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.
With the right approach, a tried-and-true strategy, and an open heart and mind, finding love online can be fun, not stressful. To make it even easier for you, we’ve researched, tested and tried each of the top dating apps to give you the best insight on what to expect. From industry legend Match to international favorite Zoosk, consider this your official guide to finding love online.
As you'd expect from any online dating option with that kind of lofty goal, Elite Singles gives you more than just a Facebook photo to base your opinion on. The site collects information about users' professions and appearances, so if you sign up, you get a chance to be as careful and thoughtful with your love life as you are when you're on the job.
The dating industry online, is a very serious and competitive business, so to distinguish themselves from others, several sites have created features which are specially designed to help their members. Some of these sites provide counselling for relationships, while others focus on live events offline for their dating members, and others offer the opportunity for their members to buy gifts for others! While these features are excellent, it is good to remember that an active, large database of members, is the most promising feature.

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.

GayRomeo / PlanetRomeo Worldwide social network, instant messaging and dating community for gay, bisexual and transgender men. 6,740,000 registered and 1,107,000 active (last 6 weeks)[26] 707,590[27] Free: communication, profile and picture views, search engine Yes/No: video downloads, higher database limits, deactivation of advertising Yes (exclusively) ? Free


As this is 2019, all of these services, even the decades-old Match, offer both iPhone apps and Android Apps, but still have desktop counterparts for when you're at work and want to take a break from your spreadsheet to set up a weekend tryst. (Bumble is the one exception here.) Just be aware that the functionality can vary substantially between the app and desktop interfaces. For example, there's no swiping on Tinder's browser version.
Fortunately, there are so many dating sites out there, that you are certain to discover one, that absolutely fits what you are looking for.  Once you decide on the type of relationship that you want, such as a marriage, light-hearted dating, or something else, then it will be easier to find the right dating site to suit your needs, before registering as a member.
Zoosk might not have the name recognition of a Match.com, but that doesn't mean it isn't a quality online dating platform. Zoosk is a bona fide star in the world of online dating sites, offering a fantastic experience for people who are looking to find a real love connection and get serious. Their site offers an extremely smooth and modern online dating experience, and it's packed with singles with real profiles and real potential.
Match is one of the most famous online dating sites, and for good reason. Running since 1995, Match really knows what it's doing in terms of pairing people looking for love and offering an extremely smooth user experience. While many singles these days opt for hookup apps and jumping from fling to fling, for those truly seeking committed relationships, Match is one of the best options for you.
Why it's awesome: Before there were apps on which one could swipe right and left on a dizzying number of potential connections, there was Match. Yes, Match is the mother of all dating sites. Launched back in 1995, its decades in the business help it bring a ton of insight to the table for singles looking for all kinds of connections. And with its more recent push into mobile come a few new features that have helped make the ancient site more relevant, including its very own version of Stories, popularized by Snapchat and, uh ... adopted by everyone else. Match users can shoot little videos of their day or add voiceovers to photos and post them to their profiles for other users to check out. "Match is the family brand," Spira says. "It's the one where someone could see their grandmother on, and someone could see their grandson on. It has the largest critical mass, and they have done a fabulous job of keeping up with the technology."

Tinder is one of the most popular dating apps out there for a number of reasons, but first and foremost, because everyone’s on it. As of 2014, Tinder boasted a whopping 50 million users. The app popularized the swipe right for yes and swipe left for no format, simplifying the online dating process to a small finger motion. When two people swipe right on each other, it’s a match, they start chatting, and then it’s off to the races.


We spent five days trying out 10 different online dating services to figure out which one is the most effective and affordable. That meant monitoring three fake profiles for 24 hours, collecting match data and using the features of every website and app. We looked at which websites give free access to other users’ profile photos and messaging, and whether you have to pay to access extra features. For on-the-go dating, we also used apps and evaluated them based on how user-friendly they are.     

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."


There's really only one path to finding other singles on the site: swipe, message, and go from there. The main section of the site, the swiping section, allows you to swipe on profiles extremely quickly, with many users only looking at the main profile picture before swiping one way or the other. There are some more advanced paid features that let you “boost” your swipe, such as super-liking a member, or reverse your swipe option and go back to a profile you accidentally passed on. Communication can only take place once both members like each other, at which time either match may initiate a conversation.
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.
Even though it might feel like online dating is mostly about luck, academics have been studying it for some time now. In fact, the longer online dating continues to evolve the more information there is to study. Of the romantic partnerships formed in the United States between 2007 and 2009, 21 percent of heterosexual couples and 61 percent of same-sex couples met online, according to a study by Stanford sociology professor Michael J. Rosenfeld and reported by the New York Times. While this might make you feel like your online dating habits are on display, the fact that they’re being studied can actually be really helpful. For example, one 2018 study from the University of Michigan found the best way to start a  successful conversation is to simply say "hey." That same study found both men and women tend to aim high in online dating, messaging matches who were on average 25 percent more attractive than they were. If you feel like most of the people you match with don't end of looking like they do in their profile, there's science to back that up. A study of 80 online daters found two thirds of users lied about their weight by 5 pounds or more with no correlation to whether the user was male or female. Having this knowledge in your back pocket can be useful while scrolling through Tinder or eharmony and result in more matches and long term connections.

We created three made-up online dating profiles and spent five days trying out each service and monitoring the responses our fake profiles received. We created a woman seeking a man, a man seeking a woman and a woman seeking a woman to make sure our data was well-rounded. All three profiles were similarly generic: They were white with bachelor’s degrees with low to midrange full-time jobs. To create these accounts we had to make fake email accounts and, for some sites, fake Facebook accounts and phone numbers as well.

How does requiring members to have photos improve your dating experience? Ask any of the singles who have used other online dating sites and they'll tell you the site was filled with blank profiles, and even half of those with any information are without a photo. Studies have shown that singles with a photo on their dating profile get at least 10 times more profile views. People want to see the smiling face behind the bio and personality test.
We couldn’t give you the extensive guide to online dating without mentioning sugar babies. This term is slang for usually younger women who use online dating services to match with older, wealthier men who provide them with financial support in some way. This has become an increasingly popular way for young people to help ease the burden of student loan debt.
The downside to this app is it's built-in elitism. It's meant to feel exclusive, and the language used in the marketing materials isn't exactly warm and fuzzy. For example, one of the website's taglines is, "We do the scouting and the vetting, you do the matching and the petting." Still, if an exclusive and upscale dating app experience is what you’re looking for, The League could be for you.

Happn takes location-based dating to the next level. This hyper localized dating app serves up people that you’ve physically crossed paths with. Yep, that’s right. No more missed connections, or, at least, that’s the hope. Happn has a very quick setup through your Facebook account, then you’re free to start sending off those likes. Not too much to say, except that it tends to skew younger and there may not be  very many people on it if you’re in a more rural area, but it’s great for cities.


Looking for someone who's truly a cut above the rest? EliteSingles might be the place for you. The dating site is focused on attracting only the most beautiful and well-to-do members and helping them find similarly beautiful and well-to-do people. If that sounds like what you're after, look no further. Signing up means you'll be completing a fleshed-out questionnaire that'll aid in matching you with compatible people by looking at 29 unique character traits.


You discover potential matches based on searching instead of getting match suggestions, which gives you more control over your online dating experience. For each match you see, you also see the percentage match rate you have with that individual, giving you not just another conversation starter, but an actual data-driven indication (based on the profile questions you answered) of how well you and someone you find in your search results may match. OKCupid has a fun, laid-back feel to it, and users generally adopt a similar attitude when interacting on the site, making it a legitimate choice both for people looking for casual flings, and those in search of more serious, long-term relationships.
Why it's awesome: On OkCupid, users can offer a ton of information about themselves through the site's Match Questions. Examples include: "Would you date someone who keeps a gun in the house?" or "Should the government require children be vaccinated for preventable diseases?" The answers to these questions help OkCupid determine which members might be a good match for one another. Of note: Per OkCupid's own stats, liberal women in particular have luck on the site. And in 2017, the site offered users the chance to answer 50 "current events" questions that illuminate a user's politics."OkCupid has been a favorite of mine for years," Spira says. "I always liked OkCupid because they have a great critical mass and they have the thought-provoking questions that really allow you to think about how you feel about some of these issues, whether it’s politics or gun control, and how do you feel about your date’s answers. People spend a lot of time on site just perusing the questions that other people answer, and I like that."
When it comes down to actually putting yourself out there and creating a profile, all apps ask for the basics: name, age, location, a photo, a short blurb about yourself, and (usually) if you can stand a person who smokes. Beyond that, it can be a bit of a crapshoot. Some apps, like Tinder, value photos over personality. Others, like eharmony, make you fill out an endless questionnaire before you can even think about browsing for your match. Still others, like Zoosk, ask so little that you're left to wonder what's being used to actually match you with like-minded singles.
If Match is an inclusive, welcoming cocktail party full of people from all corners of the earth, then Tinder is the loud, crazy nightclub down the street that's primarily for 20- to 30-somethings looking for a bit of quick fun. Sure, older folks can hang out there too, but that's not who (or what) it's built for. The swipe left/swipe right function on profiles is intuitive and immediate; there's a reason basically everyone else adopted it. Tinder knows you're only here to make a quick snap judgment on photos, so scanning users and flicking them into the discard or keep pile is easy and addictive.
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.
Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.
I was also disappointed in the notifications, which I found too pushy. CMB was constantly "gently" reminding me to message users I'd matched with. I eventually disabled the app after receiving the following notification: "Show [match name] who's boss and break the ice today!" Should a potential future relationship be rooted in 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. 
SeekingArrangement is skewed toward young women seeking older men, though there are other websites and apps to use. While the name of WhatsYourPrice might seem a little too on the nose, it has options available for both men and women to bid on potential dates. Happy Matches has a plethora of options for women seeking to financially support someone, as does Sugar Elite. However, it does cost money to use many of these services.
Very good dating sites find it important to inform members of their expensive matching algorithms which are used to create profile matches for members who are compatible. This is a fact that is one of the best features of dating online. If you are searching for a serious relationship, you need to be honest when you complete your questionnaire, to ensure that you receive only the best matches that are possible for you.
Dating giant eharmony is the site to go to when you're really serious about finding a connection. Unlike some of the other websites which cater to both serious and casual daters, eHarmony focuses on people seeking long-term relationships. In 2013, eharmony ranked first in creating more marriages than any other dating site and according to a spokesperson, the site is responsible for 4% of U.S. marriages. eHarmony makes a guarantee that if you're not satisfied in 3 months, you'll get 3 months free. 
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