We briefly touch on mobile-only dating apps below, but apps deserve a review that’s all their own (so stay tuned).There are great city-specific services (Dating Ring is a perfect example — it’s currently in New York City, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Boston, and DC), but we only wanted ones that have a nationwide user base. The argument is as old as dating itself: quantity versus quality.

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It’s not the most important thing in the world for an online dating site to be intuitive and enjoyable to use, with an attractive visual design. Because none of our top four sites were exorbitantly priced, we didn’t take cost into account too heavily when ranking them.

That said, the fact that Ok Cupid is free definitely stands out.

Well, not every kind: We excluded sites that catered specifically to how someone looked or to “unscrupulous” relationships (think Ashley Madison).

We also didn’t evaluate anything marketed as primarily for hookups — the best dating sites facilitate all sorts of relationships, from friendship to long-term monogamy and everything in between.

The actual “going on dates” part we’ll leave to you.

We started by compiling every kind of dating website and mobile dating app we could find.

We turned to Alexa, a web-traffic analytics company, to better assess how many people are on each site clicking around, and culled those with below-average numbers: fewer than a million active users in the US. We can assume those numbers apply to most online dating sites.

The problem is mobile users aren’t reflected in Alexa data — which means a dating site like Zoosk, with half as many active desktop users as our top picks, but way more app downloads, could have been left out.) Be Social network, Blendr, Chemistry.com, Cupid.com, network, Date2020, Fidelity Dating, Friend Finder network, Grouper, How About We, Jaumo, Lava Life, Meet Me, Meet Mindful, Mesh, Mingle2, Once, Spark.com, Speed Date.com, Tastebuds.fm, Tawkify, The Heart Market, Twoo, Zoosk Our finalists are all likely names you recognize — Ok Cupid, Match.com, e Harmony, and Plenty of Fish — and our tester tried them all.

She came up with a snappy username, entered her personal information, wrote detailed but pithy descriptions of her hobbies and interests, answered hundreds of multiple-choice questions, posted photos, and browsed profile after profile.