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Are Paid Dating Sites Better than Free Dating Sites?

Sarah Pritzker
are paid dating sites better than free dating sites?
Some online dating apps and sites provide their services for free, while others require users to pay. There are also dating apps that are free but have some premium upgrades you can pay extra for. Which should you choose? Depending on what you’re looking for, there are advantages and disadvantages to each option.

Why do some dating sites make you pay?

In dating, as with many things in life, the thinking is that you get what you pay for. Paid dating websites charge money because they aim to offer users a better experience. These sites must pay customer service representatives and professional web developers to set up and maintain a quality app with search tools and filters to help you find the type of person you want to date. 

By charging users for their services, paid dating websites avoid developer turnover and keep the focus on developing and improving their product. Why should this matter to you? Because when you’re putting yourself out there, you want a quality site with a smooth interface that won’t suddenly fizzle when its funding runs out. 

Are paid dating apps worth the money?

If you’re looking for a higher-quality pool of people to date, paid dating sites are the way to go. They filter out flakes who aren’t serious about dating. If someone has invested some of their hard-earned money to pay for a dating app, they’re more likely to be looking for a real relationship.

Paid users take an active role in the dating process because they check in on dating sites or apps frequently and are more likely to respond to messages than free app users. More message responses can lead to an increased likelihood of getting dates. Paid sites also offer better technical support, which directly impacts your experience.

Free users, on the other hand, may not feel a sense of commitment to the online dating process. Free sites can get bogged down with many inactive user profiles, joke profiles, or profiles belonging to people who aren’t looking for a real relationship. Users of free dating sites may feel like they’re wasting their time, causing many to make the switch over to a paid site. If you’re looking for something worthwhile and serious, have a look at our page of the  best free dating site out there. 

What are the advantages of free dating sites?

While paid sites have a lot to offer, free dating websites and apps also serve a purpose in the dating ecosystem. Free sites are a good place to get your feet wet before trying a paid app, especially if you have limited experience with online dating. Online dating takes getting used to, and a free app can be a risk-free way to learn whether you like it or not. You’ll also find out how people respond to your picture and profile, which will help you make tweaks that can improve your paid experience down the road.

Free sites are worth trying, especially as a casual or occasional dating tool. The trick is to view free sites as a stepping stone that can help you along your dating journey. If they meet your needs, that’s great. If you feel like you’ve outgrown their usefulness, or are in need of something more serious, don’t be afraid to make the switch to a paid app. 

How do free dating sites earn money?

If an app or site doesn’t charge fees, what keeps the site running? Free dating sites offer users the option of paid upgrades that grant access to some of their premium features. Premium upgrades include letting you see whether another user has read your messages, letting you make more swipes per day, changing your location, going ad-free, and seeing which other users liked your profile. Paid perks on dating apps may let you make your profile pop up higher on other users’ lists, recover profiles of users you already said no to, or allow you to see more singles. 

Free sites send regular reminders of the upgrades you could be enjoying if you pay in. While going premium can be enticing, we recommend you try to get as much as you can out of the free app first. You can always upgrade later. 

Another option is to try out a free trial on one of the paid dating sites. When you try out a paid site for free, you’re getting access to users who may be more serious and committed to dating, rather than those just looking for lighthearted fun. 

Our bottom line

Free dating apps are tempting. After all, who doesn’t like saving money? The trouble with free apps is that they can wind up costing you in time and aggravation in the long run. If you end up wasting hours rifling through inappropriate or inactive profiles or cringing at the mismatches suggested by a free app, you may wish you had shelled out the money on a paid site. What’s more, paid dating sites have proven success rates, aren’t full of annoying ads, and have easier-to-use features. 

If you’re looking for a serious relationship, you may be frustrated by free dating sites filled with people just looking for a date. Paid sites carefully filter users so you can proceed with greater confidence and peace of mind, which can justify their cost. 

Paid dating sites usually yield results that are more accurate and appropriate, making them more productive for meaningful dating. Spending a reasonable monthly sum to up your odds of successful online dating helps you stay focused and serious about the process, too. 

When it comes to your relationships and emotional well-being, you’re worth the investment. Paying for a dating app or website can often translate into a higher quality, more productive dating experience. 

Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker Sarah Pritzker has years of experience and a keen interest in researching and reviewing the vast world of online consumer products. She enjoys helping readers make sense of the options on the market in industries including dating, DNA, meal delivery and psychic reading.