The Best Free Online Dating Sites

Over the past several years the online dating landscape changed dramatically, which is due in large part to the proliferation of free online dating sites for every region, area of interest, and type of relationship sought. These offerings have been carefully chosen from the tens of thousands of options currently available. The number of members, features, what makes them different than everyone else and the target markets they serve have all been taken into account. And when you're ready to meet someone, we've got some cheap and free date ideas as well to help you connect with style, inexpensively.

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A mix of social networking, compatibility testing, and online dating, OkCupid is unusual in that it allows its members to create the matching questions already pre-determined at sites like eHarmony or Chemistry. Additionally, users can contact anyone on the system whether or not you are matched well as an Enemy, Friend or Partner, and the company boasts a huge, active membership base. Want help connecting with people using OkC? It's a bit of an art form now, so I've written a comprehensive how-to: Hacking OkCupid to Really Meet Someone Note: Some non-essential features, such as seeing who has starred (liked) you, are now pay-per-use only. More »

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A long-time personal favorite, Casual Kiss now offers free dating site memberships again. With its unique and rich features, large international user base, and social networking applications, Casual Kiss is an excellent free dating site for the younger set as most members are under the age of 40, with a strong concentration in the under 25 age range. More »

A review of the top free dating sites would be odd if it lacked POF (as it is known to its users). Considered to be the first successful free dating site model on the Internet, Owner, Markus Friend, still runs the organization by himself even though his user base outnumbers most of the pay-per-use websites around the world. The amount of people using Plenty of Fish (which includes heavily-trafficked forums, compatibility questionnaires and the very popular Who's Seen Me button) is astronomical in its sheer ability to connect with users around the globe looking for friendship, love, and anything else in between. More »

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Date Hookup quickly rose up the Hitwise top dating site charts as a free dating site to contend with. Straightforward without a lot of features or hullabuloo, Date Hookup offers another viable free dating site alternative for those looking for something a bit more casual than traditional dating.  More »

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Like Plenty of Fish, Mingle2 offers its users free dating services by posting ads all over the site. More than once I've clicked on a link that I thought would show me something about my profile but instead took me offsite. Other than this minor annoyance, Mingle2 offers all the standard dating site features along with some social networking options and a busy community area. More »

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What if you could meet like-minded book lovers who were single, looking, and wanting to debate their reading choices with you? That's the premise of Alikewise, and although it has the lowest number of members (by far) out of any free dating site on this list, its new approach and unassuming layout make it a standout site in my opinion.  More »

Free dating abounds at Connecting Singles, which is geared towards US-based users. Forums, email, local event listings and chat are all free here for singles seeking friendship or love. A straightforward, fun, and relatively well-populated free dating site. More »

Book of Matches, or BoM as the site prefers to be called, offers a low-tech experience full of options such as forums, friends lists, and live chat. Some of Book of Matches'  features keep the larger user base growing constantly, such as scrapbooking and blog tagging. Book of Matches is not just a free dating site however; it also offers social networking options for those who'd rather stay in touch with their friends online.  More »