ONLINE DATING

Craigslist Personals replacements: the top alternatives for casual encounters

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Craigslist Personals has been a leading destination for casual hookups for a while. The community loved it for efficiency, directness, and availability. For free, you could post an ad with the description for a preferred partner and give your contacts right away. No limitations or tedious matching systems.

Why We Loved Craigslist Personals

Before diving right into the review of sites like backpage and craigslist, let’s take a walk down the memory lane and discover what was so special about the platform and how come, in the world of numerous fancy dating app, it was still so popular among daters of all ages.

Here are the five reasons we loved Craigslist Personals:

1. It was free

The cost is definitely one of the biggest downsides of the mainstream dating app. Paying for subscriptions immediately turned hookup search into a possibly failed investment. Thousands of people were not ready to bet on themselves, their looks, and online dating skills.

To that end, Craigslist Personal was a breath of fresh air: it was free, required no commitment, and had a lot of guys and girls posting ads every single day.

2. It helped recover Missed Connections

The “Missed Connections” tab on Craigslist Personal was extremely helpful whenever we had to reconnect with a lost partner. A lot of my friends and online reviews describe how helpful the page was, how it helped reconnect with long-lost crushes, start a committed relationship, or get a one-night stand you didn’t know you needed.

3. It was straightforward

Even if you are ready to put up with the fee OkCupid or eHarmony ask to pay, filling in endless compatibility surveys makes you feel like the circle of potential matches is narrowing down, and there is nobody to like you.

Craigslist gave people more freedom. They didn’t have to match with others, were not constrained by location-based matches, or other fancy tricks. The entire platform was at your fingertips: it was up to you how far you were willing to go for a hookup.

Editor's pick for May, 2020

Pure

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Ashley Madison

Discreet dating
855 users online now

Reviews of the top Personals replacements

However, Craigslist online personals was blocked by FBI due to sex trafficking — it turned out that some ads on the service weren’t legit. Craigslist decided to close the community, living millions of users in a state of uncertainty. If you are still looking for a valid replacement of your favorite hookup platform. I got your back. This is my list of favorite personals like Craigslist.

Craigslist Activities

Members 120,000
Popularity 15,000 users per month
Gender proportion 75% male, 25% female
Geography US, Canada
Account verification email
Mobile app no
Price free
Free version yes
Fraud risk high
Hookup chance ★★★☆☆
Craigslist Activities is the closest alternative to the original platform

Craigslist Activities is almost a look-alike of Craigslist Personals. Its functionality and interface closely resemble the original version, and the community members have the same mindset regarding dating. Here similarly to other free Personal classifieds like Craigslist, people are looking for quick hookups and post online ads with a detailed description of an ideal date, their profile, and contacts.

Pure

Members 300, 000
Popularity 150, 000+ weekly visits
Gender proportion 50% male, 50% female
Geography US, Canada
Account verification email
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price free trial, $14.99 per week
Free version yes
Fraud risk high
Hookup chance ★★★★★
You have 60 minutes to find a match — and it’s very doable

A cutting-edge sex Personals site with a focus on privacy and encryption. The mobile and web sites like Backpage and Craigslist Personals make sure that the chat and profiles contents are deleted in an hour after the registration. This means people don’t ghost their matches but tend to schedule a live date almost right away. You could have a hookup in 60 minutes. The best thing is, your private data won’t get leaked since it’s erased from the server.

Adult Friend Finder

Members 50 million
Popularity 45 million visits per month
Gender proportion 73% male, 27% female
Geography US, Canada, UK
Account verification email
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price free trial, $20 per month           
Free version yes
Fraud risk low
Hookup chance ★★★☆☆
The most popular international community for adult dating

One of the biggest casual dating sites like Craigslist Personals with more than 50 million users worldwide. This page isn’t just for a relationship or casual date, but primarily for sexual encounters. Users are asked about the characteristics of their intimate organs in detail — so the match can know all relevant specifics. There are quite a lot of fake profiles, but still, the user pool is impressive.

Fetlife Classifieds

Members 980,000
Popularity 28,400 monthly visits
Gender proportion 63% male, 37% female
Geography North America, South America, Europe
Account verification Facebook account
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price $14.99–$19.99
Free version 7-day trial
Fraud risk low
Hookup chance ★★★★☆
Classified ads for instant BDSM dates

BDSM hookups have gotten increasingly popular lately, and there is an incredible rise of independent communities that specializes in kinks and fetishes. FetLife Classifieds is a service like Craigslist, where the BDSM community can post ads and find a match directly. It’s the fastest way to find a kinky hookup up to date — although you won’t learn much about a potential hookup.

Locanto

Members 20 million,
Popularity 3,000 000 visits per month
Gender proportion 64% male, 46% female
Geography US, Canada, UK
Account verification email
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price free
Free version yes
Fraud risk medium
Hookup chance ★★★☆☆
Detailed dating ads with direct contacts

Just like Craigslist, Locanto is a popular ad service with the Personals section. It’s one of the most popular parts of this ad board — users look for platonic, casual, and sex local personals. The filters include “Men Seek Men,” Men Seek Women,” “Women Seek Men,” “Women Seek Women.”

Grindr

Members 16 million
Popularity 837,000 visits per month
Gender proportion 100% male
Geography US, Canada, UK
Account verification email
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price free
Free version yes
Fraud risk high
Hookup chance ★★★☆☆
The first and most popular casual dating app exclusive for gay men

Even though casual dating ad boards usually include gay dating options, there is no better gay Personals community for men than Grindr. It’s the first casual dating website exclusive to all users, and it has gathered an active community of passionate casual daters. The platform allows choosing a date among 10 types — Daddy, Bear, Rock, etc. The site like Craigslist Personals is active mostly in big cities, but to my surprise, the community is large enough in small towns, too.

Reddit R4R

Members 150,000
Popularity 200,000 visits per month
Gender proportion 70% male, 30% female
Geography US, Canada, UK
Account verification email
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price free
Free version yes
Fraud risk medium
Hookup chance ★★★★☆
The community where active Reddit users can meet each other

If you are an active Reddit user, you can benefit from looking for love on your favorite social media. A great thing about Reddit is that it attracts a particular type of audience — these are smart people who want to talk about science, TV shows, video games, anime, and other geeky stuff. If you are up to the challenge, you can contact a member on the thread directly. To make a search by location easier, members create local personal threads. You can find R4R in California, Austin, Chicago, Las Vegas, etc.

DoubleList.com

Members 10,000,000
Popularity 5,600,000 visits per month
Gender proportion 71% male
Geography US, Canada, UK
Account verification email
Mobile app no
Price free
Free version yes
Fraud risk medium
Hookup chance ★★★☆☆
The reliable source of classified ads for straight and gay singles

Even when Craigslist Personals was still around, Double List was the only casual dating service capable of providing decent competition in terms of simplicity of its matching algorithms and the size of the user pool. However, unlike Craigslist Personals and other sites like Craigslist casual encounters, Double List dating service requires a mobile number verification. The website allows posting personal ads like Craigslist for free, and you can freely react to offers from different people. Members aren’t prohibited from listing their contact information, location, and use of sexual vocabulary. The only problem is, once you’ve registered on the website, your contacts to the advertising database and you’ll get countless amounts of spam.

KinkyAds

Members 52,000
Popularity 76,000 visits per month
Gender proportion 71% male, 29% male
Geography US, Canada, UK
Account verification email
Mobile app no
Price free
Free version yes
Fraud risk medium
Hookup chance ★★★☆☆
A free ad-posting platform for kinky dates

Another fetish classified and similar to other sites like Craigslist, this platform is created for kinksters by fellow-kinksters. The platform is based on location-based search — enter your city, or go even further and specify zip code. The website also vides users by their favorite fetish types. Here, you can find bondage, ABF, or fetish sex, and specify your favorite kinks. The website allows posting nudes and using sexual vocabulary — you get a perfect idea of what to expect from the date. However, this is one of the newer sites similar to Craigslist, so the user community is only growing.

AshleyMadison

Members 15,050,000
Popularity 9,020,000 visits per month
Gender proportion 71% male, 29% male
Geography US, Canada, UK
Account verification email
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price $59.00 per month
Free version yes
Fraud risk high
Hookup chance ★★★☆☆
The biggest platform for affair dating with millions of users worldwide

For those who used Craigslist Personals and free Personals sites like Craigslist to look for an affair, I recommend Ashley Madison as the best alternative on the market. The website’s audience is slightly more premium — you can find a lot of people from prestigious neighborhoods and with high-paid positions. They are usually demanding when it comes to looking for a hookup — but the results are worth it. AshleyMadison had some security issues in the last couple of years, leading to millions of personal files being leaked online. Luckily, the team paid attention to securing private information, and the community seems to have successfully regained its former status.

BDSM.com

Members 5,050,000
Popularity 162,190 visits per month
Gender proportion 60% male, 40% male
Geography US, Canada
Account verification email
Mobile app no
Price free
Free version yes
Fraud risk low
Hookup chance ★★★★☆
BDSM dating for singles
The biggest online community for BDSM dating

The biggest BDSM dating community for long-term relationships, casual hookups, and sex dates. The website unites millions of BDSM daters all over the world, but it’s mostly popular among those who miss online classified ads like Craigslist in the United States and Canada. The matching algorithms sort dates by body types, favorite kinks and fetishes, previous BDSM experiences, age, location, age, and ethnicity. It’s pretty much a regular dating website with the Feed, group chats, and built-in messengers for text, audio, and video communication.

OutPersonals

Members 870,900
Popularity 269,290 visits per month
Gender proportion 100% male
Geography US
Account verification email
Mobile app no
Price free
Free version yes
Fraud risk medium
Hookup chance ★★☆☆☆
screenshot out personals gay dating site
The most reliable online escort community up to date

OutPersonals is a website like Craigslist where users can either post ads with their offers or use matching algorithms to find a casual hookup. The overall design and functionality remind me of AdultFriendFinder. Here, you can describe your body type and sexual preferences in detail, upload nudes, customize matches, participate in group chats, and even read stories about the sexual experiences of other members.

Seeking

Members 9,000,000
Popularity 11,060,000 visits per month
Gender proportion 52% male, 48% male
Geography US, Canada, UK
Account verification email
Mobile app no
Price free
Free version yes
Fraud risk medium
Hookup chance ★★☆☆☆
Seeking site dating
Sugar dating platform for sugar girls and boys — as well as mommies and daddies

This is a sugar dating platform where mature well-off men and women can look for younger partners. Each sugar daddy can have up to 4 babies on the website — all relationships are strictly casual and usually come with sex in the package. Sugar babies, on the other hand, can count on mentorship, mature sexual experiences, and indulgences — like daily shopping, dates in fancy restaurants and clubs, and other financial benefits.

Best hookup apps similar to Craigslist Personals

Let’s take a look at the best mobile apps for casual dating — they are usually faster than desktop versions and are easier to manage for busy millennials. The functionality is slightly inferior to desktop hookup sites like Craigslist, but at least, dating becomes more accessible this way.

Yumi

Members 250,000
Popularity 140,000 visits per month
Gender proportion 62% male, 38% male
Geography US, Canada, UK
Account verification email
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price free
Free version yes
Fraud risk medium
Hookup chance ★★★★☆
The first mobile app that was created purely for casual encounters

Yumi is the first mobile hookup app that was created exclusively for casual dating. Each user has four shots at finding a random match. You get four cards every day — you can turn them to take a look at your matches for today. Sometimes, you won’t find a match on casual encounter websites like Craigslist— there is a 50% chance of turning an empty card. This system makes users appreciate matches more and gives hope for people who don’t do well with traditional online dating. Yumi is an anonymous dating platform where users only have to specify their location and upload a picture. You don’t have to confirm emails or phone numbers — this is convenient, but as you can imagine, the user pool is filled with fakes. Still, it’s a nice destination for those who are not sure in their online dating skills — the algorithms make finding a hookup incredibly easy.

Pure

Members 450,000
Popularity 300,050 visits per month
Gender proportion 51% male, 49% female
Geography US, Canada
Account verification email
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price $14,99 per week
Free version yes
Fraud risk low
Hookup chance ★★★★★
Pure gives users an hour to schedule a date

If you’d rather date on a more controlled environment, you can go to Pure — it’s also an anonymous dating website, but you get more choice options. Also, it’s safer — the app requires each member to confirm their email addresses. Also, there are no inactive profiles — if there is no interaction on the page in an hour, the profile is immediately deleted. One of my favorite aspects of Pure is its emphasis on safety. The app’s team is very transparent on their security practices — they delete users’ data in 60 minutes from registration, giving users an hour to schedule a date.

Happn

Members 790,900
Popularity 467,640 visits per month
Gender proportion 64% male, 46% female
Geography US, Canada, UK, Europe
Account verification email
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price $10-24.99 per month
Free version yes
Fraud risk low
Hookup chance ★★★☆☆
The app brings chance meeting back in trends

Casual dating online is often very technical: all you have to do is to set up filters, upload a picture, and contact a date — and you are good to go. If you are into something more old-fashioned, I suggest trying out Happn — a dating service that brings back good old meet-cute. You need to connect your Facebook account to the application and allow the connection to your GPS data. Whenever you crossed paths with another Happn user, the app will immediately update you both — so you can get in touch online.

Grindr

Members 9,080,790
Popularity 11,000,200 visits per month
Gender proportion 100%
Geography US, Canada, UK, Europe
Account verification email
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price $50 per month
Free version yes
Fraud risk high
Hookup chance ★★★☆☆
The mobile version of the iconic day dating platform

This exclusively male dating website also has a mobile version that is similar to the original platform, only more portable. You can look for hookups in your area, specify your favorite type out of 10 available options, and publish personal updates on the profile. The app has been around for a while — it’s undoubtedly the most reliable mobile sex dating option for gay men.

Her

Members 9,080,790
Popularity 62, 200 visits per month
Gender proportion 100% female
Geography US, Canada, UK
Account verification email
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price $11.99 per month
Free version yes
Fraud risk low
Hookup chance ★★★★☆
Social media and dating app for lesbian and bisexual women

Another site like Craigslist, only this time, it’s exclusive for women. Her works like a mix of a dating service and social media — each girl has a blog with personal updates and can follow other users, too. The matching algorithms are based on interests, relationship preferences, and deal-breakers. Women can customize Feed’s filters manually or agree to get personalized dating digest, adapted to their needs.

SnapChat

Members 500,000,000
Popularity 188,000,000 visits per month
Gender proportion 60% female, 30% male
Geography US, Canada, UK
Account verification email
Mobile app iOS, Android
Price free
Free version yes
Fraud risk low
Hookup chance ★★★★☆
The best messaging app for exchanging adult stories

SnapChat is not a dating app, but it’s the best messenger for dating, seriously. It’s effortless to connect to, and it provides a reliable connection between dates. You can see all stories shared by your partner — this is helpful if you want to get to know each other before the meeting. Also, you can receive and create personalized stories — protected and reserved only for your partner’s eyes — with sensitive content. SnapChat is the safest platform for exchanging this kind of data with the best sexting chat rooms.

Free gay Personals for M4M

Craigslist Personals was popular among gay and lesbian communities. When the service closed, gay daters went to other casual dating sites like Craigslist, only to find out that straight users largely dominate the majority of them. This is why I would recommend trying out specialized casual dating services instead.

All my gay friends who are into M4M dating, tend to look for casual relationships on Grindr, even when Craiglist Personals was still around. It’s a nice service among free hookup sites like Craigslist for matching up with people in your area, uploading nude pictures, and interacting with single gays for free.

The reasons behind the Craigslist Personals closure

Craigslist closed the service due to apparent legal reasons. FOSTA-SESTA law, passed by the government recently, requires top hookup sites to prohibit illegal sex trafficking. If someone published a profile of an underage person, Craigslist would be faced with serious charges and meet harsh legal punishments.

Of course, Craigslist Personals aren’t the only website that met a similar fate. BedPage, for instance, was faced with sex trafficking charges, and it forced the site to close altogether. Practically, all popular sex dating sites like Craigslist Personals based on ad posting were forced to either close or transfer to a different dating model. Luckily, we have plenty of alternatives on the market — and in my opinion, a lot of them can offer more than Craigslist ever did.

pure site dating
You have one hour to arrange an adventure together

Find your hookup adventure in one hour

I am:

Looking for:

My email:

Pure users are looking for adventures. They value anonymity, straightforwardness, and intimacy with no obligations.

The application works quickly and simply — no long registrations or endless questionnaires, no social media links or photo albums. The algorithm uses end-to-end encryption and deletes profiles and chats in an hour after they start.

Upload your favourite selfie, find the person who turns you on and start texting. You have one hour to arrange an adventure together.

3 Tips on Finding Hookups on Personals Platforms

If you don’t get much success on personals like Craigslist, the platform might not be the one to blame. Chances are, your lack of experience or low self-esteem is holding you back from dream casual encounters.

The good news is, practice makes perfect. As long as you work hard on polishing your online dating skills, people will be responding to your ads eagerly. Here are some tried-and-true tips to help you sway everybody with your charm and confidence.

  • Write properly. Who cares about spelling and grammar these days, you might say? And yet, people do when they want to determine if you are a reliable hookup partner. Avoid edgy things like capitalizing sentences and phrases or substituting words with numbers (it’s “too”, not “2” after all).
  • Think about a catchy ad title. You want to make sure your listing stands out among all others the website offers. Don’t go for anything generic, like “Looking for a fun night”. Instead, give girls a chance to get to know you, try to show how funny, witty, and open-minded you are.
  • Age and marital status matter. If you don’t want to send a hookup-to-be running, don’t hide anything that might be important. At the end of the day, an active marriage can be a hookup turnover for a lot of people, similarly to a huge age gap. By keeping all the cards open, you are saving your own time and energy.

With these tips, you will inevitably see people line up eager to hook up with you. Don’t expect success on websites similar to craigslist to come as soon as you sign up. Online dating success takes practice and experience so it’s better to accept eventual challenges from the get-go.

FAQ

What site is like Craigslist Personals?

Craigslist Personals is a casual dating platform where people could post their ads and look for a quick hookup. Users could freely mention their contact information, describe themselves and potential dates, disclose their location, and filter other users by their geography.

What took the place of Craigslist for personals?

There was no official replacement, but of course, as soon as such a major casual dating provider got taken down, new dating communities arose. The most common alternatives are casual platforms similar to Craigslist — Pure, Yumi, Happn, or other ad services — Locanto, Double List, etc.

Does Craigslist have Personals anymore?

No, the Craigslist Personals section was closed due to the legal changes. According to the FOSTA-SESTA laws, website owners have to assure that there aren’t any sex trafficking on the platform or carried out by its users. In case someone would violate the rules of the platform and go unnoticed, the website’s creators would have to receive charges. Craigslist never had a strict security system, to begin with, and tracking potential crimes would be impossible. Hence they made the safest decision possible and opted to close the section altogether.

Did Craigslist remove personals?

Yes, Craigslist got rid of Personals after the FOSTA-SESTA law was passed. According to the legislation, the website owners are carrying a direct legal responsibility for any sex trafficking incidents or promotions that might take place on the platform. Craigslist chose not to face potential lawsuits and decided to clock the service.

Are Personals gone from Craigslist?

Yes, the Personals section is gone from Craigslist, and it’s highly unlikely that it will ever come back. The thing is, Craigslist never moderated closely the activity of platform’s members, and it would be nearly impossible to ensure that there are no incidents of sex trafficking.

What are some sites like Craigslist Personals that are free?

Many free Personals like Craigslist are either completely accessible or have a functional free trial version. My favorite choices are BeNaughty, AdultFriendFinder, Friend-Finder-X, Pure, and Yumi. These are anonymous casual dating services with the emphasis on sex dating. Naturally, they attract the communities that are similar to the one on Craigslist Personals.

Does Craigslist still have a Personals section?

No, it was shut down due to accepted legislation that prohibited any online sex trafficking activity by ensuring that the website’s owners are personally responsible for illegal incidents.

Can I use apps like Craigslist Personals for Android?

Yes, the websites like craigslist personals reviewed in the post usually have mobile apps — go to the Play Store or App Store to download an app for the website you like on your smartphone. If there isn’t a mobile app available, most websites like Craigslist have a mobile-friendly desktop version.

Final words

Even though Craigslist Personals was one of the biggest casual dating community, it surely wasn’t the best one. The platform had major safety issues, there weren’t too many filters, and overall, the user pool wasn’t all that trustworthy. The fact that website owners chose to shut down the platform alerted many users, making some suspect that the moderation might have been aware of certain shady practices.

Luckily, there are a lot of safer free local hookup sites like Craigslist for online casual dating. You can take a look at innovative mobile apps with scientific matching algorithms or go to another ad posting website. There is plenty of choices — and it’s just as good.

James Miller
Born in Los Angeles, graduated from a college as a journalist, and spent several years as a freelancer writing about cultural events. From 2017, James writes about love and relationships and explores dating services.

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    3 Comments

    1. Yes, I miss the good old days when Craigslist was still around. Hopefully, these websites like Craigslist help me hook up with somebody in my town. Thanks a lot for putting this together.

    2. Can you post online classified ads like Craigslist on all of these websites? If so, I am totally down for it.

    3. Wow, I am surprised to see so many platforms similar to Craigslist. Totally giving them a try tomorrow. Wish me luck.

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