Our Favorite Software Download Sites
We download a lot of freeware. We have to. We’re always testing new software trying to find good software to recommend to our subscribers and site visitors.
But these days downloading software, especially freeware, is a bit like playing Russian roulette. There are so many software download installers that try to sneak unwanted 3rd-party junkware and worse by unsuspecting users, that you have to be constantly vigilant when you install any software you’ve downloaded – particularly freeware.
But it’s not enough to be vigilant when you install software that you’ve downloaded, you have to be extra careful where you download it from. Unfortunately, the world’s most popular download site (C|Net’s Download.com ) has decided to make even more of a crap shoot out of downloading by taking clean freeware and bundling it in its own installer. And the worst download site in the world, Softonic doubles down on C|Net’s game with even worst bundles of garbage (see our article about Softonic here).
So, if you like to download software we’re going to tell you the two sites from which we generally download – after we make a simple suggestion. When possible, we always try to download from the software developer’s site. That does not guarantee we (or you) will always get clean software, but it does give us a better chance than downloading from sites who care more about infecting computers and making money than integrity and clean downloads. But no matter where you download, take our advice – and always be careful – even developers who offer clean software love to play Wack-a-Mole with the download links.
Here are – in order – our two favorite software download sites.
Our favorite download site – by far – is SnapFiles. The site’s developer has been around as long as we have – that’s a long time! – and we’ve come to trust his reviews and his site. On SnapFiles programs that that may try to install 3rd-party software are noted so you can be watchful when you install.
Here’s some info from the site owner:
What makes us different from other download sites?
- We download and test EVERY program before listing it.
- We create the screenshots.
- If it’s not working for us, it will not be listed.
- If it appears to be a waste of your time, we won’t list it…
If we have any doubts as to the integrity of the software and/or author, we will not list it.
Unlike most other software download sites, we actually download, install and review every single program before it is listed on the site. We use our years of experience to bring you the products that appear reliable and worth your time. If it’s not working for us, we won’t list it. If it appears to be a waste of your time, we won’t list it…
Adware & Bundle Policy
All products you find at Snapfiles.com are carefully selected and constantly monitored.
Please refer to our Adware policy for additional details.
If you are looking for a trustworthy download site where the reviews are accurate and where software bundles are clearly identified, you’ll want to make a trip to SnapFiles and take a look for yourself.
Another download site we use occasionally is MajorGeeks. And while we don’t use MajorGeeks nearly as much as SnapFiles, it’s still a worthy download site. MajorGeeks does not do as good of job of notifying users that applications contain bundled software, but the download links are easy to find and the reviews are generally trustworthy.
Here’s some information from the owners of MajorGeeks:
MajorGeeks is a small, home-based software download site where all the software is handpicked and tested by just two people. We lean heavily towards freeware, but we gladly post high-quality shareware. We do not automate anything, and we reject 95% of submissions. While most websites brag about having hundreds of thousands of software titles to download, we brag about having fewer than 10,000. The intention is to give you a place to go where you can find the top 1% of software, and we try only to add software that we consider to be four stars or better. We have no employees, no offices, and no social life. We live for this stuff and hope you appreciate the difference.
How we test for software:
1: We Google it and look into the software and company reputation. Sometimes we can eliminate a program right here.
2: If it passes step 1 then we need to scan it with multiple virus scanners using VirusTotal, for example.
3: Last is the most important and unique step at MajorGeeks for software we’re comfortable listing. We use VMWare Workstation to test the software safely. We want to see if it does what it promises, is fairly priced if shareware and is worthy of a 4 star or better rating. If we have time we write a mini review with our thoughts and post that first under MajorGeek says. We will also grab screenshots at this point if needed.
If you need further assistance, please visit our Boot Camp for how to use te website, check out our must have free downloads list or for personal help, stop by our Support Forum and ask for help. We believe you will find our forums friendly to newcomers.
The Software Awards Scam is a classic example that still applies today. A lot of those big websites will do whatever they have to do to get traffic from authors. We have even seen sites offer to remove negative reviews for authors to trade for traffic. Can you imagine? Please, be careful who you trust.