How to Watch Movies and TV Online for Free
Author Info | Tech Tested
Updated: November 24, 2019
With a broadband connection and a bit of work, you can watch many movies and TV shows online for free. There are many sites that offer free access to visual media. It’s just a matter of finding them. Read these steps to learn how to watch movies and TV online for free.
Method 1 of 4:
Streaming Video Legally
Start with YouTube. YouTube is the largest and most popular video streaming site by far. It’s also a good place to listen to popular music, including current hits.
YouTube is also rife with homemade shows and series of all kinds. These usually have low production value but can be quite entertaining and informative.
Movies and mainstream TV shows can be found on YouTube, but more popular and well-known properties usually get taken off the site for copyright reasons. There are, however, a whole lot of movies in the public domain (not under copyright anymore).
Check out hulu.com. Hulu is a mainstream video site like YouTube that bridges the gap between free content and professional content. It features a rotating menu of films and TV shows for free, plus a more expansive monthly pay service.
Hulu tends to have a lot of free TV shows, but very few A-list shows. There’s usually a mix of older and newer shows available.
Hulu’s free film selection is fairly small, but it’s easy to search. Again, expect a mix of old and new titles.
Spend some time at vimeo.com. This site is a direct competitor to YouTube. As with YouTube, all of Vimeo’s content is free, but users can pay a fee to upgrade to higher-quality streaming and more space to upload their own videos.
Vimeo features independent, professional-quality work, such as artistic short films, as a point of pride. It also features plenty of ordinary user-created content.
TV shows and wide-release movies are rare on Vimeo, but obscure and small-budget projects abound.
Method 2 of 4:
Streaming From 3rd Party Sites
Know that you can still get in trouble for streaming illegal content. If you do not download a movie or show and instead stream it off a website, you are not legally responsible for the movie. However, putting up video for other people to stream is illegal if you do not own the copyright. It is also illegal to stream video for a public performance or to download any part of the video.
If you do not own the rights to something you are always, in some small way, legally at risk when streaming.
Perform an internet search for your title + streaming. There are plenty of other, smaller competitor sites that stream videos for your enjoyment. Nearly all of them are free. A Google search should reveal a few quickly.
Commonly used sites include Project Free TV, Megashare, Putlocker, Sockshare, Dailymotion, and WatchCartoonOnline.
A good template to find videos is: “(movie or show) full (put either *movie* or *episode* here) free.” For example, “Game of Thrones full episodes free.”
More specific queries will get more specific responses, such as Game of Thrones full episode 3, season 2, free.”
Never click “download” on a streaming site. These sites are funded with dubious advertisements and potential viruses. Usually, good common sense is enough to avoid issues, and when in doubt you should not click on a sketchy link. You can safely navigate to your video as long as you know what to avoid:
Claims to “speed up your computer,” or update your browser.
“Personalized” chat rooms, text bubbles, or conversations.
Claims that you have a virus, need to clean up something, or need “Administrative Privileges.”
Understand how to use mirror links. Most streaming sites don’t actually host the videos you want to watch. They are more like filing cabinets, holding links to every movie and episode they have access too. Once you click on a link from you internet search you’ll go to a page with series of links, often with names like VidShare, PutLocker, MooShare, etc. These links have the actual videos in them, and are usually ranked by usability.
There is often a “score” next to each video, telling you how good the quality is.
Never click on a “download” link, or click links outside of this list, as they are usually spam.
Choose a highly ranked mirror link. The title of the episode or movie is usually colored and bolded. This is your link. Click here to be taken to a new page with a rectangular video player in the middle.
If you are not taken to a video screen, exit out of the page and try another link.
Click the play button on the video screen. There may be a lot of other buttons an the site, but these are for ads. You can exit out of them by clicking on the small “X” in the upper right corner of the ad, but most of them disappear once your click the play button. This is usually in the bottom left corner of the video player.
Consider foreign sites if you cannot find your video. There are many foreign streaming video sites that exist in a legal gray area thanks to lax or out-of-date copyright protection laws in countries such as China and Russia. Though a dubious choice at best, these sites sometimes feature streaming media (especially major movies) that can’t be found for free anywhere else.
Exercise caution when dealing with foreign sites. Malware and spyware are common. Never download anything from these sites, and be sure that your antivirus program is up to date.
Expect extraordinarily slow load times. Unlike YouTube and other popular Western sites, most of these sites use outdated hardware that causes their videos to load slowly even on fast computers.
Know that search engines often remove the links to illegal content. If you are having a ton of trouble finding a working link on your search engine, click to “Read the DMCA complaint.” It’s a compiled list of links that search engines aren’t allowed to display on a search page. The links do still work, however, and if you copy and paste them into the search bar they will go to the correct page.
Method 3 of 4:
Torrent Movies and TV for Free
Understand that torrenting is illegal and can lead to viruses. Downloading TV and movie files directly onto your computer is not recommended due to the risk of lawsuits and viruses. If you get caught, you could face very stiff fines and/or jail time. That said, millions of people torrent across the globe to find exactly the movies and TV they want for free.
Install a torrent client. A torrent client is how you download torrents and convert them into a format you can watch. There is no central server – torrents are a way to share information from one computer to another. There are multiple clients available for free online. Some of the more popular ones are:
Find a torrent tracker website. There are a variety of websites that list torrents, which you can find by searching for “torrent tracker” online. The most reliable ones are easy to navigate, have a variety of links, and are not impossibly cluttered with advertisements.
Search for your show or movie. Most public trackers will have a copy of every recent show and movie shortly after they are released.
Use popular shorthand for finding the file you want. For example: if you need the second episode from the third season of a show, search for “show name s03e02.”
Download a well-populated torrent. Torrents are popular when they have “seeders,” which is often noted right next to the title after you search. The speed at which you can download a torrent file is determined by the number of seeders available.
Most torrent sites allow you to sort search results by the number of seeders by clicking on the word “seeders” at the top of the page. Torrents with many seeders are less likely to have viruses, as multiple people have used it successfully.
Check the comments to make sure the video works. Most sites have a comment section underneath the link to “download torrent.” Read as many comments as possible to determine if other users feel that the quality of the file is good and worth your time. Many sites also have a rating system that can help your quickly determine if the torrent is good.
Click “download torrent.” This will open the torrent in your client and automatically download the file. When it is done you can watch your videos!
Download a magnet link when possible. These files are slightly different than a standard torrent file. They match content based on an identifier that can then be found without central trackers.
Method 4 of 4:
Ensuring Your Computer Can Watch Movies
Test your ability to stream video on YouTube. Visit YouTube and choose a video that’s at least a few minutes long, such as a music video. Does the video load within 10-20 seconds and play back without pausing or skipping? If so, your connection is probably strong enough for most streaming video services. If not, look into getting a newer computer or a faster Internet connection.
Perform a speed test. To check your connection speed, visit SpeedTest.net and click the green button that says BEGIN TEST. Anything slower than about 256Kbps might be too slow for adequate video streaming.
Mbps is a higher number than Kbps. If your number has Mbps after it, you probably have an adequate connection speed. However, 0.535 Mbps is the same speed as 535.55 Kbps.
Nearly any new computer will be more than adequate for streaming video. If your computer is the problem, feel free to buy something very cheap as long as it’s new.
Update your plug-ins when prompted. Sometimes you’ll find a video that won’t play until your download a specific plug-in, which teaches your computer how to read the video. While you should always be aware of scams, the three main plug-ins to update are Microsoft Silverlight, DivX, and Adobe Flash.
Download free anti-virus software to protect your computer. Depending on how badly you want to view movies and TV, you may accidentally stumble upon sites with bugs and viruses. If you avoid downloading and clicking on ads, most of these can be avoided, but you should still be prepared.
Windows users can download AVG Anti-virus completely free.
Mac users can download Sophos anti-virus for free.
Could I get a virus doing this?
It’s always a possibility. Make sure you have a good anti-virus software that checks the websites you try to load before opening them, and run a virus scan on any files you download.
Can a Chrome Book stream movies from sockshare.com?
Yes. You can stream as long as you are connected to the Internet.
Can I watch some movies on websites without an internet connection?
You cannot access a website without an internet connection. If you want to watch movies without a connection, you will have to download the movies first.
I can get the video in the slot, but how do I make it play?
If you are playing it on a laptop, open it in documents, and it should play. On a TV, select the correct input.
Until relatively recently, YouTube had a roughly 10-minute video length limit throughout the site. This means that sometimes, movies can be found on YouTube divided into several 10-minute segments. If you’re willing to deal with each one loading separately, they usually work fine.
Downloading movies and TV shows without paying for them is piracy, make no mistake. Only take this risk if you have a good reason. Remember, public library systems and video rental services are cheap or free, and entirely legal.
Things You’ll Need
A computer, preferably a fairly new one
A broadband Internet connection
The proper software
Choose a Good Movie to Watch
Enjoy a Movie at Home
Download YouTube Videos
Download Movies Using uTorrent
Get Free Movies
Watch Movies Using Telnet
Find Websites To Watch Free Movies Online
Legally Watch TV and Movies Online
Watch Movies on Android
Watch Films on Kodi
About This Article
wikiHow Technology Team
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 153 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.
Updated: November 24, 2019
Article Rating: 71% – 193 votes
Categories: Watching Television Online | Watching Movies Online
Reader Success Stories
Feb 26, 2017
“How to avoid viruses and malware was the most important part of my research.”
More reader stories
Did this article help you?
Hillary Clinton Visits ‘The Graham Norton Show’ To Reveal What She Wishes She Told Donald Trump At Most Memorable Debate
by Brent Furdyk
Hillary Clinton is recalling one of the most memorable moments of her battle with Donald Trump for the presidency of America, when the two debated in St. Louis.
The former Secretary of State visited “The Graham Norton Show” show, and recalled how Trump roamed around the stage, standing behind her. “He loomed over me,” she told Norton. “It was all designed to get into my head.”
Asked if she realized what Trump was doing behind her as she spoke, she replied, “Yes, of course I did. I mean, I think any woman would know that somebody was [looming].”
RELATED: Hillary Clinton Visits Meghan Markle At Frogmore Cottage After Defending Her Over ‘Racist’ Backlash
Clinton told Norton that while the debate was happening, another debate was going on inside her head, as to whether she should maintain her composure and ignore Trump — which she did, believing it to be the more presidential path to take — or halt her remarks and address Trump directly.
In hindsight, she now regrets not doing the latter. “Maybe I should have turned around and said, ‘You’re not going to intimidate me like you try to intimidate women. Back off you creep!'” she told Norton. “You know, maybe I should have said that.”
RELATED: Hillary Clinton Responds After Mariah Carey Refers To Her As ‘President’
According to Clinton, what took place is “a real lesson, it’s a real thought lesson for women in public life or in the private sector, when you find yourself in these positions where a male co-worker, a boss, client, is really pushing you, trying to dominate you, our usual response is to just hold ourselves together and not respond, because if you’re too hot they accuse you of being angry,” she explained.
“If you’re kind of apologetic, like, ‘Please don’t do that to me,’ you’re accused of being weak. It’s really hard to get right in the sweet spot of being strong and effective without creating additional blowback,” she added.
Later in the show, Clinton was joined by daughter Chelsea Clinton to discuss the book they co-authored, The Book of Gutsy Women. During the conversation, the former First Daughter recalled the time she attempted to order a pizza to the White House, and also revealed that she and her mom are both big fans of animated U.K. kids’ show “Peppa Pig” — watch:
Country Newlyweds Carly Pearce And Michael Ray Share Heartwarming Story Of Celebrating Thanksgiving With A Stranger
by Brent Furdyk
Thanksgiving is a time to gather together with family, but for some people it can be one of the loneliest times of the year.
Newlywed country singers Michael Ray and Carly Pearce spent their first U.S. Thanksgiving together as spouses on Thursday and decided to have their holiday meal at a Cracker Barrel restaurant.
They noticed an elderly man sitting alone having a meal, “and asked if he would like to sit and have Thanksgiving dinner with us not knowing the blessing he was going to be,” Ray wrote on Instagram, where he shared the heartwarming story.
RELATED: Michael Ray And Carly Pearce Did Not Let The Rain Ruin Their Wedding Day: ‘It Was Way More Romantic’
“We sat and for 4hrs listened to Bills 89 year story,” Ray continued, detailing all the many facets of their new friend’s life “until we looked around and he said I think we are the only ones here haha. Bill eats slow, drinks his coffee black and loves ham a lot more than turkey, puts a cup holder over his coffee to keep it hot for longer and doesn’t like that AT&T keeps getting more and more expensive. He knows a little about a lot of things but I don’t think he knows how much this meant to CP and I.”
Added Ray: “We cherished every sec and let him just talk. He put so much in perspective for us both. Bill and us now have dinner plans in Jan. #thanksgiving.”
View this post on Instagram
Let me introduce y’all to Bill. We Flew home and decided to have Thanksgiving dinner @crackerbarrel tonight. We saw him sitting alone and asked if he would like to sit and have thanksgiving dinner with us not knowing the blessing he was going to be. We sat and for 4hrs listened to Bills 89 year story learned about his 4 years servicing in the army and about his wife Alice that passed away 2 years ago and how they met and the life that they lived, learned about his love of books, the stars and classical music and so many other incredible things until we looked around and he said I think we are the only ones here haha. Bill eats slow, drinks his coffee black and loves ham a lot more than turkey, puts a cup holder over his coffee to keep it hot for longer and doesn’t like that AT&T keeps getting more and more expensive. He knows a little about a lot of things but I don’t think he knows how much this meant to CP and I. We cherished every sec and let him just talk. He put so much in perspective for us both. Bill and us now have dinner plans in Jan. #thanksgiving
A post shared by Michael Ray (@michaelraymusic) on Nov 28, 2019 at 10:19pm PST
Ray and Pearce were married last month in a “whimsical and romantic” Nashville ceremony.
“Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that I didn’t settle for something less than truly the person that I think was made for me is something that I am thankful for,” Pearce told People of her wedding.
RELATED: Michael Ray Wants Carly Pearce To Let Him Invite ‘Three More People’ To Their Wedding
“No matter what, I have her in my corner,” Ray added. “No matter what, she has me in her corner. I tell her, you’re never going to face anything alone. Never will there be anything in life that you don’t look over and I’m standing beside you.”
Brent Furdyk | November 29, 2019 at 3:0
Brett Eldredge Performs ‘Best Man Speech’ Song At Brother’s Wedding
by Shakiel Mahjouri
Brett Eldredge delivered a “Best Man Speech” the best way he knew how.
The country crooner was designated as the Best Man for his brother, Brice Eldredge’s, wedding. Eldredge put his talents to use and performed a one-of-a-kind song in dedication to his brother. He shared videos of the performance on Instagram.
RELATED: Brett Eldredge Discovers A Huge Snake In His Toilet
“I woke up very emotional in the middle of the night a few months ago with the realization that my big brother was about to get married and that we were no longer kids anymore,” Eldredge explained in the post’s caption.
View this post on Instagram
I woke up very emotional in the middle of the night a few months ago with the realization that my big brother was about to get married and that we were no longer kids anymore…I had been putting off writing my best man speech until it came to me at 3am and I wrote the whole thing in bed that night…my brother is a great man and is my first call when life comes at me sideways…he and his incredibly smart and beautiful wife Lori are gonna have an awesome life together and I couldn’t be more happy for them…so here’s my best man speech, i didn’t write it for an album or any project, I wrote it for my brother, and though it’s almost impossible to sing through the tears, hopefully you will at least hear my heart for my brother, my best friend…here’s my “Best Man Speech”
A post shared by Brett Eldredge (@bretteldredge) on Nov 27, 2019 at 3:04pm PST
“I had been putting off writing my best man speech until it came to me at 3 a.m.” he continued. “I wrote the whole thing in bed that night.”
RELATED: CMT Music Awards 2019: The Complete Winners List
The song is a direct message to Eldredge’s brother: “When you start a family of your own / I hope your kids run wild like we did back home / Barefoot in the grass, never thinking we would grow up fast / and then we did…”
Congratulations to the newlyweds!
Cameron Mathison On How His Cancer Diagnosis Changed Him:
by Alyssa Croezen
Our good friend Cameron Mathison has always been fit, going above and beyond to live his best healthy lifestyle. So, fans were quite shocked to learn that he was suddenly diagnosed with a rare form of cancer just three weeks before his 50th birthday.
Thankfully, after months of treatment, he’s cancer-free.
After inviting ET Canada’s Sangita Patel into his Los Angeles home, Canadian-born Mathison admits that his emotions are still very raw when thinking back about the moment he received the initial call from his doctor.
RELATED: Cameron Mathison Comments On His Health: ‘I Am Cancer-Free’
“He said we got the test results back and your gut looks fine. He said that they did find a tumour on my right kidney,” the Entertainment Tonight host shares while being visibly emotional.
“It’s funny I’ve told this story so many times but the tough part is going back there mentally and remembering what that felt like,” adds Mathison.
However, at the time, the 50-year-old was unaware that it was 100 per cent renal cell carcinoma, a.k.a. kidney cancer. But, when he did find out the diagnosis, the former “All My Children” star says he called his wife Vanessa “immediately.”
“It felt like time stood still,” Vanessa reveals. “You know when you hear you know your husband or your wife found a tumour in their body. It’s that moment… it just didn’t seem real.”
RELATED: ‘All My Children’ Alum Cameron Mathison Is ‘Unbelievably Grateful’ To Be Home Post-Surgery Amid Cancer Battle
After setting a plan in place to battle the illness, Cameron and Vanessa tearfully recall telling their two children, Lucas and Leila, about their dad’s condition.
“Leila got very emotional,” Vanessa shares. “Lucas just got really quiet. There was a lot of quiet. It was very quiet in the room.”
Cameron underwent the highly specialized procedure in September to remove a tumour roughly the size of a golfball – along with a part of his kidney.
His two children recall what it was like to see their dad come out of surgery.
“I had never seen him like so vulnerable before and it was weird cause he’s always been like my hero kind of. And it was just weird cause he kind of got beaten down,” Leila, 13, says. “But after he recovered he was kind of… he was stronger after that. And he was more of my hero.”
RELATED: Alex Trebek Gets Emotional After Contestant’s Answer: Revealed Trebek Is ‘Re-entering Treatment For Pancreatic Cancer’
Nearly three months post-surgery, Mathison shares if this terrifying incident has changed him in any way.
“I try to remember how fragile life is every day,” he candidly shares.
“Basically, you just never know. That’s very inspiring for me to make the most of it. To be present, to be kind, to be helpful. To try and use my story to benefit others as far as being your best advocate for your own health. And obviously just to steal every moment I can with my kids and friends and family.”
Check out our interview with the Mathison family above.
Alyssa Croezen | Novemb