Which Dating Websites Deserve Your Swipe Right? We Give You the Rundown

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It wasn’t all that long ago that online dating was stigmatized as something only lonely, desperate people bothered trying.

Today, 59% of U.S. adults say online dating is a good way to meet people, and 29% know someone who has met a spouse or long-term partner via online dating.

So long, stigma — online dating is getting its day in the sun.

In fact, research indicates that “online dating is the second most common way for heterosexual couples to meet. For homosexual couples, it is far and away the most popular.”

Score another point for technology.

What Popular Dating Websites Have to Offer

The internet boasts hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dating websites. Most are aimed at the general dating population, but some are unexpectedly niche.

Who knew there were dating sites specifically for farmers, geeks or people who are gluten-free?

With so many choices, it’s tough to narrow down which one offers the best chance to meet the partner of your dreams.

Fortunately, many popular dating websites are free to join, and some even let you browse dating candidates without even signing up. That means it’s possible to meet other people online without investing a dime.

Of course, dating sites need to keep the lights on, so many offer paid subscription plans that include extra features to enhance your meet-and-mingle experience.

Let’s take a look at what five popular online dating websites have to offer and how much their subscription plans cost.

Each of these websites also offers a mobile app which you’ll find in Apple’s App Store or GooglePlay Store.

OKCupid

Whether you’re looking for a serious relationship, casual dating or just friends to hang out with, OKCupid has you covered.

The A-List Basic subscription upgrade includes advanced search filters, message read receipts, ad removal and more. The A-List Premium subscription upgrade adds features like message priority and access to everyone’s public answers.

Cost:

  • Free with ads
  • A-List Basic one-month package: $19.95 per month
  • A-List Basic three-month package: $14.95 per month
  • A-List Basic six-month package: $9.95 per month
  • A-List Premium one-month package: $34.90 per month
  • A-List Premium three-month package: $29.90 per month
  • A-List Premium six-month package: $24.90 per month

Pros:

  • Profile settings include options for non-binary genders and non-monogamous relationships.
  • The profile area has plenty of space to write as little or as much about yourself as you want to share.
  • Users can voluntarily answer personality questions to help OKCupid create better matches.

Cons:

  • Features are limited without upgrading to an A-List package.
  • It takes a while to fill out the profile and answer questions to get good matches.

Plenty of Fish

Plenty Of Fish boasts hundreds of success stories from people who found their soulmates on this popular dating site. Whether you’re looking for casual meetups or wedded bliss, your story could be next.

Upgrade features include the ability to unlock every user’s Extended Profile, ad removal, message read receipts and more.

Cost:

  • Free with ads
  • $19.35 per month for two months ($38.70)
  • $12.75 per month for four months ($51.00)
  • $9.99 per month for eight months ($79.92)

Pros:

  • A huge pool of over 3 million active daily users.
  • Users can message each other for free.
  • Dedicated sites for 10 different countries.

Cons:

  • The website and mobile app are cluttered and look outdated.
  • Expensive plan upgrades are required to increase the number of people who view your profile to improve your chance of meeting someone.

eHarmony

eHarmony is all about long-term love. The company uses its patented Compatibility Matching System to find the perfect person for you to spend life with.

Standard plans include unlimited messaging, a way to see who’s viewed you, the ability to browse member photos and more. Premium plans add additional features like phone-based member support, anonymous match browsing and message-read receipts.

Cost:

  • Standard three-month plan: $58.95 per month  
  • Standard six-month plan: $42.95 per month
  • Standard 12-month plan: $21.95 per month
  • Premium three-month plan: $70.95 per month  
  • Premium six-month plan: $46.95 per month
  • Premium 12-month plan: $29.95 per month

Pros:

  • Your matches are the only people who can see you, and only members are permitted to view your photos.
  • A guided communication system uses pre-written questions to help you break the ice when messaging new matches.

Cons:

  • If you aren’t interested in your limited pool of daily matches, you must wait until the next day to see more.
  • It’s one of the most expensive dating sites out there, with no free option.

Match

Match wants to get you off the couch and out to participate in what’s happening locally. Its integrated Events feature keeps you up-to-date on the best places to hang out to meet the person of your dreams.

Basic plans include a connection tracker, messaging capabilities, an option to see who has viewed your profile and more. Bundle plans add email-read notifications, highlighted profiles and more.

Cost:

  • Free with ads
  • Basic three-month plan: $21.99 per month
  • Basic six-month plan: $18.99 per month
  • Basic 12-month plan: $17.99 per month
  • Bundle three-month plan: $24.99 per month
  • Bundle six-month plan: $21.99 per month
  • Bundle 12-month plan: $18.99 per month

Pros:

  • A verification feature helps distinguish fake accounts from real ones.

Cons:

  • You can’t send or respond to messages without a paid subscription.
  • No free live chat option like many other sites offer.

Tinder

Tinder pioneered the idea of swiping left or right on dating prospects to determine their fate. All the site’s other cool features and upgrades are just gravy.

Tinder Plus removes ads, provides unlimited likes, allows users to limit what’s displayed in their profile and more. Tinder Gold adds a way to see if someone has already swiped right on you.

Cost:

  • Free with ads
  • Tinder Plus one-month plan: $19.99 per month
  • Tinder Plus six-month plan: $12.50 per month
  • Tinder Plus 12-month plan: $8.33 per month
  • Tinder Gold one-month plan: $29.99 per month
  • Tinder Gold six-month plan: $18.83 per month
  • Tinder Gold 12-month plan: $12.50 per month

Pros:

  • The mobile app is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
  • All it takes is a quick subscription upgrade if you want to meet local people when you’re traveling.

Cons:

  • The photo-oriented nature of the site doesn’t leave a lot of room for in-depth profile information.
  • It’s easy to miss out on good connections when making a snap judgement based on a photo or two.

How to Choose the Perfect Online Dating Website

If you can’t make up your mind about which site to join, sign up for free at more than one. Once you get a feel for what they have to offer, you can decide if it’s worth upgrading to a premium plan.

No matter which site (or sites) you choose, here’s a little secret: Many dating sites are owned by the same company, so most of the time the only real difference is what you pay for premium features.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She met her husband on OKCupid. Mechanical sharks and psychic witches were involved, but that’s a story for another time.

 

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