Home Forums Event Espresso Premium EE3 Only: Problems with Incomplete PayPal Payments — Download

EE3 Only: Problems with Incomplete PayPal Payments — Download

Posted: June 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm


  • Support Staff

June 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

If you are experiencing problems with incomplete payments, most often it has to do with problems reaching your Transactions page ([ESPRESSO_TXN_PAGE]) from the payment gateway. There are a variety of issues that can cause this on both ends (the gateway and your site/hosting) which makes it very difficult to diagnose and resolve.

However, we have found through testing and working with many users with this issue that one thing that can resolve the problem for most situations when this is occurring is to use a stripped-down page template for your Transactions page. This page template gets added to your theme and selected as the page template for that page in the Templates dropdown. Because we have had a very positive success rate with the people we have given this template to, we are providing it here as a free download. We are also trying to determine the best way to include it into the core plugin as well.

You can download our Transactions page template in the link below. Included in the zip file is a quick readme with installation instructions. It is recommended that you try this template after verifying that IPN is turned on, your account is verified, you have a standard or business account (if using PayPal) and — most importantly — that your Transactions page is visible to the internet. If you have confirmed these four things and you are still having issues with incomplete payments, try the download below.

Download Event Espresso txnpage template


June 25, 2012 at 6:57 am

This solution did not work for my site.

Here’s some background information:

1. I just upgraded this morning (2012-06-25) to EE 3.1.24.P (but noticed the same problem when I checked yesterday with 3.1.23.P). When someone pays for an event via PayPal, they are returned to the payment details page on my site that displays their payment status as “Incomplete.”

2. I do have a verified PayPal Business account. (I am not using any payment gateways other than PayPal.)

3. I have activated the PayPal IPN option on the EE Payment Settings page.

4. All of my EE General Settings pages are set to their proper pages on my site, and each of those pages has its proper shortcode.

5. My EE transactions page contains only the shortcode [ESPRESSO_TXN_PAGE] (and nothing else), and its template is the txnpage.php template downloaded from this topic.

When I first installed EE on my test site (which I’m still building and testing) in May, I did not have this problem — and I was delighted that all of the payment confirmation and event registration would be handled automatically.

If this problem persists when I launch the site, I will need to confirm payment and registration for each registree individually… which I really do not want to do.

Please advise. Thanks.


  • Support Staff

June 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

Hi Roger,

Can you verify that the IPN is turned on in the PayPal account settings? Also, verify that the transactions page is publicly visible on the web. You should be able to see this page without being logged in. The other thing I would check for (since this was working before) would be a plugin conflict. Have you installed any new plugins between the time this was working and now? Try deactivating some of these and testing the IPN.


June 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm


Yes to both items. The IPN is turned on, and the transactions page is publicly visible/accessible.

I have not installed any plugins recently (since EE was last working with regard to the IPN), but I will check to see if deactivating either of the two small plugins I installed since first installing EE has any effect. Given the experience of others here, I’m guessing that it will not.

It seems to be a larger, more fundamental issue with EE.

Nilavanh Lim

June 25, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Hello Josh,

I just wanted to let you know that we are experiencing the same problems as Rogers. Our Paypal transactions also returned an “Incomplete” status which never gets updated in the EE dashboard area.

I have followed all the instructions that you’ve posted above in order to resolve this matter, including the replacement of the default transaction template with the txnpage template.

Here’s the results I received during Sandbox testing (after I successfully completed payment on Paypal):

Thank You
Payment Overview
Class/Event: Canoe Paddle and Beach Dining Adventure
Primary Registrant: Nilavanh-test
Payment Type: PayPal
Payment Date: June 25, 2012
Amount Paid/Owed: C$172.80 Incomplete
Payment Status: Incomplete
Registration ID: 4fe8d312124279.89636941
Transaction ID: 0

PayPal Debug Mode Is Turned On
debug outputField Name Value
amount_1 172.80
cmd _cart
currency_code CAD
first_name Nilavanh -test
item_name_1 Cost (includes HST & Gratuities) for Canoe Paddle and Beach Dining Adventure. Attendee: Nilavanh -test Lim
last_name Lim
no_shipping 1
quantity_1 1
rm 2
upload 1

Obviously, we’re not the only ones experiencing problems with Paypal which leads me to believe that it may be an issue with EE.

I have installed an older and free version of Event Espresso on another WordPress directory and it been functioning beautifully in the last 2 years. We had decided to purchase the Pro version based on the assumption that it would just as well as the free version.

Here’s our site:

We’re using Espresso Event v


  • Support Staff

June 25, 2012 at 5:41 pm


It’s a very common problem to have the payments marked as incomplete from PayPal. That’s why we have so many threads in the old forums and tips in the troubleshooting documentation on this topic. The problems can be caused by multiple points of failure. I can assure you that before a new version of Event Espresso goes out, it’s tested against the PayPal IPN to be sure it’s working. Some additional points of failure can include:

1) server specific issues that include the cURL module not being enabled and the Certificate of Authenticity not being found by PayPal. Check the IPN log in the /espresso/logs directory for error messages that will indicate this. Some hosts can have a configuration on their end that will also block outgoing connections.

2) Plugin conflicts. Installing, or even updating some other third party plugins can block the IPN messages that PayPal sends to your site. This is commonly caused by security plugins where the settings are set to block everything. So my advice would be to temporarily disable any plugins like these, or even all non-ee plugins and test.

3) PayPal account settings. Verify that the IPN is turned on and payment review is disabled.

Ted Karlsalr

June 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Me too have the same issue. I didn’t have this problem with light (free) version!

Ted Karlsalr

June 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Definitely it is a problem with your plug in. I never had an issue with the free version. When the customer register for a workshop they get this message:
“Executing in an invalid environment for the supplied user” and url is “”
I spent hours with Paypal technical support as well as web hosting and it turned out to be an issue with event espresso plugin. I was able to use the same web host and Paypal account with no problem. Please help. When a customer sees a message like that they scared and run away.
Your plugin is hurting my business rather than helping. It is getting too frustrating that a paid software is not working as promised or the free / testing one works.


  • Support Staff

June 26, 2012 at 7:46 am

Hi Ted,

The free version uses the same code for the PayPal gateway that the paid version does. There are more features though. Correct me if I am wrong, but from looking at the URL you posted here, it looks like you may have the “force SSL on return URL” option checked. In order to use this option, you’ll need to install an SSL certificate for your domain. For now, try disabling this feature.

Also, check your permalink settings, make sure that if you are using a “custom” permalink, it’s a valid one like /%postname%/

Ted Karlsalr

June 26, 2012 at 11:21 am

Just to let you know that Seth found the problem and asked me to disable HTTPS pulgin that came with the paid version of EE. As soon as I disabled the plug in everything worked like a charm. Thank Seth for this quick quick tip. You may want to add this info somewhere in documents to help others.


  • Support Staff

June 26, 2012 at 11:27 am

The HTTPS plugin should only be used if you have a private SSL certificate installed for the domain. See the documentation for this add-on for more information:


June 26, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Josh, et al.,

I found the solution to this problem for my own site. Not sure if it will work for others, but it might be somewhat universal.

When I checked the espresso/log folder, I noticed that the only file in it was named “paypal.ipn_results.log” and dated from early May. No other files existed in the folder, even though I had multiple IPN return failures in the last couple of days.

The folder permission was set to 755 — no group or public writing permission. When I reset the folder permission to 777 and attempted a test of the IPN return again, not only did a file appear in the folder (now named “espresso_log.txt”), but THE IPN RETURN WORKED AND THE EVENT REGISTRATION WAS CORRECTLY LOGGED IN THE EE EVENT!

I have tested it several times since making the change, and it is working every time.

So the solution for my site was simply to change the write permission on the “espresso/log” folder to 777. I did not make any other changes to the Event Espresso settings, nor did I deactivate any other plugins on the site.

Problem solved.


Seth Shoultes

  • Support Staff

June 27, 2012 at 12:27 am


Thanks for the update! I am going to check into this.

Seth Shoultes

  • Support Staff

June 27, 2012 at 12:57 am


I just tested the permissions several different ways, including turn off disabling write capabilities on the “espresso/logs” directory. All the payments seem to have gone through. However, I am definitely going to recommend your solution to other people having similar problems.

Just curious. Who is your hosting company?


June 27, 2012 at 5:26 am


My site is hosted at WiseSource (

I’ve been with them for several years and have a few sites hosted there. Terrific service all around.

I know that information is not relevant to your question, but as long as I’m referencing them, I thought I might as well testify to my experience.


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