Best Free Dating Sites For Serious Relationships

Online Dating

19 Best Free Dating Sites for Serious Relationships

Amber Brooks
Amber Brooks Posted:
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The journey to love can begin with a small gesture, a new friendship, or even a Google search for “the best free dating sites for serious relationships.” Seriously, it doesn’t matter what that first step is as long as you go into it with clear intentions and a good mindset.

The online dating world has helped many hopeless romantics find their way to something serious. In fact, 12% of American adults in a Pew Research survey said they had gotten into a relationship or gotten married to someone they had met on a dating website or app.

Commitment-minded singles can get the most out of this flirtatious scene by joining the following free dating sites geared toward sparking conversations and building meaningful connections.

★★★★★
4.8/5.0

Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships

Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more

Our Experts Say: “Match has facilitated the most dates and relationships of any dating site, and its large audience and high success rate make it our top review...” Full Review »

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Match is at the top of the list when it comes to inspiring deep and loving relationships. This dating site and app has spent over 25 years developing a personality-driven matchmaking system, and it has many success stories to its name.

Once you’ve completed your Match profile, you’ll receive custom match suggestions that highlight your common interests. You can also use the search tools to see who’s online and meets your standards. It’s free to send likes or winks to anyone on the Match website or app; however, free members can only message people in their Top Picks list. You’ll need to subscribe to a monthly plan to get full access to your inbox.

Match tends to attract a more mature and relationship-oriented audience because it’s not completely free, and that can work to your benefit if you’re looking to settle down with a compatible partner.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Serious Relationships

Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions

Our Experts Say: “EliteSingles is a leading dating site just for busy, single professionals. More than 80% of members have earned a college degree, and most are looking for a serious commitment...” Full Review »

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EliteSingles is an online dating site designed to help single professionals meet someone on their level. Its potential match list is brimful with doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and other high-profile individuals.

Over 82% of EliteSingles members have graduated from college, and over 90% say they’re looking for a long-term relationship or marriage.

We’ve ranked EliteSingles as one of the best free dating sites for serious relationships because it offers a high-caliber membership base and sophisticated matchmaking features. However, the EliteSingles free membership does not include unlimited chatting, so singles will need to invest in a premium plan if they’re serious about meeting a potential partner here.

3. Zoosk

★★★★★
4.5/5.0

Relationships: Fun Dates, Serious Relationships

Match System: Search and get match recommendations

Our Experts Say: “Zoosk is integrated with social media sites, like Facebook and Google+, so it's very popular with singles on the go...” Full Review »

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In 2007, Zoosk took a page out of social media’s playbook and began developing fun communication and matching features that would keep singles engaged from the moment they signed up.

Zoosk offers multiple avenues to romance so it shouldn’t be too hard to get into the groove and meet an interesting person. You can swipe through photos in the Carousel, chat with members in the Online Now section, or use the search filters to find promising date candidates.

It’s free to send likes, smiles, and replies on Zoosk, but only premium members can send unsolicited messages and virtual gifts to their online crushes. Many Zoosk couples say that the subscription plan was worth it because it gave them the freedom to pursue love and get in touch with that special someone.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Casual Dates, Deep Relationships

Match System: Personality test suggests matches

Our Experts Say: “Accounting for 2% of U.S. marriages, eharmony's compatibility-based system and commitment-minded user base are ideal for those seeking a serious relationship...” Full Review »

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Since its launch in 2000, eharmony has become a champion of love in the online dating world. This premier dating platform uses psychological principles to identify true compatibility between two people.

The eharmony dating profile is full of good information about a person’s goals, quirks, values, and lifestyle. Plus, if you both have taken the Compatibility Quiz, the online dating website will provide a breakdown of your compatibility in terms of your communication styles, relationship habits, and life motivations.

A free eharmony account includes some guided communication options, including the ability to share icebreaker quizzes. Members can also send a smile or a video date invitation to kick things off and test the dating waters.

★★★★★
4.6/5.0

Relationships: Friendship, Casual Dates, Serious Relationships

Match System: Search by age, location, height, education, ethnicity, and religion

Our Experts Say: “SilverSingles is a fast-growing, easy-to-use niche dating site exclusively for active daters over the age of 50...” Full Review »

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SilverSingles offers a ray of hope to single men and women who are 50 and older but haven’t yet given up on finding The One. This senior dating site is run by the same team that established EliteSingles, and it uses a similarly refined matchmaking system that puts quality before quantity.

Rather than overwhelm newcomers with match suggestions, the SilverSingles platform offers a handful of potential match recommendations at a time. And it invites online daters to use filters by age, education, religion, and other important factors to further narrow the dating pool.

Our SilverSingle review goes into more detail about the upside of joining this senior dating network, and the best part is that it’s free to create a dating profile so you can see for yourself what it has to offer.

★★★★
4.3/5.0

Relationships: Dates and Relationships

Match System: Search by profiles by zip and more

Our Experts Say: “OurTime is well-known in the over-50 dating crowd, particularly because it has a ton of helpful search features and an easy layout...” Full Review »

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As part of the People Media network, OurTime connects senior singles all over the world, and it has given men and women of a certain age the chance to find companionship and love in their golden years.

The online dating website streamlines senior romance by offering virtual likes and instant messaging features to break the ice. OurTime fosters a senior-friendly environment where it’s easy to make new friends and build close relationships.

In addition to its dating site, OurTime has launched a dating app for Android and iPhone users who want to connect with people while on the go.

★★★★
4.4/5.0

Relationships: Dates and Serious Relationships

Match System: Search by gender, age, education, more

Our Experts Say: “ChristianMingle is among the largest dating sites in the industry that only caters to single Christian men and women, and the site has some of the best search filters and safety features...” Full Review »

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For nearly 20 years now, ChristianMingle has offered its blessing and assistance to Christian singles hoping to get married and start a family.

The Christian dating service is open to people of all religious backgrounds and beliefs, but about 71% of ChristianMingle members are regular churchgoers. Christian singles join this network because their faith is important to them, and they want to meet a potential partner who can understand and share that aspect of their life.

ChristianMingle has over 15 million members worldwide, making it one of the most popular Christian dating sites ever, and it’s free to join this faith-driven dating pool and start chatting with a good Christian near you.

★★★★
4.1/5.0

Relationships: Deep Relationships or Just Casual Dates

Match System: Search by location, age, more

Our Experts Say: “BlackPeopleMeet.com is the one of the largest and most popular dating sites for black and biracial singles, and the site is used by more than 5 million people a month...” Full Review »

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Race is an important factor in the dating scene, and every dater has a different perspective on this issue. Since 2002, BlackPeopleMeet has been an ally to anyone seeking a date in the Black community.

This niche dating site empowers Black, biracial, and mixed singles by surrounding them with date prospects that share similar values and cultural backgrounds. Black singles are in the majority on the BPM dating website, and they don’t have to worry about being judged negatively because of their skin tone.

The BPM membership base includes people of all races, and every non-Black single in the network is open to (and even hoping for) interracial dating and interracial marriage.

9. Bumble

In 2014, Bumble distinguished itself as the world’s first feminist dating app by decreeing that only women could send the first message to men after a match is created. Today, Bumble has over 81 million users and reaches more than 150 countries.

Its women-first matchmaking system has been key to Bumble’s success and popularity. Women enjoy the opportunity to filter their matches and set the tone in a conversation, while men enjoy being pursued by confident ladies.

Screenshot of Bumble

Bumble maintains a female-friendly and creep-free environment for daters.

Bumble is a serious dating app for singles who want to build true friendships and relationships. The app is the passion project of Whitney Wolfe Herd. She co-founded Tinder in 2012 and launched Bumble in 2014 to fix the problems she saw in online dating. The Bumble team follows strict ethical guidelines to remove any negativity, toxicity, or inauthenticity from the online dating service.

Over 1.5 million singles have made the first move on Bumble so far, and your swiping experience can quickly lead to a flirty conversation and a great first date.

10. Hinge

Hinge is the dating app that is “designed to be deleted,” which means its algorithm works overtime to introduce users to their perfect match. After all, the point of online dating isn’t to keep swiping forever — it’s to meet someone who holds your attention long enough for a relationship to develop.

One details that sets Hinge apart from other dating apps is that users must like or comment on something specific to a dating profile to generate a match.

The Hinge logo

Hinge encourages users to carefully consider each dating profile and send original messages.

I’m a big fan of Hinge because I met my boyfriend there a year ago, and we’re still going strong. The app’s unique matching system made it easy for us to strike up a conversation about our common interests (Disney songs and rescue dogs). Hinge profiles include six photos, three personal prompts, and basic demographic information, so we knew a lot about each other before we even got to our first date.

Hinge is a totally free dating app, so you don’t need a paid membership to create a dating profile, send likes, match with users, and engage in private chats. The only reason you’d sign up for a premium Hinge account is if you want to see who’s liked you and unlock more match filters.

11. OkCupid

OkCupid is a free dating site and app where singles can chat as much as they like without paying any membership fees or using any tokens. You don’t even have to match with a person to send them a greeting. However, your online crush will have to like your dating profile to send a response and continue the conversation.

Since 2004, OkCupid has attracted millions of users and established a diverse and active dating pool where young people can thrive.

Screenshot of OkCupid

OkCupid facilitates over 91 million love connections in the average year.

As a free dating app, OkCupid is a go-to wingman for singles on a budget. Some are just looking for a casual hookup, while others are more interested in something serious. Luckily, OkCupid requires users to state what they’re looking for, and it also asks a flurry of personal questions to get to the heart of who someone is.

OkCupid provides compatibility ratings to help singles focus on people who share their values and goals, and its match algorithm is responsible for making 91 million matches every year.

12. Coffee Meets Bagel

In 2012, Coffee Meets Bagel (or CMB) embarked on a mission to bring civility and authenticity back to the online dating scene, and it has countered modern swiping culture by limiting the number of dating profiles a person can view and like in a day.

Rather than overwhelm a new person with choices, the CMB app provides a curated list of match options that take your dating dealbreakers and personal preferences into account. CMB uses a learning algorithm to make online connections that have the potential to become a real relationship.

Screenshot of CoffeeMeetsBagel

Coffee Meets Bagel was founded by three entrepreneuring women in Silicon Valley.

Coffee Meets Bagel is one of the best mobile dating apps for serious relationship seekers because it doesn’t waste time with games, paywalls, or complex features. The dating app highlights compatible profiles, and you can make a judgment call from there.

To date, Coffee Meets Bagel has made over 50 million matches, and it remains a proudly independent and female-owned dating company.

13. PlentyOfFish

PlentyOfFish (POF) began in 2003 as a Canadian dating site that promised free communication to all users — and it swiftly became a global sensation.

The POF community now includes over 150 million users in 20 countries, and its members make over 57 million matches every week. PlentyOfFish has been heralded as the best dating app for conversations because it doesn’t require users to pay anything or make a match to send a message.

Screenshot of POF

PlentyOfFish sees over 4 million daily active users on the site and app.

All you have to do is create your free dating profile and add a photo of yourself to be eligible for free communication on the POF dating site and app.

PlentyOfFish has created a dating free-for-all, and that can be a good thing for casual daters as well as committed relationship seekers. You’re surrounded by date options and can chat with anybody you fancy, so it’s pretty easy to send out a lot of flirty messages at once and see what conversations come of it.

14. Happn

Happn is a dating app built around the idea that dating is inherently local. This app capitalizes on the notion of serendipity — or chance encounters — by prioritizing matches that have crossed paths with each other in real life.

When it launched nearly a decade ago, Happn was one of the first mobile dating apps to use a smartphone’s geolocation tools to inspire local connections. The app has now adopted the mutual matching system that has become standard in the online world.

Screenshot of Happn

A Happn profile can help singles find nearby dates and make something happen.

It’s important to note that the Happn app will never reveal anyone’s exact location. It merely provides a map that references the places you have in common with other singles using the app. Perhaps you frequent the same bars or visit the same independent bookstore. You may have missed connecting at these real-life places, but the online dating scene gives you a second chance at creating that spark.

Happn has over 90 million users worldwide, and it is particularly popular in big cities in the U.S., India, the U.K., and France.

15. The League

If you want to up your game and attract more desirable matches, then you should consider joining The League, a premier dating app for elite singles. The League encourages singles to be unapologetically choosy and maintain high standards in the online dating scene.

“At 31, it’s time for me to stop worrying about what other people think and start worrying about moving the needle,” said The League Founder and CEO Amanda Branford. “I wanted to build a community where smart, outspoken, high-achieving women are celebrated and encouraged to progress in their career full time.”

Screenshot from The League's website

The League caters to well-educated professionals who don’t settle for anything less than the best.

The League caters to the cream of the dating crop. Over 98% of women in The League have college degrees, 30% have advanced degrees, and 39% make over six-figure salaries. Singles must apply to enter this premier dating app, and the team vets every dating profile to make sure it upholds the values and standards that have made this community great.

Anyone looking for a world-class love can depend on The League to raise the bar and provide a fast-track to high-caliber date prospects.

16. Tinder

We couldn’t very well create a list of the best free dating apps for serious relationships without mentioning the king of swiping apps — Tinder. Like it or not, Tinder changed the online dating game when it invented swipe-based matching in 2012, and it has amassed an impressive following over the years.

Tinder has created over 43 billion matches since 2012, and it inspires over 1.5 million first dates every week. The Tinder app is currently available in 40 languages and 190 countries.

Screenshot from Tinder's website

Tinder is a fast-paced dating app where singles can quickly establish mutual matches.

Tinder has mastered the art of matchmaking by putting singles in control of their own fate. Their actions (swiping left and right) determine how many matches and conversations they get into. Those who are interested in casual dating tend to swipe right on virtually everyone, while more selective and relationship-minded singles take their time and carefully vet their matches.

Tinder may not seem like an obvious choice if you’re looking for a relationship, but we have seen evidence of real Tinder love stories that lead to marriage.

At the end of the day, dating is a numbers game and no other app has numbers like Tinder, so it’s worth the $0 it costs to download the app and start chatting with people.

17. HER

HER is a woman-only dating app, and that very fact sets it apart from 99% of the dating apps out there. All 4 million HER members have been verified (through social media platforms like Facebook) as women seeking women.

HER doesn’t allow men or couples to enter the membership base, hunt for unicorns, and put a damper on the dating experience of LGBTQ+ women.

Screenshot of HER's website

HER is a social dating app where lesbian, queer, and bisexual womxn can find their person.

As a lesbian-owned company, HER takes the happiness and safety of LGBTQ+ singles very seriously, and it has banned spam, fake news, crossposting, hate speech, and nude pics from the app. The HER moderators are quick to remove anyone who violates the HER community guidelines, and users can report any disrespectful, shady, or downright harmful behavior.

18. Badoo

Since its launch in the UK in 2006, Badoo has seen over 479 million users and become one of the most active online dating networks in the world. Whether you’re mingling on Badoo’s website or its online dating app, you’ll have a variety of text, video, and swiping options at your fingertips.

The Badoo platform facilitates more than 12 billion swipes per day, and the average user spends 1.8 hours on the app per day.

The Badoo logo

Badoo connects singles in 47 languages and across 190 countries.

Badoo has helped a young generation of online daters find their way to friendship, hookups, and serious relationships, and it is constantly adding new features to keep up with the trends.

“I found my first love through Badoo seven years ago,” Nath said in a review of the app. “That was when no one had heard about it. Now it’s becoming such a famous app.”

19. Lavalife

Lavalife got started as a phone dating company in 1987, and it shifted gears to online dating in 2001, becoming an early pioneer of this space. This tech-savvy team endeavors to “make dating fun again” and “help singles click” by offering search tools and matching features that focus on common interests and backgrounds.

Today, the Lavalife dating website and app connect millions of members in the U.S. and Canada.

Screenshot of Lavalife

Lavalife members exchange over 700,000 messages per day.

All new Lavalife members automatically receive a seven-day free trial, so it’s possible to get your chat on and meet someone special without paying for the online dating service.

Lavalife is an old-school dating tool, but it has worked for singles looking for new connections and date opportunities.

Which Dating Sites are Most Successful?

That depends on how you measure success. If success is facilitating the highest number of swipes per day, then Badoo has got every other app and site beat. If success is arranging the most first dates, then we’d have to give Tinder credit for inspiring millions of dates every week.

However, if you’re talking about long-term success, then Match has to be in the running for the most successful dating platform on the market. Since 1995, Match has been responsible for launching more relationships and marriages than any other online dating service.

★★★★★
4.8/5.0

Relationships: Friends, Dates, and Relationships

Match System: Browse by zip, age, appearance, more

Our Experts Say: “About 1.2 million black and biracial daters visit Match.com every month, which means it has the largest African-American audience in online dating...” Full Review »

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Match appeared at the top of this list of dating sites for relationships for a reason. It has a smart matchmaking system, straightforward search tools, and a more mature membership base, so it’s ideal for 30-somethings and 40-somethings looking for a real relationship.

How are Dating Sites for Serious Relationships Different from Hookup Sites?

Serious dating sites differentiate themselves from hookup sites by featuring more in-depth profiles and advanced matchmaking systems. These platforms recognize that attraction is about more than just looks and often provide tools to help establish common interests.

What’s the Difference Between “Talking,” “Hooking Up,” “Dating,” and “Being in a Relationship?”

Online dating has blurred the lines of romance somewhat, and that can be confusing for a new person just getting their bearings in the swiping scene. You’ll quickly discover that online daters all have different goals, priorities, and comfort levels.

Some singles are fine with just talking online for weeks and months. You may exchange lengthy messages every day, but that doesn’t mean you’re dating or in a relationship. You’re basically in online dating purgatory, and the only way to move forward is by going on an actual first date with your pen pal.

Photo of a couple on a date

Online daters must meet in person to see if their relationship can last in the real world.

Once you’ve met in person, you may find your love interest seems more interested in hooking up than building a relationship. If they’re only after sex and not a serious commitment, you’ll likely spot some indications such as not really talking about themselves or their life and planning dates at bars, coffee shops, or other cheap and casual venues.

Singles who are looking for a serious relationship are more likely to ask a lot of personal questions and plan dates at restaurants, shows, and places where it’s easy to talk for a long time.

Can I Search by Type of Relationship on Dating Sites?

Not every dating site and app will offer search filters by type of relationship. Some don’t even require this to be listed in a dating profile. Dating sites like Match, OkCupid, and OurTime offer a lot of advanced search filters, but apps like Tinder, Bumble, and eharmony depend more on algorithms than search tools to pair like-minded singles.

How Do I Know Which Serious Dating Site to Choose?

Singles have to use their best judgment to figure out which dating sites and apps will work best for them. Reading reviews and top-best lists can help give insight into what the online dating experience is like, but you’ll probably have to create a dating profile on a few different platforms before figuring out which one is best for your budget, location, and dating style.

For instance, if you want to talk to as many people as possible, a popular dating app like Tinder will be your best bet. However, if you want to narrow your dating options to a select few, then The League or Hinge may appeal more to you.

What is the Best Genuine Dating Site?

Putting your heart on the line on a dating site can be a scary prospect, so it helps to have a trusted and time-tested ally by your side. Over the years, eharmony has proven to be one of the most trustworthy dating sites available for relationship-minded singles, and it has led to countless love stories.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Casual Dates, Deep Relationships

Match System: Personality test suggests matches

Our Experts Say: “eharmony matches singles based on results of its popular compatibility questionnaire. It's a good choice for singles of all ethnic backgrounds...” Full Review »

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You can meet many genuine people on eharmony. The site attracts single men and women who are serious about settling down and have invested in the online dating process.

Is There a 100% Free Dating Site?

Yes, many dating sites offer all free features with no restrictions, catches, or hidden fees. OkCupid is one of our favorite forever free dating sites because it never charges members to search, chat, or match. You won’t need the A-List subscription to have a successful dating experience on OkCupid, but some singles use it to speed up the matching process.

Is EliteSingles Worth the Money?

EliteSingles offers a free membership that includes unlimited browsing but not unlimited chatting, so it’s rather difficult to form a romantic connection without a paid membership. It’s similar to paying a cover charge to get into a club — it raises the caliber of people you’ll meet and keeps the riff-raff out.

★★★★★
4.7/5.0

Relationships: Serious Relationships

Match System: Search, Receive Partner Suggestions

Our Experts Say: “Educated, single professionals turn to EliteSingles because its members are relationship-minded, and every profile is checked by the team to ensure it's real...” Full Review »

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EliteSingles has one of the more expensive membership plans because it caters to singles who can afford to invest in their love life. To these upper-class individuals, it’s worth spending some money to ensure they can meet new people who are financially secure and serious about love.

If you see a lot of promising date prospects in the EliteSingles database, it may be worth subscribing so that you can actually get to know these single professionals.

Get One Step Closer to Love on a Dating Site for Relationships

Singles don’t have to spend their time (and their hard-earned cash) on a paid dating site to find love. I know plenty of men and women — myself included — who have gone on dates and even gotten into a serious relationship thanks to a free dating site or free dating app.

All you need is a valid email address or Facebook account to set up your dating profile and surround yourself with potential date options. The best free dating sites for serious relationships can provide the opportunities to connect. Then it’s up to you to get into gear, send flirty messages, and make something happen.

No matchmaking algorithm can make love fall into your lap, so be prepared to do your part to search, match, chat, and attract the right person. Good luck!

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