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php Data integrity when data is stored on our site and the user is taken to PayPal and back?


I would still send all vital data to PayPal just in case the user somehow manages to sit on PayPal's payment page for a week and then decides to put in CC info.

So store everything including the username before allowing them to proceed to the checkout. This enables you to validate their information and username before they go to PayPal. Then you cache it all for 48 hours just to make sure they don't lose the username while checking out. You could also take advantage of PHP's session support to track the user if they happen to come back the next day to make the purchase. As long as they didn't clear their cookies/cache and your session lifetime hasn't expired the session server-side, they should be able to resume the session right where they left off and go straight to PayPal.

This way the user can click "Yes" and they don't have to choose their subscription again and go through all that picking/deciding a second time. If the user says "No, I'd like to start over" then just delete the row in the temp table and make a new one for them.

You could also use this system to "check" if the user has already started paying. Perhaps ask them to enter an email address first. Associate all data to that email and the user's IP address ($_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR']). If you don't have session concurrency for a user, but they enter an email address already in the database. Check their IP (and maybe even browser too if you want to be really anal about it) and if it's a match, tell the user "looks like you started checking out before and never finished. want to continue?" and let them pick up where they left off. Obviously don't store any sensitive information this way, and only cache it in the temp table for paypal stuff so it only lasts for 2 days at best.

Your best bet is to store all account information on your database as if the user created the account before sending them to PayPal.

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