When you are talking about download free programs and software for PC and free you can start thinking about an article on where to find pirated versions of paid programs. Instead, here we are good, not so much for ethical reasons but because, really, in the vast majority of cases, it is not absolutely necessary to buy software.
As seen in many cases and in the article on free alternative programs to the best software for Windows and Linux, for each famous program, there is a free counterpart, often at the same quality level. The problem is that free software download sites often hide adware, malware, download managers, and malicious sponsors that can ruin your computer. It therefore becomes necessary to be able to recognize which are the best most reliable sites to download programs from the internet, for free, without ever paying, securely and in perfect legality, per PC Windows, Linux e Mac. I recommend to bookmark them or save this page.
1) SoftPedia is older than Softonic and is another one of my go-to sites when I'm looking for something. Softpedia is also an online computer journal and also features i download per i driver. Using these internet sites is useful when looking for programs that have a specific function, even if the names are not known. Using the categories and the search bar with advanced filters you can choose whether to list only the licensed programs freeware, shareware (those limited in functions), Trial (those limited in time), Adware (those accompanied by an often annoying sponsor), GPL (the opensource ones). For each program, the number of downloads performed, the rating and the update date are indicated (useful to check if a software is no longer developed).
2) Majorgeeks it is undoubtedly the ugliest site but it has a certain reputation because sometimes, programs that are nowhere to be found are kept here. For all programs there is a review, a rating and a link to the developer's website.
The site is safe and every download is reliable, verified and free of traps, adware or similar.
3) Filehippo he is perhaps the most spartan of all, at least from a graphic point of view.
There aren't all those subtleties found in others, like reviews, comments, news and stuff like that. The main page contains a table for each category of software that is just waiting to be downloaded on the fly. There are no reviews or rating systems or ratings, just the link to the file with the description of the software and some technical details. The greatest value is the download speed and the ability to download a desktop program that updates program versions automatically. On FileHippo there are also older versions of older programs. While it had a lot of publicity and sponsored downloads in the past few years, today it is a clean and safe download site like few others on the internet.
4) DownloadCrew is a site that often appears in Google searches, which although ugly to look at, is absolutely safe, with verified downloads, direct and without traps, to download programs for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS
5) Ninite is one of the best and safest sites to download free software, where you can select programs and then download a single installation file for everyone.
Here at bestresourcesnow we used Ninite to pack a package of 12 programs to install for all PCs.
6) FilePuma is a lesser known site, very similar to FileHippo, absolutely reliable and safe.
7) FileHorse is a good site to search for programs, which is very reliable and includes downloads for all popular programs with updated and legitimate versions.
8) Snapfiles, a secure site that divides all programs into categories and allows you to search for each software according to its characteristics. Visitors can write their own reviews on their favorite show so I could say that the judges are the most objective here.
9) Donation Coder it is a site different from the others, with its own repository of programs all free and supported by optional donations. You can find a lot of useful and interesting software developed by independent programmers.
10 ) Bad life is another popular site with a great source of programs to download. Each software is classified with a vote and for each it is written whether the version is commercial, paid or if it is freeware and free.
11 ) Coat is one of the most popular sites for downloading programs, which often appears when you search for the name of a software on Google, safe and reliable, with a very visible download button and not hidden among the advertisements.
12 ) Sourceforge.net is different and is part of the list of sites with open source programs. Opensource does not only mean free but also means that the programming code is public and, who is interested, can download and modify it. So on SourceForge you can download the free programs and their source code. Programmers can easily modify the source code to suit their needs and distribute them in accordance with the software license agreement. While there is no shortage of advertising and annoying, this is a good site to search for scripts and applications based on PHP / MySQL projects, Python scripts, and home-made software.
13 ) Softonic is one of the most popular sites for free download programs for PC, but it is to be avoided if possible, because it often hides unsolicited sponsors and downloaders.
14 ) CNET Download.com, historical site of PC programs was ruined by Cnet who turned it into a site to make money with advertising, so if not necessary, better avoid it.
15 ) Giveaway of the Day, is the site where every day the download of a paid program is offered, with a free license. These are not trial or limited versions, but registered and legal versions, free and complete, for site visitors.
BONUS) bestresourcesnow.com reports every day new sites and programs, free or shareware, not all of them, only the best ones, those that are worthwhile, with reviews, explanations and comments. Definitely the first resource in which to look for a free program, to always keep among the favorites under the pillow! ;-)
In another article there are the best sites to download free programs and applications for Mac.
Most reliable sites to download PC programs and software