Discord is a VoIP, instant messaging and digital distribution platform designed for creating communities. Users communicate with voice calls, video calls, text messaging, media and files in private chats or as part of communities called “servers”. Servers are a collection of persistent chat rooms and voice chat channels. Discord runs on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, iPadOS, Linux, and in web browsers. As of July 21, 2019, there are over 250 million users of the software.
At a basic level, Discord is built to allow you and other members to message each other. Each community is called a “server.” If you’re familiar with
, you can think of it as a less formal version of that app.
Servers are filled with text channels (where you can type to talk to other people) and voice channels (where you can voice-chat with others). You can also share videos, images, internet links, music, and more.
Each server usually has multiple channels, each of which is dedicated to a different topic or has different rules.
For example, you might have one channel to talk about a game, and another for general chatting, and another for pictures of cats. The possibilities are endless.
Starting your own server is free, as is joining other servers.
There are thousands of different Discord servers, each one dedicated to a different topic. If you have an interest in something, there’s a good chance you can find a Discord server for it.
This is especially true for video games, which make up the bulk of Discord’s most popular servers.
To find new servers to join, you can Google ” Discord server.” You can also use Discord’s own search engine, but be aware that it doesn’t track all servers, only the most popular ones.
While chatting, you can also use commands like “/giphy” or “/spoiler” to do things like add a GIF to your message or mark your message as a spoiler.
Much like other chatting apps, Discord allows you to directly message other users. When you do this, you can voice- or video-chat with them.
Discord also be connected to other apps, like YouTube and Spotify, to enhance your experience. And there are both desktop and mobile versions of the platform, so you can use it no matter which device you’re using — even while you’re gaming.
You also have the option to upgrade to Discord Nitro, which includes features like higher video quality, server boosting, a higher upload limit, enhanced quality live streaming, and a custom Discord tag for $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year.
How to Use Discord
You use Discord alongside but separate from whatever other activity you’re doing. Say you have a group of friends you always play fighting games with. You can all seamlessly use the same Discord server, launch and access it from any device, while you hop from smacking talking each other’s Street Fighter V skills on PlayStation 4 to cackling about the fatalities in the Xbox One version of Mortal Kombat 11. Crossplay already allows players of select online games to compete against opponents on other consoles, so Discord is perfect for groups of players who take advantage of that. Discord is a particularly stellar alternative to the subpar voice chat app for Nintendo Switch Online.
Discord is built to create and manage private and public communities. It gives users access to tools focused around communication services like voice and video calls, persistent chat rooms, and integrations with other gamer-focused services along with the general ability to send direct messages and create personal groups. Although at first, Discord services seem directed towards only gamers, in recent years, it has brought several new updates, making it more useful for the general population.
Discord communities are organized into discrete collections of channels called servers. Servers are referred to as “guilds” in the developer documentation. Users can create servers for free, manage their public visibility and create both channels and channel categories up to 250.
Starting October 2017, Discord allows game developers and publishers to verify their servers. Verified servers, like verified accounts on social media sites, have badges to mark them as official communities. A verified server is moderated by its developer’s or publisher’s own moderation team. Verification was later extended in February 2018 to include esports teams and musical artists.
By the end of 2017, about 450 servers were verified.
Members can help servers obtain perks in 3 levels via the “Server Boost” feature, which unlocks higher quality voice channels, more emoji slots, and other perks. Users can buy boosts for servers for $4.99 a month. “Discord Nitro” subscribers get two boosts, and 30% off boosts.
In 2020 Discord unveiled a new feature, known as “Community servers”. It includes such features like a custom welcome screen, server insights, and the ability to advertise on Discord’s Server Discovery page.