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New to online dating or not happy with the dating site you’ve been using? With a growing number of online dating sites — and more and more people finding significant others online — it’s hard to know where to start. We’re here to help you unravel the mystery of online dating websites. We’ve done a lot of research comparing some of the most popular sites, so you don’t have to waste your time; instead, spend it on your ultimate goal — finding your best match.
Online Dating Statistics
When we first started researching dating sites, we thought, there can’t be that many variations to online dating. Well, we were proven wrong. That’s refreshing considering everyone has a different approach and mindset to meeting someone special. And online dating is on the rise. According to a Pew Research Institute 2015 survey, 15% of Americans have used dating sites or apps — up from 11% in 2013 (learn about more online dating statistics). There’s a dating site out there that meets almost every individual’s desire, whether it’s finding the love of your life or a casual friendship that could turn into something more.
What Are the Best Dating Sites?
With so many large-scale and smaller niche dating sites, it’s hard to pin down the best. But after extensive online dating reviews research, we’ve nailed down our top picks based on site features, communication channels, privacy options, member diversity, ease of use, pricing and more.
Our number one choice for Best Dating Site is Match.com. In fact, the founders of this website (ExploringLifesMysteries.com) met on match.com back in 2002! With more than 21.5 million active members, 24 countries, 15 languages and over a decade of experience, it’s no surprise that Match.com leads the pack as the most popular (and trusted) dating site. The sheer number of participants might make you think you have a better chance of finding someone on Match.com. But they also offer some of the most sophisticated features, profile matching, search tools and communication avenues available. Their live chat option is an excellent way to connect casually with other members with no strings attached. Although other sites are trying to set themselves apart, Match.com is still hard to beat as the best overall and diverse place to meet someone.
Match.com is the most intuitive, feature-rich dating site we reviewed. Here are some features that set them apart from the rest.
- My Connections feature organizes all your communications
- You can include testimonials from friends, family or exes in your profile
- ProfilePro helps create your profile (added fee)
- Personality test designed by their partner site Chemistry.com
- Self-search or have Match.com search for you
- Set “deal breakers” to help narrow your search
- International dating with several different languages available
- “Match Events” section lists member events in larger cities
- Power Up to push your profile to the top of searches (additional fee)
Match offers a 7-day free trial.
- $38.99 for 1 month
- $21.99/month; 3-month subscription
- $18.99/month; 6-month subscription
- $17.99/month; 12-month subscription
Bundle Plans include Email Read Notification, First Impressions and Highlighted Profile features.
- $24.99/month; 3-month subscription
- $21.99/month; 6-month subscription
- $18.99/month; 12-month subscription
Get 15% off your Match subscription, just use this link!
Zoosk is one of the largest dating sites online, boasting more than 35 million profiles around the world. But don’t let its massive size deter you. Zoosk has a very personalized edge to it. And it’s a fun, easy-to-use site that gives you a lot of impressive features. One feature we find interesting is its Behavioral Matchmaking engine that continually analyzes your actions on their site to further drill down to a better match.
Although not as well-known as the other big names, Zoosk comes packed with features that are fun and interactive.
- SmartPick feature picks a scientifically chosen match for you every 24 hours
- You can purchase Zoosk virtual coins to send members special virtual gifts or priority messages, get notified when your message gets delivered some other features
- Behavioral Matchmaking keeps tabs on your site behavior to help you get a closer match — and you can see their analysis through their Insights tool
- Carousel feature has rotating members, and you can simply choose yes, maybe or no
- Offers international dating with several different language options
- Award-winning mobile app
- $29.95 for 1 month
- $19.98/month; 3-month subscription
- $12.49/month; 6-month subscription
CouponAt this time there are no Zoosk coupons available.
With free online dating options and great features, PlentyOfFish (POF) has grown to be one of the largest dating sites online. That’s only one reason we’ve chosen POF as our third Best Dating Site. One of its best features is its Chemistry Predictor, an insightful test that delves into the kind of person you are. The site evolves with you, tracking who you view and tweaking who it suggests for you. POF’s website could use a facelift, but it’s fairly easy to navigate, and there are a lot of fun things to do and ways to communicate with potential matches.
Plenty of Fish doesn’t offer quite as many features as our top two picks, but what you get for free is pretty darn impressive.
- The largest free dating site in the world
- Chemistry Predictor test measures characteristics like easygoingness, self-control, family orientation, self-confidence, and openness to match you with compatible personality traits.
- Meet Me! feature searches for compatible matches in your geographic area
- Easy-to-use, intuitive interface
- Upgraded plan, which isn’t necessary for a lot of folks, is still an attractive price
Basic Plan: includes all the sites basic features, including communication with members.
Upgraded Plan: includes the ability to unlock every member’s extended profile, show up first on Meet Me!, see if your emails were read or deleted, and more.
- $12.90/month; 3-month subscription
- $8.50/month; 6-month subscription
- $6.78/month; 12-month subscription
CouponAt this time there are no Plenty of Fish coupons available.
Best Dating Sites Comparison Table
See our Best Dating Websites Comparison table to get a side-by-side, easy-to-compare view of all the dating sites we’ve reviewed. Our table includes search and communication features, pricing, privacy and more to help you find the dating site that’s right for you.
|Winner: Match||Runner Up: Zoosk||3rd Place: PlentyOfFish||Chemistry||eHarmony||OKCupid|
|Winner: Match||Runner Up: Zoosk||3rd Place: PlentyOfFish||Chemistry||eHarmony||OkCupid|
|Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website|
|Subscription Cost for 3 Months||$21.99/month||$19.98/month||Basic: Free|
|Subscription Cost for 12 Months||$17.99/month||$12.49/month||Basic: Free|
|Browse Before Joining|
|Match Based on Profiles|
|Who's Viewed||Paid Version|
|Search by Profile Criteria|
|Keyword Search||Paid Version|
|Search by Photos|
|Relationship Search Options|
|Winks and Flirts|
|Text Alerts if You Get Messaged|
|Site Facilitates In-Person Meetings|
|Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website|
Other Best Online Dating Sites Reviews
Although these other dating sites didn’t make our top three picks, each has a unique approach. All are worth considering, depending of course, on how you want to find a match online and what is the most used network in your local area.
Built by the makers of Match.com, Chemistry.com’s approach to online dating is combining both compatibility and chemistry to create better matches scientifically. The mastermind of this approach is Dr. Helen Fisher, a world-renowned human behavior expert, who’s developed a unique personality test based on her years of research. The test is intriguing and insightful, and the site continually analyzes your activity to make your matching experiences better. The problem with Chemistry is two-fold. It’s a lot smaller than many other sites, so the dating pool is limited. And you can’t conduct your own search — Chemistry takes the reins entirely in their hands. However, this may be a good starting site if you’re new to internet dating and feel overwhelmed by the large sites.
- $34.99 for 1 month
- $21.66/month; 3-month subscription
- $12.99/month; 6-month subscription
You’re likely familiar with eHarmony from their TV ads featuring founder Dr. Neil Warren. Dr. Warren has been a marriage psychologist for 35 years and has written numerous books on relationships. Has his expertise translated well into the online dating world? It’s hard to tell. eHarmony isn’t right for everyone. Their niche is for lasting, meaningful relationships; their approach is scientific and a bit boring; and they do most of the match work for you. The major feature missing? — and this is pretty major in our book — you can’t conduct your own search. So, you have to put your faith (and money) in their hands. Still, eHarmony has more than 20 million members (and claims 600,000 marriages and counting), so they must be doing something right!
Basic plan: includes basic personality test and a few other features.
- $51.95/month; 3-month subscription
- $35.95/month; 6-month subscription
- $16.95/month; 12-month subscription
Based out of NYC, OkCupid is one of a handful of free (and reputable) dating sites. OkCupid has a good profile and match system, and you can search for matches based on location, age and relationship expectations. This is a fun, quirky dating site that has a lot of opportunities for members to interact and participate, not only with potential matches but also with the site community as a whole. And Ok Cupid tends to attract more creative, educated types. They claim they’re the “fastest-growing online dating site,” so perhaps in the future, they’ll give the big players a run for their money.
Basic Plan: offers all the basic features you’ll need to connect with matches.
A-List Plan: gives you advanced search options, message filters, ad-free website, the ability to store up to 5,000 messages, browse profiles invisibly, see who likes you, the ability to change your username, and Incognito Mode, which allows you to hand-pick who sees you on the site.
- $19.95 for 1 month
- $14.95/month; 3-month subscription
- $9.95/month; 6-month subscription
A-List Premium Plan: includes daily profile boost, increased attractiveness, message priority plus all the A-List features.
- $34.90 for 1 month
- $29.90/month; 3-month subscription
- $24.90/month; 6-month subscription
Playing it Safe: Online Dating Tips
Many of these safety tips might seem pretty obvious, but it’s a good idea to keep them in mind, so you don’t get swept up in the moment of a new match.
- Don’t give out too much personal information, like your address, home phone number or last name (until you’ve met at least once).
- Don’t friend a potential date on Facebook or follow them on Instagram. (Again, protect your privacy!)
- Google your potential dates to verify as much as you can before you meet. (Is that really his photo?)
- If someone you’re chatting with asks you for money — HUGE red flag. Time to move on.
- Drive yourself (or have a friend drive you) and meet in a public place for the first date.
- Tell a friend where and when you’re meeting. Better yet, have someone on standby in case you need to get out of a precarious situation.
- Stay sober, so your judgment isn’t impaired.
- Trust your instincts — if something doesn’t seem right, don’t just blow it off. Your intuition usually knows best.
Check out the video below to see what advice Zoosk’s dating and relationship expert has for online dating.
Happily Ever After…
Did Cupid’s arrow land in the right place for you through an online dating site?