Online Dating FAQ - Everything you need to know about dating online

Why should I try online dating sites?

Online dating sites provide a great way to meet people you may never meet in the normal course of your life. It is extremely easy to get started and you can be much more thorough in your search for a partner as you can search through thousands of profiles to find the one you want. While you still need to put effort in to get to know people it doesn't have the fear factor of going up to someone in a bar or club. You can get to know them quite well online before meeting and your first date will have a head start as you'll already know plenty about each other.

Do dating sites work?

The simple answer is yes. Millions of people use dating sites nowadays as a way to meet new people and maybe find their perfect match. You only have to look at the success stories nearly all sites have on their websites to see that it can and does work. However don't think that by sticking up a profile on one you're guaranteed to meet someone, it still takes a little work to make a good profile and contact people.

Are dating sites safe?

Reputable online dating sites are safe to use as they protect your details so they remain confidential. You can only contact other members through their messaging systems so your personal contact details will never be revealed unless you give them out yourself. You have control over who you contact and talk to on the sites.

Where online dating can become less safe is when you actually meet someone in real life as there is always a risk. When it comes to meeting someone you should use common sense, always meet in a public place and make sure that a friend or relative knows where you're going to be. All sites have full guides to safely meeting your match off-line and they are worth reading and remembering. We have a list of safe online dating sites here on

What are the best dating sites?

While our recommended dating site is the best dating site is whichever you feel most comfortable at and which works for you. We have reviews of many dating sites which will help with your choice. Most dating sites allow you to create a profile for free so it is worth picking a few sites and adding your profile. Have a look around the site, do a few searches and then when you think you've found the one that fits you best you're ready to get premium membership and start contacting people.

We also have a dating directory which has categories for more focused dating sites such as Jewish Dating Sites and Single Parent Dating.

Which Dating sites are best for someone seeking a serious relationship?

PerfectMatch is our recommended site for those looking for a serious relationship.

Which dating websites are best for a casual relationship?

If you're just looking for a casual relationship, a fling or one night stand then is the site for you.

How do I write my profile?

Your profile is your chance to sell yourself to thousands of potential dates, which can be overwhelming. Your profile should be light hearted and put over something about who you are and the things you like to do. Keep your profile reasonably short and to the point, as in don't ramble on and on, you want to sell yourself not send them to sleep. If you get stuck ask your friends how they would describe you to a potential date or have a look around at other profiles and take some tips from the ones you like. For more tips on writing your profile see our Get Your Dating Profile Noticed article.

Why should I include a photo?

By including a photo on your profile you're over 5 times more likely to be viewed and much more likely to be contacted or replied to. Think about when you search, do you tend to click on the people with photos or without? Many sites now let you add several photos and you can use these to show something about you. If you've pictures of you travelling in different countries or interesting places, taking part in some kind of sport or just an amusing photo of you they will create much more interest than your passport mugshot.

Who are dating sites targeted at?

Online dating sites are for everyone and anyone, so long as you can use a compute and get on the internet. While the big sites cater for everyone there are also lots of sites that concentrate on particular niches like Christian Dating and Latino dating. See our Dating Directory for more categories.

How much do they cost?

Though there are a few sites that are completely free the better sites with more tools and ways to communicate usually charge a membership fee. The amount they charge varies by site but is usually somewhere from $15 to $60 a month. Paying for one month at a time is the costliest method, most sites offer discounted prices if you join for 3 months, 6 months or even a year and by subscribing for longer you can often save over 50% of the monthly charge.

Are paid sites better than free sites?

Almost all online dating sites allow you to put up a profile for free, however you usually can't contact other members and have limited use of many of the functions unless you pay to join. There are some free dating sites available such as iDate which allows you to contact other members with no charge. The free sites however tend to have fewer members and the messaging, search and profile information is generally very basic. Since the sites are free there is also a much higher chance of fake profiles and possible scams. Paying a membership fee means someone on a paid site is possibly more serious about finding someone.

How long before I should meet someone in person?

That's something you need to gauge with the person you're talking to. When it feels right to ask them to meet in real life then ask them. Don't rush in too quickly though and ask to meet in the first message you send! Get to know them a bit first, talk to them on instant messenger or by phone if you can and when you feel it's time then arrange a date. Remember to meet somewhere public and follow the common sense safety tips that most sites have for meeting up for the first time.

Can you join more than one dating site?

Yes, you can join as many as you like. We recommend joining a few and putting up a free profile, then choose the one you like best to become a full member at.