PhP Script licencing

Profile picture of the author atrevidopaul by
Hi all.

We have created a php script that we'd like to distribute but also protect from theives. We're going through what options we have without creating our own.

A lot of clients would like to keep it on their own servers as open source which would make the script open to abuse. I'd prefer to keep it on ours but to only give access to certain parts.

Anyone know of anything that would be suitable?

Many thanks
#programming #licencing #php #script

  • Profile picture of the author Michael71
    ionCube PHP Encoder

    Zend Guard
  • Profile picture of the author viescripts
    for small projects I'd use obfuscation with a integrated API of version control.
    This one is free in most cases.


    For large projects I'd use ZEND with the same API of version control.
  • Profile picture of the author LordKaT
    Another option, depending on the size and scope of your project, is to license your product out as an API, and have it hosted on a cloud service, requiring each licensee to use a unique username/password combo to gain access to the API.
  • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
    ionCube, Zend Guard, etc, work well, but not all of your customers will have the run-times for those scripts already installed on their server. So for the ones who don't, they will have to install & configure that on their server *before* they install your script on their server.

    So what it basically boils down to is... how many hoops do you want to make your customers jump through in order to protect your source code? If you are selling a $2,000+ script then that's one thing, but for a < $100 script, you better be real careful about making your customers jump through hoops. For products in that price range, there is a fine line between keeping your customers happy and pissing them off!

    If you want to protect your source code AND make it super easy on your customers, then you might want to consider installing the script only on your server, and then giving your customers access to it via a membership-type setup. A big plus with this method is that you never have to worry about shipping out script updates to your customers (you simply update the script on your server, and you're done). The downside to this method is that your server will be consuming (potentially) a lot more bandwidth every month, but that can of course be offset by charging your customers a small monthly membership fee.

    There are pros and cons with each method, of course, so you will have to figure out which method will work best with your particular script and business plan.
  • Profile picture of the author KingRoyal
    Why not use WHMCS licensed addon?
  • Profile picture of the author atrevidopaul
    Thanks so much for the help. Just going through the options but i'm liking the WHMCS licensing addon..never knew about that one. Reasonable at $99 too.
  • Profile picture of the author Workman
    Do all of your clients use WHMCS for their hosting? If your going to close your source keep in mind that you'll be the only one who can maintain it and that may make your clients uneasy if, for whatever reason, they can't get ahold of you.

    If you have a service that provides updated data or a embedded widget, you could keep your product closed source, and write a wrapper for your service. You could charge monthly membership costs for hosting the service. The customer would still need to reach out to you for support in this case. (But make sure your response times are quick and uptime is solid!)

    They paid good money for the application, right? Another option is to not worry about it at all and trust your customers to honor their license or make it just difficult enough for them to want to pay you for another site license instead of messing with the code(if that's how you're charging). That allows them to tweak the product to their specific needs and be able to reach out to anyone with PHP experience for support.

    Weigh the cost of your time to implement and maintain an application that impose these restrictions to the ability to code faster and provide the best possible product =)
  • Profile picture of the author atrevidopaul
    Some excelent points there WorkMan. I think i'll go the trust route(but make it difficult enough to replicate), might not be the smartest move but i'll see how it goes. Thanks for all your help guys.
  • Profile picture of the author TurnRush
    I wouldn't consider encrypting your code for low prices products, because not all hostings will run ioncube or zend. Obfuscating + licensing can work. Plus offering membership access to documentation / support will make your product unique and worth paying for.
  • Profile picture of the author dwoods
    I have experience with ioncube and it's worked greatly for my projects.
    It's super easy to use and well worth the cost of admission.

    I had looked around for free or cheaper alternatives and to be quite frank, none of them are near the level of zend and/or ioncube.
  • Profile picture of the author TurnRush
    Originally Posted by dwoods View Post

    I have experience with ioncube and it's worked greatly for my projects.
    It's super easy to use and well worth the cost of admission.

    I had looked around for free or cheaper alternatives and to be quite frank, none of them are near the level of zend and/or ioncube.
    What was your sales method? Did you not encounter endless support request for people that didn't run ioncube loader?
  • Profile picture of the author lordspace
    You can use ioncube's online encoder. It works by purchasing credits and depending on the complexity of the code you're charged X amount of credits.
    I remember purchasing credits for $5-$10

    Another option is to offer a hosted version of your software
  • Profile picture of the author mpettigr
    PHPMyLicense is a beautiful low cost licensing system and really easy to use...it will encode and license your scripts to a specific domain. It also has a built in shopping cart and creates a license for a customer automatically on checkout.

    We use it for our own software products some of which are very expensive and we need protected at all costs.

    You can find out more here: PHPMyLicense Licensing System

    I do hope this helps,

    Mike
  • Profile picture of the author Brian Tayler
    Originally Posted by mpettigr View Post

    PHPMyLicense is a beautiful low cost licensing system and really easy to use...it will encode and license your scripts to a specific domain. It also has a built in shopping cart and creates a license for a customer automatically on checkout.

    We use it for our own software products some of which are very expensive and we need protected at all costs.

    You can find out more here: PHPMyLicense Licensing System

    I do hope this helps,

    Mike
    Man I was all set on using this product until I did a quick view of the demo... then my heart sunk when I saw it used eval(gzinflate(base64_decode($string)); which is a VERY easy PHP encoding process to decode. So easy in fact that a web site allows a novice user to enter the "encrypted" code into to the site and outputs the decrypted (unprotected) content in seconds.

    I guess it goes to show you really can't cut corners and really need to stick to the high priced ionCube and Zend Encoders.
  • Profile picture of the author linksearch
    Recently launched lots of Website Designing PHP Scripts that helps to customer to make or design an website with Zero technical knowledge. It 's very user friendly and customizable. Go to google and type "Odesk Clone" or "Odesk Clone Script" & find popularclones (the second results).
  • Profile picture of the author mpettigr
    Originally Posted by Brian Tayler View Post

    Man I was all set on using this product until I did a quick view of the demo... then my heart sunk when I saw it used eval(gzinflate(base64_decode()); which is a VERY easy PHP encoding process to decode. So easy in fact that a web site allows a novice user to enter the "encrypted" code into to the site and outputs the decrypted (unprotected) content in seconds.

    I guess it goes to show you really can't cut corners and really need to stick to the high priced ionCube and Zend Encoders.
    Hi Brian,

    Unfortunately, you can also very easily decode IonCube and Zend too...and they are recoginsed by many as the industry leaders.

    Here are two sites that allow this:

    Ioncube Decoder:
    Download Ioncube Decoder V2 | Ioncube Decoder

    Zend Guard:
    Show My Code | Free Online swf Adobe flash decompiler, java class decoder, java class decompiler, php dezender, Zend decompiler, Zend decoder,Zend Guard, ActionScript recover, QR bar code decoder

    I only wish there were methods available that are 100% safe but the reality is that there is no 100% safe encryption method out there when it comes to PHP code. This is because PHP is open source and no matter what you use a determined haker will find a way.

    The best we can do is to make the process inconvenient and by using encryption (even if its not total protection) you still manage to deter 90% of users from stealing your code.
  • Profile picture of the author Cosmit
    If your clients HAVE to keep the script on their webservers you can still restrict a lot of functionality to be handled by your server.

    If you can offer your script as API, set up a subscription and charge for the service. This is always the preferred method but it depends.

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