ONLINE DATING

The full review of 14 best free dating websites

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Those who have tried online dating are either tremendously happy about the decision to try it out or have been utterly disappointed. There is also a third category of users — those who remain sceptical about the whole thing. The reasons for this distrust are doubts about online dating’s efficiency and discontent with prices.

What these users often miss out on is the simple fact that both of these issues are easily solvable. We made a list of free dating sites and analyzed their functionality, matching algorithms, as well as examined advantages and disadvantages.

Your face when you start exploring free dating services
Best free dating websites for May, 2020
logo purePure
Ashley Maddison
Match
Elite Singles
zoosk logoZoosk
eHarmony
СhristianMingle
OurTime
Black People Meet
SilverSingles
BeNaughty
OkCupid
Plenty of Fish
Mingle2

Match

Started as the first dating website in 1995, Match still is one of the most innovative and popular love-seeking platforms out there. With more than 35 million unique monthly visits, it’s the largest romantic pool out there.

Matching algorithms

  • To register an account, you need to fill out an in-depth questionnaire about your expectations, interests, personal qualities;
  • You can specify what you want to see in a partner so potential matches can see right away if they fill the bill;
  • Once the account is registered, go to the Feed and start matching up; similarly to Tinder, the platform displays one account at a time;
  • You can visit the person’s profile with a detailed description before making a choice.

Pros

  • A modern clear interface;
  • A genuine community opened to serious relationships;
  • Popular real-life group events for interest-based bonding.

Cons

  • A free version doesn’t allow you to message users, although you can wink, send matching requests and like their profiles.

There are plenty of reasons for Match’s unmatched popularity like its simple, in-depth, and clear algorithms, modern interface (that aspect changed a lot since 1995), and emphasis on deep relationships. Most importantly, such a vast match pool attracts new users, and this tendency is sure to continue.

Editor's pick for May, 2020

Pure

Complete anonymity
1367 users online now

Ashley Madison

Discreet dating
855 users online now

Pure

It took only several years for Pure to arrive at a similar match-making proficiency and rich functionality. It’s one of the most popular dating websites in the United States and is steadily acquiring an international community.

Matching algorithms

  • Pure combines fun approach to dating with serious romantic commitments, balancing on the verge of casual and ambition dating;
  • Geo-location targeting — all your matches are located nearby;
  • Registration requires you to enter necessary personal information — no lengthy questionnaires;
  • Matches are filtered by age, height, interests, relationship preferences, and dealbreakers;
  • The platform encourages users to go on a date within one hour — the dialogues disappear in 60 minutes from ts beginning.

I am:

Looking for:

My email:

Pros

  • Dates outside of your typical social circle, not connected to our Facebook friends or phone contacts;
  • An innovative approach to privacy — all contents are encrypted, and the chat is destroyed in an hour;
  • You can choose if you want to have a casual or a committed relationship — the platform offers both.

Cons

  • Free online dating is allowed only during the first week after registration;
  • Precise matching algorithms are not disclosed.

Pure is perhaps the most adventurous dating solution out there. For a week, you can use Pure unlimitedly, nothing differs it from completely free dating sites. After the trial is over, you decide whether to acquire a paid subscription or not.

EliteSingles

An app for successful and mature people, who seek serious bonds and want to build a family. Career achievements, college diploma, and a house — these are characteristics of an average EliteSingles’ user.

Matching algorithms

  • Five Model Theory questionnaire that determines your romantic personality type;
  • Based on the test result, the platform prepares a daily digest with 5-7 compatible matches;
  • All profiles pass mandatory verification;
  • Elite Magazine — a blog where experts give romantic advice.

Pros

  • Full access to profile visitors list;
  • Have Your Met Before feature that allows you to take a second look at a previously declined match;
  • Detailed personality assessment.

Cons

  • No mobile app;
  • The smallest location radius is 30 miles;
  • No control over choosing a match.

EliteSingles has more than 13 million members all over the world with 2000 couples, matched up in a month. So, even if users have little to no control over matching, it’s apparent that for many, this strategy seems to be the most appealing one. It’s not an all-free dating site, but its free functionality is quite impressive nonetheless.

Zoosk

This platform is perfect for international relationships — how could it be otherwise with 40 million users located in 80 countries? Finding someone in your city or falling in love with a foreigner from another continent — it all can happen on this website.

Matching algorithms

  • Fast registration — users only need to connect their Facebook profile;
  • Mandatory page verification by approving a phone number;
  • Behavioral Matchmaking — the filtering system that analyzes your behaviour on the platform and adats the match feed to your preferences.

Pros

  • Flexible filters that sort profiles based on people’s age, height, education, interests, and location;
  • A smart messenger that sorts through texts from matched and unmatched users in separate folders.

Cons

  • At least several hundred thousands of fake profiles;
  • Outdated on-site currency — a primitive “coin” system;
  • Annoying interface and too basic functionality.

If you take a look at Zoosk’s interface or features, there isn’t much good to say. However, after taking a more in-depth look, significant advantages start emerging. This is, first and foremost, a huge user base — even if 20% of profiles are fake, you are still left with a solid choice.

eHarmony

This platform is created for deep relationships that end up in marriage. Probably, that’s why the website is responsible for 3% of all American married couples.

Matching algorithms

  • Filing out a lengthy questionnaire is mandatory which means you need to prepare 2-3 hours of interrupted time;
  • The platform finds the most compatible matches automatically;
  • Messaging becomes accessible after two users matched up;
  • The user community is committed to creating families.

Pros

  • Official statistics prove results;
  • No hassle with manual matching;
  • Great for serious relationships.

Cons

  • An annoying registration process;
  • No casual dating;
  • A limited free version.

eHarmony is a service for people with serious intentions. If you are not ready to sacrifice three hours to a questionnaire, you are just not committed enough. If you are, though, you are likely to find someone who will share your desires for a grounded relationship.

Cristian Mingle

Understanding the religious views of your partner is a cornerstone for a successful relationship. If sharing the joy of faith with your partner is your priority, it’s best to go to Christian free dating websites — and this is one of the biggest ones.

Matching algorithms

  • Use your Facebook account to register;
  • Fill out a basic questionnaire with essential information;
  • Specify your interests, location, age, height;
  • Receive a daily digest with the most compatible users or go straight to the Feed.

Pros

  • You can meet people in a group chatroom;
  • Strict moderation detects and deletes fake users.

Cons

  • No messaging access in a free version;
  • A bland interface.

On Cristian Mingle, you get the opportunity to know your match on a deep emotional and spiritual level. Profile questions cover all crucial aspects of a potential relationship, from the moral code to daily habits. It’s a starting ground for a serious relationship, and users go here with serious family-building intentions in mind.

OurTime

Love doesn’t know ageing, and online dating agrees. OurTime is a popular romantic with an average user age of 50 years old. It’s not just serious relationships, but also casual encounters, penpal chats, and blind dates.

Matching algorithms

  • Six-step registration process where you need to specify your gender and interests, location, race, and choose between a paid and free subscription;
  • Seven Personality Questions, designed to describe daily habits and interests;
  • User can go to the public feed or receive personalized digests with compatible matches;
  • Flirt, Jokes, and Pokes features are fun conversation starters.

Pros

  • Simple registration with no technical knowledge required;
  • Filters that allow seeing only new members;
  • Moderation team creates testing profiles to identify fakes and spammers.

Cons

  • No verification system;
  • Special features have to be purchased independently;
  • No messaging is a free version.

On OurTime, you see what matching algorithms led you to be matched to a particular person and how your interests influence the picks. The website doesn’t keep you in the dark; in fact, you are encouraged to customize picks and show initiative.

BlackPeopleMeet

It’s one of the top completely free dating sites for African-Americans. Don’t let the name full you, though, all races are welcomed here. It’s a great place to start an interracial relationship. The website uses geotargeting as its main selection criteria — you can find people nearby in the neighbourhood.

Matching algorithms

  • A biography has to fit in in 1250 characters;
  • Selection criteria are location, age, height, interests, race;
  • You can connect your account to Facebook’s page and upload photos from the library;
  • Browse the feed of compatible matches and a panel with popular users.

Pros

  • The free version provides access to all profile contents;
  • Afro-Americans consist of the majority of users, but there are also many Asian users;
  • Eleven free matches per day.

Cons

  • Fake profiles;
  • No unique matching system.

It’s one of the biggest interracial dating platforms with 4.3 American million visitors and several million from other countries. BlackPeopleMeet, despite its racial preferences, is a very different service, which makes it attractive for people of all ethnicities.

SilverSingles

A relationship platform for American ingles of 50+ years old with 50 000 new weekly users. Official statistics claim that the service connects 2000 couples every month. It could be the case since we’ve found hundreds of positive reviews online.

Matching algorithms

  • A custom personality test;
  • An automated digest with compatible accounts;
  • A detailed profile with a brief preview;
  • Smiles, Likes, and Winks complement instant messages.

Pros

  • The majority of users have university degrees;
  • Favourites’ lists.

Cons

  • No instant messaging in a free service;
  • A mobile app can only be acquired.

SilverSingles is an excellent solution for seriously committed senior dates who want to invest in finding a loved one. The free version works fine for exploring the userbase and functionality.

BeNaughty

A no-prejudice website for casual and sex dating. Just as the name suggests, here you can try out fun techniques and start short flings.

Matching algorithms

  • Supports all ages, genders, and orientations;
  • Profiles are filtered by marital status, age, height, and location;
  • A “Cute or Not” game where users hit or pass on other profiles;
  • Full Safe Mode protects users from unverified people;
  • Elaborate security settings.

Pros

  • SSL encryption;
  • iTunes and Google Play app;
  • The interface supports 27 languages.

Cons

  • Messaging is accessible only for premium users;
  • Push-notifications are annoying;
  • Slim chances of building a serious relationship.

BeNaughty is a freemium service for casual hookups and one-night stands. It’s open-minded and friendly to various sexual preferences. The only issue we have with this website is its limited free version. Still, it’s enough to make your own opinion and find a date, if you are lucky.

OkCupid

A liberal millennial romantic platform. OkCupid supports dozens of genders and sexual orientations. The service takes a middle ground between keeping things casual and building serious bonds.

Matching algorithms

  • Fun registration with deep and creative questions;
  • The platform determines your religious and political views to find a match with a similar opinion;
  • No open messaging, both parties need to confirm the match.

Pros

  • Multifunctional free version;
  • Creative interface;
  • One of the most massive userbase — 10 million users worldwide.

Cons

  • Registration takes a lot of time;
  • Older users will have trouble finding a partner of the same age;
  • You are unlikely to end things in marriage here.

OkCupid is a perfect starting ground for online meetings. For one, it has one of the best free versions, comparable to the features of the best totally free dating sites. Also, the community is friendly and versatile, so finding someone who shares your interests and worldview is relatively easy. Creative interface and simple functionality are a plus as well.

Plenty of Fish

Four million active users, 150 million registered accounts, and 20 countries — these are just a few numbers that describe POF.

Matching algorithms

  • A relationship chemistry predictor, based on five criteria: self-confidence, self-control, family orientation, social dependence, easygoingness.
  • A “Meet Me” feature that allows scheduling real-life dates with no beforehand conversations;
  • Free messaging.

Pros

  • Active moderation spots underage users, spammy messages, fake pictures;
  • Both free and premium versions have a lot of unique features;
  • You can upload up to 20 photos in a profile.

Cons

  • A primitive testing system — the worst part is, the results cannot be changed;
  • Periodically increasing membership cost.

POF undoubtedly has one of the richest free functionalities, and it combines a scientifical approach with intuitive and often random matches. Those who’d instead prefer full compatibility can rely on a personality test, whereas spontaneous people can explore blind dates and random messaging.

Mingle2

One of the biggest totally free online dating sites that have been around only for several years, but has already forged an excellent reputation. Now, it has 3 million active monthly users and 12 million registered users.

Matching algorithms

  • Registration requires an email or a Facebook account, no questionnaires;
  • Unlimited communication;
  • Filters sort users by age, location, height, education;
  • A collective chatroom for group meetups.

Pros

  • Active forums with 6 million active users;
  • You receive notifications each time someone viewed your profile;
  • Visible online/offline status.

Cons

  • An overload of advertising;
  • No verification.

Unlike other platforms, where you have to manoeuvre between blocked features, here you’ll feel no discrimination. Mingle2 is pretty universal in terms of its users’ intentions — here, you can look for casual dates and long-term commitments.

DateHookup

A casual dating platform for sexual encounters with no continuation. The userbase consists of young adults, university students, and recent graduates.

Matching algorithms

  • A public feed with compatible matches
  • Flexible filters on age, location, sexual interests, gender;
  • Open messaging;
  • Additional flirting features like winks and likes.

Pros

  • Behavioural analysis — the service collects your preferences into a general type;
  • A rich free version.

Cons

  • Distracting advertising;
  • You can’t access the service’s feed without registering a profile;
  • Not enough personal information.

DateHookup is a place for quick one-night stands, so don’t expect to build anything serious here. Still, it fulfills its purpose just fine, and free instant messaging, and random-meet matching makes casual encounters much more straightforward.

Bottom line

Online dating efficiency has already been proven with millions of successful cases. The price overall isn’t an issue — there are dozens of 100%-free dating websites. Even those that operate on a freemium basis have a functional free edition — you can build a serious relationship or find a quick fling.

Platform with no bots and fakes

In Pure, the algorithm will delete your account an hour after you start searching for a partner. If you match, you have another hour to talk in the chat — then it will also be automatically deleted.

This makes the service inaccessible and uninteresting for bots, fakes, and crooks. Pure users are alive personalities who do not hide their desires and want to find a partner in the next hour.

Of course, there are many other platforms offering similar services. If you are still in doubt, we suggest you watch our exclusive review of dating sites for sex.

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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