The ideal and safest way to download free programs is to do it from their official websites, or from stores like Microsoft’s in the case of Windows, for example, but these are not always available there.
When it comes to downloading free programs, there are a few websites that work as excellent alternatives, either because they offer more facilities to download apps in batch, or because they have a library with the most popular and relevant applications, or because they offer an experience free of potential threats such as adware and other types of malware.
Winstall is kind of like the unofficial repository of Windows applications that can be installed with Winget, the new Windows package manager.
Winget is a package manager for use in the command console, and Winstall is basically the graphical interface that can complement it. All you have to do is browse the app library in Winstall, select all the apps you want to install on your PC, generate a code and then paste it into the Windows terminal.
You can save a lot of time with this method instead of going from web to web of each program. The process is automated and is also completely safe because they are only apps that have been reviewed by MS itself.
Before Winget existed, there was already an unofficial and quite famous package manager for Windows: Chocolatey. It’s another great way to automate software installation on Windows with thousands of programs available.
Now, Chocolatey has another advantage and that is that it also has a graphical user interface that you can use to install programs from a huge list, all in a couple of clicks.
FossHub is a website where you not only get free software but also open source. It is currently one of the best options to safely download apps that are also open source.
FossHub is relatively young and less known than other software download sites, but many popular projects like Audacity, qBittorrent, or GIMP, to name a few, have started using it as an official mirror to host their applications for the user.
Ninite is another popular alternative when it comes to downloading free and batch software easily and securely. Unlike options such as Winstall and Chocolatey, this is not a repository with thousands of programs, but a tool to facilitate batch installation of some of the most popular Windows apps.
The main advantage of Ninite is that its list of apps may be enough for many people and its installer saves the time and energy to search for each app from its official site, which is where Ninite downloads them for you.
SourceForge is one of the most well-known software download sites on the web, but one that has been trying to clean up its reputation for a few years now after including unwanted and potentially harmful software in bundles that the user had to download with all the apps.
In 2016 SourceForge changed owners and they immediately ended the program through which these bundles were included, so the software offered on the website started to be safe again. There is a lot of software that is still hosted there, and it is possible that more than once the same official websites of programs you use redirect you to a download on SourceForge.