Online Dating: Paid vs. Free Websites

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To pay or not to pay for digital dating?
This woman looks at paid dating sites and wonders if she just spent a fortune on something not worthwhile. Photo via Pixabay.

There are both paid and free online dating websites out there, and for the single gal or guy, it can be perplexing to decide which one to use. When I was single, I used both types. Here are my conclusions about which type of dating site is better in this post sponsored by Digital Dudes.

The Assumption about Paid vs. Free Dating Websites

Many people assume that paid sites are better because they’ll only have those people who are serious about dating. Well, that’s what I thought too. I signed up for a dating site and found out once I was all paid up for several months that there were not many active users. I recall sending messages and not getting any replies.

I later researched the site (I know, groan, I ought to have done that beforehand) and found out that I was not the only one not getting replies to my messages to online dating users on that particular site. Likely those non-responsive people had found matches already or simply gave up on the site but kept their profile there as they had paid to do so. Talk about disappointing, and I was out a chunk of cash too that particular year.

Digital dating doesn't have to cost you money
Looking for your romantic match online: Do you have to pay to find him or her? Photo via Pixabay.

The Reality: You Don’t Have to Pay to Date Online

Now that I’ve dispelled that myth about the paid platforms, I want you to know that I had much more success with the free dating sites. The freebie ones didn’t seem any lower in quality of the web pages or have slower load times. And here’s what was better: Male users actually responded to my messages there, and others even took the initiative and messaged me first. Yes, there were lots of active users. I was thinking, wow, I didn’t have to pay a cent!

While I didn’t meet everyone in person who I messaged with through these platforms, I did see a few of them. They were nice guys but for one reason or another none of them were my forever guy. My point here is that the men were just as nice as I had anticipated would be the case for the paid online dating websites.

And when you really give it some thought, you shouldn’t have to pay to find love. You deserve to find that special someone, and if you choose to do so through the digital dating world then you needn’t be stuck with a bill for the process of looking for him or her.

Also, if you look back on the start of the online dating trend, there were a lot fewer sites to choose from, and they weren’t paid ones. Now you can join a free dating site easily, filling out a profile and gaining access to pages of users who just might be a love match with you. The websites are a lot better quality than before, even for the ones at no cost.

Love matches don't involve opening your wallet
Looking for love? Put down the credit card as there are some great free platforms out there. Photo from Pexels.

Another Benefit of Free Dating Sites Over Paid Ones

Another thing I didn’t like about that paid dating site I used was that it gave me access only to those men who I matched with, based on my profile (interests, age range, etc.). I would rather have had access to all users of the site so I could look through them at my leisure, which most free platforms do allow. I realize that just because software says I’m not a match for someone doesn’t mean that’s the case in real life… Sometimes opposites do attract! So, being able to choose on your own who to select as a good fit is a benefit of free sites.

Ultimately, you’re going to do what you like but, just for the record, I had more fun dates with the free websites than the paid websites. Now I’m in a relationship, so I’m no longer on the dating scene. But I’m still glad I had those experiences and can now offer advice based on what I found. I wish you all the best in your journey to find love.

24 COMMENTS

  1. I enjoyed your informative article. It often takes time for a ‘newbie’ to discover all the mechanisms of online dating. Also, many of the same men were on both paid and free sites. For fun I clicked on your hyperlink. Australia – oh dear, I’m in USA. 🙂 Long distance!

    • Oh yes, I’ve written about long distance dating too 😉 It would be interesting to know how many dating sites the average person is on as you indicate many users overlap…

  2. It’ll be a while before I feel like testing the dating waters again, but I’d likely try a free site over a paid one. I did have decent luck with Match, but I suppose the level of activity of users is impacted a large number of factors.

    • Taking a break is good too… It can give you time to evaluate what you’re looking for in a romantic partner.

    • Thank you for appreciating my experiences here and conclusions about free vs paid dating sites, Resa 🙂 I’m also pleased you like the redesign of the blog. After my donations campaign, a friend who designs websites came to me with an offer to improve its look –>> So kind! I’m truly blessed.

  3. I’ve only used one dating site, which was a paid one. I found that nearly all the guys there were only interested in one thing, whatever their age was (even 70s)… and I think you can guess what that was!! A lot of guys messaged me just based on my picture, and didn’t even bother reading my profile. After a few weeks I had had enough of it, but I did end up dating one guy (who was also fed up of the site) and we did date on and off… but he kept dumping me, as he doesn’t really know what he wants. Anyway, we have remained good buddies, which is something, but at this stage I’ve had enough of romance with him.

    I have heard a few rather mixed tales of a free site called Plenty Of Fish, and while one or two have found nice guys, there have also been a fair share of time wasters and also some emailing porno/explicit photos.

    Time will tell whether I will try another site again…..

    • A positive point was that you got a friend out of it… And that perhaps by meeting those men who are not ideal you’ve come to learn more about what you ARE looking for.

    • It’s amazing the experiences gained back when we were single and dating, isn’t it?! Thanks for noticing the redesign, Loretta; a webdesign friend did this and I’m so thankful.

  4. I’ve really enjoyed your post! I wrote something awhile ago about dating apps. I’ve always found my experience quite limiting with free apps. Especially, when you think about the age group that gravitates toward free apps. It creates a certain culture that I don’t think is conducive to finding a soulmate lol. But I enjoyed the read.

    • Thanks for sharing your view on the free options. I suppose whether it’s free or not, it’s an adventure 🙂

  5. All About Love

    Love is true and forever,
    Love is saying goodbye never.
    Love is never going astray,
    Love is only loving more with each passing day.
    I love you my baby.

      • A Pure feeling

        Love is a pure feeling of heart,
        Love is true when love is new,
        Love makes the world go round,
        The passion and compassion that surround,
        When you fall in love, you are not you,
        Everything looks awesome,
        Everything looks new!
        From my heart, I wish to confess,
        That I love you!

  6. Definitely not is the answer. If you think about it, more people will use a free dating website/app v’s a paid one and therefore there is more choice for you. Big apps such as Tinder and Bumble are the most popular partly because they are free but also because Tinder has now shelved it’s original reputation as being an app if you were looking for sex only.

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