Growing up, I loved to fantasize about how I’d fall in love. I imagined just about every possible scenario (we’d run into each other at a bookstore and couldn’t stop talking, or we would be best friends who realized we wanted something more) except for the one that actually happened.

I met the guy of my dreams on a dating app. He told me I had “a smidge of cute” on my face in his opening message, we chatted about Disney songs, and, a couple days later, I agreed to a coffee date, even though I dislike coffee. On our first date, I was five minutes early, and he was 10 minutes late, but I fell for him anyway. The rest is sappy relationship history.

I’m not the only one to find a happily-ever-after ending on a dating app. Something like 40% of American couples surveyed said they met online. According to a 2017 survey of brides, online dating is now the most popular way to meet a spouse. These days, if you want to get in a relationship, you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and start swiping. So get out there!

Best Overall Dating Sites for Serious Relationships

Different dating sites offer different online dating experiences, and it’s important to choose the one that fits your personality type and relationship goals. It’s not enough to choose a dating site your friend used, or the one you saw in a commercial. If you’re really serious, you should do your homework to find the upstanding dating sites with good reputations and proven success stories.

That’s where we come in. We’ve ranked our favorite dating sites for relationship seekers and outlined the features that make them stand out in the online dating scene.

Online Dating
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0

Match.com has come a long way since it launched in April 1995. This well-reputed dating site has honed its (read more)

  • 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 24 countries and 15 languages

Match is without a doubt one of the best in the business. Since 1995, Match has introduced countless couples and inspired relationships that have stood the test of time. The dating site boasts being responsible for more marriages than any of its competitors, and that’s great news if you’re serious about settling down.

Match.com attracts singles who are over 30, well-educated, and relationship-minded. In fact, nearly 75% of Match users have earned a college degree, and 84% said they are selective about their dates.

The singles on Match are not screwing around and don’t want to waste time on dead-end dates. Many of them have paid subscription fees because they’re invested in the online dating process and hope to meet someone who’s in a similar place in life. Only paid subscribers can chat with everyone on Match, but free members can browse profiles, send likes, and enjoy limited communication until they decide it’s worth upgrading to get the full experience.

Online Dating
★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

EliteSingles.com maintains a sophisticated network of young professionals seeking a relationship. Over 80% of (read more)

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

EliteSingles is another high-end dating site that uses a paywall to ensure only serious and successful singles come knocking. It’s free to create a profile and browse the site, but subscribed members are the only ones who can view photos and send messages in this exclusive online dating club.

As you can tell from its name, EliteSingles caters to the cream of the dating crop. The site’s selective membership includes doctors, lawyers, bankers, and other professionals seeking a partner for the long haul. Over 85% of EliteSingles members have graduated from college, and over 90% say they want to be in a relationship.

EliteSingles uses a personality-driven matchmaking system to bring compatible couples together. A questionnaire uses a five-factor model to gauge how open, conscientious, agreeable, neurotic, and extroverted users are. The site also has customized Dating Preferences where users can identify their must-haves in terms of age, ethnicity, religion, height, education, income, smoking habits, and other factors.

Online Dating
★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

Since its launch in 2000, eharmony has endeavored to find the formula for love. Its 29-dimension questionnaire (read more)

  • 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

From the moment it launched in 2000, eharmony committed all its resources to helping singles find the one they want to marry. A team of psychologists put their heads together to develop a clinically sound matchmaking system that would set couples up for success and happiness.

The recently updated eharmony Compatibility Quiz has been honed and perfected for decades now. It began as a 450-question assessment, and now it takes less than 20 minutes to answer straightforward questions like “What do your family and friends think about you?” and “What qualities do you look for in an ideal partner?” The quiz focuses on who you are and want you want, using that information to generate accurate compatibility ratings.

The eharmony team is proud of its matchmaking system and urges singles to put their trust in its compatibility ratings. It’s all about relationships here, and that’s why you won’t find any swiping or superficial features. To date, over 2 million singles have found love on eharmony, and a new couple finds each other every 14 minutes on the site.

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Online Dating
★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

Zoosk is a socially savvy dating site known for its diverse membership base and behavioral matchmaking system. (read more)

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

Zoosk got started in 2007 as a free dating network for socially savvy singles. The site’s team drew inspiration from popular social media platforms and used an array of communication tools to inspire real-time connections.

Today, the Zoosk team continues to think outside the box and make the site and app stand out from the pack. The Zoosk behavioral matchmaking system has proven effective at identifying innate compatibility without asking a lot of personal questions. The system pays attention to how singles behave on the site (their likes, views, and messages) to determine who’s hit it off with them.

Zoosk has over 40 million members to its name, so you certainly won’t run out of options as you browse for matches here.

Online Dating
★★★★ 4.3/5.0

ChristianMingle is a faith-based dating site for singles who want a relationship grounded in Christian values. (read more)

  • For singles interested in God-centered relationships
  • Over 3.5 million monthly users around the world
  • Available as an app on Google Play and the App Store

Christians tend to gravitate toward long-term partners who share similar beliefs and values, and that can be a sticking point on other dating platforms, but it’s not a problem on ChristianMingle, the #1 dating site for Christian singles.

ChristianMingle’s mission is to create God-centered relationships, and it has spent the last two decades doing exactly that. The dating site appeals to Christians of all denominations, and it’s also open to non-Christians who are willing to convert or support a Christian marriage.

You don’t have to take it on faith that ChristianMingle works. Just read the success stories out there from true believers who found love here.

Online Dating
★★★★ 4.2/5.0

Since its launch in 2002, BlackPeopleMeet has created an African-American singles network that stretches (read more)

  • One of the largest black singles networks in existence
  • Straightforward search and matching features
  • Use Tokens to appear higher in search results

It takes less than two minutes to create a profile on BlackPeopleMeet, but the relationship you find on the dating site could last a lifetime. As a black dating site, BlackPeopleMeet supports a tight-knit community full of diversity and fun, so it’s no wonder sparks fly so often here.

BlackPeopleMeet has thousands of members spread across the U.S. and Canada, and they’re all looking for dates who share a similar background, perspective, and cultural awareness. You can use the site’s search tools to narrow the dating pool to the most desirable few and send virtual flirts to see if the attraction is mutual.

“Through this service, I have finally met the man I’m going to marry,” said a BlackPeopleMeet user from Oklahoma. “This network has allowed me to meet the man of my dreams, and I’m grateful for that.”

Online Dating
★★★★ 4.1/5.0

In 2004, OkCupid's founders decided to create a fool-proof formula for love, and they launched a free dating (read more)

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

OkCupid satisfies daters of all ages and orientations with its free matching and chatting tools. The dating site and app has endeavored to find the formula for love, and love-driven singles can make the compatibility system more accurate by answering more questions and filling out their dating profiles completely.

Every week, OkCupid members go on over 50,000 dates, and the well-known dating platform is responsible for more than 91 million love connections every year.

OkCupid was my dating site of choice for years because it offers free communication between mutual matches, and the dating profiles let people show off their quirks and get to know one another before anyone even says “hey.” Plus, you can tell from someone’s profile if he or she is interested in casual dating, long-term relationships, friendships, or something else.

Online Dating
★★★★ 4.1/5.0

Plenty of Fish prides itself on being one of the best dating site for conversations. It supports 100% free and (read more)

  • Free registration, searches, and messaging
  • The Chemistry Test creates a compatibility framework
  • Over 1 billion messages sent per month

PlentyOfFish can offer you free access to a global dating pool of over 150 million members in 20 countries. It’s free to join, free to match, and free to chat on this dating site and app. No need to pay monthly subscription fees or anything like that.

The POF community is open to people from all walks of life, and they all have different intentions. Sure, some are looking for an easy hookup, but a lot of POF members are seeking genuine connections and are eager to see where the chemistry takes them.

In the average week, POF sees over 57 million matches made online, and many of those lead to real-life dates and relationships. “I was on PlentyOfFish reading profiles and learning more about the men,” said Camille in her testimonial. “Flash forward two years, and now we are engaged and planning our May 2020 wedding. We recommend POF to any and all singles looking for their perfect match.”

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Online Dating
★★★★ 4.0/5.0

Since its launch in 2014, Bumble has positioned itself as one of the queens of the online dating world. The (read more)

  • 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 the female-friendly dating app on a crusade to civilize the online dating scene. How is it doing that? By letting women take control and set the tone in every mutual match.

On Bumble, single men cannot message a woman unless she first likes their profile and then sends the first message within 24 hours of the match. The dating app isn’t afraid to set high standards in the dating world, and neither are its users.

Bumble members are serious about finding a relationship and escaping hookup culture. In an internal poll, fewer than 1% of women on the app said they were interested in a hookup, and 85% of all users said they wanted to find a long-term relationship. If you’re looking for the real deal, Bumble is a quality-driven place to conduct your search.

10
Online Dating
★★★★ 4.0/5.0

In 2012, Tinder pioneered a swiping-based match system that empowered singles to connect with dates who liked (read more)

  • 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

Tinder may not have the reputation of a relationship app, but it actually has inspired its fair share of love stories over the years.

Tinder’s infamous swiping features allow singles to cherry-pick the types of dates they desire, so it’s pretty easy to avoid the screwboys and hookup chicks if that’s not what you’re into. Another thing Tinder has going for it is sheer numbers. Since its launch in 2012, Tinder has made over 30 billion introductions, and it currently makes over 26 million matches per day.

In a recent survey, 42% of Tinder users said they use the app to find relationships, while 47% use it to hook up, so you have pretty good odds of meeting someone serious and turning the match into something real.

Best Senior Dating Sites for Serious Relationships

Young people can afford to be shortsighted and enjoy short-term dating, but singles of a certain age often don’t want to waste time with all that unnecessary stress and uncertainty. Many singles over 50 would prefer to lock down a true, lasting relationship to brighten their golden years, and the following senior dating sites can help them explore age-appropriate options and mingle in a mature and safe setting.

Online Dating
★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

SilverSingles is serious about helping singles over 50 meet one another, and the site doesn't allow anyone (read more)

  • An exclusively senior membership base
  • Over 800,000 monthly users worldwide
  • App available for free on Google Play

Over the last decade, SilverSingles has distinguished itself as the best option for silver-haired singles seeking new relationships and friendships. We’ve given it a 4.5-star rating because it has easy-to-understand features, great safety features, and a lot of success stories to its name.

As of 2019, the dating site surpassed 50,000 paid subscribers — all of whom have been verified as genuine, over-50 singles — and the team expects to keep growing as more tech-savvy baby boomers see the benefits of online dating.

“The success of SilverSingles is not only great news for our business, but also represents an outstanding new opportunity for singles on their quest to find a compatible partner,” said Spark Networks CEO Jeronimo Folgueira. “It’s a win-win for Spark Networks, for our shareholders, for our members, and ultimately, for love.”

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Online Dating
★★★★ 4.4/5.0

OurTime is an over-50 dating site with a lot of helpful features to facilitate friendships and relationships. (read more)

  • 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

OurTime is one of our favorite senior dating sites. For one thing, it’s powered by People Media, which is owned by the Match Group, and that means it has extensive reach in the online dating scene. Something else we like is how active and personable members are here.

While browsing OurTime, you can view new members, see who’s online now, or click on the Today’s Matches tab to see what options are out there. The site also has advanced search tools for age, location, photos, ethnicity, and more. You can even specify that you only want to see profiles interested in marriage or a serious relationship.

OurTime members receive notifications whenever someone views, likes, or messages their profile, and they can choose to upgrade at any time to take the conversation to the next level.

Online Dating
★★★★ 3.7/5.0

Since 2003, SeniorMatch has built its reputation as one of the world's leading senior dating sites. The site (read more)

  • Doesn't allow members under 45
  • Available as a dating app in Google Play
  • Dating advice and safety tips shared by senior daters

Launched in 2003, SeniorMatch has earned its status as one of the leading senior dating sites. Not only does it have over 1 million seniors in its database, but it also supports over 1.6 million private chats each month, so you know you’re in for some good conversations.

The SeniorMatch community gives singles the opportunity to share their thoughts, tell their stories, and meet their ideal matches online. Singles can meet people who live around the corner or around the world, and it often makes users feel less alone to have so many incoming messages and matches.

When combing through SeniorMatch’s 36,000+ success stories, we found many glowing testimonials from people who met their one true love online. “I met the most wonderful guy here. He is so lovely,” said one woman. “We have decided to live together in a month. Then to marry and travel and explore the world.”

Best LGBT Dating Sites for Serious Relationships

Online dating has been a terrific ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Once upon a time, queer singles had to rely on their charm and gaydar to spot viable dates in a crowd of straight people. Now they can simply set up a profile on a free gay dating app and let hot dates come to them. Today, around 65% of same-sex couples meet online — probably on one of the following popular apps.

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HER

Online Dating
★★★★ 3.5/5.0

HER is a women-only (or "womxn" as the team says) dating app that helps cis, trans, and non-binary identified (read more)

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

HER supports an all-female dating community where friendships and romances can blossom into something more. The dating app has over 4 million womxn who identify across the sexuality spectrum and want to meet ladies in the local LGBTQ+ community.

From the moment you join HER, you can scroll through a fun newsfeed full of photos, stories, and events geared toward queer womxn. The app is free, and it has led to many #WeMetOnHER successes.

“Be proud of who you are. Be proud of who you love,” said a HER member on Instagram. “It’s wonderful being with the woman of your dreams.”

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Online Dating
★★★ 3.4/5.0

Grindr became the world's first gay geosocial app in 2009, and it continues growing its all-male user base (read more)

  • 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 is the go-to dating app for gay, bisexual, and trans men seeking men in the local dating scene. Since 2009, Grindr has used a powerful location-based matching system to bring guys together and help them find date options who are in close proximity.

A lot of dudes use Grindr to scope out the hottest matches at the bar or club, but it’s also great for daytime flirting and chatting. There’s no pressure to commit right away on Grindr, but some relationships do form on the fast-paced app. One online study found that 84% of Grindr users fall in love on the app, and over 56% think it’s possible to find a long-term partnership here.

Grindr welcomes all single men in the LGBTQ+ community. Whether you’re out and proud or still in the closet, you can log into Grindr to mingle freely and discover romantic connections from the privacy of your home.

Which Dating Sites are the Most Successful?

It took me a couple years of trial and error before I got into the online dating groove, found the dating platform I liked, and got the results I was hoping for. I went the long way around because I didn’t know what I was doing, but now I know the shortcuts to creating an attractive profile and making an online connection last.

First of all, you’ve got to pick a successful dating site if you want to have a successful dating experience. It’s obviously important to have a dating site that has your back, and Match.com has had singles’ backs for nearly 25 years.

For Men
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0

Since 1995, Match has made a name for itself as one of the most successful dating platforms in the world. The (read more)

  • Find quality women with advanced search filters
  • Daily Matches highlight profiles that meet your date standards
  • Add up to 26 photos to your profile

Match is a reliable dating site and app with a lot of great personalized features for singles to use. We’d recommend completing every section of your profile — from the Summary all the way to What I’m Looking For — and adding four pictures of yourself (avoid bathroom selfies) to make the best possible first impression.

What is the Best Dating Site for Over 40?

When you enter your 40s, your feelings about dating can change. Maybe you no longer meet as many people as you once did, or maybe your confidence isn’t what it used to be, or maybe you just don’t know what the rules are nowadays.

Dating sites for professionals cater to a more mature crowd and can help you start over in a safe space. EliteSingles is our go-to recommendation for singles in their 40s and older because the site specializes in building grown-up relationships based on mutual interests, not superficial looks.

For Women
★★★★★ 4.8/5.0

EliteSingles prioritizes quality over quantity, and its highly selective match system satisfies discerning (read more)

  • Helping over 2,500 singles find love every month
  • An intelligent match algorithm uses profile information to reccommend dates
  • Caters to relationship-minded men and women

EliteSingles is known for supporting mature professionals — over 90% are 30 or older — seeking real relationships, and it uses a tried-and-true match algorithm to make sure you run into lots of compatible love interests.

Is It Worth Paying for Dating Sites?

I’ve been on both paid and free dating sites, and each have different pros and cons. An obvious upside to a free site is that it’s free, and you never have to spend a cent to find matches in your area. The downside is that sometimes free sites can attract unsavory characters who are just there to make trouble or have some laughs without actually meeting anyone.

Singles don’t invest anything in a free dating site, so they can sometimes take the experience too lightly. Paid dating sites, on the other hand, require all users to pay for the privilege of contacting singles online, and that automatically makes each match seem more valuable in the other person’s eyes. As a premium dating site, eharmony does a great job of weeding out casual daters and focusing on serious relationships.

For Men
★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

When it comes to relationships, eharmony doesn't mess around. This dating site has crafted a time-tested (read more)

  • Over 2.3 million messages sent every week
  • Match formula pinpoints compatibility in lifestyle, temperament, and goals
  • Relatively even gender split

If you have the cash to spend on it, then joining a paid dating site could help you avoid the flakes and meet people who actually care about finding someone special.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide how much your love life is worth to you. Maybe you’re fine putting in the time and effort to search for matches on a free dating app, or maybe you’d prefer a more curated network where compatible dates can come to you.

What is the Safest Dating Site?

We’ve reviewed a lot of dating sites and apps over the years, and sometimes we hear complaints from members saying they have encountered a lot of fake profiles or scammers. Single women are especially sensitive to safety concerns, so they seek female-friendly dating sites that cater to their interests.

When it comes to female-friendly dating sites, Bumble is absolutely at the top of the list. The app was made by a single woman on behalf of single women everywhere, and its progressive, feminist approach to dating has made it a highly respectable and safe place to meet someone and make a date.

For Women
★★★★ 4.4/5.0

Bumble has embraced its role as the world's feminist dating app. The app launched in 2014 with the unique (read more)

  • A female-friendly dating environment puts women in control
  • Zero tolerance for bullying, misogyny, and rude behavior
  • Conversations expire in 24 to 48 hours

Bumble sets strict standards for its community and moderates all messages, photos, and profiles to ensure they reflect the core values of the app.

“You should behave the same way on Bumble as you would in real life,” the Bumble team says. “As a community rooted in kindness and respect, we expect all of our users to respect each other, themselves, and the Bumble staff.”

Get Serious on Dating Sites & Find the Ideal Relationship

A combination of good luck and smart algorithms brought me to my ideal boyfriend on a dating app. Both of us were serious about finding a relationship, and we actively sought dates online because there’s no faster or easier way to meet people these days.

Dating sites can give singles a simple way to make sense of the dating scene, seize romantic opportunities, and find The One. I’d recommend joining multiple dating sites or apps to increase your chances of successfully connecting with your online crush. We realized later that my boyfriend had actually sent me a message on two different dating apps — one went unanswered, and the other led to a relationship.

I know it’s a cliché, but you really never know what could happen once you sign up for a dating site. Today’s carefree swiping could turn into tomorrow’s lifelong love story — just don’t give up on it too soon!