17 free and helpful things, that everyone can take advantage of
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library They send an age appropriate book once a month if you have a child younger than 5.
Project Gutenberg Lots of free classic books.
Library Genesis A great place to look for and download college/university textbooks for free, as well as other books.
Scihub Endless Free college books. (and peer-reviewed scientific publications that are otherwise hidden behind a paywall)
Khan Academy Free knowledge that you can use to clep out of university courses, or to simply invest your time in a worthwhile topic.
Openlearn UK’s Open University - free courses for all levels of study, samples of university materials, study skills and tie-ins to BBC documentaries. Everything under Creative Commons licence so you can use it as you see fit.
Duolingo The Green Owl of Languages. There are a few hundred that it teaches and the mobile app makes it easy to do anywhere while waiting (!warning! only good for Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Esperanto, and English. with anything else it gets very low-quality and short.).
Codecademy An awesome site to learn how to use some programming languages. Doesn't get into the really advanced stuff, but it's good for a start.
Photopea Completely free Photoshop clone that has all the basic features of Photoshop, using basically the same interface.
Gimp Another free version of Photoshop.
Unsplash Stock of free photos of just about anything, provided by the photographers themselves, to do with what you like.
Futureme You can write letters to yourself (or other people) in the future! You can also make notifications and reminders of a +doctors appointments or anything else important.
Heavens Above You can look up all the satellites flying over your house tonight, including the ISS, Hubble Space Telescope, those pesky Starlink satellites, and whatever else your heart desires, complete with star maps and precise timing. And there is an Android app, but unfortunately no iOS one last I checked. (For iOS you can use “Sputnik!” which is free and tells, when ISS and Hubble passes overhead.)
Night Sky Other astronomy app for iOS. If you hold your phone to the sky the app tells you what you're looking at (or point it at the ground for a view from the other side of the planet). Zoom in with two fingers and tons of deep space stuff is revealed.
Freecycle its literally people giving away stuff they don't need/want any more that they can't/don't care enough to sell.
Nexus Mods Has thousands of video game mods (for 1,509 PC games), made by independent content creators, available to download at no cost.
Archive The Archive aka Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and so much more... For example a lot of DOS games (classics like Prince of Persia, Oregon Trail, DOOM, Monkey island, Rayman, Turtles), directly playable through the browser.
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More things to do
47 more free and helpful things, that everyone can take advantage of
Gnoosic is your place go for new music recommendations. It asks for three of your favourite bands, and based on them, spits out an artist that you might like. You can also “like”, “dislike”, or mark it as something you aren’t familiar with – which further refines the results.
NoCopyrightSounds is a copyright free / stream safe record label, providing free to use music to the content creator community. NCS Music is free to use for independent Creators and their UGC (User Generated Content) on YouTube & Twitch - always remember to credit the Artist, track and NCS and link back to our original NCS upload.
Radio Garden take a trip 'round the world's airwaves! Just pick a city — literally any city — and Radio Garden will play you whatever its local radio station is broadcasting.
Radiooooo Radio Garden walked so Radiooooo could run. This site adds a timeline function so you can listen to radio from not just anywhere, but anywhen. Get down to those 1910s Germany bops!
Krita free and open-source raster graphics editor designed primarily for digital painting and 2D animation.It is made by artists that want to see affordable art tools for everyone. It runs on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and Chrome OS
29a.ch interactive site that lets you color what looks to be a map of the cosmos, but I'm honestly not sure. Whatever it is, it's mesmerizing.
Patatap is an interactive website that responds to the keys on your keyboard with a sound and a brief animation. Now imagine hammering in entire sentences – and you got an explosion of sounds, colors, and movement! Once you start typing in random paragraphs, it becomes almost hypnotic, in a way.
Drench a very simple browser game, Drench gives you a board with different colored tiles, and you use the buttons to flip the colors around. Do this until your board is full of tiles of a single color only.
River Styx an interactive point-and-click game that takes you through the river Styx and the Underworld. You will meet many Greek Gods and Goddesses here, and you will also be learning a lot about their myths and legends.
2048 this website lets you play a game called 2048, which is kinda like Tetris but with addition. Use your arrow keys to try to combine numbers until you reach 2048, or go ~beyond~ and try to reach 4096.
Little Alchemy 2 fun little time killer. As its name suggests, the website deals with the process of transformation you achieve when you start mixing different things. You start with Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. The goal is to create as many different materials or objects as possible. For example, earth and air will form dust. There are no rules just mix and match your creations to create new ones. You will not even know where your time went.
Akinator website is magic or rather feels like one. You can think of any character in this entire world and through a series of question, it will deduce the name. Don’t believe me, go try for yourself.
Find the Invisible Cow You’re going to want to make sure your sound is on in this fun finding game! Find the invisible cow in this laugh out loud version of hot and cold.
CookieClicker How fast can you click for cookies? Level up and become a cookie pro with this fun time-wasting website!
Zooniverse A really neat website that brings people together to create one of the largest platforms for people-powered research. Volunteers come together to assist professional researchers. There is no need for a specialised background or training; all you have to do is to answer simple questions.
Cool Hunting is a really cool publication platform that uncovers the latest in design, technology, style, travel, art and culture. If you are into art, architecture, and culture, then this website is perfect for you.
OCEARCH Shark Tracker This one looks right on the money for the folks who can’t get enough of sharks! With OCEARCH Shark Tracker, you can keep a track of tagged sharks as they are busy swimming around the deep ocean. Moreover, the website also lets you zoom in on a particular location to check where sharks have been swimming for the past year.
Ad Astra-app An essential tool for every astronomer. The star atlas and skyguide that makes it really easy to pick the best objects, make your own observation list and use it when you are outside
100,000 Stars is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen on the web. It shows a representation of galaxy with stars inside it. You can take a tour which starts from the Sun and takes you to the outer edges of the galaxy while teaching you valuable insights in between.
wikiHow is an online wiki-style publication featuring how-to articles on a variety of topics. For example: How to make ginger ale, How change a lock or How to survive an encounter with an ostrich.
Cooking for Engineers is a godsend for those who love to cook. This website has it all, from recipes, to kitchen gear, to cooking tests, down to a handy dictionary. The best part about this website is its classic 90’s layout, which makes accessing the recipes and files intuitive and easier.
My Fridge Food at this point, your fridge probs has, like, three random items in it, and you're starting to panic about meal options. Enter My Fridge Food, which inputs everything you have in your kitchen and outputs a recipe. Bless.
Work, or relax
Da Font Tired of your basic Times New Roman? You can spend hours downloading new fonts from typography artists to spice up your new document!
A Soft Murmur If you’re looking to create your own ambient background music to listen to while you work or read, A Soft Murmur is the fun website for you! Create your own mix of white noise and other natural sounds to relax and waste some time.
Rainy Mood Get all the benefits of rain without getting caught in it with Rainy Mood! This is perfect for setting a relaxed and chilled out mood.
I Waste So Much Time The website is designed to literally allow you to waste your time. There are no long articles, just funny pictures with embedded texts. A very good time waster for short breaks.
This Is My Website Now The website truly kills your time. It is just a collection of small games which you can play on your browser. Effective for less than 10 minutes of usage, it’s good for a short break.
Instructables If you’ve always wanted to learn how to DIY but didn’t know where to start, try Instructables. They have community posts with step-by-step instructions to help you become a DIY master in no time.
OBS Open Broadcaster Software is free and open source software for video recording and live streaming. Stream to Twitch, YouTube and many other providers. only downside to it is that you have a power director watermark in the corner of your video, but its not very large.
Sleepytime is your sleeping schedule out of whack? This fun website calculates exactly when you need to go to sleep and wake up in order to get a good night’s sleep.
MapCrunch Go on an adventure without leaving your home — because you can't! This site plops you down in a random location on the globe, and all that's left to do is explore.
List of Conspiracy Theories Get sucked down the dark rabbit hole of the internet that will have you denying history and wearing tinfoil hats. Wikipedia’s list of conspiracy theories will have you scrolling for ages!
This Person Does Not Exist If AI and deep-fakes fascinate you, this is a website that will either make you very excited, or give you nightmares about whether ‘The Matrix’ is real, and if you, at some point in your life, took the blue pill instead of the red one. Either way, the website generates fake people using GAN (or generative adversarial networks), and displays them to you. You can refresh the page to see a different face. Also, if this interests you, you might also like:
This Cat Does Not Exist. You know, because why stare at human faces when you can look at cats instead.
The Useless Web Want to see what the Internet truly has to offer? Take a peek at The Useless Web to see what truly is out there.
Not Always Right Had a bad day at work? Did that one annoying, pesky customer or client who just wouldn’t shut up tried to give you a hard time, and succeeded? Then this website is just perfect for you! It’s a collection of stories about customers who just don’t know when to shut up.
Zoom Quilt If you're looking to be hypnotized, then check out this site, which is basically a picture that infinitely zooms in to reveal new pictures.
Just for fun
Tickld is your go-to spot for anything humorous and funny, for anything that’s really cool and interesting, or stuff that’s just plain WTF.
Paper Toilet Just because stores are sold out of toilet paper doesn't mean you have to live without. This site features some interactive TP that you can roll up or down.
The Passive-Aggressive Password Machine Type a password (real or fake) into this site and it'll shade you for how much it sucks.
CoolThings is a collection of cool things. From entertainment, to gadgets, to even toys and inventions, there is bound to be something here that will interest you.
This Is Why I Am Broke This is a great website for discovering new gift ideas which are distinct. The products range from a few dollars to a few thousand. There’s something for everyone here.
PostSecret is a very interesting website. Visitors are encouraged to send in anonymous postcards on which they write their secrets. There are all sorts of secrets on all kinds of postcards, and the variations make this a really interesting project. However, be warned – these secrets are very real… and very heavy.
NOIYS – Post, read, forget is a place to post an anonymous note to be viewed by many people, only to be deleted within 24 hours. It’s the perfect website for venting anonymously and not worry about the consequences, as it will be deleted within a day. The best part (or maybe worst) is that strangers can reply to your note, too. That way, you can have a running conversation with a complete stranger.
Scream Into the Void Take your outrage about our current situation (or any problem in your life) and throw it into the void. Just type out your feels and then click the "Scream" button, which does exactly what you think it does.
Dildo Generator Welcome, good citizens of the web, to my favorite site of all time. It's right in the name: You can generate a custom dildo by length, width, base, contours, and so many more variables. Things get wild pretty fast.
Eyebleach Did you see something on the internet that was just too scary? Or just need to get it out of your head? Click on Eyebleach to be fed adorable pictures of puppies, kitties, or babies!