Dating can be difficult in today’s fast-paced world. It’s hard to make time to sit down face-to-face with every potential contender and get to know them over dinner. And while it seemed crazy in the past to go on dates with strangers from the internet, it’s so commonplace now that chances are you’ve either tried online dating or know someone who has.
With so much relevance today, it’s easy to decide to date online, but harder to decide what platform to use. That’s why we took the time to thoroughly review 68 online dating websites and give you our top 4 picks.
Admittedly, we didn’t choose to include or review sites like “Ashley Madison,” which encourages more risque, adulterous relationships. Nor did we choose to include sites that are based solely on looks. (This does mean that we also excluded hook up sites and apps.)
After that, we judged on these criteria:
- Sites that served more cities and states. Using this method, we cut 4 websites from our list
- Sites that weren’t restricted to the niche. This eliminated 21 websites
- Sites that had large, active user bases. Anything with under 1 million active users didn’t make our lists (24 websites!)
Of those left, (OkCupid, Match.com, eHarmony, and Plenty of Fish), we judged in more categories.
- How easy it was to make a profile
- If the algorithms that pair you up were accurate
- The quality of the interactions with other users (if we received messages that we thought would be universally considered good, bad, or somewhere in between)
- Whether or not the site was user-friendly
- How much, if anything, the site cost to use
Using all of this very detailed research, we came to this conclusion: The best overall online dating website is OkCupid. It caters to any relationship you might want and it’s super easy to use and nice to look at. It has a great browser and mobile format to boot. We also found that not only does it create the best profile, it also uses the best algorithm to match people.
And unlike other sites, their algorithm is fun. You don’t just plug in some info about what you like and hope that “cute puppies” doesn’t happen to be a common interest you share with someone you can’t stand.
You are able to answer several questions to help the algorithm better pair you. But you also get to choose the answer you’d prefer your potential match to make, as well as rate how important the question is to you.
OkCupid does all the hard math stuff and gives you percentages whenever you visit someone else’s profile. You will see “Match Percentage,” which tells you how compatible you are, “Enemy Percentage,” which tells you how NOT compatible you are, and a “Friendship Percentage”, which tells you how likely you are to be friends with the person.
It’s a great way to get an idea of what you can expect from a potential match, rather than just seeing that you’ve got 25% of things in common and find the person attractive. And while everyone hopes for a very high match percentage, the most important part is to make sure that you have a low enemy percentage.
Having said that, based on our research, Match.com was the best when looking for long-term relationships. Though it’s backed by scientific research to be one of the top marriage-producing dating sites, it isn’t free. You can choose from 3 – 12-month packages ranging from $27 – $25 in price.
We definitely recommend it more for people who have more time to sift through profiles. Although it is great for recommending singles events!
eHarmony only beats Match.com in marriages by a teeny 0.7%. It boasts, “Do you want fast or forever?” It wants forever. However, this $120 upfront investment doesn’t cater to the gay crowd and has a very lengthy sign-up process.
Plenty of Fish is almost too much to bear, especially if you’re a straight woman. We got plenty of attention, but not much quality. It’s a bit busy, but if you bother to actually fill out your profile – unlike many other users – you’re sure to stand out.
Originally published on Reviews