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What is 123movies?

Netflix, Hulu, and AmazonPrime Videos are all names and brands that are familiar to us. All of these are online streaming services where we can watch an overabundance of different shows. Another thing all of these streaming services have in common is that they all charge some amount of money to provide you with their streaming services. This is where 123movies is different. What is 123movies, you might ask? 123movies is a file streaming site based in Vietnam that allows its users to stream shows and movies for free.

The site 123movies went through several name changes and was shut down a couple of times. In 2018, 123movies was dubbed as the world’s most popular illegal site by the Motion Picture Association of America and was subsequently shut down. However, the site is once again up and running with the help of various proxy sites.

123movies offers films in HD, HD-RIP, Blu-ray, and even cam quality. It uses video hosts and players such as Openload, Mycloud, and Streamango to stream its movies and shows.

Development and growth of 123movies?

123movies has undergone multiple domains and name changes over the years. The original domain name for 123movies was 123movies.to, which was later changed into other domains such as 123movies.is. Later on, it was redirected to gomovies.to and gomovies.is. The current domain name used by 123movies is 123moviesc.to.

In October 2016, 123movies was dubbed as the “most-used pirate website” in the UK by Business Insider.

In 2017, the creators of 123movies launched another streaming service that was solely dedicated to anime and was aptly names AnimeHub.to.

Between 2017 and 2018, 123movies was shut down because of a various criminal investigation. But in 2018, 123movies resurfaced under a different domain name. And today, in 2020, 123moives is run under 123moviesc.to/.

One thing to note- 123movies WAS officially shutdown in 2018, and every site that has been in existence from that point onwards has been a copy of the original site. These sites are known as mirrors and look very similar to the original 123movies.

Is 123movies illegal?

The answer to this depends and varies on your location. Federal law concerning intellectual property, copyright infringement, and anti-piracy differs from country to country. So depending on where you are currently residing, 123movies may or may not be legal for you.

In some countries, streaming content on sites such as 123movies is entirely legal, while in other countries, this is questionable. However, you need not be too concerned because mostly, it is the website that is liable and not the end-user.

Here is a list of countries where websites and services such as 123movies are legal and illegal.

Having said that, 123movies is inaccessible in several countries due to its questionable nature. A VPN will help you bypass these geo-location blockades.

Is 123movies harmful to my computer?

“Is 123movies harmful for my computer?” “Is 123movies safe?”- these questions have no direct black and white answers. Sites like 123movies aren’t safe, but then they aren’t entirely unsafe either. There are certain features on the website that can be harmful to your privacy and your computer, but other than that, browsing on these websites should be a perfectly fine experience.

As mentioned before in this article, 123movies was officially shut down in 2018, after a criminal investigation involving the Vietnamese authorities. So now 123movies exists under various proxies and mirrors. These websites may have harmful popups and ads that may contain viruses and malware that are potentially harmful to your computer. So, be wary of mirrors and proxies.

However, all of these problems have a straightforward solution- use a good quality VPN! We further discuss how a VPN keeps you safe when using 123movies later in this article.

How to safely stream content on 123movies

Here is a step by step guide on how to safely stream content on 123movies-

  1. Use a VPN.
  2. The VPN should be a premium quality one that offers good encryption options.
  3. Do some research to find which countries have legal access to 123movies (such as Poland, Spain, and Switzerland).
  4. Install the VPN and then connect to one of these countries.
  5. You can now safely browse and stream movies and shows from 123movies.

How can a VPN keep you safe on 123movies?

The main functions of a VPN are to provide you with greater security and privacy when you are browsing the internet. This includes encrypting your data, masking your geographical location, and altering your IP address.

As mentioned before, 123movies has certain geo-restrictions that a VPN can easily help you overcome. 123movies is a free streaming website, so it generates a lot of its revenue from various ads displayed on the site. These ads can often have questionable and malicious origins. Using a VPN to access streaming sites like 123movies is a good idea to keep your information safe from malicious third parties. Premium VPNs such as NordVPN also come with built-in AD blockers, which are great for blocking the bad, annoying ads that pop up on the site.

VPNs good for 123movies’

VPNs play an essential role in ensuring a smooth and safe browsing experience on 123movies. This point has been highlighted several times in this article. Now that we have answered what is 123movies, here is a short list of the best VPNs you can use to browse on 123movies.

1. ExpressVPN

  • ExpressVPN has 94 servers located globally.
  • It offers unlimited bandwidth, which is very important when streaming movies and shows online.
  • ExpressVPN uses 256-bit encryption, which ensures terrific privacy when using streaming sites such as 123movies.
  • ExpressVPN can be downloaded and used on Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, and even Linux.
  • The guaranteed 30-day-money-back offer is an enticing one. It also means that you can try out ExpressVPN and judge its service quality for yourself.

2. NordVPN

  • NordVPN is considered one of the greatest VPNs available on the market.
  • It has over 5000 servers located worldwide. This means a fast connection with a board spectrum of locations is available for you.
  • NordVPN offers military-grade encryption, which makes it a great choice for using 123movies and other streaming services.
  • CyberSec is a special feature offered by NordVPN that blocks viruses, malware, and other threats. This is why NordVPN is especially recommended when using streaming sites. Streaming sites have various popups and ads that can be malicious, and NordVPN effectively blocks these.
  • It also offers a 30-day-money-back guarantee.
  • Available on the PlayStore and the Apple Store, and compatible with Windows and Linux.

3. Surfshark

  • SurfShark offers CleanWeb.
  • CleanWeb removes viruses, blocks malware, and harmful ads. It provides an all-rounded safe browsing experience.
  • Another feature offered by Surfshark is MultiHop.
  • MultiHop is a unique feature that enables you to connect to more than one VPN server simultaneously. This increases security and the complexity of the encryption offered.
  • Surfshark allows you to connect to an innumerable number of devices. It has no set limit.
  • It also offers a 30-day-money-back guarantee.

4. CyberGhost

  • With CyberGhost, you can simultaneously connect to 7 devices.
  • CyberGhost has server locations in over 5,700 different places around the world.
  • With CyberGhost, you can rest assured that your browsing history will not be stalked. It has a strict no-logs policy.
  • It also comes equipped with an ad-blocking feature that makes it a perfect companion when using streaming sites such as 123movies.
  • Investing in CyberGhost VPN comes with very low risk with its 45-day-money-back-guarantee.


  • IPVnish has servers in over 1,200 different locations around the globe.
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited server switching
  • Zero-traffic logs
  • Investing in IPVanish is a little risker than others because you only get seven days to make up your mind. It comes with a 7-day-money-back guarantee.

Alternatives for 123movies

Well-known alternatives for 123movies include streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, AmazonPrime Videos, HBO, Vudu, etc.

One very important free alternative is torrent downloads.

Other alternatives for 123movies include-

  1. Popcornflix- Popcornflix is an easy to use streaming site that offers a wide range of old and new TV shows. Popcornflix is mostly known for its older selection of shows. It also offers an app that you can download into your phone and stream movies and shows on the go.
  2. Putlocker- Putlocker is a very popular streaming website that has gone through its fair share of ups and downs regarding legalities. Therefore it is not always up and running. It is neither is the safest nor the most reliable option for streaming.
  3. WatchFree- WatchFree also covers a wide range of movies and shows. You don’t need to register for any accounts and the website interface is very user-friendly. You simply need to go to the website, choose your movie and start watching!

Final Thoughts

123movies is a well-rounded, attractive, and free streaming website with a wide selection of movies and shows available. Hopefully, this article has been able to satiate your curiosity and provide you with adequate knowledge in answer to what is 123movies. The streaming site, like most things, has its benefits and drawbacks. VPNs are the best way to reduce any malicious side effects of using the site. Streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and AmazonPrime videos can charge you up to $12 a month for their streaming services. Moreover, the content available on these sites is often limited. Keeping these points in mind, we can conclude that 123movies is a helpful site with its wide range of available content and free service.  


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The question "what is 123movies?" is answered along with tips on how to safely use the service. The legalities of 123movies is also discussed.

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