OkCupid review: A hip dating site that’s way less lame than the competition
Let’s cut the mushy bullshit and get straight to the point: Online dating gets old real fast. Connecting with people you likely wouldn’t have met before sounds amazing at first, but the steps preceding that potential success story can be cumbersome.
What’s the point of answering questions (that everyone lies about anyway) if a site’s algorithm ignores your filters regardless? All it gets you is weirdos terrorizing your inbox, people who are about to retire, or someone who just wants to bang, even if you requested to only see users who marked that they’re ready to get monogamous.
Between that and having shit luck with ~serendipitously~ meeting your soulmate at a concert or bar, you may feel like signing up for Love Island is your only viable option.
OkCupid(Opens in a new tab) may be able to change your mind.
Everyone knows the name, but what tons of people (especially young people) may not realize is that it’s not just another eharmony or Match. OkCupid(Opens in a new tab) is the perfect happy medium that you might have thought didn’t exist. It’s ideal for people who don’t want anything to do with mindless swiping apps, but who also don’t want to feel like they’re desperately looking for marriage.
What is OkCupid?
With a user base of more than 1.79 million(Opens in a new tab) and an average of 50,000 “Wanna get drinks?” dates per week(Opens in a new tab) since its launch, it’s hard not to wonder what this dating app is all about.
OkCupid debuted in 2004, making it one of the OG dating sites. Its trusted name is to thank for much of the robust user base — but OkCupid’s more recent focus on diversity, inclusivity and modern cultural trends has definitely helped to strengthen the OKC army as of late.
OkCupid pushes for lasting connections using a mix of non-traditional questions and math, and it’s pretty foolproof. They accomplish this by diving into both the shallow and deep aspects of a relationship without being corny or forcing people to self-evaluate. (The ability to weigh the importance of shared values or personality traits in a partner is really handy.) It ends up providing a well-rounded look at users both as a person in general and as romantic partners, giving the algorithm a pool of data to calculate the compatibility between you and another user.
Just as you’d expect from a dating site created by Harvard math majors(Opens in a new tab), the entire site’s ethos is built around numbers(Opens in a new tab) — and it’s nice to know they can actually back up their algorithms.
In 2018, OkCupid went through a major rebranding, and their new advertising is incredible. You’ve probably seen their ads plastered on public transportation or on a billboard at least once: They feature bright colors, a cheeky sense of humor, and both same-sex couples and heterosexual couples, all while redefining what “DTF” stands for. The entire campaign is fresh and inviting and does an exceptional job of making online dating feel cool and not lame. Their slogan is literally “Dating deserves better,” and like yeah, it really does.
How does OkCupid work?
Credit: Screenshot: OkCupid
Now, let’s talk technicalities. OkCupid works via a super-powerful algorithm that takes your age, location, gender (22 genders offered(Opens in a new tab)), orientation (12 orientations offered(Opens in a new tab)), romantic interests, “deal breakers” (we’ll talk about this in a bit), and profile prompt responses into account before matching you with another person.
All of these factors create your Match % score (AKA how well you match with another person). The higher your Match % score is with someone, the more aligned the two of you will be on important issues (e.g., religion, politics, etc.) and what you’re looking for in a relationship.
This way, you won’t need to worry about meeting someone who isn’t compatible right off the bat.
Getting started on OkCupid
Getting started on OkCupid is free and easy to do. You can either download the OkCupid app for iOS(Opens in a new tab) or Android(Opens in a new tab) or visit OkCupid(Opens in a new tab) on a computer. (I liked that there was a web-based version available.)
Then, sign up with your email address. OkCupid will also ask that you verify your account via phone number to ensure your authenticity, which is much appreciated. After you’ve gone through the verification process, you can dive into the fun stuff and build your profile.
An example of some of the fun personality questions you can answer on OkCupid.
Credit: Screenshot: OkCupid
If you’ve tried online dating elsewhere in the past (Tinder doesn’t count), you’ve probably noticed that filling out the questionnaires is THE WORST. The questions get way too fake for my liking, and honestly, are just begging people to lie. Do you think the cheaters of the world are actually going to say “Doesn’t describe me at all” when asked if they cheat? Do you think the world’s most sensitive, quick-tempered crybaby (raises hand) wants to admit to constantly picking fights? Hell no. There’s no question that that stuff is important, but I just don’t think this method will produce the most accurate information on how someone actually acts in a relationship past the honeymoon phase.
Instead, OkCupid asks fun questions like “Would you rather share a kiss in a tent or a kiss in Paris?” or “Would you rather go to a music festival or sporting event?” You’ll get to say what your ideal partner’s answer would be as well. (You’ll also answer the basics about smoking, drinking, political preferences, religion, and all that good stuff.)
OkCupid is not shy about politics and social issues.
Credit: Screenshot: OkCupid
They also have tons of questions to answer directly on your profile if you want to get even more specific with your preferences. Questions like “Do you make your bed every day?” or “How long do you want your next relationship to last?” allow OkCupid to discover your habits without making you think too hard. You’re able to showcase all aspects of your dynamic as a partner without feeling the need to lie. There are also spaces for you to answer prompts about the last shows you binged, your favorite music artists, your talents, etc.
OkCupid offers various paid features, including a la carte and bundle options. Here’s the breakdown:
If you’d like, you can purchase a Boost (whether you’re on a paid plan or not) and this will force the app to increase your profile visibility for 30 minutes. According to the site, a Boost can increase your matches up to five times.
With the Boost feature, you can choose when the Boost begins (the hot time to be online is between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. local time). Boosts are available in single or bundles of five or 10 (bundles are discounted). There’s also an option to purchase a SuperBoost — which is, essentially, an extended Boost. SuperBoosts are available in three-hour, six-hour, and 12-hour increments. If you decide to go with a six- or 12-hour SuperBoost, you’ll get it at a discounted rate.
OkCupid offers Boosts if you don’t want to commit to a full-blown paid subscription.
Credit: Screenshot: OkCupid
For some people, knowing whether or not someone has read your message can make or break your sanity. If you’re one of those people, you’ll be happy to know that OkCupid offers read receipts…for a price.
You can purchase read receipts in packs of one, five, or 20. You can also choose which conversations you’d like to use your read receipts for.
Stacks(Opens in a new tab) are basically categories of potential matches within the discover tab. Stacks give users the option to filter people based on different categories, including those you have the highest Match % with.
Stacks show potential matches broken down by category.
Credit: Screenshot: OkCupid
While many Stacks are free, some require a Stack Pass which gives you access to a particular Stack (e.g., Popular Stack, New People Stack, etc.) for seven days.
As the name of this feature suggests, a SuperLike is a way to show someone you really, really like them. With a SuperLike, your crush can see that you SuperLiked them immediately. You can also send notes with SuperLikes so you’ll have the chance to impress them with your charm.
Additionally, SuperLikes put you in a special SuperLikes Stack so you’ll stand out from the regular discover tab.
The site is very user-friendly
The required set of questions only takes about five minutes to complete, and then you’re ready to start playing Bachelor or Bachelorette. You’re not bombarded with notifications or emails, which I was extremely thankful for. The top nav is extremely clean and only gives notifications for likes and messages — unlike other sites where people can like you in general, like your photo, send a wink, send a smiley face, send a gift, and whatever TF else these sites think is necessary.
I’m big on aesthetics and design when it comes to dating sites (I completely roasted AdultFriendFinder about it), and OkCupid is exactly what I want: organized, minimalistic, with all features obvious and labeled so that you don’t have to click around to see what the options are. OkCupid gets major points for how user-friendly it is.
It’s also ideal for introverts
OkCupid is also one of the best places for introverts and self-proclaimed geeks to find a kindred soul. The prominence of social justice-related questions has drawn an open-minded crowd, creating a safe space that relieves the pressure to be perfect.
The opportunity for badges on your profile is a fun way to express yourself: #IStandWithPP, Game of Thrones, and “nerd” are a few of the things you can pin to the top of your profile to attract other users who get you. (Fun fact: Game of Thrones has been mentioned over 2 million times in user profiles. Automatic conversation starter.)
Woke level: 100
The same-sex ads were probably an obvious giveaway, but OkCupid is liberal as hell(Opens in a new tab). Finding a hottie only to find out you disagree on everything is the most awkward bummer ever. Other sites only ask one question about that stuff, which just isn’t enough. If you’re woke, liberal, and horrified by the dumpster fire that is our current political climate, this is the site for you. Right-wingers, you should just exit now and sign up for eharmony(Opens in a new tab) — it has a history of leaning conservative.
With OkCupid’s makeover came a ton of politically charged questions(Opens in a new tab) as a way to weed out the not-so-progressive users. They want to know your opinion on issues such as abortion, immigration, guns, and more to make sure you and your potential partners have political views that are aligned.
OkCupid uses these answers to tell potential matches how liberal you are and vice versa, and it’s always a plus if you can avoid heated arguments down the road. Liberal women found that this worked to their advantage, as OkCupid released statistics showing that liberal-leaning answers to those questions made you 80 percent more likely to find love on the site.
An online dating site that’s open and welcoming to even the quirkiest singles and embraces the differences and variety of its users should be a given — not a bonus. Unfortunately, a lot of OkCupid’s competitors have some growing up to do. You go, OkCupid. You go.
Finding a match isn’t as hard as it sounds
If you’re feeling hopeless about finding love, you won’t after being on OkCupid. I literally had 607 likes after having my profile up for two days. TWO DAYS. OkCupid has such a massive user base with such a wide variety of people, there’s no way you’re not gonna find a ton of people who find you exactly their type.
The app has that standard swiping app feel (but less “I’m judging you solely on your face” vibes). You see one profile at a time and swipe right or left depending on whether or not you’re interested, with random profile-building questions thrown in at times to narrow down your pickings even more.
See what potential matches are talking about, search for names, or even type in a hobby, musical artist, or show to see which users near you mentioned the same thing. It’s chill and simple enough to do while you’re waiting in line at the store or sitting on the train, all while feeling more sincere than Tinder.
OkCupid’s overhaul brought a lot of positive changes, but some users weren’t psyched about one in particular. In late 2017, the site decided it would require users to use their real names(Opens in a new tab) on their profile instead of usernames like AFunnySassygirl or Superlonelyman. Though it was a goodhearted attempt to make the experience seem more real and less like a creepy AIM chatroom, people (especially women)(Opens in a new tab) were pissed.
Being required to give your real name to any and every stranger on the site felt like a huge invasion of privacy to a lot of people, and with the way desperate users can sometimes seem like stalkers, we don’t blame them. (If you appreciate the uniform feel of Tinder or Hinge and find usernames super lame, maybe you’d actually like OkCupid more for this.) OkCupid received so much backlash that they recanted the policy and said that users can also use a nickname or initials(Opens in a new tab).
You won’t receive messages from randos
OkCupid doesn’t have open messaging, meaning randoms can no longer message you(Opens in a new tab) before you two have matched. This can be good or bad depending on how you prefer the conversation to start: I personally enjoy it, as one main problem with online dating, in general, is that ladies get harassed by men who flood their inboxes. It’s genuinely overwhelming and I’d prefer to only be messaged by people I already gave the go-ahead to. (Bumble combats this by only letting women message first.)
Like me, some people were stoked about this. Reddit user reciphered(Opens in a new tab) writes:
“Under the new OKC I get about x5 as many matches. I send fewer messages and I receive higher quality responses. I believe this is all because of the requirement to match before messaging. Now women are required to seek out desirable profiles in order to interact with users on the site – just like the men. I also really like how doubletake has shown me interesting profiles that I wouldn’t have found with browsing. The only downside is the low population compared to Tinder.
I assumed that only annoyingly persistent men would dislike this change, but according to Reddit, a lot of ladies also aren’t feeling it either:
Reddit user narcissica(Opens in a new tab) writes:
“I don’t like it because I can’t tell if someone’s a creeper just from a quick glance at their profile. I either have to “like” people fairly indiscriminately to leave myself open to conversation, or I have to close doors on potential conversation that could be worthwhile. I was doing just fine having the block feature, or simply not responding to people who weren’t worth my time.”
The Reddit community(Opens in a new tab) is actually huge on OkCupid, and while all dating sites receive their fair share of shit (Redditors do not hold back on giving their opinions), I genuinely feel like OkCupid has the nicest things said about it. (Or the least mean things. Close enough). This blog(Opens in a new tab) even put together a guide on OkCupid advice that Redditors have given over the past few years.
Surprise: The free version *isn’t* worthless
The site is fully functional with the free membership, and we give them props for that. Most dating sites make you pay to do literally anything besides signing up. But on OkCupid, you can view mutual likes (aka matches) and message matches for free. (Similar to Tinder and Bumble.) However, if you’re feeling ambitious and want a little feature upgrade, OkCupid does offer two paid memberships: OkCupid Basic and OkCupid Premium.
OkCupid subscription cost
Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll get from OkCupid Basic and OkCupid Premium.
Six months of OkCupid Basic – $17.49 per month
Three months of OkCupid Basic – $23.33 per month
One month of OkCupid Basic – $34.99 per month
With OkCupid Basic you can:
Use Dealbreakers: Dealbreakers are “hard filters” that let you suss out what you don’t want.
Send unlimited likes: There’s no limit on the number of people you can like per day.
Get unlimited rewinds: Undo any regrettable passes you made.
Unlock intros: View unlimited intros with OkCupid Basic.
Use the app ad-free: Say goodbye to ads with this paid plan.
Six months of OkCupid Premium – $22.49 per month
Three months of OkCupid Premium – $29.99 per month
One month of OkCupid Premium – $44.99 per month
With OkCupid Premium you’ll get the above features in addition to:
See who likes you: No need for mutual likes, with OkCupid Premium you can see a full list of people who like you.
Get three free SuperLikes each week: With this premium subscription, you’ll get three free SuperLikes every week — which, according to the OkCupid website, increases your chances of matching by four times.
See all question answers: The free version limits what you can see, with this plan you can see responses to questions you haven’t answered yet.
Good for: Liberal people who want a relationship
OkCupid is essentially the place for everyone who takes dating seriously but still wants to have fun and skip the pressure of settling down. Though OkCupid’s advertisements may have “DTF” plastered all over them, the site’s intentions and matchmaking process are no joke.
OkCupid is the best place to find people who want a partnership to truly be equal.
It might take some time and genuine effort to make a profile, but that’s what you want if you’re looking for something real. You’ll fill out a questionnaire with your answers as well as what you would like your ideal match to answer. This makes the application-building process a lot more fun than other apps, making it feel like an online quiz. It asks a range of questions, from simple stuff to whether you smoke and drink to more intimate things like how many dates you typically wait before sleeping with someone. Pro tip: The app says that the more questions you answer, the better your matches will be. The deeper you go, the more accurate your profile is. In turn, OkCupid(Opens in a new tab) will have a way easier time finding matches for you.
Like we said in our eharmony review, just because you’re bored with Tinder doesn’t mean eharmony (or a site with the same expectation to settle down) is the next step. A lot of those users are older, divorced, and have kids, and there’s a much slimmer selection of young people in that gray area. OkCupid seems ideal for the person who’s trying to marry the next person they date, even if the idea of marriage and kids makes them slightly nauseated.
OkCupid is the dating site version of the left-wing hipster who wears “Make America Gay Again” hats. The LGBTQ community finally has a safe space in the online dating world (that is, one that’s not a super niche lesbian or gay-only app), and those who usually vote liberally can make sure they’re not going on a date with someone whom they’d want to fight on Facebook.
I’d go as far as to say that OkCupid(Opens in a new tab) is the best place to find people who want a partnership to truly be equal — where women won’t be shamed for being breadwinners and where men won’t insist that cleaning is the woman’s job. Get with the times, people.
Not ideal for: Conservative people and those in a rush to marry
While browsing through the potential matches in my feed, I didn’t get the vibe that people were 100% ready to settle down — which is fine if you feel the same way, but worrisome if you’re past that phase. Some people seem to be using OkCupid like Tinder and were only visiting, while most will specify exactly what they’re looking for in their bios, so confusion about intentions should be minimal. This isn’t to say that it’s not possible to find your future spouse on here — these success stories(Opens in a new tab) prove that you can — just don’t go into it expecting to talk about how many kids you want. It’s serious, but not serious.
And then there’s the political aspect of it. While most dating sites refuse to take sides, OkCupid has made it clear that they care about social justice issues. People who align strongly with the Republican party, are Trump fans, or have religion-backed values or political views may feel a bit out of place here — you’ll probably feel like many of the questions are irrelevant to a relationship, and you probably won’t see a high number of matches with whom you align politically. That’s not to say that it’s not worth a shot, but if you’re trying to cast your net as wide as possible, another site where these issues aren’t highlighted may give you better luck.
Is OkCupid legit?
As with any dating site, there will be one-star ratings, enthusiastically negative reviews, and complaints from people about things that the site itself has no control over. (No, Karen, it is not OkCupid’s fault that John ghosted you.) Dead profiles, catfishing, and getting abruptly suspended are annoying. OkCupid has its fair share of each, but unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to guarantee that a site is completely free of flaws. OkCupid does try to combat fake profiles by having users connect to an Instagram account, which is way harder to fake than an online dating profile.
Cities are overflowing with users, but less populated areas see a huge drop in potential matches.
One thing that is a legitimate issue is the user base in less-populated areas. Cities (like NYC, where I live) are overflowing with potential boos, but I guarantee that if I logged on in my middle-of-nowhere hometown, my number of matches within a 10-mile radius would drop an alarming amount. We’ve seen a ton of complaints about this, but again — that’s not an OkCupid problem, it’s an every-site problem.
Those who have been using the site for years have noticed a significant slowdown in finding people to talk to, as you can’t see who’s messaged you until you like them back, and going through all of the possible people already takes forever. It’s easier to just block people if you don’t want their messages instead of almost never being messaged at all, you know? OkCupid doesn’t have to re-open messages completely, because some people do like their privacy — but it would be great if they had the option to toggle it on if you don’t mind being hit up by strangers.
OkCupid falls under both the classic dating site category and the swiping app category, which also means that they have way more competition than most one-or-the-other platforms do. When it comes to swiping apps, Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge are the obvious top three competitors. None of them want to be known as a hookup app, and it’s definitely possible to find a long-term relationship on any of them, but Tinder and Bumble provide so little information that user intentions are easy to surmise. Alternatively, Hinge calls itself “The Relationship App” and requires users to be a bit more serious with their pickings by judging off more than a few selfies. Where Hinge may fall short is the fact that it pretty much caters to young people only, while OkCupid is more wide-ranging.
When it comes to more traditional sites, OkCupid’s obvious competitors are eharmony(Opens in a new tab), Zoosk(Opens in a new tab), and Plenty of Fish(Opens in a new tab). Match has the size advantage(Opens in a new tab) by far — and though OkCupid will always be #1 in my heart, Match is a close second. It’s also an OG player in the online dating game, and it’s always nice to have the reassurance that there are veteran masterminds behind the matchmaking process. Match has numerous unique features to meet new people that no other site has even come close to. I appreciated their eagerness to get people together IRL. It’s a little less trendy and millennial than OkCupid, and maneuvering through the dating pool is basically a free-for-all. The way that OkCupid breaks suggestions down by categories makes everything significantly more organized and helps to give an idea of what might or might not work with a person right off the bat, which I found to be an extreme leg up.
If you’re looking to start a family ASAP or prefer a more traditional approach, eharmony may be a safer bet.
eharmony(Opens in a new tab) is all about marriage and features a 29-dimension matching system. The registration process there takes longer and goes a bit deeper, but there’s a reason eharmony has led to some 4 percent of marriages in the US. This isn’t to say that OkCupid isn’t serious, because it is — it just gives a little more leeway when it comes to people’s intentions. eharmony sees a much more mature audience filled with many divorcees, single parents, and a few stage-five clingers — AKA no one that has time to play games. If you’re looking to start a family ASAP or prefer a more traditional approach, eharmony may be a safer bet. eharmony has had some history of not being LGBTQ-friendly in the past, which is likely a turn-off for most of OkCupid’s stans.
IMO, there’s nothing super standout about Zoosk or Plenty of Fish(Opens in a new tab). Both are user-friendly enough, except POF looks like it hasn’t been updated since 2005 and neither is nearly as aesthetically pleasing as OkCupid. POF is super into the chemistry stuff and their questionnaires are intense, so if you’re looking for something serious and aren’t trying to pay a lot, it’s a great alternative to eharmony. Zoosk is unique in that it uses behavioral matchmaking, which basically suggests matches for you based on your on-site behavior, and I do have to commend them for that. It’s a great feature for people who don’t know what they want, and OkCupid’s number of ways to discover new people might get overwhelming for those who aren’t confident in their partner-choosing abilities.
Is OkCupid worth it?
As far as online dating goes, OkCupid(Opens in a new tab) rules. When you’re over-swiping apps but are not desperately looking for marriage, this is a happy medium that evades the feeling of desperation. You can find commitment but still feel hip and have fun. It has gained a trusted rep from over 20 years of matchmaking experience and evolving with the younger generations, leading OkCupid to win the hearts of 50 million singles.
Their ads (as well as the addition of numerous gender identities and orientations and the importance placed on political issues) showcase the importance they place on inclusivity and social justice, which is a giant breath of fresh air for anyone tired of regular heteronormative sites.
OkCupid(Opens in a new tab) genuinely wants dating to be a good experience for you, and their non-traditional questions, multi-faceted matchmaking, and modern vibe help you steer clear of feeling like a loser talking to people online while still pushing for lasting connections.