Is PayPal Down... Or Is It You?

How to tell if the payment system is having issues or the problem is on your end

If you can't connect to the PayPal website or its app, there may be a PayPal outage. If you're worried about PayPal not working, it's important to know if the service is down or if it's just you. Fortunately, there are some key ways in which you can figure out if the issue is you or if PayPal is down right now. 

The instructions in this article apply to the PayPal website as well as if the PayPal app is down.

How to Tell If PayPal Is Down

If you think PayPal is down for everyone and not just you, try these simple steps to check if you're correct. 

  1. Paypal Twitter account

    This should always be your first port of call as the official Twitter account is a good source of up to date information. Make sure it's only the official PayPal Twitter account that you check. 

  2. Search Twitter for #PayPaldown. If the site is down for everyone, somebody has probably already tweeted about it. Check for tweets but also pay attention to the tweet timestamps to ensure that they're not discussing an earlier time that PayPal was not working.

    Paypal Down hashtag on Twitter

    Can't access Twitter? Try other major sites like Google or YouTube. If you can't view them either then the problem is almost certainly on your end or with your ISP.

  3. Use a third-party "status checker" website. Popular options include Down For Everyone Or Just Me, Downdetector, Is It Down Right Now?, and Outage.Report. All of them will tell you if PayPal is working for everyone else.

    Down Detector website checking Paypal.com

If no one else is reporting a problem with PayPal, then the problem is likely something on your side.

What to Do When You Can't Connect to PayPal

There are a few things you can try if PayPal seems to be working fine for everyone else, but not you.

  1. Make sure you're actually visiting www.PayPal.com and not an unofficial clone.

    Due to the nature of PayPal, there are many sites trying to impersonate it. Be extra sure that you're accessing the proper site. 

  2. If you can't access PayPal from your web browser, try using the PayPal app. If connecting to PayPal via the app seems to not work, try using the browser on your smartphone or tablet instead.

  3. Close all of your browser windows, wait 30 seconds, open one window, and then try accessing the PayPal site again. Do the same with the PayPal app if you're on a tablet or smartphone. Make sure you're closing down the app properly. Learn how to close Android apps and how to quit apps on iPhone the full method rather than simply closing them.

    If the app or browser window seems to be stuck and not closing properly, try restarting your device instead.

  4. Occasionally, there can be an issue with your DNS server. If you feel comfortable switching DNS servers, there are many free and public methods, but they can require more advanced knowledge. 

If nothing has fixed PayPal for you, you may have a problem with your internet connection. One such issue can be when you have too many devices using up your network bandwidth eventually slowing down your internet so you can't use it, but it can be more complicated than that. Contact your ISP to gain further help. 

PayPal Error Messages

PayPal can display standard HTTP status code errors such as 500 Internal Server Error, 403 Forbidden and 404 Not Found, but it can also display specific error codes exclusive to PayPal. Here are some of the most common ones.

  • PA_Long_Error_Authentication: This means you've incorrectly entered your username or password. Re-enter them and it should work.
  • PA_Long_Error_User_Restricted or PA_Long_Error_User_Locked_Or_Inactive: Your account has been disabled or restricted. Contact PayPal to investigate why this has occurred. 
  • We're sorry, but we can't send your payment right now: This can be either because PayPal is overloaded right now, or because of a problem with your payment method. Try a different card if possible, or wait until later. 

If the problem still isn't solved, try waiting it out. When PayPal is in heavy demand, it can throw up these error messages when the issue is on the app or website's end, not yours.