Software is a set of instructions written in computer code that tells a machine how to behave or perform a specific task. This is an extremely general definition and can include commercial programs such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop, games, computer operating systems and even malware like viruses and ransomware. Software is created by computer programmers, who are also known as coders. The programming language used to write software is often called a high-level programming language, which means that it is closer to human language than low-level machine code. The high-level language is then translated into the low-level machine code needed to run a program by a piece of software called an interpreter or compiler.

The main types of software in use today are system software, application software and utility programs. System software is what makes a computer work and includes the operating system (OS) as well as other programs that manage memory, disks and peripherals. Examples of system software are the Finder for Mac OS and Windows Explorer for PCs.

Application software is what does all the other tasks on a computer, such as word processors and media players. This includes business applications such as project management and enterprise resource planning. It can also be used for personal use, such as creating websites or editing photos and videos. Utility programs are the tools used to keep a computer running smoothly, such as disk defragmenters and antivirus software.

Online software is another type of software that does not require installation on a computer. Instead, it can be accessed through an Internet browser. Users can log in to an online software provider’s website, enter their credentials and then access the program. The provider handles all maintenance, updates and hosting of the software, which can be a huge time saver for businesses with limited IT resources.

It is important for business owners to understand what each type of software offers so that they can select the best option for their company. The most important factor to consider when selecting software is whether it will help the business achieve its goals and objectives. For example, customer relationship management software is a valuable tool for a company that wants to build trust and strengthen business ties with consumers.

Many companies make the mistake of judging software solely on its price. This can be a big mistake, as the cheapest software may not always offer the best value. A better approach is to look for software that has an excellent user experience and will save the company money in the long run by improving efficiency.