In the selection of dictionaries, thesauruses, word processors and other writing-related software, my primary criteria is simplicity, task-specificity and reliability. Below is a list of sites that fit this criteria, paired with notes pertinent to the distinctive attributes of each. All sites and programs listed are free (or have a free version).
Apache Open Office Writer (v. 4.1.7). Feature-intensive word-processor. Comparable to Microsoft Word. Download required. Offline functionality w/ regular updates. Whilst the program allows for font integration, exercise caution in uploading highly ornate fonts, which will cause AOOW to run extremely slowly.
Writer: The Internet Typewriter. Minimalistic typewriter emulator (email address is required for account creation). No download required. Offers both online and offline functionality and unlimited document creation. A feature that bares highlighting is its online-offline sychronization, which allows for a offline document to be synched to a online counterpart (for example, if you were writing a novel and experienced a connectivity issue, the program would proceed in offline mode and, when connectivity was restored, upload all new segments of the novel online) and thus, obviates the need for constant file downloading and uploading, so as to secure your progress.
Power Thesaurus. Crowdsourced, fast-loading, user-rated, regularly updated and easily navigable, online thesaurus. The site’s best feature (outside of its massive database of 77 million synonyms and nearly as many antonyms) is its side-menus, which allow the user, after searching a desired word or phrase, to move seamlessly between synonyms, antonyms, definitions and examples.