(Disclosure, I may receive a small referral fee when you make a purchase through links on this post.)
There are many free online dating sites available. Are they worth your time and energy? It really depends on what site you stumble upon. I have analyzed some of the major online dating sites that are free. Most online dating sites will advertize themselves as free but they are free until a certain stage. eHarmony for example will allow you to fill out the patented survey, let you see your matches, occasionally go through Guided Communication but will not allow you to see any pictures or communicate freely. Once you attempt to send a message, you are re-directed to their payment page.
OKCupid is a rather new online dating site where upon sign up, you can begin checking out matches, visibility to profile pictures, and even send messages. This is all on top of the basic view of all of the ‘about me’ section. When you click the ‘search’ menu, you can make basic selections such as age, distance, online frequency, photo, status, and etc. If you click the Advanced tab, you will see the below query which are for subscription members only.
- Body type
- Dating Persona
- Questions answered
Once you select one of these filters, you are led to a membership page of $9.95/month which is not bad at all. You can also answer questions which increases you compatibility match. Each profile you browse they will determine what % are you a Match, Friend, or Enemy. There are no description on how they come up with these values. There is a history widget of the last 6 profiles you viewed and they also have a suggestions list for your convenience. This is definitely one of the better free online dating sites. After they were acquired by Match.com gives it more reputation.
Plentyoffish.com was started by Mark Rukus literally from his home and the site shows. It was highly scrutinized for lack of security features especially with its password. If you reset your password, you will receive an email with your password in plain text. Pof.com has the largest number of users for a free site but the type / personality type you run across varies widely also. It is very likely that you will spend a lot more time to find a match, interact with someone before you meet.
Craigslist is not an online dating site per se but is considered a place where people can meet. The largest text based online classifieds in the US has many options on the type of relationship from sexual to platonic, groupies to traditional dating. There are no structured profiles and rarely will you find a (real) picture of anyone posting a classifieds for a love interest.
Free online dating sites are ample but may come at a price. Being that they are free to join, you may encounter more ‘false’ profiles where they have little to no intention of meeting someone. You may need to be extra cautious of scammers who load fake pictures to try to find a prey. Bottom line is you need to be tread these and many other sites with caution.