The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in interest in new single-photon detector technologies. A major cause of this trend has undoubtedly been the push towards optical quantum information applications such as quantum key distribution. These new applications place extreme demands on detector performance that go beyond the capabilities of established single-photon detectors. There has been considerable effort to improve conventional photon-counting detectors and to transform new device concepts into workable technologies for optical quantum information applications. This Review aims to highlight the significant recent progress made in improving single-photon detector technologies, and the impact that these developments will have on quantum optics and quantum information science. © 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.