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The Best Dating Apps and Sites to find your Match

Casual dating and long-term relationships are more accessible than ever in 2024, and with our best dating sites and apps, you'll be getting the most out of the ones that suit you best in no time.

The best dating apps and sites are, in the end, the ones that lead to the outcome you’re looking for. Since that means different things to different people — long-term relationships, hook-ups, polyamorous partners, kink exploration — almost every dating app you’ve ever heard of has likely been successful to somebody.

The reverse is also true: some have had terrible experiences with certain dating websites (and the people on them) and are more than happy to discuss said woes with anyone who is unfortunate enough to ask. All of this is to say that if you canvass your friends for advice on which the best dating app is, you’re going to get a lot of very different answers. As we like to say, one man’s Tinder is another man’s trauma.

So how to select between your eHarmonys and your Hinges if people’s experiences are as personal as they are with sex toys? We suggest making profiles on a couple of the dating services that best suit your hopes and sticking to those two platforms only: spreading yourself too thin will mean you’re losing out on some potentially spectacular first dates. Read on to find which services use compatibility questionnaires, the algorithm and sheer dumb luck to help you find your perfect match.

What are the best dating apps to use in 2024?

Best dating app for long-term relationships: eHarmony

A dating site with almost as much history as the internet itself, eHarmony is the daddy of online dating sites. Hyper-focused on getting people matched up for good, it uses a compatibility matching system that claims to match up to 70 per cent of its users with a long-term relationship within a year of clicking “join now”.

Best for: People seeking long-term relationships

Cost: From free

No. of users: 5 million (in the UK)

Available: Online, Apple's App Store and Google Play

You might think statistics aren't sexy, but wait until you hear that eHarmony matches 70 per cent of its members with a husband or wife before their first year as a member is out. One of the oldest and best-known brands, it also has over five million users for you to potentially match with… and that's just in the UK. The secret? A patented ‘eHarmony Compatibility Matching System’ that helps you only see like-minded people with personality traits that gel with yours.

Part of the sign-up process, by finishing the quiz, you'll get a list of your matches as part of the site’s free version: you'll even be able to like profiles (with “smiles”) of those who take your fancy. You'll also be able to send over Icebreakers. The catch? Those have been pre-written. If you want to see your matches' full profiles and message them with your own words, you'll have to become a paying subscriber.

Best dating app for hook-ups: Tinder

A dating app so name-checked that its trading name — like Sellotape — has become synonymous with the service it provides, Tinder is an OG in the swiping world. There are plenty of people who have met long-term partners here, but the enduring culture is one of casual dating and hooking up.

Best for: Hookups

Cost: From free

No. of users: 75 million (worldwide)

Available: Online, Apple's App Store and Google Play

The Big One: Tinder has reported over 60 billion matches and, despite its hype having faded in recent years, it purports to still have 75 million worldwide users. That's a lot of swiping to be had, and though many of those swipes may lead to hook-ups, plenty of them have the potential to lead to something more long-lasting.

Having bagged a fiancé from using Tinder back in 2017, Jessie can testify to the occasional kismet of the app, and there are myriad other anecdotal instances of the same to be found in almost every friend group. While it’s no longer in its heyday, this is still a great app to try if you’re not actively searching for love but wouldn’t pass up on the opportunity should it present itself.

Best dating app for events: Thursday

Best for: People who hate dating apps

Cost: From free

No. of Users: 350,000

Available: Online, Apple's App Store and Google Play

Resigned to the ubiquity of technology but sick of doing all your dating online? Thursday is for you. Every Thursday, it allows you to make a maximum of ten matches and arrange a date for that evening (or, if you're feeling rebellious, the next). If nothing has transpired within that window? The match will either disappear forever or roll back around next Thursday when you could always revisit the vibe.

If you're trying to minimise the amount of time you're spending endlessly scrolling through dating apps, it might be time to switch to this, Sarah* reckons. Going live only on, you guessed it, Thursdays, you have 24 hours to either match with other people in your area and organise a date — or attend one of the weekly events to meet a bunch of people at once. While we've yet to hear of a success story from this app (not to say that they aren't out there), if there's one thing Thursday can do, it's help focus your time and stop the ceaseless scrolling, while also attending some fun events.


Best for: Ultimate dating safety

Cost: From free

No. of users: 22 million (worldwide)

Available: Online, Apple's App Store and Google Play

Whitney Wolfe is the person behind Bumble, and as one of the initial founders of Tinder, she's been more than well-placed to develop another smash hit. Conceived with the ethos of redressing the gender power imbalance on other apps and sites, Bumble requires the woman to make the first move after matching. If no chat starts within a day, the match disappears. Now one of the safest dating apps on the Apple Store, it is a popular spot for young professionals, and can even be used for more platonic connections and business link-ups.

Having used the app herself for a few months, Heidi's had good and not-to-good connections come from Bumble. Although the app's key gimmick isn't as effective for same-sex connections, it sets a nice precedent for heterosexual interactions, where women are empowered to make the first move.

Best Dating App For General Dating: Hinge

Best for: Swiping on personalities, not just looks

Cost: From free

No. of users: 5.5 million (worldwide)

Available: Online, Apple's App Store and Google Play

Since it once allowed users to meet friends of friends, Hinge began as the virtual equivalent to a wedding. Now, it's one of the most popular dating apps out there, mostly due to its healthy balance of photos and personal details. The smartest part? You can match with someone by liking a reply they've made to a prompt rather than simply showing appreciation for a picture. Since it favours all-rounders and offers most of its features for free, it's a spectacular alternative to the hook-up culture on Tinder.

When Hinge swelled in popularity, back in around 2018, users – including Brit – were sceptical about its format, specifically the requirement to answer three prompts, like, ‘They key to my heart is...’. Already inherently cringe by nature (trying to sell yourself to potential dates? Horrible!), a dating app that requires personality is a daunting prospect – but that’s exactly why it’s one of the best. You can find out who’s funny, charming, and who, by way of refusing to join in with the prompts, has no personality. Anecdotally, it’s also one of the best to bag a long-term partner, which Brit can attest to, having met her boyfriend on the app back in 2019. I guess the key to her heart was, er, Hinge.

Best Dating App For Over-50s: Our Time

Best for: Over 50s

Cost: From free

No. of users: 150,000

Available: Online, Apple's App Store and Google Play

While most dating apps won‘t discriminate against older profiles, OurTime provides a dedicated platform for those seeking a more mature partner who is swimming in the over-50s dating pool. A simple app that provides safe online chat features to arrange real-life meet-ups, OurTime eschews rigorous personality tests and algorithms in place of pairings based on shared interests, location and search criteria. What it lacks in sophisticated matchmaking tech, it makes up for in its engaged community who won't just swipe right for anyone, you know.

Simple to use, OurTime is as classic as the people who use it: all you'll need to do is make a simple profile complete with picture and you'll be able to see local members or search for people OurTime suggests. You can send flirts, likes and virtual gifts, but if you want to chat with potential matches (and we presume you will), you'll have to pay.

Best Dating App For Serious Relationships: OKCupid

Best for: Seeing how compatible potential partners are

Cost: From free

No. of Users: 4 million (worldwide)

Available: Online, Apple's App Store and Google Play

No doubt you'll have heard of OKCupid, and that's because it's another longtime player in the online dating world. Not only that, but, like Tinder, OKCupid is also owned by Match Group. This string to the Match bow revolves around a neat personality quiz, which is not mandatory to complete but is certainly advisory. When you've completed said quiz, you'll be able to see other users that align most highly with yours. If you were a fan of that name-generating percentage website at school, this is the platform for you, because it does the same thing but — crucially — actually works.

At least, it did for Rob when he met his now-wife on the app nine years ago. Come 2023, OKCupid might not be at the forefront of online dating but that personality quiz does at least provide a go-to icebreaker on awkward first encounters. What the frequency of your toothbrushing has to do with meeting your soulmate remains a mystery to us.


Best for: The LGBTQ+ community

Cost: From free

No. of users: Unknown

Available: Online, Apple's App Store and Google Play

An LGBTQ+ dating app-cum-social network, Lex runs on the ethos of “text first, selfies second”. There is plenty of scope for in-depth profile-writing, here: you get a 34-character heading and a 300-character body. While you can link to your Instagram and even add your own pictures, the focus is on personality, so get thinking before you scribe yours.

Lex is a great space for all LGBTQ+ people, but particularly those who identify as trans, since the platform has a zero-tolerance policy on transphobia or the fetishisation of trans individuals.


Best for: People wanting to date within their religion

Cost: From free

No. of users: 40 million (worldwide)

Available: Online, Apple's App Store and Google Play

Personalising the dating experience to the max, Zoosk learns from its database of over 35 million members to constantly improve its service, which is part of the reason why it can claim the number one grossing spot within Apple's App Store. As a Silicon Valley start-up from the late noughties, it’s not surprising that Zoosk is ahead of the game when it comes to dating app technology – it was one of the first to introduce integrated social media tools and personalised notifications.

Being available in over 80 countries in 25 languages, Zoosk prides itself on being a diverse app popular with singles from minority communities and also boasts settings for those seeking to date within their religion – a function that's especially popular with Christian daters.


Best for: Social climbers (hey, we're not judging)

Cost: From £5.99/month

No. of users: 10,000+

Available: Online, Apple's App Store and Google Play

An evolution of Elite Singles, Raya is the app that promises the upper echelon of the dating pool. Think of it as the Soho House of dating, where you’ll have to have a top-tier creative job and sizeable Insta following to capture the attention of a highly scrutinous membership acceptance committee. Make the grade and you could be opening romantic doors to Hollywood A-listers, with Demi Lovato, Channing Tatum, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Lizzo and Cara Delevingne having all enjoyed accounts at one time or another.

Once known as the celebrity dating app, this wondrous meat market of Hollywood’s biggest just an access code away. Maybe it was in the glory days when you could stumble across the likes of Channing Tatum and Ben Affleck, but now it’s more venture capitalists and Instapreneurs. Lucy has been popping into Raya every so often over the last year, and while its basic package is still a hefty £15 a month, it’s clear they’re keeping the good stuff (read: the celebs) behind an even pricier £200 paywall. The basic functionality reads more like LinkedIn by way of Instagram, with little geo-locational honing and limited interactions per day. If you have the cash and feel nosy enough, it could be worth seeing what’s behind the elite gates (but come back with derivations, because screenshots are still banned on the app!).

What is the most trusted dating site?

We've had disease. We've had famine. And in truth, the catfishing plague shows no sign of letting up either. Thankfully, most dating apps and sites are on the offensive when it comes to making their services safe places to find a mate. Many, for example, insist you prove who you saw you are: annoying when you're signing up but a must when you're trying to decide whether to meet up with that suspiciously hot person. Badoo's family of sites is particularly hot on safety, with its popular women-message-first Bumble leading the way: there, safeguarding measures include close monitoring on hate speech, auto-blur on unsolicited dick pics and even bans on photos featuring weapons.

Bumble, along with its parent site Badoo, were also among the first to tamp down on scams, allowing in-app video chats and calls, negating the need to share your personal number out. Below you'll find testimonials from some people who've actually tried the apps. Where names have been changed, you'll see an asterix*.

What are the best dating sites for the LGBTQ+ community?

The internet has figured in the LGBTQ+ dating experience far longer than it has for straight people, since it has long been a successful way of meeting on the down low. Sadly, that's still a necessity in countries where LGBTQ+ people can still be legally discriminated against. Hornet is popular for facilitating clandestine meets (more on that in our guide to the best gay dating apps), but Grindr is your spot for hook-ups, HER for queer women, Jack’d for QPOC, and Scruff for meaningful dates thrown in with more casual liaisons.

Having said that, larger, more traditionally straight apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Hinge are teeming with single people of every sexual orientation, and all also allow for same-sex filters. When your thirst for meaningless meets runs out, we'd recommend heading to these spots for something with a little more lasting power.

Do dating apps actually work?

Dating apps may have been around for a while now, but that doesn't mean there isn't any scepticism around if they actually work. Dr. Caroline West, Bumble's sex and relationships expert says, “Dating apps are a great tool for meeting new partners, especially for those who find meeting people IRL a bit daunting. Sparking a conversation on an app reduces the pressure slightly, meaning you can get to know someone at your own pace.”

“In a world that is becoming much more digitally savvy, dating apps are perfectly placed to help busy singles find a connection, whereas perhaps before they’d have found meeting people out and about challenging with a fast-paced lifestyle. Dating apps are the first stage of a connection, with the romance expected to come later down the line, most likely when you've built chemistry face-to-face.”

What makes a good dating app profile?

While dating apps do take some of the anxiety out of meeting someone in real life, that certainly isn't to say that they're completely stress-free to use. Especially when it comes to knowing what to include on your profile — and whether or not you're sending out dreaded beige flags. According to Bumble's sex and relationships expert, "Your dating profile should clearly reflect who you are as a person, and most importantly, what makes you unique. Reflecting what makes you happy on your profile is key to finding an authentic connection, and by highlighting your unique interests and passions, you give people an easy conversation starter."

Dr. West's main tips for making your profile stand out are simple, “Update your bio, don't just use one photo, don't use a photo that is more than a year old, and don't approach your profile with a minimalist point of view.” For more expert advice follow our guide to nailing your photos.

How can you use dating apps safely?

Safety is one of the key concerns a lot of people have with dating apps but according to Bumble's Dr. West. “There are a few steps that you can take to ensure you're keeping safety front of mind when using dating apps," she says. "First and foremost keep personal details on your profile light touch. Avoid posting profile photos that show you in an easily identifiable location that you visit often, such as your local bar or gym. When you eventually meet in person, make sure you meet in a public space for the first time." Lastly, if you feel uncomfortable, Dr. West recommends making use of the ‘block and report’ features that are available on most apps.

The original article can be found on GQ UK.

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