wget https://downloads.ioncube.com/loader_downloads/ioncube_loaders_lin_x86-64.tar.gz # download
tar xzvf ioncube_loaders_lin_x86-64.tar.gz # extract
php -v # find out PHP version e.g. 7.2
php -i | grep extension_dir # find out PHP extensions directory

# copy closest matching ioncube module to your PHP extensions directory
sudo cp "ioncube/ioncube_loader_lin_7.0.so" /usr/lib/php/20160731/

# copy this line to top of php.ini /etc/php/7.2/apache2/php.ini
# OR copy this to a new configuration file `00-ioncube.ini` and load it (by moving to /etc/php/7.2/apache2/conf.d)
# zend_etxension = path/to/module/file
zend_extension = /usr/lib/php/20160731/ioncube_loader_lin_7.0.so


  • find out PHP version and extensions directory (7.2 and /usr/lib/php/20160731)
  • copy closest matching ionCube module to PHP extensions directory (ioncube/ioncube_loader_lin_7.0.so and /usr/lib/php/20160731)
  • copy one line of code to an .ini file and move it to additional .ini files directory (00-ioncube.ini, zend_extension = /usr/lib/php5/20121212/ioncube_loader_lin_7.0.so and /etc/php/7.2/apache2/conf.d)

ionCube Loader is a PHP Encoder used by companies like WHMCS to encode their software code. In order to use the software, you need to install ionCube.

Using ionCube encoded and secured PHP files requires a file called the ionCube Loader to be installed on the web server and made available to PHP. PHP can use the Loader with one line added to a PHP configuration file (php.ini).


  • Ubuntu 17.04
  • PHP Version 7.2
  • PHP Extension directory /usr/lib/php/20160731
  • PHP mods-available directory /etc/php/7.2/mods-available/
  • PHP additional configuration files directory /etc/php/7.2/apache2/conf.d

You can find out all these with <?php phpinfo(); ?>, php -v and php -i


Download ioncube loader (Linux 64 bit, since that’s what i’m using)

wget https://downloads.ioncube.com/loader_downloads/ioncube_loaders_lin_x86-64.tar.gz

Extract it

tar xzvf ioncube_loaders_lin_x86-64.tar.gz

You’ll see two kinds of module files in the extracted folder, .so and _ts.so. _ts.so are the thread-safe versions. We’re going to copy the .so file.

Copy module

Find the PHP modules folder

php -i | grep extension_dir
# extension_dir => /usr/lib/php/20160731 => /usr/lib/php/20160731

Copy the ionCube module for the PHP version (closest match) you have installed, to your PHP extensions directory

sudo cp "ioncube/ioncube_loader_lin_7.0.so" /usr/lib/php/20160731

Creating .ini configuration file

There are two places you can add configuration for PHP modules

  • The system-wide php.ini file at /etc/php/7.2/apache2/php.ini (or find / -name php.ini)
  • Individual files in the conf.d directory /etc/php/7.2/apache2/conf.d (or php -i | grep "Scan this dir for additional .ini files")

In the conf file we’re going to add

zend_extension = /usr/lib/php5/20121212/ioncube_loader_lin_7.0.so

which tells the path for the module to laod

While the simplest way to load the module is to just add the one line of code to the beginning of the php.ini file, the following way is more systematic and is how existing modules are loaded.

We’re going to create a configuration file in the PHP mods-available directory, and then link to that file from conf.d so that it gets loaded.

touch /etc/php/7.2/mods-available/ioncube.ini
echo "zend_extension = /usr/lib/php/20160731/ioncube_loader_lin_7.0.so" > /etc/php/7.2/mods-available/ioncube.ini
ln -s /etc/php/7.2/mods-available/ 00-ioncube.ini

Restart Apache

service apache2 restart


To ensure that the module was correctly installed, create a file called test.php in /var/www with the following content:

echo var_export(extension_loaded('ionCube Loader') ,true);

Once you have done that, navigate to http://your-droplets-ip-address/test.php. It should output “true”.

Alternatively, run this from the command line

php -r "echo var_export(extension_loaded('ionCube Loader') ,true);"
<?php phpinfo(); ?>

will also tell you if ioncube is enabled.