Did you know that as many as 20,000 people get catfished every single year?
Online dating is already difficult enough. People can be deceptive or misleading with their profiles. And if something works out, you never know if the person you’re going to meet is the one you met online, personality-wise or physicality-wise.
Further, online dating tends to skew toward one-night stands rather than serious, committed relationships—which means people looking for “the one” are at a disadvantage. And it’s hard to find “the one” if they’re using photos and filters that don’t capture them in an accurate way. Dating online was supposed to make up for the pitfalls of real-life dating, not make it worse!
We get it, dating can be a nightmare.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Dating on the internet has come a long way, and many dating apps have learned from their successors’ mistakes to ensure that you only meet quality people.
There’s a lot to choose from, and every site employs a different philosophy. That means there’s guaranteed to be something for you.
Keep reading for a guide to the best dating site out there!
From the moment you sign up for OkCupid, it immediately bombards you with questions: do you smoke? Do you get meal delivery, or prefer shopping on your own? Should country music be illegal?
It might be tempting to skip these questions so you can start looking for matches. However, they’re actually crucial to understanding your compatibility.
Everyone has their dealbreakers. OkCupid questions tend to focus on things that are popular controversial no-nos. Whether that’s a political affiliation or an allergy to introverts, OkCupid makes sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before you even say hello.
And once you answer enough of these questions, you’ll quickly see just how many people you aren’t compatible with. When you click on their profile, OkCupid will show percentages of just how much or little you would get along with that person on certain topics. Again, if you’ve got that one dealbreaker, it pays to answer the questions and avoid falling for someone with whom a relationship might be difficult.
OkCupid is free to use, but you will have significant limitations. The website has two tiers of pricing for the better features: A-List Basic, and A-List Premium. The lowest price you can expect to pay is $4.95, with the highest being $24.90.
Being a leader in dating, OkCupid also has some excellent relationship advice.
OkCupid tends to cater to the younger crowd, but for those who are a bit older, eHarmony is ol’ reliable in dating on the internet.
Dating gets harder the older you get. You’ve got kids, might have divorced, and all the baggage that comes with that. eHarmony understands this and is out there to help people get some even in their later years.
This classic has been around since the beginning, and they have 35 years of experience and research to back it up. Like OkCupid, they use detailed questionnaires to help lovers match up.
And we mean detailed! If there’s some obscure dealbreaker—or in some cases, dealmaker—that you need, eHarmony will address it.
That said, this is not a speed dating site. There is no swiping, and eHarmony encourages members to engage in meaningful discussion, taking the time to get to know someone before meeting up. eHarmony has a marriage track record to show for it.
However, eHarmony is among the more expensive options out there. A month can cost you as little as $35.90, going up if you pay for less than a yearly subscription. That said, this is money well spent if you want to avoid wasting your time on someone who’s not worth it.
Nothing is worse than starting a conversation with “Hello.” It’s boring and turns what should be an engaging discussion into the sort of small talk you’d expect with the barista. Hinge recognized this dismal state of affairs and built an app around witty icebreakers.
While Hinge does allow you to include the basic facts (age, religion, political affiliation) it doesn’t allow you to write a bog-standard profile. Instead, your profile is comprised of prompts.
These prompts are often sentences starters such as the following:
It’s your job to fill out these prompts. And if the above prompts seem silly, there are dozens and dozens to choose from. When you open your Hinge account, make sure to scroll through them and select the ones that could give you the most entertaining answers.
When people are swiping through profiles, they can respond to your prompt in the form of a message. That means that Hinge more or less avoids any “Hi, how are you” sort of conversation. You’re not likely to get pestering messages from that old man who could use some life insurance.
Hinge starts free with a limited number of matches, but you can subscribe to the premium for $9.99 per month. Once you’ve made a match, however, you get unlimited messaging and video calling–that’s right, Hinge lets you verify that your date is the real deal.
Women have always suffered from one issue when dating: men flood them with messages. Online dating is notoriously skewed; Men only get a handful of messages, whereas women get hundreds.
Bumble set out to fix that by making a dating site where only women can break the ice. That’s right, men can’t do anything until a woman sends them a message.
This means women no longer have to waste countless hours skimming through a sea of identical “hello beautiful” messages. They choose whom they want to talk to, and that’s that.
And that benefits the men too since they don’t need to send a message to every cute face they see in the hopes that at least one will respond. They just sit back, relax, and let the women do the choosing.
Not only this, Bumble incentivizes men to act quickly. Matches only last for 24 hours, so if a man isn’t keeping up, he could lose the woman of his dreams.
Bumble has a free version like all the rest with limited features. That said, its premium is expensive, coming in at $39.99 for a month. However, some might argue that a safe space that gives women peace of mind is more than worth it.
Tinder is probably the most recognizable one on this list, and for good reason: it’s dead simple. The famous “swipe right, swipe left” phrase originated from this app.
If you’ve never used Tinder before, it’s pretty simple. You swipe left on profiles that you dislike, or swipe right on the ones you like. And the beauty of Tinder is that it only pairs you with people who swiped right—that is, they liked you.
That means that you’ll never get creepy messages from people you’re not interested in. If one of your matches turns out to be a psycho, you simply unmatch, and bye-bye.
Now, Tinder is a shamelessly superficial dating app. While you can write a profile and include a half-dozen pictures, this is an app catered to those who focus more on physical appearance than personality. While the same can be said for any dating app with pictures, Tinder’s reputation has always been for those who are in search of noncommital sex–though some data suggests this isn’t true.
Whatever the case, there’s no shame in wanting to hook up. And Tinder Premium means you can swipe anywhere in the world. So if you plan to move to another country, you can set up a date before you get there!
Tinder Free has a limited number of swipes, but Tinder Premium is unlimited and can cost about $19.99 per year.
Times are changing, and as LGBTQIA+ rights improve, it only makes sense for dating apps to cater to all different sexual orientations. If you’re not gay, feel free to skip this section.
Grindr lives and breathes the word discreet. This is not the sort of dating app that will show your profile in search results. The unfortunate reality is that many gay men suffer discrimination for their orientation, and this app allows you to be gay in enemy territory.
Grindr works with a typical profile system. It allows you to match at will, make plans to meet up, and then ghost them if things don’t work out.
For gay men who want to keep their sexuality under wraps (just like protecting their online identity) and discover allies in their town, there’s no better choice. Upon realizing their sexuality, gay men often need time for exploration before they come out to family, friends, and co-workers. Having a way to meet other gay people on the down-low is crucial to that development process.
To get Grindr’s premium features with Grindr Xtra, you can expect to pay as much as $24.99 per month–costly, so definitely use the free version before investing the big bucks. Nothing else compares if you’re looking for a gay-centric app.
Dating is hard for gay and lesbian individuals, but no one knows the struggle of finding a partner like transgender women. A trans woman often loses all her chances when admitting her birth gender, and is at the risk of violence when she does not. Few men are open to dating trans women, and those who do are not keen to admit it.
In 2015, Cyril and Maki (a man and trans woman respectively) set out to solve this problem. They created a serious dating site, catering to people in search of a long-term relationship rather than casual sex–given that many men only use trans women as an “experiment.”
Voila, MyTransgenderDate. It’s a typical dating site with all the bells and whistles, with a few exceptions: there is no free version for men, verified accounts are required, and the moderators are strict.
That means the only men who can join MyTransgenderDate must pay the premium price, and they will get a ban if they misbehave. Likewise, female scammers are swiftly banned for any attempts at selling sex or asking for money. Women can trust that the men there are serious (and well aware of their birth gender), and men can trust that they won’t lose their money and time to a scammer.
Further, this is a discreet site that won’t show your profile to Google search results. For those open to dating transwomen, but who want to avoid the current social consequences, this is the ticket.
Premium prices vary depending on whether you pay by month or year. One month can cost you $29.99, while a year will be $129.99—but it’s worth every penny since the site’s makers give it all their love and care.
Technology is amazing, and dating sites are a far cry from their predecessors. With the power of machine learning, a dating site is more effective than ever at pairing you with someone you’ll stick with for life. Most of them offer robust free versions, but for those intent enough on getting hitched, there are affordable prices.
And now that you’ve found that special someone, you need to plan the life ahead of you. Learn more about our comparison lists so you can decide on the best services and products for you.