No matter how proficient online user you are, downloading free software never gets easy. Even if you have secure antivirus software or know all the most common threats, there is no way you’ll be able to completely assure your safety. There is always a chance to encounter a small but deeply rooted risk.
There is only one advice you can count on in almost any case, and that is downloading software from secure sources only. No risks or unknown experiments. On reputable software catalogs, moderators check the safety of each tool and carefully analyze user’s feedback. If you see that a program has a high score and positive reviews, you can be almost always sure of its legitimacy.
Why not use official stores?
Going to common providers like Google Play, Apple Store, or Microsoft Store seems the most sense, don’t you think? From first glance – yes. Unfortunately, in reality, things are not that simple.
Google Play does not have a strict system of checking each software upload and update. In favor of accessibility, Google Play made its submitting process as simple as possible, encouraging developers to publish their products fast and hassle-free. As a result of this, there have been detected more than 30 million installs of malicious tools.
Apple Store is more trustworthy since developers have to comply with strict technical requirements to even receive publishing permission. Before an app becomes popular, it will go through several other stages of thorough checkups. Still, this didn’t become an obstacle for the developers of data-leaking tools – just this year we’ve witnessed an outbreak of malware.
As you can understand by now, Microsoft Store has similar issues. To insert viruses easier, developers publish their products as Hosted Web Applications. This provides them permission of unauthorized updates. Even if the software was initially secure, it may become malicious with time – and neither users nor moderators won’t be notified. This leads to a visible decrease in the overall store’s security.
Best Free Software Websites
Luckily, there is an alternative. As you can see, due to the popularity of official stores, moderators cannot detect all the threats efficiently. Hackers, on the other hand, are also aware that users trust official websites more than alternatives, and target all their resources on these well-known platforms.
Under such circumstances, a safer bet is to opt for a lesser-known software download page. Here moderators have time to review the lower number of submissions, hackers are not quite as interested, and files end up to be much more secure.
So, here is our top pick of best platforms. The majority of software,e presented on these platforms, is free, and all of these files are thoroughly checked.
Softpedia rightfully has the reputation of the biggest software catalog in the world. Despite its size, however, it’snot quite as popular official sources, and therefore,e provides a fine balance between a wide choice and thorough moderation capacities.
- Detailed descriptions with screenshots, easy-to-scan bullet lists, and step-by-step guides;
- Downloads require only one click;
- Registration or authorization is absolutely not required;
- Best offers are displayed on the main page;
- Regular giveaways and discounts for paid tools.
The platform supports software for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux. The websites also published general technology news and guides to help you always stay in the loop and be a better-educated user.
RocketFiles is one of the best-moderated websites on the list. It’s relatively new but already managed to earn the reputation of a reliable source of free PC, Mac, and mobile tools.
- Trending page with the most useful tools and popular offers;
- All the reviews fully describe the functionality and purpose of each tool;
- How-to articles and practical listicles;
- Verified user reviews and approved software ratings;
- Simple functionality and intuitive interface.
The tool hosts only the most reliable software. Perhaps it would be difficult to find some rare titles here instead you opt for tried-and-proven quality. This is exactly what makes Rocket Files suitable for beginning users – the chance to download scum is close to none.
These platforms target mainly games for PC and mobile devices, free as well as paid tools. The website regularly hosts giveaways and has attractive partnership deals with software providers. If you want to download a rare title or get a discount, this is your place.
- Demo versions and full editions of desktop, and mobile games;
- Short descriptions for each title, accompanied by up-to-date screenshots;
- Bonuses for those who share deals on social media or invite friends to join the platform;
- Easy to handle license keys;
- Includes multifunctional game launchers.
Download.hr is a must-visit website for gamers – it’s not just a software catalog but also a news portal. If you want to keep track of new versions and promising releases, you can subscribe to the service’s news digest.
FileHippo targets various types of software, starting from strictly business tools, and finishing with games for toddlers. Getting lost in this sea of offers, however, is rather unlikely. You can use a filtered search that will sort through irrelevant offers and show only interesting files.
- 20+ software categories for business, entertainment, and education;
- Regular update checks and precise download counter;
- Frequent updates on the newest security tendencies and risks;
- Supports Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android apps.
Additionally, the website includes regularly updated program top listicles that regularly incorporate new releases and new versions. The software’s safety is reviewed not only during file’s upload but also whenever a new version is added.
One of the most popular software catalogs, dedicated only to free tools. The platform covers instruments for text, audio, and video files, design, gaming, Internet connection management, and business organizers.
- 18 000+ free tools for Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac
- Official screenshots and how-to descriptions;
- Defines the best picks of the month in regular listicles and Editor Picks;
- An open ‘Submit Software’ feature;
- Users can assemble and edit watchlists;
- Registration is enabled but not required.
On top of that, the website dedicated a section to security, gathering all antiviruses, security managers, and network analyzers in a special category. Each software on the list is regularly adapted and tested, both by moderators and test groups – these consist of regular platform users.
We’ve reviewed our 5 secure picks where you can download free software as an alternative to using official stores. Unlike the leading providers, these websites pay more attention to software selection and review tools in several stages.
Firstly, moderators collect the information about the tool from official resources – company website, Windows Store, Apple Store, Google Play, and others. Secondly, a separate checkup is conducted during which antiviruses are supposed to detect all grave risks. Thirdly, the tool is tested and reviewed by a moderator. User’s reviews and evaluations play a key role in the tool’s ranking and reputation.
This elaborate protection system ensures that the tool has no superficial or deeper-routed safety issues. If users discover a problem they can immediately contact technical support and report the issue. This way, others don’t have to repeat the same mistake and keep their devices safe.