Many famous websites which used to host cracked, pirated and free applications/games have been taken down by the authorities. In such tough times, one may wonder if the Softonic website is safe or not?
What makes Windows such a popular operating system among others? It’s the huge amount of software, games, and various tools that can be downloaded and installed. But that’s exactly the problem too… The ability to download anything online can cause your system to get infected by malware, virus, and other malicious codes.
With the rise of the Windows platform, viruses and malware have evolved over time & have become more severe. Commonly, these viruses are usually hidden in free and pirated content as compared to the paid games/applications that are usually safe. Many computer users resort to using free software platforms such as Cnet, FileHippo, and Softonic to save money.
Before we move to the question of Softonic safety, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using this freeware download site.
What is Softonic?
Established in 1997, Softonic is one of the top websites for freeware software, apps, games, and much more. The site is used by millions of users and, as such, also records millions of downloads per day. Besides the apps and games, the website also publishes helpful articles on how to get the best out of famous applications.
A look at the website shows that all the applications & games available on the website are freeware or trial versions. The website does include paid software and applications, but users are redirected to third-party sites from where the software/game can be purchased. Unlike pirated download sites, Softonic is completely legal.
Some of the supported platforms (operating systems) are:
- Mac & iPhone
- Web applications
Users of these operating systems can find and download relevant tools and games from the Softonic website.
Advantages of Softonic
Web of Trust (WOT) is a famous website that rates all websites based on their reviews, trust score, and safety. WOT shows that the Softonic website has a rating of 4.3 out of 5.0, which is a good score. As for trustworthiness and child safety, the website has scored 85/100.
Google Search Engine also searches the websites for any malicious content or download links. If we take a look at Google’s report, it shows that no unsafe content was found on the Softonic. Being completely safe, Google has marked this site as safe for browsing. Sometimes, pushing and malware-filled ads can also land a website in trouble. But Google has cleared the website from all such problems.
WOT website also shows the reviews of Softonic. In this regard, the reviews are mostly mixed. However, a closer look reveals that most of the people who left negative reviews mistakenly downloaded software from an advertisement. Then we have some people who get infected by downloading from a third-party site. As the Softonic website sometimes redirects users to third-party sites, that’s highly concerning. However, Softonic is usually quick to remove any bad software or links from the site.
But the tools/software that are hosted on the website and are not present on third-party sites are 100% safe and legal. Once a user clicks on the download button, the website performs a virus & malware scan of the file. Once a particular software is found to be 100% safe, download starts on the user end.
Disadvantages of Softonic
A common issue seen in most of the free download websites is virus embedded and malicious downloads. Being a large website, it is entirely possible that a particular tool or game might be infected and still available on the Softonic platform. Viruses and malware are also evolving as the Antivirus tools are getting better at detection. In this game of cat & mouse, some malicious applications may slip through.
A quick look at downloads will reveal that some of them are heavily infected. So this invalidates the 100% safe guarantee made by the Softonic website. A good way of finding safe software/games from malicious ones is to read the user comments. A high number of positive comments & a positive rating are generally considered to be a good test for filtering malicious content.
Another major issue with the website is outdated software and games. Updates to software not only improve the security and features but also fixes any potential vulnerability. Downloading outdated software means a user might get infected as the software doesn’t contain any security patch or update.
Last but not least is the sneaky advertisements. On the website, there are multiple advertisements, and not all of them are safe. Some ads may appear as a download button which can lead some users to click on them unintentionally. Downloading anything from these third-party advertisements carries a high degree of risk.
Sometimes it gets challenging to figure out the real download button from the advertisement. A good way to avoid such problems is by downloading Advertisement blocking extensions such as Ublock Origin and Adblock. These applications are available as extensions on famous browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, and others.
Conclusion: Is Softonic Safe or not?
The Softonic website is safe and not safe at the same time. The popular software & games are usually completely safe to download and install. For example, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Adobe Reader, WinRar, ShareIT, and similar software are completely safe.
The problem arises when downloading unknown or obsolete software. If these tools are hosted by the website, then there is a high chance that it was already passed through a virus & malware scan. However, that lesser-known software that is hosted on third-party sites should be avoided. If it is really necessary to download such content, it is better to scan it before opening and installing it.
As for the paid applications & games, they are usually safe and free from any virus.
To put it short, it is a must to have fully updated and well-reputed Antivirus software running on your system. Anything that is downloaded from the internet must be scanned before installation. This will ensure a safe and smooth experience when using the Softonic website.