[Ask dotTechies] Best download website?

Yesterday I posted about a tip on how to avoid the crapware that comes with CNET Installer. In the past I’ve discussed other download websites such as Softpedia. Now – inspired by a brilliant request by a recently a regular dotTechie, David Roper – I’d like to know what dotTechies have to say on this topic.

So, without further ado, share in the comments below you the download website(s) you would recommend. This can be any website from which you download files from — it doesn’t have to necessarily be a website that hosts it own files. You can recommend one or more than one — it is up to you. Just be sure to give the name (or URL — but don’t spam) of the website(s) you are recommending and at least one reason per website on why you are recommending it.

If, by chance, you have a particular download website – or websites – you would like to tell people to stay away from then feel free to share that in the comments, too. If you are negatively recommending a website be sure to state clearly that you are *not* recommending the particular website(s) and include at least one reason why.

It will be interesting to see what websites dotTechies download from.

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64 comments

  1. Mindaugas

    I don’t think there is the best site around. Some sites have user-friendly layout but lack software, some have tons of software but lack usability, some others have all this, but lack user reviews, and so on…

  2. Bourney

    I don’t have an issue with cnet…I don’t see what the problem is, if you don’t want to install something you uncheck the entry to do so. I use all the major download sites except illegal one’s which I do not recommend. I’m not in favour of ‘crapware’ as you put it..there is no avoiding how the Internet changes with the times. You only got to look at major sites like facebook who allow a multitude of junky advertisment to bombard the everyday user. There is no real favourite download sites for me, if you want a particular software you click the button it suggests which is usually cnet.

  3. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @david roper: Not your fault at all. Sarcasm isn’t easy to catch. That said, I would typically remove links to illegal downloads but if that is his favorite websites to download (sarcasm or not) I don’t really care — his life his choices. Its not like no one knows of those websites.

    Thanks for looking out :-)

  4. david roper

    I saw the words Piratebay and Illegal and the word trollface but no actual picture.
    I’m sorry but my “protective side” broke through and I wanted to stop any possible harm to dotTech website that Ashraf built. I believe you that you did it in fun, please accept my apologies. I don’t catch on to sarcasm so easily.

  5. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @vika6: Spam filter probably caught it. Did you have lots of links in it? Try submitting it again with less links.

    @Everyone: Seems like MajorGeeks, FileHippo, and Softpedia are the three favorites…

  6. Switch-kun

    @david roper:
    Notice the “trollface.jpg”. It’s sarcasm. You can still download LEGAL files off piratebay and mediafire. Therefore, I’m not breaking any rules on Dottech at all. Did you know some sites use torrents as one of their DL links? A good example is Kotawa Shoujo, a free non-commericial visual novel. One of their DL links link to a torrent for their installer. Don’t take things too serious man.

  7. Harry Callahan

    Filehippo I’ve been using for years. Has most of what I want on a PC and my IT professors at college used also. Never got a bad download and definitely much faster than other sites.

  8. Ronaldo_B5

    I most prefer the following sites:

    Freewarefiles.com – for just about anything
    Majorgeeks.com – For anything technical and advanced
    SoftPedia.com – for almost everything there is
    SSuiteSoft.com – For all your general office software
    FreewarBB.com – Has almost all you want or need
    and last but not least Filehippo

    Stay away from Tucows and Download.com, too many third party crapware attached to all the downloads. :(

  9. Jim Hillier

    Best download site on the planet by a country mile is FreewareBB. Very safe downloads, no rubbish, great community.

    BTW Guys – Gizmos (or TechSupportAlert) is NOT a download site. They do not host downloads, merely provide links to downloads on the authors’ sites. They are a referral site.

  10. Sunmaker

    I know I usually lurk here and check out some of the freebies that pop up here. I forget how I found you guys, but I absolutely love all the useful information. Anyway, as for my favorite download sites they are as follows:

    1. Majorgeeks.com – I love how they test the file before they put it on their web site so you know it’ll be clean and free from garbageware.
    2. Portableapps.com – I am a huge portable app fan since I really love to use this on any computer on the go.

    I have used these in the past, but I don’t go there as much as I used to.

    1. Softpedia.com
    2. Filehippo.com – I like them that you can get an older version than go to another site that specializes in older versions of software.

    I have used CNet downloads in the past, and I stopped using them because they had programs that were loaded with spyware/malware. I never trusted them since. Even if some people use them for downloading software like CCleaner or anything else that I use on a regular basis. I’d rather download them from Majorgees or the author’s mirror instead of dealing with other sites apart from the other two I’ve used in the past.

  11. Seamus McSeamus

    I prefer the developer’s site as option one.

    I like filehippo.com because they keep older version of software available, just in case I need to roll back a version for some reason.

    I like techsupportalert.com beccause of the reviews they offer. If there is a software you are unfamiliar with, chances are they have a review there that will help you decide if it’s what you are looking for.

    I like freewarefiles.com because of the comprehensive list of updated freeware.

    I like softpedia.com because they do an excellent job of screening out things that come bundled with crapware.

    I like alternativeto.net because it has led me to some great software that I didn’t know about.

    Sites I avoid? Cnet and Tucows, because of reasons stated by other commenters.

  12. Switch-kun

    nyaa.eu – Anime downloading site
    animetake.com – Secoundary anime downloading site
    piratebay.se – illegal download at its finest
    mediafire.com – moar illegal downloading

    trollface.jpg

  13. Paul

    @WebHybrid: That’s all very well for you, and many of the posters here, but how many Joe Average computer users would even comprehend what you have just posted, let alone be able to implement it?

    And can’t you grasp that CNet’s guarantee of malwarelessness is worthless, since while they may not allow developers to add crap, they feel quite free to do the same thing themselves.

  14. WebHybrid

    For me the auxiliary information on Cnet is invaluable – all those reader comments and ratings, plus the Cnet guarantee of malwarelessness.

    And there is another, very convenient way of avoiding Cnet’s bundled crap. Not mentioned, I think, in the prior dotTech article: a script called “CNET Download.com – NoBadware: Direct Download Links.” It will go into Greasemonkey or Scriptish (these are browser add-ons that handle scripts). It strips away the crap. With the script in place, whenever you use Cnet’s green download button, what you automatically get is just the software installer – no bundle around it – no extra attention required.

    Works like a charm, for me (I have it in Scriptish on Firefox 10.01).

    Here’s the URL for the magic script:
    https://userscripts.org/scripts/show/111137

  15. Mags

    @david roper: I <3 your reasons why you like those sites. :)

    As for me:

    Developers site for the same reason as David Roper
    MajorGeeks
    Softpedia
    Google search – like Locutus

    Plus a few sites that offer older versions of software, or software that is no longer available anywhere else because the developer is no longer supporting it or has gone out of business. (Reason being is that some of this software is still good and I have found that many of them can still be used on the newer versions of Win OS.) I can't remember the URLs at the moment and would have to search through my 100's of bookmarks, so will get back later with them if I find the time and if anyone is interested in them.

    I also have to add that I don't use Tucows for the same reasons mentioned above.

  16. david roper

    I like the following because:

    DotTech of course – no bun, just hamburger
    NoNags – no bread, just hamburger
    NIR – no bread, smallest hamburger
    Author’s own website – the best, the latest- no bread, fillet mignon

  17. David

    Strongly agree I have used Freewarefiles.com for years and never had a problem with them. I also subscribe to their newsletter.
    also Filehippo.com
    and Softpedia.com
    I recommend all of them

  18. Col. Panek

    Nobody’s mentioned NoNags, FreewareFiles.com (free newsletter) or GiveawayOfTheDay. But I recommend Gismo first to Windows users (also has a big Linux section).

    I agree with Joe. Imagine if Microsoft stored and checked thousands of applications to see if they were malware and crapware free and worked with your OS, had a selection & rating system that installed any with one click, then kept all your apps updated. That’s the Ubuntu Software Center (other distros are similar).

  19. Giovanni

    BEST DOWNLOAD WEBSITE?? Definitely SOFTPEDIA!!

    Hey, people know me as the KING of FREEBIES on GAOTD and elsewhere…so know what I’m talking about…LOL!

    Softpedia has the hugest software library on the web as it lists about 1.000.000 FREE and Free-to-try software for WINDOWS, MAC, LINUX and MOBILE users, not to mention that every sofware there is thoroughly checked before being published and 9 times out of 10 it’s also updated to the last version of the program downloadable from the official developer website.

    SOFTPEDIA servers are also very good, thus enabling users to download their software very quickly, and, unlike other websites mentioned above, both USERS RATING SYSTEM and EDITOR REVIEWS are very reliable indeed.

  20. throkr

    I agree with some of the previous comments : I always download from the developer’s site directly
    Otherwise, but rarely : Majorgeeks or Filehippo (which is not always up-to-date or reliable – see wrong update proposition for “Java”) …

  21. ebony

    Wow!!!
    Great info dottechies.

    I have always tried to used the developer’s site (if it exists).
    Sometimes there is additional information and I can leave a comment/question.

    In addition I like
    FileHippo
    MajorGeeks
    Gizmo
    and where ever dottech links lead me. (one day I am going to fall off a cliff) ROFL

  22. joe

    yup! filehippo is great!

    in german language also look for heises download archive:

    http://www.heise.de/download/

    and chips software index (attention, turn on your adblocker! ;-)

    http://www.chip.de/Downloads_13649224.html

    both are hosting a lot of downloads themselves, i.e. I get my flash player downloads always from chip, because they offer the install.exe without adobes download manager.

    since getting software is sometimes a pain in the ass, I highly recommend to try out linux, i.e. ubuntu.

    in general linux uses “software repositories” which is a collection of software which is accessible through the paket management.

    image something like the android app store for your desktop/ server.

    amazing! and absolutely comfortable, since after installing software through the paket management, the software will be automtically updated each time you run the system update!

    regards!

  23. Louis

    1) Developer’s site — directly to perhaps get 64 bit version of file

    2) FileHippo : Well laid out without on-screen clutter — also has an got excellent programs’ update seeker that actually works, and is also unobtrusive

  24. Heinz Iten

    I often use:
    majorgeeks
    fileforum.betanews

    but stay away from:
    Tucows – all the hoops they make you jump through for one simple download (Butterscotch – nothing but rubbish).

  25. leland

    1. MajorGeeks
    2. FileHippo
    3. Softpedia

    I have a few others in my bookmarks but those are the main sites I trust except for direct from the software authors themselves. The only problem is many authors now include traps with toolbars and such so you must be very diligent to avoid those land mines…

  26. Locutus

    The PirateBay.

    Ohh! THAT kind of download site.

    MediaFire.

    oh. Usually I go in this order:
    1) developer’s own site
    2) filehippo
    3) softpedia
    4) random googling

    Download.com used to rank near the top of my list, but not for a while now.