PayPal Checkout Error when Paying with Credit or Debit Card

You may get this error “We’re sorry things don’t appear to be working at the moment. Please try again later” with PayPal checkout. The solution is easy!

I run a website that takes payments via PayPal through Woocommerce running PayPal Express plugin. I also use the standard PayPal Checkout plugin from the Woocommerce team. Recently many people have had problems making payment with credit or debit cards and get the error “We’re sorry things don’t appear to be working at the moment. Please try again later.”

I tried Googling the answer but nothing worked to fix the error. I tried disabling my cache plugin WP-Rocket, clearing CloudFlare cache, disabling all plugins one by one and making sure my PayPal APIs and account was all good. Nothing worked! I was really fed up, many customers couldn’t pay so left for my competitors.

I began to do some research and check all my websites. I noticed a drop in payments from around 1 week ago. Normally I would put this down to people just not buying at the time, sometimes that can happen for 3 to 4 days. Bad sales days occur, but this had been an entire week across all my websites.

I had tried everything and the stress was beginning to get to me, so I took a long walk to try and clear my head. I find walking a great way to think clearly and find solutions to many problems. I thought back to the day when sales dropped and remembered I did some server-side optimizations. Engintron, Varnish and Memcached.

Now I had a problem with Varnish, so I had already uninstalled that, Engintron was creating some https page redirect errors on new domains added to the server, so that had also already been uninstalled. That left me with Memcached still running. I checked my traffic and realised from the date of the payment drops, traffic had dropped in half and my Adsense was at an all time low. I couldn’t see any connection with Memcached and my problems but I had to take a chance and disabled Memcached across my entire server.

After disabling Memcached, I ran a test payment using the PayPal Express plugin with Woocommerce and the payment went through perfectly. I then re-enabled Memcached and tried a second payment, I got the error again “We’re sorry things don’t appear to be working at the moment. Please try again later.”

So having lost a lot of potential customers and payments, the problem was Memcached! We try so hard to optimize our servers to please our website visitors and to try and get a good result on Google Pagespeed, however, sometimes it can have a negative effect, especially on ecommerce websites.

So if you are getting that PayPal error when people try to make credit or debit card payments, try disabling Memcached, it might just be the answer you are looking for.

How about my traffic and Adsense earnings?

It is too early to tell yet if Memcached could be the problem with my loss of traffic and Adsense earnings. Having the same problems occur from the same day of installing Memcached would normally be enough to prove a point. However, I only just fixed this error as of writing this and it will take some time for traffic and Adsense earnings to come back, if they do.

I will keep you up to date here and let you know my findings over the next couple of weeks. If anything remarkable happens to my traffic and Adsense earnings I will report it right here.

I hope this helped some people fix an annoying and serious problem.