The world of online and digital video is one of the never-ending conflicts between copyright owners and individuals who would like to watch movies and TV shows without paying for them. Whether it’s torrenting sites like The Pirate Bay or online apps like Putlocker, the file sharers and streamers devise a technology or a method for distributing “free” content, and the copyright holders find a way to shut them down. This cycle recently came around again back in May of 2016, when the popular file-sharing website Putlocker was blocked in the UK; by the end of 2016, further threats of legal action from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) put Putlocker permanently out of business…for about fifteen seconds.
Where Can I Watch Free Movies Online?
Since the shutdown, literally dozens of mirror sites for Putlocker, near-exact replicas of the original, have, appeared online, and many are still quite active. From Putlockertv.ist, Putlockers.movie to Putlockers.mn, there are a lot of them out there all offering the same service as the original. It is unknown whether any of them are run by the original Putlocker team, at least one of whom had some mild consequences in the legal system. The reliability and level of security of these replacement sites we can’t determine, and they regularly are suppressed by the authorities before popping back up again with a new domain name.
In this article, I’m not going to try to identify the Putlocker descendants that are the best or the most reliable or the most secure; you can Google “putlocker” and find dozens of sites using the Putlocker name to do the same thing. Instead, I’m going to show you several reliable and secure (at least as of the time of this writing) places to stream your favorite TV or movie.
Some or all of these services or apps may host copyrighted material without the permission of the rights owners. Any site which either hosts or links to copyrighted material for which it lacks distribution rights are, subject to getting taken down by copyright enforcers. Also, your ISP may identify that you are streaming copyrighted material, and there could be legal or financial consequences to you for doing so. TechJunkie assumes no responsibility or liability for the way anyone uses the information presented in this article, which we provide for informational purposes only. Note that these sites and apps sometimes move from host to host; if you click on a link and find a dead or nonresponsive page, try Googling the app or site name to find its latest location.
If you plan to use your Internet connection to download or stream any content for which you are not 100% sure about the copyright status, you should install and run virtual private network (VPN) software. A correctly-configured VPN essentially makes you anonymous online. Basically it blocks your ISP from being able to tell that you are downloading potentially illegal content. TechJunkie has a number of articles to help you get a VPN working for your Internet connection, including our reviews of the best VPNs as of April 2019, this overview of how we assess and review VPN software, how to use a VPN with your Fire TV Stick, how to turn off your VPN, and the best VPNs for your Samsung phone. You may also want to look into getting a router that is equipped to run VPN software at the router level.
What Other Sites are Like Putlocker? – Websites
While Putlocker was ostensibly a “file-sharing” website, Popcorn Time gets right to the point: Watch torrented movies instantly. You can watch from your browser using the Popcorn Time Online web service, or use the app (see below).
The interface and app is pretty good, with clear category selections and lots of new and up-and-coming titles. There are the usual straight-to-tv movies here, but the selection does also includes many blockbuster and top TV titles too. The app and the website both appear to be stable, and the platform is available in 44 different languages making it a truly global alternative.
However, Popcorn Time has run into its share of legal difficulties over time and the site (like Putlocker) has been put down and then reborn more than once. Also, users should be aware that because Popcorn Time is a torrent-based architecture when you are watching a movie, you are also engaged in providing the movie to other users. This is not onerous in terms of bandwidth, but it does make users legally liable as being distributors of the possibly copyrighted material. Accordingly, if you use Popcorn Time to watch movies and TV shows, it is vital to have a useful VPN installed.
Solar Movie is another well-regarded streaming site. The site is clean, fast, and easy to use. It doesn’t have the slickest interface in the world, but it makes short work of finding movies and TV shows to watch. Both have their own category, and there is also a useful search function should you need it. The range of movies and shows seems mixed. Some titles are quite obscure, but others are much more well-known. Streaming is seamless, too. Highlight a title, and a popup appears, select “Watch,” and a new screen shows with the title front and center. As long as your internet connection is sufficiently fast to handle the quality, Solar Movie streams flawlessly.
Solar Movie, like other entries in this category, has been fragmented and forked several times. If the above link doesn’t work, try Googling “Solar Movie,” and another fork or mirror will undoubtedly be up and running. Like Popcorn Time, Solar Movie is a torrent-based app, and you must have a good VPN if you use it.
FMovies is a lot like Solar Movie but has a slick interface. It also seems to contain many more Hollywood titles and mainstream TV shows. The categorization is better at FMovies, and the overall browsing experience is better.
However, when it comes to the most important part of streaming online – the watching – FMovies can falter. When the servers are under peak load, selecting and viewing a title can take up to a minute. To play a movie or TV show, click one to be taken to the movie page. The movie should begin playing automatically. Be aware, though, that when you click the film on the page, a popup ad will appear. Leave the page alone, and the content should play without anything else happening.
Like all the services in this category, FMovies is a torrent-based app, and you are part of the distribution network, so keep your VPN turned on.
123Movies has been around for a while, and it may or may not be a clone of the original, depending on what you read online. Either way, this version of the site works well. The website itself is slick and easy to use. It has the usual category selections, and you can even filter by country if you are looking for a foreign film. The collection is extensive and covers most new releases.
Selection is simple: Find a title, select it, and it takes you to its page. The movie will play automatically or after a quick prompt. Media loads smoothly, buffers quickly, and offers HD playback without any fuss.
123Movies uses torrents, so you’re helping to distribute material whenever you use it. Keep that VPN working.
What Can I Use Instead of Putlocker? – Apps
If you don’t want to use your browser for movies and TV, you can also use a standalone app on your PC, smartphone, or tablet. In this section, I’ll introduce a few apps that work well for watching movies and shows. Note that similar legal warnings apply – many of these apps use streaming, and it’s essential to protect yourself with VPN software.
Hey, wait, didn’t we just talk about Popcorn Time above? We did, and the service also has an app. The app is available for Android, Windows, Linux, and Mac, and you can download it here. Install the app, find a title, select it, and it plays.
Showbox is the Android fork of an older (now dead) app called Moviebox. The idea is the same as all the other apps and services in this article: streaming movies and TV shows at no charge. Showbox requires sideloading on your phone, as the official app stores do not support it. You can get the Android version here.
PlayBox HD is another alternative that runs on both iPhones and Androids. It works just like Showbox and has a lot of HD content. PlayBox HD has a clean and straightforward UI design, and it streams quickly and without buffering on a good WiFi connection.
Crackle is a bit different than most of the sites and apps here; it’s owned by Sony and presents only licensed content, so you don’t need to worry about a VPN. Everything on Crackle is a good quality video, and the app lets you do things like save your favorites and create playlists. Crackle has a clean and straightforward UI, and you can search and sort the shows and movies you want to watch.
Sky HD (not connected with the UK television channel) only works on Android and is essentially a carbon copy of PlayBox HD. It doesn’t have anythinggoing for it in the way of originality, but it works great and seems to be reliable.
CinemaBox is basically another Showbox clone. It does add the ability to view content offline, which is excellent if you don’t always have WiFi access or plan an extended vacation in the woods but want to take some movies with you. CinemaBox is available on both Android and iOS.
Currently, it doesn’t seem like CinemaBox is operating, but that doesn’t mean they won’t return in the future. If you see CinemaBox again, let us know, and we’ll update the URL. Until then, you can use all the other websites, as they are currently operational since December 1st, 2019.
Stremio, like Sony Crackle, is an entirely legitimate service that takes your streams from Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, etc., and collects them all in one place for your convenience. Stremio offers versions for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. The UI looks like most of the other movie apps we’ve discussed and will also work with movies and show video files you already have stored locally.
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