How much do dating sites cost?

May 4, 2012 at 8:00 a.m. ET

If you ever catch those commercials, you are already aware that one in five relationships starts online. Once upon a time online dating was a guilty secret, but now it's an ocean all of us are dipping our feet into.

Woman on dating site

But where to begin? There are loads of dating sites out there -- one count we heard placed it at well over 1,000. If you are ready for a spring fling and want the best opportunity for online dating success, here are some stops that will work out better than most.

eHarmony, about $60/month (depending on plan)

eHarmony has proven its prowess: A good friend of mine just had his first baby with a lovely lady he met on this site! It's also the number one most trusted relationship site in America. According to a Harris Interactive poll done a few years ago, 236 eHarmony users get married every day. That's crazy talk, but we like it! One month of the service will set you back $59.95, three months are $39.95 a month, six months are $29.95 a month and a full year is $19.95 a month. Not that you hope to have to use it that long, but good to know!, about $50/month (depending on plan)

Some of us feel like we're way too busy to navigate the online dating superhighway. If you don't feel like spending hours searching through profiles, may be the way to go. It's fun to get started -- you take a personality test, and that test is how you are set up with your initial matches. If you see someone you're interested in, you'll have to subscribe to the service to contact them. The first two weeks are free, but after that you'll have to pay $49.95 for one month, about $30 a month for three months or about $25 a month for six months of service., about $40/month (depending on plan)

SpeedDate is a whole other ball of wax, but it is one of the fastest growing dating sites out there, with more than 13 million members. When signing up, you fill out a basic profile to get started and right away you can begin connecting with others on 5-minute speed dates. Premium members can contact all members, view multiple photos and come up at the top of searches. Prices are comparable to other dating services and start at $39.95 for one month. A 12-month membership is $12.95 a month -- bargain-friendly, too!, $35/month (depending on plan) is the most known dating site out there -- and you can create a profile for free. (We all love that price!) If you want to send and receive messages, you'll have to sign up for a paid subscription, which is $34.99 the first month. For three months you'll pay $19.99 a month and six months at a time cost $16.99 a month. Not too bad for forever love!

Zoosk, about $30/month (depending on plan)

Do you love music? Movies? Bad books? Many people like Zoosk's integration with Facebook for this reason -- it's free to use (for starters) and you'll get to see basic profile information of other registered users, including these interesting personality tidbits! But if you want to access the full range of services (like emailing or chatting with members -- which is a rather important component), you'll have to pay for a subscription. One month costs $29.95, the fee for three months is $19.95 a month or you can pay just $9.99 a month with a one-year contract.

PlentyofFish, about $7/month (depending on plan)

According to PlentyofFish, more than a million conversations happen daily through the online dating site. That's a hell of a lot more than my local bar! This is the budget friendly option -- most of the features are completely free to use, including communicating with other members. If you decide to upgrade, it's also one of the most affordable, with monthly membership fees as low as $6.78 a month if you sign up for a year of service. But you can easily use the system without ever paying a dime! Free love, indeed!

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