Of the membership types out there, each one places its own particular restrictions for both members and non-members alike on what your entitled to do at their site. It goes without saying that the goal of (nearly) every dating site is to part you from your hard-earned buck. Luckily, many sites allow a free signup and/or free basic membership (meaning you can create a profile and/or search profiles for free, BUT if/when you want to upload pictures and/or actually contact someone, you will need to pay.
As far as we're concerned this is almost a must, but for you this may be not such a sticking point. No matter what though, you have to be able to see if you at least like the dating site enough to use it (to say nothing of the site's matchmaking potential for you!) The important thing to remember as you begin your life in the Online Dating game, is that Dating Sites are much more than just a collection of personals ads and a way to meet singles.
More and more, the best sites are wrapping in other services and activities to attract and retain members including local singles events and even singles cruises! Hopefully, by using the free dating advice and your general sense of things, you'll be able to find a great site, and have the perfect date.
Here's some of what you'll find (for both members and non-members) to help you be sure you're getting what you think you are:
Limited access for a limited time, with browsing limits.
-- allows you to browse profiles up to a certain limit (say 10 profiles at a time) Note: This is a common thing for sites to do to non-members to encourage you to subscribe!
Limited access for a limited time, with no limits on your browsing.
Unlimited access for a limited time
-- browse as many profiles as you'd like and that you can contact as many people as you'd like...until your membership expires.
Contact a certain number of people (either in a limited or, occasionally, unlimited amount of time)
-- You pay a certain amount to contact someone _or_ when someone contacts you. (This can get quite steep for someone who's actively seeking contact with a number of people, so be careful!)
No matter which one(s) you choose, keep one thing in mind: recurring billing--some sites will keep charging your credit card (or checking account) until you cancel, so take the three minutes and READ the respective sites' policies. You're worth it!
A word about Christian Singles Sites
Perhaps the most quickly growing areas of online dating are Christian dating and other similar singles sites. People are finding it increasingly difficult to find people with compatible values and are turning to Internet dating to help expand their horizons.