Article Originally Published: 29th June 2022

Last Updated: 5th August 2022

29TH JULY UPDATE: Beta testing has progressed well and the roll-out procedure has started with website updates and packaging. Full release is expected next week.

5TH AUGUST UPDATE: Online Encoder has been updated with PHP 8.1 encoding support. Version 12.0.0 Loaders now available (Linux only for now, other operating systems will follow soon after).

12TH AUGUST UPDATE: Version 12 is now available to purchase, official announcement emails will go out on Monday.

It has been a long time coming and definitely slower than we would have liked but we’re almost at the point of release for ionCube Encoder 12 which will support PHP 8.1. The estimate we have been working towards for quite a while now has been ‘around the end of June’ and it looks like that estimate isn’t far off with major testing progressing well. This article will address a number of questions we have been receiving regarding PHP 8 support and hopefully give better guidance for those planning their transition to PHP 8 with PHP 7.4 fast approaching end of life.

Firstly we want to say sorry for being so late to the party and we’ll go into some of the reasoning behind that in this article. There are a number of factors which impacted us along the way, some within our control and some not but ultimately the release has come later than intended. We appreciate your patience while we get things finished but with PHP 7.4 end of life coming soon we are very aware of the ever increasing urgent need for PHP 8 support.

Earlier this year we published an article talking about our forum being shut down and for some this was a point of reference for PHP 8 support and updates from the team regarding ionCube products. There are some historical tweets from us about PHP 8 but they can be hard to find and with the forum being gone we agree that there needs to be more information out there for those searching. So, time for a little Q&A!

I’ll address the big question first since that is what most people want to know.


When is PHP 8 support coming?

Answer: For some time we have been targetting an ‘end of Q2/end of June’ release and broadly speaking we have remained on track. Not everything is ready yet but testing is going well and we have completed some tests with larger more complex applications which have also gone well. There is always a risk with giving a release date since software development can throw up unexpected hurdles but we’re looking at mid to late July now.


Will you be supporting PHP 8.0?

We will not be supporting PHP 8.0. Much like with our version 10 release, we decided early on to skip over the x.0 PHP release as those can tend to be incomplete but mainly because it allows us more time to work on things our end. PHP 8 support will come in version 12 starting with PHP 8.1.


Why is it taking so long to support PHP 8?

Completion of version 11 with PHP 7.4 support took longer than expected and we focussed resources on that until release. We were then able to shift focus fully to PHP 8 and with internal changes to major PHP versions being extensive and requiring new R&D, these can take a long time to support. ionCube itself has very robust and complex protection features which take a considerable amount of time to adapt when considering changes to PHP. A less complex solution would result in faster development but would mean sacrificing on protection standards with features like dynamic keys receiving less time for development.


Didn’t you say it would be out months ago?

No. There has been some confusion over an old forum post from last year where we talked about a release around the end of 2021 for version 11 where some discussion on other websites has included mention of PHP 8 in that release but this was never the case and not something we had said. It was always intended that the ‘end of 2021’ release would be version 11 supporting PHP 7.4 and that was made available on Black Friday 2021 as planned. Any date for PHP 8 support was discussed as being after that release.


Can I get a beta test version?

We may offer a closed beta to some customers and will contact users as necessary but in general we do not offer a beta version of ionCube.


Lastly we want to say thank you for your patience while we work on our next release and thank you to those who have spoken with us offering their own assistance and resources. The next iteration of ionCube Encoder will be available soon so watch this space!

ionCube PHP 8.1 support FAQ (Last Updated 12th August 2022)