If you’ve been looking for ways to watch free TV and movies online, you’ve probably heard about the Gaia Kodi addon. Gaia is a very popular addon that has a lot of fans in the Kodi community. However, you may be wondering if Gaia is legal or is safe to install on your device. This article will explore that topic in detail. It will also offer some alternative addons that can be used instead of Gaia.
Update 9/14/2018: On September 13, 2018, security company ESET released a report about cryptocurrency miners in several Kodi addons, including GAIA. We’ve included some more information about this below.
What is Kodi?
Kodi is free, open-source software that can be used to stream videos from virtually anywhere on the web. It can also be used to play media files on different devices. This eliminates the need to switch between different programs to play different kinds of media. Kodi can also block advertisements from many streaming sites.
Kodi has sometimes been accused of being used primarily for piracy. However, while Kodi can be used to stream pirated content, there are also many Kodi addons that stream from authorized sources that comply with copyright law, including the ones recommended in this article.
Warning: Kodi should only be used for content to which you have the legal right to access. Neither the Kodi Foundation nor Comparitech advocates the use of Kodi for piracy.
Always use a VPN with Kodi
People who stream video from unauthorized sources often use virtual private networks (VPNs) to keep their viewing private. This can lead some to believe that VPNs are only necessary for watching pirated videos. However, a VPN is actually helpful to anyone who streams video, no matter what the source or content.
Internet service providers often frown upon streaming video, and even people who watch perfectly legal video streams sometimes have their speeds throttled by their ISPs in order to reduce bandwidth usage. This leads to buffering, a frustrating problem for cord-cutters everywhere. Using a VPN helps to prevent this by encrypting the user’s data, thereby hiding the fact that the user is streaming video.
VPNs can also prevent streaming sites from knowing a user’s location, thereby unlocking content that otherwise wouldn’t be available. And they can help to protect against man-in-the-middle attacks by hackers.
However, not all VPNs are good for streaming-video users. Some don’t have apps for TV devices, are too slow for video, or invade users’ privacy by keeping logs. For these reasons, we recommend IPVanish. It has a strict “no logs” policy, is fast enough to handle high-def video, and has an app for popular TV devices like the Amazon Fire TV and Nvidia Shield.
For more recommended VPNs to use with Kodi, see our guide.
What is Gaia Kodi addon?
The Gaia Kodi addon is a fork of a previous addon called “Bubbles.” It was created when the original developer quit working on it and a new person took the project over. Like many Kodi addons, Gaia searches various websites to find content the user is looking for. It hosts no content itself. Instead, it just provides links to places where movies and TV shows are stored.
What makes Gaia different from many addons is that it is optimized for “multi-hosting” services and torrenting. Most of the websites that Kodi addons use are “single host.” They offer certain content but do not connect to other services that have different content. These “single host” sites usually have both a free and premium version. The premium version allows the user to download at faster speeds.
However, signing up for the premium version of many different websites would be very expensive, so “multi-host” sites like RealDebrid and OffCloud have gotten deals that allow them to offer memberships to multiple sites for one flat fee. It is these “multi-host” sites that are the kind Gaia is intended to work with.
To summarize, Gaia allows subscribers to these multi-host services to get faster speeds (better picture and sound, less buffering) than they would with many other Kodi addons. It also has a free section that is available for users that don’t have a subscription. This section contains TV shows, movies, documentaries, film shorts, and children’s programming. It’s similar to the content available on many other addons.
Is the Gaia Kodi addon legal and safe?
There are some Kodi addons that stream pirated content, so you may wonder if Gaia is legal and safe to use on your device. The answer is that almost all of the content on Gaia is pirated. Although you do have to pay for multi-host services in order to get the most from Gaia, there is no evidence that any of this money goes to copyright-holders. What you are paying for is server capacity, not the content itself.
In addition to this legal concern, there are also security and privacy risks to using this addon. Gaia is not part of the official Kodi repository, so it hasn’t been vetted by the official Kodi team to determine whether it is free of malware. Although members of the Kodi community do test third-party addons, their testing is usually not as consistent or reliable as that of the Kodi team itself. We also do not know who the developer of Gaia really is. In the past, at least one third-party Kodi addon was “updated” by a person who appears to have been impersonating the original developer, leading to fears that it was being used to spread malicious code. So there is definitely a risk to installing addons from anonymous developers.
None of the above should be taken to imply that all third-party Kodi addons are bad. Many third-party repos do a great service to the Kodi community by providing safe, legal addons to the community. However, some addons have been misused by developers in the past. We think it’s important for readers to be aware of this.
Because Gaia streams copyright-infringing content and because of the security risks involved with installing it, we do not recommend installing Gaia Kodi addon. Instead, we recommend the legal and officially safe Kodi addons listed below.
Additionally, in September 2018, computer security company ESET released a rather scathing report that proved a few Kodi addons, including GAIA, contained cryptocurrency malware. Unwary Kodi users installed the malware along with the addon. While GAIA’s developers fixed the problem, they also did not tell anyone that they found the malware in the first place, leading to some questions about transparency.
As a rule of thumb, it should be noted that all Kodi addons can contain malware, especially those installed from third-party sources. Although these instances are rare, the more popular and addon is, the more likely it is to be a target. We recommend installing antivirus software and running scans of your system regularly when using Kodi to ensure you are protected against malware from suspicious sources.
Best alternative to Gaia Kodi addon: Crackle
The best alternative to Gaia is the Crackle Kodi addon. Crackle is a free, ad-supported TV and movie site. While there are other free movie and TV sites on the Internet, Crackle tends to stand out from the rest because of its focus on hosting high-quality content such as popular TV shows and movies with big stars. It has TV series like Seinfeld, The Tick, Walker: Texas Ranger, and The Shield, and movies like Code of Silence (starring Chuck Norris), Annabelle (the Prequel to James Wan’s The Conjuring), and Darkman III: Die Darkman Die, amongst many others.
The Crackle Kodi addon’s main menu offers two options: movies and TV. Clicking on either of these options produces an alphabetized list of titles, making it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. This addon blocks all advertisements from Crackle, allowing you to watch your show or movie without interruption.
Read more: How to install and use Crackle Kodi addon
Other alternatives to Gaia
Tubi TV is another free, ad-supported TV and movie site. It has the largest catalog of any free streaming site, with over 50,000 titles across several geographic regions. Tubi TV has popular TV shows like Camelot, Paranormal State, Dog: The Bounty Hunter, Wilfred, and The Dead Zone, as well as movies like Phenomena (starring Jennifer Connelly), Wedding Daze (Jason Biggs, Isla Fisher), and The Duchess (Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes). Tubi TV also has a robust collection of documentaries and kids shows.
The Tubi TV Kodi addon categorizes Tubi TV’s content into 35 sections. There’s a section for horror movies, comedies, films that are highly rated on rotten tomatoes, documentaries, and more. Using these menus, it’s fairly easy to find something to watch during those times when you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for. There’s also a search function if you already have a title in mind.
See also: How to watch Tubi TV on Kodi
Top Documentary Films
If you wanted Gaia for the documentaries available on it, the Top Documentary Films Kodi addon is a great replacement. This addon streams content from TopDocumentaryFilms.com. The catalog can be browsed by clicking on the recently added, highest rated, most voted, and most shared options found on the main menu. You can also view documentaries by genre using the All Categories (A to Z) option.
Top Documentary Films has a wide variety of documentaries from many genres, including economics, sexuality, performing arts, religion, science, nature, and others.
The Top Documentary Films Kodi addon can be found in the official Kodi repository. To install, begin at the Kodi main menu. From there, click addons → download → video addons → Top Documentary Films → install.
Related: How to watch documentaries on Kodi
If you were thinking about installing Gaia to stream children’s shows, PBS Kids is an excellent replacement. Since PBS is a public station, it has plenty of free content. And most of its children’s content is available on PBSKids.org. The PBS Kids Kodi addon main menu opens to a simple list of all 42 PBS Kids shows. From there, you can navigate to the latest episode of Curious George, Bob The Builder, Caillou, Dinosaur Train, or whatever show your child wants to see.
The PBS Kids Kodi addon is in the official Kodi addon repository. To install, click addons → download → video addons → PBS Kids → install from the Kodi main menu.
If you were thinking about installing Gaia to get access to its short films section, which contains movies like Darth Maul: Apprentice and Superhero Fight Club, the YouTube Kodi addon can be a great replacement. Most of these films are available on YouTube, and you can avoid YouTube’s commercials when watching them through the Kodi addon. This addon can be configured to a language and region of your choice. It can be used with you logged in or out of YouTube. It also has a handy search feature that saves all of your recent searches. This makes it easy to find the videos you want to watch over again.
Read more: How to install YouTube on Kodi
While Crackle and Tubi TV are the best Kodi addons to find free movies, the FilmRise Kodi addon also deserves to be mentioned. FilmRise is a movie and TV distribution company that owns many classic films starring famous actors. Many of FilmRise’s titles have been placed on YouTube and offered free of charge, and FilmRise owns 30 different YouTube channels devoted to different genres.
There is a FilmRise YouTube channel for horror movies, Forensic Files, documentaries, feature films, paranormal, history, wrestling, and many other types of content. The FilmRise Kodi addon carries a separate menu option for each FilmRise YouTube channel, making it easy to browse its catalog.
Read more: How to install FilmRise for Kodi
If you’ve heard of the Gaia Kodi addon, you may have wondered whether it’s legal or safe. The answer is that it streams mostly pirated content and is not as safe as many other Kodi addons. If you want free TV and movies, the Kodi addons we’ve recommended here are probably better options.