Dating site in uk

Putting yourself out there is always intimidating, and if you’re new to dating apps and sites it can feel almost overwhelming. With all the options available, which one do you choose? And how do you find someone special amongst the millions of singles?

As Tinder turns 10 this year, online dating services have grown to become one of the most popular ways of meeting a potential partner, even overtaking social media.

Dating site in uk

best dating sites uk

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So in order to give you a hand in finding love, Express.co.uk has rounded up the best sites and apps in the UK to help you find exactly what you’re looking from online to real life.

Here are the top three overall dating sites, and then a list of the best.

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eharmony.co.uk

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As one of the most popular and trusted dating sites, eharmony is great if you’re looking for a serious relationship thanks to its tailored algorithm that helps set you up with ideal matches. With thousands of positive testimonies, it’s free to join and has over five million active users so you’ll bound to always meet someone.

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If you’re unsure where to start, then Match.com is perfect as it has 2.5 million members in over 24 countries and is one of the world’s biggest online dating services. There’s a dating coach that helps give advice and there are plenty of amazing features to help you navigate your journey.

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If you’ve got specific requirements, OkCupid is a great dating site for you as it asks specific questions that help weed your likes and dislikes. There are 2.5 million users in the UK so there’s plenty of matches to meet.

1. eHarmony

eHarmony

Best for: Looking for serious relationships

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Things to know

Five million users in the UK
From £11.95 (per month)

What we love

  • Free trial and it’s easy to set up a profile
  • Strong tech matching system based on compatibility
  • Lots of activity and members with over 2.3m messages sent weekly
  • Perfect for people looking for relationships

What we don’t

  • Need to subscribe to send customised messages and receive unlimited messages
  • More expensive than other dating sites

£11.95 at eHarmony

How does it work?

Based on a 2020 survey of UK, US, and Australian residents, eharmony was the most trusted dating site – which in a world where dating apps and sites are constantly derided for encouraging a casual dating culture, this level of trust is saying something.

Using a tailored algorithm, the site creates “highly compatible relationships based on key dimensions of personality that predict the most successful, meaningful relationships”.

2. Match.com

Match.com

Best for: When you haven’t dated for a while

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Things to know

Three million users in the UK
From £12.99 (per month)

What we love

  • Easy to navigate with a clear user interface
  • Gives you more information about a person when you match
  • High pecentage of success stories

What we don’t

  • Older demographic so better for thirties up
  • Long sign-up process

How does it work?

With almost one in five people in Britain knowing a couple who met on Match, this is a dating site that knows what it’s doing. If you’re looking for a dating site that’s going to help you get back into the game, look no further than Match.com.

The website comes with a virtual dating coach that gives you “dating advice, personalised selections, tips to improve your profile, and icebreakers for your first messages” – perfect for if you’re feeling a bit unsure how dating sites work. On top of this, the website comes packed full of tips and tricks to help you on your journey to finding love.

The site also facilitates Match nights, so you can go and meet other singles in person if you’re hoping for that in-person spark, as well as a video chat feature so you can talk on the phone before meeting up in real life.

3. Ourtime

Ourtime

Best for: People in their 50s and 60s

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Things to know

Three million users in the UK
Free membership and paid extras

What we love

  • Profile also appears on Match.com so you have a widened access to matches
  • Real world single events and outings
  • Helpful customer support

What we don’t

  • Most aged 40 and above so not suitable for younger daters
  • Need paid membership to send messages

How does it work?

While you may think dating apps and sites are all for the younger generation, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Most sites have a wide age range of users, so you can really go for any. But the site Ourtime has been specifically designed for people in their 50s and 60s to use, so you’ll be more likely to find someone in your age range if you opt for this one.

The site helps to match singles over 50 with similar interests, so you can be sure you’ll have things in common, and they even host local events so you can meet like-minded singles in person while having a fun day out.

4. Zoosk

Zoosk

Best for: Matchmaking

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Things to know

35 million users worldwide
From: £29.99 for one month, £20 a month for 3 months, £15 a month for six months

What we love

  • There are 35 million users so you’re always certain to meet someone
  • The behavioural matchmaking algorithm matches you well to someone you’re compatible with so you don’t need to spend hours searching
  • Very user friendly interface

What we don’t

  • Limited features on the free trial
  • Not good if you want to pick your own matches
  • No trans or non-binary options to choose from when you make your profile

How does it work?

Using behavioural matchmaking technology, Zoosk personalises the dating process to “help singles find the person and relationship that’s just right for them”.

The famous matchmaking technology learns as you click, so it can pair you with singles you’re likely to have a mutual attraction with.

5. Dating Direct

DatingDirect.com

Best for: Young professionals

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Things to know

Five million users in the UK
From: £29.99 (per month)

What we love

  • Easy to use and profiles are very clear
  • Very detailed profiles
  • High chance of finding a connection due to millions of active users
  • Large amount of dating events

What we don’t

  • Mainly restricted to UK and Europe so not as suitable for American or Asia regions
  • Weak automated match system

How does it work?

Owned by the Match Group, dating direct is popular with young professionals as it uses work and education background as a major matching criterion, so you can meet someone with a similar background to you.

Most widely used by people between the ages of 25 and 40, but is quickly growing in popularity in older demographics too.

6. Original Dating

Original Dating

Best for: People who hate dating sites

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Things to know

More than 6,000 events have been organised with over 250,000 attendees.
From £15 for an event ticket.

What we love

  • You meet lots of connections in a short time
  • It’s a safe space to meet people
  • It’s a fun experience and lots of people enjoy that there’s no pressure when meeting

What we don’t

  • Dates are very short
  • Not always guaranteed to find people with your preferences

How does it work?

The UK’s leader in speed dating and singles events, this is a dating site for those who are committed to meeting their special someone in person.

For the speed dating events, you get about five minutes with each person, after which you tick a score sheet yes if you’d like to see them again, and no if you’d rather not – this is just for you to keep track of whom you clicked with.

After the speed dating, there’s an opportunity for everyone to mingle informally and get to know each other better.

Then, after the event, you tick whom you liked on the Original Dating website, and if it’s reciprocated you’ll be able to message them on the site to get to know each other better and exchange information, so you can get that first date planned.

7. Illicit Encounters

Illicit Encounters

Best for: Open relationships

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Things to know

One million users in the UK
From £169.99 for a 4-week Gold Membership

What we love

  • It’s an open space to meet people with similar desires
  • Reliable, secure and discreet
  • Details are kept safe and bank account statement will not have Illicit Encounters on it

What we don’t

  • Expensive membership
  • Sending messages is a premium feature for men

How does it work?

The UK’s largest dating site for married people, this site is designed to be “discreet, safe, and fun” for those who are already in committed relationships.

Many modern couples are turning their backs on monogamy in order to embrace open relationships, but already being married or attached can be a major dealbreaker for people on traditional dating sites – making it tricky to find potential partners. Illicit Encounters make this easier by matching you with people who are in a similar situation, who are also looking to date outside of their committed relationships.

The site creates a non-judgemental, no-pressure environment for members. Unlike other sites, members can remain anonymous with password protection on photographs, to protect their identities.

8. Ok Cupid

OkCupid

Best for: Picky daters

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Things to know

Two-and-a-half million users in the UK
From £7.95 (per month)

What we love

  • Variety of choice of relationships to choose from; marriage, short-term etc.
  • Very inclusive as you can choose from 22 different genders and 13 sexual orientations
  • Questionnaires are very specific to find your preferences

What we don’t

  • Extra features only available on premium membership

£7.95 at okcupid

How does it work?

Dating apps and sites get exhausting if you’re more of a picky dater who knows exactly what they’re looking for.

OkCupid helps you weed out inappropriate matches by asking questions about the things you care about, and then connecting you on what really matters so you can find people you’re really compatible with.

9. Mai Tai UK | Elite Dating

Mai Tai UK | Elite Dating

Best for: Corporate professionals

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Things to know

Free membership

What we love

  • Very easy to date as you have everything organised for you
  • Meet matches face-to-face and in a relaxed setting

What we don’t

  • Limited to London and Oxford areas

How does it work?

Named after the co-founder’s favourite cocktails, Mai Tai is a matchmaking platform that is ideal for busy professionals who don’t have time to go on countless dates.

Mai Tai makes it extremely easy to date, simply register online and an event curator or matchmaker will find compatible partners and organise a date at a restaurant in London or Oxford where you’ll be invited to meet with a table of four matches.

10. Ashley Madison

Ashley Madison

Best for: Polyamorous relationships

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Things to know

Two-point-three million users in the UK
From 47p per credit (£47.18 for 100 credits)

What we love

  • Open space for non-mongamous relationships and matches with the same intentions
  • Free for women to send messages
  • Very active community and easy to find short term relationships

What we don’t

  • Expensive for men as they need to buy credits to use
  • Complicated pricing structure

How does it work?

Launched back in 2001, Ashley Madison is globally one of the biggest dating services for non-mongamous and polyamorous relationships. The site caters to everyone from first-timers to couples that have had extramaritia affairs for years. 

It’s simple to use, simply create an account, select preferences and you’ll be able to see matches near you with the same preferences. Plus, you can use the discover mode to see hundreds of other profiles on the site.

The site actually has more female users than me as it’s free for women to send messages, while men need to buy credits to start and respond to messages.

11. ChristianCafe.com

ChristianCafe.com

Best for: Christians

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Things to know

10 day free trial

What we love

  • High success stories of marriage
  • Easy to filter searches based on faith but also has quick matches if you’re busy

What we don’t

  • Site design feels a bit outdated
  • Not as many active users

Free trial at ChristianCafe.com

How does it work?

Christian Cafe first started in 1999 and since then, there have been over 25,000 marriages formed and several international sites including the United Kingdom Christian Dating and there are also dating sites specific to UK locations including Luton, Wigan and more.

Ideal for christians who are looking to find someone who shares the same faith, it’s easy to use as you just sign up and create a profile to get chatting to others. You can get a seven day free trial and an extra three days when you upload photos of yourself.

12. Single Solution

Single Solution

Best for: Mature professionals (over 35) and British South asians

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Things to know

20,000 registered users
Free membership

What we love

  • Asian version of the site is tailored to a specific demographic so easy to find matches for specific preferences
  • Easy to meet people in similar careers

What we don’t

  • Site design is very old

Free at Single Solution

How does it work?

Single Solutions is the UK’s leading dating service for professionals between 25 and 60 who work in jobs such as accounting, law, media and design. The service arranges weekly events for different age groups and also an online dating service where you can register your profile.

The dating services are also aimed at Britsh South asians and the sister site asiansinglesolution.com connects indiviuals specifically of South Asian heritage together. 

All you need to do is sign up and create your profile, start searching and messaging others. The premium membership unlocks full benefits including advanced search options, unlimited messaging and more.

13. Urban Solution

Urban Solution

Best for: Socialable singles and extroverts

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Things to know

Free membership

What we love

  • Live chat makes it easy to connect with people
  • Can block spam profiles

What we don’t

  • No mobile app

Free at Urban Social

How does it work?

Launched in 2003, Urban Social is an online dating service that’s UK-wide and ideal for extroverts who are looking for relationships.

It takes a few simple steps to sign up and make your profile, then you can search the database to find other members and make contact with your preferences via email, text or instant chat.

There’s plenty of fun extras and you can send flirty winks to members you like, before you decide to meet up with them. Plus, the blog has plenty of advice on everything from making your profile stand out to date night ideas.

Are dating sites worth it?

While paying for a dating site might feel a little strange at first, especially if you’re used to traditional dating, it really helps to invest in finding the right person.

While there are plenty of free dating apps and sites available, they don’t do much to personalise the service and help you find a match unless you pay a subscription fee.

What’s “worth it” differs from person to person, but if you’re ready to find someone and don’t want to waste time on people who very obviously aren’t suited to you, many would say it’s absolutely worth it.

Are dating sites a waste of time?

According to the many millions of people around the world who met their partner on one – absolutely not. While the people who do feel like their time was wasted are usually the loudest detractors of online dating, there are many, many people whose lives have been changed for the better by dating sites.

While there’s of course no guarantee you’ll meet the love of your life, chances are even if you don’t you’ll still meet some kind, like-minded people who will remind you there are plenty of good people out there.

Which dating sites are free?

If you’re short on cash, there are plenty of free dating sites and apps that you can use. The top ones include Tinder, Hinge, Bumble.

Are dating sites dangerous?

While dating sites are just as safe as going on a date with a stranger you met at a bar or any other location, there are some precautions you can take to keep yourself safe – and many are applicable to offline dating too.

Dating site eharmony offers the following tips to ensure you’re protecting your safety while online dating:

Never share financial or private information

Although it’s easy to get swept up in the romance of it all when you feel an instant connection, it’s wise to remember that there’s still a lot left to learn about the person you’re talking to. eharmony recommends you:

– Never give out your credit card number or bank account information.

– Never share your Social Security Number, mother’s maiden name or other private information like your address that can be used to access your financial information.

– Never send money or goods to a person.

– This includes keeping your profile private, so no last names, workplaces, addresses, or other identifying information in the early stages of talking.

Use your best judgment

According to eharmony, these are some of the most common red flags when getting to know someone new online:

– Claims to be from the UK but is currently living, working or travelling abroad.

– Claims they are experiencing an emergency situation that requires your assistance, in either goods (like gift cards) or money.

– Disappears suddenly from the site then reappears under a different name.

– Wants the relationship to progress faster than you are comfortable going.

– Asks inappropriate questions.

– Tells inconsistent or exaggerated stories.

– Gives vague answers to specific questions.

– Claims to be recently widowed.

Do your research

eharmony recommends doing your due diligence before organising to meet in person, by putting their name into a search engine and taking a look at their social media profiles.

Be careful when planning those first few dates

eharmony has plenty of tips for ensuring you’re safe and comfortable the first time you meet up with someone from a dating app or site, with its top tips being:

– Meet in public for your first few dates, if your date is insisting on meeting somewhere private, this should be taken as a serious red flag.

– Don’t let your date pressure you into drug or alcohol consumption, and be sure you only consume a safe amount. Know your limits so you can trust your decision making.

– Organise your transportation before you get there, and never agree to be picked up. If the date goes badly, you don’t want to be stuck somewhere unfamiliar and potentially unsafe.

– Although it can feel embarrassing to tell friends and family you’re going on a date, be sure to tell at least one person where you’re going and whom you’re going with and arrange to check in after the date.

– Make sure your phone is fully charged, and you have money with you.

– Make sure your phone, wallet, bag, and any other important belongings are kept in eyesight.

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