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Does WHMCS License Verify Even Work?

WHMCS LogoWhen a new host comes along, one of the standard checks I make is to ensure that they are not using a cracked version of WHMCS.  Since time immemorial, the LowEndTalk selling rules have stated that “Using a nulled WHMCS (or other nulled billing software) grants you and your company a lifetime ban on LowEndTalk.”

This is for two reasons.  First, we don’t want to support software piracy, regardless of our feelings about the publisher.  And second, if a provider can’t pony up a few bucks for a WHMCS subscription, how stable can they really be?

WHMCS is protected with IonCube, which is a PHP encoder.  Only WHMCS has the key to modify the WHMCS PHP code, and that PHP code says “phone home and make sure I’m licensed”.  So in order to modify WHMCS to disable license checking (nulling the software), you’d have to hack IonCube.  There have been IonCube hacks in the past but it’s been a long time since I’ve heard about one.  Likely anyone running a nulled WHMCS in 2022 is using a very old version of the software.

We did a mini-tutorial on how to use WHMCS’s license verify page.  But what I’ve noticed over recent years are interactions like this:

New Provider: “Here is our offer for LowEndBox!”

Me: “Sorry, but you’re using a nulled WHMCS”

New Provider: “No we’re not!  Honest!  Check again!”

And when I do, WHMCS now says it’s legit.  Either the host got busted and quickly bought a license, or something doesn’t work right with WHMCS’s license verification page.

I’ve taken to holding the offer for a day and checking again before I reply to the provider.  So far, this usually clears it up.  Of course, it’s possible the host just happened to decide to get legit during that 24-hour interval but that won’t happen repeatedly.

What’s been your experience?  We’ve been discussing this on LET recently and others have stated similar problems.  Let us know if you’ve run into this problem in the comments below!

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