What Replaced Craigslist Personals: A Guide to Online Dating

Doublelist Team

February 21, 2023 10 minutes read
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Once upon a time, there was a magical land called Craigslist. You could buy lawn chairs, adopt pets, or get an acting gig. Some say you could even find love and adult fun under the Craigslist Personals section. But unlike other fairytales, this one doesn’t have a happy ending. The site eventually closed and left devotees wondering, “What replaced Craigslist Personals?”

Does that sound like you trying to make sense of modern online dating? That’s why we’ve created this guide. Consider it your one-stop shop to fill the Craigslist-shaped hole in your heart. We’re covering what to use instead of Craigslist for casual encounters and relationships. No matter your sexuality or gender, we’ve thought of it all. Wipe your eyes, and let’s jump in.

Why Do People Wonder What Replaced Craigslist Personals


We don’t want to be presumptuous. We’re guessing some of you didn’t enter the dating game until after 2018. So you may be thinking to yourself, “What the hell is Craiglist personals? And why do I need alternative sites?” Here’s a brief Internet history lesson for you.

Craigslist was once also a dating site. You could log on, enter your location, and browse the Personals section. People would write up what they wanted in a partner, and others would respond. Think of it as an open-world version of dating. 

However, due to legal concerns, Craigslist Personals shut down permanently in 2018. Hence why ex-users ask, “What replaced Craigslist Personals?” But enough about history. Let’s talk about the present.

What Replaced the Craigslist Personal Ad


Here’s what separated CL from the rest of the pack: the personal ad. This long-lost format of searching for human connection has mostly disappeared. The answer to what replaced the Craigslist Personal ad is dating and hookup apps.

A dating app is accessible, easy to use, and mobile. You can go from downloading to dating in minutes. There isn’t an app on the market that functions the exact same as Craigslist. Apps use filters and short, tweet-like bios. Craigslist was all about the long form. 

What has replaced Craigslist personals for people who liked the ad listing style? Believe it or not, a few websites have stepped up to the plate. Keep scrolling to learn more about these alternatives.

What Replaced Craigslist Personals for Relationships: Websites


If you’re looking for what replaced Craigslist Personals, you’re down for online dating. But your goal for seeking an alternative to craigslist might differ from someone else’s. Some people loved CL for casual dating. Others used it to find a long-lasting partnership. 

If you’re part of the latter group, gather ‘round. Here, we’ll walk you through what websites are the most like Craiglist personals. (Don’t worry if you’re more of an app person. We cover that later too.)

What Replaced Craigslist Personals for Marriage: eHarmony

straight relationship

One thing the Craigslist community never got enough credit for? Producing numerous happy marriages. But one site that has that reputation in spades is eHarmony. eHarmony is a dating site with a long track record of bringing couples together. No matter your age, race, or sexuality, you’re welcome at eHarmony. 

According to users, the best feature of eHarmony is the compatibility quiz. This questionnaire is the secret sauce of how they match you up with other users. Membership is free, but you have to pay to communicate with anyone. 

What Replaced Craigslist Personals for Lasting Relationships: Match.com


Still stuck on what replaced Craigslist Personals for lasting relationships? Try Match.com. Similar to eHarmony, Match focuses on serious relationships. Both use lengthy compatibility quizzes to figure out your one true love. Both require you to fill out your personal information like age, sex, location, job, etc. 

So how do these two sites differ? Match is cheaper and has more members. However, both of these sites change their prices often. If you’re interested in taking the plunge for love, be sure to compare both. 

What Replaced Craigslist Personals for Loving Senior Relationships: OurTime

These days, the internet isn’t just for the young. Are you over the age of 50 and searching for meaningful relationships? Then OurTime is calling your name. This dating website is for more experienced folks to find love. 

Here you don’t have to weed out folks outside your age bracket. Or worry about a lack of safety features. OT uses standard identity verification, but you can also report or block malicious users. In terms of user-friendliness, OT makes the grade. You just fill out your name, age, location, and interests. Then, the app does the rest. 

What Replaced Craigslist Personals for Relationships: Apps

cucumber + banana in tuxedos

Dating apps may not have the same creative flare as adult classifieds. But they’re way more straightforward and more accessible. Plus, since most are location-based, they’re the best way to find local single people. In this round of “what has replaced Craigslist Personals,” we’re focusing on relationship-oriented dating apps. Here are our top three suggestions.

What Replaced Craigslist Personals for Committed Relationships: Hinge

The ultimate app for commitment is Hinge. Similar to relationship-focused websites, Hinge is all about getting to know you. There are loads of icebreaker prompts and profile labels. You can share whether you smoke, want to have kids, political affiliation, or vaccination status. 

Want to know what your potential mate sounds like? In recent updates, Hinge added videos and voice memo capabilities too. Unlike other sites, you don’t have to pay to play (unless you want unlimited swipes).

What Replaced Craigslist Personals for Lasting Lesbian Relationships: HER


Are you a woman-loving woman looking for a female-centric dating experience? Then HER is your wing-woman of choice. HER once marketed itself as the best lesbian dating app out there. Now, however, it’s also shifted towards welcoming bi and queer women. You don’t have to worry about running into “unicorn hunters.” Or annoying straight dudes trying to “turn” you. You can relax and enjoy chatting and matching with women galore.

This is a woman-only zone built for lasting relationships. It works like other dating apps with a swipe “yes” or “no” format. But you can delve deeper into the type of relationship you want (open or monogamous). Plus, even if you don’t find love, it also has a networking tab. Here you can make platonic connections with other lesbian/queer women near you.

What Replaced Craigslist Personals for Serious Relationships: OkCupid

Man in bed with a cucumber

One of the things that set Craigslist apart was how it brought together same-minded people. For many, ideology is a big part of finding a serious relationship. In that sense, what replaced Craigslist Personals is OkCupid. This app separates itself from the pack by uniting socially-conscious daters. 

Download it if you don’t mind asking your matches the hard-hitting questions on day one. Like who they voted for. Or if they recycle. Or that classically weird OkCupid question: would nuclear war be fun

What Replaced Craigslist Personals for Casual Dating and Sex

Put down your vibrators and dildos, horny people. (Or keep them up, your preference.) We didn’t forget about you. We have three winners in terms of what replaced Craigslist Personals exclusively for casual encounters. Scroll on to learn more.

What Replaced Craigslist Casual Encounters: AdultFriendFinder

If you’re thirsting for what replaced Craigslist casual encounters, give AdultFriendFinder a whirl. AFF is overflowing with explicit content and revved-up users ready to get down and dirty. A paid membership gives you access to all sorts of features. These include unlimited chatting, group threads, webcams, live streams, and more. 

You can keep your account barebones with just a username and photos. Or you can try sexy quizzes to better pair you with similarly kinky daters. Because of these extras, it’s not the closest answer for what has replaced Craigslist Personals. But if you’re just looking to get off.

What Replaced Craigslist Hookups: Tinder

What replaced Craigslist hookups? Tinder. If you’re trying to find a casual hookup near you, Tinder is the go-to option. Why? For one, it’s one of the most well-known dating services. If you’re looking to date, you’re on Tinder. Second, it doesn’t focus so much on compatibility questions or personality quizzes. 

You build your profile with your age, sex, location, and dating preferences. If you want, you can provide more info, but photos do more of the talking. From there, you swipe. Based on that, Tinder feeds you matches. Since this app focuses more on physical appearances, it’s ripe for casual dating.

What Replaced Craigslist Personals for Gay Casual Dating: Grindr


One community that Craigslist Personals served the most was gay men. It was a low-key place where guys could hook up with other guys ASAP. As a bonus, they could do this without exposing their identities online. For that reason, many queer men still search for Gay personals to replace Craigslist

No, Grindr isn’t a personal ad site. But it’s undeniably the modern holy grail for quick, convenient gay hookups. Make an account with your email, and within seconds Grindr shows you other DTF guys close by. You can chat, plan meet-ups, or exchange pictures. A word of caution to dudes living in major cities: silence your notifications. You don’t want it buzzing every two seconds because another Grindr user entered your radius.

What Replaced Craigslist Missed Connections

Bear Honey

We’re about to wrap up the “what replaced Craigslist personals” discussion. But before we can, there’s one more thing to cover. What replaced Craigslist Missed Connections? If you don’t know, Missed Connections was another personal ad Craig’s list section. This forum was about reuniting with people you’d seen IRL but didn’t ask out. Missed Connections was your second chance to make a love connection. In classic CL style, this was all via descriptive personal ads. You’d post and pray the person you were lusting after would see it and respond.

Missed Connections still exists as a section on CL. However, it doesn’t work the same way anymore. Instead, many people have turned to TikTok. Yes, TikTok isn’t just a social media platform anymore. It’s the new way to find the one that got away. Just search #missed connection, #findhim, or #findher to see how TikTokers turn personals into videos.

What Replaced Craigslist Personals for Every Type of Online Dating

Have you noticed a trend with all those Craigslist replacement options? One: you have to go to different services for different connections (i.e., use tinder for hookups but Hinge for serious dating). Two: They still don’t have the same format as the original Personals section. So what replaced Craigslist Personals for online dating, all in one place, and uses ads? DoubleList

If you’re truly looking for personal ads like Craigslist, DoubleList is your best bet. Just like Craigslist, it’s divided by cities, so you know what’s going down in your town. You can write or respond to personal ads. You can search it for a fling one day and a serious relationship the next.

The most important similarities to Craigslist? DoubleList is entirely anonymous and 100% free to use. Here, your private life stays private, and we’ll never ask for your credit card info. Sign up for your free account today!

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