The Great 'Cheapest & Best Internet Dating' Sites

As there's been much discussion on it in the Great 'Cheap Date' Hunt I've decided to start a new discussion on the cheapest and best internet dating sites. !Away you go

(and just to clarify !::) . !I promise I'm not just putting these in here to find myself a date. !Though thank you for all the kind offers.)


Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at
Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000


  • tina36
    tina36 Posts: 1 Newbie
    INSERT BY MARTIN PLEASE NOTE:  If you represent/work/are a partner or affiliate of a dating site - you may post here providing a. you do not plug your site and are not advertising just giveing good info.  If you want to tell people about your site then you may post a note about it ni the referral section and then link to it from here.

    This is not a place for websites to advertise and while you may be trying to help - your opinions are not unbiased. Please read both the note at the top of the page and the Chat Forum instructions for details.

    In the post below i have removed the offending links and advertising to the referrers section.

    Hi Guys / Martin

    I represent an internet dating site and posted a note in your Cheap Dates section, and its good to hear you have now set up a topic just on internet dating.

    Here's some advice:

    The majority of dating sites are free to post your profile,  however,  to send messages or to read messages from other members you have to pay anything from £5 to £20 for the month, which may sound like a lot, but at least you know everybody who is a member is serious in using the service.

    Free sites are great, although you have to ask the question, whether these people are truly serious or just sending spam type messages just because they can as they dont have to pay for it.

    For description of this persons site and what it offers - see the referrers section here.
  • I'm on my own with two rumbustious children and with most of my friends married, have signed up to three dating sites over the last couple of years. The Times Encounters dating site (for the e-mail facility), Udate (on a friend's recommendation) and Of these I lasted only two weeks of the month's subscription I had paid for with the Times and Udate. The Times (£25) was a blatent money-making exercise and their customer services department didn't even have the courtesy to acknowledge a complaint. Udate (£17?) didn't impress me at all with the sketchy profiles you were obliged to fill out. I've fared better with because potential dates post photos and personalised profiles, their customer services department are efficient and courteous and it is reasonably cost effective (about £14 a month). Tip - if you sign up for a month and then resign your membership, you can have three months for the price of 1.
  • Re: my tip 4 - the 3 months for the price of 1 offer applies after you have paid up for a month's subscription and resigned, to encourage you to remain with the service. It occured to me afterwards the way I'd posted my tip wasn't terribly clear.
  • lynneinjapan
    lynneinjapan Posts: 400
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    I spent quite a while on Love @ Lycos, which is (or was a year or two ago) entirely free; they did start up a pay service with some extra features but I didn't see the point of paying for it. There are a lot of timewasters on there but I met some interesting people and had several real-life dates, only one of whom turned out to be a disappointment and totally unlike his picture. I did find, though, that I had a tendency to back off as soon as I met someone in the flesh!

    I also signed up with Dating Direct but never forked out for membership (£20 for first month, £50 for 6 months)... but I did indirectly meet my current boyfriend through the site! Just before Christmas 2002 I got a message saying that I'd been randomly selected to receive 5 days' free Premier membership, so I sent out messages to all the men I liked the look of and got a handful of replies. Set up a couple of dates, and with one of them we each took a friend along (safety in numbers and less risk of awkward silences) and I've now been going out with his friend for over a year. The guy I had the date with also met someone very soon afterwards - not sure if that was through DD though - and they're getting married this September.

    Another one that I tried briefly was Midsummers Eve, though I don't know whether it's still in operation - I can't get it to download at the moment. That one allowed you to send something like five messages per day for free, but you had to pay if you wanted to send any more than that.

    The trouble with the pay sites is that they may boast having half a million (or whatever) members, but that's just the people who've put their profiles online for free. They don't usually tell you which of them have actually paid for membership and so will be able to read any messages that you send them (once you yourself have paid up), so it could be that only one person in 100 will actually receive any message that you send them.
  • System
    System Posts: 178,073
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    Community Admin
    Was single a while ago and looked into the whole Internet dating thing. Almost all the Internet Dating sites are free to register and load your profile. However, they all charge for sending messages and making contact with other members. I found one very good site which is completely free and very professional.
    Check out Although I personaly never actually met anyone on the site, I did have some very interesting chats with people on there and I highly recommend this site. It seems to have almost all the features of the other sites but at no cost.
    ps another free site, although not as good is
  • System
    System Posts: 178,073
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    Community Admin
    Hi Guys (and girls),

    A tip for any gay readers of MSE, i'm a member of a dating/community site for gay men and women. It's a great way to chat and get to know people and even has regular real world events where you can meet up as a group and get to know each other.

    The site is (for the guys) and (for the girls)

    A few of the things that make it so good...

    a) It's free! (after 30 days you can optionally pay for a licence as a donation to help keep things running, but you can still use everything if you don't, its about 20 quid a year)

    b) There's a strict rule that its not used to explicitly look for sex, so NO naked pics or people after only one thing.

    c) It has profiles, private messaging, discussion boards and a real world events diary that includes things like, weekends away camping, club nights, coffee meets, bowling and anything else you can think of!

    Oh and one last thing that makes it a bit special (can you tell how much of a fan of it I am) NO ADVERTISING!

    So if you're gay or bi and want to learn a bit more go to the address above...or if you're feeling kind and want to join up and give me a little credit for pointing you to it go to the following links:



    PS. I don't make money out of those links so fear not my motives are pure...I just want to gain us some new members!
  • System
    System Posts: 178,073
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    Community Admin
    I joined Udate a year or so ago and was, as has been mentioned, fed up with all the non-members. So what I did was sent them all a blank message with my email address in the topic line. Even if they haven't signed up they can still read the topic line. This isn't a money saving tip, but it is a dating one. I met my current girlfriend through this method and we have been together for nine months (by the way she paid for our first date, a surprise trip to a comedy club, the best £30 she ever spent ;)).
  • System
    System Posts: 178,073
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    Community Admin
    I've recently been doing some strategy/research for an online dating agency, and would make a few observations:

    1) Online dating, like online auctions is a "network effects" proposition. In other words, the more users a site has, the more new users will be attracted to it rather than to smaller sites. eBay now has over 95% of the online auction market, and dating will eventually go the same way.

    2) The winner will be - which has about 1 million people (this is a large chunk of the total attainable market) signed up in the UK. The typical ratio found in the dating business is 1 paying customer for every 10 people signed up.

    3) Udate was acquired a year or two ago by and they haven't spent a penny on updating it since. I imagine that udate will eventually be absorbed into

    4) So it's probably better to save money by signing up for one big site than spreading over many. Whatever smaller sites may claim - e.g. that they appeal to a certain type or class of person - this kind of specialisation only works when it pertains specifically to religious or cultural practices that affect relationship and dating behaviour, e.g. Jdate for jewish people or BET for people of colour - both these are in the USA. Otherwise your'e best off sticking to a generalist site, and playing a numbers game.

    5) Dating agencies have very generous affiliate arrangements. I've noticed that greasypalm offers 37.5% cashback on DatingDirect, which is a close number two to Match in the UK.
  • System
    System Posts: 178,073
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    Community Admin
    Try - completely free, and seems genuine. There are real people on there.
  • Travelqueen
    Travelqueen Posts: 204 Forumite

    A few I've tried:

    Love@lycos - don't pay for the upgrade, but still like the site, and still visit occassionally 3 years later (ok ok, so it's not worked for me just yet, but some people I know are very successful and I've met some great people so it's not ALL bad! ;))

    Faceparty - hmm, sometimes I like this, sometimes I hate it.. can be a bit young.

    capitaldating - free, seem to have quite a few users, always forget to visit for 6 months at a time, which reminds me...

    4dating - logged on, never used
    udate - as above
    various others I forget the names of - if you have to pay to use it I won't so...

    However, one which was quite good was Chemistry - this is an event primarily with the internet bit on the side, but a good way to meet lots of single people of the opposite sex in a safe environment and know everyone is single... I'd like to think of it as a classier version of your standard meat market which lots of dating games thrown in - key & padlock, speed dating, dancing lessons etc etc

    Also, gumtree - not a dating site, but has a dating part on it, and its worked well for me - its a site for Aussies, Kiwis and South Africans, so it is primarily these and outdoorsy type brits who advertise.

    I'm sure there are hundreds more, but these are the ones that I prefer using .


    PS - for a bit of a laugh there is espinthebottle which is just as it sounds.. for when you're bored in the office!
    One day everything I earn will be mine and not the banks... ::rotfl:
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 341.8K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.7K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.2K Spending & Discounts
  • 233.9K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 606.1K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.5K Life & Family
  • 246.8K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards