The Invisible aomtrial.license File

The Invisible aomtrial.license File

Probably no other file in Associate-O-Matic is misunderstood, overlooked or ignored more than the aomtrial.license file. And yet it plays a crucial role in setting up the Trial version. The instructions are straightforward, and clearly indicated. Still, it’s missed by a large number of new users for some reason. So if you’ve come here to learn about this mysterious little file, you’re certainly not alone.

When AOM switched to incorporate ioncube several years ago, it was quickly realized that the standard ioncube loader files were not compatible with the mechanics of the 30-day lifespan of the Trial version. In order to make it work, a second ‘key’ file was required. This small snippet of code became the aomtrial.license file. When the Trial version is installed without this file, an error message similar to the one below is generated:

Fatal error:
The encoded file /home/mysite/html/admin.php requires a license file aomtrial.license. in Unknown on line 0

Once the file is in place, this message goes away. If everything else is set up correctly, AOM should function at this point. Usually if there are other problems, they will pop up before this one.

So if this error message is encountered, the solution is simply to upload the aomtrial.license file into the same area as the admin.php and shop.php files. Not a complicated procedure at all. However, the most common difficulty is that new users fail to get the file in the first place. So let’s walk through the process, screen by screen.

We start from the Download page of the Associate-O-Matic website:

Download page from

From here you would click the Download button for the 30-day Trial version. If you have not registered with AOM yet, you will be taken to the Account Registration page:

AOM account registration page

If you have already registered, you should be taken instead to the Login page (, shown below. If you turn up at the Account Registration page even after you’ve already registered, you should be able to click on the Login link in the right top corner (note the red arrow indicated in the image above). That should take you here:

AOM login page

Your login information may or may not be displayed in the boxes. If not, simply type in the information. Once you have successfully logged in, on the next page you’ll see a box on the left side marked Members Area:

AOM members area

Note the Download TRIAL Version link (highlighted above). This will take you to the download page for the Trial version:

Trial version download page

Here you are presented with two blue Download buttons for the Trial version itself (zip or exe). At this point, many people simply click one of the blue buttons and ignore everything else. But if you read the instructions, you will clearly see that step 4 (highlighted above) includes a RED Download button for the aomtrial.license file, along with installation instructions:

  • Save the license file to your hard drive
  • Upload the file to your web host (same location as shop.php file)
  • License file only required for the Trial version

As you can see, the procedure for obtaining the aomtrial.license file is fairly straightforward. Yet many new users consistently fail to notice it, guaranteeing an error message similar to the one shown at the top of this page when they try to access their AOM storefront.

It should be obvious that the aomtrial.license file should not be confused with the LICENSE_TRIAL.txt file that comes with the AOM program files. The LICENSE_TRIAL file is a simple text file that explains the license agreement for using Associate-O-Matic, and has nothing to do with making the Trial version functional.

Also, the aomtrial.license file will not work if it is modified or renamed in any way. Examples in the past have included adding a DOCTYPE statement and/or <html> tags, renaming the file to aomtrial_license.txt, etc. Some webhosts will balk at uploading a file with an extension that they may not recognize. In such cases, you may need to manually create the file in your website directory, then copy and paste the file contents into it. If so, you must not change the contents in any way, or allow the host software to ‘helpfully’ add extra code to the file.

After the 30-day Trial expires, and if you go on to upgrade to the Lite or Full version of AOM, the aomtrial.license file may be deleted, as it is not required for the other versions.

So to summarize, the aomtrial.license file is crucial for the operation of the Trial version of Associate-O-Matic, but many people overlook it when obtaining the files. But as we’ve seen, it’s easy to obtain and put into place, as long as you don’t try to change or alter it in any way (or confuse it with other files with similar-sounding names). Possibly it provides a very good example of the old adage that the best way to make something invisible is to simply hide it in plain sight.

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2 thoughts on “The Invisible aomtrial.license File

  1. Lisa

    Instructions not current. I don’t get a red license button when I download the program.

  2. This is correct; two years ago the aomtrial.license file was a separate download. Now of course, it’s included in the main file download.

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