Several large software repositories in recent time have started to bundle all programs that they host on their servers with a web downloader. Cnet's Download.com for instance started to bundle their own downloader with programs last year. The company received lots of criticism for it at that time because it failed to inform software companies and developers about the practice and did not offer full program downloads for some time on their site.
Most sites claim that web downloaders improve the reliability and security of the download, and even if that is the case, the fact remains that they bundle adware, toolbars and other software offers in the downloader to increase revenue.
The strategy has been changed slightly lately. Direct download links are nowadays also available on many - but not all - download portals.
Before we take a look at software download portals that use web installers to bundle third party offers, I'd like to take a moment to list a few portals that do not: Softpedia, File Hippo, Freeware Files and Major Geeks. If you need to download something, I'd suggest you check out those portals first.
Please note that I only checked the download options as an unregistered user.
Download.com, or download.cnet.com, displays a direct download link right underneath the big download now button on download pages on the site. If you click on the big download now button, you will download the Cnet Installer which is only a couple hundred Kilobytes in size. You need to run the installer on your system to download the program that you wanted to download in first place. It is recommended to pay attention to each page of the installer to make sure you do not install unwanted software on your ysystem.
If you click on "Direct Download Link" instead, you download the full program version right away. This effectively bypasses the Cnet Installer and is the recommended option to download files from Download.com
The big free download / safe download button on download pages on Softonic saves a web installer to the system that you need to run on your system to download the application that you want to download from the download portal. The installer comes bundled with options to install third party software. If you use the installer, make sure you select custom installation and uncheck the offers on the options page.
To check if a direct download link is available, scroll down to see if you can find a link that says "Alternative Free ... download". According to Softonic, availability is not guaranteed.
Some downloads on Brothersoft come bundled with a web installer, while others do not. No direct downloads are offered for programs that come bundled with the company's web installer.
Another popular download site that bundles programs that lets you download a web installer if you click on the big download now button. If you want to download the program directly, select the smaller sized direct link option that is listed right underneath the bigger button.
Tucows does not display options to download the full program version from the site directly. All you get is a web installer that will download the program once you have gone through the usual offers first that comes bundled with it.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.