In the last decade, thousands of dating sites for singles have put an abundance of swiping options at people’s fingertips. That’s why my mom’s favorite morning talk show and other news outlets have declared that this is the “best time in history to be single.”

To that, all I can say is, “OK, boomer.”

Today’s singles certainly have more opportunities to meet someone new, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Those of us actually in the swiping trenches aren’t so quick to celebrate the short attention span and snap judgments that come with online dating.

On the bright side, the popular dating sites and apps on this list are responsible for creating billions of matches a day, and that can be a good (maybe even the best) starting point for a conversation, a first date, or a new relationship.

Best Overall Dating Sites for Singles

Online dating sites and apps have led to some pretty cute love stories over the years, so it’s worth giving these high-tech matchmaking tools a try if you’re single and ready to mingle. Here are the overall best dating sites for singles looking for romance.

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★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Match is the world's longest running dating site
  • The Discover section has search filters by interests, looks, lifestyle, and more
  • Match is available in 50 countries and 15 languages

As far as our dating experts are concerned, Match is the best of the best in the online dating scene. It has been creating love connections since 1995 and boasts having led to more relationships and marriages than any other dating service.

What makes Match special is the maturity of its user base. According to Match, about 75% of its users are at least 30 years old, and more than half identify as a single parent. The typical user has established a career and is looking to settle down.

Match welcomes serious relationship seekers and encourages them to find a partner who has shared interests, habits, and dating goals.

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★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Over 2 million monthly users
  • Premium members receive 20 wildcard matches a day
  • Search features include age, height, education, ethnicity, and lifestyle habits

As a dating platform for professionals, Elite Singles has raised the bar for singles in the workforce. This elite dating network includes highly educated and successful individuals seeking someone on their level.

More than 80% of Elite Singles users are college graduates, and more than 90% say they would like to get into a serious relationship that leads to marriage.

Elite Singles can help serious daters find their perfect match by using sophisticated matching tools. Simply create a free dating profile, fill in your dating preferences, and start browsing.

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★★★★★ 4.7/5.0
  • Send messages to premium members for free
  • Over 3 million messages sent a day
  • Premium perks include photo verification and sending virtual gifts

Since 2007, Zoosk has aimed to make online dating a more social, fun, and engaging experience for young singles. The dating site and app offer a variety of matching tools and communication options to spark connections online.

Zoosk uses a behavioral matchmaking algorithm to identify what qualities users like in a partner. That means the more a person swipes, matches, and chats on Zoosk, the more refined its match recommendation list will become.

The Zoosk network includes 40 million dating profiles in 80 countries and 25 languages, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find someone willing to chat here.

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★★★★★ 4.7/5.0
  • Over 2 million people have found love here
  • Users can filter their match recommendations by age or city
  • Compatibility Quiz identifies common interests, lifestyles, and goals

Most singles know eharmony as a serious dating site for finding love, but they may not realize all the work that goes on behind the scenes to lead to that happily-ever-after ending.

In 2000, a team of dating experts, psychologists, and tech whizzes got together to create a formula that could predict long-term relationship compatibility. Today, eharmony uses that smart matching system to make a new love connection every 14 minutes. It is responsible for introducing a total of about 2 million couples in the U.S.

You can read more about eharmony’s Compatibility Quiz, subscription costs, and success rate in our full review.

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★★★★ 4.3/5.0

Christian Mingle is an online dating site where Catholic singles and Protestant singles can find common ground in their shared faith in God.

The Christian Mingle network is open to people of all faiths, but about 90% of members identify as Christian, and more than 80% say they go to church at least once a week. This information is highlighted in the Christian Mingle dating profile, so couples can see right away if their lifestyles are compatible.

“Our wedding was so amazing and special,” said Seth and Monick in a Christian Mingle success story on the site. “Never would I have thought it was possible to find love on an internet dating site, but God was ultimately our matchmaker.”

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★★★★ 4.2/5.0

BlackPeopleMeet celebrates diversity and welcomes people of all races and ethnicities. Anyone who wants to date a Black person can use this online dating service to get something going.

Free BPM members can use search filters by age, race, and appearance to find a partner who has all the qualities they admire — and then some! Once you think you’ve found your online soul mate, you can send a like or message to see if the feeling is mutual.

“Because of BlackPeopleMeet, I have met the sweetest woman,” said a Florida man in an online testimonial. “We have been talking and going out for about three months now, and it was love at first sight.”

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★★★★ 4.1/5.0
  • Free, unlimited communication for everyone
  • Singles can swipe or search for a compatible date
  • Over 91 million connections every year

OkCupid stands out in the dating scene because it is completely free for all online daters to chat with each other. The free dating site and app support a flirtatious forum where you don’t even need to create a mutual match to say hi.

Young singles have flocked to OkCupid in search of hot local dates, and they’ve found a world of romantic possibilities sorted by age, orientation, interests, fandoms, and personality traits. OkCupid profiles give singles a lot of leeway to express themselves and make a dynamic first impression on a potential partner.

OkCupid started in 2004 with four Harvard math majors trying to make an equation for love, and now its match calculation is responsible for introducing 91 million couples each year.

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★★★★ 4.1/5.0

PlentyOfFish is another online dating service that doesn’t put a price on love. It’s always free to chat with POF members, and the only limit is that you can send 55 unsolicited messages a day.

As a free dating app, POF can offer local singles a lot of value without busting their budget, and its affordable service has attracted over 150 million singles in 20 countries. Every day, about 65,000 new users join the POF community in hopes of having a good conversation that leads to a great first date.

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★★★★ 4.0/5.0
  • Supports active daters in 190+ countries
  • The swiping system creates over 12 million matches per day
  • Tinder Plus members have unlimited likes and 5 Super Likes

Since it went viral in 2012, Tinder has become the go-to dating app for millions of men and women in 190 countries worldwide. The app has been downloaded over 340 million times and has helped create something like 43 billion matches.

Tinder is the original swiping app. It created the mutual matching system that has become standard operating procedure on many of the most popular dating apps today.

Many online daters assume Tinder is only good for arranging a casual hookup, but it has been known to inspire friendships and relationships as well. You just have to know what you’re swiping for and set your match preferences accordingly.

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★★★★ 4.0/5.0
  • A feminist dating app puts singles on equal footing
  • 60% of Bumble matches turn into dates
  • Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF spark non-romantic connections

Bumble is a free dating app with solid feminist roots. Since 2014, it has championed a woman’s right to make the first move in the online dating world.

Bumble Founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd left an executive position at Tinder because she wanted to take a stand against toxic masculinity and bro culture — so she created an app where women would always come first. Today, Bumble has more than 100 million users worldwide.

Whenever a man and woman match on Bumble, the woman has to send the first message to unlock the conversation window. She has 24 hours (or 48 hours if the man chooses to give an extension) to send an opening line, otherwise the match will disappear.

Best Senior Dating Sites for Singles

Most single seniors have been in a steady relationship or marriage before, and they have a pretty good idea of what they want in the dating scene. The trick is finding it. Fortunately, online dating has become a reliable resource for divorcees, widows, single moms, and senior citizens looking for a partner in their golden years.

We’ve ranked and reviewed the top senior dating sites to help over-50 singles start again.

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★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

SilverSingles is among the most popular social networking sites for the over-50 crowd. Many singles have praised its sophisticated and user-friendly matchmaking system, which recommends date prospects based on common interests and values.

A free membership on SilverSingles gives you the ability to set your match preferences and browse unlimited dating profiles; however, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid membership to view photos and send messages on the site or app.

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★★★★ 4.4/5.0
  • Open to straight, gay, and lesbian singles over 50
  • Free match recommendations and conversation starters
  • Use Tokens to promote your profile and send virtual gifts

Thanks to its massive user base, OurTime can give senior singles new hope in the online dating world. The dating service delivers a curated list of match suggestions every day, and it allows free members to respond to messages for free.

OurTime has access to an extended network of singles who come from all walks of life, and on the site it highlights the success stories sent by users who have hit it off and gotten into a relationship. For years, this online site and app have made a difference in people’s lives by introducing them to the right person at the right time.

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★★★★ 3.7/5.0

SeniorMatch is a trustworthy dating service that has been around since 2003 and led to 36,600 success stories — and counting. Older singles can join SeniorMatch to escape from the youth-dominated swiping scene and meet people their own age.

Over 1 million members have become part of the SeniorMatch community, and the site and app see thousands of daily active users. This is a dynamic place to chat up a new love interest. Every month, more than 1.6 million conversations take place on Senior Match.

Best LGBT Dating Sites for Singles

Online dating sites can do a lot to help LGBTQ+ singles find their way to a loving partner. One glance at a dating profile can tell gay singles what they need to know about the person’s sexual orientation and romantic intentions, and that removes a lot of the guesswork from picking up a date.

Around 65% of gay couples in a 2017 survey said they met their partner online, and we expect a large portion of those couples have one of the following gay dating platforms to thank.

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★★★★ 3.8/5.0
  • One of the largest gay hookup sites in the world
  • Search filters for age, location, physical attributes, and more
  • Available in 12 languages and counting

MenNation is a gay hookup site where inhibitions are few and sexual energy is high. Gay singles and couples are free to mingle in this no-judgment atmosphere and seek a man who fulfills their desires.

It’s free to create an account on MenNation and browse the personal ads of local men; however, only premium members have access to the video chat, messaging, and live broadcasts on the online site.

More than 70,000 men mingle on MenNation every day in search of some flirtatious action, and it doesn’t take much to get these horny guys to agree to a first date or no-strings hookup.

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★★★★ 3.5/5.0

LesbianPersonals has search and matching tools geared toward women and couples who are looking to woo a local lady. The casual dating site provides sign-up options for single lesbians, lesbian couples, straight couples, and polyamorous groups, and it helps spark romantic connections that lead to the bedroom.

Members of the LesbianPersonals network don’t have to provide their full names or exact location. There is no link to Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts. It’s strictly an anonymous hookup site where people can take on a sexy persona and spice up their love lives.

16. HER

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★★★★ 3.5/5.0
  • A quirky and unapologetic womxn-only dating community
  • Queer events get users connecting IRL
  • The constantly updated Feed facilitates social networking

HER is an online dating app made by women for women. This app caters exclusively to singles who identify as female and are attracted to women. 

This friendly community encompasses 4 million women across the sexuality spectrum. Whether you identify as a lesbian, bisexual, questioning, or queer, you can find a welcoming space and a chill conversation on HER.

The HER team is serious about fostering a joyful and respectful space for queer womxn. “We want to encourage love, open minds, and comfort,” the HER team said. “This is an area for you to connect with more people. Ask a question, start a photo thread, share what’s trending, and join the conversation.”

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★★★ 3.4/5.0
  • Social networking for gay, bi, trans, and queer men
  • Location-based matches spark instant chemistry
  • Grindr Equality advocates for LGBTQ+ interests on the global stage

Grindr became famous in 2009 as the first gay dating app to use location-based matching, and it has been satisfying single men ever since. Grindr sees nearly 4 million unique visits per day, and its membership base includes 27 million men from all corners of the globe.

Grindr has united gay, bisexual, and bi-curious men with its fast-paced matchmaking system. Guys love that they can chat for free on the dating app, and many use it on the weekends to find a potential date in their area. Sometimes they even find a soul mate.

A science teacher named Matt said his Grindr love story started when he swiped on a guy, had a funny chat, and agreed to a dinner date. “Just casual, but we had a great time. Things developed. Life took us where neither of us expected,” Matt said. “That was four years ago. He and I got married three weeks ago. Neither of us have been on Grindr in almost four years. I mean, it’s hard to beat meeting your spouse.”

Best Hookup Sites for Singles

Not all singles enter online dating hoping for a committed relationship. Sometimes singles are more interested in casual dating, sexting, affairs, or no-strings-attached sex. If that rings true to you, then you’ll feel in your element on a hookup site.

The following sex-forward sites give singles the chance to skip the small talk and get intimate with a stranger.

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★★★★ 4.2/5.0

Ashley Madison has gotten a lot of attention as a married dating site that facilitates short-term and long-term affairs. Despite its controversial premise, the site has over 60 million users and is one of the most popular places to arrange secret sexual encounters.

In an anonymous survey, 54% of Ashley Madison users said they want to enjoy a short-term affair without losing their marriage, and 61% said their primary motivation was to have sex. About 42% of users said they were also interested in making friends through the network.

Ashley Madison adds over 20,000 new members a day and leads to 1 million affairs each month, so it’s a pretty exciting place to pick up a date.

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★★★★ 4.1/5.0

If you want to get laid, BeNaughty gives you a sporting chance by providing easy access to adult dating profiles. The hookup site offers free communication to all users, and BeNaughty members can even send a pre-written flirt to all their online matches. 

As long as you have a valid profile picture, BeNaughty gives you full run of the site and encourages you to send a virtual wink or private text to anyone you find attractive. Everyone on BeNaughty is most definitely DTF, so you don’t have to play coy when chatting up local singles and arranging casual dates.

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★★★★ 4.0/5.0

Adult Friend Finder has more than 102 million dating profiles to its name, and that makes this adult dating site the largest sex and swinger community on the web.

Singles and couples can turn to this online dating service to satisfy their sexual needs through live chat and video chat. AFF has search filters by age, location, appearance, and background to help internet users find their ideal match. Members can also access the erotic blog and dating forum where adults share their sexual experiences and bond over shared interests and fetishes.

Adult Friend Finder has facilitated over 14 million group discussions and 4 million matches between sexually active adults.

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★★★★ 3.9/5.0

FriendFinder-X is a hookup site where a casual dater can find a sexy man or woman who is adventurous, flirtatious, and fun. All it takes is an email address to gain access to this sex-driven dating network and its local search tools.

Whether you live in a big city or a small town, FriendFinder-X can generate a list of dateworthy folks in your area and notify local singles when a potential match comes online.

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★★★★ 4.0/5.0
  • Over 70 million registered users
  • Naked photos, videos, and private messaging available
  • Send a Flirtcast to get in touch with all potential matches is a casual dating site where singles can turn an online chat into a real-life romance by just being themselves. Online daters expect to move quickly in this flirtatious scene, and sometimes they will straight up ask for sex in their profiles and private messages.

Paid sites can frustrate singles with a look-but-don’t-chat policy, but Flirt has gone a different route by making every feature totally free. The dating website’s free chatting system gives users the freedom to follow their passions and pursue casual dates at their pleasure.

How Do Dating Sites Work?

Yes, it’s definitely possible for you to find your perfect match on a dating site or app, and I know that because I met my boyfriend a year ago on Hinge. Online dating gives singles the ability to be proactive and selective when seeking a potential partner, and it can help to have a detailed profile or personality test to use as an icebreaker.

The Knot surveys newlyweds every year to spot trends in how couples are meeting and falling in love, and it has reported that online dating is now the most popular way to meet a spouse in the U.S. A solid 22% of newlyweds surveyed said their relationship began on a dating site or app.

How are Dating Sites Different From Dating Apps?

Most dating sites have companion dating apps that offer similar features and functions, so it’s pretty easy to confuse one for the other. The main difference is in how you can access the dating network.

Dating sites can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, and you don’t have to download anything to use them. Dating apps, on the other hand, have to be downloaded and will only be accessible on an Android or iOS device.

Photo of a dating app

Most dating sites are mobile-friendly and allow for easy flirting from any device.

The upside of a dating site is the convenience of being able to check your matches from your laptop and your smartphone. The downside is you won’t get real-time notifications about new messages and matches, so if you forget to check the site for a couple days, you may find your inbox full of online daters wondering why you haven’t been responsive.

Dating apps provide a more streamlined messaging system that encourages singles to respond as quickly as they do to text messages. It’s also much harder to create multiple fake profiles or scam accounts on a dating app because it requires a smartphone connection.

Are Any Dating Sites Free?

All the dating sites and apps on this list are free to join and browse profiles, but not all of them offer totally free matching and chatting services as part of the deal. If you want a 100% free dating site, you’ve got to pay attention to the fine print and investigate the features offered by a premium membership package.

OkCupid is an example of a dating site that offers free communication to all members, though it does have an A-List subscription that gives users the ability to see who has liked them, among other things.

A paid membership is always optional, and it isn’t usually necessary to upgrade if all you want to do is explore local date options. Paid sites tend to appeal to older singles who are financially stable and serious about meeting someone on their terms.

Is It Safe to Use a Dating Site?

Online dating is safe as long as singles take precautions and use good judgment — and never give money to anyone they don’t actually know.

About 53% of American singles admit to lying on their dating profiles. Sometimes it’s a harmless lie about one’s height, weight, or hobbies (come on, ladies, do you really enjoy camping?), and other times it’s a serious deception about one’s income, accomplishments, intentions, or family life.

If you find that someone is using a fake name or profile picture, you can and should report that person to the dating site or app where you met. Typically, a person caught lying on their profile will be removed and banned from the dating service.

Photo of online catfishing

Dating sites and apps have reporting tools that help you flag suspicious profiles.

Internet users should be aware of the potential hazards of meeting a stranger online. You never really know who’s on the other side of that screen, so it’s important to ask questions, vet dates, and do some research to see if that person is trustworthy.

Singles can learn to spot deceptions by picking up on red flags and having a healthy amount of skepticism when meeting someone new.

How Do I Choose the Best Dating Site?

Choosing the best dating site can be difficult because there are so many kinds available, and they all speak to different aspects of a person’s identity. For example, a gay Christian man may find himself torn between a Christian dating site and a gay dating app. Sometimes reading reviews and testimonials can be a good way to break a tie, and sometimes the right answer is to choose all of the above.

If you can’t decide between two or three of the dating sites on this list, you actually don’t have to choose. You can create a free profile on all of them, mix up your online dating experience, and increase your chances of meeting someone special.

Dating Sites & Apps Can be a Game Changer in Your Love Life

Look, as hard as it can be, online dating can actually work. It just may take some time, energy, and luck to get it right. I had to go on dozens of first dates before I met the guy for me, but I don’t see those swiping years as a waste of time. Every short-lived chat and would-be romance ended up being good practice for the real thing.

The good news is you have a lot of options, and the other good news is the right dating platform can help you take proactive steps toward your ideal match. There are dating sites for singles of all ages, races, orientations, and backgrounds, so you can choose one that caters to your interests and needs.

I don’t know if this is necessarily a wonderful time to be single (how do you even date while social distancing?), but, whatever the circumstances, this is your time to be single, so you’d better make the most of it. Good luck!

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