Between 2012 and 2018, the amount of time people spent on their smartphones jumped from 88 to 203 minutes a day. The top dating apps took advantage of this trend and created fast-working features to entice users to swipe, match, and chat as they went about their days.

Today, the average single millennial spends about 10 hours a week on dating apps hoping to get lucky and land a catch. Online dating apps have taken hold of our time and attention like never before, and that has been largely good news for the hopeless romantics of the world. Modern singles can always take action to meet new people and find someone special — without leaving home — and we’ve ranked the top apps to help them get started.

You may see some familiar names on this list, but we have also thrown in a good number of lesser-known niche dating services that have proven effective for certain types of daters. Here we go!

Top Online Dating Apps

It takes a lot for us to rank a platform among the best dating apps around. The app has to be an established name in the industry (meaning it didn’t just launch this year), and it has to have a proven track record for success. We also look at the features to ensure they make sense and are easy to use — even for non-tech-savvy singles.

The following dating apps have passed every test we could throw at them and set high standards for competitors in the online dating scene.

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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

In our book, Match is the undisputed best dating site and app for singles of all ages, locations, and backgrounds. Not only has it been around longer than any other dating site or app (established in April 1995), but it has also connected more relationships and marriages than any of its competitors.

Match.com has taken a personality-driven approach to the online dating scene. It doesn’t just throw singles together at random — the match algorithm actually curates a list of compatible profiles and provides guidance in a potentially overwhelming online dating scene.

As a free Match.com member, you can spend as much time as you like searching for local dates and sending likes to profiles that meet your standards. You’ll get limited communication options if you upgrade your account to a paid monthly subscription.

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★★★★★ 4.8/5.0
  • Over 2 million monthly users
  • Premium members receive 20 wildcard matches a day
  • Search features include age, height, education, ethnicity, and lifestyle habits

From the beginning, EliteSingles has made a name for itself as a quality-driven dating platform designed to connect like-minded professionals on the web.

This upscale dating app, which is free to download, offers a exclusive pass to the upper class of the dating world. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and other successful singles have created an EliteSingles profile because they’re ready to take their love lives up a notch, and that’s what EliteSingles does.

Over 80% of EliteSingles members have graduated from college, and over 90% are seeking a real relationship.

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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

Zoosk first got our attention in 2007 when it combined social-media-like features with a more traditional online dating interface. This resulted in an engaging and one-of-a-kind mingling experience.

Over 40 million singles have given Zoosk a test spin and enjoyed its free matching and communication features. While its competitors focus on profile information, Zoosk uses a boutique behavioral matchmaking system to arrange dates online. That means it identifies a user’s dating preferences based primarily on that person’s like history and browsing patterns. Basically, if you tend to send messages to a certain type of single, you’ll find more people like that in your match recommendations.

Zoosk was also among the first dating companies to launch a companion app to go with its dating site. The Zoosk app is currently available on iPhones and Android devices, and it has earned top ratings in the App Store where it has 4.4 stars. “I like many things about Zoosk,” said Rancho Cowboy in a 2018 review. “It’s one of the best dating sites.”

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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

When it comes to building relationships online, it doesn’t get much better than eharmony. This premium dating site and app have turned heads in the dating scene by using in-depth psychological evaluations to identify which singles belong together.

The 29-dimension matchmaking system is eharmony’s signature feature, and it forms the basis of every compatibility rating and match suggestion. While eharmony’s search filters are limited, the app makes up for it by delivering high-quality matches straight to your inbox and providing plenty of details on every dating profile to help you get your bearings.

If you want to see how your personality compares to another person’s, simply click on the Compatibility section, and you’ll see a breakdown of how you fit in terms of athleticism, agreeableness, extraversion, conscientiousness, emotional intimacy, intellect, and other important characteristics.

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★★★★ 4.3/5.0

ChristianMingle has been a blessing in the lives of many Christian singles around the world, and it has become the leading Christian dating site and app in the space.

ChristianMingle isn’t a Christian-only site — it keeps the door open to believers and non-believers alike — but it does instill a strong moral code on members and encourages authentic relationships with its matching tools.

In the words of the ChristianMingle team, “As the site responsible for more Christian marriages than all other dating sites combined, your Christian dating happiness means everything to us.”

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★★★★ 4.2/5.0

Even though it’s a niche site, BlackPeopleMeet has amassed a huge following in the U.S. and Canada. The dating platform appeals to black, biracial, and multiracial singles, and it also leaves the door open to anyone who wants to find a dark-skinned date.

You don’t have to have a certain skin tone, heritage, or racial identity to join BlackPeopleMeet. Singles from all walks of life can create a dating profile in less than two minutes and start browsing immediately.

“I just want to say I have found true love and the most beautiful, amazing, and wonderful woman, thanks to this site,” said a former BlackPeopleMeet member from Sacramento, California. “I am terminating my membership on here since I found the woman I am to share the rest of my life with.”

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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

The OkCupid dating site got started in 2004 with four Harvard math nerds attempting to create a formula for love. In 2012, OkCupid adapted to the times by launching a dating app that made its vast network and powerful matching tools available to a mobile audience.

Today, OkCupid creates over 91 million love connections each year and inspires somewhere around 50,000 first dates in the average week.

OkCupid sets pretty clear guidelines for its members — “We don’t like jerks, so please don’t be a jerk” — and offers unlimited free messaging to allow singles to follow their hearts and pursue friendships, dates, and relationships on their terms.

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★★★★ 4.1/5.0

Plenty of Fish is a free dating app where singles can unleash their chatty sides and build genuine connections online.

Over 150 million people have joined the POF community, and something like 65,000 more people join every day. Those are some pretty impressive stats, and here’s one more: over 4 million daily active users seek romance on Plenty of Fish, and you could be one of them.

When all is said and done, Plenty of Fish offers one of the largest dating communities around, and messaging is free, so you don’t have to limit yourself to a small dating pool of singles.

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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

Tinder is obviously one of the best mobile dating apps around. It invented swiping, for crying out loud. Since its launch in 2012, the Tinder app has been responsible for over 43 billion (yes, billion with B) matches in 190 countries around the world.

While the fast-paced swiping system may get criticized as superficial, the fact is that it puts singles in the driver’s seat and allows them to decide who shows up in their inboxes. That makes it a powerful tool for Android and iOS users looking to narrow a broad dating scene down to a few likely date candidates.

The Tinder dating field is what you make of it. Tinder arranges over 1 million dates per week. Some of those are hookups and one-night stands, but some lead to relationships based on mutual attraction and shared interest.

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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

Finally, we had to put Bumble among the top 10 free dating apps of all time. If only for pushing a feminist agenda. We love the dating app’s empowering message to women and how it encourages its female users to make the first move and message the guys they’ve already liked.

In 2014, Bumble made headlines as the anti-Tinder app. Whitney Wolfe-Herd actually left Tinder (even though she was among its co-founders) to launch Bumble and compete against the online dating juggernaut. Whitney believed the dating scene could become instantly more respectable and effective if women were in control of their own inboxes and potential matches.

So far, her theory seems to be working out. Bumble’s progressive mission and features have attracted a high-caliber crowd of singles, and 85% of members say they’re looking for a relationship on the free dating app.

Top Senior Dating Apps

Once you reach a certain age, the club and bar scene may no longer appeal to you, and it can become difficult to make a mature romantic connection as a senior single. Fortunately, senior-friendly dating apps have arisen to bridge that gap and introduce age-appropriate dates online.

You can sign up for the following dating platforms for free on Google Play or the App Store and discover new pen pals, travel buddies, and love interests in just a few clicks and swipes.

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★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

First up, we have SilverSingles, a premier destination for divorcees, widowers, and never-married singles over 50. The popular dating site (and its companion app) only allows seniors in its database, so sugar daddies and cougars will have to look elsewhere for young dates.

The mature dating atmosphere on SilverSingles is perfect for men and women who are hesitant to try the mainstream dating scene but want to meet dates in their age bracket.

You can download the SilverSingles app for free on Google Play or the App Store. Over 1 million Americans have joined the SilverSingles network so far, and many have left positive reviews that praise its features, safety policy, and membership base. “I feel more at ease on this site so far,” said a 57-year-old SilverSingles user. “Trusting I will discover a loyal, sincere, and competent female partner.”

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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

OurTime is another excellent option for singles in their 50s and up. The dating site is powered by the good folks at People Media — the same dating company responsible for SingleParentMeet and BlackPeopleMeet — and it has time-tested features at your disposal.

Over 20,000 new members join this popular dating network every week, and they don’t have a pay a penny or make any app purchases to create their accounts and set up their profiles. OurTime is a free dating site with optional monthly subscriptions offering unlimited communication online. You don’t have to upgrade to explore the site, though.

OurTime can help senior singles feel comfortable mingling online, viewing potential matches, and making special connections with someone their own age.

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★★★★ 3.7/5.0

SeniorMatch has supported senior singles since 2003, making it one of the old-timers in the online dating industry. All those years have given the SeniorMatch team the wisdom and experience it needs to make the dating experience as senior-friendly as possible.

Today, SeniorMatch has become one of the leading dating sites and apps for people over 50, and it has won millions of hearts with the message, “You don’t have to be alone.”

Still feeling hesitant? Check out SeniorMatch’s success stories on the site — it has over 36,600 of them — to hear seniors say in their own words what the dating platform has meant to them. “Clearly found the love of my life,” said one user. “Thank you, SeniorMatch, for this wonderful adventure.”

Top LGBT Dating Apps

The mainstream dating scene isn’t always vibrant or diverse enough to suit LGBTQ+ daters, so niche communities have arisen to provide a safe rainbow haven for these singles.

Online dating has a lot of value to offer LGBTQ+ people. Today, about 65% of gay couples meet online, and the following gay-friendly dating apps have been instrumental in making those love connections.

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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

As a hookup site, MenNation doesn’t fool around or waste time. The platform’s prime purpose is to help guys meet guys in an anonymous, judgment-free setting, and that has led to many steamy encounters online and offline.

MenNation caters to a sexually active crowd and has established itself as a reliable place to pick up a hot date or arrange a no-strings attached hookup.

When you register free account on MenNation, you can enjoy a stimulating dating experience surrounded by potential matches who share your desires, fetishes, and kinks. This sex-positive environment.

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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 has our vote as the top dating app for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. The app was designed by Robyn Exton, a powerhouse lesbian woman who saw a need for a female-only — not just female-friendly — dating space.

Over the last several years, HER has built up an all-womxn community that’s currently 4 million strong, and it’s still growing. It’s free to create a dating profile, send likes and comments, and get to know intelligent and dynamic queer women on this free dating app. As long as you’re authentic and respectful of others, you’ll always be welcome here.

“It felt crazy to me that no one had truly made a dating product for women,” Robyn said in a HuffPost interview. “So I decided to quit my job and start making it.”

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★★★★ 3.5/5.0

LesbianPersonals invites women to find love and lust by using free search filters and live messaging tools. The dating platform boasts being one of the largest lesbian hookup sites in the world, and it puts new members right in the middle of the action.

Single women, lesbian couples, straight couples, and groups can join LesbianPersonals to spice up their love lives and meet potential sex partners all over the world.

Whether you’re interested in a hookup, a threesome, an orgy, or just sexting, LesbianPersonals aims to satisfy a variety of desires and give women the satisfaction they crave.

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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

Since launching in 2009, Grindr has become a staple in the gay dating scene. The all-male network includes gay, bisexual, and bi-curious singles seeking a nighttime adventure.

Grindr’s location-based match settings make it a natural wingman for singles on the town, and it is widely known as a hookup-friendly space, but some guys have found loving long term relationships here, too.

If you’re looking to bring some excitement to your love life, downloading Grindr is a good first step. In an online survey, over 74% of gay men said they have tried Grindr, and 31% of Grindr users said they go on a date at least once a month.

Top Hookup Apps

Not everyone was cut out for the steady relationship life. Maybe you’re too young, too hot, or too adventurous to settle down just yet — and that’s perfectly all right. There are hookup sites for that.

These top-rated hookup apps give singles (and swingers) the freedom to explore their sensual sides and meet playmates who share similar goals and interests.

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★★★★ 4.1/5.0

BeNaughty has got to be one of the most outrageously sexy dating platforms around with tons of revealing photos and romantic opportunities on every page.

Naughty singles jump on board this platform whenever they want to mix things up, and the live chat features make it easy to make something happen.

The Like Gallery is a particularly popular place to assess your options. BeNaughty will highlight a dating profile (based on your stated dating preferences), and you can like the profile to show interest, or click the X to move onto another sexy profile in your area.

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★★★★ 4.0/5.0

With over 97 million profiles, AdultFriendFinder has earned the right to call itself “the world’s largest sex and swinger community.” Since the 1990s, this hookup platform has built its naughty reputation and attracted adults seeking a sexual release.

The site is open to singles, couples, groups, and all types of daters, and you don’t have to give your real name to create a profile. All you need is a valid email address and a ZIP code, and you’re good to go. This flirtatious zone includes erotic blogs, private chats, and dating forums, all designed to get you in the mood.

The AFF community has hosted over 14 million group discussions and launched nearly 5 million romantic connections between local hotties.

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★★★★ 3.9/5.0

FriendFinder-X is the go-to hookup site for millions of singles around the world, and it characterizes itself as a place “where good girls do bad things.”

You can get a sneak peek at the FriendFinder-X database as you fill out your profile, and these teasing nude-cam videos can get your gears turning before you’ve even become a full-fledged member. Once you’re on board, you can explore a sexual playground full of adults seeking pleasure and excitement on their own terms.

What Are the Most Popular Dating Apps?

A lot of dating apps are free to use, and that alone can make them pretty popular, but it takes more than free membership and messaging to keep singles satisfied in the long run. Dating apps with a little extra pizzazz have become popular among singles forever on the prowl for the next big thing.

Tinder is a strong contender for being one of the most popular dating apps.  It sees over 2 billion views per day and has been a driving force behind #SwipeLife in 190 countries. What’s more, 27% of millennial singles say they have used Tinder to find dates.

However, Match has been in the online dating game longer and has helped more singles get in long term relationships and marriages than any other dating service.

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★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • In-depth matching appeals to women with high standards
  • Only premium members can send private messages to one another
  • An established singles network in 50 countries worldwide

A PCMag survey found that Match is the most popular dating site in 17 states, and it was by far the preferred site for singles over 45 years old. If you’re serious about finding a relationship, then this is the best place you could possibly be.

What is the Best International Dating Site?

International dating sites prove that love knows no bounds and can happen anytime and anywhere. Singles no longer have to stick to their own backyards to find romance, and we find that quite inspiring. Many online dating apps tend to have location-based matching features, but some dating sites allow singles to broaden their horizons and pick up an international pen pal.

Plenty of Fish maintains an active singles network in 20+ countries, and it has been translated into 11 languages, making it one of the best options for worldly daters.

Category Rating
★★★★ 3.9/5.0

Plenty of Fish offers a large, international dating pool for singles who want to explore romantic possibilities all around the world.

Other apps like Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel can help singles swipe in the international dating scene, and you don’t need to make any app purchases or have a Facebook or social media account to get started.

What Are the Best Dating Apps for Relationships?

Without question, eharmony is one of the best dating sites and apps for anyone seeking a serious relationship.

. This site has been honing its matchmaking system since the early 2000s, and its offers great insights into compatibility to help singles choose the right partners and forge deep long term relationships.

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★★★★★ 4.7/5.0
  • Designed to satisfy marriage-minded single women
  • In-depth compatibility quiz generates high-quality matches
  • Personalized Match Preferences on gender, age, income, religion, education, and more

You can take a look at eharmony’s success stories to get a sense of how life-changing a membership on eharmony can be. The site was designed to inspire loving marriages, and that’s exactly what it’s done.

What is the Best and Safest Dating Site?

It’s important to look out for your safety while looking for a date online because you never know who you’ll meet. It could be the person of your dreams, or it could be the catfisher of your nightmares. A few precautionary measures can help you avoid unsavory folks, and it never hurts to have a trustworthy dating site watching out for you as well.

EliteSingles is a totally safe dating site with a paywall protecting full members from scammers and cybercriminals. Free members can’t send messages nor see photos on the platform, and that ensures singles only mingle with dates who have invested in the online dating process.

Category Rating
★★★★★ 4.8/5.0
  • More than 2 million monthly users
  • A growing network of female professionals in 25 countries
  • Elite Singles offers daily match recommendations and expert profile advice

EliteSingles has a profile verification system in place to ensure everyone is who they say they are. Every month, over 2,000 couples fall in love thanks to this site’s good work.

Is Bumble a Hookup App?

No, Bumble is definitely not a hookup app. Bumble appeals to discerning singles with strong moral values, and only 3% of its users are looking for a hookup. Conversely, over 85% of Bumble users say they want to find a committed relationship or marriage.

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★★★★ 4.4/5.0
  • 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 aims to create meaningful relationships by putting women’s needs first and empowering singles to follow their hearts. The app doesn’t even allow users to post photos of themselves in bathing suits or underwear, so the atmosphere isn’t exactly right for pickup lines and players.

Bottom line: casual daters should avoid this app and seek meaningless sex on dating apps like Tinder.

What is Facebook Dating & Should I Try It?

Facebook announced the launch of its boutique dating service in 2018, and many online dating experts thought it would overtake apps like Tinder and Match because it could use social media networking to power romance. However, Facebook Dating has yet to live up to its hype and potential so far.

Facebook Dating is an app-only service, and you can only access it from the Facebook app on your Android or iPhone device. You don’t have to download anything other than the Facebook app (which is free on Google Play and the App Store), and your dating profile will be separate from your Facebook account, so your Facebook friends won’t see your online dating activity.

Screenshot of Facebook Dating

Facebook Dating is a swipe-based app for singles with a Facebook account.

In many ways, Facebook Dating is virtually identical to apps like Tinder because it uses the same swiping and mutual matching system singles have grown so used to. The main difference is the Secret Crush feature, which allows users to identify which of their Facebook friends they’ve got a thing for. Facebook Dating only alerts users about secret crushes when there’s a mutual match — otherwise, your secret is safe with Facebook.

Although Facebook is a massive social media powerhouse, it’s still perfecting its dating services, so singles may find it hard to get traction here. If you’re burnt out on traditional dating apps and sites, then you can always give Facebook Dating a whirl, but don’t go into it expecting to have a ton of success right away.

What Are the Best Dating Apps like Tinder?

When talking about swipe-based apps like Tinder, many of the same names typically come up over and over again.

Coffee Meets Bagel is one of the most popular dating options for men and women seeking quality dates. The Coffee Meets Bagel app actually puts a cap on how many likes and matches singles can make, so you’re not inundated by too many date options all at once.

We’d also recommend trying Hinge if you want to escape superficial swiping on dating apps like Tinder and get more serious about meeting the perfect match. The Hinge app boasts that it’s “designed to be deleted” because it offers personality-driven swiping and in-depth profiles to help people get to know one another.

Finally, the app Happn is a good alternative to the Tinder app because it uses location-based settings on your iPhone or Android device to find people who regularly cross paths with you. Many singles use Happn as a hookup app, but it can also spark deeper romances and relationships if you give it a chance. After all, you never know what could happen!

Do I Need a Facebook Account for Mobile Dating Apps?

Not usually. Many of today’s dating apps for Android or iOS users have the option to use Facebook or Instagram integration to set up your dating profile — but it’s not usually a requirement. Most mainstream apps, including Tinder, Match, and Bumble, will let users connect via a phone number or email address rather than use their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account.

Apps typically use Facebook and Instagram account to verify people’s identities, remove fake profiles, and automatically upload photos, so it can be helpful to link your dating profile to your Facebook account, if you’d like, and doing so won’t mean outing yourself as an online dater to your Facebook friends or Instagram followers. The top dating apps never post anything on Facebook or Instagram.

You don’t have to join Facebook to join Tinder, Bumble, Elite Singles, and other dating apps, but sometimes it’s a good idea to do so if you want to save time in the registration process and let the apps automatically vet dates for you.

Which Dating Sites & Apps Have Free Chatting?

Good question. Budget-conscious daters should always look for free apps where online communication and matching doesn’t cost a thing. The best free dating apps aren’t just free to join — they’re forever free for all your messaging and flirting needs.

OkCupid is a good example for a highly effective free dating service. Singles can download the app for free or create a profile on the website for free, and they’ll have instant access to millions of dating profiles and messaging tools.

The OkCupid site and app offer free communication, and you never have to upgrade to the A-List subscription, unless you want to rank higher in searches and see who has liked your dating profile.

Category Rating
★★★★ 4.3/5.0
  • Men can leave a message to anyone they fancy
  • A sophisticated match algorithm developed by Harvard math majors
  • The site and app facilitate over 50,000 dates every week

With a free OkCupid membership, you can send messages to anyone you like for as long as you like with very few restrictions. Your first message will show up as a notification when that person views your profile, but as soon as your online crush likes you back, you’ll be in their inbox for good and can send lengthy and frequent messages to build a rapport online.

I joined OkCupid years ago and have used my free account to go on dozens of dates, and I even met two long-term boyfriends on the free dating site.

One of the most helpful things about OkCupid, besides its free communication policy, is the highly accurate compatibility ratings that you’ll see as you browse profiles. The OkCupid algorithm takes your likes, dislikes, habits, personality quirks, and lifestyle choices into account when tabulating just how well you’ll get along with another person, and that makes it easy to focus on the right matches for you.

Dating Sites & Apps Can Help You Find a Local Date

In today’s technology-driven age, smartphones are essential, all-purpose solutions for life. Over 90% of smartphone users say they keep their phones with them 24/7, and it’s easy to understand why.

Apps can offer handy ways to deal with everything from waking yourself up in the morning to ordering pizza for dinner, and some mobile dating apps can even help you get a date or create a relationship. The top dating apps have led to countless romances, some lasting a single night and others continuing for a lifetime.

The most popular dating apps can prompt singles to go outside their comfort zones and explore dating prospects they may never have met otherwise. That’s a pretty powerful tool to carry around in your pocket!

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