Here at NetGuide we get requests all the time. "What’s the best anti-virus software?” "Where can I find accounting software?” "What’s a good place to find the best deals on X?” Lots of requests all with one caveat – "and I want it for free”. So we thought, why not just put all the best free stuff in one place? So here it is – forget about searching high and low for all the best free stuff online – NetGuide has got you covered.
When it comes to computer software, nothing beats open source. Open source is often developed in a collaborative manner, which means that it’s free from inconvenient user restrictions and designed with usefulness in mind, first and foremost.
Open Office is the king of all open source software. It is a free alternative to expensive office software and includes word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. If you’re in business or just want to avoid exorbitant prices just to work with word docs, OpenOffice is the first stop:
In fact a little searching will reveal something of a movement on the internet – a move towards the creation and distribution of software at an all new price point – free.
sourceforge.net is a huge database of free software. (Shows Windows-compatible software by default. For other options, click the ‘change’ tab under the search bar.)
www.tucows.com is a great source of free software as well as a great collection of tutorials and articles. To access the free downloads, click ‘freeware’ on right-hand panel.
free.software.informer.com is easy to use with a convenient rating system of the big name brands.
directory.fsf.org is a huge directory of free software downloads. Know what you want before you start browsing!
FREE BOOK STUFF
In these days of multimedia and interactivity it’s easy to forget that the old fashioned way of assimilating information – reading – is still the best. And the best place to find it these days is, of course, the internet.
www.onlinenewspapers.com/nz.htm has quick links to all the major New Zealand online papers.
www.allyoucanread.com is a great directory of US newspapers organised according to (real world) location. Waste a day getting informed about what’s happening in the land of the free.
There’s more to reading than nonfiction, of course. Get a bit of culture via www.gutenberg.org It’s a massive (over 33,000 texts) database of classic (and obscure) works that you can read right on your PC. When you get to the end of those, try www.bartleby.com for even more.
If you’ve joined the E-reader revolution, try www.freekindlebooks.org, free-sony-ebooks.com, and free-ebooks-world.com for specifically device compatible files.
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and build your own website. The good news is that you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to free resources. Aspiring webmasters can source affiliate programs, counters, message boards and promotions stuff, all for free of course, at www.thefreesite.com/Webmaster_Freebies
Once your website’s ready to rock you’ll need somewhere to host it. Check out the huge range of options at www.thefreesite.com/Free_Web_Space
There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding music on the internet in recent years. Though both a blessing and a curse to artists and labels, the internet has been an unmitigated boon for consumers, who are now free to preview and purchase music with convenient flexibility.
MUSIC STREAMING SITES:
And there’s no need to just passively listen. The internet is full of resources for music lovers of all varieties: www.last.fm, listen.grooveshark.com, www.mp3.com/free-music/all-free-music, www.slacker.com
FREE SHEETMUSIC: www.mutopiaproject.org, sheetmusicweb.com, songsterr.com
And when you’re ready to record your own masterpiece, do it for free with audio recording software from audacity.sourceforge.net
FREE PHONE STUFF
Just because your phone plan is expensive doesn’t mean the stuff you put on your phone has to be! www.umnet.com contains heaps of screensavers, wallpapers, ringtones, themes and lots more (some slightly adult content).
www.mobango.com has lots of free mobile applications, games, ringtones and videos, plus you can sign up for 1GB of free space to store and publish your cell phone content.
www.cellbits.com has lots of wallpapers, backgrounds, mobile phone screensavers and animations – all exclusive to cellbits.
www.ventones.com has a bunch of free ringtones, and you can even make your own and send them straight to your phone.
FREE ONLINE STORAGE
Everything is moving online these days, so say goodbye to the idea of filling up your hard drive with stuff. Instead, host it online. Not only does it save your precious memory; you can share your stuff with friends and family easily.
www.snapdrive.net allows you to host your content online, and for free. You don’t even have to register; however anonymous uploading is limited to 20MB per file. Registered users get 2GB of storage and can upload files of up to 100MB.
uploadingit.com gives you 10GB of space, along with 4GB of daily bandwidth. The site supports all file formats and offers secure storage.
Just want to store and share photos? www.flickr.com is king.
FREE STUFF FOR DESIGNERS
If you’ve got a creative spark and are on the lookout for stuff to make your designs come alive, look no further.
Free fonts: www.1001freefonts.com, www.searchfreefonts.com, www.fontsearchengine.com, www.dafont.com
Free graphics and clipart: www.free-graphics.com, www.allfree-clipart.com, www.prodraw.net
ICONS AND BUTTONS: www.iconarchive.com, www.buttonboost.com, www.webpagedesign.com.au
FREE STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY: www.stockvault.net, www.freerangestock.com, www.sxc.hu
FREE STUFF FOR WEB SURFERS
They say that you’re not paranoid if they are really out to get you. Here’s a bunch of stuff designed to take away the paranoia of surfing the web (but may just add to it).
www.spysurfing.com is an anonymous web-based proxy service that lets you browse your favourite websites anonymously, even from behind firewalls and access filters.
www.aplusproxy.com is an easy-to-use free service lets you surf the web anonymously.
Here’s an easy way to create disposable email addresses at the click of a button: www.nowmymail.com
Worried that someone may be monitoring your email? www.ghostphrase.com will encrypt your data to keep your private correspondence private.
FREE BUSINESS STUFF
Knowledge is power, they say, and nowhere is that truer than in business. Give your business knowledge a shot in the arm with a huge selection of free whitepapers on everything from finance to manufacturing to marketing:
And of course, just because you’re in business doesn’t mean you should have to pay. Here are heaps of links to e-business solutions (including e-commerce solutions, press release services, and lots more): www.thefreesite.com/Business_Freebies
omegle.com is a chat service that exploits anonymity by pairing you with a random stranger – you can chat via webcam or just plain text and if you get bored, just click ‘disconnect’ and you’ll instantly be chatting to someone new.
www.chatzy.com: Create your own chatroom available only to those you invite. No installation or registration is required.
www.chat-place.org: A chat site aimed primarily at teens.
www.chitchat.org.uk is a free Facebook chat instant messenger (IM) that allows you to chat with your Facebook friends from your desktop.
There’s nothing quite like the thrill of getting a package in the mail, and it’s made all the sweeter if it’s a package full of free stuff.
There are lots of sites out there designed to put you in touch with businesses that want you to try their products. Some sites ask you to sign up and then send a newsletter featuring the latest offers, while other sites are designed for you to browse the virtual shelves and select just what you want.
Either way, try these sites to get your hands on free samples sent straight to your door:
You’ve got to be in it to win it, they say, and what easier way to do it than online?
www.contest.co.nz is a great site with lots of options for competition enthusiasts. There are plenty of competitions to enter, and they are all neatly categorised to make your browsing that much more efficient. They’ve got competitions just for kids, photo competitions, text-to-win competitions and lots more, plus contest.co.nz has a great community atmosphere with an active forum and links to plenty of great deals.
And when you’ve made your way through that lot, try these other great Kiwi-centric competition sites:
You might have one of these signs on your letter box that say ‘no circulars’, but there’s nothing to stop you from taking advantage of coupons and discounts online.
www.vouchermate.co.nz is a great site with plenty of offers neatly organised by region. They also run competitions from time to time and if you’re a webmaster, there’s a function that allows you to display relevant coupons on your website.
www.ezycoupons.co.nz has plenty of deals on offer, and has them arranged by type, making it easy to find what you’re after. This site has categories that you might not find on similar sites, such as dentists, drycleaners and legal services, as well as the obligatory Video Ezy vouchers.
Other handy sites include www.freecouponcodes.co.nz, which provides you with discount codes to use at the checkout of various websites; and www.dailydo.co.nz, which only hosts one deal a day, but it’s always a good one.
As the saying goes, one man’s clutter is another man’s treasure. Well here’s a site that sets out to prove it, and manages to please freebie hunters and the environment while it’s at it. www.freecycle.co.nz is for people who want to flick off their old, unwanted items, and for those looking for stuff for free (who don’t mind coming to pick it up). It’s free to sign up, it’s free to list stuff and it’s free to claim stuff (up to five items a month). Brilliant.
ALL THE REST
But, of course, this is the internet, so that is definitely not all.
Want to send free postcards? www.thefreesite.com/Free_Postcards
Make a loved one a calendar? www.myfreecalendarmaker.com
Ever wanted to be a published author? www.lulu.com
Feel like owning a one inch square of the United States of America? www.ownapieceofamerica.com
There is, of course, a plethora of weird and wonderful offers just waiting to be discovered. If you find something awesome that we’ve missed here, send it to us at email@example.com and we’ll publish it in these pages.