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Best online dating sites

It can be hard to find someone to love in this crazy world, just ask any band, ever. As covered in the Spike Jonze film, Her, life with the internet can make the world seem more lonely and isolated, but there are ways to use the internet to find your next significant other. Online dating can seem like a last resort reserved for people who are desperate and uncomfortable in the real world, but studies show it’s the other way around–the traditionalists who avoid online dating are the odd ones out. That being said, there are numerous choices out there and choosing the right site is just as important as choosing the right picture for your dating profile.

We compiled a list of dating sites to match different personalities and preferences. Some control which profiles you can see while others let you search for someone to contact. Some are limited to specific kinds people, whether that be factors such as wealth, religion, or racial identities, while others have a wide open sea in which you can find other fish. Here you’ll find the best options available. Before you get online, check out our comprehensive guide about how to successfully and safely date online.

Match.com 

Price: $19.99/month if you sign up for a three-month plan. 

Match.com

This is an extremely straightforward site: make a profile, look at other profiles, see someone you like, message them. It’s simple to use, which might be a plus for someone who is nervous about getting into the online dating game. Following account creation, users are asked to do a personality test through Chemistry.com and Match.com then uses that information to find matches. A subscription costs a bit of money but you can also be a member for free, but with this limited subscription you can only communicate with other people by sending winks. So those better be some darn good winks to create a lasting match. Paid subscriptions come in bundles of three, six, or 12 months and the price varies for each. Among Match.com’s interesting features is Stir events: the company hosts meetups for paying members where you can mingle with other singles in real life for fun activities like happy hour or kayaking. 

eHarmony 

Price: A basic plan is about $230 per year, which will get you the ability to make a full profile and contact anyone on the site. The Total Connect Plan adds a verified ID and secured calling to the Basic Plan and will run you about $288 per year. Finally, for about $500 per year the Premium plan comes with a profile adviser that guarantees you a match within 12 months or less.

eHarmony

Even if you know nothing about online dating, you should recognize the founder of eHarmony, Neil Clark Warren. He’s the indelible white-haired man with glasses who–according to his widespread advertisements–wants everyone to fall in love, and as of 2008, that includes homosexual couples. This site is the most expensive on this list, but it also requires the least amount of work in the long run. The initial personality test can be daunting and take a couple hours, but after that eHarmony emails you matches. You don’t need to continually monitor your profile or dig through pages and pages of prospective matches. This is an especially nice feature if you are nervous about approaching people, because the site sends an email to each person saying they are a match, which means you don’t have to ever make the first move. It also means you don’t have as much control as with other sites. The price is pretty steep, so this option is for people who are dedicated to working toward finding a partner without the busy work. 

PlentyOfFish 

Price: Free

 Plenty of Fish

PlentyOfFish touts itself as one of the first and most successful dating sites out there. It’s a pretty standard dating site, but it was endorsed by Lady Gaga in 2009 when the singer set up dates for users of the site to meet her on tour. The site claims to focus on lasting relationships and not just one-time encounters, so it added age restrictions to prevent matching people whose ages are at least 14 years apart. The founder, Markus Frind, is a bit eccentric, but the site hosts over 1.6 billion users, so he must be doing something right. Because the site is so well-known, it has a lot of options for potential mates, but that can also make it seem intimidating. It also has the standard dating site “Viewed Me” button so you can see who is looking at your profile the most, which discourages overzealous stalking. That being said, profiles aren’t as monitored as Match or eHarmony, so you will likely come across some interesting characters before finding someone you really want to talk to. 

Tastebuds

Price: Free

 Tastebuds

In what stands as probably one of the most hipster things to happen to the internet, Tastebuds connects people through their favorite kinds of music. Enter your favorite artists and you’ll be matched up with people around you who also like, for example, Arcade Fire. While this serves as a built in ice breaker, the site requires that you add over ten bands or artists to your profile to get more accurate matches, which can seem intimidating. Like MySpace, you can choose a song that will play when someone opens your profile, so think hard when you try to decide which Radiohead song most represents you. The coolest feature: people can post events, usually concerts, to take potential partners on dates. Instead of poking someone or sending a message, Tastebuds lets you send a song to someone you would like to check out. 

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