Watching PrimeWire safely. Should you refrain from using it?

Laptop screen with PrimeWire logo
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Is watching PrimeWire legal, and are there alternatives? A short summary

Free streaming services like PrimeWire might seem very attractive, as thousands of movies and TV series are freely available. There are some disadvantages, however, among them the following:

  • Services like PrimeWire are illegal in most countries.
  • PrimeWire and comparable websites often contain malware, like adware and viruses.
  • These websites are often only accessed through mirrors, which means you could be tracked or your data could be stolen.

Many people use a VPN to access PrimeWire. There are two main reasons for this:

  • They want to secure their connection and protect their privacy when streaming.
  • They wish to unblock the PrimeWire website in countries where it has been blocked.

A popular VPN for this purpose is NordVPN. It offers great connection speeds and user-friendly apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. You can try NordVPN without risk by using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Make sure to check the legality of using PrimeWire in your country before you stream through it. If need be, there are many good alternatives for PrimeWire.

If you are interested, you can access the PrimeWire website here. Do you want to know more about the (dis)advantages of PrimeWire, and what legal alternatives there are? We’ll tell you all about it in the rest of the article below.

PrimeWire is a popular free online streaming service for TV series and movies, comparable to Putlocker and Popcorn Time. Thousands of movies and series for which you would typically have to pay are available for free on the platform. The website was also known under the names LetMeWatchThis and 1Channel, which later changed to PrimeWire.

PrimeWire comes with some significant disadvantages. For one thing, the service works with popup ads, which can be anything from regular ads to advertisements for porn. In addition, clicking on the wrong link could lead to downloading malware, like data stealers. In this article, we discuss the legality of the service and the risks of using PrimeWire.

Is It Illegal to Use Primewire?

Just like 123movies or Putlocker, PrimeWire is not allowed in most cases. Because there is a difference between streaming and downloading, many people think that streaming is legal. However, both forms of piracy are illegal. The reason is that, even though streamed content disappears from your device after watching, you are still infringing copyright laws by not paying the creators.

Moreover, the tactic used by PrimeWire is to be a hub for content that is streamed from several different locations on the (deep) web. The problem is that none of those sources are legitimate. This means that authorities could prosecute you for breaching copyright law, if this is illegal in your country. For more information on how countries fight illegal downloading, read our article on the rules and fines involved in downloading.

If you are caught downloading or streaming a copyrighted movie or TV series, you can be fined quite heavily. For example, fines for piracy in Germany can go as high as a thousand euros or more. In the US you could, in theory, get a fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even five years of jail. In practice, extreme penalties like the latter probably won’t happen often, but being careful never hurts. See below for an overview of the situation in a lot of countries:

Legal stanceCountries
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 no active prosecutionArgentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, India, Israel, Iran, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Uruguay

Important note: streaming and downloading copyrighted content is not allowed in most countries. Streaming basically means that you temporarily download something to watch it immediately. The moment you leave the stream, the downloaded content is lost. This does not mean however that it is not just as illegal as downloading files that you keep on your computer. The fact that you don’t ‘save’ copyrighted content on your device shouldn’t matter.

How Secure Is Primewire and How to Watch It Safely

As you can see in the table above, some countries do not actively prosecute users of free streaming services like Primewire. Other countries even allow piracy for personal use. This does not mean that PrimeWire is safe in those countries, however; it only means that you probably won’t get fined.

Your biggest worry might not even be possible prosecution for using PrimeWire. Another realistic threat is that viruses and other malware could theoretically invade your computer through one wrong click. PrimeWire does not use legitimate sources for its content, after all. In general, we recommend using good anti-malware or anti-virus software like BitDefender. It will help to prevent you from downloading more than you bargained for.

Also, if you are going to use PrimeWire, we strongly advise you to use a VPN. A VPN hides your IP and other data, to make it unrecognizable for external parties. As a VPN encrypts all your internet traffic, your computer takes on the IP address of the VPN server to which you are connected. Basically, you cover your tracks by pretending that you are surfing the web from a different location than where you actually are. A very user-friendly VPN, which we recommend for casual users, is NordVPN:

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Primewire mirrors

Apart from viruses, you could even be identified by external parties through the website, which could lead to identity fraud. This fact is exacerbated by the fact that the original PrimeWire does not exist anymore at this point; there are only mirrors. Mirrors are other domains that provide a copy of PrimeWire on a different server.

How to Access PrimeWire

If the use of PrimeWire is allowed in your country, always make sure that you protect your device against all kinds of threats before visiting a PrimeWire mirror. If you happen to live in a country where the use of PrimeWire is allowed, stay safe by following a couple of steps people take to ensure they have the safest PrimeWire experience:

  1. They start by using a good VPN service, such as NordVPN, and good Antivirus software, such as Kaspersky;
  2. Step 2 is accessing PrimeWire itself by accessing it through a PrimeWire-mirror or by Googling for the term ‘PrimeWire Mirror’;
  3. If they’ve used Google to look for mirrors, they probably have to go to a different site that lists the mirrors. Google doesn’t always show mirrors in their own results.

And that’s how people access PrimeWire these days (in countries where it’s allowed).

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

Even though a VPN and anti-virus software can go a long way to create safer conditions, PrimeWire is not an optimal choice for streaming. Sadly, free and legal streaming services which can compete with the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime don’t exist. We can, however, advise you on how to choose a paid alternative. Popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and HBO Now all have their own catalog, so your choice depends on the available content and the price you want to pay.

Streaming services like Hulu and YouTube TV are more focused on network tv shows, with a fair amount of on-demand content as a bonus. Sling TV is a popular service in the US, which lets you stream network TV to whichever device you choose. Most of these stream from anywhere in the world, but a VPN lets you watch Hulu anywhere. To summarize, which streaming service is best for you takes some research. The price of a subscription and the available content are the most essential factors in making your choice.

If you don’t want to bother with the research, read our top picks below. Remember that all sites require registration to access.


Netflix – A good all-around choice

Screenshot of Netflix with logo

Monthly subscriptions starting at $8.99.

Netflix needs no introduction at this point. It has a comprehensive selection of series and movies, it leads the streaming market, and it has constant new releases making their way to the platform each month. Netflix is also available on basically any device, and it has an excellent recommendations system that lets you find new shows to enjoy. However, Netflix does employ many geographical restrictions, which is one of its most significant downsides.

ProsCons
Huge libraryGeographical restrictions
Friendly navigationShows and movies come and go frequently
Multiple subscription plansIt can be hard to stumble across movies outside of the recommendations
Good recommendation algorithmHigh starting price

Amazon Prime Video – Great for Amazon original content

Screenshot of Prime video with logo

Plans start at $8.99 per month.

While Amazon Prime Video starts at the same price point as Netflix, it’s slightly cheaper at higher tiers. That being said, it’s not the best streaming site on the net. Its interface is dated, and its library is not as impressive as that of Netflix. Prime Video is the best choice for people that already have an Amazon Prime account.

ProsCons
Good originalsNot the best interface
Included in an Amazon Prime subscriptionsNot available on all platforms
Decent collection of movies and showsExtra channels or content cost more
Slightly cheaper than Netflix

Disney+ – Fun for the whole family

Screenshot of Disney Plus with logo

Subscriptions start from $6.99 per month.

Disney+ doesn’t have a massive library of movies and TV shows. Rather, it only has Disney content, like Pixar movies, Star Wars, the MCU, or old Disney cartoons. Fortunately, Disney+ is also available on a lot of devices, so it’s a wonderful choice for anyone that wants to enjoy Disney content.

ProsCons
Cheaper than its competitionNot available worldwide
Available on a lot of devicesLimited library compared to its competitors
Great Disney content

HBO Max – The home of HBO content

Screenshot of HBO max with logo

Monthly plans cost $9.99.

HBO had a lot of streaming platforms throughout the years, like HBO Now, or HBO Go. Other platforms also featured HBO content. HBO Max is the first streaming site to unite all these titles under one service. If you want to binge HBO classics like Game of Thrones, or The Sopranos, HBO Max is the best PrimeWire alternative. Unfortunately, HBO Max is pretty expensive, and it’s not available outside the US, so maybe it’s not the best choice for everyone.

ProsCons
Great originalsOnly available in the US
Impressive library of HBO contentIncompatible with Roku or Fire TV Stick
More expensive than other streaming sites

Hulu – An excellent alternative to cable

Screenshot of Hulu with logo

VOD streaming starting at $5.99 per month.
Live TV streaming for $54.99 per month.

Hulu is a great alternative if you want the experience of cable TV, on your laptop or mobile screens. Their Live TV streaming subscription tiers give you access to over 60 channels of sports, entertainment, and news. If that’s not your cup of tea, Hulu also has an on-demand video streaming. However, it’s lower on our list because the lower subscription tiers still show ads.

ProsCons
Cheap on-demand streamingLive TV is expensive
Live TV streamingNot the largest library
Cheaper subscription tiers show ads

YouTube TV – Online cable if you want DVR

Screenshot of Youtube TV with logo

Live TV streaming option for $64.99 per month.

Like Netflix, YouTube needs no description. It’s the largest repository of videos on the internet, a cultural phenomenon in its own right. However, we’re not talking about YouTube in general, but rather its live TV service called YouTube TV. It’s a service that gives you access to tons of news and entertainment channels, but it’s not as widely available as Hulu. Unfortunately, YouTube TV is only available in the US. Add to that a pretty high monthly cost, and you only get a good situational pick, rather than a fully fleshed PrimeWire alternative.

ProsCons
Unlimited cloud DVR storageExpensive subscription tiers
Large network selectionNot available outside the US
Great interface

Sling TV – Affordable Live TV streaming

Screenshot of Sling TV with logo

Live TV streaming services starting at $30 per month.

Sling TV offers live content, perfect for anyone that wants to get rid of their cable. Compared to the other live TV entries on the list, Sling TV is much cheaper. Unfortunately, that also means the channels available aren’t as varied or popular. Still, for people that want a live TV alternative to PrimeWire, Sling TV makes the cut at a very affordable price point.

ProsCons
Cheaper than live TV competitorsNo original content
Decent channel varietyNot available outside the US
The library is not as vast as live TV alternatives

Saving money

In addition, there are a lot of ways in which you can save money when choosing a streaming service. For example, using a VPN server in countries where subscriptions are cheaper is a handy way of decreasing your monthly fee. Also, if a specific discount is only available in the UK, but you live in the US, you can connect to a British server and pay the reduced price. For tips and tricks, please read our article on how to save money by using a VPN service.

Final Thoughts

PrimeWire is one of the many free streaming services which operate in an illegal area. Therefore, we advise you to use one of the many (paid and legal) alternatives. Often, you can save money by using a VPN and choosing a server in a country with cheaper subscriptions.

Disclaimer: The article above is meant as purely informational. The VPNoverview team is not made up of lawyers, and this isn’t legal advice, so don’t take the article as such. Every country has its own laws, which change constantly. If you have any further questions regarding rules and regulations in your country, please consult a local expert.

PrimeWire - Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a quick solution to your problem? Check our frequently asked questions and your question might be answered in no time. If you have a question and don’t see the answer, feel free to leave us a comment.

No, PrimeWire is not legal in most countries (there are some exceptions though). Streaming services frequently illegally facilitate downloading TV series or movies, which infringes on copyright laws. It does not matter if the video file was never actually on your device; not paying for paid content is not allowed. Some users therefore even resort to using a VPN to stay anonymous when using streaming services like PrimeWire.

If you are caught downloading or streaming copyrighted content, you can be fined quite heavily. Many countries do not prosecute illegal streaming, but some countries do actively fine internet pirates. Each country has different laws in this regard; read our article on fines for downloading if you want to know more.

Paid streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, Hulu and HBO now are the easiest ways to access online content legally. In addition, with services like Sling, you can stream network TV to whichever device you want. Sadly, free legal alternatives do not exist in many countries.

Free online streaming services like PrimeWire always come with risks; malware is one of them. Clicking on the wrong popup ads on PrimeWire can result in viruses, adware or other malicious software being downloaded to your device.

As PrimeWire is illegal in many countries, governments can force ISPs to block the website. Because the site is blocked through internet providers, nobody can access them in the first place. This does often lead to mirror versions, however, which might be even less safe than the original website.

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.