Is there a way I can check a software program for malware before I download it?
Run the link on https://www.virustotal.com, if not detected it doesn't mean it's clean. Check if the software is signed, if not delete it and do not install it. If you have to run it, use a virtual machine solution like VirtualPC (Free) or VMware (Paid) to test it before running it on your own PC.
A virus protection software will do the task. Most of the time an alert message or pop up is shown to the user, if s/he tries to visit a malicious site by antivirus application present on their computer. Most of the antivirus applications such as Norton, Immunet Plus, Kaspersky, Avast, Bitdefender etc have inbuilt feature to detect as well as stop any malware, virus or any other malicious plugin present on a website. However, it is also essential to scan downloaded file before installing/using it.//rewrite the complete answer.
VirusTotal can handle it for you. Just make sure you give it the link to the file you want to scan, not just the website. The first set of results you get will be for the website. You need to click another link to see the scan results for the file itself. It scans using more than 40 AV engines simultaneously as well as a 50+ other websites and data sources and if they are all coming up clean, you can be pretty confident it is safe.
Copy and paste the URL into Trend Micros Site Security webpage:
It will scan the site and let you know if it's safe or not. Seems very trustworthy and reliable.
If you want even better protection then you can get from AV software and you are reasonably computer savvy check out OpenDNS home. It filters at the DNS level and will stop bad sites (within reason) from ever reaching you. I used it at home and work and it is invaluable.
Many antivirus products will install a toolbar in your browser which will scan prospective pages for viruses and will warn you (or block access altogether) if you try to access an infected page. A partial list of those AV products includes Norton 360, AVG, AVAST but there are others too.
In addition, all antivirus products will scan every file as it is being saved on the hard drive (this is called "on access" scanning), and will protect you from infected software. Admittedly, that's not quite before downloading it, but it is before you get a chance to open the file.
VTzilla: Mozilla Firefox Browser Extension