I've been working with a software developer as a freelancer for a couple weeks. They have a useful plugin that they have recently learned has been being used for free very often.

I'm looking for resources on how to require a one-time use registration code for a plugin to maybe help them out.

Does anybody know where I could look? Searches are returning a lot of extraneous info when searching for require register plugin, etc.


  • 2
    Nothing will work unless you have a good licensing system in place to check validity of purchase and on top of that, you will also need to encrypt your code with ioncube, zend or some other good method so no one can remove code responsible for checking license. That being said, I don't think it's really worth the trouble. Most of the people using pirated copy of your plugin has no intension to spend money on your plugin. Such licensing and encryption will only make ~90% (or all) of them to choose another free or pirated solution. But will also make you loose your loyal customers too.(1/2)
    – Robert hue
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 21:27
  • 2
    I would suggest you to spend more time on improving your plugin and add more features. Because most of the big WordPress companies did not grow big by applying such methods. This will only push your customer away. (2/2)
    – Robert hue
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 21:27
  • 1
    I will add a third to the opinion that doing this will drive away customers. I will not run encrypted code.
    – s_ha_dum
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 0:36

1 Answer 1


The short answer is that you can't force people to register a plugin. Because it's written in PHP, anyone with a modicum of PHP knowledge can get into the code and bypass any checks you put in there.

That being said, there are three routes you can take to monetize it:

  1. Move some of the critical functionality to an external server. Users have to register to use the external service. However if you make your plugin totally reliant on the external service, you may run into issues with wordpress.org if you want to list your plugin there.

  2. Have two versions of your plugin: a free version that has basic functionality and a paid version (coupled with a licensing system) that offers more features, better support and automatic updates. If you do this, you'll need to make sure the free version has enough features to be useful in its own right and that the paid version has enough extra features to be worth buying. This has the advantage that you can list your free plugin on wordpress.org and have (discreet) upsells in it for your paid version.

  3. Charge for it up front and live with the inevitable pirating that will occur.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.