Best Dating Sites
There are somewhere close to 54,250,000 single people in the United States. If you're unattached and have tried online dating, then you're part of another statistic: 41,250,000 people have turned to online dating sites at some point to find the guy or girl of their dreams.
There's no doubt that dating has reached the digital age. In fact, 1 in 6 couples today will have their first encounter through a dating site or other online meeting place. If you've tried dating websites in the past with no luck, it may not be your fault. Plenty of subscription-based sites guarantee results but fail to deliver on their promises. To aid in your journey towards a 'happily ever after' we've ranked the top five dating sites in the industry.
Dating Sites: What to Consider
With more and more marriages facilitated through dating sites it's hard to ignore their efficacy. Keep the following considerations in mind while perusing the vast array of providers:
Affordable Monthly Premiums-It's hard to put a price tag on love, but most of the top dating sites do charge a monthly premium. Look for a site that accommodates your budget and offers a free trial to test out the waters before you dive straight in.
Number of Users-Look for a site that has a large user base. The larger the pool of potential matches, the greater the chance of finding Mr. or Mrs. Right, right?
Variety of Filter Options-Filters are an easy way to weed out matches that you're not interested in. Perhaps you only want to meet someone who lives within 50 miles of you or is below a certain age. With filters you can specify these types of factors and more.
Online Customer Care-Genuine customer care is at the heart of a dating website. Ensure that your provider has a positive track record with their clients, is upfront about terms/ costs and emphasizes your privacy and safety over everything else.
Mobile Capabilities-Track your matches on the go with a mobile application. In the beginning stages of online dating it's always a good idea to limit the amount of personal information you share until you establish a certain level of trust. For that reason, communicating through a mobile app is highly recommended.
- Easy-to-use site
- Customizable profiles
- Search tools with filters
- International reach
- Large user-base
- Some packages priced high
Launched in 1995, Match.com places a pool of singles directly at your fingertips. As of this year the site has 21,575,000 members in 24 countries worldwide. "Whether you're interested in Christian Dating, Jewish Dating, Asian Dating, Black Dating, Senior Dating, Gay Dating, Lesbian Dating, Match.com can help you find the date or relationship that fits you best."
Match.com has one of the highest success rates of all the providers in the industry! What's responsible for their far superior results? First off they have a tremendous user-base of all races, ages, and ethnicities across the globe. Their site uses a proven formula of matching men and women to their compatible partners. When you initially sign up you'll be instructed to create a profile describing the type of person you'd like to date as well as details regarding yourself. From there, the site will rate matches based on compatibility from the criteria you've selected. You can customize your profile with photos, hobbies you enjoy, as well as a bio.
This site has all the tools you'd want for an online dating site. Communicate via chat, email or instant message. Plus, narrow down your search using powerful filter tools that range from geographic area to hobbies and interests.
Verdict - Superb
We've got to admit that Match.com is the cream-of-the-crop when it comes to online dating. Their site is easy to navigate, reaches all corners of the globe, and they have a range of subscription options. The one drawback that might turn-off some users is their price. With that being said studies have proven that messages sent on a subscription-based site (like Match.com) are two times more likely to result in a date in comparison to a free dating site. So basically, that higher membership fee could be the key to land you a dream date.
- Modern layout and navigation
- Range of subscription options
- Millions of users worldwide
- Comprehensive compatibility questionnaire
- Free communication weekends
- High membership costs
- Inability to see pool of profiles
- Past lawsuits regarding same-sex matches
In 2000, eHarmony's founder, Neil Clark Warren, developed a matching process that identifies singles based on 29 unique dimensions. With over 35 years as a clinical psychologist and counselor to thousands of couples, Warren identified the specific ingredients for a lasting relationship. As a result, the site claims that every day an average of 438 singles marry a match they found on eHarmony.
To date, eHarmony has operations spanning over 150 countries and has been considered one of the most trusted relationship service providers within the U.S.
The process is not as simple as uploading your photo and browsing profiles. You'll first need to answer 400+ questions specifically selected to identify potential matches. If it seems like a lot, that's because it is. In all it could take about an hour completing this step alone. This is significantly longer than some of the other sites on the list, which may be unappealing to some visitors. However, this time consuming step does have an advantage in the long run because it means your matches will be finely tuned to your desires. Once you've completed the questionnaire and reviewed your matches, you'll then be prompted to pick a membership that suits you.
Verdict - Great
There are a number of drawbacks to eHarmony. You don't have the ability to check out anyone's profile on the site-you're limited in that sense to your matches. Moreover their membership costs in the past have been quite high. What's even more substantial is the site's 2008 lawsuit for the refusal of same-sex matches. Since then, the eHarmony founded Compatible Partners, a dating site for homosexual singles.
- Quick registration process
- Featured on prominent talk shows
- Comprehensive compatibility model
- Free and subscription membership options
- Duet Compatibility Test
- Marketed to more mature audience
- No IM feature
- Caters only to U.S. and Canada
PerfectMatch.com made a name for itself on shows like "Dr. Phil", "Live with Regis and Kelly", and "Dancing with the Stars". Founded by dating expert, Pepper Schwartz, the site matches you to other singles based on your values, personality, and lifestyle. The result, they believe, is a winning combination.
The site's matching process boils down to the Duet Compatibility Test-a questionnaire based on eight distinct elements (personal energy, romantic impulsivity, outlook, flexibility, predictability, emotionality, nurturing, and decision making style). That's quite the list! These come in the form of true/false questions and at the end of the analysis you'll receive your personality information similar to the Myer Briggs model.
If you'd like to dive deeper into the personality analysis, you have the option to take additional tests in the form of essay and multiple choice questions. In terms of the membership you can choose from either a paid or unpaid membership. With the upgraded membership (paid) you'll be able to communicate with other members. Otherwise the free membership limits you to the test results and advice database.
Verdict - Very Good
All things considered PerfectMatch.com may help you find just that. What we didn't like was that the site's marketing department targets more mature audiences (50+) so as a result the user base tends to be on the slightly older side. In addition to that it only caters to singles in the U.S. and Canada. Not quite the international scope we found with eHarmony and Match.com!
- Comprehensive personality test
- Over 13 million users
- Simple to navigate sight
- Founded by Match.com experts
- Personality insights from Dr. Helen Fisher
- Limited to contact with matches
- Caters to U.S. and Canada residents
Brought to you by Match.com, a pioneer in the online dating world, Chemistry.com utilizes science and psychology to deliver compatible matches.
Developed by Dr. Helen Fisher, a human behavior researcher with over 30 years of experience, this site analyzes hormones and personality traits to find your match. When you initially log on you'll be prompted to fill out some of your personal information prior moving on to the four-part questionnaire. This questionnaire consists of the standard 'describe your lifestyle' questions to more in-depth personality traits. Upon completing the questions, you'll be given a detailed explanation of your results with additional information from Dr. Helen Fisher
There are a few caveats with this site. You're limited to contact with only your matches so if you're the type of person who likes to browse the entire pool, this may be a deal-breaker. Moreover, the site caters to singles in the U.S. and Canada.
Verdict - Good
Chemistry.com leverages science with good old fashioned compatibility tests to create a match made in heaven. With over 13 million users, they've surely found success with their approach. Select from either a free or paid subscription. The free subscription reveals insights into your personality analyses but limits contact with users.
- Over 10 million members
- Free membership option
- Caters to younger audiences
- Online chat function
- Search filter tools
- Lengthy sign-up process
- Mediocre interface
- Relatively unknown
Date.com has been matching single to one another since the late 1990s. With over 10 million members and a growing user base, the site utilizes a scientific matching system based on 50 profile attributes.
After getting through the lengthy registration process you'll have the ability to peruse other user profiles including their photos, bio, and personal information. Furthermore, you can filter your search criteria to certain geographic regions, age, etc. Be aware, that it does cater to larger cities so you may have a better chance of finding a match if you live in one of these regions.
The site's interface is a bit bland when held up next to Match.com and eHarmony. It would benefit greatly from some minor upgrades in that sense. Easily stay in touch with your matches with the online email and communication features.
Verdict - Good
Date.com offers free and paid membership options. The paid version is less costly than some of the other providers, but again, the price reflects the service. The site isn't as well-known as other big name sites but nonetheless it has some decent features.
Our hope is that you find the man or woman of your dreams through one of these five dating websites. They all boast positive user reviews and convenient features. Review each provider's offerings in relation to your personal needs. And remember, you get out of it what you put into it so remain hopeful that love will find you!
Dating Sites FAQs
In what ways does a dating site ensure my privacy?
Privacy is probably the number one concern when anyone thinks about finding a potential mate online. With most dating sites, you create a profile with your personal information; however, the site will give you email and messaging functionality through the site which means that the person you communicate with does not know your personal information, unless you share it.
It's important to note, though, that despite the fact that the sites provide resources to keep your private information secret from potential mates, your private information is not always private from third party marketers or from the public in general.
When you sign off on the terms and conditions of most dating sites, you are typically giving them the right to harvest your general information and use it for their financial gain. This is typically not at a huge burden to you as the end user, and it may be a small price to pay for finding Mr. or Mrs. Right; however, you should take that into account before you fill out lengthy profile questionnaires.
Images and information that you include on your profile also become a part of the internet domain and available for people to access with a simple Google search. Make sure that any information about yourself that you would add to a dating site, you would add to any other public forum.
Despite the best efforts of most dating sites to weed out the potentially harmful and fraudulent users, they are not perfect, so you need to make sure that you do not only rely on the site's protections but your own as well when it comes to your personal contact information. You should only give your personal email and phone numbers to people that you have vetted thoroughly and trust implicitly.
Plenty of wonderful people are online looking for the loves of their lives; however, there are also scammers who are looking to take advantage as well, so make sure that you protect yourself first and foremost.
What is the cost of an online dating site?
The cost of online dating depends on the site that you are using and the type of access that you expect to have. There are numerous sites that are 100% free of cost to you like, DateHookup and Plenty of Fish; however, you should be careful when you proceed with the completely free sites. Their privacy and oversight are not always as robust as the paid sites. Some sites, like Match.com and OkCupid allow you to sign up for an account and do basic searches at no out of pocket cost to you; however, if you want to engage with someone more actively, you will have to pay a monthly fee that could be as much as $29.95.
There are other sites that charge significantly more money; however, they claim to provide you with more services and scientifically proven matching capabilities. eHarmony for example could cost you up to $60 per month; however, they claim to have an extensive 29 point test that matches you accurately with your potential mates and thus saves you time and money in searching for Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Whatever dating site you determine is best for you; make sure that if there is a monthly cost that it fits in your budget and lifestyle. If it takes you a while to find the right person, the monthly expense of a paid site can certainly have a negative impact on your personal bottom line.
If you do not have the resources to pay for a site, then just try out the free sites until you save the money for another site. Who knows, you may actually find the love of your life on the free site. If you don't, at least you did not put your personal finances in jeopardy on your pursuit to finding the perfect mate.