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PHP 5 class to listen for and handle Instant Payment Notifications (IPN) from PayPal.

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A PayPal Instant Payment Notification (IPN) class for PHP 5.

Use the

class in your PHP IPN script to handle the encoding of POST data, post back to PayPal, and parsing of the response from PayPal.


  • Switch between live and sandbox by setting the
  • Supports both secure SSL and plain HTTP transactions by setting the
    property (SSL is recommended).
  • Supports both cURL and fsockopen network libraries by setting the
    property (cURL is recommended).
  • Verifies an HTTP "200" response status code from the PayPal server.
  • Get detailed plain text reports of the entire IPN using the
    method for use in emails and logs to administrators.
  • Throws various exceptions to differentiate between common errors in code or server configuration versus invalid IPN responses.

Getting Started

This code is intended for web developers. You should understand how the IPN process works conceptually and you should understand when and why you would be using IPN. Reading the PayPal Instant Payment Notification Guide is a good place to start.

You should also have a PayPal Sandbox Account with a test buyer account and a test seller account. When logged into your sandbox account there is an IPN simulator under the 'Test Tools' menu which you can used to test your IPN listener.

Once you have your sandbox account setup, you simply create a PHP script that will be your IPN listener. In that script, use the

class as shown below. For a more thoroughly documented example, take a look at the
script in the source code.
$listener = new IpnListener();
$listener->use_sandbox = true;

try { $verified = $listener->processIpn(); } catch (Exception $e) { // fatal error trying to process IPN. exit(0); }

if ($verified) { // IPN response was "VERIFIED" } else { // IPN response was "INVALID" }



Documentation has not been generated yet, but, there are phpDocumentor style docstrings (comments) throughout

which explain the important public properties and methods.

I have also written a more in-depth IPN tutorial on my blog: PayPal IPN with PHP

Known Issues



method throws the following exception:
cURL error: [52] GnuTLS recv error (-9): A TLS packet with unexpected length was received.


When cURL is compiled with GnuTLS the call to PayPal will fail if the SSL version is not explicitly set as a cURL option. Set the

property to force SSL 3:
$listener = new IpnListener();
$listener->force_ssl_v3 = true;

Note: forcesslv3 is now true by default


 PHP Warning: curl_setopt() [function.curl-setopt]: CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION 
 cannot be activated when in safe_mode or an open_basedir is set in ...


If you need PHP safe mode, you can disable CURLOPTFOLLOWLOCATION using the `followlocation` property.

$listener = new IpnListener();
$listener->follow_location = false;

Note: followlocation is now false enabled by default_

Example Report

Here is an example of a report returned by the

method. Create your own reports by extending the
class or by accessing the data directly in your ipn script.
[09/09/2011 8:35 AM] - (curl)
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Fri, 09 Sep 2011 13:35:39 GMT
Server: Apache
X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
Set-Cookie: c9MWDuvPtT9GIMyPc3jwol1VSlO=Ch-NORlHUjlmbEm__KG9LupR4mfMfQTkx1QQ6hHDyc0RImWr88NY_ILeICENiwtVX3iw4jEnT1-1gccYjQafWrQCkDmiykNT8TeDUg7R7L0D9bQm47PTG8MafmrpyrUAxQfst0%7c_jG1ZL6CffJgwrC-stQeqni04tKaYSIZqyqhFU7tKnV520wiYOw0hwk5Ehrh3hLDvBxkpm%7cYTFdl0w0YpEqxu0D1jDTVTlEGXlmLs4wob2Glu9htpZkFV9O2aCyfQ4CvA2kLJmlI6YiXm%7c1315575340;; path=/; Secure; HttpOnly
Set-Cookie: cookie_check=yes; expires=Mon, 06-Sep-2021 13:35:40 GMT;; path=/; Secure; HttpOnly
Set-Cookie: navcmd=_notify-validate;; path=/; Secure; HttpOnly
Set-Cookie: navlns=0.0; expires=Thu, 04-Sep-2031 13:35:40 GMT;; path=/; Secure; HttpOnly
Set-Cookie: Apache=; path=/; expires=Sun, 01-Sep-41 13:35:39 GMT
X-Cnection: close
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8


test_ipn 1 payment_type instant payment_date 06:34:51 Sep 09, 2011 PDT payment_status Completed address_status confirmed payer_status verified first_name John last_name Smith payer_email [email protected] payer_id TESTBUYERID01 address_name John Smith address_country United States address_country_code US address_zip 95131 address_state CA address_city San Jose address_street 123, any street business [email protected] receiver_email [email protected] receiver_id TESTSELLERID1 residence_country US item_name something item_number AK-1234 quantity 1 shipping 3.04 tax 2.02 mc_currency USD mc_fee 0.44 mc_gross 12.34 mc_gross_1 9.34 txn_type web_accept txn_id 51991334 notify_version 2.1 custom xyz123 charset windows-1252 verify_sign Ah5rOpfPGo5g6FNg95DMPybP51J5AUEdXS1hqyRAP6WYYwaixKNDgQRR

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