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Ask someone what their favorite dating website is, and the answer will be as different as the person.
Why? Because some people are looking for hookups, some are looking for love, and some are looking for something in between.
So what are the best dating sites? We’ve broken them down by category so that no matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it in this list of the best sites to use in 2021.
The Best Dating Sites in 2021
- Best for serious relationships – Eharmony
- Best for university-educated singles – Elite Singles
- Best hookup site – AdultFriendFinder
- Best for busy professionals – Itsjustlunch.com
- Best over 50 site – SilverSingles
- Best casual dating app – Bumble
- Best new dating app – Hinge
- Best sugar dating site – Seeking
- The best dating site for Jewish people – JDate
- Best married dating site – Ashley Madison
- Best catholic dating site – Catholic Match
- Best international site – Zoosk
- Best subreddit for dating – Reddit R4R
- Best free dating site – OkCupid
- Best Asian online dating in the US – AsianDate.com
- Best for help with dates – Match.com
- Best over 50 dating site in the UK – OurTime
- Best site for Christians – Christian Mingle
- Best for brief encounters – Tinder
- Best for African American dates – BlackPeopleMeet
- Best LGBTQA+ women dating app – HER
- Best for intellectuals dating – CoffeeMeetsBagel
- Best for gay hookups – Grindr
- Best for Canadian dates – Plenty of Fish
- Best luxury dating service – The League
1. Eharmony – Best for Finding a Serious Relationship
Eharmony has brought together millions of couples—in fact, 438 users get married to someone they met on the website every single day. The data backs this up: a 2018 study named eharmony as the site most likely to lead to a happy relationship.
On the site, you’ll answer extensive survey questions. This “Compatibility Matching System” uses more than twenty years of research to then present you with online dating options. This selective, data-driven approach makes eharmony a good choice if you’re looking for a serious relationship. You can read our full eHarmony Review here.
2. Elite Singles – 85% of Members Are University Educated
Elite Singles has a highly educated membership, so it’s a good choice if you’re looking for good conversations: 85% of its members have above-average education, while 90% are over 30, adding life experience into the mix.
The site uses an algorithm based on your answers to a questionnaire to match you with other singles. It’s primarily used by those looking for long-term relationships, including internationally – it operates in 25 countries.
3. Itsjustlunch.com – Best for Busy Professionals
It’s Just Lunch sets you up with a matchmaker when you sign up. In a phone call with them, you’ll answer questions about yourself and your goals for romance.
These matchmakers then find you a single match at a time, sharing only first names. They’ll arrange the time and place with your match (this can be for lunch, drinks, or brunch – depending on your schedule), and you just need to show up.
Afterward, you’ll give feedback to your matchmaker to get better dates in the future.
One benefit of the service is that it doesn’t waste your time. The people you date are hand-selected by a person who understands what you’re looking for, and the short dates are a good way to meet in person without spending too long with bad fits.
4. SilverSingles – Best Over 50 Dating Website
Among the dating sites for people over 50, SilverSingles has been around for 19 years. The service verifies each profile by hand, ensuring that its users are authentic and safe.
Based on a personality questionnaire and what’s important to you, you’ll receive matches based on your location, plans, goals, and personality.
You can use SilverSingles on their site or via their app. Basic memberships are free.
5. Bumble – Best Casual Dating App
Bumble is unique among the apps because it lets women make the first move. Men can’t contact women until the woman has already reached out.
The app connects well with social media, including Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, so you can show different facets of your personality. You can also verify your profile so you can filter other users by who is verified as well.
Bumble’s best for casual hookups because the platform insists on quick contact. Once you match, you have 24 hours to make contact with that person, or the match disappears.
The same is true for messages, which expire after 24 hours if one person doesn’t write back. For those pressed for time, Bumble offers one free “Extend” for matches and messages each day.
6. Hinge – Best New Dating App
Relaunched in 2016, Hinge is the #1 primarily mobile dating app mentioned in the New York Times wedding section.
Their algorithm gets good reviews: 75% of Hinge users want to go on a second date once they’ve gone out with their matches. The app improves your matches as you give feedback after dates.
Hinge’s platform is unique because once you match, the app prompts you to like or comment on a specific part of the other person’s profile. This lack of generic messages makes Hinge an interesting new addition.
7. AFF – Best Hookup Site
This hookup app isn’t for people who want long-term relationships. It gives you two main options: flirt (on the app) or hookup.
A sex-positive app, Adult Friend Finder is well known for brief encounters. However, it also features a variety of ways to connect: messaging, video (“online dates“), live streams, group chats.
AFF is also good for hookups because of its quick registration process. Unlike other sites, which may include long questionnaires, AFF features a 30-second registration process that will let you start browsing almost right away.
8. Seeking – Best Sugar Dating Site
This website connects younger people (“Sugar Babies”) with older, wealthier people (“Sugar Daddies/Mommas”).
With over 20 million users, the site features 8 million Sugar Babies and 2 million Sugar Daddies/Mommas. It allows these users to connect “without false pretenses,” each person stating their terms before connecting.
If you’re a young person looking for relationships with older people (or vice-versa), this site has users who are looking for the same types of encounters, eliminating the need for lengthy sifting through profiles and awkward conversations. It’s also one of the few sites with a large ratio of women to men.
9. JDate – The Best Dating Site for Jewish People
JDate is one app for Jewish singles. Founded in 1997, JDate is now available around the world, letting you connect with Jewish users in five different languages (English, Hebrew, French, German, and Spanish).
For those looking for a Jewish match with people who share your faith, JDate provides the widest selection of users. In fact, JDate is responsible for 52% of the Jewish marriages that started online.
With both free or premium subscriptions to JDate (at $59.99 per month), you can message anyone. Customer care reviews each profile, ensuring authentic users.
10. Catholic Match – Best Catholic Dating Site
One of several services for Christians, Catholic Match, helps you find love with a member of the Catholic faith specifically.
With more than 1 million users, Catholic Match promotes “faith-focused dating.” In other words, its users are primarily seeking long-term relationships with other Catholics.
Memberships cost $29.95 per month, but they come with a guarantee. If you meet certain qualifications during the first six months, the site guarantees your next six months free.
Endorsed by various Catholic leaders, Catholic Match has more than 20 years of experience bringing Catholics together.
11. Zoosk – Best Free International Dating Site
The best site for dating international people, Zoosk features 40,000,000 singles worldwide. These users send 3 million messages daily in 25 different languages. Available in over 80 countries, Zoosk is a truly global platform.
Established for more than 14 years, Zoosk uses “Behavioral Matchmaking technology” to match its users with compatible singles.
Free to try, a Zoosk subscription then costs $29.99 per month.
12. Reddit R4R – Best Subreddit for Dating (Online Personal Ads)
R4R is a subreddit where people connect. “R4R” stands for “Redditor for Redditor,” and the site does not have a matching system. Instead, this is one of the best online places to post personals.
These personals vary widely depending on what users are looking for. This can be anything from activity partners to groups, dating, hangouts, soulmates, and other relationships.
Because it is a subreddit, R4R only has post and messaging features. However, it also has fewer rules and restrictions than apps (though it does have some related to age, privacy, legality, and conduct). For example, NSFW posts are allowed, but they must be tagged so that other users can avoid them if they desire.
Reddit is also a good place for advice specific to your situation and dating advice in general. Check out the subreddits OnlineDating, r/DatingOverThirty, r/dating_advice. r/relationships, r/dating, r/DatingApps, r/ForeverAloneDating, r/RelationshipsOver35, or r/CatholicDating.
13. OkCupid – Best Free Dating Site
With a lot of dating apps, you get what you pay for. OkCupid is the best free service because of its detailed profiles: you can find out much more about users before you connect, leading to better matches.
Available both on the desktop site and as an app, OKCupid offers literally thousands of profile questions, so you can find a match for what’s important to you.
Offering 22 gender and 13 orientation options, OkCupid is also inclusive.
14. Ashley Madison – Best Married Dating Site
A dating site for affairs, Ashley Madison connects users for discreet encounters. Unlike other apps, the site is not linked to other social media profiles, so you’re less likely to connect or be seen by people you already know. It’s among the best date sites for married users, as both people understand the situation.
Ashley Madison also offers traveling features for those visiting other cities. This lets you contact users in that area ahead of time, setting up dates for when you arrive.
Best Online Dating Apps: 2021 Runners-Up
15. AsianDate.com – Best Asian Online Dating in the US
AsianDate connects people from around the world with Asian singles. With more than ten years of experience, the site’s staff verifies each member to ensure authenticity. Once you are verified, you can chat, call, or send letters or presents.
16. Match.com – Best for Help with Dates
One of the oldest dating sites, Match.com, began in 1995. It features detailed profiles, get-togethers for members, and a virtual dating coach to help members do anything from break the ice to come up with date ideas.
17. OurTime – Best 50+ Dating Site In the UK
A site for 50+ singles, ourtime.com offers options not only for those seeking marriage and long-term relationships but also for those looking for friendship and platonic relationships. The site features email and flirting capabilities, allowing you to see who has viewed your profile.
18. Christian Mingle – Best Dating Site for Christians
With over 15 million Christian singles, this Christian dating site helps users looking for a “God-centered relationship.” Their members are primarily focused on finding serious relationships. The site offers a free trial, after which they charge $49.99 per month.
19. BlackPeopleMeet – Best for African American Dates
For more than 18 years, BlackPeopleMeet has provided a platform for African American singles looking for love. The site’s 100,000+ users can exchange flirts or emails, as well as see who has viewed their profiles.
20. Tinder – Best Free App for Casual Dating
This dating app has a reputation that likely precedes it. With quick registration, Tinder is easy to use for hookups, though the large number of users means that many are also looking for relationships.
21. CoffeeMeetsBagel – Best for Intellectuals Dating
96% of users on Coffee Meets Bagel have a Bachelor’s degree, while over a third have a Master’s. The extensive profiles also make this a good site for intellectuals, as you can see who shares interests with you in many different areas.
22. HER – Best LGBTQA+ Women Dating App
HER is a dating app exclusively for LGBTQA+ women, created by queer women. Their 4 million users get access to in-person events, communities within the app, and app moderators to ensure they have a good experience.
23. Grindr – Best for LGBTQA+ Hookups
With mostly male users, Grindr focuses on the gay, bi, trans, and queer community. The app changed how gay dating sites and apps work with its location-based services. Now the most popular gay mobile app, Grindr, allows you to sort users by distance based on GPS position.
24. Plenty of Fish – Best Free Site for Canadian Dates
This Canadian site is offered in nine languages, ensuring you can connect with users from around the world. Founded in 2003, the site provides detailed profiles for its large pool of members.
25. The League – Best Luxury Dating App
The League provides connections with singles in select cities. The site provides members with 3 “prospects” every day and lets you video chat with them for dating online. It also allows you to connect your profile to LinkedIn and Facebook to block connections, ensuring your privacy.
Best Dating Sites: FAQs
Why Use Online Dating Sites?
Sites for dates give you the chance to encounter far more potential matches than you would in everyday life. Whether you have a small social circle, are looking to expand your connections, or simply have needs that aren’t being met in your community, using these sites can widen your world.
Furthermore, using a site or an app to meet a romantic partner allows you to be more selective. If it’s important to you to have a partner with similar interests, many apps allow you to select for this.
Finally, it’s common to use these sites to find love: around 2/5 of Americans meet their long-term partners on date sites.
Are Apps for Dating Safe?
Apps are only as safe as their users. Stay careful.
Being careful on apps means engaging with verified users; some apps have members of their staff verify members by hand, giving you more safety.
However, it’s still crucial to follow safety guidelines when you date someone you met online.
How to Stay Safe While Online Dating?
Never give out your personal information to someone you have met online, particularly before you meet in person. This includes your last name, employer, address, and even your neighborhood.
When you meet someone you have met online, ensure that your first few dates take place in public locations. This could be a café, a restaurant, a movie theater, or anywhere else where others are around. Avoid secluded places such as parks, and never invite someone you don’t know to your home.
Finally, check-in with a friend before your date to let them know where you’ll be and when you anticipate coming home. Let them know when you arrive back home. For extra security, ask them to call or text during the date to verify you are all right.
How Do I Decide Which Dating Site Is Right for Me?
Are you looking for something long-term or casual? First, consider what you are looking to gain from a new relationship.
If you’re hoping to find something serious, you should definitely steer clear of hookup apps and sites like Tinder or Ashley Madison. On the other hand, if a no-strings-attached fling is what you’re searching for, a dating site like eHarmony that boasts a high marriage success rate won’t be the one for you.
Where are you located? It’s all well and good choosing the number one dating site on the internet but if it’s not popular where you live, you’re going to have a hard time finding local matches. Look up dating sites that people are using in your area—unless, of course, you’d prefer to start off long distance.
What’s your budget like? Some dating sites charge monthly, others are 100% free to use. Think about how much you’re willing to spend. Free sites can be a good way to get started if you’re new to online dating. But if the weeks are flying by and you haven’t had a single successful match, you might want to consider signing up for a site with a subscription fee.
First Date Tips
First dates can be intimidating! Follow these tips to stay safe and get to know your match in person:
- Keep your mind open. People can appear very different in person than they do online, so know that your expectations may need to change.
- Don’t go too formal right away. Setting up something casual, like a coffee date, lets you get to know each other without any pressure to spend hours together.
- Stay focused on the present. Avoid bringing up past relationships or other matches on a first date.
- Review your conversations before you go. Look at the person’s profile again and check over what you’ve talked about to have general topics of conversation prepared.
Is It Possible to Find a Serious Relationship While Online Dating?
Absolutely. In fact, a large number of Americans find their partners this way. A 2017 survey showed that 39% of heterosexual couples met online—that’s 2 out of every five couples.
Online Dating Sites: Key Takeaways
The key to online dating is knowing what you want and finding the site that’s most likely to provide good matches in this area.
As you explore your options, stay safe, but keep an open mind: you never know who might turn out to be your soulmate or an ideal hookup!
What have you found the best sites for dating to be? Share your favorite dating sites and experiences in the comments!