Computer screen with Putlocker logo

Watching Putlocker safely. Is it legal and what alternatives are there?

Last edited: October 15, 2020
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Is Putlocker legal, and are there alternatives? A summary

A free streaming service such as Putlocker may seem great, but there are some potential disadvantages to its use and it might even be illegal in your country to use Putlocker. These are some of the key points to take away from this article:

  • The use of Putlocker is probably not allowed in your country. Whether there are consequences to using Putlocker all depends on the country you are in.
  • The original Putlocker website was taken offline in 2016. This means that all current Putlocker websites are copies hosted by others and may be untrustworthy.
  • Alternatives to Putlocker are mostly paid streaming services. Popular alternatives are Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime.

It is a known fact that many people use VPNs nowadays to stay safe and anonymous when using streaming services. This also holds true for Putlocker. A popular VPN that people use to watch Putlocker anonymously is Surfshark.

Even though a VPN keeps you safe from curious eyes, it might be wise to check if Putlocker is allowed in your country.

Do you want to know more about Putlocker, and what legal alternatives there are? Read on in the article below.

Putlocker LogoPutlocker was a website used for streaming movies and tv-shows online. Even though the official website has been taken down, copies and mirrors still exist. It is currently unknown whether the original founder or founders of the site have anything to do with these mirrors. The various websites that host a copy of Putlocker are still very popular to this day.

However, because law enforcement has been cracking down on sites that distribute copyrighted content, many have been looking for (legal) alternatives for these services. This raises two general questions: are you allowed by law to use Putlocker? And what are some alternatives?

Is it Illegal to use Putlocker?

The short answer in most cases is yes, it is illegal or not allowed to use a site like Putlocker. Just like 123movies or PrimeWire, Putlocker makes copyrighted content streamable for its users. This is content to which they do not own the rights, and users don’t pay the copyright’s owner to watch these movies or shows. When it comes to these types of streaming or downloading services you can usually look at it like this:

If you don’t pay for content to which someone else holds the copyright, and the copyright holder did not give permission to share their content via a specific site or service, you’re not allowed to stream or download it.

Not every country upholds the same rules for copyright infringement, though. It depends on the country you’re in whether there are any consequences to watching streams on a site like Putlocker. These are the stances of various countries pertaining to piracy:

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

Important note: streaming and downloading of 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 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.

The consequences of using Putlocker are basically the same for any service that provides users with downloads of copyrighted content. In a lot of countries, they won’t prosecute the individual downloader or stream-watcher. They mainly go for the distributor of said copyrighted content. With streaming services, it’s even harder to prosecute because there are no files left on someone’s computer after watching a stream online.

Most countries don’t have the resources to actively enforce fines, but countries such as Germany actually do fine individual downloaders. Still, there is a chance you might receive a warning or fine in the mail. For more information on fines for downloading, check out our other article.

How to Watch Putlocker in a Safe Way

As we’ve stated above, using Putlocker is not allowed in many countries and we do not condone the use of Putlocker in said countries. Still, there are locations where it is allowed to use such a streaming service (for personal use). It’s very important that people in these countries take the necessary precautions to stay safe from prying eyes, viruses, and malicious website hosts if they do decide to use a site like Putlocker. Therefore, if you’re from such a country, and you want to use Putlocker, it’s advisable to use good antivirus software such as Bitdefender. Also, it might be a good idea to protect your internet connection by using a good VPN such as Surfshark.

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Using a VPN and antivirus software you can make sure you’re well-protected against malware and website admins that want to use your data for whatever intents and purposes. Still, be aware that this is only allowed for people in certain countries. If you’re not sure whether or not your country allows the use of Putlocker, consult a local expert on the matter just to be sure.

Is it Dangerous to Use Putlocker?

When it comes to whether it’s allowed or not, we would advise not to use Putlocker. With the current rules and regulations in a lot of countries, you are at risk of getting a fine when using a website like Putlocker. This depends on your country and its stance on piracy though.

In terms of safety, it’s hard to give a clear answer because there’s not just one Putlocker website anymore. Maybe it’s safe, maybe it isn’t. It all depends on the specific mirror or copy you’re visiting. The moment they took down the original website, mirrors and copies have been popping up. Anyone who hosts such a mirror can add things to or remove things from said mirror. This means that files can be altered to contain viruses or malicious advertisements can be placed on other pages. The wide variety of mirrors means that some are safe, while others probably aren’t.

This means that you are at risk when using sites such as Putlocker. Whether it’s fines for downloading content, or accidentally reeling in a virus, the many mirrors of Putlocker are not the safest sites to visit. No matter what you do online, it’s always good to use good antivirus software to protect your device and a VPN to protect your internet connection and anonymity.

Watch out for Putlocker Mirrors

The original Putlocker site was taken down in 2016. This means that every Putlocker site you’ve visited after that is a copy or mirror. A copy or mirror is a domain that tries to provide an almost exact copy of the original Putlocker website on a different server. These mirrors can be owned by anyone and the quality can’t be guaranteed. As we’ve mentioned above, this leads to files being changed to spread viruses or to throw obnoxious ads in your face. A mirror doesn’t always have to be dangerous, but it’s safe to say you are taking a bigger risk when using it.

Unfortunately, there are almost no free and legal streaming and downloading sites when it comes to copyrighted content. Content creators have to be paid, and in order to do so, streaming services have to have some kind of business model. Usually, streaming services are subscription-based. You pay monthly and gain access to a wide variety of movies and shows. Some popular examples of (legal) alternatives to Putlocker are:

Streaming service Specifics
Netflix Netflix is a well-known streaming service with a ton of different shows and movies. Netflix is a great choice if you’re looking for an alternative for Putlocker. You can even get access to a bigger database of movies and shows if you use a VPN to access the American Netflix content. Netflix is usually the default choice for streamers when they get a subscription to online streams. This is because Netflix is simply the leading provider of streaming services.
Hulu Hulu is a great alternative to Netflix if you’re more into watching live sports. It is a little cheaper than Netflix, but it does have fewer movies and shows available. Still, they’ve recently added streams of live sporting events to their roster of shows and movies so it’s a good pick for sports enthusiasts. In some countries, Hulu is not available, in which case you need a VPN to access Hulu.
Amazon Prime Video Amazon Prime Video is another, cheaper, alternative to Netflix. Just like Hulu, its database contains fewer movies and shows than Netflix. The big difference is that Amazon Prime Video is available in most countries, whereas Hulu isn’t.
Disney Plus Disney Plus is a more specialized streaming service. Instead of having a whole bunch of movies and shows from different publishers, Disney Plus is focused on all things Disney. This means that you gain access to popular titles such as Aladdin (both the new and the old version) and all kinds of family-friendly shows and movies. Also, Disney has a couple of Disney originals on there as well. A notable example being the popular show ‘The Mandalorian’.
YouTube TV YouTube TV is definitely one of the more expensive streaming services out there, but for good reason. Instead of containing a few movies and shows, YouTube TV gives you access to over 70 different networks such as Fox, ESPN, ABC, and CBS. YouTube TV is currently only available within the United States, so it’s not for everyone. Still, with its amazing offer of networks, it’s definitely worth a look.
Sling TV Sling TV is kind of like YouTube TV. It gives you access to a bunch of different television networks and is only available inside of the US. The big difference is that with Sling TV, you can combine certain channels instead of taking all the channels as you do with YouTube TV. Also, there was a way with which you can watch Sling TV outside of the US by using a VPN and buying gift cards. Still, it is quite expensive, so it’s good to look at Sling TV’s offer of channels before you make a decision.
HBO Now HBO Now is very similar to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. It’s an online, subscription-based, streaming service that offers a lot of different shows and movies. HBO has some of the most critically acclaimed shows in its database, such as band of Brothers, The Sopranos, The Wire, and Game of Thrones. There is a chance that HBO Now will be included in HBO’s bigger streaming service HBO Max in the future.

Be aware that not every alternative works in every country. Sling TV and HBO Now are not available outside of the US, and Disney Plus is only accessible in certain countries. In order to access such services from anywhere, you need to use a good VPN. You can change your virtual location with a VPN so that it seems that you are in a specific country. This is ideal for unblocking certain streaming services. On top of that, it also protects your privacy and keeps your internet connection safe.

Disclaimer: the article above is meant as informational. We are not lawyers and this isn’t legal advice, so don’t take it as such. Also, every country has its own laws and these laws change constantly, so be aware of that. If you have any questions regarding the rules and regulations in your country, please consult with a local expert on said regulations.

Is Putlocker legal and what are some alternatives? - FAQ

Have a quick question you need answered about Putlocker? Check out our FAQ below to see if we might have the answer you’re looking for. If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave a comment.

The answer is probably no. Streaming copyrighted content from a site such as Putlocker is not allowed in most countries. There are, however, some exceptions, and we would advise you to read our entire article about Putlocker. Want to know more about fines for piracy in general? read this article: All about fines for downloading.

Depending on the country you live in, you could get a fine for using a site such as Putlocker. Also, because the original Putlocker website is no longer online, you can only access copies of the site, called mirrors. Hosts of these copies might inject viruses or other malicious software into their mirror. This means that you run the risk of getting a virus when using such a mirror.

No, not only is the use of Putlocker not allowed in a lot of countries, you also are at risk of getting a virus when using an unsafe copy or mirror of the Putlocker website. If you do plan on using Putlocker, there are some safery measures to take into consideration.

Some popular (legal) alternatives to Putlocker are:

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

Be aware that these do not work in every country and you need a paid subscription to gain access to these services.

Cybersecurity analyst
David is a cyber security analyst and one of the founders of VPNoverview.com. Interested in the "digital identity" phenomenon, with special attention to the right to privacy and protection of personal data.

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