In this day and age of modern technology and digital interactions, online dating has fast become one of the most popular ways for potential couples to chat online with the intention of finding love. Chat sites and dating websites & apps have paved the way for this popularity, and it’s now considered easier than ever before when it comes to finding a match online.
In the battle for digital romance, there are a group of platforms that stand out from the crowd – of the best dating sites online, these are the most notable as far as love matches are concerned:
Update: I’ve updated the list below on March 2018 to reflect the changes made in the past year.
This multi-award winning website has an app, a forum, and a full support team. The sheer extensiveness of the singles database leaves very little to the imagination, and to date, Zoosk boasts one of the highest rates with an unbelievable 35 million users globally.
Another incredibly popular matchmaking and dating site is Match.com – previously the industry leader until Zoosk came along (is that true anymore?). Match boasts an incredible versatile algorithm that helps to bring people together based on their personalities, as well as offering a money back guarantee which is always a major plus.
Elite Singles – a platform that boasts no fewer than 20,000 new singles signing up each week with the hope of finding love. They’ve been around for a good while, rivalling the reputation of even Match.com and eHarmony – but many users claim that with the sheer volume of new sign ups and quality of matches leaves something to be desired.
With an amazingly high match rate, a unique take on the romance scene and a website that frequently offers promotions – eHarmony has proved very popular for singletons looking for love. Their highest success relates to those aged between 25 and 40, and they provide great discounts for users without success after a few months.
When it comes to match-making, OurTime is the ultimate source for the older generation looking for love. OurTime is a fairly new arrival to the romance-scene, although it certainly doesn’t lack in features. It’s not quite on par with the above match-making websites, but it’s certainly worth considering for over-50s, and it is also very affordable as well.
Why Do People Turn to Online Dating?
With all of the options that people have available, it’s no wonder why more and more singletons are turning to the potential of online match-making sites. The industry itself is worth billions of dollars, and with the most reputable websites employing state of the art software that explores every single element of an individual’s personality – it’s not uncommon to hear that the longest lasting relationships actually started online.
So, what’s the draw with dating on the web, how does it work, and what can you expect from signing up to any of the above sites? It’s actually all about bringing people together as efficiently as possible. These days, it’s not always an option to go out into the wide world and meet new potential partners; what with work, lifestyles and general responsibilities.
Many people find dating an uncomfortable concept, with older and more traditional techniques being considered completely alien to many of us. That’s where the potential of dating online comes in handy – so much so that millions of people turn to the potential each and every year, with hundreds of thousands finding their love matches and moving on to happy relationships with their chosen partner.
How Does It Work?
As similar as many of the best dating sites UK has to offer, the truth is that they all possess their own unique features and functions. In most cases, people can expect to pay a small fee each month (or annually), and in return they will have access to the entire database of singletons – as long as those singletons match in preference.
Where it would be wholly inappropriate to approach a person in real life and demand to know intimate details about their preferences, lifestyle and beliefs; these sites make this aspect easy. Once a person signs up to their chosen site, they’ll typically be asked to answer a questionnaire.
During this time, the site’s built-in algorithms will obtain information about the single person, including their age, habits, aims, preferences and more. Once this data has been submitted, the website will cross-reference the results with other profiles and questionnaires, and the individual will then be presented with their potential matches.
That’s the technical side taken care of and all that’s left to do is for the individual to approach any potential matches that catch their attention, start chatting online and see if they hit it off. This is just one of the ways that a person can rely on a dating website to match them correctly. Another method is to undertake the task manually.
This involves actively searching for potential love interests via the built-in search engine. Sites like Match.com and eHarmony allow users to peruse potential matches for free, with a fee being requested if they decide that they’d like to start sending messages. This feature is something that other sites (like Elite Singles) lack, as they prefer to source a fee charged monthly or annually, depending on the payment plan selected.
|Dating Site||Min. Price||Members||Usability||Rating|
|Zoosk review||£11.99/month||50 million||BEST||★★★★★|
|Match.com review||£9.99/month||96 million||BEST||★★★★★|
|Elite Singles review||£27.95/month||290,000||GOOD||★★★★|
|eHarmony review||£12.95/month||4.1 million||GOOD||★★★★|
|PlentyofFish review||£6.78/month||100 million||GOOD||★★★★|
|Mature Love review||£15/month||—||GOOD||★★★★|
|DatingDirect Review||£9.99/month||5 million||AVERAGE||★★★|
|Dating Agency Review||£12.00/month||2.3 million||AVERAGE||★★★|
|Something Serious Review||£12.25/month||—||AVERAGE||★★★|
|Chemistry.com Review||£15/month||11.5 million||POOR||★★|
In any event, the searches can be tailored to suit the individual’s specific preferences. If there’s a particular thing that they like about their partners, or something that they can’t stand – then advanced searches will make it an option to include these preferences, or eliminate them entirely. Many people find that as accurate as their matches may be, they still prefer to browse a website’s database in the hope of finding someone that they are physically attracted to first and foremost. If there’s a match, then that’s a bonus.
Things to Consider When Using Dating Websites
We’ve all heard the horror stories relating to online matchmaking, from the most bizarre to the downright terrifying. As with all activities, it’s always a good idea to get to know a little bit more about what you can expect. Many individuals ask ‘is online dating safe?’ In truth, most leading websites offer their own levels of security – although these are nullified beyond any digital usage.
What this means is that a website like Match.com, Zoosk, or eHarmony will prioritize their users’ safety and security above all else, but if an individual arranges to meet someone from the site, it is entirely down to them to be responsible for their own safety. In the majority of cases, those that use online sites in the UK for dating are there to find love and happiness. There are individuals with ill-intent however, and dating websites like those mentioned above do request that people report these users.
In summary, internet dating is only as safe as it can be. The internet is a huge place filled with people from all walks of life, but as long as safety and security is prioritized – without risking ill-prepared meetings with random people – then the sites’ security features are typically sufficient. For anyone concerned, there is always the option to speak to a specialist support team member.
The Different Types of Dating Sites
Dating websites come in all shapes and sizes. They can cater to the masses and even the most niche audiences. Today users are spoiled for choice when it comes to their options, so before signing up for a single service, it is important to know exactly what your options are to determine what the best course is for your budding social life.
- Traditional – A traditional dating site is one that caters to anyone pursuing a relationship, be it a casual or long term. These sites are good for anyone looking to cast a wider net and avoid boxing themselves in. As a result, they also tend to have the largest user bases and provide you with the greatest chance to meet new people.
- Casual – If you aren’t looking for a relationship, a casual dating site might be the answer. Whether you simply want someone to go to the movies with or perhaps desire a salacious hookup, you will find people who are seeking the same. The best part is, everyone on these sites is part of this tacit agreement that there are no strings attached.
- Marriage or Long-Term – Then again, there are those who are looking to make the ultimate commitment and settle down for something more permanent. You will find a more serious population on sites that cater to those who are looking for marriage, with a user base of individuals looking for more than just a one-night stand.
- Niche – Today’s sites that you might find love with come in all shapes and sizes. While some attempt to serve as a catch-all, others opt for a niche approach. Niche dating sites match people based on everything from religion, profession, sexual orientation, and even income level. These services offer an alternative way to meet people similar to you without the need to sort through dozens of irrelevant results.
Are Paid Services Better?
Some dating sites only allow you to use their service if you pay. When that is the case, the choice to use a service is binary.
On the other hand, many dating sites provide their basic service for free but have different payment levels and memberships available for users to consider. Memberships usually include perks that may tempt you. These include:
- Additional Search Filters – Many paid sites offer users the ability to increase their filtering options. Premium filters may include body type, personality, and attractiveness. Of course, these parameters are set by the users themselves and your opinions may differ.
- Invisibility – It always kind of fun to browse other people’s profiles without them knowing. Unfortunately, many services inform users of profile hits and even provide the information of those who viewed a profile. Premium users often have the ability to look at any profile without anyone knowing. Browsing invisibility can prevent other people from thinking you’re interested in them.
- Seeing Who Likes You – Most dating sites only show you the people with whom you match, but there can be hundreds of people who like you with whom you do not. Paid members are often made privy to the “likes” they receive. This can be useful if you’re open to giving people a second look.
- Message Filtering – There is nothing more annoying than having to filter through people who don’t meet your criteria for a match, but, often times, people on these sites spend much of their time doing just that. Many dating services offer users the ability to filter their inboxes to prevent ever having to lay eyes on irrelevant matches.
- Increased Message Capacity – Speaking of messaging, some services limit the number of messages your on-site inbox can contain. A paid membership often either increases this limit or does away with it altogether.
- Ad Removal – Like many other paid services, some sites offer the removal of ads to paying customers. While most may view this as a fringe benefit, others may see it as icing on the proverbial cake.
Paid sites are only better if the additional services are relevant to your needs. Most users are often able to work comfortably within the ‘restricted’ system, while others prefer the benefits of a more open and premium environment.
Where it would be wholly inappropriate to approach a person in real life and demand to know intimate details about their preferences, lifestyle, and beliefs; these sites make this aspect easy.
Why You Should Consider Not Using Filters
Each time you click on the little checkbox of a filter on a dating website, you dismiss potentially thousands of otherwise good matches. Despite their seeming importance, there are many who choose not to use them.
People often find themselves disappointed by lackluster search results. This is because they artificially limit them by silly or unimportant requirements. For example, if you only want to be with someone who is of a certain height, you potentially filter out some great results over a few centimeters!
Some of the strongest couples often find that it is their differences that create a stronger bond and many people end up with individuals with whom they never expected or thought they could be compatible. Filters remove the excitement of meeting someone who can introduce you to new worlds, expand your horizons, and open your mind.
You never know who might be right for you and closing yourself off from people just because they are not exactly what you imagined is usually a mistake.
How to Maintain Your Safety and Privacy
Some dating sites are better than others at weeding out potentially problematic individuals, but others go the extra mile with safety and privacy features that you may want to look out for.
- Social Verification – Dating websites often make users enter their social media profile information – usually Facebook – in order to verify that they are a real person. Sophisticated algorithms can determine whether a Facebook profile is spammy and the likelihood that a user might be up to no good.
- Photo Verification – Some sites go a step further, making users provide additional photos where users hold up a current newspaper or a code provided by the service. This level of verification is often reserved for sites that cater to a more niche audience.
- Security Protocols – All websites should have security features that prevent users from being exploited. The same is doubly true for dating websites, where data is often sensitive and highly private. If a dating website doesn’t follow the most basic of safety protocols, steer clear!
Features to Look For
For those keen to explore their potential love matches, there are a few key features to look out for in any chosen provider. The first is somewhat a fair price – as is the case with eHarmony, Zoosk UK and OurTime. These sites boast some of the most competitive prices available and are definitely worth looking into. With a low price typically comes a poorer quality of service, however (you basically get what you pay for), and OurTime has been criticized as far as this matter is concerned.
The best way to find out more about the types of services that you can expect is to check out what users think about the sites themselves. There’s no greater way to learn about the types of experiences that you can expect, than by learning from others that have been there first. If you’re keen to find a well-rounded service that puts singles first, then eHarmony and Zoosk are the market leaders to consider first and foremost.
That’s not to say that love is impossible to find via other platforms – it’s all a matter of putting yourself out there, exploring your options and finding the ideal match to suit your lifestyle.