Launched in 2011 in the UK, Putlocker has steadily grown to become one of the “go-to” sources for online entertainment. On the site itself, you’ll see a bunch of movies and TV shows to watch; just click your movie choice, and the Putlocker’s native player will open it.
Despite its popularity, Putlocker already faced legal troubles in the US, UK, and Australia. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) even deemed Putlocker as a major piracy threat.
Still, the company keeps reviving the website with different domain names and country codes. We are not sure though if the new sites are managed by the original Putlocker company, or if they’re just imitations.
Is Putlockers safe?
Before you use Putlocker’s website at this instant, know that doing so might jeopardize your online safety:
- You could get yourself into legal trouble due to the “illegal” nature of streaming.
- You’ll be getting pop-up ads (lots of them, in fact), and you aren’t sure if these ads are 100% safe.
Both are bad.
In Copyright class
Teacher: who uses putlocker?
Class: I know not of what you mean, what is this putlocker you speak of? #SOCccc
— Ashley Tejeda (@mari_louise3) November 1, 2017
By just streaming movies on Putlocker, you could get yourself into legal trouble. Most content on there is copyrighted; some are even posted without permission. Every day, several links are regularly taken down.
Is streaming illegal for you though? There is no clear answer, as the legality of streaming is in a gray area. Different countries have different stances. Germany and Japan have some of the strictest copyright laws. In many parts of Europe, the practice is legal if it’s done correctly. US and UK also have copyright laws, but they focus more on torrenting.
In case there is indeed a copyright violation, who will answer for the charges? The uploader of the copyrighted content is usually the one breaking the law, even if they did it for free. How about Putlocker? Maybe, as Putlocker knowingly hosts copyrighted content. Or perhaps not, as Putlocker only hosts the links.
Putlocker is legal. This is still a grey area of the law. If you are streaming movies, normally they are legal. When you download them onto your computer or device, then that's copyright infringement which is illegal.
— Alan (@alanradau) November 2, 2018
How about the viewer? If you’re just streaming, you may not be answerable. You’re not downloading, distributing, peer-sharing, or making a profit; you’re just watching a movie that someone else has uploaded. Also, you’re not paying for copyrighted materials that are acquired illegally.
Risky pop-up ads
As Putlocker is a free streaming site, it has to earn money elsewhere. One way to generate profits is by hosting ads.
These pop-up ads can be annoying as they interrupt the show. Do you think it’s harmless to click the ads so you can continue watching a movie? Absolutely not. Be aware that viruses, malware, spyware, or keystroke loggers may already have infiltrated your device. Who would want to risk themselves with such malicious apps? I bet no one does.
Some ads may also ask personal information before they can be removed from your screen. This may lead to possible ID theft. Other ads may also install trackers to monitor your online activity. Your data is so valuable, and it can be sold to third parties. In turn, these parties can continue bombarding you with more annoying ads.
If you still want to use Putlocker, how will you protect yourself?
To get rid of pop-up ads, you have to install an ad blocker. Still, some ads may get past your blocker, so you also have to install other protective tools, like antivirus and anti-malware programs. With several versions of Putlocker that appeared online recently, no one is sure whether the site you’re using is from the original company or an imitation. So you’d better be safe and install these tools.
While ad blockers and protective tools are useful, they won’t help you in hiding your online presence. For this reason, it will be best that you combine the above tools with a VPN, so you can sit back and enjoy watching the shows on Putlocker.
putlocker.is but you have to have a VPN or appear in great britian. also I would recommend to get adblock when you go on there lol
— 1% Ducky (@duckybtw) July 30, 2016
Why you need a VPN?
A VPN has many uses, not only for Putlocker but also for other streaming sites. A VPN can hide your real IP address, making it difficult to trace you. It encrypts your online activity before directing you to Putlocker or other sites. Should you get involved in a copyright infringement case, you have the peace of mind that authorities won’t trace you.
A capable VPN will also help you get around these geo-restrictions, especially if you’re accessing Netflix, Hulu, and other legal streaming sites. The problem with such sites is that they have regional blocks for their content. For instance, if you’re in Asia, you can’t access all the shows on Netflix USA.
Choose the right VPNs
Unfortunately, not all VPNs are created equal. Some could slow down your Internet connection, affecting the quality of your streaming. For a smooth streaming experience, we recommend that you use one of these streaming VPNs:
[affilioProvider max=”2″ top=”n” cat=’streaming’]
We tested them all and found their services high in quality. Not only do these VPNs have exceptional bandwidth and speed, which are essential for streaming, they also provide anonymity and access to geo-blocked content.
What are Putlocker alternatives?
Aside from Putlocker, there are other streaming sites you may want to try.
Other free streaming sites
If you hate pop-up ads, then check what Flixtor has to offer. It provides hassle-free streaming since it doesn’t run ads.
If you are worried about legal troubles, then go to free streaming sites that do not store contents. They work like a search engine—they host links to other sites who have the streamed contents. Some free streaming sites who do this include:
- IOMovies: The website says it doesn’t store movies on its servers, and that movies come from third parties.
- 123Movies: Like IOMovies, 123Movies claims to be legal since it doesn’t save content; instead, it provides links to source sites. 123Movies has a download option if you want to go that route.
- Popcorn Time: From the start, Popcorn Time lets users know that their content is sourced from torrent websites, which puts the site’s legality in a gray area. However, as long as you’re only streaming and not downloading, you are in a slightly safer position. To secure your privacy, combine Popcorn Time with a VPN.
These three sites’ claim to legality lies on the fact that they don’t save content on their servers. If you want safer options, then you should go to free streaming sites that host only licensed materials. Two examples are:
- Viewster: All movies here are legally licensed. Expect lots of ads during streaming
- Tubi: The streaming site paid for the licensed content. Still, like with Viewster, you have to endure the ads.
Since Viewster and Tubi only stream licensed content, they are safe choices.
Netflix and other legal sites
Aside from Putlocker and free streaming sites, you also have additional options with paid, legal streamers. Take Netflix as an example. The content is licensed, so no worries about copyright infringement. There are no annoying ads to interrupt your viewing. However, not all content will be available to your region due to geo-restrictions, but you can address that issue by using a VPN for Netflix.