Anyone who's ever tried dating knows that it can be a scary—and at times frustrating—experience. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a place where you could screen dates before ever meeting them, or let someone (or something) else pick potential matches for you? In this guide we'll show you how to use the Internet to do all those things. We'll provide you with dating sites for people with specific interests or lifestyles, as well as sites that evaluate all these online dating services. We'll even show you how to stay safe with online dating.
Most people you'll find in the online dating world have honest intentions; but just as there are ... read more »
Before you wear yourself—or your wallet—out signing up for every dating site out there, ... read more »
If you're worried that Mr. or Ms. Right might pass you by, you'll be happy to know that you might be able to find a date without ever leaving your house. Online dating sites have become increasingly popular in the last few years. They allow you to presort the dating pool and hopefully save yourself from finding out three months into a relationship that the person you've been dating has a trait or opinion you just can't live with.
- If there is a local weekly paper or magazine that you know has personal listings, try looking at its Web site to read them online whenever you like.
- You might know of some popular dating sites that aren't included in our Picks. We've included the sites that we feel are easiest to use, offer free trials, or have features not found on other sites. Some popular sites aren't recommended here because they didn't stand up against the others.
For some of the larger, more established dating sites ...
will let you preview the site for free, but if you want to make contact you'll have to pay. Match.com comes with a guarantee: if you don't find someone special in six months, you'll get the next six months for free (your first six will cost you $19.99/month). Match.com has advice and video messages from TV advice guru Dr. Phil to help guide you through the dating process.
has you fill out a long questionnaire to evaluate your personality, and then it matches you with people in your area who are deemed a good fit. eHarmony caters only to heterosexual couples and is well regarded in the Christian community. If you want to contact any of your matches, you have to pay for the service (about $21/month).
evaluates your compatibility with other members on the site and sends you possible matches. Unlike eHarmony, the site is open to "all lifestyle choices" and you can search for your own matches on the site. Perfectmatch also offers free photo cropping and image enhancement to help you look your best.
has questionnaire with more than just the run-of-the-mill personality questions; there are pictures and even games to test who would best match you. If you've got a half hour or so to spare, it's actually kind of fun (and free to fill out). You'll pay anywhere from about $27 to $50 a month to subscribe to the site and actually be able to contact other users. This site is a partner of Match.com.
is a nice break from the busy, ad-heavy dating sites that you'll usually find online. This site allows you to sign up for a free trial account quickly (the site says 30 seconds, but it's really more like a few minutes). After you've entered your profile information, each time you click on "search," Singlesnet automatically generates matches based on your profile; you don't have to enter any search criteria except zip code. Paying for this service makes your profile show up as one of the first results when other users search for criteria that you match. Payment also gives you the ability to send and receive e-mails with other users; this upgrade costs about $25/month or about $90/year.
has a free sign-up, but you'll have to pay to communicate with other members (about $30 a month). You can search for matches in three different areas: Dating, Relationship, and Intimate Encounters, and you're allowed to post three unique profiles. Overall, this site is aimed more at the casual dater.
For those looking for completely free dating online ...
has a compatibility test feature, which is something that most paid sites have but very few free sites offer. Although Plentyoffish.com is lacking in the design department, for a free site it offers more features than you would expect: IM, e-mail, compatibility matches, and site censorship that deletes any profiles with nudity, to name a few. Mind the advertisements between your upper navigation bar and the page content and you should be able to make good use of this site.
is small but growing. Send messages, "nudge" users who you are too shy to write, post up to 10 photos of yourself, even write a blog on the site. The clean and simple design of this site (and that it is nearly void of ads) make it more pleasant to use than lots of other free sites.
is an international dating site that allows you to browse user profiles without making you create a profile first (as many of the other sites do). This site is still in Beta mode so some of its search features aren't the greatest, but it is a simple and straightforward way to look for love online.
For dating personals ...
is a quick and easy way to get started browsing personal ads from other users. You'll be able to read full profiles for free and see what they are looking for in a partner. The price to send e-mails and chats is about $25 per month, $50 for three months, or $75 for six months.
helps give you a second chance at missed connections. The site is designed to let you search and post messages for that person who caught your eye on the bus, at a concert, or anywhere else, but you didn't get the opportunity to talk to at the time. This site would be much better if it also searched for missed connection postings on other sites and in newspapers. But who knows? Maybe you'll find that special someone you never thought you'd see again.
is a free dating site that is integrated with a program called Skype that lets people talk over the Internet. This lets you talk to potential dates without having to give out your home phone number. The inconvenience of not being able to search for people by location (you search by gender, age, and interests instead) is mitigated by the site's services being entirely free.
The most popular dating sites surely have a numbers advantage over some of the niche dating sites ... read more »
Matchmaking services are nothing new, but the ease with which you can sign up for these services ... read more »
If religion plays a prominent role in your life, consider joining an online dating community full ... read more »
The Internet has transformed dating for all populations, but the degree to which it has enhanced ... read more »
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