May 182014

WordPress Simple Shopping Cart Troubleshooting post is a list of questions with answers and solutions to fix the issues.

Last Updated: July 12, 2023

Latest News: Updated the documentation.

This is a list of common questions asked in support forum. I have created this list to help you troubleshoot some of the most common issues you might run into. If you can’t find an answer to your issue please click the following link WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart Forum and create a support ticket. Someone will assist you as soon as possible.

What you need:

Premium addons:

(Note: The 3 links below are affiliated link. I get a small commission if you purchase this product.)

Note: For premium addons support, please click on the following link contact.

WordPress Simple Shopping Cart Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting Techniques

This is a list of common WordPress Simple Shopping Cart issues that I have compiled from the forum. The list below will assist you further to resolve your issues, if it doesn’t please check the support page and ask for help. This list will grow as I come across more issues from the forum.

Q1 I am unable to send the download file URL? 

Solution: Click on the following link wp-simple-cart-sell-digital-downloads-2468


Q2 When the cart is empty, no text or image is displayed. I Also need the products page URL to show up. How do I achieve this?  

Solution: Use the following shortcode which will show a cart with a link to your products page when the cart is empty.



Q3 After getting my first two orders today the cart order has them as: order id: 1 and order id: 4. What happened to order 2 and 3? 

Solution: Manually clean a pending order after a couple days because it’s likely that the user will not make the payment. Log into your WordPress admin panel as administrator and click on Cart Orders -> Cart Orders and remove any old orders that have not been processed yet.


Q4 I am getting a blank page after installing the plugin?

Solution: Read through the following URL


Q5 My add to cart button is not going to the cart page.

Solution: If you added the cart shortcode to another page or post, you have to add that page or post URL to the following settings “Automatic redirection to checkout page”


Q6 I am receiving gibberish characters via e-mail from my clients?

Solution: Check the following URL WordPress Simple Shopping Cart PayPal Language Encoding


Q7 When you insert your payment details, PayPal says “Return to” – How can I get it to say “Return to”?

Solution: PayPal shows the email address on the personal PayPal account. If you upgrade to PayPal premier or business, you will be able to use your business name or domain name. (Solution quoted by mra13 on


Q8 What PayPal account is right for me? There are times that you might want to change some settings that the plugin does not control.

Solution: Check and make sure that you have the correct PayPal account. Here is a list of the different PayPal accounts. (All credit goes to website for this information) 

Premier accounts are for members who will have a high transaction volume, need to accept credit card payments, or would like access to our special features not offered with Personal accounts. Premier accounts include all the benefits of Personal accounts, as well as our special features.

Business accounts allow you to do business under a company or group name, accept all payment types for low fees, and accept payment from customers without PayPal accounts. Business accounts include all of the benefits of Premier accounts, as well as our special features.

Benefits: Premier and Business Accounts

  • Send Money: Send payments to anyone with an email address.
  • Request Money: Request payments from anyone with an email address.
  • Auction Tools: Accept PayPal directly from your auction listings. Automatically invoice your buyers. Automatically remind bidders about your auctions.
  • Accept payments on your website: Create PayPal buttons and accept instant payments from your website.
  • International Payments: Send and receive payments with members in 193 countries and regions.
  • PayPal Debit MasterCard BusinessCard®: Get instant access to the money in your PayPal account.
  • Account Insurance: Your PayPal balance is FDIC insured up to $100,000.00 USD
  • Downloadable log: Download your account history into a spreadsheet or Quicken.
  • Email-based customer service.

Special Features: Premier and Business Accounts Only

  • Accept unlimited credit card payments.
  • Subscriptions and Recurring Payments: Implement subscription payments for your content or services.
  • Multiple Logins: Give your employees limited access to your PayPal account.
  • 7 day-a-week customer service call center.

Special Features: Business Accounts Only

  • Mass Payments: Make payments to hundreds of people at once.


Q9 How to display the number of items in the cart? 

Solution: The following PHP code was provide by Mra13 from the support forum at

The following sample snippet needs to be added to your template file, header.php or footer.php file. It depends where you would like the number and cost of items to appear.

The following will only run if there is something in the cart:

if (isset($_SESSION[‘simpleCart’]) && is_array($_SESSION[‘simpleCart’]))
foreach ($_SESSION[‘simpleCart’] as $item)
$sub_total += $item[‘price’] * $item[‘quantity’];
$total_items += $item[‘quantity’];
echo “Total Items: “.$total_items;
echo “Sub Total: “.$sub_total;


Q10 Emails are not sent to the buyer and or seller after a purchase? 

Solution 1: Please check the following URL How To Setup PayPal IPN.

Solution 2: Your payment might not be getting cleared automatically by PayPal. If this is the case then the plugin will not send emails for a payment where the fund is still in a “pending” state. You will need to contact PayPal and ask them to check your account and make sure that the funds are cleared automatically after a payment is made.

Solution 3: You have a security or firewall type plugin (or a firewall settings in your server config) that is blocking the IPN message. Temporary deactivate these to test.

After going through the 3 solutions above, enable the debug logging option in the simple cart plugin (you can do it from the settings menu). Then do a test transaction so you can see if the IPN message is getting to the plugin. The log file will contain info that indicates that the plugin is getting the IPN message and it is processing it. If the log file is empty then it still isn’t getting the IPN. Some plugin or the server is still blocking it.

If after going through all the steps above you are still having issues, try an SMTP plugin like the following one and send all your site’s email using SMTP:

Note: Some servers have email sending issues (it is somewhat common).

(Solution quoted by mra13 on


Q11 How to Easily Import or Export any of Your WordPress Database Table Content?

Solution: Please read the following URL How To Easily Import Or Export Any Of Your WordPress Database Content Using phpMyAdmin


Q12 How to stack multiple product boxes side by side?

Solution: Click on the following URL WP Shopping Cart Stacking Multiple Product Boxes Side By Side. This is provided by Tips And Tricks HQ.


Q13 I would like to use a custom price format filter so that I can replace the . with a ,?

Solution: The developers have released a new version an the following tutorial Customizing Price Amount Display Currency Formatting.


Q14 How do I display a product box using a shortcode, which includes the image, title, price and description?

Solution: The developers have published a tutorial. Click on the following URL How To Show A Product Display Box.


Q15 Why is my shipping not showing up when I am using either shortcode?  

Solution: Make sure you don’t type $ sign in the “Free Shipping for Orders Over” field, and or “Base Shipping Cost”.

$200 wrong
200 right


Q16 Why are my orders going to the trash?

Solution: A trash order means the user didn’t complete the transaction. It may have happened due to one of the following reasons:

1) The user went to the PayPal payment page but didn’t make the payment.
2) The user made the payment but the plugin didn’t receive notification from PayPal

Do you see a new transaction in your PayPal account which is in a pending state under “Cart Orders”? If not then the payment didn’t even go through.

(Solution by wptipsntricks on


Q17 How do I add a different image to the shortcode for different products?

Solution: There is a button_image parameter that you can use to specify a different button image for each shortcode.

For example:

[wp_cart_button name="Test Product" price="19.95" button_image=""]

(Solution by wptipsntricks on



Q1 I want to use Sandbox for testing, what do I need? 

Solution: If you want to use sandbox testing you are required to create a PayPal Sandbox Account. The following instructions Playing In PayPal’s Sandbox by Tips & Tricks HQ will guide you.

Note: Sandbox emails are imaginary emails. A real email can’t be routed to that inbox. So if you are testing the actual email notification you will have to use a live transaction. You can always refund the transaction after the test.

Recommendation: When testing a transaction, try to perform a live transaction rather than using sandbox account unless you are a developer and you know what you are doing. PayPal Sandbox testing can be a little confusing and time consuming as it requires you to setup your PayPal sandbox account properly before you can test and most of the time users fail to setup their sandbox account correctly. Check the following forum post for more information.


PHP Session Issues

Q1 There are time when your shopping cart might not behave correct and will not refresh when you add a new product or you increase the number you want to purchase. This is sometimes caused by the PHP session not working properly in your server.

Solution 1: Click on the following link php-session-not-working-correctly (By Tips And Tricks HQ)

Solution 2: Someone posted another solution in the forum.


Q2 The shopping cart is not showing after they click on the add to cart button, why?

Solution 1: Please follow the three steps below to troubleshoot this issue.

  1. There is a caching issue.
  2. There is a PHP session issue.
  3. The correct cart shortcode is not being used.

#1) Check your cache plugin settings if you have a cache plugin. Sometimes cache plugin can cause issues on shopping cart plugins.

#2) Check the following URL to determine if the PHP session on the site is working correctly:

#3) Create a test page then add the following two shortcodes in that page then test it:

[wp_cart_button name=”Test Product” price=”19.95″ ]

[show_wp_shopping_cart ]

Solution 2: Please check the following forum post. This might help you.



Q1 How do I add post titles and custom fields to the following template code.

<?php echo do_shortcode(‘[wp_cart_button name=”Test Product Two” price=”19.95″ shipping=”4.99″]’); ?>

Solution: The following solution was provided by aclua in the WordPress forum.

<?php echo do_shortcode(‘[wp_cart_button name=”‘. get_the_title() . ‘ “
                price=”add your value here’. get_post_meta(get_the_ID(), ‘wpcf-price’, TRUE) . ‘” shipping=”4.99 var1=”Size | small | medium | large”]’); ?>
<?php get_footer(); ?>

Remember to also include the following shortcode in the page so the shopping cart will display.


There is another method to display the shortcode. You can also read about this solution in the following support thread.

do_shortcode(“[wp_cart_display_product name='$title' price='$product_price' thumbnail='$image' var1='Size|Small|Medium|Large']”)


Q2 When buyers pay with Credit card instead of using a PayPal account they are not returned to the website?

Solution: The following is how PayPal allows the return URL field to work.

1) Customer pays via their PayPal account -> They get auto-redirected to the thank you page. This can be set up in the plugin.

2) Custom pays via a credit card -> They see the payment confirmation -> Then they click on the thank you page link on that page to get redirected. Make sure you have entered a URL in the following field Return URL. This is located in Simple Cart -> Settings -> General Settings.


Q3 When you receive the following error message when you click on the Checkout with PayPal button.

The seller accepts encrypted website payments only. You cannot pay the seller through un-encrypted buttons. Please contact your seller for more details.

Solution 1: It means that you have a setting in your PayPal account that needs to be disabled.

You need to disable the following in your PayPal account “Accept encrypted button payment only” option. You can’t use any WordPress ecommerce plugin if you don’t disable that option. That option in PayPal is useful if you ONLY want to accept payment from buttons you made in your PayPal account.


Q4 How do I change the cart image without losing the image when I update the plugin?

A new filter for the checkout button image (wspsc_cart_checkout_button_image_src) was added in version 4.2.4

Solution 1: Check the follwoing URL to view an example code:


Q5 How do I fix the following Security Warning after checkout and Returning from PayPal?

Solution 1: (Answer provided by Admin in the forum)

This is a standard warning that browser shows the user when you send data from a HTTPS site to a Non HTTPS site. In this case as you’re coming from paypal (secure – https) to yourdomain (non secure – http).

Note that you don’t need a SSL certificate but if you don’t want your customers to see that warning you will need to install a SSL certificate for your domain which will make your domain URLs secure (https) and the browser won’t show this warning anymore.

You can also enable Auto Return in your PayPal profile which will automatically redirect the customer to your “Thank You” page after a payment. When PayPal auto redirects to your site your customer’s won’t see that warning.


Q6 Are there any new shortcodes added to the shopping cart plugin?

Solution: Yes there is a couple of new shortcodes added. (This was added in version 4.2.9)

You can read more about it from the following URL Simple cart showing a compact shopping cart.


Q7 From June 2018, PayPal IPN verification will require HTTPS. Is this plugin already setup to handle these requirements?

Answer: Yes, this plugin already handles that.


Q8 We are getting the PayPal Credit Button appearing although I have not requested it
It is unchecked in Settings ->Advanced Options. Any ideas of how to get rid of it?

Answer: For the Smart checkout, PayPal will simply ignore anything else sometimes and show the buttons that it thinks is best for the customer to do the checkout. Check the following forum post to learn more.


Q9 My PayPal orders are not working in IOs. How do I fix this issue?

Answer: Try the following solution posted in the forum. Unchecked the setting to “Open PayPal Checkout Page in a New Tab”. Check the following forum post to learn more.


If you have any questions please let me know.


WordPress Simple Shopping Cart List

I have been working in IT since 1999 and I enjoy the challenges it brings me. I love developing websites with WordPress. I spend a lot of time helping out in forums. I have been writing tutorials since 2011. Now I am learning how to manage my own VPS "Virtual Private Server.

  20 Responses to “WordPress Simple Shopping Cart Troubleshooting”

  1. I posted this problem originally with the plug in developers themselves…twice, and each time after saying the comment would be moderated it never showed up and had disappeared. Its like they ignored it. Anyway my problem is that when I select add to cart on any of my product pages it performs the operation perfectly. The cart appears on the right in the widget section the way I wanted it to and I can even adjust the quantity and add in a coupon if i want to and all goes according to plan. However it is when I navigate away to another page on the site then the cart disappears and I thought that because I inserted the short code [show_wp_shopping_cart] in a widget text box that the cart would stay visible and follow me around to each page I navigate to. Its not that the cart deletes itself or anything because when I navigate back to products and decide to select another one, the cart reappears on the right again, and with the previously selected product as well as the newly selected product so it still remembers the selection. I have the shortcode also in its own page www dot fingerprotection dot ie/shopping-cart and if I tick the Automatic redirection to checkout page then the cart will not show at all….not even in the widget section on the right of the page so I have gone back and deselected the tick box.
    The crazy thing is that I am almost sure that it used to work .i.e the cart would stay visible on the right as you move around the site when a product had been added to it but now I think that may have been a dream. I hope you can help?

    • Hi David, thank you for your question. You say that it use to work correctly as far as you can remember. Do you know what has changed ever since you notice it stopped working? Also what theme are you using? What is the short code that you are adding to the sidebar widget? Do you have any cache plugins installed?

      Kind regards

      • Hello Manuel –
        I would have added another few plugins – Contact form7, Download Manager and Simple Share Buttons Adder.
        I deactivated these and uninstalled and reinstalled the cart but to no avail. I have since reactivated the plugins again.
        The shortcode I am using in the widget is [show_wp_shopping_cart]
        And finally – I don’t understand what you mean by cache plugins? You will have to enlighten me on that one as I don’t know the purpose of them. Thanks! David.

        • Hi David try adding the shortcode found in the troubleshooting option number 2 above.

          Kind regards

          • Hi Manuel,
            Yes I had tried that option previously but then its says “Your Cart is Empty, Visit the Shop” all the time even though it does still have products in it.

          • Hi David you can change the wording to something more appealing like Shopping Cart under the following settings Settings >> WP Shopping Cart >> Text/Image to Show When Cart Empty.

            Let me know if that helps you.

            Kind regards

  2. Sorry – my wrong wording previously. I meant that the words “Your Cart is Empty, Visit the Shop” are visible but only these words and nothing else even though in reality there are products in the cart that are not showing up at all.

    • Hi David I have added another solution above in my list which provides the code that answers your question. This was also published on the forum.

      Kind regards

      • Hello Manuel,
        I found the problem. It was a wordpress plugin called “download manager”. I had to deactivate the 6 plugins I had added sometime ago before I realised there was a problem with the cart disappearing. As soon as I did this the cart stopped disappearing. Great!!! I then reactivated them one by one and wouldn’t you know that the last of the 6 to reactivate made the cart disappear so at least I know the exact culprit which is a big relief.
        Many thanks for sticking by me and helping.
        All the best,

  3. Hi,

    How do I add to cart manually. I want to involke the same response I get when I press the shortcode “add to Cart” button, but from a button I create. I have tried do_action(), but no success.


  4. Actually, it would be wonderful if I could add a product and quantity to the cart directly in my code without having any buttons pressed/clicked.

    • I am not sure how to go about adding a product to the cart without clicking a button. You can contact me through my contact form if you like.

  5. Hi,
    Cart shows up well either using base shipping code and using short code with0.0001. The problem I am getting on test page when you add to cart and go to Paypal it keeps showing shipping at $33 when everything i have done is for free postage. Tried 3 other themes, set Paypal to zero on all post costs, tried that in base settings still same amount shows on checking out with paypal, i have wasted around 6 hours now can you help?

  6. Hello,

    I have two questions. after an item is added to the cart and the purchaser is on the checkout page, they are unable to adjust the quantity using the up and down arrows. Is there a way to correct this? They can manually input the quantity and hot enter but I would like them to be able to use the arrows if they desire.

    Using the short code, is there a way to change the colors of the product name and/or price?

    • Hi, do you have a cache plugin installed in your site? Have you excluded the plugins shopping cart pages from getting cached?

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