List of Free C and C++ Compilers

More C and C++ Compilers than you will ever need

Paul Thomas/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Compilers convert instructions written in programming language to machine code that can be read by computers. If you're interested in learning to program in C or C++, you'll find this list of free compilers handy. Most of these compilers handle both C++ and C. 

  • Microsoft Windows SDK. This free SDK is for Windows 7 and .NET Framework 4. It provides compilers, tools libraries, code samples and a help system for developers.
  • Turbo C++ for Windows 7,8,8.1 and 10. The .NET Framework is required for Windows 7, Vista and XP, but there is no pre-requirement for more recent Windows versions. 
  • GCC is the classic open source C compiler for Linux and many other operating systems (including Windows under Cygwin or Ming). This project has been around forever and provides excellent open source quality software. It doesn't come with an IDE, but there are loads out there.
  • Digital Mars C/C++ Compiler. The company offers several free compiler packages. 
  • Xcode is for Apple's Mac OSX operating system and its version of GCC. It has excellent documentation and SDKs for Mac and iPhone. If you have a Mac, this is what you use.
  • Portable C Compiler. This was developed from one of the earliest C Compilers. At the start of the '80s, most C compilers were based on it. Portability was designed into it from the start.
  • Failsafe C. A Japanese project from the Research Team for Software Security at the Research Center for Information Security, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan, this version of C for Linux supports over 500 functions (not C99 or Widechar). It provides complete protection against memory block over-boundary accesses making it as safe as Java and C#.
  • Pelles C is a free development kit for Windows and Windows Mobile containing an optimizing C compiler, a macro assembler, a linker, a resource compiler, a message compiler, a make utility and install builders for both Windows and Windows Mobile. It also has an IDE with project management, debugger, source code editor and resource editors for dialogs, menus, string tables, accelerator tables, bitmaps, icons, cursors, animated cursors, animation videos, versions and XP manifests.
  • Borland C++ 5.5 compiler is a blazingly fast 32-bit optimizing compiler. It includes the latest ANSI/ISO C++ language support including the Standard Template Library framework and C++ template support and the complete Borland C/C++ Runtime Library. Also included in the free download are the Borland C/C++ command line tools such as the high-performance Borland linker and resource compiler.
  • nesC is an extension to the C programming language designed to embody the structuring concepts and execution model of TinyOS. TinyOS is an event-driven operating system designed for sensor network nodes that have very limited resources (e.g., 8K bytes of program memory, 512 bytes of RAM).
  • Orange C. Orange C/C++ supports C standards through C11 and C++ 11. The IDE is full-featured and includes a colorizing editor. This compiler runs on WIN32 and DOS. It generates 32-bit programs for both.
  • SubC is a fast, simple public domain compiler for a clean subset of the C programming language on Linux, FreeBSD and Windows platforms. 

Now that you have a compiler, you're ready for C and C++programming tutorials.