Over the years, online dating has been seen as a no-way. Most singles preferred the traditional, ancient method of finding partners because it was way safer and surer. Well, the narrative is not the same nowadays; dating sites are fast becoming the new normal. Much more than making a match easily, you get to meet new people and have a good time online. As if that’s not enough, you can find just what you’re looking for in a man or a woman by making specifications. Awesome, yeah?
Now, the thing is, how do you get to know which site is legit and which is not? Let’s face it, not all platforms for dating online are real; some are stuffed with fake profiles. And if you’re lucky enough to bypass being tricked, you may fall victim to heartbreaks (some nasty stuff!).
In case you are dating online for the first time, you may want to know the best platforms for the best experiences. Instead of spending hours and, if you’re more intense, days, checking through dating websites for the cream of the crop, you could simply read through our review to help your choice.
Topping our list of the best online dating sites is Match.com, a notable one for long-term relationships. Others are eHarmony, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Elite Singles, Zoosk, Lovestruck, Lumen, and many more.
You will find out all you need to know about these sites and the most suitable for every niche here. Enjoy!
Contrary to popular notions, online dating started way back in 1959. Then, it wasn’t what we know it to be today — change happened!
You can hardly talk about online dating and how it came to be without referring to Jim Harvey and Phil Fialer. The duo were students of Stanford, signed up for the study of computing machines. They used a punch card questionnaire and an IBM 650 mainframe computer to match their classmates. The same system of matching was used, years later, to make the first computerized dating service that led off innovations in online dating.
Mobile dating apps did not take the plunge until 2003. Though online dating has been around before then, there wasn’t any serious headway until the invention of smartphones.
It took a while for developers to come up with the app version of most dating sites (some do not have up until now). The first mobile services came through Proxi dating and Lavilife in 2003. As time went on, the iPhone was introduced, and dating apps became popular in 2007.
In 2012, Tinder launched its mobile dating app around the same time with Hinge, OkCupid and Coffee meet Bagel. Swiping came as a game-changer to the world of online dating; it made chatting more fun and frisky. Currently, Tinder has made more than 40 billion successful matches across the globe. The app’s functionalities are off the hook!
Speaking of our preference for dating sites and apps, we have spent time browsing through reviews online to select the best of the best. We owe it to you to help you choose the most fitting platforms to find exactly what you are looking for.
For real, the dating sites and dating apps we selected have proven their worth, not just as the most sought after, but also as the most reliable for any kind of relationship and romantic connection.
Whether you are gay or straight, single or married, young or old, you’ll surely find a site to make the most of. Our recommendations are tried and trusted to give you just what you want.
The online dating industry is some kind of world on its own. Depending on the type of connection you are looking to find, you will find the websites in different categories.
There are about five known types – hookup, Christian, gay / lesbian, elite, and free dating sites. Each caters to users’ specific relationship needs. Whether you are looking for dates who are professionals, a deeper dating experience (hello, Christian mingle), or some big-time sexual encounters, there’s at least a site to play on.
Plus, sites like OkCupid and Plenty of fish are 100% free. You can get matched without paying a dime.
What does it matter that some dating sites are more popular than others? Well, people are more likely to opt for what serves them best. The sites with the largest member base can safely be taken to be the most trusted.
Concerning the most popular sites, Tinder stands out with more than 300 million users. Most singles find it more reliable and will choose it over others.
Next to Tinder is Adult friend finder – majorly for horny daters looking to have sex. It has a member base of about 100 million mature minds from all over the world.
And, there is Bumble, a go-to site for single men and women, with more than 80 million members looking for ideal partners.
Here are dating sites that allow you to meet people and enjoy sex with no strings attached. In other words, you find singles who are only interested in casual connections.
The best platforms for such dates are few. Not so many can meet your expectations exactly. But with a site like BeNaughty, you’d surely find a potential match for hookups. It offers free chatting for all users plus an advanced search feature that makes matchmaking a no-brainer.
Another good option is the ‘Down’ app. If you prefer using mobile dating apps, you can try it out. Down is one of the best hookup sites for sexually active singles who get turned on easily and need someone to bang.
There are a couple dating sites dedicated to serious, God-centred connections. Not only will you find someone to connect with for fun, but you will also make matches that will most likely lead to marriage. Unlike in other platforms where you only get to meet people for friendship or sex, Christian sites offer a more intimate dating experience to those looking for serious relationships.
Christian mingle is the largest site for Christian dating. Since 2001, it has been working wonders in people’s love lives. A 2015 study shows that the site has inspired close to 30% Christian marriages. Quite impressive, don’t you think?
As alternatives to Christian mingle, you could check out other sites like eHarmony, Love and seek Big church, or Christian People Meet.
Ever noticed the thing about professionals that screams excellence? Well, maybe not exactly what we’d think, but we find this feeling of superiority in what they do and prefer – the VIP aura.
That said, there’s a niche for elites to enjoy online dating with fellow elites. If you are a lawyer, an engineer, or a doctor, elite dating sites are for you.
Elite singles top the list of best sites for professionals. More than 80% of the entire member base are college graduates looking for real connections. You’ll find dates that are in your class and can roll at your level. Other sites on the list are: Match.com, Zoosk, Luxy, Coffee Meets Bagel, and so on.
The regular online dating connections are between opposite genders–male to female, and vice versa. However, some sites specialize in gay and lesbian dating encounters. That is, a man looking for man, woman looking for a woman. Those interested in same-sex relationships can opt for any of these sites.
The best dating site, in our opinion, for gays and lesbians is Plenty of fish. There’s something about the site’s name that suggests endless sexual rendezvous. Well, it has over 11 million registered users and more than 100 million people visiting monthly.
Other sites in this category are Bicupid, my transsexual date, Outpersonals, Grindr, etc.– all rated 18+.
Almost all dating sites offer free services. You may not have access to all the features, but you can use one or two without paying. More often than not, the messaging feature of such sites is offered as premium perks. If you can sign up for free and you can’t send messages, it makes no sense. The purpose of online dating stands defeated.
Hence, you should try out some of the best free online dating sites. No subscription, no payment, just free! The best free dating sites are OkCupid, Zoosk, and Plenty of fish. They allow free access to all features (even messaging is free).
The bad thing is, these platforms are open grounds for scammers and fake profiles. Apart from Zoosk that offers free services with top security measures, most free dating sites attract double dealers who take pleasure in fooling others.
The majority of online daters prefer mobile dating apps to website platforms. With dating apps, you can bypass the hassle of logging in and out–the app is accessible on the go.
When it comes to choosing the app to use, some people fancy the ones that are free while others go for the best. Whatever your choice, it only makes sense that you pick what serves your purpose and gives what you’re looking for exactly.
Free dating apps are useful for those who are not ready to part with cash. All you need is your phone, your data connection, and your senses (Yes, your senses!). With apps like Tingle, down, and Plenty of fish, you can do online dating without your credit card.
On the other hand, they are the best dating apps. It might seem a bit daunting to decide which app fits a particular niche best, but there are dating apps with outstanding matchmaking systems. Some of them even offer free services, plus additional perks. You can knock yourself out on apps like Match, Elite Singles, Zoosk, etc. for stellar dating experiences.
Perhaps, you’ve heard the saying that ‘Nothing good comes easy.’ Well, that is not to conclude that the free apps are not good per se, but if we are to compare both apps (free and best), we’d say that the best apps are the most reliable. Even though no dating app (or site) can boast of 100% security yet, the probability of scam on free apps is pretty high.
Many of the leading dating sites offer registration and some other key features for free, though there may be room for account upgrade and all. The idea of premium or gold membership (as the case may be) is basically to provide more perks as paid services to those who might be interested.
Speaking of prices, the best dating sites try to lower subscription costs to make them affordable for everyone. For Match.com, one of the biggest fee-based sites in the United States, a subscription is 42.00 USD a month. Members can save costs and choose the six months plan; it goes for 24.00 USD per month and 144.00 USD in total. eHarmony, however, costs 60 USD for one month and 240 USD total if you are using the six-months bundle (with an average of 40 USD per month).
One of the major concerns of any online dater should be whether the site or app they’re using (or about to use) is legit. Why? No one waits for a second chance to get a first impression, and, yes, first impressions last longer. Once your initial experience with a site turns out bad–say you got scammed– you may never like to push further in online dating. What that means is, you need the legit sites to get the best out of online dating. Got it?
Yeah, most of the best dating sites in the USA are legit. Whatever niche you are looking to find, you’ll find a real site to play on. Some legit sites to check out are Match.com, Elite singles, Plenty of fish, Silver singles, and eHarmony.
According to Verity Hogan, the UK relationship expert for eHarmony, the following five tips will help you stay safe while using online dating platforms:
There’s hardly any dating site that will not require you to enter some personal information while signing up. In most cases, you’ll need to write a thing or two about yourself. The reason for this is to help potential matches know who they are about to connect with, at least to a certain extent.
However, when a member begins to ask for more information earlier than normal, you should be wary of them. Whatever makes a personal request for your date of birth or bank account details after two days of meeting online is far from being saint. Be careful of disclosing your sensitive info to strangers online. Waiting till you’re convinced of their authenticity will do you no harm.
Honestly, it might be so tempting to visit your online date at their homes for the first time, but no, you shouldn’t. Virtual connections are what they are; you really can’t tell who is real until proven. Profile information and online communications could be facades at times.
Meeting in open, busy places is not a bad idea. Make arrangements with your partner to meet somewhere public, like a restaurant, sporting event, or even a coffee shop. Keep in mind your safety before all else.
This might seem a bit off, especially for those who don’t like anyone knowing their whereabouts (for only-God-knows-why). You really should not overlook this since you are meeting your date for the first time. It is good that a friend or relative knows who you’re meeting with, when, and where.
You could ask someone to check on you at certain intervals or give a call to be sure you’re safe. For iPhone users, the ‘Find my Friends’ app allows you to share your location with others.
The only reason why you would still sit at a table with a stranger that makes you feel I’ll at ease is if you’re under the influence of some deep hypnotism, otherwise, back out!
No matter what happens– he just gave you a treat; he’s trying so hard to make you smile. Whatever! Once you no longer feel comfortable, simply walk away. It is safe to follow your gut sometimes; after all, no real evil will announce itself as such. You are meeting with this person for the first time, don’t forget.
Whenever you choose to meet with your online date, travel to the venue and back by yourself. No, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell a friend or that you can’t go with someone. What it means is, don’t be at the mercy of your date. If he or she offers to give you a lift, kindly turn it down (say No!– courteously).
Use your discretion to plan how you get to the venue and how you return. Your date should not have too much say over how long you decide to hang out, in case you need to leave at some point. The baseline is, remain completely in charge.
Making your first date a gilt-edged one depends largely on the chemistry between you and your partner. If your online match is such a bore, the chances are high that you’d have a not too interesting first-date experience. Regardless, Verity Hogan, eHarmony’s relationship guru, points out ten steps which, when followed, help online daters have extraordinary first dates:
Sometimes, daters are tempted to check each other’s social media accounts, even before meeting in person. While this might not be a bad idea in itself, it doesn’t help online dating.
You should avoid stalking, as much as you can. Wondering why? Face it, whatever impression you get (about your partner) from social media may not be their best. You need to meet your date one-on-one before you begin forming judgments about who they are.
Yes, it feels normal to want to paint the best picture of yourself to those you’re meeting for the first time– especially a date. But you have no business going overboard with trying to please your date. Wait, what does it matter that your date is impressed, but you’re nothing close to being comfortable?
Your first date is a chance to know your partner beyond the chats and voice calls (and, maybe, video calls). Don’t mistake it as an opportunity to impress – at all. Dress normally, yet sleek. Present yourself just the way you are. Speak like you.
Any attempt to fake whatever might make you uncomfortable, and you are likely to turn your date off.
There’s nothing bizarre about feeling nervous at first dates. You could be the bold person behind the keypads, sending all sorts of fun texts and all, but in real life? The opposite. Pretty natural!
But, to make sure you don’t flop at first dates, you could try out one or two confidence exercises before meeting your partner. Think of what you’d love your date to look like, picture yourself flowing easily, and fit into the scene – in your head. You could stand before a mirror, or anyone at home, to play out what you have in your head. Talk to the mirror or the person like you are talking to your date and stay positive. Sounds weird? Maybe. But it works.
Laughing about first dates is a good way to take the plunge. Research shows that laughter aids relaxation better and gets you recharged. When you laugh, you reduce stress and build momentum. This way, you can stay focused and be on top of your dating game.
Hey, you don’t have to give causeless smirks. Telling children jokes will not be necessary too. Just find something amusing to talk about. If there’s none, create one. You can’t say, there may be a couple of jolly tales in your mind. Spill!
Your body language gets more information across to your partner at first dates than your voice, sadly. While you may want to mind your speech and appearance, you should watch how you are positioned too.
Closed body languages do more harm than good to first dates. If, for instance, a person has his hands on the chin, he’ll most likely be taken to indicate that negative thoughts are being held. It could also mean that fatigue has set in, or that the date is getting boring. Another person with crossed arms or legs may be implying that she’s shut out.
In short, use open body language and make eye contact too. You show that you are interested in the date that way.
What can be more off-putting than having to say the same thing over and over again because your audience is distracted? There’s nothing as soothing as having someone’s undivided attention while in a conversation. At first dates, you should avoid looking here and there. Try to participate actively and respond when there’s a need to. It makes no sense that you keep swiping through your phone while your date is around. You could save it till you’re done or do it once a while (when you have to).
Ask questions. No, not extraneous ones, please! Apart from the fact that interrogating your date shows that you are interested in the conversation, it also gives you a chance to know them better.
What’s more to first dates than getting to know each other beyond the online arrangements? Ask about your date’s goals, what they are passionate about, and what keeps them going. Ask about their likes and dislikes, their wins and losses, among other things worth asking.
It’s okay to ask random fun questions just to make your date fun. You could talk sports or entertainment– anything to keep the flow.
You are more likely to do well on the first date if you go on cloud nine. Staying positive will help you make the best out of your first dating experience. Put a smile on your face, be affirmative, and make your date feel on top of the world.
In the past, it used to be normal for whoever proposed the date to take the bill, but the tides have changed these days– splitting the bill is now the mainstream thing.
If your date doesn’t mind, you can pay part of the expenses incurred. Otherwise, try not to argue over who should pay the bill and who should not. Cheerfully accept his payment offer.
Following up on your date, even after the first meeting, should not be overlooked. If you enjoyed your time out, tell them about it. There’s no reason why you should wait days after a date to reach out to your partner. Get in touch as soon as possible. When doing so, try to give honest feedback and make complimentary remarks.
Most dating websites use spam bots to make users opt for an account upgrade. You may find some good-looking, but fake, bot profiles claiming to accept messages from only paid members.
Regardless, of whether you’re using an online dating site or dating app, be wary of spambots that pop up in the most creative ways to lure you into signing up for other services on other sites.
According to experts, three out of every 10 US adults have used dating sites or apps at some point. Online dating is reported to thrive more among younger adults and those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB). Most people have found dating sites to be better alternatives to traditional matchmaking systems. However, true, the security issues that come with dating online remain a major concern.