There are countless websites on the internet that offer free software applications, and Softonic is among the largest and oldest among them. But just because a website has been around for a long time and is used by millions of people every day doesn’t guarantee that it’s also safe to use. In our Softonic review, we’re taking a closer look at this download service to provide a definitive answer to everyone who is concerned about downloading malicious software.
What Is Softonic?
Before diving straight into the Softonic review, let’s briefly talk about the basics. The Softonic download service is a website that allows its users to download millions of software applications and games free of charge. It’s used by over 100 million users every month, making it one of the largest of its kind.
The website was launched in 1997 as a file-oriented download service called Shareware Intercom. Initially, it was owned and operated by a Spanish provider of internet services and selected as one of the best places to work in Spain.
In 2015, Softonic changed leadership when industry veteran and Download.com co-founder Scott Arpajian was appointed as its CEO. Today, the download service delivers more than 4 million software applications per day and has a revenue of between $25 and $50 million.
What Does Softonic Offer?
Softonic offers a broad selection of software applications and games for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. The available applications are subdivided into the following categories:
- Security & Privacy
- Business & Productivity
- Internet & Network
- Development & IT
- Education & Reference
- Social & Communication
- Travel & Navigation
- Utilities & Tools
While all applications offered by Softonic can be downloaded for free, the applications themselves are not always free, depending on their license. Here are the most common license types that you may encounter on the website:
- Free: You can use these applications for free without any restrictions.
- Free (GPL – General Public License): You can not only use these applications for free, but you can also study their code, modify them, and distribute them.
- Free With Ads: Ad-supported applications can be used for free, but they will display ads.
- Trial Version: Applications of this kind can be used free of charge only for a limited amount of time.
- Demo: These are limited versions of full applications that don’t provide access to all features.
- Paid: Such software can be used only after purchasing a valid license.
In practice, this means that clicking the download button when attempting to download an open source software application like VLC results in the download of an installation file, while clicking the download button on, let’s say, the Microsoft Word page redirects you to Microsoft’s website, where you can purchase a license.
Why Do Some People Doubt Softonic?
Softonic has been offering software applications for more than two decades, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it has both fans and critics. In fact, it doesn’t take much effort to find a whole host of negative reviews that accuse the website of distributing dangerous malware.
Just take a look at these examples:
- This website is a virus farm which will completely destroy your computer and litter it with so many viruses and trojans. You will have to either get your whole computer fixed or get a new one. (Source)
- Had so much trouble with Softonic before, installing stuff on my PC without permission, malware and takes forever to figure out how to get it off. Takes over your browser, and always leaves some unknown process running in task manager. (Source)
- I downloaded a software here and got a virus. Contacted them on twitter, they said everything was checked by over 30 antiviruses. I Trusted them, they lied. (Source)
Reviews like these are not to be taken lightly because a single malware infection can cost you hours and hours of valuable time, not to mention your data. That’s why it’s important to investigate whether they’re based on facts or fiction.
Is Softonic Safe?
On its website, Softonic claims to be the safest software destination on the internet, offering Clean and Safe guarantee to ensure a totally safe user experience.
During our Softonic review and thorough testing, we were pleased to discover that the platform doesn’t package software installers inside custom wrappers configured to download additional software and display annoying ads. When an application wasn’t available on Softonic’s servers, the site promptly redirected us to its official download page.
When it comes to downloading paid software, Softonic gives you the option to purchase a license from a trusted partner, which is sometimes the developer itself and sometimes a third-party company. We highly recommend you avoid giving your credit card information to third parties since doing so introduces too many security risks.
As long as you stick to free software and protect yourself by following the tips described in the next section of this article, you should be safe when downloading from Softonic.
How To Stay Protected When Downloading From Softonic?
The dangers you face when downloading software from Softonic are not much different than the dangers you face when downloading any files from the internet, which means that you can effectively protect yourself by keeping in mind the following tips for safe downloading:
- Use an antivirus: You can’t see inside installation files, but an antivirus can so make sure to always have one running on your computer.
- Install an ad-block: Like most websites today, Softonic displays ads to make money. Since the ads are selected algorithmically, they may not always be legitimate, so proactively blocking them by installing an ad-block is the safe thing to do.
- Avoid questionable software: Softonic isn’t responsible for the quality of the applications it offers, so you need to use common sense and avoid those with an overwhelming number of negative reviews.
- Don’t download what you don’t need: We understand that software applications can be extremely interesting to explore, but you should try to resist the urge to download everything you see.
- Back up your data: You should always be ready for the worst-case scenario by keeping your data safely backed up on an external storage device or in the cloud.
Just like all download services that offer large quantities of software, Softonic contains both legitimate applications as well as applications that should be avoided. The site itself, however, can be trusted because it doesn’t distribute malware and actively tries to make its users safe. If you found this Softonic review helpful, do let us know in the comments below!
RelayThat Review: Easily Create Engaging Marketing Images
For brands to stand out and capture the attention of audiences across multiple online and offline channels, they must unify their brand assets to achieve a consistent look that represents their message and values.
Traditionally, brand assets were created using heavy-weight graphics editors like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, which are far from easy to use and are too expensive for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses.
RelayThat is a next-generation design automation app that makes it possible to create incredible marketing images for websites, social media posts, print and online ads, and other channels with just a few clicks — no graphic design skills required. Let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer.
What Is RelayThat & Who Is It For?
RelayThat describes itself as a design automation platform that takes the guesswork out of design, allowing its users to create professional marketing designs in a fraction of the time.
You can think of it as a modern alternative to traditional graphics editors. While it doesn’t offer nearly the same flexibility, options, and creative freedom as applications like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, it does make it possible to create attractive brand assets without wasting hours and days watching online tutorials and doing everything from scratch.
As such, it’s perfect for solo entrepreneurs, small businesses, startups, non-profit organizations, and everyone else who wants to see big results with minimal effort.
Now that you know what RelayThat is, you’re probably interested to learn more about its features. We won’t cover everything this design automation platform has to offer because this RelayThat review would end up too long for its own good, so let’s focus on the main features.
When you create a RelayThat account and sign in, you’re greeted with a dashboard showing you all recently used workspaces and saved designs. A workspace is essentially an instance of the RelayThat editor, where you can work on a specific set of brand assets. There are pre-defined workspaces for all kinds of projects, so getting started is very easy.
Since you can create multiple workspaces and switch between them with a single click, managing multiple brands and marketing campaigns is effortless. But workspace management is probably the least exciting aspect of RelayThat. The real fun begins when you enter a workspace and start generating jaw-dropping designs.
The image above shows an example workspace in all its beauty. In the middle, you can see your design in all of its glory. The right pane lets you change all images and text that was used to generate the design. Finally, the left pane is where you can switch between different layouts and access stock photographs, fonts, color pallets, and more.
According to RelayThat, users can choose from over 3 million royalty-free images with no usage fees or additional costs, and the selection of fonts and color pallets is just as impressive. All these design elements can be used to instantly generate everything from online ads to YouTube thumbnails to business cards. You simply need to select the layout that best fits your needs, customize it, and either save it or download it to your computer as a JPG or PNG file.
RelayThat also makes it possible to create interactive designs with buttons thanks to its “Smart Layouts” feature. Again, all you need to do is pick a layout with buttons, customize it, and use it for your project. To make customization even easier and quicker than it already is, you can click the “Magic Import” button and let RelayThat automatically collect assets, including colors, photos, icons, and text, from any website.
All these and many other features make RelayThat an excellent graphic design tool that makes it possible for anyone to impress potential customers, users, or visitors with stunning brand assets.
Great graphic design tools don’t come cheap, but RelayThat is certainly an exception. For just $25 per month, you can purchase the Pro plan, which lets up to 2 users create 20 workspaces, download an unlimited number of high-quality images, collaborate with other designers, change any responsive layout to perfectly fit any channel, upload custom fonts, add keywords to drive traffic with every image posted online, and much more.
RelayThat also offers an enterprise plan, which unlocks an unlimited number of workspaces and adds branded sign-in pages, data integration, white-label options, and large team collaboration capabilities. This plan doesn’t have a price tag attached to it because its cost depends on the size of the enterprise purchasing it.
RelayThat vs. Canva vs. Stencil
RelayThat isn’t the only solution that automates the creation of social media posts and marketing images. Canva and Stencil are both popular alternatives, each offering its own approach to brand asset creation.
Being a more mature product, Canva has more features than RelayThat, and it also enjoys a significantly larger userbase. With Canva, you get more freedom to customize pre-defined layouts since the tool lets you quickly add and modify all kinds of design elements, including images, text, and shapes. Canva also gives its users access to stock video footage and music, making it easy to create promotional videos.
Stencil aims to be a lighter version of Canva, designed from the ground up to be fast and easy to use. It provides full access to 4,900,000+ photos and 3,100,000+ icons and integrates with great social tools like Buffer.
The biggest advantage of both Canva and Stencil over RelayThat is that they offer free plans, which provide access to everything you need to start designing. Canva’s Pro plan costs $12.95 a month for up to 5 people, while Stencil Pro costs $9 a month per user. In other words, both Canva and Stencil are cheaper than RelayThat.
Overall, RelayThat is a fantastic graphics editor for people who want to spend less time designing and more time enjoying the results of their work. It automates the design process to such an extent that generating a stunning design takes just a single click. If all this sounds interesting to you, we encourage you to try it yourself so that you can see first-hand what it has to offer.
Did you find our RelayThat review helpful in making a platform selection for your next marketing project? Let us know in the comments below!