by

Pros / Messaging and viewing profiles is free.

Cons / You can’t see who likes you without a paid membership.

 Verdict / OkCupid is edgy, well-designed and frankly very fun to use.

OkCupid is an intuitive, modern dating service. Setting up a profile requires that you answer some in-depth questions but isn’t so exhaustive that it feels tiresome. Viewing other profiles and sending messages is free, and both the website and mobile app are well-designed and easy to use. The site’s bold 2018 ad campaign, featured prominently on the desktop version, shows LGBTQ as well as straight couples, and the signup process also caters to those who don’t subscribe to binary genders. On top of that, this site gave us the most matches during testing, making it the best dating service available.

Setting up your profile involves specifying what kind of relationship you’re looking for. While some sites, like eharmony, simply ask if marriage is your ultimate goal, this one asks whether you’re looking for a hookup, new friends, short-term dating or long-term dating – or any combination of the four. After you write a short biography, you answer a series of questions about how your personality and how long you want your next relationship. You’re also asked to answer them from the perspective of a potential mate and note whether a specific trait or goal is a deal breaker for you. You can skip some questions if you’re not sure, but they’re very unique compared to the other sites we tested and actually pretty fun to answer. Some of them include deciding whether you’d rather be weird or normal, whether you’d date someone who is messy and whether you enjoy talking about politics.

It’s not until after this that you fill out information about your physical appearance, which our reviewers really liked. Looks aren’t everything, right? Once you add a photo you’re ready to go, though you can add up to six if you want. You can add other information to your profile, like your diet (vegan, paleo, omnivore, etc.), your drinking habits and even whether you use any drugs. You can also answer match questions to further improve the likelihood of good matches. There are numerous questions on your profile page you can write personalized responses to as well to describe who you are, what you’re good at and what you enjoy in life. The whole thing took our reviewers 15 minutes, which was long enough to give the site some data to work with but not so time-intensive that we got bored.

As soon as your account is active, OkCupid sends you a message with dating tips and advice. According to the site, taking initiative, being yourself and keeping your account active by updating your information and photos consistently are the keys to successful online dating. Women, in particular, are also encouraged to make the first move.

In testing we created three fake accounts and waited to see how many matches they would get in 24 hours. The two heterosexual accounts we created got more than 100 matches with about half of them being 80 percent or higher – a percentage that shows how likely you are to get along well with that person. The woman seeking woman account we created only got 42 matches, and half of those were also rated at 80 percent or higher. In total, that brought our average number of matches in 24 hours to 81, the most of any site we tested.

Slate has reported that men send nearly four times more initial messages as women on OkCupid. The blog and information section of the OkCupid website says the messaging system was overhauled in early 2018 to address this issue. In an effort to curb the number of inappropriate messages heterosexual women were receiving, now you can only see messages from people you’ve “liked.” We didn’t go through and like any profiles, so we didn’t receive any messages in our testing. Overall though, this feature is a nice way of minimizing inappropriate behavior without limiting the features of the site.

While you don’t necessarily need it to use the site successfully, OkCupid does sell a paid membership. You can purchase A-List Basic or A-List Premium which give you access to features like an ad blocker and getting notified when someone reads your message. While you can see matches for free, you can’t see who has “liked” you unless you pay for a membership. The free mobile app is also an option for dating on the go, and it’s very well-designed and easy to use. The messaging side of the app is free, just like on the desktop version, and users can pay for a membership to send and receive photos as well. Blocking and reporting bad behavior is easy to do, as is deleting your account when you find the person you’ve been waiting your whole life for.