Although there are many sites that offer free software downloads, not all of them are safe. Many sites make it easy for people to download the free software by sending them malicious ads, false virus warnings, and even tampered files.
Although antivirus software can protect you against the worst sites, it is better to stay away from unreliable freeware download sites. Let’s take a look at the safest and most trusted sites to download Windows software.
To verify website safety, we used URLVoid in addition to our general reputation and experience. This tool compares websites against many security software blacklists. Each website scored at least 41/43, which means that every scanner found it to be clean.
1. Official Software Websites
Before we dive into sites offering lots of Windows software, it is worth noting that the official website is the best place to get the most popular software. You can download any browser, security suite, or media app from its homepage.
While some software might still attempt to send you unwanted bundled junk from its official website you can rest assured that it is safe and secure. A quick Google search for “download Spotify” will return a box that directs you to the app’s official download page. Make sure you are on the official page.
Ninite is simple. You can choose from a list of popular programs on the website, and check the boxes next to the apps you want. Then, clicking the download button will give you a custom installer file that bundles all the selected programs together, allowing you to install them in bulk.
Ninite is well-known for its security and safety. It will automatically reject toolbars and other junk and runs in the background. You don’t have to click Next repeatedly. There is no danger of malware or bundled junk. Ninite will automatically update all files you have downloaded by running the same installer file again.
Although there are only a handful of apps available on Ninite it contains a lot of the most used Windows software such as Chrome, VLC, and Zoom. This is something to keep in mind when you set up a new computer.
Over the years, Softpedia has delivered over three billion downloads. The most popular apps are updated every day, allowing you to get clean and malware-free software that’s also as recent as possible.
It also has an intuitive interface that makes it easy to search for programs on any platform. You can search by categories, last update, cost, and other filters to see what has been updated. You’ll also find Android, Linux, Mac and Mac apps.
MajorGeeks has been one of the most reputable software download sites for some time even though it appears to have not been updated since the 1990s.
The Top Freeware Selections list is a good place to start. But don’t be afraid of browsing the left sidebar to find all sorts of highly-rated programs you might find useful. Searching will also help you find the information you need.
FileHippo is a well-known site with tons of active programs broken down into categories. You can also download web apps from this site if you don’t want to just download desktop software.
Sometimes, the site will prompt you to install another app (such Opera) before you can get the one you want. This is easily skipped and clearly marked. It doesn’t promote shady software.
FileHippo also offers older versions of software. Although you shouldn’t use outdated software for security reasons it is a good option in case you have problems with the current version.
The website of Download Crew stands out because its app pages provide concise but informative information. These are written by real users, not just copied and pasted from the vendor’s website. You’ll learn what each app does, its perks, and any flaws.
It has featured downloads at the top, which makes it an ideal place to start. You will also find a wide range of software license options, including Open Source and Trialware. This allows you to see exactly what type of free software you are getting.
FileHorse doesn’t have a massive repository of software. It focuses instead on bringing you the best and most useful programs. Each product page has screenshots so you know what to expect, plus version compatibility, a changelog, links to old versions, and more.
The homepage can be broken down into smaller categories such as Video Software or Cleaning & Tweaking. This makes it easy to find reliable alternatives to popular software.
There’s nothing fancy about FilePuma’s interface, but it’s simple and easy to use. Browse its categories to find new software or search for what you’re looking for. On the homepage, the most popular tools are listed in the categories.
Other than screenshots and older versions, the product download page has very little else. FilePuma’s update detector is the only standout feature. It makes it simple to find and install software updates on your computer.
SnapFiles looks like a lot of the other download sites we’ve featured, but it has a few cool functions that make it worth a look. One of these is the Freeware Pick on the homepage, which highlights a piece of software you might not have known about. And under More at the top of the page, you’ll find a Random Pick, which is also great for discovering new software to download.
You can also find a page dedicated to Portable Applications, which is useful if you need to install apps but not install them. SnapFiles features user reviews of software download pages and warnings about apps that attempt to install bundled programs.
It’s easy to ignore the Microsoft Store, which is the home for Modern apps on Windows 10 and Windows 11. And while a lot of its offerings aren’t particularly great, you can still find some solid apps on the Store.
There are some advantages to using Store apps over traditional counterparts. Store apps automatically update themselves. They are also sandboxed so that they don’t interfere with other parts of your system. You might be surprised at what you find in the Microsoft Store if you check out your favorite apps.
These are the Best Free Software Download Websites.
It is impossible to be 100% safe on any site. You might get hacked, sold to an unknown company or have a rogue advertisement slip through. The download sites that we have featured are trustworthy and clean.
Be a good shopper and avoid installing anything suspicious. Avoid downloading from a site that offers a faster download manager. Instead, use the direct download. Be aware of ads that masquerade as download links before you begin.