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The 12 Best FREE Applications You Should Be Using

The 12 Best FREE Applications You Should Be Using

You know that there's lots of free software out there – but you also know that some of it is better than others. So when you're first starting out, how do you choose what to use? And isn't software you pay for always going to be better? Not necessarily. While there is of course a lot of really great paid software out there, there are also many free applications that have much, if not more of the functionality of their paid competition. Open source in particular often has the advantage of being so well tested by so many different developers that the software can be more stable that the paid alternative.

There are some advantages to buying software – most paid applications have a degree of support attached, which means if something goes wrong, you have an email address or a phone number to contact. With free software, more often than not, you don't have any direct support. There are however typically forums and guides out there though that cover most of the most common issues associated with the software.

Here I've arranged a list of my 12 favorite free applications and why I like them. Many of these are used by all the Affilorama staff as-well. While many of you may be familiar with some of these applications, I encourage you to check out the other ones if you haven't already.

Disclaimer: These are simply my recommendations, Affilorama does not officially endorse these applications nor will we be held responsible for any problems you might have with using any of the software listed below. Also note that many of these applications only run on Windows PCs.

1. Firefox

Many people never consider changing their web browser from the one that comes with their computer. If that's you and you're still using Internet Explorer or Safari, I highly recommend you check out Firefox. Not only is it a highly stable browser that doesn't run into many of the problems that Internet Explorer does, it also has an awesome range of free plugins that provide some incredible functionality – including some SEO and Social Media plugins that I've listed below which I also recommend you check out.


  • Affilorama SEO Toolbar: Affilorama's SEO Toolbar extension for Firefox gives you heaps of information for any page you're on, including Google Pagerank, links to the domain, page links, site age and traffic value.
  • Firebug: Firebug brings a whole bunch of great web-development tools into your browser, allowing you to edit and debug as well as view all the CSS, HTML and JavaScript on any web page.
  • Social Media for Firefox: This handy little plugin makes it easy to see the popularity of a page on the social bookmarking services Digg, Delicious, Mixxx, Reddit, StumbleUpon and Sphinn as well as Twitter and Tip'd. Also allows you to submit content to these services really easily from the bottom of your browser.
  • Google Toolbar: While Firefox comes with a Google Search box, the Google toolbar gives you more functionality as well the ability to access your Gmail from any page you're on. Bit.ly Preview: Ever weary of those shortened URLs on Twitter? This handy little tool allows you to preview what the site is you will be sent to as well as giving you the ability to shorten URLs and copy them to the clipboard just from the right click menu.
  • Twitbin: Access your Twitter account right from a browser sidebar. Also allows you to access your @Replies and Direct Messages, as well as quickly reply or message other users. One of the simplest and most practical Twitter apps I've seen.

2. AVG Free

A good virus checker is one of the most important things you need on your computer, and AVG Free is the only one I ever use. While there are a lot of other free virus checkers on the market, I just find it really reliable and easy to use. I like it so much that I if I buy a new computer that comes with a expensive virus checker license, I will un-install it and install AVG instead!

3. AdAware Free

You may have spyware or adware running on your computer and not even realize it! Never mind the potential security risk from software that could be stealing passwords and other personal information, spyware and adware slows down your computer! And that's just a pain. AdAware free is one of the most popular security applications in internet history, with over 250 million downloads! 250 million can't be wrong – this is a great piece of software.

4. Zone Alarm Free

While Windows does come with a pretty good firewall, it's not particularly customizable. Zone Alarm is a really great application, allowing you to set what software is able to access the internet as well as blocking other computers from trying to access your system. While it can sometimes slow things down a bit, and it takes a bit to get set up at the start (you have to set permissions on every piece of software you run), I still personally enjoy the added security.

5. Open Office

Do you want Microsoft Office, but you can't afford the hundreds of dollars it costs? Well look no further! Open Office offers a complete desktop publishing suite including equivalent applications for Word (Writer), Excel (Calc), Access (Base), Powerpoint (Impress), as well as a drawing application (Draw) and a scientific mathematics program (Math). It can also save in Microsoft Office formats like .doc, .xls and .ppt (2003 format)

6. Thunderbird + Lightning

From the same developers as Firefox, Thunderbird, an email client, combined with Lightning, a calendar add-on, offers a real, viable alternative to Outlook. You can use it as the integrated platform, or use it as a stand alone email client and calendar application (the stand-alone calender is called Sunbird). While it may still lack some of the functionality of Outlook, it's still a very good piece of software providing all the functionality the majority of users require.

7. Orbit Downloader

This is one of my personal favorite applications; Orbit is a download manager that monitors your browser for file downloads. Instead of simply saving file through your browser, Orbit breaks the file into several chunks and downloads them simultaneously making the download far quicker – no matter what your connection speed. It also allows you to capture and save streaming content like video and audio (though make sure you're not copying copyrighted content). Lastly, it keeps all your downloads in one place and allows you to organize them from the interface. Highly recommended.

8. Kompozer

A fantastic free WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) web authoring program similar to Dreamweaver. While not offering the same degree of functionality, Komposer is designed to be very easy to use for non-technical computer users who want to create great looking web pages without knowing HTML. Also integrates a FTP site manager for uploading your files to the server.

9. Wordpress

Wordpress is one of the most popular blog platforms on the internet. Wordpress gives you a great, customizable system for creating great looking stand-alone blogs (as oppose to blogs hosted by other services like Blogger.com). There are also heaps of great plugins including really effective SEO plugins. Wordpress's popularity and ease of use is one of the reasons we included a custom Wordpress template in the recent release of AffiloBlueprint 2.0.

10. Traffic Travis

There's so much free SEO software out there it can be quite hard to find something that's easy to use, but also does everything you need it to. Traffic Travis has heaps of features in it's free version, including keyword tool, on-page SEO critic and PPC analysis tools. We use this software heaps in the office, and it's just a really reliable general SEO tool. Highly recommend.

11. VideoLan

Have you ever had trouble with not being able to play a downloaded video file because it's in a strange format or your media player says there's some trouble with codecs? Look no further. I have yet to find anything this program can't play – and I often use it as a back up when my Window Media Player throws a tantrum and decides it can't play something. Also features a complete streaming server, and heaps of cool downloadable skins for changing the look of the player.

12. Paint.Net

We all know Photoshop is a great piece of software, few of us have the money to invest in the profession-level piece of software. Paint.Net actually started as a student project at a university, designed to replace Microsoft Paint. Instead, Paint.Net has grown into an application that allows you to do much of the same kind of image creation and editing you can do in Photoshop – all for free. If you want to add some great graphics and retouched photos to your website, but don't have the money to invest in Photoshop, I definitely recommend you check this out.

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  • Reply Woody Crenshaw3636 days ago

    For those of you looking for Komposer...it is actually spelled with a Z. So it is KompoZer and it is an awesome FREE WYSIWYG html editor and web page creator.

  • Reply Brian Colborne3636 days ago

    Awesome article i use most of these apps and say they rock, ALMOST as much as the Affiloblueprint course Hhehehe

  • Reply Will • 3636 days ago

    For those of you who are tired of guru lies and gibberish, Mark Ling is a refreshing distraction. Giving us these 12 pieces of free software definitely helps our business bottom line and keep us from having to pay huge amounts of dollars. There are only a few internet marketers who truly care about YOU and not just the money, and Mark LIng is that guy. I just wanted to plug him, not because I am sharing an affiliate link or want to get something out of this, but just because it is satisfying to know that Mark cares about people and truly wants us to be our best in IM. He will take his own personal time to talk to me online...and share his advice...and that means the world to me.

    You are dealing with a true IM friend who KNOWS his stuff. Subscribe to Mark's feed, try out Traffic Travis (I love the site analyzer), and get to know him. Over time you will see that Mark is just a regular, top-notch, super intelligent guy who makes tons of cash but whose attitude doesn't show it.

    Kudos to you, Mark, for being a great mentor and friend. Everyone who reads this needs to take heed.

    God bless!

    (Mark this is your pastor friend from NC, USA!) :)

  • Reply Chris Cobb • 3636 days ago

    Good list. I also like SEO Quake for Firefox.

  • Reply mohd elfatih saad mahmoud • 3636 days ago

    dwinner at microsoft international loottery-total sum of 500.000 sterling pounds

  • Reply Svet Tors3636 days ago

    You can add Notepad++ to the list for anyone who does html and script programming.

  • Reply Colleen Lilly • 3636 days ago

    Love this list.... will work on getting more into my online experience!

  • Reply Brady • 3636 days ago


    Thank you very much for helping to sort through mountains of information and presenting them in a clear way.

  • Reply robbie nash • 3636 days ago

    Thats a great piece of work there, so much free stuff out there its nice to see it listed all in one place, i used some of that free stuff to get http://m-q-3.com going and it works really well. Thanks to the people in affilorama for the heads up!

    Robbie Nash

  • Reply Jayen Ian Woods3636 days ago

    Great post, there are a few there i didn't know about ;)

    First off what plugin are you using for your twiter re tweet bottom? I've been looking at a few but none give me quit what i want and yours is perfect :)

    I totally agree about FF, it really comes into it's own when you start adding functionality with it's add-ons, I already have some 40 + add-ons form weather updates to SEO and keep finding more.

    I would suggest the FireFTP add-on, a great free FTP program you can use right inside your FF in a tab, it's quickly become my main FTP client because of speed and ease of use.


    Also instead of SEOToolbar I use SEO Quake, It's regally updated and improved and has far more functionality than SEOToolBar (at least since the last time i used SEOToolBar).


    I'll write a post on my blog on all the best ones when i find time.

    For WordPress i also use a lot of plugins, I wrote a quick post about my top 10 here: http://www.jayenwoods.com/wordpress/top-wordpress-blog-plugins-15/

    I'll be added a lot more to the list.

    As for anti virus, i haven't tried the one you mentioned, but I use the free version of Avast and i find it to work excellently.


    Also another very good Dreamweather alternative is NVU, although maybe like Dreamweather it could be a little more complicated for newcomers to get use to at first.



  • Reply ClickBank Affiliate Sales Alerts • 3636 days ago

    that's a great list. i'm going to grab a copy of the Orbit download manager.

    here's another free application: this one is for the ClickBank affiliates out there who would like to be emailed details of each sale they make in real time. it's a web application called CB Alert that you add to one of your domains, and it uses PHP and MySQL. it also reproduces your account summary in graphical form with the old lovable grey and blue bars.


    Stephen Carter

  • Reply Gerrit • 3636 days ago

    Yes Firefox and Paint.net makes life much easier on my desktop and don't forget Edit Pad Lite for easy HTML editing. I use the free version on a daily basis and is very helpful if you need to edit thousands of HTML pages in a few seconds.

  • Reply yvette pinn • 3636 days ago

    Wow what a great post! I also use a few or these tools. I will be sure to check out a few others. Thanks alot.

    Yvette Pinn

  • Reply Francis • 3636 days ago

    Great piece of information. I am currently using some of the software mentionned above and will definitely try the ones I have not yet used as the results are great.
    This post is worh a million dollar...
    Source http://www.homeremovalservices.com

  • Reply Jayen Ian Woods3636 days ago

    Ok after re tweeting this page i found out about tweetmeme.com so you can disregard my question about the re tweet bottom for twitter now ;)



  • Reply Radha • 3636 days ago

    Wow Thanks, Mark!
    Great stuff as usual.
    You speak, I listen.

    You are helping a lot
    of folks. What IS it about
    things Kiwi?
    BTW, accent is very cool.
    & hey, it can't be bad to sound
    a bit like Lucy Lawless!

  • Reply Frank Levy3636 days ago

    Hi Chris, I'm new to Affilorama having just signed up for the AffiloBlueprint. I just want to say what a great post this is! I did know about some of the free software you've mentioned such as Open Office (great for making .pdfs) and Firefox.
    I'll definitely check out AVG & AdAware as I have paid for CA Anti Virus and CA Anti Spyware for several years now. Do they constantly update themselves to the new "threats" automatically?
    I'll also be checking out Orbit Downloader and Video Lan. Currently I've been able to download some streamed video with RealPlayer but Orbit seems to be more like what I'm looking for in that department.
    Finally, I wonder if you or anyone reading this has come across Gimp? (It stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program) It's also an Open Source solution to Photoshop but it would be great to get a comparison with Paint.Net from someone who has tried both and knows what they're talking about!
    I have found Gimp useable but not that easy to get to grips with. The thing is... I've got so much to do on this course there's no way I'm gonna be able to start checking out software like Paint.Net right now! I'm not the fastest worker on this stuff as it is.

  • Reply Nava Bromberger • 3636 days ago

    I have few more Firefox plugin goodies that I can't live without:

    - gTask puts my Gmail tasklist into my sidebar
    - Scrapbook saves a cached version of any page to my hard drive
    - All in One Sidebar lets me have multiple sidebars accessible at the same time

  • Reply Jason M • 3636 days ago

    You forgot to mention also Gimp which is a free open source photoshop like program as well as another free open source software called inkscape.

    These are really good tools to use to create buttons and to edit photos for pages. I'm sure there are others but I thought I would share my thoughts.

  • Reply carol montgomery-adams3636 days ago


    Thanks for the great list.

    However, I am on a Mac and some of these are Windows only. There are more Mac users out there than some think, like Ed Dale and Chris Carpenter, so it's helpful to note the OS too.

    Any way, I have found Fetch, a great FTP tool, and Kompozer work fine on the Mac

    Also, PPC Web Spy and the Cash Keywords Toolbar, a great market research tool, are fine on a Mac and very useful.

    I have not found a free paint editor yet, which is humorous since I am on the world's most graphics
    oriented computer!!! But photo editing and video editing tools come with the Mac.

    I spent 3 years in the Security Software space. Would not recommend AVG as I understand how these apps get their data BUT Mac's are good, clean environments so far and most Security software does not run on Macs since Macs don't really need it. WHY? you ask...a little known secret is that the Mac's OS X is based on UNIX, the most secure operating system on the planet.

    Sorry...got caught up in a past career there for a moment..lol


  • Reply Gail Bottomley3636 days ago

    Great list, there are so many programs to have for free so I thankyou for some I did not know about. Great stuff Mark, I really thank you for all your great info you give out there.

  • Reply Brad Bylsma3635 days ago

    Here I am compiling a list similar to this for my small list and here is a great one done for me.
    Great job.

    And thanks.
    I hope you have a great week-end......eh.
    Brad Bylsma.

  • Reply www.123marketingquickies.com • 3635 days ago

    Hi Guys
    Some good tips on free programs some I have and there are a few that I need that I am going to check out now. So many different free stuff out there that it gets daunting to know what works and what doesn't.

    Thanks Brad

  • Reply Khalid J Hosein • 3635 days ago

    Great list! Here are some others (just a fraction of all the ones that I have & use):

    NoteTab Light - text editor
    xplorer2 lite - Windows explorer replacement
    Filezilla - FTP client
    Eraser - securely erase files and folders
    Foxit PDF Reader - lightweight and fast PDF viewer
    Image Resizer (Windows XP PowerToy) - quickly resize images (without opening them up)
    PuTTY - SSH tools
    ICEows - like WinZip
    WinDirStat - like TreeSize - tree and visual view of large folders are.


  • Reply Jean-Louis Guay • 3635 days ago

    Nice article
    Everything thing there is thrue and i have use all of those program.
    The only thing i disagree with is AVG free, like he say in the article the anti-virus program is probably the most important thing you need, but i would go to AVG internet security for a mush much better protection.
    sorry for my french...lol

  • Reply Colin Hughes3635 days ago

    I think the best piece of free software I have ever been given is simple but invaluable.

    It's from the makers of XSite Pro, called XHeader.

  • Reply Trait • 3635 days ago

    Thanks, what a great collections of freebies. I have another one for you: Picasa, it's a photo organiser, but also has some great photo editing functions as well as a quick video slideshow creator. Couldn't live without this one.

  • Reply Elle • 3635 days ago

    My newest favorite is a web development platform called DevHub..membership free, hosting is free and you can have as many sites as you want..(they start you with 10). Completely monetized, no design experience necessary; a site can be up in 15 minutes. Perfect for affiliate marketers!

    Check it out!

  • Reply Troy Todd3635 days ago

    Here are a couple of great audio editor.. did I mention its free..lol

    for flash and MP.. http://www.audioflash.org/


  • Reply Robert Fordham3635 days ago

    Hi, EveryOne ...

    Just really saying 'Hello' (getting used to doing what I'm told on AffBluePrint! :-) )
    I use Ubuntu Linux - was the next step for me after using a lot of open source software ... and when the latest automatic MSN update caused my - ageing, it has to be said - PC to run grindingly slow.

    I like Filezilla, FTP applic. Started with the Windows version, now use the Linux version. I use Kompozer, but find the FTP part of that confusing ... Ii found FileZilla is very intuitive. Like the simple drag and drop.

    No need for antivirus, etc. in Linux systems, they're very secure

  • Reply Bob Ebling • 3634 days ago

    Nice list -

    I've tried many paid and free Internet security applications in the past, the one I like right now is COMODO Internet Security (the free version is all you need), it offers both firewall, and virus and threat protection. It's very easy on your computer's resources. I found AVG to be a little on the heavy side.

    I also recommend Filezilla to anyone who needs a good FTP client.

    As far as Firefox goes, I would add Colorzilla, and Web Developer as must have additions to anyone building websites.


  • Reply Jean • 3634 days ago

    Great article. Other than the Firefox browser, I didn't know that most of this free stuff existed. And irregardless, I would not have trusted any of these downloads if not for this in depth reporting on them. Kudos to you Chris, that was quite a helpful article. I hope you continue to share your in depth knowledge with those who like myself are so much less savvy and just beginning to learn this stuff. God bless and much success.

  • Reply Chris Goddard3633 days ago

    Thanks for the comments everyone, and for the additional recommendations! There's heaps of really great free software out there... and the best thing is there's very little risk in trying out new software!

  • Reply Gilles Bonelli3633 days ago

    Hi guys,

    Thank you for the list I am already using AVG, Traffic Travis and Firefox, these are great apps, I am now checking out the others. I have had great success using a free link cloacker and also an fantastic Article Writing Software. Follow the URL below to check these out


  • Reply Alan Sedgwick3633 days ago

    Great info - have some, others are new to me - thanks for posting this.

    also enjoying blueprint so far..day job still taking up too much of my time so hungry to succeed!


  • Reply Monica Num • 3632 days ago

    Thank you Chris for the free software list and pointers. Don't worry about your English grammar, it's just fine. I had no problem reading and understanding your post. They are talking about free software over at a forum I frequent called BlabTalk. I can't think of section ( it's really a big forum) but just go to http://blabtalk.com and look in the Internet or new software section. Again, great post and keep up the good work! Good'ay mate!


  • Reply Ralph Lyon • 3632 days ago

    Great List. Thanks for sharing it.

    I would add a Video product to your list. Easy Video Producer is an easy way to produce and share videos to promote your products. Take a look at this one that I made in under 5 minutes: http://vur.me/why-not-you/TestVideo

  • Reply Mark • 3632 days ago

    GIMP is a good alternative to Paint.net. I am more partial to Paint.net but it is missing features that GIMP provides. The only issue with GIMP is their font folder. Do not put in all the fonts you have in that folder otherwise it would take forever for it to load. I made that mistake and it kept taking at least 5 minutes to start up because of loading up the fonts. I deleted all but ten and now it takes less than 1 minute to load up.

  • Reply Richard Tunison • 3632 days ago

    I just wanted to thank both Mark and Chris for taking the time to make this information available to your readers. Most of them I already use or do not need since have equivalent software, however, had no clue about Orbit which I will now go check it out.

    The main reason I am actually writing this besides the thanks is that I totally agree with a comment that was made earlier on this blog. That is that Mark is a stand up guy and does really care about others. It is an awesome feeling to be able to be financially successful and actually feel good knowing you are helping others to do the same. I have been working online now for about 4 years and was on thousands of different lists due getting this and that. Well over time I deleted all but three and Mark is absolutely one of the three.

    For anybody who is not familiar with Mark and maybe having doubts because of getting burned in the past I just wanted to tell you do not doubt him he is not to good to be true. He is actually Just A Regular Guy who loves what he is doing and loves helping people.

    Mark, thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to voice my opinion here and as always I look forward to receiving your emails with all the refreshing information.

    Richard Tunison AKA Just A Regular Guy

  • Reply Natalie Chan3632 days ago

    Fantastic blog. I especially valued the firefox plugins and Videolan is something I haven't come across. Traffic Travis is probably one of the most useful SEO analytic sites I have come across and use as well.

    Keep up the great content!

  • Reply Bobby • 3631 days ago

    Another good free tool is PsPad http://www.pspad.com/ - a freeware editor.


  • Reply Kathaleen Dunford3628 days ago


    I wonder if Mark would give us a full listing of all his web sites. I know that a few of us would love to see all of his whizz bang sites. :)

  • Reply abc foo3628 days ago

    Ha ha, I would be happy to know of 10 of his sites....

  • Reply Stuart Dunkley3627 days ago

    I've found Gimp great to use although there is a bit of a learning curve. One other great little tool that should be mentioned is Hex Color Finder 3.0.

    This is a color finder that allows you to choose custom colors and save, load, and retrieve specific colors from any area on your screen.


  • Reply Catalin • 3484 days ago

    Firebag is a very good piece of software. I didn't know about this software. Thank you for suggestion.

  • Reply Jocelyn C. • 3469 days ago

    Hi Chris,

    You do have great list of plugins. Some of these are not familiar to me. I only use firefox, AVG Free, Microsoft office and Wordpress. Notepad and firebug are great help for me too. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Install Software • 3363 days ago

    Another great post.
    Thanks for the tips and help.
    Everyone, bookmark this site.

  • Reply James • 3237 days ago

    I really enjoyed this post! I am part of a team of software developers, and we create free software so posts like this one are of great inspiration.

  • Reply man van london • 2683 days ago

    You do have great list of plugins. Some of these are not familiar to me. I only use firefox, AVG Free, Microsoft office and Wordpress. Notepad and firebug are great help for me too. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Man With A Van North London • 2629 days ago

    Resources like this are very useful to me . I will post a link to this page on my Post. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful. Thanks !

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