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Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions and answers can be found in our FAQ sections below. For questions regarding the Loader, please see our separate Loaders FAQ.

Purchasing

How do I purchase your products
How can I pay for products
Can you provide an invoice/receipt
How do you provide the product
Can I get a refund
How soon can I download the software after payment
What happens if a new major version is released soon after I purchase
How do product upgrades work?

Standalone Encoder

How much does the standalone encoder cost
How do I run encoded scripts
My scripts must run on Unix and I develop on Windows. Which Encoder should I purchase
I develop on a desktop and laptop; do I need to purchase twice
What is the CI (Continuous Integration) Edition
Will my files work on newer versions of PHP
How is back compatibility possible, aren't your files compiled code
What is the Special Edition GUI

The Loader

Do encoded files or the loader affect performance
Can I distribute the Loaders with my scripts

Licensing

How are your products licensed
Do I need licenses to distribute or run encoded scripts
Can I move my license from one machine to another
Can I get a new license if my computer has failed

Support

What support do you provide



Purchasing

Q. How do I purchase your products
A. Purchasing is possible from the members area. If you have already registered, just login via the Members menu item and visit the 'Purchase Products' page. If not registered yet, please register and then click the Members link to login.

Q. How can I pay for products
A. Payments can be made with PayPal, credit card and bank (wire) transfer.

Q. Can you provide an invoice/receipt
A. Yes. You will receive payment receipts from our payment processors, and you can display a printable invoice with full order details simply by clicking the order number on the My Account > Orders & Downloads page in the members' area.

Q. How do you provide the product
A. Once an order has been approved, our software products are made available as a download link in the members' area. The download link is always available and does not expire.

Q. Can I get a refund
A. In the unlikely event that you might require a refund, a refund can be given up to 48 hours after purchase provided that the software has not been licensed. After that time a 15% fee will apply to cover administration and processing costs. Refunds are not possible once our software has been licensed and a license file has been issued.

Q. How soon can I download the software after payment
A. Download links are available once an order has been approved and screened for fraud. We take payment fraud extremely seriously and receive fraudulent payments frequently, so manual screening is required. For orders placed during UK business hours (8am to 5pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays) the approval process is usually complete within 8 hours. The time is often less, or could be longer if we need to contact the card holder by telephone or email. Orders placed outside of business hours may still be processed same day, but if not they are given priority processing next business day.

Q. What happens if a new major version is released soon after I purchase
A. If a new major version is released within 45 days of your license purchase/upgrade then you will be able to claim a free upgrade to the latest version for 3 months after its release. This option is available from the My Account downloads page.

Q. How do product upgrades work?
A. Licenses which remain within two major versions of the latest release qualify for product upgrades. These upgrades are reduced in cost with a loyalty discount. Products which are more than two versions behind the latest do not qualify for upgrades. New licenses can be purchased in this case which come with a technical support plan extension in case you need assistance getting up to date with new features.

Standalone Encoder

Q. How much does the standalone encoder cost
A. Our Pricing & Feature comparison includes all key product information. ionCube Basic Edition is our entry level product with advanced encoding tools. Pro/Cerberus Editions of ionCube add licensing tools allowing you to restrict code to specific machines. The Windows Pro and Cerberus Encoder also includes a license generator for Linux so you can encode on Windows and automate license file generation on Linux servers.

Q. How do I run encoded scripts
A. A PHP extension called the ionCube Loader processes protected scripts. This is completely free and already installed on many hosting platforms, and can usually be installed by the end user when required. Loaders are available on the Loaders page.

Q. My scripts must run on Unix and I develop on Windows. Which Encoder should I purchase
A. Generally it is best to select the platform where you develop, which in this case would be Windows. Encoded files are cross platform and run on any system that we support with Loaders.

Q. I develop on a desktop and laptop; do I need to purchase twice
A. To use our software on two machines does require two licenses. Additional licenses are available at a discount as required.

Q. What is the CI (Continuous Integration) Edition
A. The CI Edition is aimed for users who encode as part of a CI pipeline, where flexibility of temporary machine licenses is beneficial. This product comes with 2 license slots, more can be purchased as required, and license activation and deactivation can be used to control a license at the start and end of session. License allocations are also released every 24 hours and can be activated for a new instance if a previous session failed before license deactivation.

Q. Will my files work on newer versions of PHP
A. It is possible that existing encoded files for some versions of PHP will be able to run on future versions released without re-encoding due to special compatibility in our Loader. For example PHP 5.x files can run on up to PHP 5.6 and PHP 7.1/7.2 files can run on up to PHP 7.4. In cases where such compatibility is not available it is possible to use ionCube's bundling feature to combine multiple sets of encoded files into one set. For example you may bundle PHP 8.1 and 8.2 file sets together to cover both versions in one set of files.

Q. How is back compatibility possible, aren't your files compiled code
A. Yes they are, and it can be challenging to achieve as across major versions and sometimes even minor versions there can be breaking changes to PHP internally. We achieve this by having the Loader patch the compiled code of a older file on the fly where necessary, adding, modifying or taking out VM instructions, adjusting jump targets and so on. Of course the Loader may be presented with files from a range of earlier PHP versions, so it has to allow for that as well. It is time consuming to develop and no wonder that this is not achieved by other solutions, but we believe it is important to do if at all possible.

Q. What is the Special Edition GUI
A. The Special Edition GUI adds some useful extra features to the standard GUI versions of ionCube (Windows and MacOS). Those features include:
FTP Upload Client - With this feature you can upload encoded files to your server.
Dynamic Fields - Allows for dynamic values to be used in your project (See User Guide).
Archiving - Auto archive your project into .zip and tar.gz format.
ionCube Package Foundry - The SE GUI also unlocks some features which link to ionCube Package Foundry, our automated package deployment product.

The Loader

Q. Do encoded files or the loader affect performance
A. Performance depends on various factors such as the nature of the PHP code, but Encoded files generally perform about the same as the original scripts.

Q. Can I distribute the Loaders with my scripts
A. Yes, however we recommend directing users to the Loader Wizard for guidance on selecting and installing the exact required Loader for their system. This avoids distributing unnecessary files that may also be out of date.

Licensing

Q. How are your products licensed
A. Our software is licensed to the physical or virtual machine where it is used.

Q. Do I need licenses to distribute or run encoded scripts
A. No. Our Loader comes with a simple license agreement, and encoded files are yours to distribute however you wish.

Q. Can I move my license from one machine to another
A. Licenses can be easily moved in cases such as upgrading or replacing a machine, where use remains on a single machine. As licenses are issued for use on a single machine, moving a license back and forth between machines such as a desktop and laptop or home and office is usually not permitted, but extra licenses can be purchased at a discount to cover that requirement. If in doubt please ask and we'll be happy to advise.

Q. Can I get a new license if my computer has failed
A. If you have a current support plan then this is part of the support service (excluding Starter Support). If your support has expired we will also do our best to assist.

Support

Q. What support do you provide
A. Starter Support plans are provided with any full license purchase (excludes upgrades and additional licenses, stand alone (new) licenses only). 3 to 6 months depending on which tier of product is purchased. See purchase page for details. Compare support plans