Dating Sites With Free Messaging

Online Dating

23 Dating Sites With Free Messaging for 2020

Amber Brooks
Amber Brooks Posted:
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Dating sites with free messaging appeal to singles who want to save money and meet new people. But can free dating services work as well as paid dating services? That’s a tall order, even for the most popular apps in the world.

Online dating can offer a world of romantic opportunities, but it can involve some give and take from users. As in, if you don’t give certain platforms your money, then it could take quite a bit of time and effort to find a good match.

We’ve broken down the payment systems of the most popular dating platforms to help online daters keep their costs low and expectations high. Here are our rankings for the best dating sites with free messaging features.

★★★★★
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.com pretty much wrote the book on online dating. This premier dating website launched in 1995 long before swiping, behavioral matching, and location-based searching even existed.

From the beginning, Match focused on identifying mutual compatibility and inspiring long-term relationships. Its match algorithm has gotten more sophisticated over time, and it now uses a combination of profile information and browsing history to predict which couples will make the best match.

It’s free to join Match, complete your dating profile, and send likes to anyone who catches your eye. Members can also send free messages to anyone in their Top Picks list as well as to any premium member who messages first.

★★★★★
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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Elite Singles is a dating site for professionals who don’t want to settle for second-rate dates. It’s free to create a dating profile and send likes, smiles, and photo requests to anyone online.

The basic membership is a good introduction to the Elite Singles network. There is no obligation to upgrade, but doing so will give you access to member photos and messaging.

Elite Singles isn’t a totally free dating site, but mature daters enjoy that prestigious quality it has going for it. Over 80% of Elite Singles members have graduated from college, and over 90% are looking for a serious relationship, so it could be worth investing in this quality-driven dating space.

★★★★★
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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When eharmony entered the online dating scene in 2000, it offered a solution to help single adults stop playing games and find their perfect match. Today, the dating website and app have united more than 2 million couples in the U.S.

Free members have limited messaging options on eharmony, but it’s enough to get the ball rolling, make a connection, and land a hot date. Once you’ve completed your profile and taken the Compatibility Quiz, you can send icebreaker quizzes to any eharmony member and you can respond to messages from highly compatible singles near you.

The eharmony team puts a cap on the number of messages free members can exchange, so you may want to exchange contact information quickly or upgrade to a premium membership to make sure your online crush doesn’t slip away.

4. 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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Zoosk is a free online dating site with a ton of messaging and matching options. As soon as you sign up, you can send likes, winks, and greetings for free — no subscription or mutual matching required.

Zoosk does put some communication tools behind a paywall, but free members can work around its rules and get to know premium members with verified photos and phone numbers.

This flirtatious atmosphere is great for chatty singles on a budget. The Zoosk network includes over 40 million profiles around the world. Every day, Zoosk members exchange over 3 million messages, and many of those conversations lead to a first date or hangout.

★★★★★
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 an online dating site and chat app dedicated to the senior population. That means anyone over 50 is welcome to join and explore date possibilities within their age range.

The free SilverSingles membership includes some messaging capabilities. For instance, the site has prewritten greetings available, and users can send smiles to initiate a mutual match. However, you’ll need to get a paid membership to have a full-on private conversation on the SilverSingles site or app.

SilverSingles focuses on personal compatibility when recommending potential matches, and its detail-oriented profiles make it easy to find common ground. A single person can mingle in a mature dating scene thanks to this first-rate dating platform.

★★★★
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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ChristianMingle has made a name for itself as the most popular online dating website and app for Christian singles. More than 80% of ChristianMingle members attend church regularly, and 100% are seeking a Christian partner to take home to their parents.

Since 2001, ChristianMingle has seen over 15 million registrations, and the site has collected heartwarming testimonials from people whose faith led them to a loving relationship.

This niche dating service offers some free instant messaging between local singles who meet each other’s match criteria. However, to keep spam and fake profiles to a minimum, ChristianMingle only offers unlimited chatting to paid members.

★★★★
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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OurTime is a premium online dating service where singles over 50 can chat with someone their own age. And it doesn’t cost anything to join.

The free messaging system on OurTime is more accurately a free replying system. Free members can reply to messages from premium members — they cannot send unsolicited messages to other users. This can somewhat limit your date options, especially for straight men because women don’t typically message first, but it also cuts down on the spam you’ll receive in your inbox.

★★★★
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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BlackPeopleMeet has created a diverse chat room devoted to singles in the Black community. The majority of BPM members identify as African American, Caribbean, biracial, multiracial, or just plain Black.

This free dating site and mobile app has unlocked some messaging features for free members with verified profile pictures. As long as you keep things 100, you’ll be able to reply to incoming messages and get to know Black dates prospects in the U.S. and Canada.

“I just want to say I have found true love,” said a former BPM member in an online testimonial. “I am terminating my membership since I have found the woman I am to spend the rest of my life with.”

★★★★
4.0/5.0

Relationships: Hookups, Casual Dates, Affairs

Match System: Search by age, location, appearance, and more

Our Experts Say: “With its massive user base and advanced privacy features, Ashley Madison is the #1 site for discreet hookups, dates, or relationships...” Full Review »

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Ashley Madison is a married dating site that encourages discreet connections between single and not-so-single folks. Members don’t have to upload a photo or use their real names to meet new people through this online dating service.

All women have the power to read and respond to messages for free, and they can also write an automated Quick Reply to members who have liked their dating profile. Men can like or favorite profiles for free, but they have to spend credits to unlock conversation windows.

More than 60 million people have sought sexual relationships and affairs on Ashley Madison, and over 470,000 new users sign up every month.

“We encourage our members to be kind, courteous, and well-mannered,” the Ashley Madison team said. “To get the most out of your experience, please treat others as though you are speaking to them face to face.”

10. BeNaughty

★★★★
3.9/5.0

Relationships: Hookups, Chats

Match System: Search by encounter, location, and more

Our Experts Say: “BeNaughty is a premier hookup app where you can feel comfortable expressing your desires. Plus, it's free to join, browse, and flirt...” Full Review »

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BeNaughty is a sex site with unlimited free messaging available to all female members — and some free chat options for guys as well.

Single men can browse BeNaughty for free and like or favorite profiles that stand out to them. They also have the option to send a free automated greeting to all users who match their search requirements. BeNaughty will even suggest flirty messages that get good response rates.

All women can send private messages on BeNaughty without paying a single dime, but men will have to subscribe to a one-day, one-week, or one-month subscription to get messaging privileges. These subscription packages cost less than a dollar a day, so it shouldn’t bust your budget to say hi to a single lady.

★★★★
3.5/5.0

Relationships: Hookups Only

Match System: Search by location, interest, more

Our Experts Say: “Make no mistake: this site isn't about making friends, it's about short-term "hookups" and affairs only. Note that a basic account costs $14.95/month, but it's well worth it if casual sex is your goal...”

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Adult Friend Finder boasts having the world’s largest sex and swinger community because more than 102 million people have signed up since its launch in 1996.

The AFF community has a lot of free networking capabilities. For instance, members can join the dating forums, which feature over 14 million group discussions, or they can browse live chat and video broadcasts featuring AFF’s hottest members.

Sending online flirts is free on Adult Friend Finder, but only premium members can exchange instant messages through the sex-driven dating site.

★★★
3.4/5.0

Relationships: Hookups Only

Match System: Search by location, interest, more

Our Experts Say: “A hookup site specializing in casual encounters, secret affairs, live chats, and member videos, FriendFinder-X skips the awkward "dating" stage of a relationship and fast-forwards straight to the sex...”

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FriendFinder-X is an online site for adults seeking sex, so it doesn’t waste time with unnecessary questionnaires and potential match requirements. All it needs is an email address, age, gender, and location to comb the dating scene for viable dates.

It’s not totally free to message folks on FriendFinder-X, but you can send virtual flirts and auto-reply greetings to get the ball rolling. The Message Center allows users to read incoming messages, but the only way to engage in a sexting conversation is by getting a paid membership.

13. Flirt.com

★★★★
3.5/5.0

Relationships: Hookups, Casual Dating, Chats

Match System: Search by age, location, gender, orientation, and other factors

Our Experts Say: “Flirt.com frees singles to chat with attractive locals and pick up dates on the spot. This hookup site is always open to horny and sexy people seeking one-night stands, casual dating, threesomes, and other sexual encounters...”

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Flirt.com is yet another sex site that provides free messaging to all women. It is totally and completely free for women to send flirts, prewritten greetings, and text messages to any members they fancy.

Men have some dynamic messaging options available on Flirt.com as well, but they may find it’s worth paying about $1 a day to contact local singles on the dating site. A paid membership is 100% optional and comes with a satisfaction guarantee for members who have been active on the site for three months and haven’t been satisfied with their online dating experience.

14. MenNation

★★★★
4.0/5.0

Relationships: Daters & Hookups

Match System: Search by age, zip code, more

Our Experts Say: “MenNation is a well-established gay dating and hookup brand, having been founded in 1996. It's totally free to join, view profiles, receive matches, and flirt...”

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MenNation is a casual dating site for men who hope to score with a hot local guy. Gay, bisexual, bi-curious, and queer men can have a ball flirting in this sex-driven scene.

The free messaging options on MenNation include liking profiles and commenting on member blogs. You can add a profile to your Hot List to make it easier to find later. MenNation gives men the ability to exchange emails, voicemails, and photos in total privacy, and it’s a great wingman if your top priority is to get laid.

★★★★
4.0/5.0

Relationships: Hookups Only

Match System: Search by location, interest, more

Our Experts Say: “LesbianPersonals provides a fun, quick, and easy experience for gay and bisexual women looking for sex online. Join for free, and you'll be able to search and communicate immediately...”

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As a female-friendly dating service, LesbianPersonals gives real women the opportunity to come out of their shell and make a sexy connection. Tons of lesbian singles, married couples, and poly groups have used this hookup site to seduce beautiful women through private messaging or video chat.

Free members can show interest by liking each other’s personal ad. They are also free to post in discussion forums geared toward lesbian dating. LesbianPersonals has premium messaging available for women who want to flirt in private. The site encourages its paid members to exchange photos and post videos to show off their looks and attract hot dates.

16. Tinder

The Tinder dating app made a big splash in 2012 by offering free messaging to all users who form a mutual match by liking each other’s dating profile. Its swiping system is now responsible for creating over 43 billion matches in 190 countries.

Tinder empowers singles to find a potential partner by swiping right on anyone they find attractive and messaging folks who show mutual interest.

Screenshot from Tinder's website

Tinder users can chat with their mutual matches for free.

As a free dating app, Tinder allows unlimited instant messaging between matches, but it does put a limit on the number of likes a free member can send. Some proactive singles choose to upgrade to Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold because they want to have unlimited likes, swipe outside their hometowns, and boost their profile’s visibility so they will get a little more action online.

17. Bumble

Bumble became known as the feminist dating app in 2014 because it empowered single women to set the tone in their chats with men. Messaging is absolutely free on Bumble, and the only catch is that you have to form a mutual match and men have to wait for women to send the first message before they can respond.

As of 2020, Bumble exceeded 100 million members and counted itself among the fastest-growing dating apps in the world.

Screenshot of Bumble

Bumble has a unique messaging system that always puts single women first.

When Bumble creates an opposite-sex match, the iOS and Android app gives the woman 24 hours to say something. If she doesn’t send a message, the man can use the Extend option to give her another 24 hours to message, or the conversation window will be deleted.

18. Hinge

Hinge is a quality-driven dating app where singles can match and message without paying anything. The only reason to upgrade to a paid membership is if you want to get more match filters, see who has liked you, and send unlimited likes per day.

It’s definitely possible to meet someone on Hinge without upgrading — that’s how my boyfriend I met over a year ago — and all it takes is a like or a comment on a photo to spark a meaningful connection.

Screenshot of Hinge's homepage

The Hinge app gives users a chance can get to know one another on a deeper level.

Hinge has gotten many positive reviews over the years because it has staked out a middle ground between casual dating apps and paid dating sites. It doesn’t charge users to send messages, and it doesn’t support mindless swiping, so it’s a great option for anyone who wants to get serious in the dating scene.

19. OkCupid

OkCupid is a completely free dating site and app with instant messaging options available to all users at all times. No hidden fees, no obligations, and no catches.

Well, maybe there is one catch. As of 2017, only mutual matches can engage in a conversation on OkCupid. That means you can send a first message for free to any OkCupid user, but that person has to like your dating profile before you can send another message. So, be sure to word your first message carefully.

Screenshot of OkCupid

You don’t need a paid membership to chat on the OkCupid dating service.

Singles never have to pay anything to send and receive messages on OkCupid. There isn’t a message limit or a free trial period. However, OkCupid does have an A-List subscription plan to give online daters a little extra boost. A-Listers can see who has liked their dating profile, send unlimited likes, and use advanced search filters to make grade-A matches.

Many online daters have said subscribing to A-List seems pointless when free members already have the messaging tools to get dates, but some singles don’t mind having a little extra support in the romance department.

20. Plenty of Fish

Plenty of Fish has won the hearts of over 150 million users because it has completely free messaging with very few limitations. This dating site and app keep costs low and don’t charge users for the pleasure of contacting each other.

Plenty of Fish does not require free members to create a mutual match before sending messages to each other. Anyone can send a flirtatious greeting and engage in a conversation on this dating site and app.

Screenshot of POF

POF creates over 57 million new connections every week.

The POF community has a lot to offer singles on a budget. It sees over 4 million unique visits a day and has features that actually help local singles get in touch with each other.

Some dating platforms may offer more targeted searches or match recommendations, but, if you’re mostly interested in free communication, there’s no comparison. The online site provides tons of chatting opportunities, and POF users can send up to 55 first messages per day.

21. Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel (also known as CMB) is a dating app designed to spark interesting conversations and real-life relationships. Three sisters in Silicon Valley launched the app in 2012 because they wanted to cut through the noise by fostering a more streamlined and curated dating experience.

The CMB app limits the number of likes and matches users can create each day, but it doesn’t have any restrictions or paywalls when it comes to messaging your mutual matches.

Screenshot of CoffeeMeetsBagel

CoffeeMeetsBagel began as a passion project of three entrepreneuring women.

It’s free to create a CMB profile, send likes, and message anyone who likes you back. The app’s simplified design and smart matching system encourage serious dates to focus on a few date prospects at once so they’re not spreading themselves too thin in the swiping scene.

“In the world of online dating, messaging is what bridges the gap between seeing someone’s profile and going out on a date with them,” a CMB user said in a blog post. “Use questions to start the conversation and to keep it going but don’t be excessive.”

22. Grindr

Grindr is a gay dating app that supports a flirtatious free-for-all because its messaging features are 100% free. Men have the option to chat with any guy who likes their dating profile, and the only limit is they can only view a certain number of new profiles a day.

Since 2009, over 27 million men have downloaded Grindr on their smartphones and used its free location-based matching to spark an instant connection.

Screenshot of Grindr's homepage

As one of the world’s largest gay dating apps, Grindr sees nearly 3 million views per day.

All messaging is free on Grindr, but some singles choose to upgrade to Grindr Xtra to get more premium features and perks. The paid subscription plan offers additional filters, a discreet app icon, message-read receipts, quick-send photos, and saved chat messages.

Plus, Grindr subscribers enjoy an ad-free browsing experience, which means they don’t have to worry about pop-up ads interrupting the conversation’s flow.

23. HER

By consistently putting safety first, HER has grown into its role as the top dating app for women seeking women. A lesbian woman launched the women-only social network in 2012, and it has never expected women to pay for matches or messaging features.

Once you’ve downloaded the HER app and created a profile, you’ll have access to an endless newsfeed of photos, statuses, and events shared by women in the local LGBTQ+ community. If you see someone you like, you can click the thumbs-up icon or send an initial message to spark a love match.

Screenshot of HER's website

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

HER has over 4 million members worldwide, and every dating profile has to pass a two-step authentication system to make the cut. The HER team uses Facebook profile information to guarantee a woman is who she says she is.

What are the Different Types of Messaging on Dating Sites?

Dating sites have developed many different ways to communicate with potential matches. Singles can send likes, text messages, icebreaker questions, quizzes, and pre-written pickup lines, depending on the platform they’re on. Some dating platforms also give users the option to exchange photos, leave voice messages, or video chat.

What Does “Free” Mean on Dating Sites?

A lot of dating sites claim to be totally free when they’re really only free to join. Some sites may encourage singles to complete the 100% free registration process only to lock them out of their inbox, hide their notifications, or blur other members’ photos until the free member becomes a paid member.

Online daters should always be cautious when they see the word “free” applied to a dating site or app. Those free services may include profile browsing and match suggestions, but it may stop short of offering free messaging.

Photo of an online payment

Free dating sites and apps will usually have some paid features for premium users.

You can look at the payment policy or subscription plan description to find out the true cost of an online dating site. Sometimes a free membership will include everything you need to chat with users and pick up dates, and sometimes you’ll have a better online dating experience if you upgrade to a premium subscription. It’s totally your call.

How Do Paid Dating Sites Work?

Paid dating sites can offer greater security and more curated matches for singles who are serious about meeting someone special. They basically set up a cover charge to ensure only authentic daters can send messages and build online relationships.

It’s usually free to create a dating profile on a paid dating site, but premium features like messaging will be behind a paywall. You can browse the site for as long as you want without paying anything; however, you’ll only truly be able to meet someone once you’ve paid for a subscription.

Are Free Dating Sites Safe?

Yes, free dating sites are relatively safe places to meet new people. Even the ones that offer completely free messaging typically have some verification tools and harassment reporting systems to keep scammers and fake profiles at bay.

A free dating site offers a level playing field for singles to pursue their fantasies, but not everyone goes into it with good intentions. Online daters ought to be aware that a stranger they meet online may not always be telling the truth. It’s important to vet all potential dates through text conversations, online searches, and even phone calls or video dates to make sure he or she has nothing to hide.

Photo of a computer keyboard

Free dating sites cannot always catch every romance scammer and catfisher in the database.

Online dating is safe as long as you look out for red flags and keep your guard up when meeting someone new. Do not get involved with someone who doesn’t respect your boundaries.

If a person is pressuring you to send them money, meet in a private place, or do anything you’re not comfortable with, then you should sever contact immediately. No exceptions. An online relationship is not worth risking your safety or compromising your values, and there are many other fish in the sea.

How Do I Go About Choosing the Best Dating Site?

Just go with your instincts. Every dating site and app on this list has a large user base and solid matching features, so it’s just a matter of figuring out which one appeals the most to your dating style. For instance if you are serious about settling down, then eharmony may be the right dating site for you, but if you’re looking for something more casual, a free dating app like Tinder could work just fine.

Free Dating Sites Can Save You Money & Time

Most dating sites and apps offer some form of free communication to help singles meet one another. But only a handful offer 100% free messaging for all users all the time. That’s why it’s important to do your research, talk to your friends, and figure out which dating service can meet your needs without overextending your budget.

Dating sites with free messaging can strike a good balance between low-cost services and efficient matchmaking. However, singles may have to put in some extra hustle to make up for the fact that they don’t have premium features helping them out.

We’ve ranked some of the most popular free dating platforms to make it clear what you can expect to get for your $0 membership. It may not always be easy, but a free membership on a dating site or app can be enough to swipe, match, and get something going in the dating scene. Good luck!

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