Setting up a PayPal Sandbox Account

I’m trying to get my webapp set up to accept payments via PayPal. Trying to get it set up was a bit overwhelming, just because of all the PayPal options out there. So here’s a quick walkthrough on how to set up a sandbox account for Website Payments Standard, the simplest way to just add a single Buy Now button to your web site.

Note: you do not need to have a real PayPal Business account set up in order to set up a sandbox account. They’re totally separate.

  1. Go to
  2. Click “Sign Up Now”, and fill in your information to register. This creates a developer account. You can use this to create multiple test accounts. For example, if you wanted to test a setup where you’re paid via bank account, and another setup where you’re paid via credit card, you could set up one test account for each. You sign into with your developer account, and you will sign into with your test accounts.
  3. Once you’re logged in to under your new developer account, click “Create a preconfigured account”.
  4. Choose the “Seller” account type, then enter any other information you’d like.
  5. Once that account is created, go to the Test Accounts tab. This will list your sandbox accounts, showing the e-mail address login for each.
  6. Click “Enter Sandbox Test Site” to be sent to (or you could just go there manually).
  7. Sign in using your test account.
  8. When you’re logged in here, a warning: make sure the address of the site always says I clicked a certain link and was incorrectly sent to the production PayPal site, so that could have been unfortunate.
  9. On the top tab bar, click “Products & Services.”
  10. Then click “Get Paid” on the bar below that.
  11. Scroll down to find the “Add Payment Buttons” link and click it.
  12. Click the “Setting Up” tab in the middle of the page.
  13. Choose the style of button you want, and click it.
  14. Make sure you’re still on–if not, go there and start over.
  15. Follow the instructions on the screen to customize your button. In particular, under Step 3 you may want to enter a success and cancel URL to send users to, so they can get back to your app and so your app gets information about the purchase.
  16. Click “Create Button” and you’ll be given the code for your button. That’s it!

When you’re ready to create your real business account, it’s easy: just go to, click Sign Up, choose Business account, create it, then start at step 9 above and go through the same steps to create the production version of your button.

6 Responses to Setting up a PayPal Sandbox Account

  1. Glen says:


    Any idea how to close/delete the Developer account once you are done testing?

    I cannot seem to find information on this.



    • Josh Justice says:

      Glen, no, unfortunately, I haven’t found out how to close the developer account. Maybe if there are instructions on how to close a general PayPal account, they would apply as well.

      For me, I want to keep my developer account open—I never know when I might need to use it for testing again.

      • Glen says:

        Josh – I want to keep mine open also … but I created two accidentally. I will e-mail their Tech Support. Thanks for replying!

  2. matt says:

    will you please provide an exact link to create sandbox test account? I’m getting stuck with this…… 😦

  3. nimesh says:

    go to application tab there in left panel you get sandbox acc link

  4. El Chapo says:

    Thank you so much! I was having lots of trouble setting up my sandbox a/c and you made it look so easy.

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