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9 Cleanest & Safest Websites to Download Free Software for Windows

Written by Joel Lee April 21, 2016

 

Free software download sites can be dangerous. Visit the wrong one and you’ll run into fake virus and malware warnings as well as fake download buttons, all of which are malware in disguise. Want to stay safe? Use an Internet security suite while browsing!

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:

Web of Trust
URLVoid
McAfee SiteAdvisor

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.

Ninite is known for its safety and security, so you don’t have to worry about malware or bundled bloatware and junkware. 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, 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.

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. 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.

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