Thursday, July 1, 2010

PayPal Charset IPN Issue

This post is for anyone experiencing problems with the PayPal verification step in the IPN process.  After pulling my hair out trying to figure this out, I found the solution on another blog.

The Problem:
PayPal by default posts its IPNs using the Windows-1252 character encoding (why would they do that?).  If you are like any sensible UTF-8-loving developer, then you will find that your postbacks to PayPal are not receiving the VERIFIED status that ensures they are a legitimate IPN.  It seems non-ASCII characters in the IPN parameters are not being interpreted correctly by PayPal (because they are expecting Windows-1252 and you are sending UTF-8).

The Fix:
A simple setting in your business PayPal account under "Language Encodings".  You will need to select "More Options" to find the screen that allows you to select UTF-8 from the dropdown.

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