Top 10 List Of Free Dating Sites In The USA And How To Use Them

By ReGain Editorial Team|Updated May 2, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC

Dating. For some, it can be an intimidating word and an even more intimidating concept. Dating today is a strange game, one that has evolved drastically over the years. A mere few decades ago, dating involved a woman being courted by a man she encountered in school or neighborhood. There was no technology, and people did things in person. They also wrote letters, which then progressed to phone calls and texts. Now, you can even “slide into someone’s DMs” on apps such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. Somewhere along that timeline, online dating, and subsequently, dating websites, were born.

Online Dating Can Be Overwhelming
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.

Dating Sites – What Are They?

Dating sites are systems that enable people to find and introduce themselves to new personal connections over the Internet, usually to develop personal, romantic, or sexual relationships. Today, there are so many different options to choose from. There are paid ones, where you pay a monthly or annual fee to gain access. There are free ones that allow you to find love without spending a dime at the beginning of the search. They have sites based on religion or other commonalities, and each site works differently. Some you swipe and match, others you hunt for the profile of a person you think may be compatible with you, and some provide suggestions. The world of dating sites is expansive, giving online daters many options.

The History Of Dating Sites

The Internet and dating sites are two things that seem relatively new – the Internet within the past couple of decades and dating sites less than that. However, the concept of dating sites has been around much longer.

In the days before the Internet, people took out personal ads. One of the first personal ads dates back to the 17th century. Placed by a 30-year-old man in a British agricultural journal. Since then, personal ads went through various phases – wartime, scammers’ birth, and later used as code to help the homosexual community.

In 1965, the first computer match dating site was born. Operation Match was created by a team of undergraduate students from Harvard. For $3, users would receive and answer questionnaires; Then, they would receive a list of potential matches. This process is, in its basic form, what happens today on many dating sites.

Since 1965, the stigma of online dating has changed, and many people use it today to find a match.

I Want To Use A Free Dating Site!

Whether you have been out of the game for a while and are starting to date again, or you have been dating for some time, dating websites offer a viable way to find your person. We compiled a list of the top 10 no cost dating sites and how to use them:

  1. Plenty of Fish – Plenty of Fish (now branded as POF) advertises itself as “The Leading Free Online Dating Site for Singles.” POF was started in 2003 in Canada but has since spread to other countries around the work, including the United States. It has an online site and an app, making it easy for users to interact on the go. The site stated that it gets 70,000 new singles per day and has more conversations than any other dating site, with 1 billion messages per month. Signing up is easy – you have to create a profile with basic information: username, password, email, birth date, gender, country, and ethnicity. You then take their chemistry test, which helps them match you with personalities and online daters that will meet your emotional needs. POF has a service that helps its users discover their relationship needs, tell you what you need in a relationship, how you may have messed up past relationships, and a customized action plan to make future ones successful.
  2. eHarmony – eHarmony is Los Angeles founded and based company that began in 2000. The site is the first service within the web dating industry that used a scientific approach to matching highly compatible singles. They are an “Online Dating Site for Like-Minded Singles” and state that every 14 minutes, someone finds love on their site. Signing up has fewer steps than POF- all you do is state your gender, the gender you are looking for, your name, and your country/zip code. eHarmony matches singles using the registered Compatibility Matching System, which is based on the 29 Dimensions of Compatibility for lasting and fulfilling relationships. Users answer the basics to help them narrow down the pool to people who meet your criteria. The user then completes compatibility questions to get “quality connections based on key areas of personality.” you can then review everyone’s profiles that eHarmony has determined to be a right match for free. At that point, users pick a plan that works for them to begin communication with their matches. eHarmony also offers no-cost dating advice from their relationship experts.
  3. Match.com – Match.com states that it is the number one destination for online dating with more dates, more relationships, and more marriages than any other dating or personal site. The service was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, serving 25 countries in total. To start, you put who you are and what you are seeking in so far as gender and age, and enter your postal code. Match then shows you the photos and personal ads that people created and are available online. Match provides various search tools to help you find people based on their interests, background, age, location, and more. They also give you a personalized match every day, and you can choose to message that person if they spark your interest.
  4. Date My School  Date My School is based around higher education – their tagline is “educated people, educated dates.” Founded by two graduate students at Columbia University, the online dating platform – which also comes in app form for easier, on the go usage – is target towards university students and alumni. To join, you need a university email address. It filters by schools, departments, and individuals, and other groups. They pride themselves on their safety, privacy, and security. They show you schools in your area, and you choose the school department and age range you are interested in. The people who meet those criteria are the only ones who can view your profile. They have a matching algorithm but also allow you to search profiles to find a match for yourself.
  5. Coffee Meets Bagel – Coffee Meets Bagel is the way for users to “discover meaningful online dating and make authentic connections,” according to their site. The San Francisco based company has an app as well and holds its basis in social media, although you don’t need Facebook to join. The user creates a Coffee Meets account with either their Facebook account or a secure phone number login method. Once with fill out your profile and preferences, you can start connecting. The site sends you potential matches, which they call bagels, once a day. The algorithm picks a limited number of your very best potential matches around noon every day. Both users must like each other, and if that happens, a chat can be started.
  6. Christian Mingle – religion is a big aspect of life for some people, and there are dating websites catered to that. Christian Mingle is the most well known Christian religion (as a side note, J Date is the most well-known one for the Jewish faith). Christian Mingle centers on the fact that its users want a God-centered relationship with other Christians and prides itself on being the number one Christian dating community. They say that they are different from other faith-based dating websites because their only focus is faith, rather than matching those with similar faiths. Many sites have religion as an option that you check, but Christian Mingle puts faith and values as cornerstones of their community, allowing them to help you find your special Christian who believes and shares your faith. Once you register your profile, you fill in the kind of match your seeking, especially your religious denomination. The site sends you compatible match suggestions – as many as seven each day. You can browse at your leisure and “like” the profile to save for later. You can also browse profiles on the site that have not been sent to you if you want to look for a match yourself.
  7. OkCupid – OkCupid is an American-based, internationally operating online dating, friendship, and social networking website. In creating your profile, the site asks questions about what the user cares about and connects you on compatibility, and what matters. It was created in 2004 as the first free online dating site. The site ran on advertisements and was also the first major dating site with an app. They are the only dating app with thousands of questions – ranging from political beliefs to environmental opinions so that they can truly match people on what matters to them. They boast having 91 million connections every year, 50,000 dates every week, and more mentions in the New York Times wedding section than any other app.
  8. Zoosk – Zoosk advertises as “the smart way to date.” It was founded in California in 2007 and currently has more than 40,000,000 singles worldwide, with 3 million messages sent daily. To start, users fill in their gender and preference, and birthday. They have a behavioral matching, making technology that constantly learns and evolves from their members’ actions to deliver better matches in real-time. Once you create your account, you write a 1500-character story or pitch about yourself and then fill in your perfect match and ideal date. Zoosk has a carousel swipe format, or you can utilize the search mode that lets you filter daters based on age, location, body type, and other factors. Having an account is free. However, to message any of your likes, you’ll need to pay for a subscription.
  9. Tinder – Tinder is one of the most well-known dating apps out there, and for an odd reason. Created as the straight version of Grindr, the site was meant as a sexual encounter app. Based solely on looks, users created a profile with photos and a short blurb if they wanted. Tinder let you know if you had any mutual friends with someone on Facebook, but the swipe right and swipe left was the main object of Tinder – making it very much a game for users. To message someone, you both had to swipe right. The app has since evolved, providing users with a way to find relationships if they want and not just sexcapades.
  10. Bumble – In a world where unwanted advances on women are common, Bumble gave the power back. Created in a similar format as Tinder with the swipe options, Bumble was based on shifting the power dynamic. For heterosexual couples, when a match occurred, women would have to be the ones to make the first move, which encourages equality from the start. Bumble also has a business and BFF section, allowing people to network and find friends on the site if they don’t need it for dating purposes.

Online dating – Is It For Me?

Online Dating Can Be Overwhelming

There are so many online dating options available today. Other than the ten options mentioned above, there are many more sites available – including options like Our Time, for those who are a bit older and don’t want to mix with the younger generation doing online dating.

When online dating, be sure always to be safe and put your needs first. And if you are nervous about getting back out there or have relationship issues you want to work out, know that you can click here to find help for individual and couples counseling. Happy dating!

Counselor Reviews

"My experience with Priscilla has been immensely helpful in better understanding myself and providing me with the tools to see my life and relationships with more clarity and compassion."

“Shannon is very knowledgeable, and skilled in knowing how to use that knowledge to help others. She is also very compassionate and encouraging. I was skeptical about using a counseling service, but this experience has been incredible. I highly recommend Shannon to anyone who needs guidance or help through a difficult time in life. I gave her some enormous challenges, and nothing has been over her head. She has been a tremendous help to me.”

https://www.regain.us/shannon-cunningham/#testimonials

Helpful resources for relationships & more in your inbox
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak With A Licensed Therapist
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.