Your website is important. If it’s a commercial site it might even be your lifeblood, or at the very least contain the products of your hard work including code, applications, data. That’s where SourceGuardian steps in.
Chances are your site uses PHP hypertext preprocessor code, also known as PHP. The server-side scripting language is used around the world on nearly a quarter of a billion websites and is installed on more than two million web servers. PHP is vulnerable for the very reason it is so popular. It is light, portable and practically universal. PHP mixes into HTML easily and is integrated into countless web frameworks and template engines. SourceGuardian is designed to encrypt your PHP files, making them much less vulnerable.
The software industry is ever changing and innovating, and so creators of software products have good reason to exercise control over their creations. There are matters of security and data protection to consider, but by protecting their innovations, these innovators retain the power and control over what they have created.
A look at SourceGuardian
SourceGuardian was launched in 2002. This commercial software allows developers the ability to securely encode, compile, and encrypt PHP scripts. Additionally, a number of security features take things a notch higher. For example, developers can lock their files based on the server IP where they will be opened, based on the domain name, the MAC address or a defined time period.
These advanced features make it so that files cannot be used on a different computer, under a different domain or outside of a defined time interval. Features like this have made SourceGuardian a compelling choice for developers looking to securely deploy their code without fear that it will be copied, analyzed for weaknesses or modified by a party that doesn’t have the authority to do so.
SourceGuardian is built by a dedicated team that features security specialists in the field of security and elite programmers. Their methods are completely proprietary and they have built in the ability to use these advanced security features of encryptions and encoding while retaining flexibility of distribution. The product is well received in commercial environments, and many developers have used it in many situations, including coding for clients and a variety of commercial applications. Development continues as the team is constantly building, improving and evolving the product.
As of late 2014, SourceGuardian features its leading protection to compile PHP securely, protect code, and more in its latest product, SourceGuardian 10. It features a fantastic, intuitive GUI that works on a number of platforms and offers built in support to get people the help they need quickly from right within the application itself, as well as email support.
Licenses are available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and IBM PowerLinux. As with many developer tools, the program is completely configurable by the command line interface that comes with your operating system platform. Your PHP scripts will be compiled into bytecode format, then encryption layers.
PHP scripts that are protected with SourceGuardian require loaders to run. You must select the appropriate loader for your system and install it. The loaders are PHP extensions. The loader decrypts bytecode, so your files can run. PHP versions 4.3.4 through 5.5 are all supported.
SourceGuardian offers a 14-day free trial. You can demo it on a test server easily and test away. SourceGuardian is confident that through its trial offer, potential customers will see the value and ease of use and convert those sales.
You probably will not find anything on a hosting provider’s website that mentions SourceGuardian specifically. Some hosts offer it pre-installed, and you’ll just need to configure it.
It’s possible that some hosting providers may not support the SourceGuardian PHP encoder on some services like shared hosting accounts. In cases like that, it’s more likely you would have to run SourceGuardian on a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or a dedicated server package.
If it’s not pre-installed, you should contact your hosting provider to ensure compatibility with SourceGuardian. They may assist you with installation, depending on the level of support with your plan.
SourceGuardian Frequently Asked Questions
What is SourceGuardian?
SourceGuardian for PHP is a commercial product that allows you to quickly and securely encode, compile, and encrypt your PHP files to protect your source code and sensitive information, such as database passwords.
SourceGuardian also enables file access time limiting, as well as locking files to a particular machine or IP address, and also includes its own built-in licensing system. It features a GUI as well as command-line encryption.
Why should I encode my PHP files?
Using SourceGuardian you can protect your PHP application so that it can be distributed in a similar way to a normal application, knowing that the source code will not be distributed, or you can distribute trial versions of PHP applications.
Also, you can lock PHP scripts to one machine so that an application cannot be stolen or used outside your organization. Encrypting PHP also protects database passwords and other sensitive information.
Does SourceGuardian have any special requirements?
PHP files encoded with SourceGuardian require SourceGuardian Loader to be installed so they can run on your web server. Many hosts provide you with SourceGuardian Loader ready to run, you just have to enable it and, of course, configure it.
Some hosting providers may not support SourceGuardian Loader on certain hosting plans like shared hosting plans. In such cases, it is more likely you will have to run SourceGuardian on a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or a dedicated server package.
What operating systems does SourceGuardian Loader support?
SourceGuardian provides free loaders to run encoded scripts on various platforms.
Standard loaders include Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD, but SourceGuardian can create loaders on demand for virtually any other platform that is not listed above.
How do I install SourceGuardian on my computer?
You can install SourceGuardian Encoder on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X systems. A script encoded under one operating system will run under any other supported operating systems.
What license do I receive for the SourceGuardian encoder?
Purchasing SourceGuardian gets you a full, time unlimited license to use SourceGuardian PHP Encoder on one machine. It is also possible to move the license to another machine.
There is no need to purchase any additional licenses to distribute your encoded scripts. All your encoded PHP files can be distributed at no additional cost.
Does SourceGuardian support for different PHP versions?
SourceGuardian generally supports all versions of PHP from version 4.3 up to the most current at the time of the SourceGuardian release.
Are there any downsides to using SourceGuardian to encrypt my PHP files?
When PHP is updated, the existing SourceGuardian Loader software will not work with newer versions of PHP and you will have to upgrade the loader.
Also, unlike normal PHP files, SourceGuardian encoded files may need to be uploaded with your FTP program set to “binary” mode, not “ASCII” or “text” mode.
You may need to manually override your FTP program’s settings while uploading to do this.
What protection features are available in SourceGuardian?
– locking to a specific date, with optional atomic online time server checking;
– locking to multiple domain names and IP addresses;
– locking to multiple LAN hardware (MAC) addresses;
– improved locking to a specific domain name or IP address with encryption (the domain name or IP address is used as a part of the key for encryption, so protected scripts may not be decrypted and run from another domain or IP);
– thread Safety support (SourceGuardian 10 has a special version of its Loaders available for Thread Safety PHP installations) etc.
Can SourceGuardian encode other files besides PHP scripts?
Encoding HTML templates, or other non-PHP files, using the SourceGuardian encoder is supported. HTML templates or other non-PHP files may be encoded by the encoder, then read and decrypted from the protected scripts code.
One limitation is that template files which are encoded as part of the project may be used only from the protected scripts which were encoded as a part of the same project.
You cannot access encrypted files from non-encrypted scripts, or scripts that are not part of the same SourceGuardian project.
What if need some expert advice, or support?
All customers who purchase SourceGuardian receive one year of free premium support including fixes and free SourceGuardian upgrades for one year. Annual support can be extended after it expires.
The SourceGuardian encoder also features a built-in support module within the application, where you can directly communicate with the support team. Of course, email support is also available.
About John Casaretto
John's focus is on cloud consulting. But he's had a varied career working in business development and cybersecurity. He lives in Colorado.
Connect with John
Who's Best for SourceGuardian Hosting?
We think SiteGround is the best choice for SourceGuardian.