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Free Dating Sites

20 tips to help you date online for less

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Rose and Jenny | Edited by Steve N

Updated 6 Aug 2015

One in four people now meet their partner online. Yet with 1,700 online dating sites in the UK alone, it can be tough to sort the good from the bad, ugly and downright strange.

We've 20 tips to help you find The One online, including top free sites, discounts on paid-for sites, cheap date tricks and much more.

How to date online - and pay less!

Don't feel embarrassed about online dating

If you're embarrassed about looking for Mr or Ms Right online, don't be. A recent poll on our Facebook page shows there's no longer a stigma about online dating, with 98% of respondents saying it's a great way to meet a partner.

Here are some MoneySavers' experiences for inspiration. Please share yours in our Online Dating Tips forum discussion.

Met my lady nearly six years ago on Match.com and we got married last August. Way to go!- Mike

Met my partner online, been together five years and have a gorgeous little girl. I know it doesn't work for everyone. But don't knock it till you try it!- CLARE

I met my partner online on a free dating site and we're very much in love. I agree it's quite a daunting experience, but once you sift out the players, it can be positive.- FAIRYFOOTS

Online dating safety - the key need-to knows

Though most people use dating sites without any serious problems, it's important to keep your wits about you when you're dealing with strangers.

These are our key pointers for staying safe:

Tell friends where you'll be on the first date

Don't give out personal info

ALWAYS read the terms before you join

Don't assume paid sites are safer

Beware dating fraud scams

Meet in a public place

Trust your instincts

Of course, dating websites are a huge boon in the digital age. Used right, they can be fantastic tools to help you filter through thousands of potential matches at speed. They can get real results - here's a MoneySaver's success story to inspire you.

Joined an online dating site and after a couple of months I met Damian. We emailed and spoke online for a few weeks, before talking on the phone most nights. We eventually met up for our first date and have never looked back. We've now been married nearly two years, and have an 11-week old son.- Rachael

Make your profile stand out

Your profile will be your first introduction to your future match, so here are some key tips to help get it right:

  • Say what you're looking for. If you're after a soulmate and they just want a quick fumble in the bushes, it'll only waste your time. If it's you that's after a quick fumble, don't be too boorish - make sure they're happy too.
  • Upload several recent photos. You'll get more interest if you upload a few snaps of yourself, rather than just one.
  • Spelling mistaykes ain't sexy. Take your time and think about how you want to come across. You could even get a trusted friend to read it first.
  • Ask friends how they'd describe you. Even if you don't think you're anything special, they may see you as a great cook or gentle giant.
  • Say something interesting. If you've interests or hobbies, these can help you stand out. So if you're a huge Star Trek fan, don't think you have to hide it. It gives matches something to talk about.
  • Make it clear who you are. If your pics are all group shots, suitors may not know which is you. Avoid exes - this isn't the place for your old wedding photos.
  • Avoid cringeworthy cliches. Steer clear of phrases such as “I work hard and play hard”, “I’m looking for a partner in crime" and "I'm just as happy staying in watching a DVD as I am going out".

Honesty's the best policy

Sell your best bits in your profile, but be truthful. Your date will quickly realise you're not a seven-foot human rights lawyer who rows part-time for Team GB when they meet you. (Unless you are, in which case, please email MSE Archna.)

Likewise, a picture of you seven years ago before you gained a few pounds and lost a few hairs won't impress if it looks absolutely nothing like you now.

The key is if you're looking for a long-term relationship with this person, you won't be able to keep up the pretence long-term. Fibs lead to disappointment all round.

How to secure yourself a date

When sending that first message, don't just cut and paste the same reply to everyone. It pays to show that you actually read their profile.

You could always compose a standard introduction, and adapt parts to make it specific to each person, eg, "I love the fact that you're into hang-gliding".

Steer clear of cheesy cliches such as "nice pic, what's up?", "what's your star sign?" and "I don't bite, I promise... unless you want me to".

That said, don't get too serious - aim for fun, snappy and short.

Don't fall for unwanted dating site upsells

Many dating sites offer pricey membership upgrades to bump up their profits. Yet only sign up to a premium package if you need it, you know exactly what it includes, and you'll actually use the extras, eg, a more prominent profile or easier messaging.

For example, Match.com makes you pay for extra features, such as the ability to go online in 'unavailable' mode and request read receipts. Zoosk encourages you to buy Zoosk Coins, which you can spend on extra features such as getting your profile higher up in search results.

It's worth starting off with a basic package to see how you get on, so you don't shell out unnecessarily. If you aren't getting many replies, it could simply be you've picked the wrong type of site for your needs, or your profile needs a bit more polish - see how to make your profile stand out.

Top tips to help on your first date

Once you're sure you've snagged a winner online, your first face-to-face date is a crucial part of the process to see if there's real chemistry between you. To help:

  • Chat on the phone before meeting. This'll help screen out any unsuitables, plus it'll help you build common ground to talk about when you first meet. But only give out your number when you're sure.
  • Go on a 'pre-date'. Check if they're dreamy or a dud with a quick 'pre-date' to see if you want to invest time and money in a full date. A coffee during a work lunchtime's ideal - ensure there's a defined end time.
  • First impressions count. If you've had all your online dates in your PJs with a TV dinner, this isn't the time to follow suit. Dress to impress, and don't be late.
  • Relax - be yourself! Easier said than done if you've first-date jitters, but remember they'll be nervous too. So don't worry too much, and enjoy it.
  • Don't drink too much. It's easy to do if nervous on a first date, but it's far safer to stay sober if you've only met online (please be Drinkaware).
  • Make sure someone knows where you're going. Tell a good friend where you're going, who you're meeting, and when you'll be back. Take a mobile phone and arrange to let them know when you've got back home safely - and tell your date that others know where you are.
  • Use protection! We don't want to sound like your mum, but if passions are high, you don't want to return with more than you planned for. See the Family Planning Association for contraception and STI info.

If you're strapped for time for your first meeting, here's one forumite's tip to help:

A pal has been very active on internet dating for some time now. One of her rules is that she always tries to meet any date in her lunch hour. She says an hour's long enough to give you an idea of whether you're both interested. If you're not, it's only an hour to perservere rather than be stuck with someone for a whole evening.- chickalittle

Beware dating site auto-renewals

Before you sign up, always check the terms to see if it'll automatically continue to take payments once your initial contract's ended. Sadly many forumites report being caught out by these. If you can't opt out, set a free Tart Alert reminder for the contract's end, or a separate phone reminder, so you remember to cancel if you no longer need it.

Even after you cancel, always do a full audit of regular payments to check you aren't still paying. See Cancel Direct Debits for help.

A drink's cheaper than a meal - don't waste cash on a dud

If you're looking for a first date venue, a nice cafe or bar's a far more MoneySaving choice than a restaurant. As you'll only need to buy a drink, you won't have to fork out for a posh dinner only to find they don't live up to your expectations.

Plus you won't feel you need to sit through an entire meal together if you don't hit it off - and if you do, a drink and a chat together can last for as long as you want. One forumite's experience:

My first date was pretty cheap and cheerful - two drinks in a pub, one of which was non-alcoholic as we were both driving. It was a perfect two hours, one of the nicest dates I have ever been on. - Snaggles

If you're paying, try it for one month first

If you're new to a paid online dating site, consider joining for one month first to see if it suits. Then if you think you're in it for the long haul, it could be worth buying a few months upfront to save.

Most online dating sites charge less per month the longer you sign up for. For example, on Match.com one month is usually £30, yet six months is £60 (although there is often up to 30% off sign up costs). The catch is you're locked in and usually won't get your money back if you meet your soulmate in your first month.

Set up a separate email address

If you decide to take the plunge, it's a good idea to set up a separate email address just for any online dating accounts.

Use this for dating site sign-ups and getting in touch with others - this way it'll protect your personal email from unwanted attention if things go wrong, or any online dating site spam. Think twice about using your work email address too.

More free ways to meet your future partner

If you'd rather not use dating sites, you could try other social networking sites such as Facebook to meet friends of friends, as well as the MSE forum (see below). Plus there's a wealth of free local groups on Gumtree, from choirs and sports clubs to folk just looking for friends for chats over coffee - just click on your area to find them.

Of course, dating existed long before the internet muscled in. If you're looking to meet like-minded people offline, you could try volunteering - there's a useful list of resources to help find placements on Gov.uk. It's possible to get into big paid music festivals for free through volunteer schemes - see the Free Festivals page for info.

Or you could ask a close friend to set you up with an eligible single friend they think you'd get on well with. Some inspiration from the forums:

How about matchmaking? Ask your friends or families if they can introduce you to someone they know very well, who is single and searching. It has worked for my husband and I, we were matched by a friend many years ago. - mamamia

See the Where to meet people on the cheap hunt for more ideas. If you're really looking to impress, try the Cheap but romantic gifts forum discussion (or if it goes really well, see the great Free ways to say 'I love you' hunt).

Meet other MoneySavers in the forum

Picture of people chatting

Though the MSE forum isn't a dedicated dating site, it's led to several real-life weddings between MSE forumites. One of these couples met in our virtual pub, The Money Savers Arms, where many MoneySavers go to meet like-minded people online.

People tell us it's a great way to meet folk if you're on a budget or have money issues, as there's no awkwardness.

If you're new to online dating, or have tips from your own experiences you'd like to pass on, the Marriage, Relationships and Families forum's a great place to share success (or horror!) stories, so get chatting. Remember it's a public forum - don't post personal info. Here are a few words from Fatboy and Wiggly's story to inspire you:

Five years ago I stumbled upon MSE looking for cheaper car insurance. A few glasses of vino and I ended up in the Arms, where I met Fat Boy... flirty messages led to phone calls and meetings, an engagement and eventually we finally tied the knot! - wishiwasarichgirl

Don't judge 'em all by one bad experience

Online dating's a hugely mixed bag. Many horror stories aren't due to the dating sites, but the person you've chosen from 'em. So be aware not everyone on there will have the best intentions (see safety tips), but don't let the odd dodgy date put you off.

See these as a funny story to tell the grandkids once you've found your match. To show you it happens to the best of us, here's a story from our forums (please do share yours in our Online Dating Tips forum discussion):

One guy bored the pants off me, turned up with his lunch down his top, nursed one pint for two hours (even though I offered to buy him another) told me he felt I wasn't wham bam enough for him by email but would give me another go. Needless to say I just ignored him. It took a further two emails being ignored for him to get the drift! - llh189

Try free museums, galleries & festivals for dates

There are loads of ways to easily cut dating costs. Plus as they're more thoughtful, they're likely to be more successful than a bog standard meal out.

For a cultured date that doesn't cost a penny, we've full listings of 180 Free Museums and Galleries, or try our Free Festivals guide to see if there's one nearby. Or you could bag free audience tickets to their fave TV show, free or discounted cinema tickets or get Cheap Zoo tickets.

Forumites on the Cheap date ideas and Dating in debt discussions have loads of tried-and-tested dating recommendations. A few to whet your appetite(s):

Skip the expensive dinners. The best date I ever went on was a drive to the coast, a walk along the wind-lashed beach, followed by a cream tea in a pub by a roaring fire in winter. It was one of my first dates with the man who is now my hubby. It worked!- Jacks xxx

Go for a picnic at your local park. Bring a blanket, a picnic basket packed with your favourite cheese, grapes, wine and some chocolate for dessert. Bring along a book of poetry and take turns readings love poems to each other. - deloina

Some of my favourite moments with my now husband weren't expensive. When we walked along the river at night... a museum or gallery followed by a mug of hot choc with marshmallows can be more romantic than just going for a meal.- Molanole

Me and my other half are skintaroonies, but every couple of weeks we go to Orange Wednesdays at the pictures. We get a nice evening out and it costs buttons.- mooomin

Very impressed when a guy I liked knew my fave chocolate and had some waiting for me for DVD night. Was touched by the thought even though it cost less than £1.- bellaboo86

Beware fake online dating profiles

Worryingly, a BBC One Panorama investigation broadcast in August 2013 found several big dating sites had been using fake profiles to lure in paid sign-ups, with new users reporting receiving bogus messages that disappeared when they joined. A Channel 4 News investigation reported similar instances of dating site trickery.

It's illegal for a dating site to create fake profiles to generate cash. Trading Standards told us: "If a dating website provides misleading information (such as fake profiles), this could be an unfair commercial practice under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, and a criminal offence."

What to watch out for

What to do if you think you're being targeted

Restaurant vouchers can show you're good with cash

If you're out for a meal with your date, ensure you've a restaurant voucher to whip out when the bill comes. As well as saving you both cash, it'll show your date you're good with money too.

Don't feel bad about doing it. In our Is it OK to use a voucher on a first date? poll, a whopping 87% of people either said it wasn't an issue, or it'd show they're a keeper.

Some of the past reticence was that vouchers were perceived as only for low-end eateries, yet that's long gone. Now if you’re savvy, you can even grab a 2for1 at some Michelin-starred venues.

If you're still worried, you could be subtle about it, as lawrie28 suggests:

If it was me paying and using a voucher, I'd take the bill over to the till or bar and pay there, rather than doing it at the table.

Is your site a member of the association?

It's worth checking if a dating site's a member of the Online Dating Association (ODA). This won't guarantee a hassle-free experience. But it does mean the site has to commit to an industry code of practice that includes honest communication with users, protecting their privacy and providing a way to report abusive members.

If you have a complaint about a company, the ODA says you should contact the dating site directly. While the association can't help resolve complaints, it says it monitors the flow of issues, and may step in if something serious is going wrong. We include whether our top dating sites below are members or not.

Not happy with a dating site? How to complain

If you've paid for a subscription upfront but change your mind part-way through the contract, sadly there's little hope of getting your money back. But if it isn't providing the service it agreed to when you signed up, you might have a case for a refund, or even compensation (though it's never guaranteed).

You've statutory rights for poor service - and this applies to dating sites too. If you don't think a service has been provided with 'reasonable care and skill', it's broken the terms of the contract, or you've been mis-sold (eg, you were told something would happen and it didn't) you've a right to complain. See How to complain for help.

Check if you're in contract before cancelling

If you're in a contract with a dating site, cancelling may breach it, so check the paperwork first. You may need to give it notice, or there may be penalties for early cancellation, which could be cheaper than keeping it going.

Beware recurring payments. Also known as 'continuous payment authorities' (CPAs), these let firms take cash from your card regularly whenever they think they're owed.

You can still cancel a CPA or a direct debit if in contract, but you'll need to find another way to pay for the rest of the contract. This is because you're only in breach of contract if you stop paying altogether, but not necessarily if you change the way you pay (always check the terms to be sure though).

Until 2009, only the company could cancel them, you couldn’t. Yet even though you now have a right to tell your bank to cancel, many bank staff didn’t know this and failed to do so. If you asked your bank to cancel and it didn’t, you can now reclaim those payments.

If you're still having problems cancelling payments, despite contacting both the dating site and your bank, you can make a complaint to the free Financial Ombudsman Service. It settles disputes independently and will look into the case on your behalf. See Beware Recurring Payments for more help.

And finally... enjoy yourself!

It can take a lot of courage to put yourself out there. Yet once you've chosen your site and created your profile, it's time to stop worrying and be yourself.

While it's likely to take time to find your perfect match, online dating sites are ultimately tools to help you increase your chances. Plus the web era means successful relationships that started online are now hugely common. Good luck!

Top online dating sites

Never mind finding your soulmate - finding the right dating website can be tricky enough, with literally hundreds to chose from. We've rounded up a few of the best below:

The pick of the free sites

Anecdotally, free online dating sites tend to attract a bit of a mixed bag, as there are fewer barriers. Of course, it depends on the website, but free dating sites generally have more basic features and are less targeted to specific types of daters.

If you don't mind fending off (or ignoring) any unwanted messages, and you're aware of the online dating scams to watch out for (see safety tips), they're a useful way to meet others on the web for nowt.

Best for casual flings, huge number of potential dates

Plenty of Fish

A massive name in the world of free online dating, Plenty of Fish lets you sign up, create a profile, send and receive messages for nowt.

One forumite says:

I met my wife on Plenty of Fish and we had a beautiul baby girl in Jan, so it can and does work. It took me two weeks to decide to message her, as I felt she was out of my league looks-wise, but it's the best thing I ever did.- nfollows1982

  • Who for? Everyone. Anecdotally, for short-term flings.

  • How big is it? Over 90 million registered users worldwide.

  • Allows same-sex searches? Yes.

  • Website or app? Both.

  • Online Dating Association member? No.

  • Cost: Free.

  • Safety tips: Safety features are basic, but you can block problem users.

Quick questions:

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

Do you need to pay for some of the features?


Best for Facebook fans, quick sign-ups, dating locally

Tinder

    Very easy to use, and hugely popular with social network addicts, Tinder is a fast-paced (and addictive) free dating app to meet others on your smartphone.

    It's quick to join - you just give it your Facebook info and you're ready to go.

  • Who for? App fans looking for love locally.

  • How big is it? It's made 850m matches worldwide.

  • Cost: Free. (But you'll have to pay for the premium service, TinderPlus.)

  • Allows same-sex searches? Yes.

  • Website or app? App-only.

  • Online Dating Association member? No.

  • Safety tips: Basic safety features. It needs access to your Facebook account.

Quick questions

What is TinderPlus?

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

Is there anything you need to watch out for?

Do you need to pay for some of the features?


Best for urbanites looking to date locally

Happn

    In the world before internet dating, finding a Significant Other was all down to who you crossed paths with – and Happn offers a playful twist on that, thanks to smartphones’ GPS functionality.

    This free dating app allows users to connect with each other as they cross paths in real life, with a range of up to 250m. It can even show users where and when they crossed paths.

    It's free to download and uses your Facebook information to build a profile. It'll show your name, age, job and a few pictures.

  • Who for? Smartphone users in busy locations.

  • How big is it? The app has five million worldwide users and has one million active daily users.

  • Cost: Free.

  • Allows same-sex searches? Yes.

  • Website or app? App only.

  • Online Dating Association member? No.

  • Safety tips: Your location remains completely invisible to the other users. Only the location of where you have passed each other is recorded. You can also block and report users at any time.

Quick questions

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

Is there anything you need to watch out for?

Do you need to pay for some of the features?


Best for regional searches

FreeDating.co.uk

    FreeDating.co.uk is a basic free dating site for online daters looking for both long and short-term relationships. Regional homepages help you quickly find daters near you, while its age categories span from over 18s to 50+.

  • Who for? Those looking for a cheap 'n' cheerful free site.

  • Safety tips: It lets you filter messages, block viewers and report issues.

  • Cost: Free.

  • Allows same-sex searches? Yes.

  • How big is it? 40,000 UK members.

  • Online Dating Association member? Yes.

  • Website or app? Site and iOS.

Quick questions

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

Do you need to pay for some of the features?


Best for under-45s who don't mind ads

OKCupid

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    OKCupid is surprisingly slick and user-friendly for a free dating site - though if you want to get rid of the ads, you'll have to pay.

    One MoneySaver says:

    I had the most success on OKCupid, which is where I met my boyfriend. I've since recommended it to lots of people - including my mum! She met someone on there too.- Nervoushomeowner

  • Who for? Under-45s

  • Cost: Free.

  • Allows same-sex searches? Yes.

  • Website or app? Both.

  • How big is it? 30m users worldwide.

  • Safety tips: Lets you report and block problem users.

  • Online Dating Association member? No.

Quick questions:

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

Do you need to pay for some of the features?

Does it auto-renew your subscription?


Best for gay, bi or bi-curious men

Grindr

    Mega-popular smartphone app Grindr uses your phone's location to zero in on available men nearby. While often used for uncomplicated hook-ups, it's worth checking out for long-term love as well, as it has such a huge number of users.

  • Who for? Gay, bi or bi-curious men.

  • Cost: Free.

  • Allows same-sex searches? Duh! Yes.

  • Website or app? App-only.

  • How big is it? It has 2 million daily users.

  • Safety tips: You can block and report abusive members.

  • Online Dating Association member? No.

Quick questions

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

Do I need to pay for some of the features?

Anything you should watch out for?


The pick of the paid sites

With so many free dating sites, you might well ask why anyone pays. Yet paid dating websites may attract fewer time-wasters, have fewer ads and better safety features, or have a more tailored approach to matching specific types.

Don't assume that paid dating sites are always best though. All the below offer basic free trials, so it's worth trying these to see if it's for you before you shell out.

Remember to haggle! We've listed their prices below, but it's well worth calling up to see if it's possible to haggle it down. We tried phoning five big dating websites and managed to knock the list price down on two of them, so it's well worth a try.

Best for folks seeking long-term relationships

Match.com*

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    One of the biggest names in online dating, Match.com* is a heavyweight that caters for all age groups looking for both long- and short-term relationships.

    Here are a few success stories from the forum:

    I met my other half on Match.com. I paid for one month, only one profile attracted me and it was his. We started chatting over the phone, met up within a week and are getting married next year. I know I am one of the few lucky ones but if it can happen to us, it can happen to others- BettyDebt

    Met my other half on Match.com. We've been together for a year now, he reckons it was the best money he has ever spent, as it was an investment in the rest of our lives. He signed up for a month and met me face-to-face within 2 weeks after many emails and calls, so jokes about trying to get a partial refund. Very MSE. - snugglepuss

  • Who for? All sorts of folks seeking long-term love.

  • Cost: £29.99/mth (less if you sign up for longer).

  • Allows same sex searches? Yes.

  • Website or app? Both.

  • How big is it? 700,000 UK members.

  • Online Dating Association member? Yes.

  • Safety tips: It has a safety advice section and lets you report concerns to moderators.

Quick questions

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What makes this site so special?

What are the exact costs?

Does it auto-renew your subscription?

Can you get anything for free?


Best for those who want a friend to do their PR

My Single Friend*

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    If the thought of writing your own online dating profile makes you cringe, My Single Friend* lets you get a friend to do it for you. Founded by TV presenter Sarah Beeny, all its profiles are written by friends.

    Its unusual approach to online dating makes it handy if you'd rather not jump into the online dating scene on your own. One forumite reports:

    I have to vouch for mysinglefriend.com - every person on there has had their profile and picture chosen by a good friend, meaning that you often learn a lot more about a person than they would've chosen to write about themselves!

    Me and my girlfriends had a lot of fun on it last year when we were all single, and met some genuinely nice, funny, gorgeous, intelligent people - and we knew they weren't nutters! It's a well-designed and simple to use site - highly recommended. - chezabelle

  • Who for? Those who want to involve pals

  • Allows same-sex searches? Yes.

  • Website or app? Both.

  • How big is it? 200,000 members.

  • Cost: £28/mth (less if you sign up for longer).

  • Safety tips: You can block users & report them to customer services.

  • Online Dating Association member? Yes.

Quick questions

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

Does it auto-renew your subscription?

What are the costs?

Can you get anything for free?


Best for daters seeking intellectual & artsy types

Guardian Soulmates*

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    Launched in 2004, online dating site Guardian Soulmates* is a popular site for those looking for long-term relationships.

    After years of internet dating, dating through friends and trying to meet people wherever I could, I eventually met my boyfriend. The thing that worked for me was Guardian Soulmates, as people seemed fairly well-educated. However snobby it sounds, it was important for me. If you like geeky boys, it's a good start point.- Travelqueen

  • Who for? Urban intellectual types.

  • Allows same-sex searches? Yes.

  • How big is it? 230,000 members (mainly in the UK).

  • Safety tips: You can block users and report them to customer services.

  • Online Dating Association member? Yes.

  • Website or app? Website.

  • Cost: £32/mth (less if you sign up for longer).

Quick questions

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

What are the costs?

Does it auto-renew your membership?

Can you get anything for free?


Best for detailed personality matching

eHarmony*

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    eHarmony's* trademarked Compatability Matching System uses a scientifically-adapted questionnaire to try to find a unique match for your personality.

    Thanks to eHarmony I met my other half and we're getting married in March. I was a little doubtful of the whole concept but I'm guessing that I'm one of the luckier ones – it worked for me.- Mitchell

  • Who for? Those serious about finding The One.

  • Cost: Prices vary. £50/mth on average (less if you sign up for longer).

  • Allows same sex searches? Yes, but on a separate site, Compatible Partners.

  • Website or app? Both - eHarmony app available for iPhone, Android and Windows phones.

  • How big is it? 4 million UK users.

  • Online Dating Association member? Yes.

  • Safety tips: A dedicated customer safety team.

Quick questions

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

What are the costs?

Does it auto-renew your subscription?

Can you get anything for free?


Best for keen social networkers

Zoosk

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    Zoosk is particularly popular with those wanting to date online via their smartphone or Facebook profile, though you can also access it via the web.

  • Who for? Social media fans under 45.

  • Allows same-sex searches? Yes.

  • Cost: £22.74/mth (less if you sign up for longer).

  • How big is it? 33m members in 80 countries.

  • Online Dating Association member? No.

  • Website or app? Both.

  • Safety tips: A customer service team to help with issues.
Quick questions

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

What are the costs?

Does it auto-renew your membership?

Can you get anything for free?


Top specialist online dating sites

If you want to look for love in a more specific way, the following sites are targeted at particular audiences.

Best for city slickers

Lovestruck*

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    Founded in 2006, Lovestruck* is targeted at time-strapped urban folk, catering for some of the UK's biggest cities, including London, Birmingham, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.

  • Who for? Urban office workers.

  • Allows same-sex searches? Yes

  • Cost: £39/mth (less if you sign up for longer).

  • How big is it? 500,000 UK members.

  • Website or app? Both.

  • Online Dating Association member? Yes

  • Safety tips: You can block members or report them to its help team.

Quick questions

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Best for Jewish singles

JDate

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    JDate brings together thousands of single men and women from across the Jewish community. As well as letting you add your religious background (eg, Hassidic, Modern Orthodox, Traditional), it also allows non-Jewish daters, who can specify whether or not they're willing to convert.

    One forumite reports:

    I met my girlfriend 18 months ago on JDate and we're very happy, bought a house together... so I see the six months or so I was paying fees as a sound investment.- ringo_24601

  • Who for? Jewish singletons.

  • Allows same sex searches? Yes.

  • Cost: £19.99/mth (less if you sign up for longer).

  • How big is it? Over 500,000 members.

  • Website or app? Both.

  • Online Dating Association member? No.

  • Safety tips: Telephone support number if you have an issue.

Quick questions

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What so special about this site?

What are the costs?

Does it auto-renew your subscription?

Can you get anything for free?


Best for Christian singles

Christian Connection

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    Christian Connection is owned and run by Christians, and caters for those looking for both friendships and relationships. It lets you specify your faith further if you wish (eg, Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Quaker etc).

  • Who for? Christian daters.

  • Website or app? Both.

  • Safety tips: You can block users & contact its customer support team with issues.

  • Cost: £24/mth (less if you sign up for longer).

  • How big is it? 40,000 UK members.

  • Online Dating Association member? Yes.

  • Allows same sex searches? Yes, but it has only a small number of same-sex daters.

Quick questions

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

What are the costs?

Does it auto-renew your subscription?

Can you get anything for free?


Best for outdoor types

Muddy Matches*

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    Quirky site Muddy Matches* describes itself as an online community for 'anyone who leads a muddy-boots lifestyle wanting to meet like-minded, country people'.

  • Who for? Countryphiles.

  • Allows same sex searches? Yes.

  • Safety tips: You can block users and contact its help number.

  • Cost: £24/mth (less if you sign up for longer).

  • How big is it? 90,000 members.

  • Online Dating Association member? Yes.

  • Website or app? Both.

Quick questions

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

What are the costs?

Does it auto-renew your subscription?

Can you get anything for free?


Best for single mums and dads looking for love

Dating for Parents

    If you're a mum or dad, Dating for Parents is a good way to meet other singles with children. There's no stress over how to broach the subject of little'uns, as you're both in the same situation.

  • Who for? Single parents.

  • Allows same sex searches? Yes.

  • How big is it? It's a smaller site.

  • Website or app? Site.

  • Safety tips: You can block members or report them to its help team

  • Cost: £25/mth (less if you sign up for longer).

  • Online Dating Association member? No.

Quick questions

How long does it take to set up a profile?

What's so special about this site?

What are the costs?

Does it auto-renew your subscription?

Can you get anything for free?


Any others you'd like us to review? Add your suggestions in the forum