123Movies: Is It Safe and Legal in 2024? (All About It)

Ruheni Mathenge  - Streaming Expert
Last updated: February 21, 2024
Read time: 14 minutes

This article uncovers if 123Movies is safe to use and legal today. We also explore watching content securely on it alongside its best alternatives.


It was a well-known streaming website allowing users to watch and download their favorite films and TV shows for free. However, the original site was shut down due to copyright infringement issues. Yet, some unauthorized mirror sites do exist that are now gaining popularity, offering the same content. Nevertheless, accessing third-party hosted websites may indulge you in legal and cybersecurity-related problems. This guide particularizes how to safely access 123Movies and some legal alternatives available today.

Sadly, many free movie streaming sites have dangerous malware and viruses embedded that can steal your private data or damage your device. You should use a VPN when accessing 123Movies clones and similar sites. Doing so will also enable you to bypass geo-restrictions to access your favorite content from anywhere. This article will examine the site’s legality, consequences, how to stay safe, alternatives, and more.

Is it safe to use 123 Movies?

123Movies safe

The level of protection associated with 123Movies relies on the mirror you opt for. After the takedown of the original website, accessing it is only possible through duplicated versions, commonly referred to as “mirrors.”

Using third-party-hosted 123 Movies mirrors carries potential hazards, as their owners might insert harmful code into the website, leading to malware infecting your device. Moreover, these mirror sites often feature intrusive ads and pop-ups.

Unfortunately, numerous online mirrors pose significant security risks. For your safety, we advise avoiding 123Movies mirrors. Instead, explore our list of safe and tested best alternatives covered later in this article.

The safest way to access 123Movies.com and stream content from its clones online is to use a VPN. A VPN masks your IP address, bypassing geo-restrictions and accessing content safely.

A quick guide to safely accessing 123Movies worldwide

The website is illegal to use in some countries, but accessing it can still pose risks even in jurisdictions where it is technically legal. Here are safe steps to stream content on it in 2024 if your jurisdiction allows using it:

  1. Use a trustworthy VPN such as ExpressVPN. NordVPN is also a good choice.
  2. Use robust antivirus software that offers web protection alongside keeping your VPN connected. We recommend Norton 360.
  3. Finally, be careful to visit only the legitimate 123Movies website or its credible mirror websites.

Disclaimer: Accessing the 123Movies website to watch movies and TV shows may technically be illegal in certain jurisdictions. It offers a vast collection of TV series and movies for free. But all without proper licensing agreements with the respective content owners. We strongly advise our readers to check their local laws before accessing or using any such website. The information provided here is solely for educational and informational purposes. We never encourage or condone illegal activities. You may access this website to stream movies at your own risk. We shall not be held responsible for any legal consequences that may arise if you watch free content using 123 Movies, its clones, or alternatives.

Best VPNs to Watch 123Movies – Quick list

Short on time? Below are the top VPNs you can use to watch this free streaming website:

  1. NordVPN – Robust security features and fast-speed servers for a fascinating streaming experience.
  2. ProtonVPN – Impressive privacy measures and has a free plan with three servers and solid encryption.
  3. Surfshark – Budget-friendly plans and offers unlimited simultaneous connections, which means you can connect as many devices as you want.

Is 123Movies illegal?

There is no straightforward answer to this question. That is because every jurisdiction has its stand on copyrighted content. For example, many countries have strict laws prohibiting downloading or streaming copyrighted content to protect intellectual property. However, other regions allow it.

Therefore, you should check your country’s copyright infringement and piracy laws before accessing sites like 123Movies. The table below shows the general stance on piracy in different countries worldwide.

CountriesStand on piracy
Switzerland, Spain, and PolandPirating is permitted for personal use
China, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Finland, Japan, Italy, Russia, Portugal, Latvia, United States, and South AfricaPirating is prohibited
Czech Republic, Colombia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Israel, India, Greece, Egypt, Denmark, Philippines, Mexico, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovakia, Uruguay, and SloveniaPirating is illegal, but prosecution is not active

Remember that downloading and streaming copyrighted content is almost the same thing.

If you intend to use the source for watching movies online, look at it this way. It has to get downloaded in real time and cleared from the cache when you leave the site to stream anything online.

However, the fact remains that you have already downloaded the content. This is like downloading a torrent and then immediately deleting it after watching.

Besides countries having different stances on copyrighted content, the consequences of breaking those rules differ. For example, you can get hefty fines or go to jail if caught downloading copyrighted content in Germany. On the other hand, you may only receive a warning in other countries.

Prosecuting streaming websites like 123 Movies is even more challenging since the files get cleared after streaming content. However, your IP address can let government and third parties track you.

At the same time, although they may have anti-copyright laws, some countries don’t prosecute people for streaming content on illegal sites. In most cases, the authorities will act on individuals distributing copyrighted content, not online viewers.

Note: This article provides a review of 123Movies and other necessary information. We are online security and privacy experts and not lawyers, so don’t take it as legal advice. Also, remember that laws differ in every country and change constantly. Therefore, consult your local legal expert if you have questions about the rules and regulations in your country.

How to use 123Movies securely

We don’t advocate using it in countries that prohibit its access. However, many jurisdictions allow such streaming sites primarily for personal use. You can use it to watch free movies online.

Notwithstanding, when using its mirror, you must safeguard yourself from snooping eyes, malware, or malicious websites. So, you use a VPN and antivirus to secure your private data and device.

A reliable and trustworthy VPN service like ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access (PIA) will mask your internet traffic and activities from third parties like your ISP or government.

Still, remember that streaming copyrighted sites such as 123Movies are only allowed in a few countries. So, even if a VPN hides your IP address and anonymizes your online activities, it is good to follow local laws. Besides, using antivirus software will protect your device from malicious malware.

Given that you’ve considered everything discussed above, below are simple steps to follow for watching content on any device:

  1. Sign up with a quality VPN. Select and subscribe to a top-notch VPN such as Private Internet Access, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Surfshark.
  2. Pick a server. Select a server of your choice and connect to it. We recommend connecting to a server from a country that permits using the site.
  3. Start watching HD movies of your choice. The site doesn’t require creating an account, so that’s all you have to do.

Please note: PrivacySavvy never encourages streaming copyrighted content on sites such as 123Movies. So, first, check out if such websites are permitted in your country before accessing them. Shun the sites if they are outlawed to avoid getting into trouble.

Can a VPN really secure my connections on 123Movies?

As mentioned above, due to the potential threats, you need to ensure a safe and smooth experience when using this website. You can take the necessary safety measures to protect your network and device from intrusions. And yes, a VPN is the most efficient way to safeguard your connections and stay private on 123 Movies.

The VPNs we list in the next section are high-quality services that ensure online security and anonymity (we have tested them ourselves). They all have AES 256-bit encryption that will prevent third parties from snooping on your activities or stealing your data. If anyone manages to access your information, they cannot decipher it.

Furthermore, some VPN providers like NordVPN and Surfshark offer an ad blocker that prevents annoying pop-ups so you can watch ad-free 123Movies. In addition, they block malicious malware to protect your device.

Another important VPN feature is the kill switch. It will cut your traffic from the internet if your VPN connection drops to keep you safe. So, the combination of these security features will protect you when using 123Movies or similar sites.

Besides upholding your online security and privacy, a VPN can come in handy in many ways. For example, it can help you bypass geo-restrictions of famous sites in your region. This will ensure you get unlimited content, no matter where you live.

Best 123Movies VPNs today

As previously mentioned, a VPN is an excellent way to use sites like 123 Movies. It will act as an encryption tunnel between your device and the server you are accessing. The best VPNs to stream content on it are:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN for Streaming

Our top value VPN for streaming 123Movies. Providing its best services without compromising the privacy of its users is one of its top priorities.

servers More than 5,000 VPN servers in 60 countries 
P2P optimized servers Offers P2P friendly servers
encryption AES-256-bit encryption
Zero-logs policy Zero-log policy
Kill switch Kill switch feature
simultaneous connections Up to 6 devices simultaneously with one subscription
protection Web protection
MultiHop mode MultiHop (double VPN) Mode
money-back guarantee 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Robust security and privacy features
  • Extensive server network
  • Fast speeds
  • Reliable customer support
  • Cramped desktop interface 

NordVPN is the safest VPN in the industry, with excellent all-around security features. That is why we highly recommend using it when accessing illegal and unsafe sites.

Besides hiding your IP address, the VPN will secure your connections with AES 256-bit encryption. It also has an automatic kill switch, DDoS protection, DNS leak protection, split tunneling, and many more features.

Another handy security feature is the CyberSec suite. It blocks all intrusive ads and prevents malicious malware from installing on your device. This will improve your streaming experience on 123Movies mirror sites filled with advertisements.

Moreover, the double VPN feature lets you pass your connection through two servers instead of one. This adds an extra security layer, although the speed may drop slightly.

Apart from keeping you safe, NordVPN will also enable you to bypass the restrictions of popular streaming services like Netflix. Finally, the provider boasts a massive network of over 5307 servers worldwide, giving you access to your favorite content from anywhere.

2. Proton VPN

Proton VPN new VPN block logo

The best freemium choice for 123Movies. The software comes with a free version and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

servers 1,538 servers in 63 countries 
encryption AES-256-bit encryption
P2P optimized servers Supports P2P (torrenting)
Kill switch Kill switch
Zero-logs policy Zero-logging
MultiHop mode Boasts MultiHop Mode
simultaneous connections Allows unlimited simultaneous devices per account
money-back guarantee 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Military-grade encryption 
  • Unblocks Netflix 
  • A free plan 
  • Mediocre speed on some servers

Proton VPN is the best Freemium VPN for 123Movies. This means it offers both a subscription and a free option, better than completely free VPNs.

The AES 256-bit encryption will ensure your traffic and data are incredibly safe. It also employs the perfect forward secrecy, continuously changing the encryption key. Also, the automatic kill switch will disable the internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly.

Another noteworthy feature is the Secure Core servers. They will add an extra security layer by running your data through two servers, which other providers term multi-hoping. However, the first destination will be the secure core servers placed in Sweden, Iceland, and Switzerland.

Last but not least, ProtonVPN’s Netshield adblocker will protect you against annoying ads, malware, and trackers. Unfortunately, it is only available when the VPN is active and fails to prevent YouTube ads.

3. Surfshark


A new kid on the block turning the market upside down with its performance at a low cost. It has fast streaming speeds and its servers are highly secured.

servers 3,500 servers spread across 65 countries
encryption AES-256-bit encryption
P2P optimized servers Supports P2P sharing (torrenting)
Split tunneling feature Supports split tuneling
Kill switch Automatic kill switch
Zero-logs policy Zero-logging
MultiHop mode Boasts MultiHop Mode
simultaneous connections Allows unlimited simultaneous devices per account
money-back guarantee 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Budget-friendly 
  • Strong and secure encryption 
  • Effective adblocker
  • Some servers are a bit slow

Surfshark is the best affordable premium VPN to access 123Movies. It boasts top-notch features that will keep you safe and anonymous.

First, the military-grade AES 256-bit encryption will prevent third parties like hackers, government agencies, or your ISP from seeing your online activities. Also, the kill switch feature will cut your connection if the VPN drops to maintain your privacy. Additionally, the CleanWeb suite blocks ads and malware to improve your security.

Furthermore, the Camouflage mode will be helpful if you live in a country restricting VPN usage, like China. The technology, also known as obfuscation, will make your VPN connection look normal under deep packet inspection (DPI).

Surfshark operates more than 3,500 servers in over 65 countries. With its impressive unblocking capabilities, you can stream content from any service you like. Also, unlimited data and fast-speed servers will give you a buffer-free streaming experience.

Is 123Movies safe for downloaders?

123Movies is not permitted everywhere. Even so, you should take the necessary security measures if you live in a region where the site is available. Here is how to do it.

Use a combination of a reliable VPN like NordVPN or Surfshark and an antivirus like TotalAV. That will ensure you can access a trustworthy mirror safely or search for its mirrors on your browser. However, Google doesn’t always show mirror sites, so you must find a site listing 123 movie mirrors if you wish to download movies and other stuff.

123Movies alternatives: Paid and Free

Unfortunately, finding a free and legal streaming and downloading site seems impossible, right? But, no anymore. Below, we covered some paid and free 123movies alternatives.

You will pay a small fee on some platforms to access an extensive content library containing content, including movies and TV series. While they may not have the latest movies and other content in one place like some illegal sites, the collection is enormous. Here are some famous free and legal (paid) alternatives to the site.

Streaming service providerStatusDescription
MoviesJoyFreeMoviesJoy contains no virtual ads, making it a fantastic choice for hassle-free content viewing. Despite its small library, it has an easy-to-use interface and its content mainly streams in HD.
NetflixPaidIt is probably the most significant streaming service worldwide, with a wide range of content from movies, documentaries, TV shows, anime, etc. In fact, Android users can access some of the content for free in some regions. Moreover, you can use a VPN to access Netflix libraries in other areas.
Disney PlusPaidThe streaming service solely focuses on Disney Network content. Some popular titles include The Mandalorian, The Simpsons, WandaVision, Grey’s Anatomy, etc. However, it is only available in the US, so you need to use a VPN.
Amazon Prime VideoPaidThis is another popular streaming service with many movies and TV shows. It is available worldwide except in Iran, Mainland China, Syria, and North Korea. Some popular titles on the site include Jack Ryan, Made in Heaven, The Expanse, etc.
SolarMoviesFreeIt has a wide collection of older content as well as fresh releases. The platform enables you to watch the latest movies in high definition. Furthermore, it offers a user-friendly interface and excellent media content sorting capabilities. Also, its minimal pop-up ads allow for a smooth streaming experience.
HBO MaxPaidHBO Max provides a wide range of WarnerMedia library content, original programming, and additional titles licensed through third-party distributors. Some of the high-quality shows you will get on the site include Band of Brothers, Games of Thrones, The Sopranos, etc. Unfortunately, like Netflix, you’ll need to access its US catalog to enjoy HBO Max fully.
FlixTorFreeThis is one of the most popular free streaming services, with the largest collection of TV shows and movies. The streaming service offers free access to geo-restricted content from any location. Unfortunately, because of its popularity, it is frequently targeted by the authorities’ crackdown on torrenting.
Sling TVPaidThe search giant Google’s streaming service offers on-demand video, live TV and cloud-based DVR from over 85 Television Networks. So, although the subscription is slightly expensive, you will have access to coveted networks like ESPN, CBS, ABC, Fox, and more. However, Hulu is geo-blocked in the US, so you need a VPN to access it from other regions.
HuluPaidThe search giant Google’s streaming service offers on-demand video, live TV and cloud-based DVR from over 85 Television Networks. So, although the subscription is slightly expensive, you will have access to coveted networks like ESPN, CBS, ABC, Fox, and more. However, YouTube TV is geo-restricted to the US audience, so you need a VPN to access it from other regions.
YouTube TVPaidThe search giant Google’s streaming service offers on-demand video, live TV, and cloud-based DVR from over 85 Television Networks. So, although the subscription is slightly expensive, you will have access to coveted networks like ESPN, CBS, ABC, Fox, and more. However, YouTube TV is geo-restricted to the US audience, so you need a VPN to access it from other regions.
SubsMoviesFreeThis 123movies alternative provides subtitles in multiple languages. It is most certainly the most accessible option for streaming movies. Most likely, you will be able to access content in your native language. Furthermore, even for new users, the service features a superb and simple navigation design.
AZMoviesFreeThis option allows you to watch free movies online from anywhere worldwide. It also has an easy-to-use interface and a large library of movies, including both new releases and classics. However, this platform is densely filled with advertisements, necessitating users to use a VPN service with an ad-blocking capability, such as NordVPN, in geo-restricted regions.

Remember that streaming services use geo-restrictions and may not be available worldwide. For example, some are only accessible in the US, while others, like Disney Plus, are available in selected countries. Therefore, the best way to evade the restrictions is by using a trustworthy VPN to change your IP address.


123Movies has not existed since 2018, but many clone sites are still riding on its popularity. However, these sites host copyrighted content, and you can open yourself to hefty fines or even incarceration. Also, hackers can easily steal your data and infect your device with viruses. So, it would be best to use a reliable VPN like NordVPN to hide your IP address and encrypt your connections.


It will depend on your country of residence because many regions prohibit streaming/downloading copyrighted content. However, others allow it for personal use and not for redistribution. So, due to the disparity in regulations, you should check with your local laws before using such sites.

Some of its popular alternatives include Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, and Sling TV. However, you will need a subscription to access the content you want. Also, most are geo-restricted, so you may need a VPN.

The official 123 Movies site was shut down in 2018 and replaced with all kinds of mirrors. They are hosted and controlled by malicious actors that can inject malware into your device. Also, you can get hefty fines if you use sites in certain countries that have outlawed copyrighting.

It depends on the region you live in while streaming movies on 123Movies. In some jurisdictions, it is considered unlawful, while in others, it is illegal. Even if you live in a place where watching movies on unauthorized sites is illegal, users may not face strict consequences. You would be fined hundreds or thousands of dollars.

123Movies is a free movie streaming platform. We don’t recommend downloading movies, web series, or TV shows from such a site, as it showcases the content without the authorization and permission of the content owner. However, you should consider legal options like Prime Video or Netflix for this task.

Initially, the website was a big deal, with millions of monthly visitors. However, authorities started clogging down illegal streaming services like 123 Movies, and the owners finally gave up in 2018. Soon after, copycat sites emerged online, offering the same copyrighted content.

A lot of mirror sites popped up after the site went down. These clones carry malware and viruses, which can harm your device by infecting malicious and corrupted files. We recommended using a strong antivirus or a reliable VPN like NordVPN before streaming on 123Movies.

A VPN will mask your actual IP address and encrypt your traffic to keep you safe and anonymous online. As a result, your internet service provider, government agencies, or other third parties will not trace your activities on it. In addition, a VPN will help you access the 123Movie mirror websites in countries that have blocked them.

As we have consistently said in the article, mirror sites are unsafe. Hackers can easily steal your data or infect your device with malware. That is why we have recommended only premium VPNs like NordVPN that employ advanced security measures to safeguard your connections. Unfortunately, most free VPNs don’t have encryption or other essential security features, so they won’t keep you safe.

123movies.to was its original URL and name, then it changed to 123movies.is before redirecting to gomovies.to and finally to gomovies.is.

Share this article

About the Author

Ruheni Mathenge

Ruheni Mathenge

Streaming Expert
201 Posts

Tech researcher and writer with a passion for cybersecurity. Ruheni Mathenge specializes in writing long-form content dedicated to helping individuals and businesses navigate and understand the constantly evolving online security and web freedom worlds. He specializes in VPNs, online anonymity, and encryption. His articles have appeared in many respected technology publications. Ruheni explains complicated technical concepts clearly and simply. He advocates digital freedom and online privacy at every level.

More from Ruheni Mathenge


No comments.