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How can we hide/protect php code from others so that they can't use it?


colap
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Suppose the code is given/sold to someone. Then he can give this code to someone else too. Then the 2nd person can also give it to 3rd person and so on. So everyone from person 1 to 3 can use the same code. Everyone has the source code.

 

In c,c++ executable, we can't get the original source code.

 

How can we hide/protect php code from others so that they can't use it?

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If you specifically want to protect your code, there are commercial obfuscators like Zend Guard or ionCube.

 

(Bytecode) compilation alone has nothing to do with security and can, to some extend, be reversed. It's not as easy as copy-and-paste, but anybody willing to steal your super-secret algorithm can do that.

 

So the question is: What do you want to protect from whom?

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If you specifically want to protect your code, there are commercial obfuscators like Zend Guard or ionCube.

 

(Bytecode) compilation alone has nothing to do with security and can, to some extend, be reversed. It's not as easy as copy-and-paste, but anybody willing to steal your super-secret algorithm can do that.

 

So the question is: What do you want to protect from whom?

What does the obfuscator do?

If someone gets the code, then he can easily run(steal) the website.

 

Answer is: Protecting from other users, I didn't sell the code to, so that they can't run the website without buying that.

Edited by colap
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If I don't give them the code, then how will they run the website?

 

You host their website.

 

This is by far the most reliable way to protect your code, but of course it's an entirely different business model which has its own problems.

 

 

 

What does the obfuscator do?

 

It compiles the source code to byte code and and applies obfuscation techniques like replacing variable names with random strings. This makes reverse engineering harder (but not impossible).

 

 

 

Answer is: Protecting from other users, I didn't sell the code to, so that they can't run the website without buying that.

 

No shit. I was asking about specifics. What kind of software are you selling? What kind of customers are you dealing with? Are you selling WordPress plug-ins to amateur bloggers or complex software systems to big companies?

 

The right protection (and whether technical protection even makes sense) depends largely on the value of your product. Sure, we all like to think that our code is unique, but I doubt you're willing to pay $600 for a one-year Zend Guard license when you only make a few dollars.

 

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I personally don't like protecting code to begin with and here my reasoning. I used to work for auto paint manufacturer that bought this really expensive software package from a company that heavily protected their code (though they did have tech support that they paid for), if the people in charge (the IT department) running the software even had to make a simple change to the software package they had to had the company do it. To make a long story short, the company that sold us the software package went bankrupt and left us up a creek without a paddle. Even though they were going out-of-business they still wouldn't unprotect the software claiming they still had held the rights to to software. So here we are with an expensive digital paperweight and having to fork over more $$$ to another company. My memory is a little fuzzy but it was so specialized piece of software that the competitors would have to write it from the ground up thus costing us money for the downtime and/or praying the software that we would currently using would hold up until the replacement could be up and running. 

 

Anyway, my point is that you being a small company (while you probably won't go out-of-business) are probably specializing in developing software that for most part isn't going to be freely distributed to other companies unless it's a game or a general application then like someone stated you don't have to give them the php file though that presents a minor problem (that also stated). I know from personal experience being held hostage on a software package is a negative experience. Besides the company went to you to write the software for they didn't want to take the time to develop themselves for they have other priorities. Like in my case we were making paint for the automotive industry and my specific job was matching the color to customer's (auto companies) OEM color standards.  The last thing I wanted to do is figure out how that software work. 

Edited by Strider64
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