123Movies: Is It Safe to Use in 2022? What Are the Alternatives?

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Is 123Movies Safe? A Quick Summary

123Movies used to be a popular movie and tv show streaming platform. It was taken down in March 2018, and since then many mirror websites have popped up. It’s important to note the following about 123Movies and its clone sites:

  • Watching streams on 123Movies mirrors is probably not allowed in your country.
  • Many countries don’t actively prosecute 123Movies streamers, but rather the distributors of content.
  • Some popular legal alternatives to 123Movies are paid services such as Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime.

If your jurisdiction allows the (personal) use of 123Movies, you should still be careful if you decide to use it. We recommend using a good VPN like Surfshark to protect your identity while using it. We also recommend using solid antivirus software, like Norton 360, to protect yourself against malware.

Do you want to learn more about 123Movies and popular legal alternatives for streaming? Read the complete article below.

123Movies used to be one of the most popular websites to stream movies online and watch complete tv-shows. It has known many names, including “GoMovies,” “GoStream,” “MeMovies,” and “123movieshub.” The official 123Movies website was taken down in March of 2018, but copies of the site are accessible through so-called mirror sites or clone sites.

Law enforcement agencies from around the world have been keeping a close eye on any site or service that allows users to view copyrighted content without paying for it. This might have you wondering: are you allowed to stream movies and shows from 123Movies? What do people do to keep themselves safe when using 123Movies? And what decent alternatives are out there? We’ll answer all these questions and more in this 123Movies review article.

Is It Illegal to Use 123Movies?

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Using 123Movies is illegal in most cases. Every country and region has its own stance on pirating copyrighted content, but most try to protect intellectual property by outlawing the downloading (and therefore streaming) of copyrighted content. However, some countries allow it for personal use.

Because every country has different rules regarding copyright infringement and piracy, you should always check your country’s rules before going to a site like 123Movies, Popcorn Time, PrimeWire, or Putlocker.

These are some of the general stances on piracy in various countries:

Stance on piracyCountries
Pirating is legal or allowed (for personal use)Poland, Spain, Switzerland
Pirating is illegalAustralia, China, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, United States
Pirating is illegal, but individuals are not actively prosecutedArgentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, India, Israel, Iran, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Uruguay

It’s important to note that there is almost no difference between downloading copyrighted content and streaming it. When streaming, you’re downloading media and watching it in real-time, only for it to be cleared from your cache when you leave the page. In that sense, streaming is the same as downloading a torrent, watching it right away, and deleting it when you’re done.

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Not only do local laws differ when it comes to streaming, but countries also come with different consequences if you’re caught streaming illegal content. In Germany, for example, you get a serious fine when the authorities find out you’re downloading copyrighted content, while in other countries you might just get a warning.

With streaming services such as 123Movies, it’s harder to prosecute users, because there are no files left on someone’s computer after watching a stream. Even so, you can easily be tracked by your IP address while watching movies.

Not all countries enforce the rules by actively prosecuting people who use illegal streaming services. Oftentimes, authorities go after the people distributing the content, rather than the individual viewers. However, when you’re in a country that does crack down on copyright infringement, you might get a hefty fine in the mail. To learn more about this, check out our article on fines for downloading.

How to Watch 123Movies in a Safe Way

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Because the use of 123Movies is not allowed in a lot of countries, we cannot condone it there. However, there are also countries where you’re allowed to use such streaming websites for personal use.

In the countries where it is allowed, you need to protect yourself from prying eyes, viruses, and malicious website hosts while using a 123Movies mirror. It’s advisable to use antivirus software and a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect your data and device and watch movies safely.

1. Use a VPN for streaming

A popular and very affordable VPN is Surfshark. Reliable VPN services like Surfshark will hide all your internet and streaming activities from your internet service provider and government agencies. It allows for unlimited simultaneous connections, so you and your entire family can be anonymous online while streaming a 123Movies mirror.

Still, remember that downloading and viewing copyrighted content is only allowed in a small number of countries. Even though a VPN will make you anonymous online and prevent you from being caught when using streaming services like 123Movies, it is still advised to act according to local laws. If you’re unclear about what the rules are, consult a local expert on the matter.

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2. Use antivirus software for protection

Aside from a VPN, you’ll need an antivirus app to keep you safe from all kinds of malware. Streaming sites like 123Movies tend to be riddled with dangerous ads, annoying pop-ups, and malicious links. Before you know it, your device could be infected with adware, a computer virus, or even something awful like ransomware.

We tested various antivirus solutions, and Norton 360 came out on top. It offers robust security features with high levels of protection, so you can stream without having to worry about computer worms or spyware.

Visit Norton 360

Is 123Movies Safe to Use?

We’ve already discussed briefly whether or not it’s legal to watch content on a site like 123Movies. However, we haven’t gone into possible safety risks when using such a site apart from the fines you might get.

The question “is 123Movies safe?” doesn’t come with a simple yes or no answer. Since the original 123Movies no longer exists, there is no one domain to consider. Instead, there are multiple copies without quality control. Whether these mirrors are safe or not, depends on many things, but most importantly on the person hosting the website.

Watch out for mirrors

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The only way to access the content on 123movies is through copies of the website, also known as mirrors or copycat sites. These are hosted and controlled by a third party that might or might not have been involved with the original 123Movies website.

With all these copies that might disappear after a short while, there is no real accountability anymore. It isn’t as easy as looking up a 123Movies review and checking its safety. Any owner of a mirror site could inject their platform with malicious code or track your data. On top of that, platforms could be filled with annoying ads and pop-ups.

Because of this, the sad reality is that some of the mirrors are safe and others aren’t. The only way to make sure you stay safe is to protect yourself with a VPN service and antivirus software. Otherwise, we wouldn’t recommend using 123Movies.

How to Access 123Movies

The use of 123Movies is not legal everywhere, but in the regions where it is, people have to take the necessary steps to stay safe. This is how they do it:

  1. They use a VPN service (for example Surfshark) and good antivirus software (for example Norton 360).
  2. They make sure they access a proper 123Movies-mirror.

When looking for a good mirror, these people might Google the term “123Movies Mirror.” However, Google doesn’t always show these mirrors in its search results, so users might have to visit a site that shows a list of 123Movies mirrors.

Disclaimer: We do not condone the illegal use of sites such as 123Movies. We advise you to look up whether accessing 123Movies is legal in your country and act accordingly. If it’s illegal, don’t use it.

Sadly, it’s hard to find free streaming websites that are legal. When you’re dealing with copyrighted content, the most straightforward (legal) way of getting access is through websites or streaming services that are subscription-based.

These websites or services cost a relatively small amount of money and give you access to a large database of (popular) movies and shows. Even though they don’t always offer the latest movies and shows like illegal streaming sites often do, they have pretty impressive collections. We listed some popular legal alternatives to 123Movies below.

Streaming serviceSpecifics
NetflixNetflix is probably the most popular streaming site with a wide variety of movies and shows. This is why Netflix is the way to go for many. Moreover, if you use a VPN, you can expand your Netflix catalog and watch even more movies.
Amazon Prime VideoAmazon Prime is not too different from Netflix. It has a smaller database of movies and shows, but might just have the show you want to watch. It is also a lot cheaper than Netflix.
Disney PlusDisney Plus focuses completely on all things Disney, Marvel, and much more. It’s not just a great platform for fairy-tale fans: it has all sorts of other content as well. Some popular titles on Disney Plus are The Mandalorian, Glee, and Thor: Love and Thunder.
HBO MaxHBO Max is a relatively new service that is sure to grow its library in the future. It might not have the same number of movies and shows as Netflix (yet), but it has some very high-quality shows like Band of Brothers, The Sopranos, and Game of Thrones.
HuluHulu is great for live sports. It’s a little cheaper than Netflix, but has fewer movies. We would advise you to check out Hulu if you’re looking for a streaming service that also offers a wide variety of live sports. In some countries, Hulu is not available, in which case you can either reach Hulu content through Disney Plus’s “Star,” or by using a VPN to access Hulu.
YouTube TVYouTube TV is pretty expensive, but that’s because it works a little differently from other streaming services. Instead of having shows and movies, it gives you access to different TV networks. With just one subscription, you can access networks like Fox, ESPN, ABC, and CBS.
Sling TVSling TV is most similar to YouTube TV. The difference is that Sling TV lets you combine your own set of networks and channels instead of giving them all for a set price.

Geographic streaming restrictions

Know that not all of the legal alternatives above work everywhere in the world. Some streaming services, like Hulu, focus exclusively on the United States, while others, such as HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video, are only available in certain countries or have differing libraries. If you want to access these geo-restricted services from another country, you’ll need a quality VPN to change your virtual location.

Conclusion: The Legacy of 123Movies

123Movies was a popular illegal site that acted as a streaming service. It allowed you to watch your favorite movies and tv shows online for free. Despite the official site not being online anymore, many still wonder “is 123Movies safe?” because there are many similar sites that allow you to stream content.

The 123Movies clone sites are considered to be illegal sites in some parts of the world, since they share copyrighted material without permission. If you live in a country where it’s legal to watch 123Movies, you should always have good malware protection and use a VPN like Surfshark to hide your actual IP address while visiting such sites.

If watching 123Movies is illegal where you live, there are some great legal alternatives out there. Some even have a free version. To learn more about these alternatives and how you can bypass geo-restrictions to watch them worldwide, check out our streaming page.

Disclaimer: The article above aims to inform you about streaming services. We want to stress that we aren’t legal professionals and this article doesn’t contain legal advice. Each country has its own laws, which change constantly. If you have any questions regarding the rules and regulations in your country, please consult a local expert.

Watching 123Movies Safely: Frequently Asked Questions

Are you stuck with a question regarding 123Movies? Check out our FAQ section to see if we have the answer. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to leave us a comment.

Probably not. Downloading and streaming copyrighted content is not allowed in most countries. This is not true for every country, though. Because of differences in laws and regulations, you should always familiarize yourself with the rules in your country before using 123Movies. We would also advise you to read our entire article on 123Movies and its legality and alternatives.

This all depends on the country you’re in while using 123Movies. In some countries it’s illegal, in others it is not. Even if you are in a place where it’s illegal, individual downloaders might not face any consequences. As a result, consequences range from absolutely nothing to fines of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

The original 123Movies no longer exists, but its mirror sites can come with all sorts of dangers. These copies are owned by people who could potentially inject malware into the site or show you malicious ads.

Some popular (legal) alternatives to 123Movies are:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Disney Plus
  • YouTube TV
  • Sling TV
  • HBO Max

Keep in mind that you need a paid subscription to access most of these services, and not all of them might work in your country.

Cybersecurity analyst
David is a cybersecurity analyst and one of the founders of VPNoverview.com. Since 2014 he has been gaining international experience working with governments, NGOs, and the private sector as a cybersecurity and VPN expert and advisor.