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Protecting your HTML and PHP Source Code

By Vince Edwards
Posted Friday, November 26, 2004

There are many reasons now as a web designer, software programmer or website owner that you may want to start considering the safety of your HTML or PHP source code. Some related reasons are:

1. Email Address theft – Have you ever wondered how you get SPAM mail even though you’ve been super cautious NOT to subscribe to anything, yet it still comes your way? One of the reasons could be that you have your EMAIL link on a website. With email harvesting software available (even for free trials) anyone can harvest your email address right off your website automatically.
2. Picture Theft – Most average users are aware that you can right-click pictures on a website and download them to their own computer. It is common knowledge for most internet users and webmasters.
3. Return URLs – For some credit card processing companies (such as PAYPAL and EGOLD) it is possible to view the source of web pages and look at the return (thanks for purchasing) page, where you can directly go to the URL, click on the link to download the software without paying for it
4. Website Layout - If a Webmaster likes your site, they can save out the page (and structure) and edit it in their own HTML editor software and claim the design layout for themselves
5. PHP Scripts - If you have a clever script (i.e. written in PHP) and you need to send it to someone, they could easily have a look at your PHP script to see how you did it. They can then copy the code or re-write it slightly and call it their own Or use it for their own PHP software and scripts.

These are just some of the reasons why you need to consider encrypting your web pages or source code. Encryption of web pages and source code is becoming more and more popular and in the future will become an absolute necessity. We can now see a huge market (on the web) of HTML encryption software that enables you to protect your source code from prying eyes. Although HTML encryption is not 100% foolproof, it is effective enough to keep out MOST users and acts as a good deterrent, since not everyone has the time to decipher encrypted HTML source just for the fun of it.

Fortunately, the technology for PHP Encryption is foolproof since it works on the server side and cannot be tampered with. In the market, there are now various PHP encryptors available (at varying prices) that enable you to encrypt all of your source code (as well as your HTML generated output ) so that it is virtually unreadable to humans, but still functional to computers.

If you are a PHP developer and create your own scripts, then it is absolutely vital that you make the decision to encrypt your scripts before distribution. If you don’t, you run the risk of your code being stolen, modified, emulated or copied. All it takes is one hacker or experienced programmer to “Learn” from your code, make a few of their own modifications and bring out their own “Version” of the software under a different name. This can cause serious problems as well as the problem of ruining your own market because you have contributed towards creating a competitor.

If your script is exclusive or unique then you must encrypt your code to protect your intellectual property. It’s like creating a secret recipe on how to cook your favorite food dish, then posting your recipe on the local supermarket’s notice board for everyone to see (sound silly doesn’t it?). If you value your work at all, then you need to seriously consider protecting and encrypting it!

About the Author
Vince Edwards is the owner of the software that protects your intellectual property


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