How to protect and hide PHP source code?

In the time of open-source there are multiple benefits of making your code available to all. However when deploying or selling your PHP code to a client you might want to protect and hide it because of different business reasons or security.

There are multiple approaches to check based on the use cases:

  • Obfuscation - makes code difficult to read by a human in order to hide its logic or purpose. In most cases the reverse-engineering of such code is still possible so obfuscation doesn't provide proper code protection if you need it.
  • SaaS - Software as a service is code licensing approach where the code is accessed from a server based on licenses and subscriptions to enabled users. Consider this kind of way if you want to make sure that the code is not available to end-users or that it is used only on request.
  • License agreements and contracts are the usual approach to make agreements between coders with clients.

See also

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Content of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license. Code snippets in examples are published under the CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0). Thanks to all contributors.