This will be a list of fully-online tools that require no downloads. Most of them do not require any signup, but that is not a strict requirement.
I use many of these frequently. Not all of these are well-known, so I figured this would be worth sharing. I’m always open to hear about useful or fun tools that meet the requirements above, so please do contact me with some of your own favorites so I can check them out and add them below.
If the list becomes too bulky, I’ll sort them into groups, but a Ctrl+F on this page should suffice if you’re looking for something specific.
- TinEye Reverse Image Search - A free reverse image search tool that you can use as an alternative to Google. There is also a paid version with an API for developers, but non-commercial use on their site is free for up to 300 searches a week.
- Creative Commons Image Search - Search over 500 million Creative Commons and public domain licensed images. Remember to check for commercial and modification restrictions on some of the CC licenses, but otherwise this is a great source of free images.
- Wolfram Alpha - Computation engine for math and statistics
- StillTasty - Searchable database of foods that will show you approximately how long they will last before spoiling at room temperature / refrigerated / frozen
- Internet Archive Wayback Machine - View cached versions of web sites. Useful for viewing content that is currently down, has been removed, is behind a paywall, etc.
- CachedView - Another search for cached web pages. This one allows you to search both the Internet Archive and Google Web Cache.
- SailRabbit BMR and TDEE Calculator - The best online calculator I could find for calculating Basal Metabolic Rate and Total Daily Energy Expenditure. Very useful for determining daily calorie need while dieting or otherwise. Recommend using the “Mifflin St. Jeor” formula when calculating these, as research has shown it to be more broadly accurate than the Harris-Benedict formulas.
- USDA FoodData Central Database - USDA database of most food items sold or manufactured in the US. Useful for getting more accurate and detailed nutritional information than what is listed on packaging.
- PhotoPea - Amazing Photoshop-like editor in a browser. Free to use.
- Tomato Timer - Basic Pomodoro timer
- Tiny PNG - Tool for optimizing the size of PNG images for online usage. Can reduce the size of many images by over 50% without a noticeable loss in quality (for the purposes of a web page).
- repl.it Online IDE - Full-featured online IDE. Free of charge with optional paid premium service.
- VirusTotal Malware Scanner - Upload a file to check for viruses/malware with around 70 malware detection engines at once. You can also check URLs for malicious content on the same page.
- DuckDuckGo Search Engine - The best search engine that does not track you. Has gotten much better over the past couple years, and I now use it by default in Firefox.
- Zamzar online file format converter - Convert between hundreds of different file formats for text, images, videos, etc. Can even do things like convert text files to MP3s using text to speech, and other interesting things. Very useful.
- Clear Google activity data and adjust Google Privacy Options - Use this to delete personalized data, set up data for auto-deletion after a certain time period, and adjust settings to minimize Google’s personalized data collection.
- CamelCamelCamel - Amazon price tracker and price history. Use this when buying something on Amazon to check price trends for individual items. Since prices are constantly being adjusted, you can also create alerts to notify you when an item has dropped below a certain price threshold.
- FakeSpot - Analyze reviews for items on Amazon, Wal-Mart and other sites to get a grade on the quality of reviews. This tool can be hit-and-miss, but it tends to be very good at detecting egregious review bot spamming or obvious bulk pay-for-reviews. I tend to use this and CamelCamelCamel before buying anything from Amazon.
- Pastebin - Share text or code online quickly
- PodBay Podcast Player - Online podcast player that is still in development, but with features that are not easily found elsewhere. Most podcasts available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or elsewhere can be found here (they advertise over 20 million podcast episodes available). The “Download as MP3” feature on every podcast episode works great if you like to download podcasts in bulk and store them locally to listen to later, and this feature is not always available on other sites/players. I frequently had to dig through RSS feeds to easily download episodes of some podcasts, so this is definitely an improvement.
- BandCamp - For those that don’t use Spotify for all of their music, BandCamp is a great site to both purchase music to support artists directly and (for purposes of this list) listen to music before you buy it. Most artist pages have a player embedded so you can listen to select songs or full albums before purchasing anything. A large portion of purchases (~85% for digital purchases) goes directly to the artists, and you get the benefit of downloading and owning the music free of DRM. Some artists even choose to release their music with a “Pay What You Want” price tag, giving anyone access to their music while allowing people to contribute what they can.
- TempMail Temporary Email Addresses - This is the most reliable temporary e-mail address service I have found. They have a variety of domains so there is less likely to be domain-specific blocks that you might get with sites such as Mailinator. The addresses and e-mails received there are semi-permanent until you manually press the “Delete” button for the mailbox, so you’ll probably want to do this when you are finished. Obviously, only use this for throwaway accounts and such where e-mail registration is required for you to temporarily access a site, etc.
- Our World in Data - Huge searchable database of open source/open access data. Also contains articles and reports based on these data.
- Kleki Paint Tool - Online paint tool with layer support and quite a few features. Allows for quick sketching and easy PNG exports with one button.
- Noisli - White/Ambient Noise Generator - There are plenty of ambient noise generators online, but this one is my favorite. The UI is clean and easy to use, and the site is free of advertisements and trackers. They offer paid plans, but it is completely free to use for up to 15 hours per day. The only annoyance is that the site requires you to register, but you can always use the temp e-mail generator on this list if you don't want to give them your info.
- Ninite - Install and update your PC's applications with a single downloadable installer. Very useful for reinstalling everything when you get a new PC or refresh/reinstall your OS.
- file.io - Secure, Anonymous File Sharing - A useful tool for sharing files up to 100MB (for the free plan which requires no sign-in) anonymously. All files are encrypted and can be set to be deleted after a certain time has elapsed or after the file has been downloaded. They also offer an API which allows you to use the tool from your command line.
- Cheatography - Cheat Sheet Creation and Sharing - This site contains over 4000 free, well-formatted cheat sheets for a variety of topics. You can also create cheat sheets of your own and share them. Be aware that anything you create on the site is immediately and forever publically accessable, and it cannot be taken down even if you delete your account. So keep that in mind if you use the creation portion of their site.
- Internet Archive Scholar - A newer project from the Internet Archive with hopes to be a sort of legal Sci-Hub. It is a database of published research papers which will be free to search and archived forever. As of June 2021, they still have some work to do to be as relevant as Sci-Hub, but I am hopeful this will continue to improve.
- Freesound - A database of over 500,000 free sound files under Creative Commons licenses. Searchable and also browsable by tags.
- Typesense Recipe Search - A way to search over 2 million recipes posted online but with all of the excess blog-style nonsense stripped away. Very fast and responsive search. Also links to the original sources.
- Standard Ebooks - Not a "tool" exactly, but this service run by a group of dedicated volunteers produces high-quality ebooks from works in the public domain. If you have ever tried to read free classic books from Project Gutenberg or elsewhere, you will frequently run into errors, formatting issues, and other annoyances. This project aims to clean up all of these issues and release carefully created, proofread, and beautifully-formatted ebooks. Releases are ongoing, and the books are available in all popular ebook formats to accomodate different devices.
- Unsplash - A source of freely-usable photos that can be used without explicit permission for both commercial or non-commercial purposes. The photos use the custom Unsplash License.
Published: December 3,2020.
Last updated: August 28, 2021
Correction and Edit History:
- 08/28/2021: New entries
- 06/12/2021: Added 5 new entries
- 12/18/2020: More sites added
- 12/13/2020: Added TinEye + Noisli and updated CSS
- 12/9/2020: Added a couple additional sites
*License Info: This article is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)