Online dating has become a safe, efficient and exciting way to connect with interesting people in cyberspace and to ultimately date some of them in physical space. However, with new dating sites frequently coming online, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.
We hope that this buying guide provides you with some useful advice on what to look for when selecting a UK Online Dating site that's right for you.
Particularly Noteworthy Features
There are some particularly valuable features to keep in mind, when choosing an online dating site. All of these features are designed to greatly enhance your online dating experience by making it easier to find and communicate with compatible people in an online environment.
Pricing & Free Trials
Most sites entice you with a free trial that allows you to explore the site and determine whether you wish to sign up for a paid subscription. There can be quite a bit of variation in the pricing structure for online dating sites. Sometimes the higher subscriptions are justified as a site offers a broader range of noteworthy features, other times they represent poor value for money.
We try our best to keep our reviews up-dated but, from time to time, sites introduce new membership structures with designated features, or suddenly under-cut their rivals in an attempt to increase their market share. So we recommend that you visit the merchant sites to see their current offers and pricing plans before making a final decision between two sites.
The Popularity of a Site
Traditional (offline) dating tends to revolve around basic statistics: the more people you meet, possessing your preferred demographics, the more likely you are to find your perfect match. Online dating is not really any different, except that you can meet many more people than you could by following a more traditional dating approach, and finding a good match can be much quicker (and cheaper!).
In general, the larger the number of members on a particular dating site, possessing your preferred demographics, the greater your chances of meeting someone suitable. (Unless you want something very specific - in which case you may want to sign up with a specialised dating such as Adult Dating, Gay Dating, Senior Dating, and so on. Therefore, when we survey online dating sites, we tend to recommend those with larger databases of members (particularly if they also have a powerful set of search parameters which let you find people with particular demographics or characteristics which appeal to you).
A note on Privacy & Safety
Online dating has come a very long way over the past 10 years. In fact, it has now established itself as a 'mainstream' activity, with hundreds of millions of 'ordinary' people, all over the world, signed up with online dating sites. Your online profile can contain quite a bit of personal information, so it's important to choose an online dating site that offers a good level of privacy protection. Most websites offer the opportunity to block users from viewing your profile or apply additional privacy settings to your profile (for example, to make your photographs or videos private or password only).
In our reviews, we have tried to highlight websites which offer additional privacy protection. Most sites also offer guides on how to stay safe online. Most of their tips are fairly obvious, so if you have a reasonable level of common sense, you should be just fine! With the advent of webcams, you can now meet online and get a much better feel for someone, before meeting them in the physical world. So in some respects, it can be safer than using a traditional dating approach.
Terminology: "Powered By…"
You may see the term "powered by" on some online dating sites. This indicates that the site shares the features, structure and often, membership directory of the larger, more established site. Many users are reassured by this factor as it offers the security of being associated with a major site while at the same time having a slightly more specialised focus. Others will just want to cut out the middle-man and join the parent site directly. This practice is relatively common, so don’t be worried if you see that a site is “powered by” another.
The Bottom Line
Millions of ordinary people across the UK have signed up to online dating sites to find someone to date. Many of them are good-looking, intelligent, exciting, and successful. It's just a matter of finding them and connecting with them. Check out our top ten reviews of the best UK dating sites to see which site is right for you!