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Web development tutorial

Getting started with PayPal Standard Buttons

Tutorial created by Ray Borduin, WebAssist

Categories: Free Tools, Dreamweaver


Free Tools includes 2 different PayPal tools, one for each kind of payment button PayPal offers. This tutorial will walk you through getting started with PayPal Standard Buttons. If you are not sure which tool to use, the first section below will help you decide.

arrow downWhich PayPal tool should I use?

PayPal provides 2 types of payment buttons. We have developed a tool for you to use either kind. Find out which one is right for you...

PayPal Standard Buttons

  1. Support for Add to cart and View cart, Buy Now, Donation and Subscription buttons
  2. Use with any type of PayPal account
  3. You can also add Bill Me Later checkout buttons with your buy now or donation buttons - if you have a PayPal business account.
    Learn more about Bill Me Later.
  4. These buttons are hosted on your site.
  5. These buttons offer more customization options from the wizard.
    For example, your product details can all be database-driven, even product options (like colors, sizes, etc.)
  6. You have the option to directly edit the button code in Dreamweaver (if you know what you're doing).
  7. They are less secure than buttons hosted on PayPal's site because the button code is in the web page source code, thus could be altered by a technically savvy but unethical customer.

    (If this is the right tool for you, skip to the next section.)

Payment Buttons for PayPal

  1. Support for Buy now, Add to cart and View cart buttons
  2. You must have a PayPal Business or Premier account to use PayPal Toolkit buttons. View our tutorial on creating a PayPal business account.
  3. These buttons are hosted on PayPal's site and are more secure because the button code is not in the web page source code, thus cannot be altered by a technically savvy but unethical customer.
  4. These buttons are less customizable as PayPal only offers so many options for them.
    For example, you cannot use these buttons with database-driven products.
  5. These buttons can be used on multiple websites without needing to be recreated since they are hosted on PayPal's site, not your own site.

    (If this is the right tool for you, see the Payment Buttons for PayPal Getting Started Guide.)

arrow downWhat you need to start


  1. Dreamweaver CS4 or newer
  2. WebAssist Free Tools extension installed
    - Own it.
    - Download it.
    - Learn how to install a Dreamweaver extension.
  3. Site defined in Dreamweaver - Watch video tutorial: Setting up a site in Dreamweaver

Optional - only if you want to use your PayPal buttons with a database

  1. PHP/MySQL Testing Server
    For more information, see Setting up a Testing Server on Windows or Setting up a Testing Server on Mac OS X.
  2. Dynamic Site defined in Dreamweaver
    For more information see Defining a dynamic site in Dreamweaver.

arrow downAdd a PayPal Buy Now button

  1. Open a page in Dreamweaver you want to add a PayPal Buy Now button to.
  2. In Design view, click in the area where you want to put the button.
  3. In the main Dreamweaver menu, click WebAssist > PayPal Standard > Buy Now button

  4. Enter your PayPal account (email address) and click Next

  5. Select a button or use your own custom button.
  6. Optionally include a Bill Me Later checkout button.
    Learn more about Bill Me Later.
  7. Click Next.

  8. Enter your product details and click Next.
    Click the Help button in that interface if you want to read about the individual details you can enter in this interface.
    The Item Option Values need to be separated by a comma with no space. Punctuation is not suggested in the Option Values.

  9. Enter your shipping charges, then click Next.
    Click the Help button in that interface if you want to read about the individual details you can enter in this interface.

  10. Enter success and cancel URLs for your customer to be redirected to upon a successful or cancelled transaction. These are pages that exist in your site - or you will add to your site.

  11. Click Finish.

  12. Save your page and preview it in a browser to test your new button.

arrow downFor more...

View the PayPal Standard Buttons help documentation to accomplish even more with this tool.

Visit the Free Tools support page for more Free Tools tutorials and documentation.

If you're looking to expand into more robust eCommerce web development, you may be interested in eCart.

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