Is Love A Click Away? The Ultimate Guide To Online Dating Sites

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Remember when you used to be shocked when you'd hear about a couple who met online? Now, with over 1,500 dating sites at our disposal, online dating feels like the backbone of picking a partner.

It's easy, convenient, less daunting, and you can find sites geared toward exactly what you're looking for, whether it's a soulmate or a hookup buddy.

But before you dive head — and heart — first into the mad world of online dating — a guide is needed.

Here's what you need to know about some of the popular or newest sites that are just a click away.  

1. Match
Who it's for: The site is geared toward single men and women (gay and straight). It's basically the Facebook of the online dating realm, so you'll never feel like you're missing out on potential suitors.
The skinny on the sign up process: It's pretty basic. Joining is free and so is creating your profile.
How much it costs: It's free to set up your own account and profile, but once you want to message someone you're interested in, the subscription fees kick in. A basic Match.com account costs $29.99 a month.
Why you should try it: In addition to searching, and being able to see what other members are looking for, each day the granddaddy of dating sites gives you six potential matches for you based off your search criteria. You can rate them and decide if you're interested. 

2. eHarmony
Who it's for:
Heterosexuals looking for long-term relationships. In the same way Match.com was a pioneer of its time, eHarmony was the first site to match you to another person by matching your compatibility.
The skinny on the sign up process: Because the site does all the matching for you, you have to hand over answers to more than 400 questions. But there's a silver lining: after the 400 questionnaire has been answered, you'll see detailed results on what you bring to a relationship — and what should look for in a mate.
How much it costs: A monthly membership is nearly 60 bucks, but if you commit for 3, 6, or even 12 months, the price-tag drops considerably.
Why you should try it: It's the no-stress guide to meeting people. After filling out all your likes, dislikes and interests, you're instantly connected to your perfect mate.

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3. Plenty of Fish
Who it's for: People who hold onto the belief that meeting your soul mate happens organically, not behind some big hunk of technology. Since it's not as gigantic as eHarmony or Match, the user experience feels a bit more like a mom and pop, less of a Walmart.
The skinny on the sign up process: A basic, less than 15 minute sign up process. Don't feel like answering relationshippy questions? Save them for another time.
How much it costs: Hooray! A virtual singles rodeo that's still free! Well, mostly. Send IMs, smileys and chat with other singles at virtually no cost. For a more comprehensive experience (like being able to see whose viewed your profile, whose deleted your messages, whose read the messages you've sent), you'll have to cough up anywhere from $20 to $40.
Why you should try it: You can look at hot guys (or girls!) for free. 'Nuf said.

4. Christian Mingle
Who it's for:
Single Christians seeking out other single Christians.
The skinny on the sign up process: After a pretty quick sign up, you can take the Color Code Personality Profile, which reveals information about you and what others are looking for as well.
How much it costs: $14.99 a month for a basic membership.
Why you should try it: If you want to meet a Christian guy who has the same values, morals and celebrates the same holidays you do, look no further.

5. JDate
Who it's for:
According to the site's mission statement, their goal is to "strengthen the Jewish community." So in the same way Christian Mingle wants to hook up Christian singles, JDate wants to connect Jewish singles.
The skinny on the sign up process: You can create your profile through a step-by-step approach, so the entire process feels a little less daunting.
How much it costs: If you're paying monthly, you'll pay a fee of $36.99, but if you commit to a longer subscription, the price goes down considerably.
Why you should try it: There's no better place to meet your religious better half than a site aimed at bringing members of the Jewish community together.

6. OKCupid
Who it's for:
 Hip daters, around ages 18 to 34. Just about everyone has a pal who's on the site.
The skinny on the sign up process: Easy, breezy. After answering just a few drop-down bar questions, you can start perusing matches.
How much it costs: Let freedom ring, y'all! This site is free!
Why you should try it: It's super easy to use and you can answer as many (or as few) match questions after you sign up to improve who you're seeing the site. In a hurry? Try QuickMatch, where you can scroll through and rate matches.

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7. How About We
Who it's for:
People looking to meet a mate without feeling like the computer screen hooked them up. The idea behind How About We is to get people offline and on to each other.
The skinny on the sign up process: Finally, a sign up that's trimmed the fat and only left you with questions you need to answer. Better yet? The questions you answer are things people will actually want to know about you.
How much it costs: Score a one-month free trial but the per month cost definitely won’t break the bank either (it's only $8!).
Why you should try it: Free coupons! Oh, and the chance to actually get off the computer and back out there meeting people.

8. Zoosk
Who it's for:
Twenty-somethings with an iPhone or Android.
The skinny on the sign up process: The idea behind this one is that you're doing everything from your phone, so the sign up process is a breeze. No compatibility ratings, no long questionnaires.
How much to join: Nada! It's free!
Why you should try it: It's current, up-to-date and totally aimed at 20-somethings who are too busy to meet other singles IRL. Cha-ching!

9. Grouper
Who it's for:
Friends that are looking to date in groups who want to prepay for a drink, tip and concierge service. You sign up, pick the group and all you have to do is show up.
The skinny on the sign up process: Join through Facebook and Grouper will automatically pull in all the relevant information it needs.
How much it costs: It's $20 for every Grouper you go on. It covers everything you need — plus you'll get a free drink.
Why you should try it: Group dating takes a lot of the pressure off. Sign up for a date with your friends, get a free drink and (hopefully) meet someone interesting. 

10. AdultFriendFinder
Who it's for:
Singles looking for no strings attached relationship.
The skinny on the sign up process: Simple! Just answer a few basics and you can start searching, flirting and posting videos.
How much it costs: Free for a basic membership.
Why you should try it: If you're looking for casual dating fun, this is the perfect social network for you. On the interactive site, you're free to express your sexuality. Members can post photos, share videos and connect through sexy webcam chats.