Is Putlocker Safe? What Is It and How to Safely Use It

Putlocker may be free but there could be a hidden price

Putlocker has a lot of movies ready for streaming, but it almost seems too good to be true. Is Putlocker safe, and could watching movies on it get you in legal trouble?

So, what is Putlocker, and is Putlocker a safe site to visit?

What Is Putlocker?

The odd thing about Putlocker is that there isn’t just the one. If you search on the internet, you’ll find plenty of websites claiming to be a Putlocker. A better question is “what are Putlockers?”.

The original Putlocker streaming-video website was hosted in the UK in 2011. It saw good traffic until regulators shut down another movie-streaming site, Megaupload. After that, Megaupload’s users migrated to Putlocker, boosting its online presence further.

Its popularity put it in the sights of copyright holders, who expressed concern Putlocker’s damage to their business. As such, the UK government eventually blocked access to the website.

Since then, countless imitators have tried to create clones. These are hosted on websites with different names. Because the Putlocker block affects the URL, altering the URL (for example, Putlocker.ca instead of Putlocker.com) gets around this block.

This is why there are so many copies of Putlocker out there. As law enforcement blocks one website, people put up ten more copies to keep it alive. It’s in many ways similar to Popcorn Time and Flixtor.

Is Putlocker Illegal?

image of a courthouse judge's bench

So far, everything sounds very convenient for users; almost too convenient. But is Putlocker legal, and can you get into trouble for watching movies on it?

Putlocker’s history is rife with allegations of copyright infringement. Its modern-day iterations are no different. Using Putlocker is illegal in any country where the act of streaming movies is outlawed.

This is where the law gets into a weird gray area. It’s possible for a country to forbid torrenting movies, but not streaming. The reason for this is that torrenting a movie also uploads the data to other people, which is considered distributing copyrighted content. Streaming them, however, isn’t distributing the content to others, which isn’t illegal in some countries.

As such, please do some research into your country’s streaming laws before visiting a Putlocker website. We do not condone using Putlocker movies for illegal streaming. If streaming without permission is illegal in your country, consider a video service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime’s collection.

Is Putlocker a Safe Site?

security image which shows a computer screen

Creating mirrors of a website is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it creates websites at a faster rate they can be shut down, which means there should always be a working mirror. On the other, it means anyone can set up a website and claim it’s legitimate, and people are more willing to believe it.

As Putlocker mirrors pop up and shut down, it’s hard to keep track of what’s legitimate and what’s not. Malicious agents can take advantage of the confusion by creating Putlocker mirrors laced with viruses and unwanted programs. For example, one Putlocker mirror tricked users into downloading a Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP) by displaying a fake Java installation window.

Even if a Putlocker site means well, they link to movies that are on other websites. These websites may not have the best digital hygiene, either. For instance, an advertising host may generate money for the site, but sometimes these ads are links to malware.

Staying Safe on Putlockers

If you’re not deterred from using a Putlocker and it’s legal in your country to do to, there are ways to stay safe when using a Putlocker.

1. Use “Legitimate” Putlocker Sites

We say “legitimate” because we are discussing video-streaming websites. There’s a lot of Putlocker variants out there, and some mean less well than others.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as sticking to one website forever. These websites tend to phase in and out of existence at will. There’s a reason why websites listing Putlocker sites often specifically state that they’re working on a specific year. They get shut down so fast, it’s hard to keep them straight.

2. Use a Secure Browser

These days, your antivirus isn’t your first line of defense. Browsers are getting good at identifying threats as they occur and blocking them. Using a secure browser such as Firefox and Chrome goes a long way—double-so if you install anti-script addons to them. Our official recommendation, though, is to harden Firefox by customizing its security features.

3. Use a VPN

If you’re worried about websites tracking your viewing habits, try a VPN. For use with streaming sites, we recommend using ExpressVPN or Windscribe VPN (our review).

These create a secure tunnel between you and the VPN service, then directs traffic from the VPN’s server to the destination site. As such, if a Putlocker site tries to trace back to you, it ends up with your VPNs details instead.

4. Be Vigilant of What You Click

Sometimes the best antivirus is common sense. Malicious ads will sometimes trick you into clicking them by masking themselves as innocent, or even helpful, messages.

For example, you may see something pop up that claims it’s a Flash installer. The pop-up will state that you cannot watch the video until you update your Flash, then provides a button. Of course, if you click this ad, it’ll proceed to download unwanted programs.

When you’re watching media across a myriad of sites, it’s hard to tell which ones will treat you with respect and which ones will try to trick you into clicking them. Stay on guard and don’t click any update buttons unless you’re certain it’s the real deal.

Using Putlockers Safely

Putlockers can be dangerous. From phony sites to malicious movie sources to potential legal action, there’s a lot out there that can make someone want to pay for a Netflix subscription instead.

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