The Best Dating Websites


Online dating can be a daunting prospect. It is not helped by the wide range of websites available. How do you separate the casual hook-up sites from the more serious ones? Are free dating sites better then subscription sites? What sort of people loiter on the pages of each one? Never fear, your trusty team at are here with a helpful review.




1.) Muddymatches Best Dating Website.

Cost: Free

Effort: Minimal

Whose it for? Anyone who lives in the country or likes to get out of the city.

What we thought…

Where else, but MuddyMatches, could you start your dating profile by saying: “Generally covered in mud, hay, straw and the smell of horses…”?

The site uses a Muddy-Townie ratio to match potential dates accordingly. So, someone who lives and breathes country air would have a ratio of 100:0. Whereas someone who lives in the city but likes to weekend it in the country or Surrey might be 20:80. The site is even open to people who are 100 per cent Townie, as they are a self-confessed  ‘friendly bunch’ at Muddymatches.

You can select your own ratio. Use the simple yardstick to help you decide. Or you can take part in the Muddy Quiz, which is the most humorous dating questionnaire currently available. Our favourite question was “How much time do you spend in a town?” With the best answer option being “I’ll only go if I’m rushed unconscious to A+E”.

It is probably worth taking the quiz, not just because it only takes five minutes and is quite fun, but you maybe surprised by the results. We were pretty certain HeathWealthLove’s rating would be 100:0 Muddy but actually we were 90:10.

You can browse profiles without even signing up.  Making it easy to gauge the calibre of potential matches before you have do anything other than enter whether you are looking for a man or woman, their preferred age and location.

Some of the profiles we viewed were the funniest of any dating website we trolled through for this list. We particularly liked one that started “Hello Ladies, I’m a Gentleman farmer…” and another that began “I am a country soul trapped in a city.”

If you are looking for a fun, friendly site with a good range of members then Muddymatches is for you.

2.) Tastebuds

Cost: FREE

Effort: Minimal

Whose it for? Anyone who likes music and wants to meet like minded people to become gig companions, friends, or more.

What we thought…

In the past has poor musical taste been an issue in your relationships? Or do you feel that people with no original interest in music make unsuccessful romantic prospects? Do you hold your hands up in despair when you can’t find a date to a gig? Then Tastebuds is the solution.

You don’t even have to want to date someone. It is a great site if you have moved to a new city and are trying to find some like-minded people to go to gigs with. It is EMI meets Facebook or Myspace meets The Dating Game.

It has a very sleek design, and definitely feels more like a social media site than a dating one.  Also it is one of the quickest websites to sign up to that we reviewed. You can use your Facebook account, log in from or use your email address. And then the only thing that will slow you down is deciding what musicians to list in your library of favourites.


Cost: From £12.99 if you sign up for six months.

Effort: Medium

Whose it for? People looking to explore their options.

What we thought… claims its site has led to more dates, marriages and relationships than any other. With millions of members, its large user base should mean there is someone for everyone.

What is good about is you can select the age range of your potential matches. It sounds a simple thing but many of the dating sites, such as eHarmony, offer you scale questions such as ‘how important is your partners age’ instead. Whereas age range is more effective. You can even choose preferred height, body type and weight.

Unfortunately you are forced to define your personality by limited one word options: sociable, adventurous, high maintenance etc. Your views on marriage- we went for:  ‘out of the question’.  And your style- business cool, rock etc; there was not an option for whatever is clean, so we went for ‘other.’

It is probably the most traditional of the dating websites: create a profile, view other profiles, message people who interest you and then get jiggy. It is not too time consuming to get started but once you are signed up you will have to trawl through a lot of profiles before you find your Prince or Princess.




4.) eHarmony

Cost: £6.95 per month if you sign up for 24 months. If a two year commitment seems a bit much six months cost £19.95 per month.

Effort: High

Whose it for? Those who are seriously looking for love and ‘the one’.

What we thought…

You have to kiss many frogs before you find your prince, or so the story goes. Well in eHarmony land you have to answer a lot questions before you find your match. It took 40 minutes to complete the personality questionnaire, and that was without much deliberation or procrastination.

eHarmony takes a scientific approach to dating. It bases its matches on 29 key dimensions of compatibility proven to be the foundation for long-term relationships: character, intellect, values etc. Most of the questions involve rating qualities, saying how important spiritual beliefs are to you, whether in the past month you have been mostly happy or sad and so on. The website states that every night eHarmony’s team of ‘matching experts’ work to ensure you have new matches in the morning.

The major problem with the site is you have to subscribe before you can view your matches, see how compatible you are, or whether there is anyone with whom you are compatible. It discourages people who are just there on a whim but if you are not sure online dating is for you this may not be the best site to start off with.

However, if you are willing to accept looking for love is not an easy task then eHarmony is for you. And with its high success rate, and its scientific approach all that hard work is likely to pay off.




5.) MySingleFriend

Cost: Subscription costs £28 for one month, £55 for 3 months or £79 for 6 months.

Effort: Minimal, as a friend does it for you!

Whose it for? People who are not very good at selling themselves, or concerned friends who think their bestest bud deserves a little love.

What we thought…

MySingleFriend is the brain child of designer, TV presenter and ‘notorious’ matchmaker Sarah Beenie. It is probably the best intentioned website on this list. Encouraging the more self-conscious or self-deprecating to hand over their profile to a friend.

It is slowly growing in popularity with 8,000 to 10,000 new members every month. It has achieved the ultimate accolade of any dating website with some of its matches heading down the aisle. And it removes the cringe factor of having to big yourself up to catch the eye of one its members.

Whilst it is a subscription website you can have a free limited profile, which will allow you to see who likes you and search for singles you like. Sadly you won’t be able to read, reply or message anyone on the free option. However you can upgrade later, so you can always see whether there is anyone on there worth £28 before you hand over your money.




6.) Plenty of Fish

Cost: Free though there are upgrades and paid for features available.

Effort: Minimal

Whose it for? People looking for a flirtatious messages and casual hook-ups with the odd chance of romance.

What we thought…

Plenty of Fish [POF] is currently the website of choice for the pretty young singles. Not only did it get one of the highest ratings in a online dating survey for customer satisfaction. It claims to have over 40 million users worldwide, so your chances of finding someone compatible is high. According to the website’s creator: “If you are in contact with 100 different singles, 50 per cent of the time your future partner is in the top 10, and 17 per cent of the time we can pick the exact person you will end up dating.”

The website uses a special POF Relationship Chemistry Predictor test, which measures self-confidence, family-orientation, self-control, social dependency and easygoingness. The test helps to find your best matches. However because of its main demographic, its browsing and messaging style, and the lack of vetting it does descend into a flirt site. We even know people who are not single but use the site as an outlet for their monogamy-restrained flirty banter.

Still if you are in your twenties looking for a little fun, or not sure about online dating and want to see how online chat-ups work then this is the site for you.You can also see who is online and check out the potential dates before you set up a profile. So you can dip your toe in to test the waters before you decide whether to wade in with your rod and fishing tackle.




7.) Parship

Cost: From £14.90 per month for 12 months. Three and six month periods also available. There is a free membership option which gives you personalized partner recommendations, you can send and receive contact requests and share photos.

Effort: High

Whose it for? Professional people looking for a serious relationship through a scientific, serious professional site.

What we thought…

BBC Radio 4 dubbed Parship “Europe’s leading online matchmaker”. And if Radio 4 are talking about it you know it is serious. If there was any doubt you only have to visit the website’s homepage to see just how serious. Their tag line is ‘Serious matchmaking for singles’.  They are “the serious online dating site…if you’re looking for a serious relationship”.

Most of Parship’s members are professionals and are looking for a long-term relationships.  The site uses a scientific compatibility test, which has been dubbed the best in the industry by relationship psychotherapist Paula Hall. We found the test to be one of the more time consuming, but it still did not take as long to complete as eHarmony’s. Uniquely the site not only asks about your beliefs and personality but does psychometric image testing. You are offered a series of images and have to either say which you prefer or which of the taglines you think best fits. The air of Freudian psychoanalysis makes the test seem the most plausible.

If you trust in psychoanalysis, mathematics algorithms and seriousness then Parship is the site for you. Plus they promise that you will find “not just anyone. The One” so maybe science does have a place in love.


4 Responses

  1. Ian Sturgell

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be interesting to read through content from other authors and use something from other websites.