Best dating sites and apps to find love in 2023

[ad_1]

Best dating sites in 2023: At a glance

best dating sites

(Image: GETTY • EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Looking for love? Ensuring that you’ve joined one of the best dating sites around is the perfect first step towards finding love.

Online dating is now the most popular way to meet someone new in the UK. But the dizzying number of dating websites and dating apps available – 1,400 websites in the UK alone – can be pretty overwhelming. To help, we’ve done the hard work for you and whittled down the thousands of options to just 15 of the best sites and apps for singles looking for love in 2023.

Dating sites and apps are designed to find the perfect partner for you, based on your interests. A number of these services, like eharmony and Match.com, use complex patented algorithms to find the ideal date based on your answers in its questionnaire. So whether you’re mad about dogs, love painting, can’t stand cats, or only watch black-and-white films …you’re only a few clicks away from your perfect match. Make sure to be as picky as possible, so these services can find someone who ticks all of your boxes!

With the launch of Tinder over 10 years ago, online dating was turned on its head.

If you’re looking to experience dating apps that use this gamification style, allowing you to swipe through potential matches like a deck of cards via an iPhone or Android app, there are now a number of options, including Tinder, Happn, and Bumble. These are perfect for those who only have a spare minute or two while waiting for a train. Others, like Zoosk, offer interactive video dates from within the mobile app, so those further afield can quickly meet with just a few taps on their phone.

Putting yourself out there is always intimidating, but you’re not alone. Services like Match.com offer a helpful dating coach, who can lead you through the world of online dating. We’ve also got some advice and tips from an independent dating expert in this guide.

Scroll down for our complete guide to the best dating sites and apps in the UK today, with answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions about these services and how to find love online. Click on the links above to jump to a relevant section.

Short on time? Our top 5 dating sites and apps can be found below:

  • Best for serious relationships – eharmony
  • Best for newcomers to online dating – Match.com
  • Best for over 50s – OurTime
  • Best for online dates – Zoosk
  • Best for picky daters – OKCupid

What is the best dating site?

Unfortunately, there’s no one right answer to this question.

It all depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want to find something serious? Do you want to start an open relationship? Do you want to sort through your matches on your phone, or using a desktop PC? Do you want a free service, or are you happy to pay?

The best dating site or app for you will depend on your answers to these questions …and many, many more.

According to popularity, data from analytics firm Statista shows that Badoo is the most popular online dating service in the world with more than 100 million visits per month. This is followed by Tinder (94.96 million monthly visits) and Plenty of Fish (32 million).

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best dating sites and apps for those in the UK looking for love. Each time, we’ve highlighted why we’ve decided to pick a particular dating app or website, so you can find the right fit for you. A number of these selections are available to join for free, so you won’t have to pay to test out these online dating services.

1. eharmony

Who is it for?

eHarmony is best for singles looking for a serious, monogamous long-term relationships. With millions of single users in the UK, there’s a good chance of finding love on this service – in fact, its own data shows that a match takes place every 15-minutes on its service. The biggest age demographics are 30 to 44 and 55 to 64. eharmony has a pretty even split between men and women (51% / 49%) which isn’t the case with all dating services.

How does it work?

eharmony takes dating seriously. Signing up for this online dating service is not a five-minute job. Setting up a profile involves filling out a questionaire with 50 seperat queries about what you’re searching for. These answers are analysed by eharmony’s patented algorith to find the perfect match from its database of millions of users.

According to the online dating service, it’s this deep-dive into your likes and dislikes that results in so many well-suited matches. A survey of UK, US, and Australian residents in 2020 found that eharmony was the most trusted dating website. That’s an accolade the brand is very proud of, especially in a world where dating websites and apps are often seen as encouraging casual dating.

What devices does it work with?

eharmony has a wide range of apps. Of course, you can use the online dating service from any web browser, including on a desktop PC, laptop, or tablet. There’s also a choice of mobile apps, including both Android, iPhone, and iPad.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, eharmony is free to join. You’ll be able to use the dating service for free with no end date or limitations based on age demographics. This is much better than a free trial. Those who want to upgrade to paid plans will be able to upgrade at a discounted rate, thanks to the number of discounts and promotions offered to free users on a regular basis.

eHarmony – In Numbers

Number of Users (UK)

5 million users

Popular Type of Relationships

Long-term

Platforms

Desktop, Mobile app for Android & iOS

Membership

Basic (free) & Premium (paid)

Features

Compatibility Quiz

Who is it for?

Match.com is a brilliant choice for newcomers to the online dating scene, or those who are a little bit rusty. This well-loved online dating service offers a number of clever features to help you get your sea-legs back, including a dating coach that offers personalised advice to help you navigate online dating.

Like eharmony, Match.com is primarily designed for individuals looking for serious relationship, this isn’t a good choice for anyone looking for something casual for a couple of dates. According to data from a 2018 report, 25% of all users on March.com were under 30, while another quarter of its total users were above 50 years-old. The latter is the fastest growing demographic on Match.com. If you fall into any of these demographics, then this could be a great fit.

Across all age ranges, March.com has a very even split between genders. Interestingly, 59% of its users are single parents, so this online dating service is a brilliant option for those looking to start a new family.

How does it work?

Like eharmony, Match.com asks you a number of detailed questions to try to determine exaclty who you’re looking for. It will use this data to trawl its database of 2.5 million singles in the UK to find an ideal match, based on your interests, age range, location, and dozens of other important factors.

If you need proof that its approach works, look no further than this incredible statistic – 1 in 5 people in Britain know a couple who first met on Match.com. 

To help its users get the most from its service, Match.com is designed to be a dating site that helps you back into the game or attempt online dating (or dating in general, for that matter) for the first time. Helping you into the right frame of mind is the nifty virtual dating coach, who can offer dating advice, personalised selections from your matches, as well as tips to improve your online profile and good icebreakers for the dreaded first message to a new match.

Match.com also offers a number of useful tips to help you on your journey to find new love. The online dating service also organises a number of so-called Match nights, where you can meet other singles in-person for those who prefer to talk face-to-face without the complications of algorithms and messaging apps. If you do meet on Match.com first, there’s built-in video call functionality so you can start a conversation face-to-face as soon as possible.

What devices is it compatible with?

You can use Match.com from any web browser on a desktop PC, laptop, or tablet. The online dating service has also built a number of native mobile apps for the best experience on your smartphone or tablet, these can be downloaded on Android, iPhone, or iPad.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, there’s no need to pay upfront to use Match.com. You can sign-up for the service online or within an app at no cost. Free user accounts get unlimited matching and profile browsing. However, some features are restricted to paid plans online, like its Connect package for more messaging options.

Match.com – In Numbers

Number of Users (UK)

3 Million

Popular Type of Relationships

Dating, casual hook-up, short-term, long term.

Platforms

Desktop site, Mobile App

Membership

Free & Premium Plans (Paid)

Features

Virtual Dating Coach, Dating Events

4. Zoosk

Who is it for?

Zoosk is a very modern app, so it’s perfect for anyone who has tried app-first services like Tinder and Happn, but want to try something new. Most users are aged between 18-40, so it’s ideal for younger users. Those who are slightly older should check out the separate dating service, which doesn’t have a particularly flattering brand name, Zoosk Seniors.

Zoosk doesn’t bother with complex questionnaires, instead relying on swipe and other gamification features to help you sort through its millions of singles. It’s great if you’re seeking all kinds of relationships including long-term partnerships, casual dating or friendships.

How does it work?

Zoosk relies on clever behavioural matchmaking technology that learns your likes and dislikes as you swipe through the card-like interface of profiles. The more you use the app, the better it will begin to learn your preferences and reorder the deck of single users based on your tastes.

This clever matchmaking system means you’re more likely to come across people with a mutual attraction – resulting in more matches than some other services. For those who don’t want the hassle of a lengthy questionnaire when they sign-up for a dating service, Zoosk is a perfect choice.

Zoosk has a number of unique features, including an interactice video date that’s designed to avoid awkward silences and clumsy small-talk that can plague early dates …especially on video calls. This interactive experience is designed to replicate a first date in-person, but takes place within the app on your iPhone or Android device. For those who want to save money, haven’t got a lot of time for in-person dating, or find themselves matching with someone who lives far away …this is a very clever solution that you won’t find anywhere else.

What devices is it compatible with?

Zoosk is available in any web browser, so you can sign-up from a desktop PC, laptop, or tablet. Some functionality is best enjoyed with the mobile app, which can be downloaded on iPhone or Android.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, Zoosk is available to join and use for free. These free accounts can connect and send messages to matches. However, as almost every other online dating service in this guide, some functionality is restricted to paid accounts.

4. OurTime

Who is it for?

If you’re an older single looking for love, OurTime is designed specifically for you. As such, there are more users in the 40+ age demographic and a number of in-person events organised that should appeal to this age bracket. Like Match.com, which owns and operates OurTime, this online dating service is best suited for singles looking for committed relationships.

In terms of gender, OurTime is split pretty evenly between men and women, with 52% of all users female, and 48% male. Most OurTime users are based in the UK, United States, or Canada. In the UK alone, there are some 3 million singles.

How does it work?

OurTime is designed to match users based on shared interests, which is determines based on your answers to its questionnaire and various prompts. However, OurTime is keen to make as many matches in-person as it does online, thanks to the plethora of local events designed to help you meet local like-minded people face-to-face.

For those who prefer to start a new relationship online, OurTime will list your dating profile on Match.com as well as OurTime at no extra cost, increasing your chances of finding a match.

While you may think dating apps and sites are all for the younger generation, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While most dating sites and apps are designed to cater to a wide range of age demographics, OurTime has been built from the ground-up for those aged 50+ looking for love. As such, you’re far more likely to find someone in your age bracket when using this service over some of the other options listed in this guide.

What devices is it compatible with?

OurTime is available to access online from any web browser, using your desktop PC, laptop, or tablet. If you’d rather use a mobile app, it has software available for iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, OurTime offers a free trial for 14 days, allowing you time to create your profile and make connections. After that period, some features will no longer be available until you upgrade to a paid subscription. 

Ourtime – In Numbers

Number of Users (UK)

3 million users

Popular Type of Relationships

Long-term Relationships

Platforms

Desktop site, Mobile app via iOS and Android

Membership

Free & Monthly (paid at £9.99 a month)

Features

Shuffle feature, Activities, Boost, Incognito Mode

5. Dating Direct

Who is it for?

Similar to Match, Dating Direct is ideal for singles looking for serious relationships. Although is most popularly used by young professionals, between the ages of 25 – 34. Most users are also based in the UK and its also more used with heterosexual relationships. 

How does it work?

Owned by the Match Group, Dating Direct is popular with young professionals as it uses work and education background as a major matching criterion, so you can meet someone with a similar background to you. Most widely used by people between the ages of 25 and 40, but is quickly growing in popularity in older demographics too.

What devices is it compatible with?

Dating Direct can be used online via its desktop site and can also be downloaded via its app on iPhone and Android.

Is there a free trial?

Yes there’s a free trial available with no time limit and includes profile creation, searching and winking. If you want to message people, you need to join a paid membership which has access to all features.

6. Original Dating

Who is it for?

Each event has different age groups listed, including ages between 30 – 45, 20 – 45, 25 – 37 and 40 – 55. It’s great for people who love meeting people in real life first and 

How does it work?

The UK’s leader in speed dating and singles events, this is a dating site for those who are committed to meeting their special someone in person. For the speed dating events, you get about five minutes with each person, after which you tick a score sheet yes if you’d like to see them again, and no if you’d rather not – this is just for you to keep track of whom you clicked with. After the speed dating, there’s an opportunity for everyone to mingle informally and get to know each other better. Then, after the event, you tick whom you liked on the Original Dating website, and if it’s reciprocated you’ll be able to message them on the site to get to know each other better and exchange information, so you can get that first date planned.

What devices is it compatible with?

Original Dating online has a desktop site, but you can also access it on your mobile and buy tickets.

Is there a free trial?

No event is free but tickets can start from as low as £10. If you change your mind, you can cancel an event with four days notice and get a refund. You can also have a friend take your place as names can be changed until 5PM on the day of the event.

7. Illicit Encounters

Who is it for? 

Most users are based in the UK or Ireland and it’s almost evenly split with 55 percent men and 45 percent women. In addition, the biggest age groups are in the following 45 – 54, 35 – 44 and 25 – 34, with the former making up 33 percent of all users. 

How does it work?

The UK’s largest dating site for married people, this site is designed to be “discreet, safe, and fun” for those who are already in committed relationships. Many modern couples are turning their backs on monogamy in order to embrace open relationships, but already being married or attached can be a major dealbreaker for people on traditional dating sites – making it tricky to find potential partners. Illicit Encounters make this easier by matching you with people who are in a similar situation, who are also looking to date outside of their committed relationships.The site creates a non-judgemental, no-pressure environment for members. Unlike other sites, members can remain anonymous with password protection on photographs, to protect their identities.

What devices is it compatible with?

Illicit Encounters can be accessed via its desktop site. It doesn’t have an app but it can be accessed on your mobile through its mobile site.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, there’s a free trial however only women can send messages for free. You can’t read messages for free and men will need to join the paid membership to send messages.

8. Ok Cupid

Who is it for?

OkCupid actually has more men than women with 64.40 percent being male and 35.60 percent as female. The median age is around 32, and it’s good for looking for a variety of relationships including casual dates and comitted relationships.

How does it work?

Dating apps and sites get exhausting if you’re more of a picky dater who knows exactly what they’re looking for. OkCupid helps you weed out inappropriate matches by asking questions about the things you care about, and then connecting you on what really matters so you can find people you’re really compatible with.

What devices is it compatible with?

You can use OkCupid on its desktop site, or download its mobile app which is compatible with iOS and Android.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, it’s free to use but you’ll need to join a paid subscription to access all features.

9. Mai Tai UK | Elite Dating

Who is it for?

Mai Tai says thats it most of its users are professionals with a degree or entrepreneurs who have reached senior roles in their careers, and lists that most of the women are between 26 – 55, while the men are in the same age range but 30+.

How does it work?

Named after the co-founder’s favourite cocktails, Mai Tai is a matchmaking platform that is ideal for busy professionals who don’t have time to go on countless dates. Mai Tai makes it extremely easy to date, simply register online and an event curator or matchmaker will find compatible partners and organise a date at a restaurant in London or Oxford where you’ll be invited to meet with a table of four matches.

What devices is it compatible with?

Mai Tai is accessible through its online desktop site, which can also be accessed on mobile. While there is no mobile app, there’s also a Facebook group you can join.

Is there a free trial?

You can register online for free as a subscriber, and this gives you access to Drink, Network & Flirt event tickets. You’ll need to join a paid Premium Dating membership to access the matchmaking and concierge service.

10. Ashley Madison

Who is it for?

A large percentage of Ashley Madison users are women with 70 percent being female, and 30 percent being male. The most active age ranges are 25 – 34, 35 – 49, and its most commonly used for casual short-term relationships, flings and married individuals looking for non-mongamous encounters.

How does it work?

Launched back in 2001, Ashley Madison is globally one of the biggest dating services for non-mongamous and polyamorous relationships. The site caters to everyone from first-timers to couples that have had extramaritia affairs for years. It’s simple to use, simply create an account, select preferences and you’ll be able to see matches near you with the same preferences. Plus, you can use the discover mode to see hundreds of other profiles on the site. The site actually has more female users than me as it’s free for women to send messages, while men need to buy credits to start and respond to messages.

What devices is it compatible with?

You can log on to Ashley Madison via its desktop site, and also download its mobile app which is compatible with iOS and Android.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, you can register online for free and the site offers free messaging to women. However, men will need to pay for credits to message and they can buy the Basic, Classic or Elite plans.

Who is it for?

As it names suggests, it’s best for Christians who are looking for long-term, monogamous relationships with marriage in mind. It’s evenly split between men and women with 54 percent women and 46 percent men. It’s also better for older individuals are the most popular demographic is 35 – 49, and 50+.

How does it work?

Christian Cafe first started in 1999 and since then, there have been over 25,000 marriages formed and several international sites including the United Kingdom Christian Dating and there are also dating sites specific to UK locations including Luton, Wigan and more. Ideal for christians who are looking to find someone who shares the same faith, it’s easy to use as you just sign up and create a profile to get chatting to others. You can get a seven day free trial and an extra three days when you upload photos of yourself.

What devices is it compatible with?

You can access Christian Cafe through its desktop site and its mobile app, however the app is only available to Apple users. The site can be accessed through Android and iOS.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, you can get a free 7 day trial (and additional 3 days when you add a photo) by signing up and you’ll be able to create a profile, email, send wicks, send messages. Once the trial is over you can pick one of the Cafe Membership plans.

12. Single Solution

Who is it for?

Single Solution is best for singles between 25 – 60, although most members are in the older part of the bracket. According to the site, typical members are graduates or professionals who work in accounting, law, media, design, or run their own businesses. 

How does it work?

Single Solutions is the UK’s leading dating service for professionals between 25 and 60 who work in jobs such as accounting, law, media and design. The service arranges weekly events for different age groups and also an online dating service where you can register your profile. The dating services are also aimed at Britsh South Asians and the sister site asiansinglesolution.com connects indiviuals specifically of South Asian heritage together. All you need to do is sign up and create your profile, start searching and messaging others. 

What devices is it compatible with?

Single Solutions can be accessed through its online desktop site, but its sister site Asian Single Solution has a app that can used on iOS and Android phones.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, there’a free membership where you can sign up and create a profile. The premium paid membership unlocks full benefits including advanced search options, unlimited messaging and more.

13. Urban Solution

Who is it for?

According to the site, the majority of users are based in the UK, and there are specific categories to pick including singles over 30 and singles over 50. Plus, you can specifically target singles in UK areas like Manchester or Durham. 

How does it work?

Launched in 2003, Urban Social is an online dating service that’s UK-wide and ideal for extroverts who are looking for relationships. It takes a few simple steps to sign up and make your profile, then you can search the database to find other members and make contact with your preferences via email, text or instant chat. There’s plenty of fun extras and you can send flirty winks to members you like, before you decide to meet up with them. Plus, the blog has plenty of advice on everything from making your profile stand out to date night ideas.

What devices is it compatible with?

You can access it through its desktop site, which is also compatible with mobile devices. There’s no app. 

Is there a free trial?

Yes, you can register for free.

Best Dating Apps

If you’re looking for love on your mobile phone, then here are some of the best apps you can download online. Easy, quick and simple, apps are great for busy individuals who want to find love on their own time.

14. Tinder

Who is it for?

Tinder is one of the most popular dating apps globally, largely attracting singles who are looking for serious relationships or casual dates. Most Tinder UK users are age between 25 – 34, with ages 55 and above making up 16 percent of all users as well.

How does it work?

Tinder is a dating app that’s really simple to use. You can create a profile for free where you can add photos and a bio with facts about yourself, the app then searches for matches within a radius. You then swipe right if you want to match with someone and left to discard them, if you’ve both swiped right, it becomes a match and you can start messaging.

What devices is it compatible with?

You can access it through its desktop site and mobile app, which is compatible with both iOS and Android.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, you can register for free, make a profile, match and message with no limitations. You can pay to access more features.

15. Bumble

Who is it for?

Bumble is widely used in the UK, with 28 percent of Brits reportedly using the app according to Statisa. While it is a female-orientated app, it’s still used by a large percentage of men and is aimed at 18 – 35 year olds looking for serious relationships, flings and casual dating.

How does it work?

Known as the ‘feminist dating app’, its similar to Tinder with the exception that only women can message first. You swipe right to make a match and left to move on. There’s only 24 hours to message someone before the match disappears so you need to be quick. Plus, if the man doesn’t message back after a day the match disappears.

What devices is it compatible with?

You can access it through its desktop site and mobile app, which is compatible with both iOS and Android.

Is there a free trial?

Yes, you can register for free, make a profile, match and message with no limits.

Expert Dating Tips

It can be tricky navigating the world of online dating, especially if you’re new to apps or have just re-entered the dating pool after a while. And even if you’re already using an app, it’s easy to get frustrated. However, Clarissa Bloom, Dating and Relationship Expert for The Stag, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk and shared expert advice on using apps.“The issue I do personally have with some dating apps is to put so much focus on appearance,” she says. “We might be ruling out someone who has the dream personality and would connect with you on an emotional level, purely because they’re not ‘your type’. Just the same, we might limit our experiences to people we find very attractive, just to find ourselves disappointed with the dating experience.” Here are her expert tips on how you can make dating apps work for you and successfully attract matches.

How to Make Your Dating Profile Stand Out

Spend a decent amount of time working on your bio description, too many people rush this aspect as they want to start their search for love, forgetting this is how they will be judged. Consider interests, but leave off the activities you haven’t tried in half a lifetime, unless you’re open to doing them again, as otherwise this may cause confusion when brought up. Avoid the typical cliches, many of these are found in articles on what to include and people notice them like a pattern. You want to stand out in the crowd, so write genuinely and from your own perspective.

Check Out Other Profiles

Don’t hesitate to look at other people’s profiles if you’re struggling with yours. That’s not to say you want to steal content, but that the structure and the content might give you ideas on how to improve your profile.

Check Your Grammar

This might sound like a silly one, but I cannot express the amount of people who admit to being put off by profiles with bad grammar. I might not personally understand it, but it is something that always comes up high in ‘off-putting factors’ with online dating.

What Are The Best Pictures To Use

Before picking your photos, run them by some friends or family (of both genders) for advice. Most people are surprised by the feedback they get, such as a picture looking corny or maybe sending back signals they might not have considered. Another factor to consider with photos is that they tell a story, so if the images are all just selfies, then they may be telling the wrong story. Instead, you could use photos on a special holiday, which could start a conversation, or you could pick ones doing activities you love.

Best Message To Send To A New Match

The first message can hold such an impact on whether they go on a date with you, while the following messages are also incredibly important. Don’t write something sexual early days, it’s an instant no-go, as it highlights that is all you’re after. In fact, avoid physical mentions, you may find them attractive, but hold it in for now, focus on their interests and similarities between yourselves. You also want to send a message with substance, not just a ‘hey’ or ‘how are you’, you want to illustrate that you have read their profile and have taken the time to message them, rather than bulk messaging.

How To Get Offline And Arrange A Date As Fast As Possible

People can be nervous about an official date setting and leave it to a free weekend, but you can speed up the process of moving it offline by meeting for a quick coffee or an activity after work. It could be something as simple as a walk around town or even renting a bike (something which became popular for dates in Brighton). By keeping it less official and intense, it can lessen the nerves and also help to ensure both people involved feel a connection before arranging a proper date. Another way to speed up the process is to directly discuss what it is they’re seeking with online dating. You want to know that they’re looking for the same thing you are. This can also lead them to admit certain factors, such as whether they have just got out of a serious relationship, something that might impact your thoughts and decisions.

[ad_2]

Check Also

Horoscopes today – Russell Grant's star sign forecast for Monday, October 30

[ad_1] TODAY’S horoscope has one star sign able to relax and be themselves with a …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *