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Free software download sites can be dangerous. Visit the wrong one and you’ll run into fake virus and malware warnings How to Spot and Avoid Fake Virus & Malware Warnings How to Spot and Avoid Fake Virus & Malware Warnings How can you tell between genuine and fake virus or malware warning messages? It can be tough, but if you stay calm there are a few signs that will help you distinguish between the two. Read More as well as fake download buttons How To Spot, And Avoid, Ads Disguised As Download Buttons How To Spot, And Avoid, Ads Disguised As Download Buttons Read More , all of which are malware in disguise. Want to stay safe? Use an Internet security suite while browsing 5 Best Free Internet Security Suites for Windows 5 Best Free Internet Security Suites for Windows Which security suite do you trust the most? We look at five of the best free security suites for Windows, all of which offer anti-virus, anti-malware, and real-time protection features. Read More !

But on top of that, you should stick to tried-and-true sites that are committed to being free of malware and deception. In this post, we used three tools for checking a website’s reputation to evaluate and differentiate clean sites from suspicious sites:

In order for a website to qualify for this list, it had to score at least 90% with Web of Trust, 24/25 with URLVoid, and receive a Safe verdict from SiteAdvisor. No site can ever be 100% safe, but we’re confident that these download sites are generally clean and worthwhile.

1. Ninite

WOT Trustworthiness: 94%

URLVoid Rating: 24/25

SiteAdvisor Verdict: Safe

free-software-downloads-ninite

For those who don’t know about Ninite, it’s quite simple: the website presents you with a list of programs that you can select, then lets you download a custom installer file that bundles all of the selected programs together so you can install them in bulk and save time How To Install & Uninstall Windows Programs In Bulk How To Install & Uninstall Windows Programs In Bulk A mass installer or uninstaller can save you heaps of time. Remember the last time you set up a new computer? We are going to teach you how to do these tasks in a flash. Read More .

Ninite is known for its safety and security, so you don’t have to worry about malware or bundled bloatware and junkware How to Automatically Skip Bundled Junkware on Windows How to Automatically Skip Bundled Junkware on Windows Here's a free tool that helps you skip bundled junkware when installing programs on Windows. Read More . Run the same installer file at a later time and Ninite will automatically update every program.

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2. Softpedia

WOT Trustworthiness: 93%

URLVoid Rating: 25/25

SiteAdvisor Verdict: Safe

free-software-downloads-softpedia

Softpedia is arguably the largest file host on the web, complete with over 850,000 files in its database. Hundreds of them are updated every single day, so not only can you get clean and malware-free programs Viruses, Spyware, Malware, etc. Explained: Understanding Online Threats Viruses, Spyware, Malware, etc. Explained: Understanding Online Threats When you start to think about all the things that could go wrong when browsing the Internet, the web starts to look like a pretty scary place. Read More , but you can be sure that they are as recent and timely as possible.

On top of that, it has a fantastic reputation and an easy-to-use interface that makes it painless to browse for programs and drivers of all types — whether on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, or Windows Mobile.

3. MajorGeeks

WOT Trustworthiness: 93%

URLVoid Rating: 25/25

SiteAdvisor Verdict: Safe

free-software-downloads-majorgeeks

Even though the site looks like it’s straight out of the 90s, MajorGeeks has been one of the most reputable software download sites for over 15 years. When a site has a couple thousand users online at any given time, that’s when you know it’s providing a great service.

Its list of Top Freeware Picks is a great place to start, but don’t be afraid to browse the left sidebar and look through all kinds of highly-rated programs that you might find handy.

4. FileHippo

WOT Trustworthiness: 93%

URLVoid Rating: 24/25

SiteAdvisor Verdict: Safe

free-software-downloads-filehippo

FileHippo is a well-known site with over 20,000 active programs broken down into 16 helpful categories across Windows, Mac, and Web. But whatever you do, if the site offers you a download manager or anything like that, skip it and go for the direct download instead.

One thing to note is that FileHippo offers an Update Checker program, which scans your system and compares all current programs to see if any of them need to be updated. It’s the easiest way to make sure all of your software is consistently up-to-date How to Ensure All of Your Programs Stay Up-to-Date How to Ensure All of Your Programs Stay Up-to-Date Keeping your software updated can be a chore, so why not let FileHippo find updates to all of your outdated programs for you? Read More .

5. FilePuma

WOT Trustworthiness: 91%

URLVoid Rating: 25/25

SiteAdvisor Verdict: Safe

free-software-downloads-filepuma

FilePuma and the aforementioned FileHippo share a lot of similarities — and I’m not just talking about their names. Where FilePuma excels is in its categorization, which is much easier to browse than FileHippo.

FilePuma also has its own Update Detector program to keep your software up to date. Very handy if FileHippo’s tool doesn’t work well for you or if you don’t like it for some other reason.

6. Download Crew

WOT Trustworthiness: 91%

URLVoid Rating: 25/25

SiteAdvisor Verdict: Safe

free-software-downloads-downloadcrew

Despite its cluttered and headache-inducing website, Download Crew is worth using because each listed program has a short but informative review that explains what it does, why it’s good, and what flaws it has.

Want to find some cool new programs? Start with the “Most Popular Downloads” section and the “Editor’s Choice” section (which you can access at the bottom of the home page). Programs are available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.

7. FileHorse

WOT Trustworthiness: 91%

URLVoid Rating: 24/25

SiteAdvisor Verdict: Safe

free-software-downloads-filehorse

FileHorse doesn’t have a massive repository of software. Instead, this site focuses on only stocking the best and most useful programs and making sure all of them are clean and free of malware and viruses. It’s great for finding popular alternatives to popular programs.

8. SnapFiles

WOT Trustworthiness: 90%

URLVoid Rating: 24/25

SiteAdvisor Verdict: Safe

free-software-downloads-snapfiles

There’s little to differentiate SnapFiles from other free software download sites, but if there’s one thing I like about this one, it’s the “Daily Freeware Pick” that’s highlighted on the home page. If you check in every day, you can occasionally find some really useful tools and utilities.

9. DonationCoder

WOT Trustworthiness: 92%

URLVoid Rating: 25/25

SiteAdvisor Verdict: Safe

free-software-downloads-donationcoder

We recently highlighted Donation Coder when we included Automatic Screenshotter in our coverage of free screen recorders for Windows 3 Free Screen Recorders to Capture Your Windows Desktop 3 Free Screen Recorders to Capture Your Windows Desktop You can use a screen recorder to create tutorials, document bugs for troubleshooting, or track unsolicited activity on your desktop in your absence. Choose from one of our recommended tools. Read More . As you might glean from its name, Donation Coder prides itself on providing free and clean software in exchange for nothing but donations.

The downside to this site is that you’ll only find utilities created by Donation Coder, so the repository is small and niche. Then again, a lot of the programs are quite useful and interesting, so maybe you’ll find something that catches your eye.

Where Do You Download Software?

Don’t just rely on this list! At the end of the day, staying safe on the Web involves practicing good security habits 5 Best Free Internet Security Suites for Windows 5 Best Free Internet Security Suites for Windows Which security suite do you trust the most? We look at five of the best free security suites for Windows, all of which offer anti-virus, anti-malware, and real-time protection features. Read More . In particular, you should do what the security experts do 8 Tips for Online Safety Used by Security Experts 8 Tips for Online Safety Used by Security Experts Want to stay safe online? Then forget everything you think you know about passwords, antivirus and online security because it's time to be retrained. Here's what the experts actually do. Read More and adhere to these common sense tips for avoiding malware 7 Common Sense Tips to Help You Avoid Catching Malware 7 Common Sense Tips to Help You Avoid Catching Malware The Internet has made a lot possible. Accessing information and communicating with people from far away has become a breeze. At the same time, however, our curiosity can quickly lead us down dark virtual alleys... Read More .

And if you ever slip up and find that your computer has been compromised, follow our guide to cleaning up malware and viruses from your system 10 Steps To Take When You Discover Malware On Your Computer 10 Steps To Take When You Discover Malware On Your Computer We would like to think that the Internet is a safe place to spend our time (cough), but we all know there are risks around every corner. Email, social media, malicious websites that have worked... Read More .

How often do you download programs from free software sites? Which sites do you trust and which ones do you avoid like the plague? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

  1. George Schwarz
    November 26, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Irony: Web of trust rating listed but it seems the service is dead. I can't find the download to reinstall it anywhere.

  2. Alec Heesacker
    November 26, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Where can I find safe game download websites for Cluefinders?
    This guide does not have any reliable answers for that kind of thing.
    Otherwise, I might have to just buy the game on Amazon for Window 10.

  3. rodocop
    October 9, 2016 at 1:17 am

    Yes: Softpedia, MajorGeeks, Betanews with FileForum, FossHub, SourceForge (after they being sold to new owner)

    No: CNET (download.com), google-search first results.

  4. JC
    September 19, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    How about NONAGS? Been running a long time, never had any trouble with software from them. No add-ons/crapware/viruses/anything nasty.

    • Joel Lee
      September 20, 2016 at 1:04 am

      Cool, can't believe I've never heard of this site before. It looks interesting for sure. Thanks for sharing JC!

  5. Alex
    August 21, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    How about raritysoft.com ?

  6. Ben
    July 9, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    You may want to visit these sites. Sharewareonsale(.com), bitsdujour( .com), giveawayoftheday(.com), windowsdeal(.com), and topsoftbargains(.com). They're all really awesome sites, not only for downloading free (yet premium) software's from, but the majority of them also offer great deals on select services you might enjoy.

    • Joel Lee
      July 13, 2016 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks Ben. I'll check them out!

  7. TomSJr
    May 26, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    freewarefiles.com is the only place I download from.

  8. TomSJr
    May 26, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    http://www.freewarefiles.com

    Really GREAT download sites, updated constantly. That's the ONLY place I go to download files.

  9. david
    May 9, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    I used to use CNet exclusively, but now I've heard their stuff is full of Spyware, etc., so I'm not so confident about using them anymore. Does anyone know for sure?

    • Joel Lee
      May 13, 2016 at 8:45 pm

      Yeah it's not very trustworthy lately. I'd recommend staying away from that site until they prove that they're taking spyware/malware seriously.

  10. Gary
    May 7, 2016 at 3:18 am

    Filehippo - love their autocheckupdate app!

    • Joel Lee
      May 13, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Good to hear someone likes it. Thanks Gary!

  11. Morton Sprawl
    May 6, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    I've gone to Download.com (http://www.download.com) run by CBS, Inc.. Never even knew about these other sites. I will have to try them out.

    • Joel Lee
      May 13, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      You may want to avoid Download.com, Morton! It has become less trustworthy over the years.

  12. jim.vandamme
    May 6, 2016 at 2:19 am

    I get apps from my Linux distro's repository. 100% safe and free.

    • Joel Lee
      May 13, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Ha. If only Windows had such a system. I know about Chocolatey but it'd be nice if there was a more centralized system that everyone used.

  13. JT Prereshey
    May 2, 2016 at 9:37 am

    I used Filehippo exclusively for years as well, until I ended up downloading a browser that attempted to wreak havoc on my computer! I think that Filehippo has just gotten a bit lazy about double checking the content uploaded to the site - and no, I don't use the FH download tool and I was unchecking the crapware bundles before it became cool to do so [lol] ... an example being GOM player: for the last several builds, it has come with the OpenCandy malware [or similar malware] that will install itself no matter how many boxes you uncheck during installation - and FH hasn't done anything in the way of warning a user of the site about it.

    Granted, I only had a couple of issues with FH, but that's enough to make me now use them only as a very last resort.

  14. ziderman
    April 26, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    is there an Update Checker/Detecter for Windows 10?

    • Joel Lee
      April 29, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      You mean native to the operating system? Not that I know of. That would be a really cool feature. Maybe if you installed everything through Windows 10's package manager?

    • Judith Schwartz
      May 5, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      There is an update checker/detector for Windows 10. It's called Secuna PSI. It scans your computer for outdated programs. And it's free!

    • rc primak
      May 7, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Services like Glary Utilities update checker and KC Softwares SUMo will tell you about not only security updates, but just about all other updates to most of the software you can install. These services work just as well in Widnows 10 as in previous versions.

      As for gaining granjular control over Widnows 10 updating of Microsoft Products, fuhgettaboutit! T'aint gonna happen.

  15. Todd Clay
    April 24, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Let's face facts. Eventually all these sites either make money by you clicking on their ads or they're going to install trojans and whatnot into your system or at least make the installation process confusing for most to install some ride along software.

    The entire web is going to face an awakening and many sites are just going to be gone. That's my prediction.

    Enjoy it while it lasts.

    BTW most of the downloads I do are through Gizmo's which are direct links to the software makers.

    • Joel Lee
      April 29, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      Interesting point. What alternative revenue models would you suggest?

      • Todd Clay
        April 30, 2016 at 3:17 am

        I don't have a solution.

        I just don't see this continuing on in this freemium kind of way. Maybe the choice is to get sponsors for software or news media and have it given away as a customer premium for buying merchandise from the sponsor, who's business isn't really software or media, although there could be a liability issue hiding there. But do we want Monsanto, General Electric, et el running the New York Times (NYT)? I don't think so! And the biggest companies are the ones that are most likely to be doing the very things we need to know about. It's not the guy running the mini-golf course up the street most of the time.

        Thunderbird which I saw as a serious contender for replacing Outlook only releases updates once a year. Due to a serious flaw in the add-on Lightning Calendar I lost several hundred dollars because either TB or Lightning failed to notify me of an upcoming event. When I complained that they need to have a serviceability level agreement for their users where they would work until it was back to the level of functionality that was required I was pretty much ridiculed because these people work for free and aren't going to be held to having to be forced to work to maintain a certain level of service regardless of how important the particular functionality is they'll get to it when they get to it. They just released the new TB update 2 days ago, the Lightning update has been available for some time but now you can't even install the calendar at all. So I've waited all year for a release that was suppose to fix my problem only to now be faced with an even worse problem.

        I think that they're writing their own epitaph by not adhering to a required functionality support agreement. Eventually people are just going to stop using it because at least what MS offers is not going to have these critical flaws. It may not be as user friendly or have the addons that make Thunderbird more desirable but in the end you know certain function will always work. That will stop work on TB permanently and this will eventually happen with all this freeware. Even now you have Mozilla Firefox changing to chromium because Google is forcing their hand but what's the point of another chromium type browser? Are all the addons going to be those that are used in Google's chrome? Because the addon library for Firefox is also having the same problem as TB. People created these addons have moved onto new things and don't want to maintain them for life but who else will? Eventually these addons will just stop working and what will Firefox users be left with?

        I just got a notice from Mother Jones stating that there has been a lot of consolidation in the media industry yet again as method for trying to get people to pay-up to support their reporting. At some point these businesses either find a model or go bankrupt. Obviously it's cheaper to create an online edition than a paper one but not everyone has computers so they're stuck making paper available for what might be a long, long time.

        The next question is does Mother Jones, et el, continue with the electronic version and if so who is granted access. They've all (the news media) created the free online versions which makes it real hard for people that are stuck with paper paying the freight for what transpires online which they may or may not have access to depending on their finances.

        If they take access away like the NYT what ramifications does that have to consumers that have been getting it for free for some 15+ years. I know I'm annoyed because I can no longer access the NYT for free but I can't see spending for a subscription for the 1 or 2 articles I might read per day or week.

        If you go to the pay by the article model then it's going to have to be some incredibly interesting reporting - not the stuff they pull of the line services like Reuters but good honest investigative reporting something we haven't been getting for years since Wall Street has taken over the news media industry demanding high profits.

        This is just as true for software. If we're going to pay for it than we want something better than a lot of these apps we use on our smart phones which are poorly written and use excessive bandwidth, memory and processor time eating up battery life. Or like I stated above just stop working because they are the low app on a per user basis for a particular functionality with maybe 30 or 40 others offering the same functionality. But these too will have the same end as what I see happening with Mozilla they eventually just fall into such disrepair and users remove them from their devices and in the end it leaves one or two corporate generated apps to do the work.

        Just look at our major corporations. We have like 10 major companies that supply all our consumer items. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-11-24/10-corporations-control-almost-everything-you-buy You can see them here. Now just add a few new corps for the ones that are going to be selling you software into that image and you see the future unless someone comes up with a non-capitalist method of creating this stuff. People don't have the time to work a full-time job that doesn't pay enough to make ends meet then come home and write software for free at least not in our current financial world.

        Likewise the software we use on our bigger devices we expect to work properly as well and we have some fairly good freeware available without advertisements. In fact I've attempted to build my laptop's software from entirely free and non-sponsored or adware and I've done that with the exception of my Avira which gives me one pop-up at boot time and I purchased MS Office and Quicken (which if there was a solid freeware alternative I would uninstall in a minute because Quicken extorts money by cutting off the very functionality I paid for every couple of years) and as of this year I have added tax software without any ads by going through the website setup by the Federal Government. I didn't even pay for state tax support.

        But here to I have begun to see various programs on my laptop no longer being updated so at some point they're just going to fail and that will be the end. Sure they're vary desirable programs for me creating all kinds of utility type functions which often cannot be recreated by using a command console because they're much more sophisticated but when the author passes away of just is not able to maintain them anymore who will? Maybe someone will attempt to profit from them or maybe as our OS's become more complex they get added into the base but I really don't see it going that direction. Over all the years since I started with MS-DOS we haven't added anything except for the windows interface and MS's version of antivirus and firewall - that's it in some 35 years.

        Back to the news media. The NYT is a major paper and has some pull but how about your local news paper or state level news papers and the news media magazines like The Times, The Atlantic, et el? They've been losing business for years since they've been taking over by the big players because Wall Street forced them to increase profits for shareholders and the only way to accomplish that was to eliminate or severely limit investigative reporting. Some of the best reporting we get anymore has been done by hackers getting information like the Federal Government's Foreign affairs cables which were exposed through Wiki Leaks but at a serious cost to the man running the database. The other biggy of course was the Snowden leaks and now we have the Panama leaks. But the newspapers haven't done much to get through all this data. Because the government has told them to watch themselves or else. On top of that its literally too much data and too much expense even considering the information that might come from reading every singe cable or record.

        Then we have the information being stored into wikis/blogs/vlogs by people acting like reporters. But how do we know that what's being written is legitimate? We've all seen the so-called PhotoShopped images that are everywhere on the net. Sure, there's some desire by who's writing it to get it as accurate as possible from their knowledge but there are also those that write to coverup and hide information whether they're corporations tainting our food or the US Governments involvement in 9/11. We have no way to discern the truth between the two versions.

        If we extend the sponsor model to the news media guess who are we never going to have true information regarding? Of course the very sponsor. Of course if the NYT was doing corrupt or scandalous reporting pre-today's era we wouldn't have known it back then either. For example if they were to break a false story to generate sales they're not going to ever expose themselves their credibility would be down the drain and as a paper it would be morally bankrupt. Their very refusal to continue expose the Wiki Leaks (Cablegate) has not endeared them to the reading public because they're now showing their allegiance to not expose the government of their dirty deeds which is one of the few reasons one might buy a paper.

      • Todd Clay
        May 1, 2016 at 2:29 am

        Guess they didn't like my comment because they didn't post it. They should be so fussy.

        Anyways below is a link to someone else's version of what I was posting except I had specific examples regarding Thunderbird and Firefox beginning to see the end of the line while this article is just talking about the news media but it's a very similar problem.

        I know that the ads that go onto these sites are somehow auctioned but the one saving grace might be that the publishers of software or news refuse to accept these penny per ad prices because effectively what that's telling me is that the advertisers no longer want to pay for advertising. Well then I guess they shouldn't be getting any advertising on any websites other than their own. It's one of the few things that could turn this around.

        The one point you won't get from this article is that they aren't talking about all the freeware that's no longer being maintained because the original authors are bored with maintaining what they wrote because it's become a nightmare with all the various users and O/S's and configurations to maintain for something they originally wrote for their own use and decided to share. Or maybe they just have no interest in coding for free when they can get paid or 100 other reasons.

        What happens when the coder just passes away and the code is lost? Do we have to will these various software projects to someone that has nothing better to do than work for free? Maintaining software is a time consuming task and the more complex the software the more hours of maintaining it are required. We haven't even considered OS upgrades or changes needed to addons when host programs get upgrades that require rewriting entire pieces of software.

        For example Firefox is going to chromium so who's going to maintain all those thousands of addons when they change platforms? Google is supposedly behind Firefox's platform change but won't this also be require a change for Thunderbird and all those addons.

        The amount of time is daunting and I see this as the beginning of the end. Firefox may change platforms but without the addons I think the users will begin to abandon the software because it will lose what made it unique.

        There's also the beginning of talks of moving away from http and going to something entirely new where they say it will eliminate the IP addressing (so much for IPV6) and make the internet work more like torrents and having multiple servers sharing the same info supposedly securing traffic from prying eyes but again that's a huge undertaking and what all will be affected? Maybe it's transparent to the client or maybe the entire client has to be replaced - rewrite everything. Maybe Microsoft doesn't even survive because it might require a whole new OS to take advantage of the benefits. It would literally be like starting over but the impact is to the whole world not just one company and their users.

        All this upgrading comes at a huge cost and who's going to absorb that cost? Consumers? They're still feeling the pinch from Wall Streets last fiasco.

        Anyway here's the link to MJ http://www.motherjones.com/media/2016/04/that-popping-sound-you-hear

  16. Chris
    April 23, 2016 at 3:39 am

    Ninite is my go to whenever I load a fresh copy of Windows and then when CCleaner decided to no longer be on the Ninite list, I started to grab it from Piriform.

    If it's not from those two places, it's from the original site of the download. If I need to download something that isn't from a site I trust, I download it first on one of my "who cares" laptops - old junkers I keep around for this very reason. If they get hosed, I just blow away the OS and start over.

    • Joel Lee
      April 29, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      Yeah, Ninite is great! And I tend to do that as well -- download from the host site. Not because I distrust these download sites, but because the host sites usually rank first when I search for a download link. :P

  17. headscratcher
    April 23, 2016 at 12:57 am

    Worst sites:
    CNET or Download.net (junk, junk, junk)
    Tucows

    Filehippo has bundles crapware, despite what this article says.

    Want the real lowdown on freeware downloading, check the article at How-to Geek. A real eye opener/

    • rc primak
      May 7, 2016 at 7:20 am

      I also count Filehippo as adware laden and no longer free of bundled crapware. Some of the other sites have ads, but only while downloading something.

      OpenCandy is not the site's fault. It is added by freeware publishers before the programs are ever posted to any download site. Of all the monetizing gimmicks, this one is one of the least intrusive and most tolerable.

  18. Kelsey Tidwell
    April 22, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    I'll throw in downloads.zdnet.com. I've never had any negative issues with Ziff-Davis. I do like Major Geeks and Softpedia, but FileHippo messed me over somehow back a couple years ago (can't remember exactly how), so it's a no-fly-zone for me now.

    Web of Tricks lost me a long time ago. I DO enjoy WoT (World of Tanks) though. :)

    Happy day all!

    • Joel Lee
      April 29, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      Thanks Kelsey. Sorry to hear your bad experience with FileHippo. Maybe I should've replaced it with ZDNet :P

  19. Ralph Schaefer
    April 22, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    How could you have missed freewarefiles.com???

    • Joel Lee
      April 29, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      It did not receive good ratings on the security checkers I used. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't pristine. Is that the site you use?

  20. Forrest
    April 22, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Is Tucows.com still around?

    • Joel Lee
      April 29, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      I believe so, but many don't trust it anymore.

    • rc primak
      May 7, 2016 at 7:22 am

      They have adware and deceptive download buttons now.

  21. Texdave
    April 22, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    If filhippo is rated safe then this testing system is flawed in my opinion. I used it excludively for several years until I got two of three unwanted software additions to my browsers and my program files.
    They've sold out in my opinion but freeware has to always be suspect anyway

    • Nick Allon
      April 22, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      probably you just forgot (or didn't mention) to uncheck the related checkboxes in installer...

    • Joel Lee
      April 29, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      Yeah you have to make sure that you download WITHOUT the FileHippo download tool. It's a bit shady, but still possible to use the site cleanly. Sorry to hear that Texdave.

  22. Vignesh Sampath Kumar
    April 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    I download software from Freewarefiles.com

    • TomSJr
      May 26, 2016 at 9:21 pm

      The best and SAFEST out there. The site gives you 2 download options: the developer site and freewarefiles.com site, so if one does not work, the other should. GREAT site for everything freeware.

  23. fcd76218
    April 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    By necessity, I rely on the software repositories of whatever Linux distribution I am using.

    • Howard Blair
      April 24, 2016 at 2:40 am

      **slowclap.gif**

    • rc primak
      May 7, 2016 at 7:25 am

      In Linux (Ubuntu) I don't mind downloading programs or code fromsources outside the official repositories. Just as long as it's a .DEB package, it can be run through the Ubuntu Software Center, and this will filter out bad packages, blacklisted programs, and check for unmet dependencies. Just be selective as to where you find non-official Ubuntu packages.

  24. A41202813GMAIL ..
    April 22, 2016 at 8:04 am

    VERSIONTRACKER DOWNLOAD CNET Is My Favorite Site For Free Software But They Have 2 Downloading Modes:

    A - The Complex Bundle BloatWare - No Thanks,

    B - The Simple Utility Only - I Love It.

    Cheers.

  25. ElRoSSo
    April 22, 2016 at 6:39 am

    And what about Uptodown.com?

    • Joel Lee
      April 29, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      Haven't heard of it, I'll check it out soon. Thanks ElRosso!

  26. Manu Gond
    April 22, 2016 at 6:30 am

    There is no sign of Softonic.com or torrent

    • Joel Lee
      April 29, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      Softonic did not receive good ratings on the security checkers I used, and torrenting is a whole different beast altogether. ;)

  27. Ionut Vulpe
    April 22, 2016 at 6:01 am

    I go to FindMySoft.com

  28. Rainy
    April 21, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    This is totally incorrect. Using WOT just destroys your credibility. WOT is controlled by a gang of attention seekers who have caused many small sites big problems just because of four or five WOT "gang" members. Many small sites have been ruined by WOT. I like MakeUseOf, but this article was obviously a filler and no one should trust this info.

    • Peter Hood
      April 22, 2016 at 11:59 am

      @Rainy, I agree completely. I have abandoned WoT because sites that I've used for years are flagged up negatively by it. I am appalled by them. The download sites appear to be alright, as do the reader recommendations.

      • fcd76218
        April 22, 2016 at 1:17 pm

        "I have abandoned WoT because sites that I’ve used for years are flagged up negatively by it."
        Did you ever think that those sites COULD BE unsafe in spite of nothing bad happening to you? You can jaywalk across a busy street for years without an incident, but that does not mean it is safe thing to do.

        • Peter Hood
          April 22, 2016 at 2:33 pm

          No. They are reputable sites and other packages such as MacAfee and Avast have not flagged them as problematic. These are reputable sites. It is as Rainy says.

        • JT Prereshey
          May 2, 2016 at 9:51 am

          You may not want to be so quick to put much trust in anything that Avast has to say about the safety of a website or software because they are now in the business of infecting the devices of anyone who downloads their "anti-virus" software. If you don't believe me, download their latest version and triple check to make sure you've unchecked the optional crapware offers during the install process. Wait a few days .. or a week at most .. and check your desktop or 'recently installed programs', and get ready for a surprise from your friends at Avast! They have installed WITHOUT your permission, their "web browser" onto your computer! If you STILL don't believe me, take a look at the forum on their own website or better yet, their Facebook page and see all the nice things people are saying to and about Avast!

        • rc primak
          May 7, 2016 at 7:29 am

          Avast does not do that Web browser install without user consent. But it is opt-out. You have to uncheck it in the initial install or upgrade.

          I moved to AVG because of system performance issues with Avast, not because of their deceptions about these opt-outs.

  29. likefun butnot
    April 21, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    I use Chocolatey.org. I've seen Filehippo hand out its own bundleware before and I don't trust it any longer.

    • Joel Lee
      April 29, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Yeah, the bundleware is skippable but still shady. Chocolatey is a good one! Hope it becomes bigger and more serious as an option in the years to come.

    • Steven Hindelberg
      October 8, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      Exactly. Since Hippo started messing with bundleware I switched to FileHorse.com and never looked back. Great site and really easy to use.

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