Free vs. Paid Dating Sites

Many people dismiss the idea of free online dating, believing that free sites are a complete waste of time and have nothing to offer. It is certainly true that there are lots of free dating sites that are not worth bothering with, but the fact is that there are some very good ones that compare well with even the best paid dating sites. Most free dating sites still make money; they just make it through selling advertising space rather than charging for membership. To be successful, they need to have people visiting the site so it is very much in their interests to provide a service that will attract new members and keep the coming back.

By the same token, some people believe that it is not worth paying for an online dating service given that there are so many free dating sites around when the reality is that many paid dating sites do provide very good value for money. The truth of the matter is that some people will be quite happy using free dating sites and may well find what they are looking for without ever having to spend a penny. There will also be some people that are more comfortable using a paid site and are quite happy spending the money to do so. There is no right or wrong, it is just a case of doing whatever works best for you. On this page, we look at some of the major differences between paid and free dating sites.

Number of Members

Generally speaking, you will find that the leading free dating sites have many more members than paid dating sites. This is not always the case as some of the paid sites have very large membership numbers, but the biggest free sites do tend to have the most members. In many respects this gives these free dating sites an advantage, as it makes sense that more members means you have a greater chance of meeting someone that you want to get to know more.

However, it also means that you might have to spend more time going through profiles to identify the ones that do interest you. A paid dating site might have fewer members, but your searches may return more streamlined results – particularly if the site offers a matching system which automatically provides you with matches that are likely to be compatible with you. Really, this point just comes down to what you would prefer. If you like the idea of having a huge pool of potential dates to choose from then a large free dating site is probably a good choice.

Quality of Members

One of the biggest advantages of using free dating sites is, of course, the very fact that they are free. This is also one of the main drawbacks of using a free dating site too though as, unfortunately, you will find a higher proportion of fake profiles at these sites. You will also find that lots of people sign up when they are not really serious about meeting people, and it can be hard to determine which members are genuine and which are just messing around. Also, not all free sites are particularly good when it comes to deleting profiles of lapsed members. This means that you can end up messaging people that have not been on the site for a long time.

With all of that said, there are still plenty of genuine members at free dating sites. It can just be a bit time consuming to weed out to weed out the scammers, time wasters and inactive members. This is less of a problem at paid dating sites, as people that are spending money to sign up are that much more likely to be sincerely interested in meeting new people. These sites also tend to be more active when it comes to removing the profiles of members that are no longer using the site.

Features & Functionality

You might be tempted to assume that paid dating sites offer better and more advanced features than the free alternatives, and it’s true that most of the leading paid dating sites are very sophisticated and some of them use innovative matching systems that are very effective in matching compatible singles. However, you certainly shouldn’t rule out the idea of using free sites on this basis, as many of the top free sites are also very functional with their own useful tools and features. In the reviews we provide at we cover all the features are available at the individual sites.


If you like the idea of trying online dating but are not sure if it is for you, then free dating sites are a great way to give it a go without having to spend any money. The best sites have lots of members, are easy to use and have plenty of useful features.

Whether you're looking for casual dating, love, or just making new friends, you stand every chance of being successful. You shouldn’t rule out using paid sites either though, as there are some benefits in doing so. We would suggest that you keep an open mind, check out a few different sites and sign up at the one that you think is right for you.