Currently, two types of license keys are supported; activation license keys and unlock license keys. Unlock license keys can be unlocked on the end user's environment by just using the validation key of the license configuration that was used to generate the license key. Unlock license keys do not require communication with a license activation service to validate a license key. However, although it is not mandatory, unlock license keys can be validated using an activation license service. Activation license keys, however, require communication with a license activation service to activate the license key on the end user's environment. Activation license keys provide additional security because it allows you to control the number of times a license key can be used for activation and whether a license key is valid or not.
The choice between Activation or Unlock license keys depends on your licensing need. If you would like to have control over every license key activation and maintaining a license web service is not an overhead, then an activation license key is a good option. However, if your preference is to have license keys that can be validated at any time without any dependency on an external web service, then unlock keys are better fit in this case. Commonly, activation license keys are used by standalone desktop and web application that provide direct user interface elements to the end user. Unlock keys are commonly used in redistributable components and libraries that get embedded in another application.
The following is a table that shows the differences between "Compact Unlock Keys", "Standard Unlock Keys" and "Activation License Keys".
|Feature||Compact Unlock Key||Standard Unlock Key||Activation Key|
|License key length||Compact||Standard||Standard|
|Requires license activation web service||No (Optional)||No (Optional)||Yes|
|Can be unlocked or activated with public key or validation key||Yes||Yes||No|
Table 1. Comparison between "Compact Unlock Keys", "Standard Unlock Keys" and "Activation License Keys.