Is It Better to Develop or Buy a Powerful Software Licensing System?

By Mike Wozniak  |  Software Licensing Tips

Posted:  January 19


As a business owner or software developer, the question of whether to build or buy a system for software licensing is one that you should weigh carefully. The ideal licensing system provides greater control, reduces labor costs, protects against theft and copyright infringement, increases your sales, and ensures compliance with varied customer licensing requirements and software license agreements.

Although your decision to implement software licensing control is more of a business decision than a technical one, exploring every factor (including the total cost of ownership) is critical. This article dives a little deeper into those essential considerations, giving you the knowledge to make a well-informed decision.

What Are Your Options for a Licensing System?

1 - Building a Custom Licensing System

Building a custom system may not be as cost-effective as you initially thought, but it does provide some benefits. Most skilled software developers can build and prototype a licensing and activation algorithm relatively quickly (after all, that's how we first created SoftwareKey Protection PLUS). However, you'd be responsible for the entire cost of developing the software products, including the software copy protection system, license agreement, and additional features.

What Are the Benefits of Building a Custom System for Proprietary Software Licenses?

Greater Security

Does your business have the talent and resources to design your own proprietary software license interface? If so, you could create a licensing solution with better protection than a commercial system. Custom-built systems are more secure because any would-be hacker would have to reverse engineer code they've never seen before. Remember, no system is 100% secure or foolproof.

No Ongoing Licensing Fees

Nobody wants to pay royalties, and you can avoid paying licensing fees when you build a custom system. Remember, third-party companies often charge ongoing licensing fees to use their software and technology.

More Control and Autonomy

Utilizing a commercial software product for your licensing system inevitably creates a heavy reliance on the original developer. Then, if there's no support for the critical technology you use to drive your software, or if the developer goes out of business, you're stuck. Building a custom software license system eliminates that potential problem.

2 - Buying a Commercial Licensing System

Outsourcing with a commercial licensing system is a practical choice for many companies, from small businesses to large enterprises. Let's look at the benefits of using a commercial software program for your licensing system.

What Are the Benefits of a Commercial Software License System?

Mitigated Risks

When you buy a software licensing system, you can leverage industry experts' extensive knowledge, skills, and advanced processes. That assistance mitigates risk and ensures that customers can activate their software licenses with minimum difficulties.

Peace of Mind

Technology is continuously evolving and advancing to greater heights. As such, a custom-built software license system will inevitably suffer from unexpected compatibility issues. Instead, you can outsource and rest more easily, knowing that you'll have expert support when those problems occur.

Improved Focus

With commercial experts managing your software licenses and necessary maintenance, you can free up vital internal resources and time. You can then funnel that free time and your energies into more valuable areas of your business, like those that generate revenue and profit.

Lower Costs

Outsourcing your license system to a third-party software company can lower business costs. With a commercial system, you can streamline your staffing, transform fixed costs into variable costs, and trim the fat from your business budget.

Enhanced License Management

Successful infrastructure management of software licenses is challenging regardless of the type, whether it's permissive licenses, reciprocal licenses, custom software licenses (closed source), or something else entirely.

Purchasing a commercial system eliminates the time-consuming management process since the third-party software vendors handle every aspect, giving your customers seamless access to your software licenses and improving UX.

Advanced Capabilities

Quality commercial licensing systems have state-of-the-art software and proactive services that you simply won't get from a custom build. Outsourcing ensures that your company's software license management remains efficient and offers advanced capabilities, such as:

  • Improved reporting
  • Secure access to critical license data
  • Improved scalability
  • Versatility and flexibility
  • Proactive alerting

Additional Questions to Consider

Do you still have questions regarding licensing your software and whether you should build or buy a software license system? Explore these additional considerations:

Do you want to spend company resources on streamlining central operations of your core business or innovating in other areas like software licenses?

Maybe you want to spend time and money exploring new creating new end-user license agreement or revising license terms to ensure compliance with copyright law and protect your intellectual property rights. Don’t forget setting up and managing the server infrastructure as an additional ongoing task. However, outsourcing saves considerable time and resources you could devote to more critical tasks. Custom solutions also require ongoing maintenance services that take up even more valuable resources.

Do you want expert advice regarding your software license implementation? Will you need help to navigate successfully through the world of software licenses?

Outsourcing gives you access to experienced professionals within the software industry who can help you develop a custom software application and license model for your business. Alternatively, you could pick their brains for advice on creating a software license agreement to identify end user rights, or other types of software licenses, such as a perpetual license, metered license, open-source license, or public domain software, to name a few.

Will you start by utilizing a wide range of licenses right away or add them over time? How much flexibility do you need to satisfy your initial end-users?

Are you looking for a diverse license portfolio? When you purchase a commercial licensing system, it contains finished software code out-of-the-box, which allows for a versatile license model. It can also accommodate:

  • Rapid initial deployment
  • Seamless integration with auxiliary systems
  • Remote system detection and prevention
  • Multiple pricing models

Are you looking for a scalable licensing model and software applications?

Maybe you need just one type of license to start, or you have goals of building 100 within a year. Consider your company's needs and goals regarding growth, and remember that some licensing solutions may have hidden fees or thresholds for using their copyrighted and licensed code.

Will you provide ongoing support services for eligible users after the initial sale of the license key? Typical services include regular transfers, updates, or upgrades (i.e., source code improvements).

Commercial license systems often feature sophisticated and advanced source code for optimal system performance, especially compared to custom-built software. In addition, many users find comprehensive support services for software licenses more valuable than the actual features they contain.

Making the Right Choice for Your Business: Buying a Licensing System or Building One?

Have you decided yet whether to build or buy your software licensing system? If you leverage a commercial solution, don't compromise on quality just to save a few bucks. Instead, get peace of mind with the SoftwareKey System, which provides state-of-the-art technology, an extraordinary experience, and world-class support at surprisingly affordable prices.

I would certainly recommend SoftwareKey to others on the basis that their support is second to none. Other suppliers I have dealt with sometimes take days to respond to a support call. Every e-mail I have sent to SoftwareKey – and there have been quite few – has always been answered straight away with good sound advice. Each support analyst is very familiar with their product and provides excellent, precise support.



Our SoftwareKey System solution is cheaper than a custom build and far more advanced than public-domain or open-source software. Why should you choose the SoftwareKey System? It's simple:

  • The largest number of client licenses and source libraries
  • User-friendly licensing tools for rapid prototyping
  • Over 30 years of experience with software licensing
  • Quick and direct support and troubleshooting
  • Highly competitive pricing
  • Advanced functionalities and features
  • Rapid development and deployment

Remember, purchasing a third-party software license solution instead of building your own is a smart way to invest in your business because it frees up valuable time and resources. You can then funnel those resources into the core operations of your business for continued growth and success.

Read comments from satisfied SoftwareKey System customers, download a free evaluation, or get started by scheduling a free one-on-one consultation with a member of our team!  Call us now at +1-321-221-1497.

About the Author

Mike Wozniak is the founder of and responsible for marketing, content and product strategy. When he isn't plotting new ways to help customers solve licensing and business automation challenges, he likes to travel and entertain guests who come to visit the Orlando area.

Mike Wozniak


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