Tucows closes its once-popular software download site

The company said it was pulling employees away from more important work.


It was inevitable, really. In the early days of the internet, Tucows was known as a reliable place to find and download new software. Today, however, most people are happy to use a modern App Store — Microsoft and Apple both run their own — or navigate to developer websites directly. And if you’re looking for inspiration, there’s always Product Hunt. Tucows has decided, therefore, to finally shut down Tucows Downloads. “Tucows Downloads is old,” Elliot Noss, CEO of Tucows said. “Old sites are a maintenance challenge and therefore a risk.“

It’s a decision that the team has been mulling for some time. “We talked about shutting the site down before,” Noss explained. But the site’s history, combined with a sense of sentimentality, gave them pause. In 2016, the company decided to treat Tucows Downloads as a public service, rather than a legacy moneymaker. It stripped the site of ads, admitting that the site had become “less relevant when looking at the balance sheet” anyway. Now, though, the company is ready to move on. It has enough work as a domain registrar, domain name seller and the company behind Ting, an internet service provider in the US.

“Maintaining the Tucows Downloads site pulls people away from the work that moves our businesses forward,” Noss said. If you have a soft spot for the legacy site, though, fear not: most of the assets and software has been transferred to the Internet Archive. “Tucows Downloads has had an incredible run,” Noss added. “Retiring it is the right move but that doesn’t alter the fact that it will always hold a special place in hearts and our story.”