Technical Overview

See Demo

The instructions below provide a brief overview of PayPal Subscriptions and Recurring Payments. For more detailed instructions or to add special features to your Subscriptions and Recurring Payments buttons, please refer to the Subscriptions and Recurring Payments Manual (PDF, 682 KB, August 2006).

How It Works

PayPal Subscriptions and Recurring Payments are easy to set up and use:
  1. Log in to your Premier or Business PayPal account.
  2. Click on the Merchant Services tab
  3. Click on the Subscriptions and Recurring Payments link
  4. Specify the name, billing cycle, price, and other details of the item you wish to sell
  5. Add more optional information such as shipping, sales tax, and option fields (for size, color, etc.)
  6. Click Create Button Now and the Button Factory will generate customized HTML code
  7. Paste the HTML code on your website to create your Subscribe and Cancel Subscription buttons.

When a buyer clicks the Subscribe button, he will be taken to a secure PayPal payment page, where he can log in to an existing PayPal account or sign up for a new one, and quickly complete the payment.

Subscriptions and Recurring Payments HTML Code

Experienced HTML users can bypass the Button Factory and create their own PayPal Shopping Cart payment buttons by altering the HTML code directly. The sample code below shows the minimum information you need to create an Add to Cart button (in this case, to purchase a newsletter subscription billed €5,00 EUR per month):

<form name="_xclick" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="me@mybusiness.com">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="hidden" name="no_shipping" value="1">
<input type="image" src="http://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but20.gif" border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!">
<input type="hidden" name="a3" value="5.00">
<input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">
<input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="sra" value="1">
</form>
Pasting the code above into your website would generate a button that looks like this:

If you dynamically generate portions of your site, you can create Subscribe buttons dynamically and save time by updating the variables with information from your database. To use the button above for a different subscription, you would only need to edit three variables:

  • a3 - amount to billed each recurrence
  • t3 - time period (D=days, W=weeks, M=months, Y=years)
  • p3 - number of time periods between each recurrence
For the example above, the variables would are:
€5,00 EUR (a3) every 1 (p3) month (t3)

For more information about using Subscriptions and Recurring Payments on your website, including adding automatic trial periods for the subscription, see the Subscriptions and Recurring Payments Manual (PDF, 682 KB, August 2006).