There may be instances where you want to give a trial period to users prior to the actual subscription period. You can offer free trial, or you can charge for it. Either way, the trial period offers you separate settings for period and price from the regular subscription period.
Free Trial Period, Basic vs Recurring Billing
The primary thing to consider with a free trial is the difference between how trials are handled with basic transactions versus recurring billing.
When “basic” is the transaction type, the trial is handled onsite. If it is free, then the user does not need to go to PayPal to begin and a trial period expiration date will be set for the user immediately upon registration. Once the trial period ends, the user does not need to do anything if they wish to cancel. Their access will simply expire, at which point they can pay to continue, or do nothing. (Note: if expiration notifications are turned on, the user will receive an email notification indicating their access is about to expire.)
The difference with recurring billing is that the trial period is managed via PayPal – even if the trial is free, the user will need to log into PayPal and provide payment information. If they wish to cancel, they will need to do so via PayPal prior to the end of the trial period (same as if they were in a paid subscription period). If they do not cancel, they will be billed and billing will continue until the subscription is canceled – hence “recurring” billing.