Online Dating – Apps, Studies, Resources, and Reviews

Nearing the three-decade mark since its inception, online dating has certainly left its mark on the world. To date, it has helped millions find love, find a date, and just find new friends. And as it continues to grow into what many experts predict will be a nearly $10 billion industry in just a few years, many more are sure to find success in love through these digital means.

In this guide, we want to share anything and everything you’d want to know about online dating. Whether you’re a researcher looking for information or you’re a single looking to try something new, this guide is jam-packed with potentially life-changing information for you and your love life.

couple sitting on a couch comforting each other

What is Online Dating?

Online dating is a web-based system designed to help single adults connect with other singles through the user of digital means. Started in the mid-1990s, online dating has grown in popularity over the past three decades with literally thousands of dating sites and dating apps entering the market to serve singles all across the world.

How Does Online Dating Work?

While there are plenty of different systems and formats, most online dating falls into one of two categories—profile-based dating or swipe-based dating. Profile-based dating applications have each user create a profile that shows pictures of them and basic information about their lifestyle and what they are looking for. Other singles can search through profiles to try and find someone they are interested in. If they find someone, they can send them a message and begin building a potential connection.

Swipe-based dating apps, on the other hand, only show users one other user’s profile at a time. If you like that user, you indicate interest. If you are not interested in that user, you indicate disinterest. While you are doing this, your profile is also being shown to the other users who can indicate their like or dislike. If there is a mutual match (you both privately indicate that you like each other), you are notified and an opportunity to start a conversation opens us.

The major difference between the two is that profile-based dating apps let you message anyone you want. Swipe dating apps require there to be a mutual match before a conversation can take place.

Dating App Reviews

As mentioned, there are literally thousands of dating sites and dating apps servicing all different groups and niches. Truth be told, not all of these online dating options are good. Some are high quality and do an amazing job of connecting singles, and some are low-quality and just don’t seem to get the job done (let alone, they also might be unsafe).

One of the best ways to know which dating apps are worth it is to read reviews. Below, we’ve included a link to our expert team’s dating app reviews. We have reviewed and tested hundreds of dating apps for over a decade. Our team knows what to look for, what makes a great dating app, and what you should be avoiding.

Best Dating Apps by Category, Need, and Type

Once you’ve identified the dating apps that are worth their weight, the next question becomes which is right for you. What you’ll find is that some dating apps are designed for everyone whereas some are designed for specific relationship goals, groups, or needs. For example, there are Christian dating apps that are great for faith-focused singles, but might not be great for other singles. Or there are dating apps for Latinos that are amazing for Latino and Latina singles, but might not be great for other ethnicities.

Dating App Free Trials

One of the neatest things about the online dating industry is that it’s a “try before you buy” type industry. In other words, almost every dating app allows you some form of free trial to test the software and process to see if it’s something you’re interested in.

Now, what you get will vary with some apps letting you search to see who is in your area, some letting you try out the features, and even a few letting you chat with other members during your free trial period.

Below, we have a link to a full collection of all dating app free trials that are currently available on the market.

How Much Do Dating Apps Cost?

Once you’ve tested a few online dating apps, you’ll realize that to get the best value out of your time, you’re going to want to upgrade to a paid membership. Sadly, free dating apps sound great in theory but the lack of quality you receive is noticeable and often unsafe.

Want to know just how much premium dating app memberships cost? We’ve included a link below to our full dating app cost guide.

Online Dating Advice and Guides

Picking out the right dating app is only one piece of the puzzle, albeit a big one. How do you get the most out of your time dating online? Well, that’s a big topic with a lot of nuances. Luckily, it’s one our team is excited to cover and stay on top of. Below, you’ll find a link to our top online dating advice guides filled with information, resources, and knowledge to help you find that special someone you’re looking for.