How to Use PayPal Sandbox

I have no doubt that PayPal Sandbox is an ingenious solution for small business and merchants. For those who don’t know, PayPal Sandbox is a virtual testing environment that allows you to simulate the real PayPal production environment. It gives you a close up view and insight on the functioning of the PayPal APIs without using your active PayPal accounts. Without wasting much time, I want to take you through the overview before we look at the steps of creating and testing a PayPal Sandbox.

Overview of PayPal Sandbox

Before we go through the steps of creating a sandbox test environment, I feel it is important to touch a little bit more on PayPal Sandbox.  The Sandbox environment comprises two things; the Sandbox test site and the Sandbox Accounts page.  These two components allow you to conduct a mock up transaction and fine tune the process in a safe environment. Details of the Sandbox are tracked in the the Sandbox test site pretty much the same ay  live transactions are tracked in the real Paypal.

Step 1- Create a PayPal Sandbox Account

To use PayPal Sandbox, you will first need to sign up for a PayPal Sandbox account. This gives you access to the Sandbox Test Environment from where you will be able to create and test PayPal transactions. But if you already have an account,  you will need to go to PayPal Developer website and log in using your PayPal account credentials.

When selecting e-mail addresses for the Sandbox Test environment, it is advisable that you use a separate email that is not associated with PayPal or your domain. This allows you to preserve the integrity of your real transaction in PayPal. Once you complete the sign up and verification process, you should now have access to your Paypal Sandbox account.

Step 2-Create and Configure Buyer and Seller Test Accounts

Once you log into your Sandbox home page, you will see the Test Accounts and Test E-mail tabs. Under the tab for a test account, you will have to create separate buyers and seller accounts to mimic the real transaction in your e-store. Select the ‘ create preconfigured account options” under the Test Accounts.

After creating the seller account, you should also proceed to create the buyer account.

 Under Test Accounts, you will be able see the new test accounts that you have created. Don’t be surprised by the look of the test e-mail addresses. They are suffixed to make them unique  

Once you create your buyer and seller test accounts, you will have to click on “Enter Sandbox Test Site” so that you can access the test environment and perform operations associated with the real buyer and seller. Make sure that the Payment Data Transfer is on. For the Payment Data Transfer to work, you will have to confirm the website payment preferences and selling preference settings respectively.

Step 3-Configure Test Email

Next, you will also have to configure your test-emails properly. By default, the Sandbox assigns each account an e-mail of your site domain, mysite.com.  To test sending of customer e-mails, you should consider “ a catch all”  e-mail for your site domain. This allows you to determine whether or not your site is sending messages to buyers properly. But for end-to-end testing, you will have to use a hard to guess e-mail for your site domain.

Step 4- Configure API

You will also have to configure the API for the Sandbox Test environment before you can start testing.

Step 5- Configure Your Site

Since most eCommerce platforms support PayPal Sandbox, you will only need to enable sandbox testing and to specify details of your sandbox test environment, these are, your e-mail address and the seller test account. You have to find and select a checkbox that enables sandbox mode. 

Also, you will have to enter your seller test account email address in the section that requires you to enter your PayPal e-mail address and then save the settings.

Step 6- Simulate Transactions

Once you have configure your test accounts and test e-mails and enabled sandbox in your ecommerce template or site, you should now be able to simulate transactions. You should also review and modify the application where necessary to make sure it becomes fully functional and free of bugs. 

As a Reminder:

The Sandbox Testing can only work if you get the steps right and configure the settings properly. Make sure that you enter the right e-mail address in your test account and enable the Payment Data Transfer. Most importantly, make sure that your website support PaypaL Sandbox Test Environment, else you won’t be able to simulate buyer and seller transactions.  With all these properly set, you can now test your e-commerce site from both the buyer’s and seller’s ed.