Keyless Activation – Doing Away With License Key Management

Blog, Features, Updates

Managing WordPress sites is a lot of work, on a good day.

With so many moving parts, staying on top of it all can be, frankly, a little overwhelming.

To complicate matters, if you purchase Pro plugins, you’ve the added complication of storing all those license keys.

Not any more, with One Dollar Plugin.

“I’m Gonna Party Manage License Keys Like It’s 1999″

It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Prince’s version, but it’s the reality of software licensing in 2018.

The legacy of license keys haunts from the days of installing Window 95.

The problem with license keys is this:

  • license keys are still being issued!
  • license keys must still to be entered to activate
  • license keys represent the primary way to verify that a purchase has been made and is still valid

Why… why must we keep using license keys?

The answer is a simple one: it works and it’s easy to technically trivial verify license keys.

Unfortunately it’s a huge pain for everyone. Everyone, that is, except for the software distributor.

Software distributors are never likely to fix this because it requires them to build an innovativeĀ solution. And since no-one else has bothered to do it, why would they?

Luckily for you, innovation is our bread and butter. šŸ™‚

So what’s the alternative if we don’t have keys?

Easy – no keys. We haveĀ Keyless Activation.

Exclusive to One Dollar Plugin: Keyless License Activation

As we said, the only way to get an alternative to keyless activation is to create it.

And we’ve done just that.

With the next release of Shield Security Pro, you’ll no longer need your license keys. Sure, they’re still there in the background, but you wont need to use them anywhere.

So do you activate your licenses?

Instead of building up a collection of License Keys, you simply assign your available licenses to site URLs. That’s basically what’s happening behind the scenes anyway, but we’ve removed the responsibility on your part to assign keys to sites.

Here’s how it used to work:

  1. Buy a Pro license
  2. Receive an email with your new license key
  3. Load up the license key page on the site you want to activate Pro
  4. Enter the new license key and the system will verify it
  5. Pro features are licensed.

Here’s how it works now:

  1. Buy a Pro license.
  2. Add the URL of the site you want to license inside your One Dollar Plugin account.
  3. Pro features are automatically licensed on the site within 30 seconds.

Could it be any easier? We’re not sure how it could be…

What are the benefits to you?

  • You don’t have license keys to remember, manage, and store.
  • You can see at a glance all sites that have licenses, regardless of the keys/separate purchases.
    This means if you have 2+ purchases, they’re all brought together into 1 place.
  • You can add/remove licenses to/from sites with ease.
  • You can easily see which sites have licenses that are due to expire soon, and renew them as necessary.

But, I still want my license keys!

Sometimes it’s hard to let thing go. This is a new paradigm, and so you’ll have to do things differently.

But the things you do differently will be simpler, and there’s less of them to do.

When you view your sites in the One Dollar Plugin control panel you’ll see the license keys listed alongside the site URLs. They’re there just for your record, but for nothing else.

Is this secure? Can’t someone, somehow, steal my licenses?

Since keys are no longer required, no-one can steal anything from you.

To authorise or de-authorise a license on a site, you must have access to your One Dollar Plugin account.Ā  There’s no way around this.

How does it all work?

I’m not going to lie… this took quite a bit of involved development to get all the right pieces lined up and working together.

Here are the basic principals of how it works.

  1. You add a URL to your One Dollar Plugin account for a given Pro plugin.
  2. The site in-question will send a “license check” request to One Dollar Plugin asking whether, for the given product, there is a pro license assigned to it.
  3. One Dollar Plugin will lookup this site against the database of licenses and it’ll return a response of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ depending on whether or not it’s found.
  4. Any request for a site lookup will involve a simple handshake between One Dollar Plugin and the site itself. This ensures that the requests are coming from the site-in-question, not from anywhere else.
    e.g. To authorise abc.com, there will need to be a WordPress site with a Shield Security plugin ready and waiting to respond at abc.com

Why does no-one offer Keyless Activation?

It’s non-trivial to develop this kind of solution, and so it’s easier to just use license keys and do what the rest of the world does.

This was always on our roadmap, along with a few other enhancements, but we have to do it in stages.

Does this affect Shield Central Pro licenses?

It doesn’t. In-fact, implementing Keyless Activation allowed us to significantly reduce complexity for Shield Central licenses.

Your sites will now send half the number of requests to activate a license than before.

How can I get Keyless Activation?

Keyless Activation comes into effect with release of Shield Security v6.6.

There is nothing more you need to do. All your existing licenses will remain active and going forward, if you need to add more licenses, you’ll be able to do this directly with the new Keyless Activation control panel.

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