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How do I handle PayPal API timeouts and internal server error messages properly?

Issue
PayPal is sending you messages about API timeouts and internal server errors.

Causes
Generally, these messages result from server issues or connectivity issues.

Solution
When you receive an internal server error or timeout message in response to a PayPal API transaction request that processes a payment (DoDirectPayment, DoExpressCheckoutPayment, DoAuthorization, or DoCapture), make sure the buyer wasn't charged for the transaction. To do this, refer to your existing transaction reconciliation processes to identify the buyer's completed transactions.

If you don't have a transaction reconciliation process or are unsure whether that process identified a completed transaction, you can use the TransactionSearch API to locate any transactions that took place when the transaction failed. If the API returns a result matching your transaction, use the GetTransactionDetails API on the Transaction ID to receive the data for that transaction. If the TransactionSearch API doesn't return a matching result, you can retry the transaction safely.
 
The document How to Search for and Retrieve Transaction Data Using the Merchant API has more details on the TransactionSearch API.

Note: Your cache and cookies can also cause this error. If timeouts continue, try testing in another browser, test in Incognito/Private mode, or clear your cache and cookies.

See Also:
How do I resolve API timeout problems?
API error codes
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