How to install Ioncube Loader with Ubuntu, PHP7 and NGINX

Solved, after some tinkering, how to install for real Ioncube with PHP7 and NGINX running on Ubuntu.
The first thing to do it is to figure out which version of PHP you have.

$ php -v 

The output should look like:

PHP 7.0.18-0ubuntu0.16.04.1 (cli) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) 1997-2017 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.0.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Zend Technologies

In this case the major version of PHP we’re running is 7.0.

The next step is to figure out if we’re using a 32 or 64bits operating system.

dpkg --print-architecture

Which will give this output for a 64-bits architecture:


And this for a 32-bits one:


Next step is to find which one is the correct extension location for PHP.

$ php -i | grep extension_dir

And the output will look like this:

$ extension_dir => /usr/lib/php/20151012 => /usr/lib/php/20151012

We can move into the extension folder:

$ cd /usr/lib/php/20151012

and get the appropriate version of ioncube for our system:
For 32-bits systems:

$ wget

For 64-bits systems:

$ wget

At this point we can extract the package we just downloaded:

$ tar -xvf ioncube_loaders_lin_x86-64.tar.gz

and get the proper Ioncube extension file while cleaning up of the rest.
Make sure to get the proper version of ioncube for your php. In my case I am going to copy lin_7.0.

$ mv ./ioncube/ ./
$ rm -Rf ./ioncube

Add ioncube to the PHP conf

Let’s move into the php config directory which is where we are going to create a new config file for the CLI and PHP-fpm. Here as well pay attention to the version of PHP that you’re running as you might have old installations.

$ cd /etc/php/7.0/mods-available/

Let’s create the extension file for ioncube and let’s populate it with the location of the extension we want to load:

$ echo "zend_extension = /usr/lib/php/20151012/" > ioncube.ini

Almost finished: we need to create symlinks into the cli and fpm folders:

$ ln -s /etc/php/7.0/mods-available/ioncube.ini /etc/php/7.0/cli/conf.d/01-ioncube.ini
$ ln -s /etc/php/7.0/mods-available/ioncube.ini /etc/php/7.0/fpm/conf.d/01-ioncube.ini

The 01 in front of the symlink is simply to indicate the loading order of the extension.

At this point we should be able to restart and use ioncube:

$ service php7.0-fpm restart

If everything were fine we should be able to run:

$ php -v

Which will output something like:

PHP 7.0.18-0ubuntu0.16.04.1 (cli) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) 1997-2017 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.0.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Zend Technologies
    with the ionCube PHP Loader (enabled) + Intrusion Protection from (unconfigured) v6.1.0 (), Copyright (c) 2002-2017, by ionCube Ltd.

If instead you get an error such as:

Failed loading /usr/lib/php/20151012/ wrong ELF class: ELFCLASS32


Failed loading /usr/lib/php/20151012/ /usr/lib/php/20151012/ wrong ELF class: ELFCLASS64

it means that you’re using the wrong ioncube version for your system. In that case you just need to swap the file under /usr/lib/php/20151012/ with the correct one and restart php.

Happy coding!

  • Thanh Le

    Hi Maurizio,

    Please check again the step when you create the ioncube.ini, the extension_dir seems to be incorrect.

    I think the correct path should be “/usr/lib/php/20151012/”.

    Best regards.

    • Maurizio_N

      Hi Thanh, thank you for reporting, I’ve just fixed the error. 🙂

  • Charles Lamb

    Hi, I followed these steps and the “php -v” returns the correct results, but when I go to my web site and view the phpinfo.php page it does not show ioncube at all. I also restarted the whole server to no avail. Any ideas what I am doing wrong? Thanks. Charles.

    • Maurizio_N

      Did you follow all the other steps? At which point did the procedure differ from what I posted?

  • Julian Le Crosnier

    Hi, your article help me a lot, all is good for me! Thanks a lot!

  • Ahmed Abdelsalam

    I just want to thank you!
    You saved my time <3