Updated March 6, 2007

Comparing Penpal Sites

k = keyword d = demography (age, sex, country) s = sorted by date (recent first)

















my comments


14,200 no limit



Search results are returned in random order, up to 1000 profiles. Keyword searches return partial matches. Site is ranked high due to lack of pop-up ads.
Penpals Now



no limit



Simple, but the search engine is a bit inflexible. Displays five profiles per page. Keyword searches are now done on the entire profile text, rather than just the hobbies. The low rating is because of the numerous pop-up ads. According to the site, "ads that contain potentially suspicious words and all ads in 12-15 and 16-18 age groups are checked by PenpalsNow staff"






Well-designed database, but there are numerous pop-up ads. There is a feature that allows you to hide your e-mail address, if you so choose.
Penpal World






This site has grown and improved considerably over the the years thanks to the diligent efforts of its founder. The low rating is largely due to the 500 character limit. Best thing about this site is the lack of pop-up ads.







Superb search engine. Unfortunately, there are separate databases for various special interest groups, such as college, teenage, high school, gaming, music, homepages, et cetera, when one for all would make more sense. This site is geared towards students. Note that the number of penpal entries is across all the different databases. Searches are on partial strings.
JuJu.cc International Friends


~2500 no limit


d s

Smaller database, but otherwise a good site.

Detailed Legend

Link - name and URL of site

overall rating - overall usefulness of site from 1 to 10; note that my table lists only the best of the best sites, so even a value of 1 means it's a good site

penpal database size - number of profile entries this site has

max char per profile - maximum number of characters allowed in a profile

pop-up ads - whether or not the site has pop-up ads

search features - what kind of searches can be performed on the penpal database; this is not necessarily a comprehensive list, since I ignore some of the details that seem unimportant

my comments - useful information to know about this site


Why I wrote this page

This site is and will remain extremely concise and contain only the most relevant information. I've always been frustrated by the difficulty of finding good penpal (e-pal) sites. I've seen numerous reviews and directories on penpal sites, but none of them gave me any informative summary or comparison of features. In addition, sites are often praised or recommended based on no objective criteria. I select my sites based on clearly defined criteria that I think are most relevant to anyone doing a serious search for penpals on the internet.

(1) Does the site have a flexible search engine? A good search engine is usually the key feature that differentiates a good penpal from a bad one. It allows users to find what they want without making any presumptions about whether we are interested in a particular country, age group, subject area, or something else. There is no advantage to not having a searchable database. It makes the site easier to maintain and organize, and is likely to make the site grow further and last longer, making it a more useful resource for everyone.

(2) Is the site reasonably large? The larger the database, the more likely one is to find what one is looking for. Ideally, there would be one huge well-designed penpal database for the entire world. There is no advantage to having thousands of tiny sites all try to accomplish the exact same thing. That's why I only focus on the large sites.

(3) Is the site easy to use? There are hundreds of factors that can make a site hard to use. At some sites, listing are displayed with no headlines or other useful text, so you can spend days clicking around to find what you're looking for. At others, ancient profiles might be randomnly intermixed with brand new ones, or the site may require filling out numerous fields that are uninteresting to many users..

(4) Is the site free? If not, I won't include it. Such sites tend not to grow much anyway. I don't look at dating sites much because there are too many of them and most of them are centered around making money, which is then wasted on trivial things. However, I can now recommend Plenty of Fish as the best free dating site on the web.

(5) Is the site regionally specific? To me, this defeats the purpose of a web-based penpal database. If you are interested in only a particular region, why not use a site with a search engine to search that particular region?

These are the basic criteria I use to include sites in my table. The table lists various features of the site I that I think are of interest.

I think this site is the best of its kind. To compare this site to others of the same kind click here.


To contact me with your comments, suggestions, or for any other reasons send me an e-mail. To make sure that only those who are truly interested in communicating with me send me e-mail, you must solve a puzzle to find out my e-mail address. Go to http://www.singlegoal.info/puzzle for details.