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The list of dating websites is pretty long, but for a lot of folks it comes down to eHarmony vs. Match.com, two of the best-known, mainstream sites. These are designed for users who don't want to narrow their dating pool by age, religion or race, at least at the beginning. Once the over-50 set departs for Our Time and some of the folks with specific interests depart for sites like BikerKiss or Farmers Only, many of the rest are looking for their best chance at a good date on eHarmony or Match. But which one is better? As you compare the two, you’ll find there are more similarities than differences.

Popularity

One thing the two sites have in common is they have both seen downward popularity trends. Alexa.com compiles website traffic information to gauge popularity. Match was the more popular of the two on the day we checked, with a global rank of 1,389, while eHarmony ranked as the 9,213th most popular site on the internet, but both dropped in overall rankings from 2016 to 2017.

However, both eHarmony and Match far outrank most competitors. Elite Singles, for example, was 52,908th most popular, and Plenty of Fish ranked below 77,280 other sites on the day we checked. Another competitor, OkCupid, is actually more popular than both Match and eHarmony, though. It was ranked the 810th most popular site on the internet. Those numbers change on a regular basis, though, and certainly popularity is not the only indicator of how successful these sites might be at finding you a match.

Matching

There is not much difference between eHarmony and Match in terms of how much time you spend signing up. Those long questionnaires that you fill out with both – eHarmony's is especially long – are meant to find you better matches.

One thing to note with eHarmony is the fact that you are completely done if you run out of matches they make for you. eHarmony decides which of its users you will interact with. Those matches are made very carefully, though, based on your profile questionnaire, so the limited matches could also be seen as a positive thing. You can't interact with every single eHarmony user, but you likely wouldn't want to anyway, especially after paying a fair amount for their specialized matching system to weed folks out.

On Match and other sites, you can make your own dates with whomever you choose, in addition to the ones the site makes for you.

Interfaces

One difference between eHarmony and Match is their interfaces, which is apparent even when you are on the free version of both sites. When you log in and click on the eHarmony icon, it defaults to a page filled with serious articles about dating dos and don’ts. When you log in and click on the Match logo, it defaults to a very busy page, filled with all sorts of potential matches on every square inch of the screen. That difference is a pretty good indication of how the sites differ in overall philosophy. Match is a little more casual, although there are people looking for serious relationships on there too, and eHarmony is geared toward serious relationships exclusively.

The Match interface has a more casual look and feel throughout, with lots of photos and a few different ways to contact the people in the photos – an instant messaging interface along the right side, a Tinder-style instant matching feature in the center and an activity log lower on the screen detailing who has viewed your profile.

The eHarmony matching screen is a lot more minimal compared to Match, with just a handful of eHarmony's recommended matches in the center, all of them without photos unless you become a paying member.

Communication

These sites are fairly similar when it comes to communication options. On Match you can send winks or emails, but eHarmony really just facilitates emailing, and only with the matches the site suggests.

Both of these sites have an associated phone app, which makes a lot of sense in an era of Tinder. The eHarmony and Match apps are very similar to their parent websites, but they allow you to access a few enhanced features through your phone's capabilities. With both, you can message your matches using your voice, for instance, and you get notifications on the go rather than having to wait until you are by your computer.

Match adds one type of communication that is uncommon in the online dating world – in person communication. It almost seems like a novel concept when it is in the online dating context, but Match helps facilitate actual conversations through its events like cruises and dinner groups. Match organizes the events to get a good balance of men and women.

If you are looking for a clear winner in the Match vs. eHarmony debate, there really isn't one answer for everyone. Two of the biggest names in online dating – eHarmony and Match – are more alike than they are different. Both are more popular than most competitors in terms of site traffic, except for OkCupid, which outpaces both. Both have you answer a lot of questions about yourself to get started in an effort to match you with those who have similar interests and traits. The pricing is fairly similar for both sites, too. 

They differ in their philosophy, though. Match is designed for both casual daters and those looking for something serious, while eHarmony is geared exclusively toward finding long-term relationships. This difference is evident through in their interfaces, options for communication and matching methods. Match always approaches things a little bit more casually and eHarmony takes it all more seriously. If you are ready for a committed relationship and want a little more guidance to get there, go with eHarmony. For a little more flexibility and less intensity, try Match.

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