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What is Shareware and how it helps find the best software deals

Shareware is a coupons and deals aggregate. Learn what it is, how it works and how it can help you find the best software deals.

office software person leaning in helping someone code

After weeks of arduous hunting, you’ve found it. The deal on that dream software you’ve been craving is within reach. You hop on your computer, jump to the site, and…the deal’s over. Fire and brimstone rain down from the sky. All becomes lost as Earth disappears into a massive pit from Hell.

Ok, so we’re being over the top. But it is frustrating to lose out on the best deals for software because you were a little late to the party. What can you use to fix this problem?

Well, wonder no longer. We’re here to tell you all about Shareware and how it helps you find the best software deals! So kick back and get comfy, cause we’re going in.

What Is Shareware?

Shareware is any type of software that people acquire for free. The caveat for this price tag is that the software either operates in a limited capacity or you only get the software for free for a set amount of time (a trial period).

This format is popular with companies because it acts like a test run for their product. They get real people testing it with feedback, and they can fix any problems that arise before people get angry because it was something they paid for that went on the fritz. This is similar to beta testing software, though there tend to be fewer in-software restrictions placed with beta testing.

It’s important to remember that shareware and freeware are not the same things. Freeware gives you unlimited access to whatever software you’ve acquired but doesn’t give you the right to start messing with the code (that’s open-source software).

As such, it’s important to read any terms of the agreement that comes with the software. Failing to meet the terms could end up draining your wallet or even landing you in legal trouble on the severity of your violations. This is especially pertinent if you plan to use the software for commercial reasons (as in producing a product you sell, among other things).

The Types Of Shareware

It’s important to note that there is a wide variety of types when it comes to shareware, dictated by what restraints or methods the software uses to remove itself from being freeware. Adware, for example, places ads into the software so that the company who developed the software is at least getting the ad money from whoever paid them to put the ads in.

Be cautious, however. Adware has a history of developers not caring enough to screen ads for malicious content, meaning a virus might head your way if you don’t vet the host sites or the shareware with care. Make sure to do your research beforehand and make sure you know exactly what’s going inside your computer.

Donationware is one of the more straightforward versions, as it operates as a straight price tag of sorts. Donate some required amount, and the software is yours to keep forever. Demoware provides you a restricted version of the software to use to try it out, but the restrictions vanish if you pay for the full version.

Of course, there’s the classic nagware. It shares some characteristics with adware, but instead of hosting ads for other companies, it bombards you with reminders to get the full version of the software you’re using.

Finally, there’s crippleware, a close cousin of demoware. The difference lies in that while demoware works as a restricted but useful service regardless of whether or not you buy the full suite (think free anti-virus software), crippleware gives you a restricted version that only functions as a demo and has no longevity or usefulness otherwise.

So How Does This Save You Money On Software?

Now that you know all about what exactly shareware is, what can it do for you? Well, shareware gives you a demo of the software before you buy it.

Think of it as if you’re buying a new car. You wouldn’t want to buy a car off the lot before you knew how it handled and didn’t run like crap, right? The same thing with software and shareware gives you that demo experience.

There are tons of places to look for shareware on sale too. This way, you can locate the perfect software for your needs with ease and on the cheap. Some adware will function like this too, providing deals for other shareware in a sort of “scratch my back, I scratch yours” mentality.

Shareware also saves you more than money; it gives you peace of mind. Using shareware to get legitimate software licenses ensures you are getting the best and safest experience from that software.

In fairness, it’s tempting to consider pirating this kind of software. Pirating costs you nothing to get the same level of features other people pay for. As with all choices, however, this comes with consequences (not even counting the fact that’s it’s illegal, like up to 5 years in the slammer illegal).

The main risk you run is that pirated software can carry malicious viruses from the host site or become more susceptible to errors because it’s ineligible to receive updates of any kind. This saves you money too, as now you won’t have to pay an IT guy to come clean 50 Trojan Horse viruses off your laptop because some site thought it would be funny to slap them onto an old version of Final Cut.

So Your Preschool Teacher Was Right, Sharing Is Caring

Congratulations! You are now an expert in all things shareware and how to use shareware to find the best deals on the software you need! But now what?

Well, if you’re interested in learning more about innovations in computer software and technology, check out some of the other posts on our blog!

So get out there and buy the software you want with confidence and a happy wallet! Oh, and we hope no evil Hell pits open up now. We finally paid off our mortgage on the office building, and the apocalypse puts a damper on that.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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