The 11 best dating sites right now
Twenty years ago, Match.com went live. It was one of the first dating sites to hit our computer screens and has remained one of the most popular ever since.
But in the last few years a lot has changing in the online dating world.
There’s been a huge rise in apps and websites all designed to help people meet online. Now, no matter what your age or lifestyle, one of the best ways to start dating is simply to create a profile.
It’s a major theme in my latest novel Not That Easy where the young heroine, Ellie Kolstakis, tries out a number of dating apps and sites to get some decent men in her life – and in her bed.
One of the biggest issues that she and her friends have with online dating isn’t so much the people they meet, but which site they meet them on. In the book they discuss the pros and cons of the different options facing them.
This is relevant to so many single people today. With thousands of new apps and sites being created faster than we can download them, it’s hard to know where to start.
Even if you used to successfully online date, but have found yourself single again, it can be difficult to know exactly what sites you need to be surfing.
It’s why I’ve created this handy guide to the 11 best dating websites and apps available right now. You’re welcome.
This site describes itself as the way to meet ‘the most successful and attractive singles.’ It asks users to fill out their job title and education, and links to Facebook so you can view their social circle.
Before you join, the app has to approve you as a member (a slightly daunting process) or you have to be invited.
If you want to unlock certain features you either have to pay or invite other to join. A friend who uses it tells me: “It’s good if you’re picky… but there aren’t a lot of people on it.”
I can’t really make a list of the best dating sites without mentioning Tinder. At first people were drawn to the app for its simplicity — users can swipe left to decline and right to approve a date. If two users swipe the same way? They’re matched and can chat to one other.
Tinder once had a reputation for being a ‘shagging app’ — but that’s changed. Now, it seems you can’t go anywhere without meeting couples who got together though it. The app’s best quality is undoubtedly its sheer amount of users – there are 50 million active ones, so it’s unlikely you’ll run out of potential matches.
For people who hate the forced feel of a first online date, DoingSomething might be the answer. It lets you pick a match based on their date suggestion, whether it’s a sushi-making masterclass or rollercoaster ride.
The website says it “takes the awkward out of dating”, but the drawback might be that it’s only London-focused — and handling raw fish with someone you don’t fancy could be a lot worse than just having a drink with them.
Cost: £10 per month
This sells itself as a ‘feminist’ app. It works in a similar way to Tinder, the only difference is that Bumble only allows women to start a conversation with their matches and they have just 24 hours to do so before the connection disappears. Men cannot make the first approach.
The idea is to stop women getting loads of sleazy messages – but I have it on good authority that some men are taking advantage of this and view the app as an opportunity for them to ‘sit back and do nothing’, while women ‘rush around trying to message the potential loves of their lives in 24 hours.’
Not exactly the epitome of equality…
This is one of the biggest dating sites out there, and a lot of people I know have had relationship success here. The bonus is that users can fill in a lot of information about themselves, so you can tell who’s after casual sex and who wants more.
@radhikasanghani has to be Okcupid. Not very sleazy, had good dates and met my bf of over 2yrs on there (still together)
But the app has fallen in popularity compared to Tinder, and the fact that you can receive messages from anyone — without matching first — means that your inbox can quickly become clogged with sleaze.
This is the app for music lovers. It matches you with people based on your location and a shared interest in music. It can import your favourite tunes from your smartphone or Last.fm and does the hard work for you by collating matches.
A possible drawback could be a limited number of users – those figures aren’t available online — but it does look like a good app if music plays a significant part in your life and loves.
Unlike Tinder, Hinge doesn’t let you swipe through an unlimited number of potential matches. Instead it only lets you match with people who share your mutual friends — and it shows you a new ‘batch’ of users every day.
It also lets users have a more detailed profile than Tinder – which just offers a bio – and lets you add activities, preferred dating spots and so on.
The only awkward thing is it means people in your social circle will all know you’re on the app, so if you’re not keen on having all your mates see your profile, this might not be for you.
Do you like country walks? Spend most of your time complaining about life in London? Enjoy wearing wellies? Muddy Matches could be for you.
This UK website has more than 130,000 members and as one Twitter user tells me, it’s ‘perfect for meeting posh boys.’
@radhikasanghani my mates who like posh boys use muddy matches and nickname it muddy puddles — country lovers dating site
— Isolde Walters (@isoldewrites) October 23, 2015
On its website it describes itself as “the only independent dating site for genuine country-minded people.” The only problem is that it’s not free.
Cost: £22 for one month, £66 for six months
This app has been popular over the last few years, as it shows people you have crossed paths with geographically. It means you can match with hotties you live near, or with someone who always goes to the same bar as you.
Some people I know, though, have complained that though they receive matches, there’s often a reluctance amongst users to send messages.
But it still has a large pool of potentials and has a simple, usable model.
This is the app for people who hate the thought of going on a date alone. It means you can join up with a friend, search for other pairs and go on a group date.
It’s based in the UK so most of the user base will be here, and it means you don’t have to worry so much about awkward silences or safety.
The only issue is it makes the matching process a lot harder – two of you have to like two other people. And what if you end up fancying the same person as your friend?
If you’re going to use this one, it might be best to have some other apps in your repertoire, too.
Coffee meets Bagel
If you hate the thought of Tinder’s limitless matches, Coffee meets Bagel is for you. It only gives you one match a day – which is someone you’ll have a mutual friend with via Facebook.
The more times you login the more points you get, which allows you to unlock special features.
If you don’t like your option, you can play ‘give or take’ — where you either ‘take’ a possible match or ‘give’ them away by emailing their details to a friend.
Your dates are called ‘bagels’ and the app is fun – especially if you like smartphone games. The drawback is it’s quite hard to use and doesn’t offer many potential partners.
Radhika Sanghani’s latest novel, Not That Easy (Harlequin), is available to buy in paperback or as an eBook on Amazon and Telegraph Bookshop
Best Online Dating Sites
Dating is digital now, no matter which way you look at it. From setting up the very first date to entering the engagement stage, digital technology is deeply ingrained in the way we communicate, show care, and form bonds with significant others as we date. As so, it’s no surprise that the online dating industry has skyrocketed in popularity and crawled out from under the shadow of stigma to become a widely popular and universally accepted method of meeting others for anything ranging from serious relationships to casual one night stands. Meeting a significant other online is just as common, if not more so in certain geographical locations, as meeting her in person, and the vast oversaturation of the online dating industry proves just that.
There’s no longer a lacking in ways to find potential matches through digital means, instead we have the opposite dilemma: too many options. With hundreds of member-filled dating sites available, and new ones seemingly launching every week, it’s hard to know where to place our time and energy. While certain dating sites are very apparently designed for certain audiences, there is still an excess of so-called ‘mainstream’ online dating platforms that all claim to be the best online dating site available. Of course options are always good to have, but having so many can sometimes fog our vision and make us unable to find the best site for our intentions, desires, and basic needs.
As a result, online dating becomes more difficult in theory. Many online daters find themselves skipping from site to site moving much too rapidly to give any one site a real shot. Or they’re stuck juggling so many different online profiles that they’re unable to give their full attention to just one platform, much less to just one match. Eventually the market will die down a bit as the successful dating sites flourish and others become acquired or dissipate into the background, but for the time being online daters are stick weeding through a much too extensive list of options and putting themselves through endless trial and error cycles that simply leave them exhausted, disheartened, and frankly somewhat over the whole idea that finding romance online is possible.
Online dating started as a way to more easily connect with others and although the landscape of digital dating may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. The newest, shiniest online dating site isn’t always the best option and the secret to successful online dating is to take the time to both consider all options and know your intentions going into it. We often explore only the newer online dating options such as Tinder and Bumble, and forget the more well-established sites such as Match. Zoosk. and Friend Finder X. While considering all possible courses, it helps to narrow down the roaster by identifying what your intentions are for using an online dating site. Should you be on eHarmony looking to meet your future wife, or at this point in your life are you better suited on an adult dating site like iHookup. where you can live out your sexual desires and find others who are looking for the same level of casual commitment, or lack thereof, that you are?
There is a perfect online dating site for you, likely more than one in fact, and the first step to identifying it is to work your way backwards from a list of the best online dating sites available right now. Whether you are just entering the online dating scene or simply need to press the pause button and figure out where your time is best spent, the following list of top online dating sites will steer you in the right direction.
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Best of the Web
The 20 best online dating websites
2 December 2014 • 12:00am
A s the internet plays an ever greater part in our social lives, with sites such as Facebook helping us to keep in touch with our friends, it’s inevitable that we also use it to help us run our love lives as well. Here is the pick of the best dating sites — not forgetting our very own website telegraph.co.uk/dating. of course. With over 140,000 members, it’s easy and safe — what’s more, it’s FREE to join.
Online dating is now one of the most popular ways to meet a new partner and there are more than 1,400 sites in the UK alone, catering for people from all walks of life and interests.
So whether you’re mad about dogs, passionate about green issues or a connoisseur of fine wines you’re sure to find someone who shares your interests.
The 20 best dating sites in the UK
Match.com claims its site has led to more dates, marriages and relationships than any other. With millions of members, its large user base should mean there is someone for everyone, although you may have to trawl through a LOT of profiles to find them!
The place for those well-meaning types who can’t believe their best friend is single. They push your qualities so you don’t have to.
Taking a scientific approach to love — eHarmony matches singles based on key dimensions of compatibility proven to be the foundation for a long-term relationship, like character, intellect and values.
Webcam chats, an online magazine and plenty of Good Housekeeping-style tips and advice.
The net’s biggest Jewish dating service, with often hilariously self-deprecating personal descriptions.
Probably with the broadest reach of the hundreds of lesbian and gay sites on the net, plus news, features, travel tips, fashion and gossip.
Launched in September 2000, Christian Connection is the largest, and longest established subscriber based UK Christian dating site.
If you’re partial to the country life – then this rural Online Dating Site for Single Farmers, Rural Singles, Equestrian Singles and Country Friends could be the place for you.
The romantic social network that found its feet through Facebook, it helps people create and share their romantic journeys, with a multitude of members from around the globe enjoying the service each month.
With over 140,000 members — it’s THE place for people aged 40+ to meet. It’s easy to use with a sophisticated system that matches you and your partner on a multitude of likes and interests. Join now for FREE.
Fancy a date in your lunch hour? If you’re in London you can search for members by tube station.
Dating with a scientific approach — finding "the perfect match" through online psychometric testing.
Claiming to be the world’s largest online matrimonial site — it was founded with one simple objective — to provide a superior matchmaking experience to Indians all over the world.
Because dating’s not just for the youngsters. The over 50s are one of the fastest groups of online daters these days.
If you are looking for a kindred soul that just so happens to also be a veggie lover, this site is worth a nibble.
Newly merged with Meetic, the giant of the dating scene, giving access to nearly 20 million users across Europe and with plenty of high-tech ways to find them.
Simple, straightforward and free UK personals site — hugely popular.
Matching singles who love the arts.
The best online dating sites to find love in 2017
(illustration: Liberty Antonia Sadler for Metro.co.uk)
This week marks the biggest online dating week of the year (combined with the biggest divorce week of the year). Whether it’s a failed relationship or the urge for a new beginning that has propelled you into the dating wilderness, online dating almost certainly has someone waiting for you.
But which one to go for? Match group now owns Tinder, Plenty Of Fish, OkCupid and, of course, Match, making it the biggest player in the online and app dating industry.
eHarmony is another massive player, with 3 million users signed up. But size isn’t everything – as anyone who has just wrapped up a three-hour swiping session on Tinder will attest. Too many members with no filter can result in either hours of swiping to find someone you fancy, or hundreds of messages in your inbox that you’ll never have time to read.
Here’s a guide to the sites to check out – feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments below – and let us know if you met your life partner online or on an app and if so, which one.
Pros: Millions of matches at your fingertips. Has both desktop and mobile site and an app, plus paid-for and free singles events. Very well managed, new, clean design makes it more appealing to navigate.
Cons: Millions of matches at your fingertips… inbox management can be overwhelming. It’s quite difficult to get any information on the price to use match.com’s full service. When you click for more info you’ll more often than not end up with info boxes that you need to fill in before you can advance to the pricing info. We wish sites would be more transparent about their fees. However, they do have a live help service at their homepage to talk you through joining.
Pros: Uses compatibility testing to match you with someone who shares the same worldview as you. Pitches itself as the site to go to for ‘serious, lasting relationships’ and marriage – which may well be refreshing to some in the current dating climate. Psychologists and dating experts guide you through each step of the process – including messaging, which is somewhat structured and scripted – and there’s an anonomisation function for calling. There’s currently a 7-day free trial to communicate with matches for free until 1 January. It’s a softly, softly approach – excellent for those new to internet dating or nervous about entering the melee, or using a fast-food dating app like Tinder.
Cons: The lengthy survey you must complete before you sign up. It is 100s of questions long and asks many probing questions about religion and moral views. Some find this a barrier to join, fans say it weeds out the casual chancer from those truly looking for love – and means you don’t have to wait to broach tricky topics. Pricier – it’s £44.95 for a month, but that drops to £12.95 per month if you sign up for a year.
You can’t browse pictures or profiles – you wait to be matched by the mystery algorithm after answering the 400 questions – then you are guided through a contact process. Some may think it lacks the spontaneity of other dating sites – and you certainly can’t use it to get a quick date for the weekend.
The price and process mean only the dedicated remain – but equally, can lead to people dropping out mid-process.
eHarmony offers matches for both mixed and same-sex couples
Controversy swirled in 2010 around its lack of same-sex matching resulting in a site launched later for gay and bisexual daters called Compatible Partners . but eHarmony now offers matching for both mixed and same sex couples from the main homepage.
Pros: Free to join and to have limited contact with members. You can connect with Facebook so getting started is much quicker than with other sites. A one step Facebook log-in process leads on to a few simple questions (the most obvious – height, kids, whether you drink or smoke), a description and a photo – then you are in. You can browse a selection of pictures and ages before logging in, anything more specific requires you to become a member. Members can search by interest, location or age.
Cons: It’s not really free. To use the site fully – sending unlimited messages to other members – payment is required. As with many free or low-cost sites, ads can be frequent and feel spammy. There are no compatibility filters, so once you’ve filtered by the basics, there’s no way of narrowing it down. However, perhaps controversially, arguably this is more of a pro than a con – as the saying goes, opposites attract! And there’s no sense in ruling someone out for reasons that may become insignificant once you’ve met in real life.
Metro Illustrations<br />illustration request: How to low-key stalk you crush online<br />Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler /Metro.co.uk
WHY CHECKBOXES AND FILTERS ARE THE DEATH OF DATING
‘Only show me people without children’
‘Only show me men over 6ft 1in’
‘Only show me vegetarians’
‘Only show me people who don’t want kids’
The tickboxes on many dating sites are a common part of the structure of the sites – and people often fill them in and make their choices quickly, based on in-the-moment gut feeling, prejudice or a past bad experience.
But too many filters and rigid check-boxes can have you dismiss huge numbers of people at once – something that apps like Bumble, Happn and Tinder tried to do away with (though that brings its own set of issues). One 5ft 10in user reports she saw only 400 potential men to browse when she logged in to Match.com. When she reduced her height to 5ft 9in, that rocketed to almost 2,000. It seems unavoidable that if we have filters and tick-boxes for features and likes or dislikes, we could be cutting off literally thousands of potential suitors because of something we might have thought minor or irrelevant if we met in the flesh.
And, by the way, the tick-box that chooses whether you’re shown people with children or not can have an even more dramatic result, yet many friends dating (or married to) previosuly single parents tell me they would never have selected someone with a child if they had a tick-box to rule them out, and indeed on dating sites had filtered out people with children.
The moral of this story is: Be open minded, people!
Pros: ‘UK’s largest dating site’ with 3 million members. Free messaging. Quick to join, lots of interactions, constant flow of fresh members. Has a ‘chemistry test’ to match you with personalities that suit your own and meet your ’emotional needs’, and a ‘Relationship Needs’ service that claims to be able to tell you what you need in a relationship, where you screwed up (without knowing it) and a customised plan to make your next relationship successful. Which sounds like a hella challenge…
Cons . So large it can be time-consuming to keep on top of communications and filter through the members, though Match.com the same applies. Anecdotally, users can be spammed by unwanted messages and inappropriate pictures.
Pros: Large global audience. Clean, easy-to-use site. Easy to link up with Facebook. Verified photos and accounts keep catfishing or phony accounts to a minimum.
Cons: Pay-for site that means you can’t see who’s viewed you or communicate with members without paying. A month’s membership is £22, which is halved per month if you sign up for 6 months.
Pros: Straightforward dating site for those into fitness, healthy living or outdoor pursuits to meet likeminded people. Encourages daters to meet doing the activity they love rather than across a table in a cafe. It’s free to join and post a profile and simple to get started, though messaging costs.
You choose the sports or activities you’re into – a number of primary ones to show on your main profile then the rest – then add a photo if you wish (you should always add a photo, not for superficial reasons, but to let others know you’re genuine) and a few details about yourself.
Don’t be put off thinking you need to be an athlete to join – Fitness Singles is for people of all types who like an active lifestyle, however you will find a lot of profile pictures of people sailing, hiking and running. Our tester found the calibre of people to be high with low risk of dick pics or those just after sex. A very palatable dating site experience. Caters for both mixed and same sex couples.
Cons: Fairly rudimentary site, old fashioned type-face and layout. Lots of photos of people in cycling helmets, and when we joined, too many with no photo at all.
Pros: Free. Has an incognito mode ‘cut out the creeps with incognito mode’ – that allows you to choose who sees your profile, revoke access to your profile and dip in and out of a public account. Has quick Facebook sign-up option, which is invaluable if you’re joining multiples.
Cons: Users have previously reported getting bombarded with many unwanted messages, partly because it’s free, aka a free for all. However, OkCupid responded to such complaints by adding the Incognito Mode, which can quickly put a stop to that.
The best dating apps to use
Sapio – connects people based on personality and what their mind has to offer, rather than looks. Calls itself ‘a dating app with depth’ and claims to make interactions fun rather than ‘aimless’ (or aimed at getting a quick lay). Chat is enabled only when you’ve both liked each other and you can browse people by their answers to life questions and moral issues rather than just by photo.
Tinder – if you’re single (and often if you’re not) you’ll know all about Tinder by now. The best known of the swipe-to-like apps, this revolutionary app transformed dating forever, taking the hunt for a partner out of the bars and into the home – allowing us to surf for a date while on the sofa in our pyjamas. Unlike other apps too, it instantly catered for same sex relationships. More than 50 million people use Tinder every month with over 12 million matches per day from over 1 billion swipes. That’s a lot of people looking for love.
When it started it really was the cool kids’ way to engage with online dating. Now it has gone mega-mainstream, some users think the user experience has suffered from its size. The swipe mechanism that we all loved at the beginning can now seem laborious when there’s no filter – users say they find they now need to swipe through dozens more of photos before they find one they like – and, thanks to a proliferation of dick pics and lewd propositions for sex, dismiss it as no more than a hookup app. However, there’s no denying this is a sure-fire way to get a date/hook-up/partner if you’re looking – and we know at least three couples personally who met and married after meeting on Tinder, so…
3nder – to help likeminded people look for threesomes. If you’re a regular user of Tinder you’ll have come across an increasing number of threesome-hunters there too, but you have to scroll to find them. With 3nder, they’re all there waiting for you.
Bumble – Location-based dating app that, in their words, ‘changes the rules of the game’. Gained legions of female fans early on with message function that requires women to message first, reducing the risk of dick pics and unsolicited come-ons. Because of its positioning in the market as a ‘feminist’ app (simply becuase of the woman-first messaging function), it appeals to a certain sort of man (and, in fact, woman) meaning many of the more obnoxious types from other apps are absent, which can be a bonus.
Grindr – the number one gay dating app, though many would say it’s more useful for hookups than finding the love of your life. Simple to set up – just add pic and a few details – and you’ll instantly be able to search your local area for men. Paying for Grindr Xtra gives you the power to block unwanted attention plus access a much larger group of men – plus get rid of all the annoying ads on the free version.
Best Online Dating Sites – Comparing Free vs. Paid Subscription Sites
Being divorced for several years, I have tried my hand at online dating. experimenting with a number of different sites, and I know from experience that for someone new to the process, it can be rather intimidating and confusing.
You might be wondering which site is best for you, and if you should bother paying for a membership or not. To help answer that question, keep the following in mind: Free sites are geared toward casual daters, while paid sites tend to be for people looking for a serious relationship. Of course, it’s not always that simple, and there are exceptions. But the key to finding the right site (or sites) for you depends on what type of relationship you’re in search of.
Free Online Dating Sites
If you’re just dipping your toes back into the dating pool, free sites can be a great place to start. You may even find that online dating isn’t right for you – if that’s the case, all the better to find out without investing much into the process.
Free sites generally offer more flexibility for different types of relationships, including casual hookups and same-sex relationships. In fact, they’re not even exclusively for dating, as OkCupid allows you to be married or in a relationship but looking for friends. Free sites may also work better for individuals who are separated, but not yet divorced (or separated with no immediate intention to divorce).
Specify Relationship Type . One of the best features of PlentyofFish is that it allows you to specify exactly which type of relationship you’re looking for, from a hookup, to friends, to casual dating, to a long-term relationship, to marriage. The site matches you up based on a variety of factors, such as location, interests, and even your browsing history – this means that if you input that you are looking for someone in his or her 40s, but are browsing people in their 20s, both will show up as matches for you.
Personality Test . PlentyofFish also offers a personality test to better match you with others. You are asked to describe your personality in one word or phrase, such as “homebody,” “coffee snob,” “techie,” or “foodie,” and you can search for matches by personality type.
Browse Anonymously . When browsing profiles, many users choose to set their profile to “anonymous,” which has proven to be a popular site feature. Browsing is further customizable by utilizing basic search or advanced search (which narrows your parameters), searching by username, or by searching for those looking for the same type of relationship as you.
Free Chat and Emails . Communication with other users on PlentyofFish is incredibly simple – you can chat for free, as well as send and receive emails. You can even set the parameters for who can email you. For example, you can choose an age and geographic range, specify that they must not be married, are nonsmokers, and so on.
Users Can Rate Your Picture . You may see this as a benefit or a drawback. However, a higher rating allows you to be viewed more often and more positively by other members. It goes without saying that you want the picture you post to be one of your best.
While technically a free site, PlentyofFish offers you the option to purchase a membership upgrade. This allows you to find out who’s viewed your profile, find out if your messages were read or deleted, browse ad-free, send unlimited gifts, and increase your profile’s traffic. Upgrading costs $35.40 for three months, $51.00 for six months, or $81.40 for one year.
PlentyofFish has spun off a new dating site called eVow. which is only for those seriously looking for a long-term relationship. You can view matches and send messages and “winks” for free on eVow, just like on its sister site.
You’re Matched According to Answers OkCupid matches you with others not only based on your browsing activity on the site, but also based on the way you answer a number of introductory questions. Examples of the questions include:
Which is more important to you, sex or true love?
Is your astrological sign important to you?
Could you date someone who is very messy?
Would you consider an open relationship?
How important is religion in your life?
You can set your answers to be publicly available, or you can choose to set all (or some) to private. The more questions you answer, the more information the site can use to match you with others – and the more others can determine whether you are a match for them. When someone contacts you, you can see how much of a “Match,” “Friend,” or “Enemy” they are based upon how their answers compare to yours.
By continuing to answer questions, you actively update your profile, which leads to more views. OkCupid also features quizzes created by members, which can help you determine if someone is a match for you – just be aware that some can be rather x-rated.
Other Features Like PlentyofFish, OkCupid offers a range of useful features:
Users Can Rate Your Picture . You can “rate” other members, and they can rate you. If your image gets high enough ratings often enough, the site says they will make your profile more visible to other highly rated members.
Free Chat and Messaging . Communication is possible via live chatting or messaging someone on the site. You can also save favorite profiles, which not only allows you to access them in the future, but also lets the other party know that you’re interested.
Specify Relationship Type . You’re not limited to looking for a long-term relationship. In fact, you can search for friends, penpals, people to casually date, to date short-term, or to just hook up with. You can search within a specific age range, and you can even use the site if you’re married. However, you can also specify that you’re only interested in members who are single.
Also like PlentyofFish, you can upgrade to a paid membership, which provides ad-free browsing, preferential placement in search results, storage of up to 5,000 messages, and anonymous browsing. The cost is $14.95 for one month, $29.85 for three months, or $47.70 for six months.
Paid Subscription Dating Sites
If you have no interest in casual dating and are looking for a more meaningful relationship, you may want to subscribe to a paid site. Keep in mind, many paid dating sites often run promotions, such as free weekends or a price cut on subscriptions. If you’re interested in a particular site, watch for these promotions.
Match.com uses keywords in your profile to match you with others who share like interests. For example, keywords can include topics such as “wine tasting,” “historical fiction,” or “travel.” You can browse and “wink” at members for free, but you must subscribe to contact members via instant messaging or email. One benefit of Match.com is that users can browse for same-sex relationships; however, regardless of preference, there is no way to know what type of relationship someone is looking for, whether casual or serious, unless they specifically state it in their profile.
The cost to join Match.com depends on your location, and you must register and click “subscribe” to see the prices. But generally, a one-month subscription costs around $31.99; a three-month subscription costs about $17.99 per month for “standard” or $20.99 for “value”; and a six-month subscription runs about $15.99 per month (standard) or $18.99 per month (value). Match.com offers a guarantee that if you don’t find someone in six months, you will receive another six months for free.
Zoosk began as a Facebook application but is now an independent site with more than 50 million members. It is similar to Match.com, but is geared toward a younger demographic.
Unlike other dating websites, Zoosk requires you to upload a photo, and it can integrate information from your other social networking accounts to create your profile. As a nonpaying member, you can purchase “coins” to spend on additional features such as boosting your profile in search rankings, or sending virtual gifts. Also, while free members can browse, wink, and respond to emails they receive, they cannot initiate emails. However, upgrading to premium status allows you to chat and send emails to any other members. Premium status costs $29.95 for one month, $19.95 per month for a three-month subscription, or $9.99 per month for a full year.
eHarmony uses a more advanced system to match people based on a large number of questions you answer when you sign up. The downside is that if there are no matches for you, there isn’t much else you can do on the site.
eHarmony is exclusively for users seeking long-term relationships, and subscribers must be single, widowed, or divorced – separated individuals are not allowed to set up a profile. While the eHarmony site allows only for opposite-sex matching, there is a companion site called Compatible Partners. which is for those seeking a long-term same-sex relationship. The cost of eHarmony in the U.S. is $59.95 for one month, $39.95 per month for a three-month subscription, $29.95 per month for six months, and $19.95 per month for 12 months.
Chemistry.com is the sister site to Match.com. Subscribers take a personality test and are matched with other subscribers based on the results. You must determine whether your personality type is “Explorer,” “Negotiator,” “Builder,” or “Director.” It offers more guided support than Match.com by offering activities for matches to get to know one another.
Although the user base isn’t as large as that of Match.com or eHarmony, it is growing – and unlike eHarmony, Chemistry.com also allows same-sex matching. Free users can take the personality test, see photos, and get matches; however, you must subscribe to contact other members. The cost to join is $39.99 for one month, $26.99 per month for a three-month subscription, and $20.99 per month for a six-month subscription.
5. Our Time
Our Time is a site specifically for singles over 50 looking for a serious relationship, and has been steadily growing in popularity. It is free to set up a profile and browse, but you must subscribe to contact other members.
Our Time is yet another site originated by the creators of Match.com, so it is similar in style to that site, as well as Chemistry.com, and uses a matchmaking algorithm to generate matches based on your personality profile. However, like Match, you can choose your own matches, and it also allows searches for same-sex relationships. It costs $19.99 for a one-month subscription, $17.99 per month for a three-month subscription, and $11.99 per month for a six-month subscription.
There has been an explosion of group-specific sites in recent years, aimed at people of specific age groups, religions, belief systems, ethnicities, and even financial means. By browsing a group-specific site, you might have more luck finding like-minded people.
Some group-specific sites include:
Online Dating Precautions
Regardless of which online dating site you choose, there are four things you should always remember:
Use caution in sharing personal information about you and your family members.
Always meet in a public place.
Don’t expect everything you read in a profile to be true, nor should you assume the photo is current.
Never give money to someone you’ve never met, especially if they are out of the country – it’s a scam .
Lastly, as someone who has been around the online dating block a time or two, let me add a positive piece of advice: Nothing you write, no matter how eloquent, beats a good photo.
Most online dating sites don’t conduct background checks or verify information. You may come across people with criminal records, married people, and people who may be mentally unstable.
The key is to trust your instincts. Get to know someone via email before talking on the phone, and have a few phone conversations before arranging to meet for a first date. Have fun with the process, but be cautious.
Which dating sites have been most successful for you? Do you know anyone who met their spouse on a dating site?
Those of you who nominated Match shared some of your success stories meeting your significant other there, but also all noted that Match felt the most mature of all of the dating sites you tried—the most elegant, or at least grown up. Where a lot of the services are either aimed at younger people or more casual encounters, many of you said Match felt like a service you were using to go on dates and find real long-term partners. It wasn't unanimous though—many of you bemoaned the cost associated with Match, and said your experience yielded a bunch of dead accounts and unresponsive people, which sucks when you're spending money to communicate with them. Read the good and the bad in the nomination thread here. or this thread here .
OkCupid is completely free, meaning you don't have to pay to see more matches or to unlock specific features that may make it easier for you to find someone interesting. At the same time, because it's completely free, the array of potential matches you get can be wild and varied, to say the least. There are entire blogs around the web dedicated to the types of people you'll find on OkCupid, and part of it is because the service is rapidly growing, free, and accessible to everyone. Granted, that also means that if you're looking for the most possible matches, and the service is very proud of its matching algorithm. When you sign up, you fill out a remarkably lengthy profile full of questions that will be used to help other people find you, and to help you match other people. Mobile apps for iOS and Android help you take your search with you on the go, and stay in touch with people you plan to meet.
Those of you who nominated and praised OKCupid were some of the few who pointed out that you met your significant others there, and your match was—at least for the time being—a success, so congratulations! Seriously, so many success stories in the nominations thread. Many of you bemoaned OkCupid's buyout by Match.com, and mentioned that OkCupid keeps a wealth of statistical data about who uses the service and how successful its matches are. You also explained that if you do go OkCupid, QuickMatch is the way to go—you'll meet interesting, compatible people that way. Read more in the nomination thread here.
Tinder is a bit less of a comprehensive matching site the way you might think of one. It's a little more. to the point, as it were. It's a mobile app only (iOS and Android). You're presented with images for each of your potential matches, and with a swipe or a tap, you can either dismiss them entirely or add them to your "like" list, full of people you may want to contact for a date. You have to log in via Facebook—Tinder uses Facebook to do its heavy lifting, and uses your likes, shares, and other profile information to help match you up with other users. Once you do though, you're off to the races liking and dismissing people. If someone you liked likes you, then you can communicate. If not, keep trying. It's probably the simplest approach to online match-making ever, kind of a blend between an online matchmaking site and speed dating.
Compare Reviews for Online Dating Sites and Services
Online dating has grown in popularity to the point where there is almost no social stigma attached to it. With an estimated 1,000 online dating sites in existence, however, it can be hard to sift through all the options and decide which is the best site.
Creating online dating profiles helps consumers carefully consider potential matches. Likewise, evaluating a dating site before using it is essential, and it will bring you that much closer to finding a good match.
Top 10 Best Rated Online Dating Websites & Services
Bumble is a dating app that only allows women to initiate contact in opposite-sex connections; in same-sex connections either party may initiate contact. It’s available for Apple and Android devices.
Since 2012, Tinder has been matching singles based on their social profiles and geographic location. The catch? Both users must “swipe right” before being matched and are then able to chat within the app.
Mingle2 is a membership service of which users pay to be a part. It was originally a service called JustSayHi, but the site transitioned to Mingle2 in 2008 and now works with many populations of singles.
POF.com, also known as PlentyOfFish, is an online dating site headquartered in Vancouver. It is one of the biggest dating sites with over 90 million registered users across the globe. It is also available in 5 different languages.
OKCupid is one of the most popular dating sites and is free to sign up initially. It works with special algorithms that match users with potential dates. Launched in 2004, OKCupid works with many populations of people.
OurTime.com is a unique dating site specifically catered to people over 50. The company focuses on the interests of people in a certain age range who want a place to feel confident and comfortable while seeking a potential date.
Zoosk is a singles dating app that uses a behavioral matchmaking engine to pair users who its system indicates will be a good match. The app is available in over 80 countries and has over 27 million searchable members.
How much does it cost?
It is important to decide how much you can afford to pay before committing to a site.
Total cost . An online dating site might be free, or have different payment levels. If there are different levels of membership and payment, check to see which features are included in each level and which features you find essential.
Frequency of payments . The membership price might be a yearly, monthly, or quarterly amount. Recently, there has been many mobile dating apps that will let you pay by the action instead of by a set amount of time.
Canceling the plan . It is important to read the fine print and to find out how easy or difficult it is to cancel a subscription. Getting trapped in an online website that isn’t producing viable dates can be frustrating.
What is the matching process?
Online dating websites offer a variety of methods on how to search for a mate. Some mobile apps will match you with people based on criteria, including age, gender, and geographic proximity. More traditional sites may offer anything from a simple search to a highly specific advanced search. Some more seriously minded sites request that members fill out elaborate compatibility questionnaires. Deciding which process is right for you will largely be determined by whether you’re looking for a casual friendship, relationship, or a lifelong partner.
Geographic matches . Most dating sites offer a chance to look for the closest possible match. However, if you are currently looking to meet someone in close proximity, many of the mobile dating apps will provide you with your best results with little to no cost.
User-generated matches . Unless you are using a site specifically meant for a casual or very serious relationship, it has become an industry standard to offer members the chance to whittle down the potential matches. Dating sites do this based on preferences such as income, smoking and drinking, if the match has kids and whether he or she has ever been married.
In-depth compatibility . There are some dating sites that ask members to fill out detailed questionnaires designed to choose matches based on compatibility. eHarmony and Match.com are two famous examples of this type of dating site.
Is the dating site niche?
If you have a very specific set of interests, there are many sites that may cater to your niche. Some of these niche sites are Farmersonly.com, MillionaireMatch.com, Geek2Geek.com, JDate, Dandy, Pinksofa.com, ChristianMingle and PositiveSingles.
Demographic niches . These sites can cater to people who are only interested in dating within a specific religion, income level, race and more.
Lifestyle niches . These sites focus on daters looking for matches based on attractiveness level, occupation, same sex relationships, people that are STD positive and more.
Age-based niches . These sites are for people of a specific age. Currently Baby boomers, those over 50, are overwhelmingly turning to the web to find a mate. Sites like Match.com and POF.com offer members a chance to search specifically for the age group that interests you, but SeniorPeopleMeet.com and OurTime.com are the two largest sites designed specifically for the baby boomer market.
What are the privacy safeguards?
Depending on the dating site, all other members might be able to see your profile and message you. Check to see what safeguards are put in place by the site, and which ones you can enable to limit those who sees your profile.
Limiting who sees your profile . Does the site allow just the bare minimum of your profile to be seen in search results? Some sites wait until you favorite, wink, or in some way OK a member before they can see your whole profile. That said, it is important that you only share information in your profile that you are okay with a stranger being able to see.
Keeping the search results wide open . If your goal is to meet someone in the immediate future for a casual drink or get together, the best option would be mobile dating apps like Tinder, JSwipe and many others. These apps allow you to quickly find similarly minded people. On most dating sites, you can use a sort feature to see which members are currently online right now and available to talk.
Is the dating process safe?
Most dating sites have become extremely good about policing their members for negative or unsafe behavior. There are several sites that offer additional levels of security including background checks and photo verification.
Social Verification . Many sites employ a method known as social verification to help prevent wrongdoers from gaining access to you. This goes above and beyond just asking for your email. Many sites now ask you to verify your identity through your FaceBook or Google+ login. This, combined with highly trained scammer prevention teams, have made online dating safer than it has ever been.
Photo Verification . Several sites now offer members a chance to prove their identity by sending additional material. This includes emailing a photo of the member, holding a piece of paper, with a set of numbers that has been randomly generated by the site. Other members do not see this, but it allows the site's staff to confirm their identity.
Safe from hackers . Check to make sure the site has employees SAFE technology so your vital information is safe. If it is a paid site, make sure it is a secure site before entering your credit card information.
What are the main features?
The features of the dating site should be the features you want and will use, especially if it is a paid site. These features could include private emails, proximity search, chat rooms and more.
Features to help refine search results . Look to see which features will help whittle down the pool of suitors. These are keyword searches, mutual matching, reverse matching, the ability to save and favorite certain profiles and more.
Mobile applications . Most dating sites now offer a mobile version that can be downloaded through the Apple or Android stores. When considering a site, it is best to also test their mobile app to see if it can help streamline your dating experience. Additionally, there are several dating apps that only exist in the mobile format. Before downloading, it is best to check for recent reviews on their download pages.
Communicating with members . Dating sites and apps allow you to communicate in several ways ranging from "winking at someone" to setting up a video chat with a prospective date. Research which methods are available on a site and make sure they fit with your needs.
Outside events . An online dating site might set up outside events such as mixers or speed dating to pair members. There might be an extra charge to attend these events, or it might be included within the price of the membership.
What are different types of online dating sites?
Top 10 online dating websites and how much they cost a month
Singles with a New Year’s resolution to find someone special in 2017 will be off to a promising start on the very first day of the year, says dating site PlentyOfFish (Photo: Getty)
Millions of Brits turn to the web in search of a partner every year — but what’s the true cost of finding love on the internet?
There are currently over 1,400 relationship-finder sites in Britain — all claiming to do one thing — find your match, and at that, fast.
And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many singletons will be heading online to look for love.
But, with so many websites to choose from online — but how much should you spend on your quest for love?
Here’s our run through of 10 of the biggest websites in the UK and how much they each cost a month.
UK members: 3 million
Top features: Advanced ‘smart search’ which allows you to filter matches by location and personality traits.
Price per month: £29.99. Get £51.75 cashback, equalling to five months free when signing up to a six month membership at Match.com via TopCashback using this link .
UK members: 3.5 million
Top features: Their ‘Compatibility matching system’ focuses on helping you find people you’ll match emotionally with.
Price per month: £12.95. Get two months free when signing up for a three month membership via TopCashback here .
3. Match Affinity
UK members: 3 million
Top features: Complete their free affinity questionnaire and you’ll be matched with compatible and like-minded members.
Price per month: £44.95 per month or £11.95 per month for a 12 month membership
4. Plenty of Fish
UK members: 3 million
Top features: Chemistry test tool to help you find matches based on your personality and emotional needs.
Price per month: Free
5. Elite Singles
Top features: Personality profile based on the »Big Five» personality models — gender, age, residence, profession and level of education to help create long term relationships.
Price per month: £89.95 a month or £29.95 a month when you subscribe for 12 months.
Get £63.25 cashback which is two months free when you sign up to elitesingles.co.uk for 12 months via TopCashback — use this link to sign up .
Top features: Lovestruck.com’s behavioural recommendation engine assesses your search history, like page views, winks and favourites to help you find what you’re actually looking for — and not what you say you’re looking for.
Price per month: £39 a month or £11.58 a month when you subscribe for 12 months
UK members: 3 million
Top features: Location tracker to help you find singles in your area.
Price per month: £29.99
Top features: They believe that your friends know you best — so, like a virtual wingman, they write your profile for you!
Price per month: £28
9. Mirror Dating
Top features: 24/7 live chat support and super-high security. Inbuilt personalised location features, and weekly dating tips, to help you find that special someone.
Price per month: £14.95, a month or £9.98 a month when you subscribe for 3 months. 3 months for the price of 2 when you join today.
UK members: 27 million
Top features: Inbuilt behavioural matchmaking engine which learns as you click to pair you with singles you’re likely to be mutually attracted to.
Price per month: £22.74
2017’s Best Dating Sites
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When my best friend joined her first dating site, like most people, she went with one of the largest ones that was completely free. She assumed she was making the right choice, but within the first day, she regretted her decision. The site had too many people for her to sort through and didn’t have the resources to help her to do so. Plus, she had already received 40 or so messages that she needed to read. Online dating become more work than fun.
A little research beforehand would’ve saved her a headache, but there are literally thousands of online dating services. It seems unrealistic for my friend and others like her to look into every single one of them.
The good news is not only is that our job, but it’s our passion. Below we’ve narrowed down the seven types of dating websites you need to know about — and the top one for each.
1. Most Popular Dating Sites
What we consider to be the most popular dating sites are the ones that receive positive comments and high star ratings from users — as well as ones that are easy to use and, most importantly, successful.
Best Overall: Match
Match.com was founded in the ‘90s and has been a pioneer in the dating industry ever since. No other dating website has been responsible for more dates, relationships, and marriages than Match. Not only that, but with over 13.5 million people visiting Match every month from more than 25 countries, no other dating website has anywhere near the same reach.
Best for Mobile: Zoosk
If you’re always busy and on your phone all the time, like most of us are, then we’d highly recommend Zoosk. One of the first dating sites to also expand to a dating app, Zoosk is integrated with Facebook and Google+ — which means it’s really simple to upload your information and start dating instantly.
Best for Serious Relationships: eHarmony
Launched by clinical psychologist Dr. Neil Clark Warren, eHarmony.com is a go-to if you want a serious, long-term relationship — which explains how 4% of U.S. marriages have taken place thanks to the site, according to Harris Interactive. eHarmony is also known for their unique matching system that compares 29 dimensions of compatibility to pair their members.
Here’s where you can learn more about all three of the dating services above:
2. Hookup Sites
Online dating isn’t just for finding a date or relationship — it’s also a great way to find a hookup if that’s what you’re looking for. However, not all hookup websites are created equal. There are ones you’ll want to join, and then there are others you’ll want to avoid. Here’s what you need to know:
Best Hookup Sites
BeNaughty is a hookup site that is among the cream of the crop. With cool features like instant messaging and location-based matching, this site will help you find no-strings-attached adult fun in no time.
Free Hookup Sites
When you’re searching for the top sex site, you’ll often find ones that claim they’re 100% free. While that certainly sounds appealing, we’d suggest staying away from these services, including Craigslist. We’ve all heard or read the horror stories about people on Craigslist pretending to be someone they’re not. You can avoid having that happen to you by joining a reputable site like BeNaughty. Not only do they offer a free trial period that doesn’t cost anything, but they also use anti-scammer technology to ensure their members stay safe.
3. Christian Dating Sites
Finding someone who has the same religious beliefs and values is important to a lot of people, particularly Christians, and one of the best Christian dating sites on the web is ChristianMingle. More than 2.4 million Christian singles use the site every month, and the search filters even let you sort by keywords like “bible study.”
4. Senior (Over 50) Dating Sites
Online dating for seniors can be intimidating, especially if they’ve just been through a divorce, lost a partner, or aren’t that tech savvy. But it doesn’t have to be this way. OurTime.com is dedicated to singles over 50 and has a quick signup process and clean interface, making the entire process very easy.
5. Gay & Lesbian Dating Sites
While you may think you have to use an LGBT-specific dating site if you’re an LGBT single, that’s not really the case. There are plenty of conventional sites that are also among the top websites for gay dating and the top lesbian date sites .
With over 1.5 million gay members and more than 1 million lesbian members, Match is one of them. Zoosk is another fantastic choice, particularly if you’re looking for a quality mobile experience.
6. Free Dating Sites
Free doesn’t necessarily have to mean a cheap or low-quality experience. The best free dating sites are the ones that give you every chance of success without any hidden fees or other barriers. We’re happy to say all of the sites on our list are 100% free to create a profile, upload photos, browse for and receive matches, and communicate.
7. Dating Apps: Free vs. Best Apps
Dating apps have become extremely popular because they allow singles to date anywhere they are and at anytime, but you don’t want to just download the first one you come across. Luckily, we’ve done the groundwork for you.
Best Dating Apps
Zoosk’s much-heralded dating app lets you sign up through Facebook or Google+, so you can pull pictures and quick facts about yourself from your profiles that already exist — instead of having to spend a lot of time answering a bunch of questions. This is just one of the many reasons Zoosk is among our favorite online dating apps.
Free Dating Apps
You could take a chance on a 100% free dating app, but, honestly, you never really know what you’re going to get. A lot of the self-proclaimed free dating apps allow you to sign up, but then they limit what you can do, ask for your credit card info, and then require you to upgrade if you want to move forward.
Zoosk isn’t one of them, though. Zoosk has a totally free, extremely comprehensive membership that anyone can sign up for and that will give you the opportunity to try out the entire app before whipping out your wallet.
Which Website Has the Best Reviews by Local Singles?
Ultimately, narrowing down all of the dating sites out there comes down to which ones receive the best user and company reviews. Listening to singles about their experiences and testing out the numerous options ourselves are the two biggest components that make up our reviews. And through all of our research, we’ve determined that Match truly is the top choice for any type of dater, while Zoosk is great for dating on the go.
We don’t want anyone to have a frustrating time with online dating like my friend did, so take a couple of minutes to check out what our experts have to say before taking the leap. Then you’ll confidently be on your way!
RANKED: America’s most popular dating apps from best to worst
Flickr / Guian Bolisay
America is more addicted to dating apps than ever.
New research from the Pew Research Center shows that in the past two years, the percentage of US adults who had used a dating app tripled. But that doesn’t mean all dating apps are created equal.
App analytics company Applause recently completed a study of 97 dating apps to see which ones were meeting user expectations. To qualify, an app had to have more than 2,000 reviews across the App Store and the Google Play store.
Applause found that, in general, the most popular US dating apps trailed other apps in quality by 23 points (out of 100). That’s a big difference, and perhaps indicates that people take out their dating woes on the apps they use.
But regardless, there were stark differences between popular apps like Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble, and Hinge. We have previously reviewed the major dating apps from both a woman’s and man’s perspective, but we were surprised which apps did the best in an analysis of user reviews. In particular, Hinge, one of our favorites, did not fare well.
Here is America’s ranking of 11 popular dating apps, as measured by Applause :
View As: One Page Slides
No. 11: Hinge (22/100)
Hinge’s innovation was that it only matched you with your extended social network — friends of friends. The app presents you with around a dozen matches a day for you to swipe yes/no on.
No. 10: Grindr (28.5/100)
Grindr’s mission was to help gay guys meet up, quickly, wherever they were. It quickly became a smash hit, and recently sold a majority stake to a Chinese gaming company .
No. 9: Zoosk (30/100)
Zoosk recently had to lay off a third of its staff after being crushed in the market by apps like Tinder. It has features like photo verification, which lets you confirm that your photos are actually you.
No. 8: Match (31/100)
Match was one of the original online matchmaking services, and bills itself as having made the most dates, relationships, and marriages. It is definitely for a crowd that is more serious about finding a lasting partner.
No. 7: Lulu (33.5/100)
Lulu isn’t a traditional dating app, but rather, a girls-only app that lets women rate men anonymously. The men, who are all guys the women know via Facebook. are rated on a scale of one to ten. Their profiles are automatically pulled in when the women they know access Lulu.
No. 6: Down (39/100)
Down is an app that just, basically, shows you who wants to «get down» with you. It’s more explicitly focused on just hooking up than most dating apps, though it has the option to «get date» or «get down.»
No. 5: Tinder (39.5/100)
Tinder was the app that set off the dating app craze. Its iconic interface lets you swipe yes/no on a series of potential dates. New updates have rolled out features like the «Super Like » and have put things like your job and education on the front of your profile.
No. 4: Bumble (40/100)
Bumble works like Tinder, you swipe yes/no on a series of matches. But its innovation is that women have to be the ones to message first. This is meant to prevent them from being bombarded with gross messages from guys.
No. 3: Coffee Meets Bagel (53.5/100)
Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel shows you only a few matches per day, and aims at a more measured experience. No frenetic swiping or «game» features, just a few quality matches per day.
No. 2: Happn (57/100)
Happn is the hopeless romantic among dating apps, though the concept can sound a little creepy at first. When you open it on your phone, you’re greeted by a collection of other users with whom you’ve physically crossed paths with throughout your day.
No. 1: OkCupid (61/100)
OkCupid uses a comprehensive profile and a series of questions to determine what «percentage» you’ll match with someone. But on its app, the interface functions much like Tinder, letting you swipe yes/no to people around you.
Here are the full results of Applause’s analysis.
Additional reporting by Steven Tweedie and Maya Kosoff.