PayPal Changes and WooCommerce Sites

A number of clients have written to me in a bit of a panic about the PayPal changes and WooCommerce sites.  They have received an email from PayPal saying changes are needed to their websites to be compatible with new security measures PayPal is introducing (“IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUIRED: PayPal service upgrades”), and they have no idea what to do.

PayPal Changes and WooCommerce SitesThe first thing to know is that the PayPal changes have nothing to do with WooCommerce, or WordPress.  There is nothing you (or your website builder, e.g. me) need to change on your site to make it compatible.

The changes all have to do with how your web hosting company’s servers communicate with the PayPal servers.

So what you need to do is write to your web hosting company and ask them

Is my hosting compatible with SHA-256, required for the changes PayPal is making?

If not, you then ask them what can be done to rectify this, as it is important this is done by the deadline (the deadlines are in the email you got).

If you are running a non-WordPress site

If you are running a site that is NOT WordPress, that is all you can do – write to the web hosting company.

Further check (optional) for WordPress sites

But if you are running a WordPress site, there is another step you can take to check for yourself whether your site is going to be OK after PayPal rolls out its new thing.

There is something called the PayPal Sandbox, which is basically a test area that PayPal makes available so you can test PayPal functions without putting an actual transaction through.  PayPal has already upgraded the Sandbox code, so if you do a test using that, and it works, you can be sure that your site will be OK once PayPal rolls out the changes in the live area.  Here is how you can test for this…

Go to this page on GitHub.  (Thanks Mike Jolley!).  There is a button there that says “Download zip”.  Click that and download the zip file to your computer (and remember where you put it).  Then, install what you just downloaded, as a plugin on your site and activate it.  If you don’t know how to do this, click here for instructions on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once the plugin is installed and activated, go to the URL yourdomain.com/?ipn-test=1 while logged into your WordPress admin.  if it works, you should see a message that simply says “SUCCESS”.  If it fails, you will get “FAIL” followed by an error message.  It is recommended you send that error message to your web hosting company, along with the request to make your hosting compatible with SHA-256.  Feel free to also send them the link to this page so they can see how you did the test.

You can deactivate and delete the plugin after the test is successful.

PayPal Changes and WooCommerce Sites

That’s the good news!  There is nothing terribly difficult about the PayPal Changes and WooCommerce Sites!  You just need to contact your web hosting company and get them to check it for you.

If you are one of my After Sales Service clients, and you want me to check yours for you (free of charge) please let me know – but only after you have contacted your web hosting company, as I don’t have access to do that for you.  For those of you with Flywheel hosting – relax; they are compatible.