Freeware vs Shareware: Difference and Comparison

The software is the component of the computers and technology that is required to take input from the users. The software is the program that works at both the front and back ends.

The software has been developed to many extents. Microsoft was the first one to develop them successfully. After that, many new features cane and software evolved.

Key Takeaways

  1. Freeware is software that is available for free, with no restrictions on usage or distribution.
  2. Shareware is software distributed for free on a trial basis but requires payment for continued use or access to advanced features.
  3. Freeware can be more accessible for users, while shareware provides better support and updates due to its revenue-generating model.

Freeware vs Shareware

Freeware is software that is available for free without any cost, can be downloaded, comes with certain limitations, and is used without any limitations. Shareware is a type of software that is distributed on a trial basis, and users are expected to pay for it after the trial period ends.

Freeware vs Shareware

Freeware is the software available to the public free of cost. The user sometimes even gets the source code of the software available. The freeware can also be modified according to the user’s required features.

The promotion of freeware on a commercial level is also prohibited. In contrast, freeware is the software that can be converted to shareware later.

Shareware is software that is available to the user for some time or which some features for free. But if a user wants to experience the full version, then he or she has to buy the premiere of the software.

The shareware does not come with open-source code and can also be used commercialized using advertisements.

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFreewareShareware
DefinitionFreeware is the software that is available to the users free of cost.Shareware is the software that is available to customers but to use all the features the user has a pay an amount.
DistributionThe distribution of the Freeware can be done without any license.The distribution of shareware requires a license.
DiscoveredThe Freeware is discovered by Andrew Fluegelman.The shareware was discovered by Jerry Pournelle.
Source codeThe source code may or may not be available.The source code is not available.
AdvantageThe software is free of cost.The shareware io s free to some extent.
DisadvantageThe freeware can not be sold even if they are available free of cost.The shareware is the software that can not be modified.
ExampleMYSQL is the best example of Freeware.Winzip is an example of shareware.

What is Freeware?

The freeware was given by Andrew Fluegelman, who wanted to make software that was far away from commercial uses.

The software he developed was for communication purposes globally. In contrast, the freeware software can be changed to the shareware.

Freeware was popularised in the late 70s, and yet not anyone can legalize the same software under their name.

Freeware is software that is not promoted using any of the advertisers. In 2015, Google AdWords were restricted from promotion.

The blog and websites are Freeware that can be used for promotion and help the users know its pros and cons. Many magazines and newspapers also provide ratings of the freeware based on surveys.

Freeware is software that is available to the users without any cost. They are also known as open-source software. Freeware is software that may or may not have the source code available to the public.

Freeware is software that does not require a license or other permission for distribution. The user can also make changes according to his uses.


What is Shareware?

Shareware was first introduced in 1980, and after that, the software gained acceleration and was popularised among the people. Shareware is software that has certain features open for users for free.

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But, to access all the features, the user needs to buy the premiere packs of the shareware. The premiere fees can vary according to the feature or on the month.

Shareware is the way used by companies to launch new software to users and take the opinions of the software, which would allow them to modify and introduce new features.

The shareware is even commercialized and promoted by various platforms. The blogs and Google AdSense can also be used for its promotions. Whereas users also promote the platform on their social media platforms.

The shareware is most popular among gamers as this allows the user to have an experience of the game before buying it. Many updated features of this software are also locked and require payments.

The shareware cannot be distributed without a license. The distribution without permission is illegal, and the person can also be sued.


Main Differences Between Shareware and Freeware

  1. The Freeware is available to users free of cost, while the shareware charges some amount.
  2. Freeware can be distributed without any license, whereas shareware distributors need a license.
  3. Freeware cannot be promoted, while shareware is promoted by various means.
  4. The Freeware source code is sometimes available, while the shareware will never share its source code.
  5. The Freeware can be modified by the user, but the shareware can not be modified.
Difference Between Freeware and Shareware

Last Updated : 24 June, 2023

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6 thoughts on “Freeware vs Shareware: Difference and Comparison”

  1. It is interesting how Google AdWords were restricted from promoting freeware. It certainly changed the way these software are advertised over the years.

  2. I’ve learned a lot about software right now. I always use free apps, but I never knew the differences between free apps and shareware. Isn’t it frustrating though that shareware will never share its source code? We will never know how it works.

  3. This article was very informative. I particularly enjoyed how it detailed the difference between freeware and shareware. It is a bit ironic how shareware is available for free but requires payment for continued use or advanced features.

  4. I was completely unaware of the differences between freeware and shareware. It was enlightening to know the vast differences between the two and how they are both promoted.

  5. Shareware’s popularity among gamers is indeed something many overlook. It is great to have a sense of the game before making a purchase.

  6. It was interesting to learn about the history of freeware and the fact that it is prohibited for being promoted on a commercial level. Really opens your eyes to the amount of work behind these softwares.


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