The Best Free Dating Sites to Help You Meet ‘The One’
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Not too long ago ago, people had to actually go out and speak to someone face-to-face if they were hoping to date (and ultimately hookup). Crazy, right? Today, meeting someone new has become easy once you sign onto one of the many free online dating sites out there. These pages allow you to experience all that online dating has to offer while giving you the opportunity to see how you stack up in modern world of left and right swipes.
If you think about it, online dating has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. In the past, options available to singles looking to date (or people in open relationships) were fewer and further between. Even worse, at the time, free online dating options were often considered highly sketchy, putting your identity and privacy at risk. That, or they simply did not have the membership numbers to give you a worthwhile experience.
Today, app-first options — and mobile-friendly sites with their own custom apps such (such as AdultFriendFinder and Zoosk, for example) have changed the game thanks to massive databases of loyal, active date-seekers providing plenty of fish in the sea to choose from. That means if you’re looking for like-minded people, you won’t have to swim very hard or very far. Now, you just need to find the right dating site or app to sign up for.
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That being said, it’s no surprise that services you pay for tend to provide some extra user value to justify the price tag. There’s usually more advanced matching algorithms along with other bells and whistles, and because you must pay to use them, they tend to attract people who take online dating a little more seriously. Of course, many free sites have matching systems that work just as well as (if not better, in some cases) their paid competitors, and each dating website or app tends to have its own unique aspect that makes it stand out.
As a result, when considering what’s available these days in free online dating terms, the message is pretty clear: Finding people online to go on dates doesn’t cost you much money — or any money, for that matter — so you can save your hard-earned cash for the dates you actually go on. If dating and hooking up is something that’s on your mind, you really have nothing to lose by trying out a free dating site.
Instead of downloading 20-plus apps, spending all your time filling out dozens of different dating profiles, get a leg up on your fellow online daters by browsing through this list of the best free online dating sites available right now.
The Best Free Dating Sites
Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel takes a unique approach to online dating by taking bits and pieces from some of the best sites and combining them into one awesome experience, giving users the best of all worlds.
The app does an incredible job at collecting feedback from singles, using it to help increase general rate of success. Members are given a report card-style dashboard that shows them why users liked or passed on their profile. It breaks it down to the specific reason, such as low-quality profile pictures, as well as offering ways to improve their likelihood of getting “liked.” For any online dater, this dashboard alone is a good (and free) tool to gauge how their profile is performing compared to others. The critiques aren’t harsh, essentially providing you with information you’ve always wanted but never knew how to ask for.
As you might have already guessed from the name, coffee beans are the currency of Coffee Meets Bagel, and you earn them through daily logins and other activities. The site is very reward-driven, giving you a limited number of matches each day, based first on the mutual friends you share on Facebook with the number of matches increasing each consecutive day you log on. With the extra beans you accumulate, you can show interest in another group of potential matches who aren’t necessarily your handpicked matches of the day, but with whom you may share common interests. The concept of matching people based on mutual friends isn’t new, but because of how the dating platform is designed, it simply works well — as in, without being creepy or overly forward.
Of all the dating sites and apps out there, OKCupid has become one that singles flock to for their first online dating trial run. People also tend to return throughout their online dating journey unless they’ve settled down for good. The site hasn’t changed much in years, but rather banks on what it does have to offer singles, which seems to continually attract and re-attract members. The site features an easy-to-navigate interface, insightful but not obnoxiously long profiles, and a handful of question you can answer to help the site match you better and find you a meaningful relationship.
Potential matches are found based on searching instead of match suggestions, providing more control over your online dating experience. For each match you see, you also see the percentage match rate you have with that individual, giving you not just another conversation starter, but an actual data-driven indication (based on the profile questions you answered) of how well you and someone you find in your search results may match. OKCupid has a fun, laid-back feel to it, and users generally adopt a similar attitude when interacting on the site. It makes a legitimate choice both for people looking for casual flings, and those in search of more serious, long-term relationships. Essentially, it’s a win-win for all parties involved.
Plenty Of Fish
Go for a swim with Plenty of Fish, one of the easiest and most budget-friendly ways to dive into online dating. Functioning as both a site and an app, the platform provides a feature-packed online dating experience that doesn’t cost you a dime. There’s an abundance of members from all different walks of life, most of whom are continually active on the site. Plenty of Fish is also designed for finding people for long-term relationships as well as arranging casual, no-strings-attached meetings, although it skews more toward the latter option.
The site operates based on search, rather than any fancy, undisclosed matching algorithm. This means you can search the entire member database, and the number of members you can see in a week, day or hour is never limited. Profiles have various areas to express your personality, and can be made as detailed (or brief) as you want. There are also useful questionnaires that give you insight into your own personality traits and compatibility skills, meant to help your online dating game regardless of the site you end up using the most. The site incorporates seven ways to discover other people, the most useful of which is with standard or advanced searches (done by who’s online, by city, by new users, by contacts and by favorites).
Finally, there’s a handy alert section at the top notifying you of any relevant activity, ensuring you never miss a chance for interaction with another single.
Tinder has become quite the cultural phenomenon, essentially responsible for introducing “swiping” to our dating lexicon. The casual dating app is incredibly straightforward and easy to use. In fact, it’s so simple that, at least for the standard free version, there are really only a few things you can do on it, including updating your profile, swiping left (to pass) or right (to like), and chatting with matches.
As is only fitting for a swipe-based dating app, profiles are minimal, focusing mainly on profile pictures with a brief bio, but they do allow you to connect social accounts if desired, including your Instagram account, which can give people a better idea of what you’re into via Facebook likes, and pictures of you visible on your Instagram. You can also connect your Spotify account if you feel like showing off your taste in music, too.
There’s really only one path to finding other singles with Tinder: swipe, message and go from there. The main section of the site, the swiping section, allows you to swipe on profiles very quickly, with many users only looking at the main profile picture before swiping one way or the other. There are some more advanced paid features that let you “boost” your swipe, such as super-liking a member, or reverse your swipe option and go back to a profile you accidentally passed on. Communication can only take place once both members like each other, at which time either match may initiate a conversation. Still, Tinder stands as a powerhouse in the dating app world, and quite frankly, will probably maintain its status for a very long time.
If you’re just trying to hook up (no judgment here), it’s always best to prioritize your privacy, and Pure does just that. The free app, designed to facilitate casual flings, erases your dating profile every hour, although you can easily restore it if your heart desires. The app is basically a geo-location-based online personals app that allows you to list yourself to other local singles for 60-minute periods to see who you match up with. If you mutually match, you can strike up a quick chat with the matching user, but be sure to exchange contact information quickly — before you know it, you’ll lose contact on the app with that user. After one hour, your profile “self-destructs,” erasing your short online personal listing so nothing traces back to you.
The one-hour maximum self-destructing profiles and quick chats encourage on-the-spot sexual encounters. Unlike other dating platforms that backhandedly want users to stay single so they continue to use and pay for their product, Pure does not encourage users to stay in the digital realm any longer than required. Get in, get off and get out.
Are Paid Dating Sites Better?
While free dating sites can be easy options when it comes to trying to find that special someone, they don’t always provide the best value for your time. Without having to pay, these select options are often not designed to work as well as paid dating sites, meaning you could interact with more scammers and bots than you’d like.
Fake profiles are also just a fact of life on both free and paid dating or hookup sites, as well as an increased number of individuals on the sites who have their own agenda. As an alternative, there are paid dating sites that are well worth the extra expense per month to ensure you get the most out of your online dating experience.
Zoosk attracts a massive amount of online daters because of their clear-cut, easy to master layout. It also helps that they have a pretty solid (and unique) matching algorithm. Zoosk’s site is also aesthetically pleasing, meaning it’s actually enjoyable to be on, whether on the desktop or app version, and it looks brand new despite launching in 2007.
The site has profile verification options to ensure you are matching with real people and not fake profiles. On top of that, the site has a Smart Match system that essentially allows it to learn your preferences the more you use it, and the option to send a “Mega Flirt” that reaches dozens of inboxes every 15 minutes. It’s a site you won’t easily grow bored of that aims to help you become a better dater.
For years, Match has been an industry leader in online dating, and it’s no secret why. The company offers the right balance of features and members to keep making love connections happen on a regular basis. Although it’s easy to assume Match is only for serious daters, it’s actually an online dating site for anyone looking for anything from marriage to one-night stands. The site has a continually evolving matching algorithm that helps you find those you are interested in, even if you’re a little unsure of who exactly that is.
While used more for relationships and less as a hookup site, Match has created so many successful encounters over the years and is often the next practical step for those looking to explore their paid dating options.
Are you over your hookup days, and are starting to feel like you’re ready to settle down with a similarly ambitious and driven individual? If that’s the case, Elite Singles might be the dating site for you. The site’s goal is simple: Match you with other successful people, end of story.
As you’d expect from any online dating option with that kind of lofty goal, Elite Singles gives you more than just a Facebook photo to base your opinion on. The site collects information about users’ professions and appearances, so if you sign up, you get a chance to be as careful and thoughtful with your love life as you are when you’re on the job.
If you’re in search of a hookup but would love to avoid dealing with a sea of bots and fake profiles, FriendFinder-X is your best bet when it comes to hookup sites. It claims to be the world’s destination for casual online dating, and is chock-full of features that give you plenty of options, from the way you discover others to the way you design your profile. The site has a rating system incorporated into it that ranks members by hotness, providing some insight into what the true purpose of the site is.
You can take it for granted that everyone on the site is there for the same reasons, which is something free dating sites don’t always provide. There’s even a recently added Connexion (a lifelike video cybersex feature) if you’re just looking to get turned on. The site has built-in broadcast options to make cybersex even easier, and the unique ability to search members by their sexual interests. You can’t go wrong if you know what you’re looking for.
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