional) – This section lets you control whether PayPal saves the important details of your button in your PayPal account.
  • Step 3 – Customize advanced features (optional) – This section lets you work with advanced features of payment buttons. If you are familiar with HTML programming and the advanced HTML variables supported by PayPal Payments Standard, you can enter them here.

One section at a time is open for you to work with. To work with another section, click its step bar to expand it.

You can switch between the sections as often as you like, until you click the Create Button button at the bottom of the page. Then, PayPal generates the code for your button and displays it on the You are viewing your button code page. Copy the code and paste it onto your webpage, and your payment button is complete.

Saving Subscribe Buttons in Your PayPal Account

By default, the button creation tool saves payment buttons in your PayPal account. The tool saves your button and generates the code when you click the Create Button. You must copy and paste the generated code onto your webpages, whether or not you save your button at PayPal. The generated code is shorter for saved buttons, because PayPal keeps most of the information about your button in your account, instead of placing it in the code that you add to your website.

Saving your payment buttons in your PayPal account has these benefits:

  • Your payment buttons are more secure, because the generated code that you add to your website contains no information that can be tampered with to produce fraudulent payments.
  • You can edit the details and options for your payment buttons in your PayPal account, without changing the button code that you added to your website.
    Note: If you change product options, you must copy and paste the code that is newly generated by PayPal to replace the code that you pasted previously.
  • You can track inventory, and you can track profit and loss.

Use the Step 2 section of the button creation tool to control whether your button is saved in your PayPal account. You can have a maximum of 1,000 saved buttons in your PayPal account.

Tracking Inventory and Profit and Loss for Subscribe Buttons

If you save payment buttons in your PayPal account, PayPal can track inventory and can track profit and loss for the items that your buttons sell. PayPal can track inventory and profit and loss for items themselves or separately by product options.

Use the Step 2 section of the button creation tool to specify the information that lets PayPal track inventory and profit and loss.

Tracking Inventory

If you track inventory, PayPal helps avoid oversold situations. PayPal sends an alert by email when your inventory on hand falls to or below the alert level you specify. You can let oversold payments go through, or you can warn buyers and prevent them from specifying more than your quantity on hand.

Tracking Profit and Loss

If you track profit and loss, PayPal helps you understand the profitability of your items. Enter the cost of your item, and PayPal provides profit and loss reports based on the volume of sales. Make sure to include all you costs to sell the item, including costs to acquire it and handle it until sold.

Adding Advanced Features to Subscribe Buttons with HTML Variables

Some advanced features of payment buttons can be specified only with HTML variables. If you are familiar with HTML programming and the advanced HTML variables supported by PayPal Payments Standard payment buttons, you can enter them in the button creation tool before the button code is generated.

Use the Step 3 section of the button creation tool to enter advanced HTML variables that you want to include in your payment button.

Generating Code for Subscribe Buttons and Email Payment Links

When you create Subscribe buttons with tools on the PayPal website, PayPal generates HTML code for website payment buttons. Then, you copy and paste the HTML code onto the pages of your website.

In addition to HTML code, PayPal generates URL code for email payment links. Use email payment links to add Subscribe functionality to your email messages. If your web editing tool or your service provider does not allow you to paste HTML code onto your webpages, you may be able to paste the URL code for email payment links onto your webpages instead.

Protecting HTML Code for Subscribe Buttons

When you create Subscribe code with tools on the PayPal website, PayPal lets your protect the HTML button code that it generates by encrypting part of it. Protecting the HTML code of your payment buttons helps protect against malicious tampering and fraudulent payments.

Important: Merchants with significant payment volume are required to take precautions on securing PayPal Payments Standard buttons.
 
For more information, see Securing Your PayPal Payments Standard Buttons.

Step 1 – Specifying Basic Features of Your Subscribe Button

Use the Step 1 section of the button creation tool to specify the basic features of your button. In addition, you can customize the look of the button and choose whether the button includes your email address or your merchant ID.

  1. Log in to your PayPal Premier or Business account at https://www.paypal.com.

    The My Account Overview page opens.

  2. Click the Profile subtab.

    The Profile Summary page opens.

  3. Under the Selling Preferences heading, click the My Saved Buttons link, and then do one of the following:
    • To create a button from scratch, in the Related Items box on the right, click the Create New Button link.
    • To create a button similar to one already in your list, at the end of the row for the button, click the Action dropdown menu, and then click the Create similar button link.

    The Create PayPal payment button page opens.

  4. In the Choose a button type dropdown menu, select "Subscriptions."
  5. Enter the payment details of your button.
    • Item name – Enter a name for the subscription. If you enter nothing in this field, your subscribers complete this field during checkout.

      For example, enter "Alice's Monthly Digest".

    • Subscription ID – (Optional) If you offer different kinds of subscriptions, such as monthly and annual billing periods, enter an identifying code for this subscription.

      If you want PayPal to track inventory levels, enter a value that is unique among all the items that you sell by subscription and want PayPal to track. For more information, see Step 2 of Step 2 – Tracking Inventory and Profit and Loss with Your Subscribe Button.

    • Currency – Select the currency for the priced of your the item; the dropdown menu automatically selects the currency of your primary balance.

      If you customize the text of your button by changing the country elsewhere in the Step 1 section, make sure here to select a currency to match.

  6. (Optional) Customize your button with product options, by doing any of the following.
    • Add dropdown menu with prices and options – Select this checkbox to add a dropdown menu of options that set the price for the subscription.

      In the Description field, enter a value, such as "Choose a payment." For each Menu Name, enter a value, such as "Daily." In the Amount for each option, enter a price. In the Frequency for each option, select "Daily," "Weekly," "Monthly," or "Yearly."

      To preview your dropdown menu, click the Done button.

      To change the description and options of your dropdown menu, click the Edit link.

      To remove an option, clear the Menu name, and then click the Done button.

      To remove the dropdown menu of prices and options from your button, click the Delete link.

    • Add dropdown menu with price/option – Select this checkbox to add a dropdown menu of product options that set the price for the item.

      In the Menu option name, enter a value, such as "Color." For each Menu option name, enter values, such as "Red," "Green," or "Blue." In the Price for each option, enter the price of the item. In the Currency dropdown menu, select the currency for all option prices.

      To preview your dropdown menu, click the Done button.

      To change the name and options of your dropdown menu, click the Edit link.

      To remove an option, clear the Menu option name, and then click the Done button.

      To remove the dropdown menu of price/options from your button, click the Delete link.

    • Add text field – Select this checkbox to add a text box in which buyers enter option information.

      In the Enter name of text box field, enter a value, such as "Enter your size – S, M, L."

      To preview your text field, click the Done button.

      To change the name of your text field, click the Edit link .

      To remove the text box from your button, click the Delete link.

      To add another text box, click the Add another text box link. Your button can have a maximum of 2 text boxes.

    For more information, see Offering Product Options with Subscribe Buttons.

  7. Click the link and do one of the following (optional).
    • PayPal button – Select this radio button to use a button image that PayPal hosts on its servers. You can configure the size of the button, whether the button displays payment card logos, and the country and language for the button text.

      If you change the country, make sure to select the currency elsewhere in the Step 1 section to match.

    • Use your own button – Select this radio button to specify the URL of your own button image, which PayPal does not host on its servers. Use your own button image if the buttons that PayPal hosts do not match the look of your website.

      If host your image on a secure server, change the text box to begin with https://.

  8. Set the terms of the subscription.
    • Have PayPal create user names and passwords for customers – To have PayPal generate usernames and passwords for your subscribers, select this checkbox.

      For more information, see Generating Usernames and Passwords with Subscribe Buttons.

    • Billing amount each cycle – Enter the amount you want to bill subscribers for each billing cycle. The amount is drawn from subscribers' PayPal accounts at the beginning of each cycle.
    • Billing Cycle – In the dropdown menus, select a number and a unit of duration for the regular subscription billing cycle.

      For example, to set a quarterly billing cycle, select "3" and "month(s)."

    • (Optional) After how many cycles should billing stop? – If you want to limit the number of regular billing cycles, select the number from the dropdown menu.

      For more information, see Limiting the Number of Billing Cycles with Subscribe Buttons.

  9. (Optional) Offer a trial period to your subscribers.

    You can offer subscribers a trial period. You can offer the trial period at no charge or at a discount compared to the regular billing amount. The trial period can differ in duration from that of the regular billing cycle.

    Select the I want to offer a trial period checkbox and set the following trial period options:

    • Amount to bill for the trial period – Enter the amount you want to charge for the trial period. Leave the amount blank to offer a free trial period.
    • Define the trail period – In the dropdown menus, select a number and a unit of time for the trial period.

      For example, you might select "1" and "month(s)."

    • (Optional) Do you want to offer a second trial period? – Select the Yes radio button, and then enter the amount to bill and how long the second trial period lasts.

    For more information, see Offering Trial Periods and Introductory Rates with Subscribe Buttons.

  10. Choose between your secure merchant account ID and your primary email address.
    • Use my secure merchant account ID – Select this radio button to link your button with your PayPal account by using your secure merchant ID.

      Only PayPal can match your merchant ID with you and your PayPal account. Your email address is never exposed in the HTML button code on your webpages.

      Note: If you have a Premier account, your email address still might be exposed within the <head> tag of your payment pages.
    • Use my primary email address – Select this radio button to link your button with your PayPal account by using your primary email address.

      Your email address is exposed in the HTML button code on your webpages. Do not select this option if you don't save your button in your PayPal account and you do not protect your payment button with encryption.

    Important: Your email address is a less secure way to link your button with your PayPal account than your secure merchant ID. Your email address is exposed on webpages wherever you paste the HTML code for your button.
  11. Do one of the following:

Step 2 – Tracking Inventory and Profit and Loss with Your Subscribe Button

Use the Step 2 section of the button creation tool to track inventory and profit and loss for the items that your button sells.

By default, the Step 2 section saves details about your button in your PayPal account. If you do not save your button in your account, PayPal cannot track inventory or profit and loss for your item.

If you track inventory, PayPal helps avoid oversold situations. PayPal sends an alert by email when your inventory on hand falls to or below the alert level you specify. You can let oversold payments go through, or you can warn buyers and prevent them from specifying more than your quantity on hand.

If you track profit and loss, PayPal helps you understand the profitability of your items. Enter the cost of your item, and PayPal provides profit and loss reports based on the volume of sales. Make sure to include all you costs to sell the item, including costs to acquire it and handle it until sold.

For more information, see Tracking Inventory and Profit and Loss for Subscribe Buttons.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Clear the Add you button to My saved buttons checkbox if you do not want to save the important details of your button in your PayPal account.

      If you do not save your button, PayPal cannot track inventory or profit and loss for your item.

      The HTML code that PayPal generates and that you paste onto your webpage contains all payment details and information that identifies your PayPal account. You may need to take extra precautions to secure your buttons against fraudulent payments.

      For more information, see Securing Your PayPal Payments Standard Buttons.

    • Select the Add your button to My saved buttons checkbox to save the payment details of your button in your PayPal account.

      The HTML code that PayPal generates and that you paste onto your webpage contains no payment or identifying information.

      "Add your button to My saved buttons" is the default for this feature.

      For more information, see Saving Subscribe Buttons in Your PayPal Account.

  2. Select the Track inventory checkbox to enter information that PayPal uses to track inventory for your item. Then, do one of the following:
    • By Item – Select this radio button if you want to track inventory regardless of product options that buyers select.
      Enter the quantity that you currently have in stock and an alert level. PayPal sends you an alert by email when your inventory on hand falls to or below the alert level.
    • By Option – Select this radio button if want to track inventory by product options that you set up during Step 1 of the button creation tool.
      For each option listed, enter a unique item ID, the quantity that you currently have in stock, and an alert level. PayPal sends you an alert by email when your inventory on hand for any option falls to or below its alert level.
  3. Select the Track profit and loss checkbox to enter information that PayPal uses to track profit and loss for your item.

    You do not have to track inventory to track profit and loss. If you track inventory, you can track profit and loss only in the same way – either by item or by product option.

    If you only track profit and loss and do not track inventory, do one of the following:

    • By Item – Select this radio button if you want to track profit and loss regardless of product options selected by buyers.
    • By Option – Select this radio button if want to track profit and loss by product options that you set up during Step 1 of the button creation tool. If you set up product options with prices, PayPal sets the radio button automatically and you cannot change it.

    In the Item ID field, enter a unique ID for the item the button sells, if you did not enter it during Step 1 of the button creation tool.

    In the Price field, enter the cost to you of your item or for each product option. Make sure to include all your costs to sell the item, including costs to acquire it and handle it until sold.

  4. Under the Do you want to let customers check out even if an item is sold out? heading, do one of the following:
    • Yes, let them checkout – Select this radio button to let buyers check out even when inventory tracking shows that your item would become oversold. Buyers are not informed of oversold or out-of-stock situations nor that their items will be on back order after they complete checking out.
    • No, don't let them buy the item – Select this radio button to prevent buyers from checking out when inventory tracking shows that your item would become oversold. In the text box, enter the URL of a page on your website where you want PayPal to send buyers of oversold items.

      "No" is the default choice for this feature.

      When the inventory falls to 0, PayPal lets buyers know that the item is completely out.

      Buyers click the Continue Shopping button to return to the webpage at the URL that you specified.

  5. Do one of the following:

Step 3 – Adding Advanced Features to Your Subscribe Button

Use the Step 3 section of the button creation tool to specify commonly used advanced features for your button. In addition, use the Step 3 section to add advanced HTML variables to your button for other, less commonly used features.

  1. Do you need your customer's shipping address?
    • No – Select this radio button if you do not want to prompt buyers for shipping addresses.
      Select this option for items that do not require shipping, such as digital goods that buyers download, or for services that do not require on-site delivery.
    • Yes – Select this radio button to prompt buyers to select or enter shipping addresses during checkout.

    "Yes" is the default choice for this feature.

  2. Take customers to a specific webpage (URL) when they cancel their checkout?

    You might have a special page on your website where buyers return when they cancel their checkout. If so, select the checkbox and enter the URL for that page.

  3. Take customers to a specific webpage (URL) after they finish checkout?

    You might have a special page on your website where buyers return after they check out successfully. If so, select the checkbox and enter the URL for that page.

    Note: If you have a special webpage where buyers return after they finish checkout, consider implementing Payment Data Transfer (PDT). It lets you display information about the completed payment.
     
    To learn more, see the Payment Data Transfer page.
  4. Advanced variables

    If you are familiar with HTML and the advanced HTML variables PayPal Payments Standard payment buttons support, enter them here. Select the checkbox, and then enter the variables in the text box below it.

    Enter any advanced HTML variables by using the name/value-pair format variableName=allowedValue.

    Do not enclose values in quotes, even for values that contain spaces. PayPal surrounds values from the equal sign (=) to the end of the line with quotes in the generated code automatically.

    For example, you want PayPal to display during checkout custom payment pages that you set up in your Account Profile. When you include a page_style variable in HTML code that you write manually, you use the standard HTML format <input type="hidden" name="page_style" value="myPageStyle">. In the text box instead, enter the variables using the shortened, name/value-pair format, page_style=myPageStyle.

    For more information, see HTML Form Basics for PayPal Payments Standard.

  5. Do one of the following:

Copying and Pasting the Subscribe Code

After you click the Create Button button, PayPal displays the You are viewing your button code page. The page contains tabs with button code for specific situations:

  • Website – Copy and paste the HTML button code on this tab onto the pages of your website.
  • Email – Copy and paste the URL email payment link code on this tab into email templates and messages, or paste it onto webpages if your hosting provider does not allow you to paste HTML code.

Regardless of saving your buttons in your PayPal account, you must copy and paste the code that PayPal generates onto your own webpages and into email templates and messages.

Copying and Pasting the HTML Code for Your Subscribe Button

The Website tab on the You are viewing your button code page contains the generated HTML code for your payment button.

If you chose not to save your button in your PayPal account, PayPal protects the generated HTML code with encryption automatically. Protected HTML code helps secure your buttons against malicious tampering and fraudulent payments.

You can expose the code of your payment button by clicking the Remove code protection link at the upper right of text box. For example, you might remove protection so that you can edit the code later to change the item price. If you remove code protection, use other methods that PayPal recommends for securing your payment button. Click the Protect code link to restore the button protection that you removed.

Important: Merchants with significant payment volume are required to take precautions on securing PayPal Payments Standard buttons.
 
For more information, see Securing Your PayPal Payments Standard Buttons.
  1. Click the Select Code button on the Websites tab to select all of the generated HTML code.
  2. Do one of the following to copy the selected text to the clipboard:
    • For Windows and Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Copy.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+C.
    • For Mac, press CMD+C.
  3. In your web editing tool, open the webpage where you want to place your button.
    Important: Be sure that your tool is ready for you to paste HTML code, such as by switching to an HTML view from a design view of your webpage.
  4. Do one of the following to paste the text from the clipboard onto your webpage, where you want the button to appear:
    • For Windows or Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Paste.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+V.
    • For Mac, press CMD+V.

Copying and Pasting the Code for the Email Payment Link

The Email tab on the You are viewing your button code page contains the generated URL code for your email payment link.

  1. Click the Select Code button on the Email tab to select all of the generated URL code.
  2. Do one of the following to copy the selected text to the clipboard:
    • For Windows and Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Copy.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+C.
    • For Mac, press CMD+C.
  3. Open the email template or message that you want to send.
  4. Do one of the following to paste the text from the clipboard onto your webpage, where you want the button to appear:
    • For Windows or Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Paste.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+V.
    • For Mac, press CMD+V.

Avoiding Problems with Pasted HTML Code

After you paste the code onto your webpage or into your email, ensure that it matches exactly the code that you copied from PayPal. Pasted code may not match the generated code for the following reasons:

  • You did not copy all of the generated code.
  • Your editing tool may have special areas for pasting HTML code and other areas for pasting URLs and display text. Be sure you paste the generated code into a field that accepts HTML code or URLs.
  • Your editing tool might change some characters in the pasted code.

Using the Button Creation Tool for an Unsubscribe Button

Each time you create a Subscribe button, the Button Creation Tool gives you a chance to create an Unsubscribe button. In addition, you can use the same HTML code for as many Unsubcribe buttons as you want – the code is identical. In other words, you can paste the same Unsubscribe button code into each of your web pages that needs one.

Note: You cannot save Unsubscribe buttons in your PayPal account, and the HTML button code that PayPal generates does not require protection.

For more information, see Working with Unsubscribe Buttons.

  1. Log in to your PayPal Premier or Business account at https://www.paypal.com.

    The account overview page opens.

  2. Click the Profile subtab.

    The My Profile page opens.

  3. On the box on the left of this page, click My selling tools.

    A page displaying your selling tools options opens.

  4. In the Selling online section of this page, click the Get Started link next to the PayPal buttons item.

    NOTE: You will seed an Update link rather than a Get Started link if you have already created a payment button.

    The My Saved Buttons page opens.

  5. On this page, do one of these things:
    • To create a button from scratch, in the Related Items box on the right, click the Create New Button link.
    • To create a button similar to one already in your list, select Create similar button from the Action dropdown menu at the end of the row for this button.

    In either case, the Create PayPal payment button page appears. This page is also known as the Button Creation Tool.

  6. From the Choose a button type dropdown menu, select Subscriptions.
  7. In the Billing amount each cycle text box, enter any amount you like.
  8. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the Step 2 bar.

    The Step 2: Track inventory, profit & loss (optional) section of the tool expands to fill the page.

  9. Clear the Save button at PayPal checkbox.
  10. Click the Create Button button.

    The Add your button code to your webpage page opens.

  11. Click the Create an Unsubscribe button link.
    Tip: This link is at the very bottom of the page.

    The Create PayPal payment button page opens.

  12. Click the Create Button button.

    The Add your button code to your webpage page opens again.

  13. Click the Select Code button on the Website tab and select all the generated HTML code.
  14. Copy this code to the clipboard by doing one of the following:
    • For Windows and Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Copy.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+C.
    • For Mac, press CMD+C.
  15. In your web editing tool, open the webpage where you want to show the Unsubscribe button.
    Important: Be sure that your editor is ready for you to paste HTML code, such as by switching to an HTML view from a design view of your webpage.
  16. Do one of the following to paste the button code from the clipboard into your webpage where you want the button to appear:
    • For Windows or Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Paste.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+V.
    • For Mac, press CMD+V.

Sample HTML Code for Subscribe Buttons

The sample HTML code in this section demonstrates various features of PayPal hosted Subscribe buttons:

Important: This section includes unencrypted button code examples for illustrative purposes only. In reality, you must always use encrypted or hosted buttons in your webpages to prevent malicious users from tampering with the code. See Securing Your PayPal Payments Standard Buttons for instructions.

Sample HTML Code for a Basic Subscribe Button

The sample HTML code below illustrates a basic Subscribe button with these features:

  • No trial periods
  • A subscription price of $5.00 USD
  • A monthly billing cycle
  • The subscription ends only when the merchant or subscriber cancel it.
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">

    <!-- Identify your business so that you can collect the payments. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="business" value="alice@mystore.com">

    <!-- Specify a Subscribe button. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">
    <!-- Identify the subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Alice's Weekly Digest">
    <input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="DIG Weekly">

    <!-- Set the terms of the regular subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
    <input type="hidden" name="a3" value="5.00">
    <input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
    <input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">

    <!-- Set recurring payments until canceled. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">

    <!-- Display the payment button. -->
    <input type="image" name="submit" border="0"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_subscribe_LG.gif"
    alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online">
    <img alt="" border="0" width="1" height="1"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" >
</form>

Sample HTML Code for a Subscribe Button with Trial Periods

The sample HTML code below illustrates a Subscribe button with these features:

  • An initial trial period that is free and lasts for 7 days.
  • A second trial periods that costs $5.00 USD and lasts for an additional 3 weeks.
  • The regular subscription begins 4 weeks after the subscriber signs up.
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">

    <!-- Identify your business so that you can collect the payments. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="business" value="alice@mystore.com">

    <!-- Specify a Subscribe button. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">

    <!-- Identify the subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Alice's Weekly Digest">
    <input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="DIG Weekly">

    <!-- Set the terms of the 1st trial period. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
    <input type="hidden" name="a1" value="0">
    <input type="hidden" name="p1" value="7">
    <input type="hidden" name="t1" value="D">

    <!-- Set the terms of the 2nd trial period. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="a2" value="5.00">
    <input type="hidden" name="p2" value="3">
    <input type="hidden" name="t2" value="W">

    <!-- Set the terms of the regular subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="a3" value="49.99">
    <input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
    <input type="hidden" name="t3" value="Y">

    <!-- Set recurring payments until canceled. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">

    <!-- Display the payment button. -->
    <input type="image" name="submit" border="0"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_subscribe_LG.gif"
    alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online">
    <img alt="" border="0" width="1" height="1"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" >
</form>

For more information, see Offering Trial Periods and Introductory Rates with Subscribe Buttons.

Sample HTML Code for a Subscribe Button with Limits on Billing Cycles

The sample HTML code below illustrates a Subscribe button that require renewal, with these features:

  • A subscription price of $69.95 USD
  • A monthly billing cycle
  • Expiration after 6 months, requiring renewal
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">

    <!-- Identify your business so that you can collect the payments. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="business" value="alice@mystore.com">

    <!-- Specify a Subscribe button. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">

    <!-- Identify the subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Alice's Monthly Digest">
    <input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="DIG Weekly">

    <!-- Set the terms of the recurring payments. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="a3" value="69.95">
    <input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
    <input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">

    <!-- Set recurring payments to stop after 6 billing cycles. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">
    <input type="hidden" name="srt" value="6">

    <!-- Display the payment button. -->
    <input type="image" name="submit" border="0"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_subscribe_LG.gif"
    alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online">
    <img alt="" border="0" width="1" height="1"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" >
</form>

For more information, see Limiting the Number of Billing Cycles with Subscribe Buttons.

Sample HTML Code for Subscribe Buttons with Product Options

When you add production options to your Subscribe buttons with HTML code that you write yourself, you can have a maximum of 10 product options, each with their own sets of choices. The options can be either dropdown menus or text boxes.

Read the following topics for sample code that illustrates various ways to add product options to Subscribe buttons.

For more information, see Offering Product Options with Subscribe Buttons.

Sample Code for a Subscribe Button with Product Options

The sample HTML code below illustrates a basic Subscribe button with a dropdown menu of product options.

<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">

    <!-- Identify your business so that you can collect the payments. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="business" value="alice@mystore.com">

    <!-- Specify a Subscribe button. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">

    <!-- Identify the subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Alice's Weekly Digest">
    <input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="DIG Weekly">

    <!-- Set the terms of the regular subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="a3" value="5.00">
    <input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
    <input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">

    <!-- Set recurring payments until canceled. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">

    <!-- Provide a dropdown menu option field. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="on0" value="Format">Format <br />
    <select name="os0">
    <option value="Select a format">-- Select a format --</option>
    <option value="plaintext">Plain text</option>
    <option value="HTML">HTML</option>
    </select> <br />

    <!-- Display the payment button. -->
    <input type="image" name="submit" border="0"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_subscribe_LG.gif"
    alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online">
    <img alt="" border="0" width="1" height="1"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" >
</form>

The sample code above produces the following result on your webpage:

Paste the code onto your webpage below an image or a text description of the item.

Sample Code for a Subscribe Button with Product Options as Text Boxes

The sample code below illustrates a basic Subscribe button with a text box for entering product options.

<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">

    <!-- Identify your business so that you can collect the payments. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="business" value="alice@mystore.com">

    <!-- Specify a Subscribe button. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">

    <!-- Identify the subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Alice's Weekly Digest">
    <input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="DIG Weekly">

    <!-- Set the terms of the regular subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="a3" value="5.00">
    <input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
    <input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">

    <!-- Set recurring payments until canceled. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">

    <!-- Provide the buyer with a text box option field. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="on0"
    value="Size">Enter your size (S, M, L, X, XX) <br />
    <input type="text" name="os0" maxlength="60"> <br />

    <!-- Display the payment button. -->
    <input type="image" name="submit" border="0"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_subscribe_LG.gif"
    alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online">
    <img alt="" border="0" width="1" height="1"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" >
</form>

The sample code above produces the following result on your webpage:

Paste the code onto your webpage below an image or a text description of the item.

Sample HTML Code for a Modify Subscription Button

The sample HTML code in this topic illustrates a Modify Subscription button, which lets subscribers convert their current subscriptions to a new set of terms. Modify Subscription buttons are useful for letting subscribers upgrade from one subscription level to another. The subscription number remains the same as before; only the terms of the subscription change.

The sample code illustrates a Modify Subscription button with these features:

  • A subscription price of $69.95 USD.
  • A 6-month billing cycle.
  • No limit on the number of billing cycles.
  • Subscription modification allowed for the above terms only. New subscriptions in addition to the current subscriptions are not allowed.

The subscription ends only when the merchant or subscriber cancel it.

<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">

    <!-- Identify your business so that you can collect the payments. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="business" value="alice@mystore.com">

    <!-- Specify a Subscribe button. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">

    <!-- Identify the subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Alice's Weekly Digest">
    <input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="DIG Weekly">

    <!-- Set the revised subscription price and terms. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
    <input type="hidden" name="a3" value="69.95">
    <input type="hidden" name="p3" value="6">
    <input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">

    <!-- Set recurring payments until canceled. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">

    <!-- Let current subscribers modify only. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="modify" value="2">

    <!-- Display the payment button. -->
    <input type="image" name="submit" border="0"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_subscribe_LG.gif"
    alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online">
    <img alt="" border="0" width="1" height="1"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" >
</form>

For more information, see Working with Modify Subscription Buttons.

Sample HTML Code for an Unsubscribe Button

While other payment buttons are implemented by HTML form markup, Unsubscribe buttons are image links to the subscription cancellation function on the PayPal website. The URL for the image link is specified with the HREF attribute, and it includes these URL-encoded parameters:

  • cmd – value is _subscr-find, which tells PayPal to cancel the current, active subscription of the PayPal account holder who clicked the Unsubscribe button.
  • alias – value is the secure merchant account ID of the subscription provider's PayPal account. This value is in the My business info section of your PayPal account profile.

The code snippet below implements an Unsubscribe button that lets subscribers cancel their current, active subscriptions.

<a href="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_subscr-find&alias=SGGGX43FAKKXN">
<img src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_unsubscribe_LG.gif" BORDER="0">
</a>

The code above displays this button image:

Paste the code into you webpage near text that explains how subscription cancellations work.

For more information, see Working with Unsubscribe Buttons.

Sample HTML Code for a Subscribe Button with Password Management

The sample HTML code below illustrates a Subscribe button that has PayPal generate usernames and passwords automatically.

<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">

    <!-- Identify your business so that you can collect the payments. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="business" value="alice@mystore.com">

    <!-- Specify a Subscribe button. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">

    <!-- Identify the subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Alice's Weekly Digest">
    <input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="DIG Weekly">

    <!-- Set the terms of the regular subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
    <input type="hidden" name="a3" value="19.95">
    <input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
    <input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">

    <!-- Set recurring payments until canceled. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">

    <!-- Have PayPal generate usernames and passwords. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="usr_manage" value="1">

    <!-- Display the payment button. -->
    <input type="image" name="submit" border="0"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_subscribe_LG.gif"
    alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online">
    <img alt="" border="0" width="1" height="1"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" >
</form>

For more information, see Generating Usernames and Passwords with Subscribe Buttons.

Sample HTML Code for a Subscribe Button That Reattempts Payments

The sample HTML code below illustrates a Subscribe button that has PayPal reattempt failed recurring payments before canceling subscriptions.

<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
    <input type="hidden" name="business" value="alice@mystore.com">

    <!-- Specify a Subscribe button. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">

    <!-- Identify the subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Alice's Weekly Digest">
    <input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="DIG Weekly">

    <!-- Set the terms of the regular subscription. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
    <input type="hidden" name="a3" value="19.95">
    <input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
    <input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">

    <!-- Set recurring payments until canceled. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">

    <!-- PayPal reattempts failed recurring payments. -->
    <input type="hidden" name="sra" value="1">

    <!-- Display the payment button. -->
    <input type="image" name="submit" border="0"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_subscribe_LG.gif"
    alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online">
    <img alt="" border="0" width="1" height="1"
    src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" >
</form>

For more information, see Reattempting Failed Recurring Payments with Subscribe Buttons.

Sample URL Code for Subscribe Email Payment Links

The sample URL code in this section illustrates a basic Subscribe email payment link with these features:

  • No trial periods
  • A subscription price of $5.00 USD
  • A 1-month billing cycle
  • No limit on the number of billing cycles

The subscription ends only when the merchant or subscriber cancels it.

Important: The example email payment link shown below is included for illustrative purposes only. In reality, you must always use a hosted email payment link to prevent malicious users from tampering with the code. Non-hosted email payment links are insecure. See Securing Your PayPal Payments Standard Buttons for instructions.
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_xclick-subscriptions&business=alice@mystore.com&item_name=Alice%27s%20Weekly%20Digest&a3=5.00&p3=1&t3=M&currency_code=USD

Creating Subscribe Buttons with JavaScript Disabled

The button creation tool on the PayPal website requires JavaScript. If JavaScript is disabled in your browser, PayPal offers you an alternative tool that does not require JavaScript.

Getting Started with Subscribe Buttons with JavaScript Disabled

The following instructions create a basic Subscribe button that sets up subscriptions with a monthly billing cycle that recurs until subscriptions are cancelled.

  1. Log in to your PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com.

    The My Account Overview page opens.

  2. Click the Profile subtab.

    The Profile Summary page opens.

  3. Under the Selling Preferences heading, click the My Saved Buttons link.

    The My Saved Buttons page opens.

  4. In the Related Items box on the right, click the Create new button link.

    A message box opens.

  5. Click the Subscribe link.

    The Subscriptions & Recurring Payments page opens.

  6. Enter the following information:
    • Subscription name – Enter a name for the subscription; for example, enter "Alice's Monthly Digest".
    • Subscription price – Enter the amount you want to bill subscribers for each monthly billing cycle; for example, enter "20.00".
  7. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the Create Button Now button.

    The Add a Subscribe button to your website page opens.

  8. Click the HTML code for Websites text box to select all of the generated HTML code.
  9. Do one of the following to copy the selected text to the clipboard:
    • For Windows and Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Copy.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+C.
    • For Mac, press CMD+C.
  10. In your web editing tool, open the webpage where you want to show the button.
    Important: Be sure that your tool is ready for you to paste HTML code, such as by switching to an HTML view from a design view of your webpage.
  11. Do one of the following to paste the text from the clipboard onto your webpage, where you want the button to appear:
    • For Windows or Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Paste.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+V.
    • For Mac, press CMD+V.

Creating Advanced Subscribe Buttons with JavaScript Disabled

The button creation tool on the PayPal website is written in JavaScript. If you have disabled JavaScript in your browser, PayPal offers you an alternative tool that does not require JavaScript.

Read the following topics to learn how to create Subscribe buttons with JavaScript disabled.

Note: With JavaScript disabled in your browser, you can create Subscribe buttons on the PayPal website, but you cannot save your buttons in your PayPal account.

The Pages in the Button Creation Tool for Subscribe Buttons

The button creation tool with JavaScript disabled has three pages:

  • Subscriptions & Recurring Payments button – the initial page to specify the required and most often used optional features
  • Subscriptions & Recurring Payments – Page 2 – an optional page to specify additional, advanced features, including the button image for Unsubscribe buttons
  • Add a Subscribe button to your website – the final page that has the generated code for your payment button

You can switch between the first and second pages until you click the Create Button Now button to display the third page that has the generated code.

Page 1 – Specifying the Basic Features of the Subscribe Button

Use the Subscriptions & Recurring Payments page to specify subscription details, select the size of button image, and select encryption.

  1. Log in to your PayPal account at https://www.paypal.com.
  2. Click the Edit Profile link.
    The Profile Summary page opens.
  3. Under the Selling Preferences heading, click the Create New Button link.
    The Create PayPal payment button page opens.
  4. Under the Create button without JavaScript enabled heading, click the Subscribe link.

    The Subscriptions & Recurring Payments button page opens.

  5. Enter the subscription details of your button.
    • Subscription name/service – Enter a name for the subscription that people sign up for when they click the Subscribe button.
    • Reference number – (optional) If you offer different kinds of subscriptions, such as monthly and annual payment plans, enter an identifying code for this subscription.
    • Currency – From the dropdown menu, select the currency in which you will specify the prices for trial periods and the regular subscription. The dropdown menu automatically selects the currency of your primary balance.
    • Buyer's default country – From the dropdown menu, select a country for the PayPal log-in or sign-up page that subscribers see when they click the button. The content on the page will be appropriate for the country you select. Subscribers can change the country that you select, after the log-in or sign-up page opens.
    • Select the checkbox at the bottom of the details section if you would like PayPal to generate usernames and passwords for your subscribers.
      For more information, see Generating Usernames and Passwords with Subscribe Buttons.
  6. Specify trial periods for the subscription (optional).
    • In the Trial Period #1 text box, enter the amount you want to bill subscribers for the initial trial period. Enter 0 for a free initial trial period.
    • In the Trial Period #1 dropdown menus for how long this trial period should last, select a number and a unit of duration.
      The following example shows how to select three-day trial period:
    • In the Trial Period #2 text box, enter the amount you want to bill subscribers for a subsequent trial period.
    • In the Trial Period #2 dropdown menus for how long this trial period should last, select a number and a unit of duration.

    For more information, see Specifying Trial Periods with Subscribe Buttons.

  7. Specify the regular billing cycle for the subscription.
    • Subscription Price – Enter the amount that you want to bill subscribers for regular billing cycles that occur after trial periods end.
    • Under the recurring basis link, select the No radio button if you want the subscription to expire after the end of the first regular billing cycle.
    • In the dropdown menus for the length of each billing cycle, select a number and a unit of duration.
    • Under the text that reads stop the recurring payments after a certain number, select the Yes radio button if you want to limit the number of regular billing cycles for a subscription.
    • If you select the Yes radio button in the previous step, select the number of times you that want the regular billing cycle to recur before the subscription expires.
    • Under the text that reads if payment fails for the subscription, select the No radio button if you want subscriptions to cancel immediately after attempts to collect recurring payments fail.
      For more information, see Reattempting Failed Recurring Payments with Subscribe Buttons

    The following example shows how to set up regular billing cycles for a year-long installment plan with 12 equal, monthly payments.

    For more information, see Limiting the Number of Billing Cycles with Subscribe Buttons.

  8. Choose a button style for your Subscribe button.
    Select the radio button next to the image that you want to use, if you are going to be receiving payments from your website instead of by using an email payment link. The image that you select is hosted by PayPal.

    To display your own image that you host on your website:

    • Click the Use your own button image link.
      An additional radio button and text box appear.
    • In the Button Image URL text box, enter the URL of your button image.
      If your image is hosted securely, change the entry to begin with https://.
  9. Specify whether to use button encryption.
    • Select the Yes radio button to encrypt the generated code for the payment button.
      – or –
    • Select the No radio button to leave the generated code for the payment button and the email payment link as clear text.

    PayPal highly recommends that you use button encryption to protect the HTML code of your payment button. Encryption protects payment details from fraudulent alteration by third parties, thus increasing the security of the payments you accept. However, consider the limitations that encryption imposes:

    • Encrypted HTML code cannot be edited.

      Select the No radio button if you want to edit the HTML code for your button after the code is generated.

    • Encrypted HTML code cannot be used for email payment links.

      Select the No radio button if you want to create an email payment link instead of or in addition to your button.

    If you select the No radio button for any reason, use an alternative strategy described in Securing Your PayPal Payments Standard Buttons," to secure the payments you receive from the payment button or the email payment link.

    Important: Merchants with significant payment volume are required to take precautions on securing Website Payment Standard buttons.
  10. If you have additional details to specify for your button, such as a custom payment page that has your own logo and colors, or you want PayPal to generate a Cancel Subscription button, click the Add More Options button and follow the instructions for Page 2 – Specifying Advanced Features of Your Subscribe Button.

    – or –

    If you entered all the details and options for your button, go to Copying and Pasting the Subscribe Code with JavaScript Disabled.

Page 2 – Specifying Advanced Features of Your Subscribe Button

Use the Subscriptions & Recurring Payments – Page 2 page to specify the following additional details for your button.

  1. Add option fields to your button.

    Option fields lets subscribers select or specify options when they sign up for a subscription, such as the choice of HTML or plain text format subscriptions to electronic newsletters. Options must not change the price of the subscription.

    Subscribe buttons can have one or two option fields. You can use a dropdown menu, with choices that you specify, or a text box, in which subscribers type their option choice.

    • Option Field Type – Select either "drop-down menu" or "text box" as the type of option field.
    • Option Name – Enter the name of your option, for example, "Format". Enter no more than 60 characters.
    • Drop-Down Menu Choices – (if applicable) If you selected "drop-down menu" as the type of option field, enter the menu choices, for example "HTML" and "Plain Text". Choices cannot exceed 30 characters. Use a carriage return (press ENTER) to separate choices. Enter no more than 10 choices.
    Important: Option fields cannot be used if you are creating an email payment link. To include Subscribe links in email messages for items with options, send HTML emails with links to Subscribe buttons on your website that have option fields.
  2. Create a Cancel Subscription button (optional).

    Choose a button style for your Cancel Subscription button, which PayPal generates automatically when you visit Page 2 to create a Subscribe button.

    Select the radio button next to the image that you want to use. The image that you select is hosted by PayPal.

    – or –

    To display your own image that you host on your website:

    • Click the Use your own button image link.
      An additional radio button and text box appear.
    • In the Button Image URL text box, enter the URL of your button image.
      If your image is hosted securely, change the entry to begin with https://.

    To learn more, see Working with Unsubscribe Buttons.

  3. Customize your payment pages.

    Use these settings to give subscribers a visually seamless payment experience by customizing the PayPal payment pages to match the visual style of your website.

    • Primary Page Style – (display only) The payment pages that your subscribers see are displayed with the page style that is specified here, unless you select a different custom payment page style below.
    • Custom Payment Page Style – (optional) If you already added Custom Payment Page Styles in your account profile, they are listed here. Choose the page style you would like to appear when subscribers click your Subscribe button.
      To learn more about creating page styles, see Co-Branding the PayPal Checkout Pages.
    • Preview – Click the Preview button to see a mock-up of the payment page style that subscribers see when they click your Subscribe button.
  4. Customize your subscribers's experience.
    Use these settings to give subscribers a payment experience that is easy to navigate.
    • Successful Payment URL – (optional) Do one of the following:

      Enter the URL of a page on your website that you want subscribers redirected to after they complete their payments. Only this payment button uses the URL that you enter.

      Click the Edit button to change the return URL that this button and all your other payment buttons use to redirect subscribers to your website after they complete their payments. For more information, see Auto Return.

    • Payment Data Transfer – Click the Edit button to turn Payment Data Transfer on or off for all your payment buttons.

      To learn more, see the Payment Data Transfer webpage on PayPal Developer Network.

    • Cancel Payment URL – (optional) Enter the URL for the page on your website that you want subscribers redirected to if they cancel their payments at any point before completing the checkout. If you do not enter a URL, subscribers see a PayPal webpage. Only this payment button uses the URL that you enter.
  5. Select your shipping preferences.

    Select the radio button that matches your need to collect addresses from subscribers:

    Make shipping optional – Select this radio button if you want to prompt subscribers to enter their addresses as an option.

    – or –

    Yes, require shipping – Select this radio button if you want to require subscribers to enter their addresses.

    – or –

    No shipping needed – Select this radio button if you do not require addresses from subscribers.

  6. If you want to change any of the details that you entered on the previous page, click the Edit button and follow the instructions for Step 1 – Specifying Basic Features of Your Subscribe Button, beginning with Step 5.

    – or –

    If you have entered all the details and options for your button, go to Copying and Pasting the Subscribe Code with JavaScript Disabled.

Copying and Pasting the Subscribe Code with JavaScript Disabled

After you enter the details and options that you want for your Subscribe button, click the Create Button Now button.

PayPal generates Subscribe code for:

  • A payment button, which you can paste onto your website
  • An email payment link, which you can paste into email
  • Optionally, a button and an email link to let subscribers cancel their subscriptions

The Add a Subscribe button to your website page displays the generated code.

Copying and Pasting the HTML Code for the Subscribe Button with JavaScript Disabled
  1. Click the HTML code for Websites text box to select all of the generated HTML code.
  2. Do one of the following to copy the selected text to the clipboard:
    • For Windows and Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Copy.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+C.
    • For Mac, press CMD+C.
  3. In your web editing tool, open the webpage where you want to show the button.
    Important: Be sure that your tool is ready for you to paste HTML code, such as by switching to an HTML view from a design view of your webpage.
  4. Do one of the following to paste the text from the clipboard onto your webpage, where you want the button to appear:
    • For Windows or Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Paste.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+V.
    • For Mac, press CMD+V.
Copying and Pasting the Code for the Subscribe Email Payment Link With JavaScript Disabled

PayPal does not generate code for email payment links if you select the Yes radio button in the Button Encryption section on the first page of the button creation tool. To turn button encryption off, return to the first page and click the No radio button in the Button Encryption section. Then click the Create Button Now button again.

Note: You cannot use Encrypted Website Payments to encrypt the code for email payment links. Secure the payments you receive from email payment links by using an alternative method that does not involve encryption, as described in Securing Your PayPal Payments Standard Buttons.
  1. Click the Link for Emails text box to select all of the generated URL code.

  2. Do one of the following to copy the selected text to the clipboard:
    • For Windows and Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Copy.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+C.
    • For Mac, press CMD+C.
  3. In your web editing tool, open the webpage where you want to show the button.
    Important: Be sure that your tool is ready for you to paste HTML code, such as by switching to an HTML view from a design view of your webpage.
  4. Do one of the following to paste the text from the clipboard onto your webpage, where you want the button to appear:
    • For Windows or Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Paste.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+V.
    • For Mac, press CMD+V.
Copying and Pasting the Code for the Cancel Subscription Button

PayPal generates HTML code for the Cancel Subscription button if you visit the Subscriptions and Recurring Payments – Page 2 page to add more options to your Subscribe button.

  1. Select everything in the first text box under the Copy 'Cancel Subscription' Button HTML heading by clicking the text with your mouse.

  2. Do one of the following to copy the selected text to the clipboard:
    • For Windows and Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Copy.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+C.
    • For Mac, press CMD+C.
  3. In your web editing tool, open the webpage where you want to show the button.
    Important: Be sure that your tool is ready for you to paste HTML code, such as by switching to an HTML view from a design view of your webpage.
  4. Do one of the following to paste the text from the clipboard onto your webpage, where you want the button to appear:
    • For Windows or Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Paste.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+V.
    • For Mac, press CMD+V.
Copying and Pasting the Code for the Cancel Subscription Email Payment Link

PayPal generates code for the Cancel Subscription email payment link if visit the Subscriptions and Recurring Payments – Page 2 page to add more options. However, PayPal does not generate code for email payment links if you select the Yes radio button in the Button Encryption section on the first page of the button creation tool. To turn button encryption off, return to the first page and click the No radio button in the Button Encryption section. Then click the Create Button Now button again.

Note: You cannot use Encrypted Website Payments to encrypt the code for email payment links. Secure the payments you receive from email payment links by using an alternative method that does not involve encryption, as described in Securing Your PayPal Payments Standard Buttons.
  1. Select everything in the second text box under the Copy 'Cancel Subscription' Button HTML heading by clicking the text with your mouse.

  2. Do one of the following to copy the selected text to the clipboard:
    • For Windows and Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Copy.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+C.
    • For Mac, press CMD+C.
  3. In your web editing tool, open the webpage where you want to show the button.
    Important: Be sure that your tool is ready for you to paste HTML code, such as by switching to an HTML view from a design view of your webpage.
  4. Do one of the following to paste the text from the clipboard onto your webpage, where you want the button to appear:
    • For Windows or Mac, right-click on the code, and then select Paste.
    • For Windows, press Ctrl+V.
    • For Mac, press CMD+V.
Creating More Subscribe Buttons

After you copy and paste the Subscribe code, you can create another Subscribe button for a different kind of subscription. Scroll to the bottom of the Add a Subscribe button to your website page and click the Create Another Button button. Then follow the instructions for Page 1 – Specifying the Basic Features of the Subscribe Button, beginning with Step 5. The pages of the button creation tool retain the options that you previously specified.

Limitations When Creating Payment Buttons with JavaScript Disabled

The alternative tool that works with JavaScript disabled lets you create Subscribe buttons on the PayPal website. However, the following features are not supported by the alternative tool:

  • Saving your buttons in your PayPal account
  • Tracking inventory or profit and loss
  • Language choices for button images
  • Creating payment buttons before you create your PayPal account

To use any of the above features when creating payment buttons on the PayPal website, you must enable JavaScript in your browser.

For more information, see Enabling JavaScript in Your Browser.

Enabling JavaScript in Your Browser

PayPal recommends that you keep JavaScript enabled at all times. Many features of the PayPal website require that JavaScript be enabled in your browser.

Read one of the following topics to learn how to enable JavaScript in your browser.

After you enable JavaScript in your browser, you can create a basic Subscribe button by following the instructions for Creating a Basic Subscribe Button on the PayPal Website.

Enabling JavaScript in Internet Explorer

To enable JavaScript in Internet Explorer:

  1. Select Tools > Internet Options from the menu bar.
    The Internet Options dialog box opens.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. Click the Trusted sites icon.
  4. Click the Custom level button.
    The Security Settings dialog box opens.
  5. Scroll down to the Scripting section, and then select the Enable radio button as the option for active scripting.
  6. Click the OK button to dismiss the Security Settings dialog box.
    A Warning message box asks if you are sure you want to change the security settings.
  7. Click the Yes button to dismiss the message box.
  8. Click the OK button to dismiss the Internet Options dialog box.

Enabling JavaScript in Firefox

To enable JavaScript in Firefox:

  1. Select Tools > Options from the menu bar.
    The Options dialog box opens.
  2. Select the Content icon at the top of the dialog box.
  3. Select the Enable JavaScript checkbox.
  4. Click the OK button.