Why we use ionCube and what it does

Why we use ionCube and what it does

20.08.2019 59043

We are asked these questions constantly:

  • What is ionCube?
  • Why do I need it to use your modules?
  • Which version?
  • Is it free? 
  • and many more related questions.

I will try and explain everything to you, I will explain it in the easiest way possible.

What is ionCube?

I know that it can be hard to understand for a beginner but I will try to explain it to you.

ionCube loader is a free library created by a company called ionCube. The library should be installed on the server and added to a specific php.ini. file.

90% of all servers have installed the ionCube already.

Sometimes you only need to enable the library in the server cPanel in the PHP section.

For those who do not have the ionCube loader installed I created a tutorial which you can read on this site. Of course, there are some special situations where only the administrator will be able to install the library for you.

The library’s job is to optimise the PHP code ( the language which is used to program the modules), this makes the modules work faster. It also protects PHP files from any unauthorised access (can’t be edited). ionCube is the most popular library chosen by programme developers as it offers safety to PHP code and websites.

Is it free?

Of course, it is. The loader is completely free, as surprising as it sounds, your website may not have a library or it can be in the old version. It is worth thinking about whether you are paying for a high-quality web hosting.

Why is it so important?

An everyday scenario:

We install the free software ( Joomla, Worldpress or OpenCart) on your server, this type of software is open-source. This is the most used license and it is used by hundreds of people, maybe even thousands. So you can use it with no extra cost.

Unfortunately, since the code is public, everyone can look through the files and find a gaping security hole which could lead to a security violation. Moving forward, the same situation happens with extensions, plugins and modules for these systems. A big number of them has an open code.

No one is perfect. If the programmer makes a mistake, the hacker will spot his mistakes. Hundreds of websites and online shops get hacked because the programmer made a small mistake and the hacker is able to take advantage of the hole. This happens often and the hackers exchange information on their forums.

Why do we use it?

If you use ionCube, the hacking will not happen ( as written above ). The files prepared by ionCube are not only encoded, but they also have a strict checksum control to check if the files haven’t been tampered. If anyone will try to change anything in the files or change code, the server will then consider the file as damaged. A simply input of a dot or a comma will damage the file.

It is impossible to insert a harmful piece of code into/between the original code. You cannot add anything above, under or in the middle of the code. Typical ‘hackers' will not be able to find a mistake or a gaping security hole in the code.

We put a lot of work into a payment module. If the module is poorly written, it allows for it to be modified and hyperlink it to a different, fake payment website and a client can be scammed without even knowing. This is why it is so important to have our program. Our programs are safe and they provide security/safety to us, our customers and their money.

Decode sample:

echo phpinfo();

Encoded sample:


There is nothing to be afraid of

There is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to ionCube, it is here to help you. As you can see owning the ionCube library gives many benefits. These days a lot of people call themselves ‘specialists’ and a plugin written by a professional company promises to change or “improve”. Securing the code against those “professionals" and “hackers” are our priority. As you can see extensions with ionCube gives high-level protection.

How do I check if I have the right version?

We prepared a script that tests the server. The script can be download for free: https://opencart.tips/ioncube-wizard

Very often the version of the library is linked to the PHP version. The suggest version ( as of today ) is ionCube 10.3.2 and PHP 7.2-7.3

Instructions how to install ionCube

The full instructions on how to install the ionCube library on your web hosting can be found on our website: https://opencart.tips/ioncube-wizard

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