Encoding Features

Encoding with the Zend Guard allows developers to encode their PHP script at any time during the development process. More importantly, this enables code to be encoded prior to distribution or publishing.

Zend Guard optimizes secures and licenses PHP code to:

  • Expedite at Run-time
    Eliminates compilation and optimization at run-time.

  • Create Unreadable Source Code
    Files are encoded in an unreadable (to people) format.

  • Require Valid License (User Configurable)
    Files can be encoded to support or require licensing (License file restriction).

  • Create Expiration Date/Time (User Configurable)
    Files can be encoded to expire at a set date.

  • Create Encoded-Only Mode (User Configurable)
    Files can be set to cooperate with only associated encoded files that bear the same encoded signature.

Expedited at Run-time

Zend Guard optimizes PHP code, this results in faster execution and reduces the server's CPU load. The files are encoded and optimized, eliminating run-time compiling and reducing the number of run-time processing steps.


Zend Guard saves code in a closed Zend Intermediate Code format. This is a platform-independent binary code. It provides protection against tampering with the original source file, reverse engineering and copyright infringement. This is the key to creating exclusive software solutions and protected commercial PHP applications.

License Requirements

These enable you to specify the license level which is then encoded into the file itself. There are three encoding options:

  • No Enforcement
    There is no interaction with a license file; no license is required in order to use the encoded file.

  • File Enforcement
    The file will not work unless a valid license file is available. The Licenser will generate the license.

  • License API Enforcement
    Uses the zend_loader_file_licensed() API function to verify valid license at specified points.

  • Product Name
    The product name, as referred to in the license files. When issuing a license for this application, you must use the same name.

Encoding determines the license level. Specific licensing details, such as the scope of a license, are determined during license generation.

No Obfuscation

Encoding is done by default even if there is no obfuscation method selected.

The option: "Work only with Encoded Files" requires that files be called only by other encoded files. This option offers additional protection from hacking and reverse-engineering.

The files are in a platform-independent format that can be deployed on all supported platforms with Zend Loader installed on their server. For details on supported platforms, see Zend's online system requirements at: http://www.zend.com/store/products/zend-guard-sysreq.php.


Encoded files which have obfuscated local variables and functions only are compatible with the Zend Loader. The Zend Loader is available free of charge, from: http://www.zend.com/downloads.