Online dating is one of the most profitable niches online. It is estimated that the US market alone is worth more than $2 billion (which explains why there are so many advertisements for dating websites online!!).
I tested the dating niche myself a few years back by launching a small dating review website. I made a little money from it, but sold it on as I was focusing on other projects. Still, I got an inside view of how profitable the niche can be.
Rather than refer people to other dating services, why not start your own? Sure, it is difficult to compete with the marketing budgets of behemoths such as Match.com; however there is still a large market for unique dating websites that focus on something specific. For example, in the UK there are always adverts for uniform dating websites. And who knows, perhaps you could go down the freemium route and develop the next Plenty of Fish.
To help you start your own dating website, I checked out fifteen of the best dating scripts available online. The top end dating scripts retail for a few hundred dollars, though there are some cheaper alternatives available too. I hope you enjoy the list.
1. Dating Site Builder (From $29.95 Per Month)
Dating Site Builder is a dating application that promises that your website can created in just five minutes. It uses a templating system for designing your website. You can style things yourself or use one of the many templates available.
The software uses PHP and a license will grant you to the full source code. They provide a full all in one solution for a number of dating niches such as escorts, dating, adult dating, adult social networking, and adult webcam chat.
A premium plan for Dating Site Builder retails at $29.95 per month. Their small business plan retails at $49.95 per month and offers additional features such as webcam chat and matchmaking. To access all features, you need to subscribe to their corporate plan at $99.95 per month.
2. SkaDate ($399)
SkaDate is a PHP online dating and community script that has 100% unencrypted source code. It boasts many great features such as speed dating, a matchmaking system, photo verifications, events and more.
The social networking aspect of the script is great. Users can update their own blog and upload photo albums, music, and videos. There are many templates available for selection so you should find something to fit your project. A few add ons are available too, such as a mobile application suite. Though these add ons will cost you extra.
A license for SkaDate retails at $399 and comes with free software updates and free installation on your domain. Forum support is also provided free of charge. You will also get one month of free ticket support. Beyond that, ticket support will cost you $95 per month.
3. Dating Script (From $149.95)
Dating Script is a customisable dating solution that great content management functionality and a rich user profile system. It comes with integrated advertising features and anti-spam control. It also has a built in classifieds system and a virtual gift system that allows users to send gifts to each other.
A starter plan retails at $149.95. Updating to the professional plan at $199.95 gives you access to features such as blogs, virtual gifts, and videos. Stepping up to the business plan at $249.95 will also add classifieds and music support. All licenses include free installation, free support, and free updates.
4. PG Dating Pro (From $299)
PG Dating Pro is a customizable dating application that has been optimized for mobile devices. They have been around since 1999.
It offers a lot of ways to make money from your website, such as charging users to send messages and for access to premium features such as instant messenger. The overall quality of the design and admin interface is high. You certainly won’t be disappointed in that respect.
A basic license for PG Dating Pro costs $299. An extra $49 has to be paid to remove branding. To get access to the open source code, you need to pay $599. I was a little surprised that they charge an extra $300 for access to the source code, as their home page proudly declares that “Dating Pro is an open source PHP dating software for everyone”. However, on the plus side, the open source plan does come with brand removal as default.
More expensive packages are available that come with additional features and add ons. Thankfully, there is a free trial available that lets you try the application.
UPDATE: I later published a detailed review of PG Dating Pro. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed with the script and found it to be slow, outdated, and expensive.
5. AspNetDating (From €290.00)
As the name suggests, AspNetDating is a dating application that was developed upon the ASP.NET platform. It features social media integration support for Facebook, Twitter, Skype and MySpace, dynamic searching using profile photos, Google Maps integration, chat rooms, and a classifieds option. Banner and Google Adsense advertising can also be integrated into the design.
A theme manager is available in the admin area and there are lots of pre-made dating skins to select. The software has been optimised for mobile devices too.
A license for AskNetDating retails at €290.00 and includes free installation, support, and software updates. They charge a whopping €490.00 for access to the source code. The module for chat costs €200 and €300 if you want audio and video streaming.
The costs don’t stop there. A video converter plugin will cost you €180.00, a video streaming plugin will cost you €180.00, and a plugin that helps you find faces in photos costs €280.00. Of course, all of these added expenses are optional. If you don’t need access to the source code, chat support, or video and face cropping options; then all you will pay is €290.00.
6. Sweet Date ($58)
Sweet Date is a premium dating WordPress theme that works in conjunction with the WordPress plugins BuddyPress, bbPress, and WooCommerce. The design is mobile friendly and can handle recurring payments through Stripe, Authorize.net, or PayPal. You can also offer trials to potential customers.
Members can display their online status to others and upload photos to an album. It comes packaged with three different skins and the Slider Revolution plugin to ensure your home page looks great.
A license for Sweet Date retails at $58 from ThemeForest.
7. LoveStory – $58
Another good option for WordPress users is LoveStory. The dating theme is mobile friendly and comes with great features for members such as live chat, private messaging, Facebook login, and virtual gifts.
It can support multiple membership levels and accept payments as it has WooCommerce support. Styling and colours can be edited through the settings area.
As both LoveStory and Sweet Date work with WordPress, you can expand your dating membership in many wonderful ways. You can add a blog, forums, directories, galleries, and much more.
A license for LoveStory retails at $58 from ThemeForest.
8. VLD Personals (From $99.95)
VLD Personals is a feature rich dating script that features instant messaging, private messaging, video sharing, music uploads, and blogs. It supports multiple membership levels, paid and trial memberships, and anti-spam protection. Several popular payment gateways are supported and it can be integrated with a discussion forum script.
Two different licenses are available. The personal license retails at $99.95, while the commercial license retails for $199.95. The difference between the two is a “Powered By” credit link on personal license websites. Both licenses come with lifetime support and one year of updates. You can upgrade to the commercial license from the personal license by simply paying the difference.
9. Chameleon (From $224)
ABK Chameleon is a PHP based social networking and dating script that offers online chat, a hot or not rating system, a love calculator, and a built in affiliate system. It also has a featured member system.
Although it is sold as a dating script, it comes across more as a general social networking solution, however you may want to check it out for its quirky dating features such as hot or not.
The core engine of the script costs $97 for one domain. The oryx add on, which is necessary to create a dating website, retails at $127. Therefore, you would have to spend at least $224 to get the features you need for a dating website. Other modules are available to extend functionality further, such as mobile frameworks and membership extensions.
10. iCupid ($299)
iCupid is a dating script that has great social media integration. It features dozens of built in templates, custom fields, and built in payment options. Website statistics are provided through the administration area, however you can also integrate Google Analytics. Google Adsense can also be integrated to help you earn additional income.
iCupid was originally marketed as eMeeting and retailed at between $155 and $635. It had a number of bad reviews online, however it was bought over by the software company Advantate. They have completely overhauled the software and the pricing structure.
The new version is sold at a flat rate of $299. This grants you access to the source code and includes free support and free upgrades forever. It also features one year of free hosting.
11. SoftDatePro ($39)
SoftDatePro is a PHP dating script that supports paid memberships, live chat, and an email messaging system. It includes a few different matching systems to encourage interactions between members.
Photo uploads are also available and members can search for others using basic and advanced fields. Registrations, member payments, content, and other settings, can all be controlled via the admin area.
The script is available from CodeCanyon for only $39.
12. MyMatch ($50)
MyMatch is a stylish dating solution that features a user friendly member system. Members can search profiles of other members and send them private messages. Users, content, and membership levels, can all be controlled via the admin area.
MyMatch can be purchased for a one off fee of $50. Each purchase comes with the full source code and original Photoshop files.
13. DatingSoftware+ ($495)
DatingSoftware+ is a professional dating script that supports streaming flash video, lightbox images, and photo galleries. It comes with many different themes and can support an internal blog and discussion forum. The software also has support for Skype, SMS message updates, and member groups.
A license for DatingSoftware+ retails at $495. A regular and adult version are available at this price. Each license offers one year of software updates and support and comes with the original source code. A mobile plugin is also available for the software for $199.
14. Softbiz Dating Script ($99)
Softbiz’s dating script is a PHP based solution that comes with built in shopping cart functionality and banner ad system. It also supports affiliate ads and Google adsense.
The script allows you display featured members, image galleries, who is online and more. The basic design of the script reminds me of Plenty of Fish, though it remains functional. A license for Softbiz costs a one off fee of $99.
15. DateMill (FREE)
There is a reason why there are no free scripts listed in this article: They all suck. I checked out dozens of free scripts. Their designs were poor and they had not been updated in years.
Sadly, DateMill is the best of a bad bunch; however I wanted to ensure there was at least on option for those of you on a budget. In my opinion, you would be better using the free script BuddyPress instead of this. It was not designed specifically for dating websites, however it is a fantastic community script and is updated frequently.
I hope you found this list of dating applications useful. The dating niche is huge. Even if you can only get a small share of the market, you might make a lot of money.
Some of the solutions in the above list are expensive. Therefore, be sure to check out the demo of the front and anf the administration area. If no demo is available, contact the developer of the script and ask if you can get temporary access in order to test the script.
If you know of any other great dating scripts, please let me know in the comment area below.