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How to install Zend Optimizer

Update: ActiveCampaign no longer requires Zend Optimizer.  We now require Ioncube loader support.

Original Instructions for Installing Zend Optimizer on Your Web Server

One of the ways that we increase the overall speed and security of our web-based software is by pre-compiling the PHP code. The tools that we use to do this are called Zend Optimizer and Ioncube. You actually only need one or the other in order to encode PHP scripts, and I’m not aware of any performance benefit that either one enjoys over the other. The only reason that we use both of these products is to provide maximum compatibility with all the different types of web hosts and servers that are out there. That’s why, when you visit the downloads page in our online help desk, you’re always asked which version of the software you’d like to download: Zend or Ioncube.

Most people who don’t produce or use a lot of web-based software have never heard of either of these products and get a little flustered when confronted with the question of which they should download. If you’re using a shared web hosting account or have an in-house server admin running your web server, then you have a simple one-step solution: pick up the phone, call the admin, and ask which one you can use 🙂

If you’re running your own server, it’s still very simple. The first thing to do is to find out if your server can already run Ioncube scripts, since if it can there are no additional steps for you. The way to find this out is to:

  • download our test script
  • unzip and upload it to your web directory
  • and then open it up in a web browser

You’ll see something like this:

As you can see, my own local test server is not able to run Ioncube-encoded scripts without additional setup, because I’m using the latest version of PHP, which has broken dynamic loading. That’s no big deal, because I went ahead and installed the free Zend Optimizer with just a couple of clicks, and now I’ll show you how to do the same.

Download Zend Optimizer

If you find this part challenging, you probably shouldn’t be trying to run your own web server!  🙂

What you need to do is to download the Zend Optimizer package onto your web server. You can get it from, where you’ll need to select the appropriate package for your server. So first select the radio button labeled “Zend Optimizer” (not the one labeled “Zend Guard,”) and then you’ll find that the dropdown box becomes populated with a list of server types that Zend Optimizer is available for. The chances are very good that the type of server you are using is supported by Zend Optimizer. Remember, folks, you’re installing this on your web server, not on your own local computer (unless your web site is served from your local machine), so you want to be doing all this from the server, and to select the option that corresponds to the operating system running on the web server.

Before you are allowed to download, you’ll have to register for an account on on the next page. Once you’ve downloaded the software, all that is left is to install it on the server. The instructions for doing this will vary depending on the type of server that you use. If it is a Windows IIS server, just double-click on the installer .exe file and follow the instructions that appear on the screen. On any other type of system, including Mac OS X and any Linux or Unix variant, you’ll find that the installation package is compressed, so you first need to extract it.

On Linux or Unix servers

  • Open up a terminal window or get yourself out to the command line. You can decompress the package by entering the following at the command line prompt:
    • gunzip -c <package name> | tar xf –
  • Then, from inside the installer package directory that is created when the package is unzipped, type:
    • ./install.
  • Now you’ll see a nice pretty graphical installation wizard that will walk you through setting up Zend Optimizer on your server.

On servers running Mac OS X

Installation on a server running OS X is a little more complicated that you might like it to be, but is still very doable. The most complicated part is basically just that you have to use the command line, which many OS X users are not very familiar with. However, you can find a very good tutorial for going through this process here [link removed since the article disappeared!).

Now put it to good use!

Once you’ve got Zend Optimizer installed on your server, you should be able to run Zend-encoded PHP scripts right away. So now just grab a copy of the Zend version of whichever ActiveCampaign software product you’ve purchased, and follow the installation instructions in the docs/install.txt file (you can also find the instructions in our knowledge base.)

If you run into any problems with the Zend Optimizer installation or if you get an error message saying that Zend Optimizer is not installed on your server, check the Zend website for troubleshooting tips.

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