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Which is the best dating site in the UK?

No one can say there aren’t enough dating sites to choose from these days. Indeed, there’s one for every kind of taste and audience. There are general dating sites as well as niche sites, mainstream and alternative.

Paid sites and free sites. Sites for finding a future spouse or to set up a brief fling. There’s no shortage of options but which is the best dating site?

Where should we sign up with our hard-earned money and who should we trust to help us find that special someone?

We decided to take an in-depth look into the most popular and best dating sites to compare them against each other to see which one comes out as a winner in our quest for the best dating site in the UK.

In order to do that, we’re going to compare some of the main characteristics that are important to every one who has ever used a dating site – the popularity of a site, how good the search is and how informative the profiles are, what kind of compatibility test is offered at the site, what extra features does the site have or how original is their idea and last but certainly not least – the price.

Popularity

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Let’s just look at the number of users on the most popular dating sites. If we compare Match, eHarmony, MySingleFriend, OKCupid and DoingSomething, we see that Match is by far the most popular dating site out there.

With around a million members and 17 million unique visitors per month worldwide it is truly the king of all dating sites when it comes to popularity. You might ask why this is so important – after all, you’re not going to date the 17 million, all you want to find is someone in your own town. But with that sheer number, Match simply has the edge on every other dating site.

Not only will Match most probably have someone from your area as a member but it will provide a bigger selection for you.

eHarmony has around 4 million unique visitors in a month but about the same amount of members, so it would be our next preference when it comes to popularity. You can be fairly sure that it will match you with people near you and that even if you come from a smaller town in UK, there’s a fair selection of people to be found within a 50-mile radius.

In third place we find another world-wide dating site, OK Cupid, which is also a free site, and therefore it’s easier for them to find members. They also have around one million members with around 2 million unique visitors per month.

Now, MySingleFriend doesn’t even come close to these user numbers – but granted, it’s a UK site only and therefore doesn’t have such a huge membership base abroad. There’s probably around 100 000 users in MySingleFriend and even though you might struggle to find ample amount of suitable dates in every single part of the UK, all the main areas are covered pretty well.

As far as popularity is concerned, we’d base Doingsomething in last place among the best UK dating sites – mainly because it’s for London people only. We’ve heard they are planning to have other cities in the UK involved quite soon, but for now it’s a fun and popular site for London people but others in the UK are missing out, therefore we can’t possibly place it in the same category as Match and eHarmony.

Search and profiles

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When it comes to profiles and the way they’re designed it’s a matter of personal taste but having tested numerous dating sites in the UK, we have to say that our favourite is still Match.com.

Match.com profiles
Match profiles are concise, not overbearing or loaded down with too many bells and whistles. They display a good amount of key information, even if the user hasn’t put in a huge effort (and lets face it not everyone does). We like the way they’re presented, the clarity and simplicity of design just work, the pictures are well laid out and everything fits well onto one page without tabs or layers.

Match.com Search
When you do a Match.com search, there are plenty of useful search features and the advanced search is truly advanced with lots of different options for you to narrow down your search. You can search by how recently the users have been online, whether they want or have children, you can stop some members to appear in your search – you just have so many options. Even if you don’t like the search, you can use their Daily 6 feature which picks six profiles out for you every day.

eHarmony Profiles and search
Now, when it comes to eHarmony then we also have to say that we love their new design and the way their profiles are set up. A fair amount of work goes into setting up your profile, because there’s a personality profile test to fill in when you join but it’s easy, it’s clever and it doesn’t actually wear you out – you might even enjoy filling it out! And as a result you end up with a truly comprehensive, insightful and fun profile which is a big selling point of the site.

At the same time, eHarmony isn’t exactly known for its search feature – it just doesn’t have a standard search, instead it’s focus is on picking out the best matches for you. Even though it does it according to the profiles that best match your needs and expectations, it’s still not exactly the same as performing your own search. If you prefer to search yourself then match.com is a much better bet.

OkCupid Profiles and Searching
OKCupid comes next in our search and profiles category. Their profiles are truly comprehensive and contain a good deal of information. There’s a lot of questions to answer and it’s all good but at the same time we can’t imagine people actually having enough time to look through all those hundreds of answers that potential dates have given to these questions. The profiles are so intricate and detailed that we found ourselves skimming through them and not really paying attention to the details.

At the same time, the design isn’t as pleasing as eHarmony’s as it tends to be a little too cluttered. But searching is very good, you get to use loads of different options and features plus you also get the so-called ‘quiver matches’, which is essentially just the system’s pick for you not unlike how eHarmony does it.

Profiles & Searching on MySingleFriend
MySingleFriend definitely stands out in the profile department with a completely different style and such an original idea – half of your profile is actually written by a friend. We love the trust effect that this has on profiles on this site, because you sort of know that these people really do exist, they have friends who love them and are vouching for them so it feels more human and real. The downside to the profiles is the design – it’s not very inventive and could perhaps do with a little uplift. The search feature, however, works well and we really like how even your friends can do a bit of their own matchmaking for you.

DoingSomething Profiles and Search
Finally, DoingSomething doesn’t quite live up to the others high standards – the profile pages are mostly a collection of ideas that you want to do for your date and even though you can write up a more proper profile page and fill in some more details, not very many users tend to do that. The search, however, is very good here because not only can you search for dates, but also for date ideas. And this way you can broaden the usual dating experience and actually end up with a fair amount of people who are keen to try out one date idea.

Compatibility testing

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In this section there’s one firm favourite – eHarmony. They claim their compatibility matching system is based on over 35 years of experience and scientific research and while we cannot comment on that we can certainly say that we enjoyed their personality test and the fact that all your matches are weighed against your answers and thus given a matching percentage.

OKCupid also has a compatibility test of sorts – you give answers to questions on their site and it calculates your closest matches according to the answers that you have given as well as what you expect your date to answer. The trick is, the more answers you give here, the more accurate is the result going to be. We don’t know about how scientific this approach is but it’s fun to do and helps their system pick out the most suitable dates for you.

Match, MySingleFriend and DoingSomething don’t have any specific compatibility testing feature so they don’t score any points in this category.

Originality and extras

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As dating sites go, I think it’s safe to say that DoingSomething is pretty darn original. We’re surprised that no one else thought of their idea before they did – or perhaps someone did and never executed it as well. Their idea is truly original and it kind of takes the edge off the whole dating business which is – let’s face it – a little stressful at best. If there’s something you’d love to do just find a person on the site who’d like to do it with you – and you don’t even have to call this a date! There’s also the Wheel of Date which picks out some cool date idea for you if you’re hard-pressed to find one yourself out of the thousands of ideas listed here.

MySingleFriend comes next here as we are sure you have to agree – letting your friends find you a date is a fun and original idea and deserves our recognition. Because it’s also such a popular site, it’s clear that many others have signed up to Sarah Beeny’s original dating site idea.

Next comes eHarmony in our estimation. It’s not exactly the most inventive site out there but they’ve done a pretty good job within the limits of a ‘general dating’ site – they’ve got their own compatibility system which they put to good use. They’re trying to match you every day with a set of suitable dates, they have the guided communication that you can use as help – granted, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but still a very usable site. So all-in-all we’re pleased with what eHarmony brings to the table.

Match is similar in doing what it does well without being groundbreaking original. Bear in mind that these two dating sites are for general dating therefore it’s harder for them to stand out in originality but they’ve managed it pretty well within their limits. Match has also several little features to make it more user-friendly and easier to use, as the quizzes for example and we think it compares quite well with the niche-sites. Match.com gets extra points for its very usable mobile app too.

Finally, OKCupid is a lively and solid site but it doesn’t really stand out too much. It has a little bit of everything, a jack of all trades – it’s just nothing that makes it super memorable or unique. But perhaps that’s not the most important thing in the world as long as it does the job.

Price of the Best Dating Sites

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Finally, we can’t not mention the price. Of course, there’s one free dating site here (OKCupid) while the other top four are paid sites but I think we have to take into account the whole experience as well as the value for money we think each site offers.

Again, our firm favourite here is Match, which costs only £12.99 a month if you get their 6 months offer. For that money you get an incredible service and are virtually guaranteed to find at least a few dates that you would want to meet in real life. For that amount, this is very good indeed.

DoingSomething also has a good price of only £6.25 a month (if you use our £10 off discount code) and sign up for a whole year. It’s not as versatile as Match nor can it be used in the whole of UK, therefore we don’t value it as highly as Match, but we have to say that it has a pretty good price and that’s hard to beat.

OKCupid – which, like we said, is essentially a free site, comes next. I mean, it is free but in order to use all of their features you do have to pay around $9.60 a month (with a 6 month membership plan) which comes out as around £6. They are a popular site but not as good as Match in our estimation. By all means try it out first if you’re struggling to pay the Match.com fees and you can always join a paid site later if OKCupid doesn’t work out.

MySingleFriend costs around £13.15 a month if you sign up for six months and that is rather pricy for what they offer. But we do appreciate that as an independent site rather than a huge corporate worldwide site it’s harder for them to keep their prices low.

Finally, eHarmony costs the most. £14.95 a month (6-month membership) if you choose the basic plan and £16.95 for total connect. Sure, if you sign up for a whole year, you can get the price down to less than a tenner for a month, but it’s still quite pricey.

Conclusion – Best Dating Site in the UK

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Having looked at all these characteristics, it’s safe to say that match.com really comes out the winner here. It’s unbeatable in popularity, has the best profiles and search according to our review and also has the best price for what it offers. It can’t beat niche sites in originality, nor does it have a compatibility testing system but these features are not as essential as a good price, excellent search and the number of members in your area. Throw in the match.com mobile app for subscribers of the main site and match.com easily tops our list.

eHarmony would be our next choice even with its prices on the high side (unless you sign up for 12 months). But we’re a big fan of their redesigned profiles and compatibility testing system. Of course, they are also immensely popular in the UK too.

We think MySingleFriend would be our next choice. Just because it’s UK based, an independent site and we truly appreciate the hard work that has gone into it. It’s original and popular albeit maybe lacking a little in design prowess.

OKCupid is our firm favourite when it comes to free sites. It’s got a little bit of everything and I think most users would be happy to use it too, even though it’s not as good and not quite as reliable as Match or eHarmony when it comes to seeking out a long term relationship.

Finally, DoingSomething is also a great site, but we regret the fact that for now it’s meant for London based people only. It’s hard to beat the originality and the idea but some more work needs to go into it to make it a truly great site.

We hope you found our thoughts on the best dating sites in the UK helpful and all the best in your dating adventure on whichever site you choose to join 🙂


About the Author

has been reviewing and writing about the world of online dating since 2008 and the launch of Online Dating Help. A stickler for promoting ethical practices within the UK dating industry she champions the sites that get it right while highlighting those holding it back. You can follow her on Google+



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