We tested online dating websites and apps aimed at broad audiences, but there are many options for tailored dating experiences. If you’re looking for something specific in a mate, odds are there's a dating website or app just for that. For example, the Color Dating app allows users to focus on a specific ethnicity. Christian Mingle caters to singles of the Christian faith. Silver Singles is a paid service for people entering their golden years who are looking for a relationship. There are also websites for people with certain medical needs. SpectrumSingles.com is geared toward people on the autism spectrum, while Dating4Disabled is an option for people with disabilities. There are also options for people living alcohol-free lives, like Single and Sober. It's similar to OKCupid, but its users don't drink. In short, there are plenty of online dating options, no matter what you’re looking for in life.
The experts say: For those nervous about dating, this site puts the control in your fingertips allowing you access to thousands of profiles and the ability to chat to potential dates at the rate which works for you. It is well known and therefore attracts a wide demographic, allowing you to widen your dating pool or limit it with their advanced matching facility.
On the other hand though, many of you pointed out that a lot of people use Tinder for hookups, and because the service is so simple compared to other, more robust matchmaking sites. One the bright side though, no one can message you (and you can't message anyone) unless you both liked each other's photos, so there's that. Some of you pointed out that the fact that Tinder cuts the BS and the bloat from online dating is what makes it so powerful, and shared your success stories with it. Go in with an open mind and be ready for weird people, and you'll be fine. Read more in the nomination thread here.
I was on Clover for quite some time, but had since forgotten it existed until I started to compile this list. It strikes me as a less-successful hybrid of OkCupid and Tinder with a relatively small user base, even though I live in an urban area with plenty of people who use a wide variety of dating apps. Clover says it has nearly 6 million users, 85 percent of whom are between the ages of 18 and 30.
Free doesn’t necessarily mean cheap, low quality, or bad, and these online free dating sites prove it. Every single one has a 100% free membership or trial that allows you to test everything out first. If you want to upgrade and get some premium features, you can, but you definitely don’t have to. As soon as you sign up, you’ll be equipped with all the tools you need to find that special someone — whether for a night, a month, a year, or forever.
One thing to note if you don't fall into the cis-hetero dating pool: While most of the apps reviewed here are inclusive, there are those that are friendlier to the LGBTQ community than others. For example, OkCupid goes beyond forcing users to choose between being a male or female, including options like Hijra, genderfluid, and two-spirit. If you're a man seeking a man or a woman seeking a woman, you'll want to steer clear of eharmony: It doesn't even give you the option of a same-sex match.
The app is free and there is no desktop version. You can purchase credits separately in the app or pay monthly for the premium version, which lacks any ads and lets you see who has liked you, among other features. It has 4.2 out of 5 stars in the Apple app store, and some user reviews note the app can be very confusing in busy urban areas, like New York City. We're guessing it's also not very effective in less populated rural areas, as it relies on a lot of people having the app on their phone. You can also play the app's built-in game CrushTime, which lets you guess who has liked you from four profiles you've recently crossed paths with.
The app does an incredibly good job at collecting feedback from singles, using it to help increase your rate of success. Members are given a report card-style dashboard that shows them why users liked or passed on their profile, down to the specific reason, such as low-quality profile pictures, as well as offering ways to improve their likelihood of getting “liked.” For any online dater, this dashboard alone is a good (and free) tool to gauge how their profile is performing compared to others.
I was also disappointed in the notifications, which were a tad too pushy and out of touch for my taste. CMB was constantly "gently" reminding me to message users I'd matched with and I found myself disabling the app after I received a notification from it that said, "Show [Match Name] who's boss and break the ice today!" Is it just me or is it weird to imply that a potential future relationship should have a hierarchical power dynamic? At the end of the day, I have friends who've had good matches on CMB, but it isn't my favorite app.
Features for introverts: You can really be yourself on OkCupid. Whether you're looking for the relationship of your dreams, a one-night stand, or a sham marriage (seriously, we’re not judging), OkCupid doesn't care unless you're being a jerk about it. On OkCupid, you’re more than just a photo, you can share stories, your passions, and pretty much anything else you want and feel totally at home.
For instance, the date for pay website SeekingArrangement released a report in March 2019 that found are more than 2.7 million students in the United States who have used the website to help pay for college. Broken down by college, Georgia State University is the fastest growing sugar baby school. With websites like SeekingArrangement, users are on the same page in terms of what each party is seeking. One is there for companionship and the ability to help take care of someone while the other is there for companionship as well as financial stability.
If you're willing to pay for it, The League is a dating app that does all the work for you. You’ll need active Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to log in, and you'll be assessed based on the information you've provided on these profiles, like your education and professional career. On top of that, you have to fill out an application and then are placed on a waiting list for an undetermined period of time that varies by the city you live in. Once you’re a member, you’ll have access to a personal concierge who does a lot of the work for you and helps curate your profile.
Coffee Meets Bagel hopes to offer users better quality matches by sending curated matches, or "Bagels," each day at noon. They suggest ice breakers for first messages and the profiles are more in-depth than Tinder. For people who like a little extra hand-holding, CMB isn't the worst option. However, I felt the app was confusing to use; too many features and too many gimmicks. I shouldn't have to lookup online tutorials to figure out how to use a dating app. And why call matches Bagels?
Why it's awesome: Plenty of Fish, sometime styled as POF, boasts 4 million daily active users, with 65,000 new users each day, apparently, and claims users send 1 billion messages per month. After registering for POF, hopeful daters take a personality test that then helps POF determine what they call, "Your Relationship Needs." Basically, it's a way to make sure users know what they want from their love lives, and to ensure that it serves users other profiles that meet that criteria. One unusual quirk: The site recently launched a feature that allows users to message others through Google Home. Says Spira: "They have a large user base, are a free site, and are very popular."
Online dating has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. In the past, the online dating options available to singles (or people in open relationships) were fewer and further between. Worse, at the time, free online dating options were often either highly sketchy, putting your identity and privacy at risk, or simply did not have the membership numbers to give you a worthwhile experience.
Sharon Kroll and fiancé Lee Wallender are the Seattle-based writers and dating experts behind The Dating Gurus. Kroll said it’s easy to get lost in the sea of possibilities when online dating so it’s important to limit the number of sites you’re on to three and make sure you’re not spending all day checking them. It’s also important to make the first message you send count.
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If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.
‘When dating online or in person, be wary of anyone who seems to be asking for a lot of your personal informal early on. Don’t share any details such as your address, birth date or financial information. If a match is asking a lot of questions of this type, let them know that you’re not comfortable sharing that information and report them if you have any suspicions about their true motives.’
What it'll cost you: A basic account is always free. But there are some paid extras you can enjoy if you want a more premium experience. If you pay for the A-List membership, you can cut out the ads, you get more search options like body type and attractiveness, you can see everyone who likes you, and you can see who reads your messages, among other useful things.