A Comparison of the Best Online Dating Sites

Nobody wants to be alone, but with today's fast-paced lifestyle, who even has the time to go out and meet potential partners? This is where online dating comes in. With the Internet's help, it is now possible to find anyone, whether it be someone to warm up your nights or someone to spend the rest of your life with. Creating your very own online profile only takes a few minutes and you are free to browse through matches and chat with other members during your free time.

With thousands of online dating sites waiting for you, you're sure to find the perfect partner for you. There are mainstream dating sites geared towards the general population, then there are those that cater to a specific race, religion and sexual orientation. 

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Our Dating Site Hall of Fame

Not all dating websites are built the same - some are great, some are mediocre, while others you shouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. How do you know which site falls into which category? Worry not, because we tried and tested these websites for you to save you the trouble. We've tested thousands of dating sites, but these ones exceeded our test criteria to emerge as our dating site winners:

How Online Dating Works

With traditional dating, you find a potential partner through a variety of ways: Friends or family may recommend someone they know, you can meet them at events like parties or conventions, or you can even go on blind dates.

However, not everyone is lucky, or willing. Some people have tried to find success at traditional dating to no avail, while other simply don't have the time for it. If traditional dating hasn't been working out for you, maybe online dating will bring you luck. With online dating, all you have to do is join an online dating site by signing up for an account. Then you create your profile and put yourself out there. Browse through other members' profiles and if you find them interesting, you can begin a conversation with them. Other members will also contact you if they find you interesting based on your profile.

Online dating is not a miracle cure - it may still take a few tries before you find someone with potential, and not everyone will be completely honest with you. However, online dating gives you a wider scouting ground at your fingertips.

Your Online Dating Survival Guide

Maybe you've never tried online dating before, or maybe you've done it several times before without success - no matter what your situation is, getting better at online dating is certainly not impossible! Just follow this online dating survival guide to keep yourself safe from disappointment, rejection and online scammers.

Less is always more

The first people mistake people make in online dating is thinking that quantity is more important than quality. So they sign up to several dating sites/apps and if they don't find success in the first few days, they sign up for paid services because they think they'll get better chances that way. If things still don't pan out, then they've not only wasted their time, but money as well.

The key to online dating success is to select a few, quality sites/apps that are compatible with your intentions and preferences. Nobody wants to keep tabs on several usernames and passwords, just like nobody wants to fill their phone with dating apps they won't use a month from now. So think about what you want from a site - are you looking for love or a one-night stand? Do you have any specific racial or religious preferences? Do you want a site/app that's more casual but with lax security, or one that's more strict, but guarantees the safety of their users? By knowing what you really want, you can find success even if you join just one or two dating sites.

Make your profile more appealing

Now that you've joined a dating site, the first and most important thing on your to-do list is to pimp your profile. What's the point of putting yourself out there if you're not going to make the most of your opportunity? Think of it as a job interveiw - what do you put on your online dating resume to increase the chances of you getting "hired"? For helpful tips on what you should and should not put on your online dating profile, read our article on How to Make Your Dating Profile Clickable

Staying Safe

Around 90% of people in the online dating scene are legitimate users who want to look for real love, fun flirts, friendship and other types of companionship. So what's the other 10%? Sadly, the 10% is made up of people who sign-up to online dating sites so they can scam people to either steal their identity or their money. Also, among the 90% of legitimate users, you have your fair share of liars, cheaters, psychos and manipulators. So how do you keep yourself safe from these threats? Our Staying Safe With Online Dating article will give you some valuable advice.

Plan your dates accordingly

So you've successfully found someone interesting on an online dating site, and it looks like they're into you as well. Congratulations! Now you need follow through by keeping things interesting. After a while, talking and chatting online might not be enough for your budding relationship and it's time to take the next step: Going on a real date. It's nerve wrecking: Aside from the fact that you're going on an actual date, you're going to find out if they truly are who they say they are. There's no single best approach to planning your first date - it all depends on what you and your potential match. First dates can be agreed upon by both parties, so you don't have to worry about doing the planning on your own. If you want more insight into how first dates go, you can read our post about Planning the Perfect Date.

Fun Facts About Online Dating

  • The concept of online dating started in 1966 when Vaughn Morrill and Jeff Tarr developed Operation Match
  • Around 20% of site users get help from others when writing their dating site profile
  • Back in 2000, only 10% of committed individuals said they met their partner through online dating. That figure rose to 20% by 2010
  • When it comes to lying on their user profiles, people tend to lie more about their age, jobs, income, height and weight
  • Unsurprisingly, online dating sites see an increase in member activity during Valentines and the days between Christmas and New Year
  • Around 30% of online dating users don't have pictures on their profile

Benefits of Online Dating

So why should you try online dating? Contrary to popular belief, people don't just opt for online dating because they're desparate and can't find a date through ordinary means. Some actually prefer online dating over traditional dating for a number of reasons:

  • It's A Time Saver - No time for dating? No problem! You can search for dates or even talk to potential matches during your toilet break, lunch time, or while waiting for your bus. Connecting and getting to know someone through online dating doesn't require a lot of time, so even the busiest of individuals can find suitable partners.
  • More Fish in the Sea - If you live in a huge, bustling metropolis, it's probably easy to find your soulmate, but if you live in a small town, over half of the people you meet are either related to you, or has previously dated someone you know. Online dating could be your chance to find someone new and interesting because it gives you a larger playground to work with - as long as you don't mind dating someone who is farther away, of course.
  • More Information Upfront - Imagine dating someone exclusively for over a month, only to find out that they smoke, which is a huge no-no for you. With online dating, user profiles are filled up with important information so you know whether the other person has habits that you can't stand.
  • Rejection Isn't That Painful - Most people don't want to approach their co-worker or their friend because they fear rejection. If you get rejected, hanging out with your officemates or group of friends can feel awkward and uncomfortable if the other person is around. If someone rejects you on an online dating site or vice versa, you can just unfriend and even block the person and move on.
  • It's Affordable - Many online dating sites offer their services for free and even cost-based dating sites have features available for free users. All you need in a dating site is the ability to create your profile, search other people's profiles and chat with other users - if these features are offered for free, you're set for life! While paid services give you more visibility, more matches and other perks, you can survive without these and still have fun.
  • Online Dating is Actually Safer - Many naysayers will discourage you from joining online sites because it's not safe, but if you think about it, online dating is a lot safer than dating in real life. Let's say you meet someone in real life, and they're interest in you but the feeling is not mutual. If the person can't take "no" for an answer, it's easier to stalk you, find out where you live, show up at your front door or bombard you with unwanted phone calls. With online dating, as long as you don't give telling details about yourself, you can get rid of someone annoying easily. Just block them and they won't bother you ever again.
  • Play The Field With Ease - People often look down on you if you are flirting/communicating with several potential partners at once. If people find out you're going on dates with several people at the same time, they will label you as a playboy/playgirl. With online dating, you can be more discreet; you can get to know several potential matches at the same time without getting judged for it. 
  • Gather Experience - If you don't know how to approach the opposite sex and have never been in a relationship before, online dating can give you the necessary experience so you can feel confident and comfortable mingling with the opposite sex. Because the other person can't see you face-to-face, conversing is a lot less awkward. As you meet more people and develop your self-esteem, finding the right one will become easier. Once you're ready, you can ask one of your potential matches for a date in real life!