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PayPal IPN stopped working with no changes to site

Posted: September 11, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Lonnie Herman

September 11, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Hello, up until Septembre 9th Paypal IPN were working and being received by the website with no problems.

Starting on September 10th no IPN notifications make it to the site, and the Paypal IPN History is stuck at “Retrying” for every transaction.

Website is

SSL is TLS 1.2, the site is on SiteGround Let’s Encrypt SSL cert.

Have tried removing the security plugin, deleting and remaking the htaccess, disabling other plugins, disabling theme.

IPN setting in paypal is set to the correct page And Paypal Standard IPN is activated in the EE settings.

Any suggestions of what I might be overlooking? Thank you.


  • Support Staff

September 11, 2018 at 8:19 pm


If you can FTP into the web server for your website, you’ll find a file named paypal.ipn_results.log located in /wp-content/uploads/espresso/logs. The first thing to check in that file is see if there are any new IPNs logged there since September 10. You can also check for error codes there.

Brad Slusher

September 11, 2018 at 11:03 pm

My site ( started experiencing the same problem starting on 9/7. I’ve done all the obvious things including white-listing the PayPal IPN IP’s on WordFence, etc. I’ve validated all the settings on PayPal, and not sure what my next steps should be.


  • Support Staff

September 12, 2018 at 6:51 am

Hi Brad,

You could also check the paypal.ipn_results.log file located in /wp-content/uploads/espresso/logs.

Lonnie Herman

September 12, 2018 at 8:39 am

After having turned off the iThemes security plugin from the site and re-confirmed the transaction page URL in the Paypal settings, the payments seem to have started coming in again after about a day or so from the plugin being turned off. I will keep an eye on it. Wonder if you have any idea what setting within iThemes may be causing the IPN messages to be blocked, if any?

I looked over the IPN log in the file you pointed me to but the problem transactions seem to not appear at all – I searched for the names of the people paying, and for successfully received payments I was able to find the name while for the missing payments I didn’t find anything in the file.

None of the entries in the file look like errors to me, though I am not familiar with the structure.. I don’t think I should copy one here because it has a bunch of personal info but the first line is always:

[09/12/2018 9:20 AM] – Errors from IPN Validation:

with nothing after that, and the last line is always:

IPN Response from gateway Server:

Anyway, tomorrow I will turn the iThemes back on (it needs to be on per the owner of the site), and try to turn off any settings that deal with incoming requests or url parameters and see what happens, will report back. Thank you for the help so far.

Lonnie Herman

September 12, 2018 at 8:43 am

Also should probably mention – all the transactions in the log have the line:

Errors resulting from the execution of curl transfer: [09/07/2018 8:28 AM] – SUCCESS!

Errors resulting from the execution of curl transfer: [09/12/2018 5:29 AM] – SUCCESS!

The two above lines after from two adjacent transaction – so you can see that it actually skipped everything that happened from Sept 7 to Sept 12.

As I mentioned above I’ll keep an eye on it and report back if it stops working again. Thanks.

Lonnie Herman

September 12, 2018 at 8:45 am

Should probably also mention that the iThemes plugin was installed a few months ago and was actually working perfectly with EE no problems receiving transactions at all right up until Sept 7 as seen above, and no changes to the settings were made until this started happening and I turned it off.


  • Support Staff

September 12, 2018 at 1:21 pm

I’m not too familiar with the iThemes security plugin but that one is mentioned among other plugins as having potential conflicts with using the PayPal IPN. One possible explanation may be the IP address that PayPal was using at the time was within a range of IP addresses that the security plugin is actively blocking.

Brad Slusher

September 12, 2018 at 9:12 pm

I can confirm Lonnie’s experience. After re-confirming the PayPal return URL, the confirmations started happening again today. Seems like a possible bug on PayPal’s part.


  • Support Staff

September 13, 2018 at 6:16 am

Hi Brad,

Quite possibly. While EE3 still has the PayPal Standard/IPN gateway available, one thing that’s changed with EE4 is it does not offer PayPal Standard as a default option. Instead, it uses PayPal Express which we’ve found to be much more reliable than PayPal Standard ever was. If you’re considering making the upgrade to EE4 this is one more reason to make the switch.

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Updated by  Josh 1 year, 8 months ago ago

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