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It’s been more than a year since we drew attention to the crapware regularly foisted upon unsuspecting users by pretty much every big freeware site, including the venerable SourceForge. Since then, a few sites–including SourceForge themselves–have started cleaning up their act.
Most freeware download sites still use shady tactics, unfortunately, cramming their own installers full of unwanted software and misleading advertisements down your throat in order to make a buck. But now that a few are getting better, we wanted to give credit where credit is due–so consider this an ongoing list of sites that have made things right.
SourceForge’s New Owners Cleaned It Up
At the end of January 2016, SourceForge was sold to a company named BIZX, LLC. The new owners immediately began cleaning up SourceForge, terminating the controversial “DevShare” program that wrapped open-source installers in junkware, sometimes against the wishes of their developers. “We want to restore our reputation as a trusted home for open source software, and this was a clear first step towards that. We’re more interested in doing the right thing than making extra short-term profit,” they wrote in their announcement.
CNET Download.com provides free downloads for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android computers and mobile devices. Every category of desktop software and mobile apps, including security, utilities, games. A large list of software download sites. 4000+ titles and counting. Updated weekly. Direct submission links and other important information about each site.
SourceForge appears to be a trustworthy place to download open-source software from once again.
The second most important problem–misleading “Download” buttons that push you to third-party websites offering open-source project installers wrapped in junkware–also appears to have improved. We haven’t seen any of those ads on the new SourceForge.
Tucows Saw the Light
Tucows is another old freeware download site that succumbed to the temptation of packing its installers with junkware. Back when we examined a variety of download sites, we called the Tucows software download site “an abomination [that] should be removed from the Internet” and found that it was probably worse than even Download.com.
On May 3, 2016, Tucows announced that it, too, was done with that practice. Tucows isn’t just a software download site–the company also makes money from selling domain names, cell phone service, and fiber Internet.
“For a while, we were struggling to walk away from the revenue,” Tucows’ Michael Goldstein told us. “But we’ve been growing like crazy the last couple of years (from wonderful customer-focused, subscription services) and we realized it’s no longer worth the money to be associated with that nonsense. We considered just shutting the download site off but decided it felt more right to keep it running (with just a fraction of people’s time here) as a sort of public service.”
So there you have it: Tucows doesn’t offer the junk anymore. There’s just a small bit of advertising for other Tucows services, like domain registration.
Download.com Abandons Its Installer
RELATED:Download.com Has Finally Stopped Bundling Crapware
Download.com finally ended its “CNET Installer” program sometime in early 2016, although it did this without any public announcement. You can now visit Download.com and you’ll get direct links to download programs without any additional junkware.
This website still has a little ways to go, however. We’d like to see them clean up their advertising and getting rid of ads with misleading green “Download” buttons that encourage visitors to click the wrong thing. But Download.com deserves credit for abandoning its much-hated installer.
FossHub and Ninite Remain Excellent
While we’re at it, we should highlight a few high-quality freeware download sites that never sold out their users, too.
FossHub is an excellent download site that many projects switched to when they were abandoning SourceForge. It’s a download hosting site for free and open-source software (or “FOSS”). FossHub has never bundled any junkware with its downloads. Download pages just have a single unobtrusive advertisement to help pay the bills–that’s it. FossHub remains trustworthy site.
RELATED:Spread the Word: Ninite is the Only Safe Place to Get Windows Freeware
Ninite is also great. For awhile, it was the best centralized place to get Windows freeware safely, and nothing’s changed there. Among the big general freeware download sites, Ninite was the only one that won’t try to force junk onto your computer–after all, FossHub is just for open-source software.
Ninite offers an especially useful tool to quickly download and install software on a new PC, and it has never bundled junkware. Ninite even lets you install software that normally includes its own, developer-added junkware and skips it for you. For example, you can use Ninite to install Java without it offering Java’s usual installer junkware.
These aren’t the only places you can download software safely, of course. Many software projects offer downloads on their own websites and these downloads can be clean, although many software projects make money by adding junkware to their own downloads.
RELATED:PUPs Explained: What is a “Potentially Unwanted Program”?
GitHub is generally fine–for open-source projects hosted on GitHub, you can download the latest software builds without any junkware. But GitHub is more about code hosting, and the download experience for users who aren’t developers isn’t as user-friendly.
For big freeware download sites, FossHub, Ninite, SourceForge, and Tucows seem to be the ones that aren’t out to get you. We’d love to see more download sites follow SourceForge and Tucows, but they’ll need business models that allow them to make money without “potentially unwanted programs.”
This list may look small now, but hopefully this trend continues, and more sites start cleaning up their acts and doing what’s best for their users. Our goal is to keep this list up to date, so if and when more sites cut the crap(ware), we’ll add them to this post. So stay tuned.READ NEXT
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There are countless pirated software download sites on the internet to download premium software illegally. Likewise, popular torrent sites offer cracked software for free. Apart from being illegal, such activities put you at the risk of notorious malware and viruses.
So, instead of taking a walk down the dark alley of torrents and malicious websites, take a look at our list of safe software download sites to download full version software for free and legally.
Before doing that, in case you are looking for some legal ways to download free games, apps, and movies, etc., for free, take a look at our popular lists for 2019:
Software Giveaway Websites To Download Paid Software For Free
Free Shareware Download Sites
SharewareOnSale is one of the best free. software download sites and provides multiple paid software for free every day. The site not only provides full version software for free but also offers discounts on software. Paid programs are available for free for both Windows PC and Mac.
They also host Android and iOS full version apps for free or at discounted prices. At the time of publishing this post, itransGo is being offered for free on this site. On the product giveaway page, there is a big list of free software for you to download and try.
Freeware Shareware Download Sites
GiveAwayOfTheDay have been providing paid PC software for free to its users for more than 5 years. They offer one or two software every day. Software that are offered here are available for download for a period of 24 hours and are absolutely free for that time, i.e., the version of the software offered is not a trial version but a registered full version. This website can turn out to be useful when you need a particular software but you don’t wish to spend a lot on it.
The website also provides reviews of the software they offer and other software from that publisher. Subscribers get notified of giveaways in their newsletter. They also offer Andriod and iOS apps for free.
3. Giveaway Radar
Giveaway Radar is your go-to site if you are looking for PC software giveaways in 2019. Here you can find software from various safe download sites and from different providers, all in one place. However, they do not cover anti-virus and VPN giveaways.
So, Giveaway Radar is not a free software giveaway site in itself but shows links and descriptions to giveaways throughout the web. Keep it bookmarked as it gives you a quick view of all the on-going giveaways on various free. software download sites. The website also has a category of long-term giveaways that you can check out.
4. Giveaway Club
Giveaway-club is another best and free PC software site that offers licensed Windows software for free but without technical support. Software are offered free only for a limited time for a day or two. You can activate the license of the software only if it’s installed on the correct date. All the software are divided into three categories: Windows, Games, and Mac. Depending upon your need, you can choose the options and grab the software of your need.
TopWareSale offers full version software giveaway and discounts daily. You can buy top-rated programs at the lowest prices, and they even provide premium software for free. Software are available both for Windows and Mac OS. These software cover different categories like multimedia, design, antivirus, internet, office, business, etc. Apart from the daily free giveaway, you can also check out other heavily discounted tools.
6. Tickcoupon Giveaway
Its giveaway section is categorized into Security, Utilities, Audio/video/photo, Backup & Recovery, Servers, and development so that you can easily browse it. Apart from Windows and mobile, they also have a “Giveaway for Mac” section.
Tickcoupon provides coupon codes that offer discounts for programs and giveaway deals. This giveaway website also publishes news from software developers regarding promos and deals on software.
Techno360 also offers full software for free. It is among the safe download sites that offers software for Windows and Mac. They usually provide a single-user license for up to a year for the software.
TechTipLib also provides free full version software for download, and their giveaway can last from days to a month. But to avail their offers, you have to like TechTipLib’s social accounts. It is not only a free. software download site but also has over 6,700 articles on topics such as Windows, Apple, iPhone, iPad, MS Office, freeware, SEO, WordPress themes, ebooks and much more.
Shareware Programs Downloads
It is primarily a software and game giveaway site where you can find paid software free or at a discounted price. They host giveaways for Android, Mac, Windows, and iOS. Users use their forum for discussions on giveaways and offers.
10. Most I Want
Most I want is another free. software download website that stacks a good list of paid software. The website holds different kind of Windows and Man paid software such as system utilities, video and image software, security software, games and more.
The site also organizes free license giveaway for software. For instance, the last one was for the AVG Internet Security software where the website offered 1-year free subscription.
While the navigation and interface are user-friendly, it has a Google custom search for search queries, making it difficult for users to search for specific cracked software.
MalwareTips is one of the best websites when it comes to free and best-cracked software for download on Windows PC. Unlike other sites, MalwareTips is a forum website which includes different types of content like Tech News, Reviews, malware samples and more.
Shareware Freeware Download Sites
It has just started a giveaway forum where few registered users have started posting a giveaway for security-related software and more.
Free Shareware Download Sites For Windows 10
Are giveaway cracked software safe?
Well, it depends upon the hosting website. However, most of the times you can tell by the content that the giveaway software is probably a hoax. Keep this in mind when the hosting site is a forum where different people are offering up paid software for free.
Free Shareware Download Sites For Windows 7
Did you find this list of 9 best websites to download paid PC software for free to be helpful? Let us know in the comments.
Also read: Best Websites To Download Paid PC Games For Free And Legally