How does discord work

How does discord work DEFAULT

Discord (software)

Software for Internet communication

Discord is a VoIP, instant messaging and digital distribution platform. Users communicate with voice calls, video calls, text messaging, media and files in private chats or as part of communities called "servers".[note 1] 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 [update], the service has over million registered users and over million monthly active users.


The concept of Discord came from Jason Citron, who had founded OpenFeint, a social gaming platform for mobile games, and Stanislav Vishnevsky, who had founded Guildwork, another social gaming platform. Citron sold OpenFeint to GREE in for US$&#;million,[9] which he used to found Hammer & Chisel, a game development studio, in [10] Their first product was Fates Forever, released in , which Citron anticipated to be the first MOBA game on mobile platforms, but it did not become commercially successful.[11]

According to Citron, during the development process, he noticed how difficult it was for his team to work out tactics in games like Final Fantasy XIV and League of Legends using available voice over IP (VoIP) software. This led to the development of a chat service with a focus on user friendliness with minimal impact to performance.[11]

To develop Discord, Hammer & Chisel gained additional funding from YouWeb's 9+ incubator, which had also funded the startup of Hammer & Chisel, and from Benchmark capital and Tencent.[10][12]

Discord was publicly released in May under the domain name[13] According to Citron, they made no specific moves to target any specific audience, but some gaming-related subreddits quickly began to switch their IRC links with Discord links.[14] Discord became widely used by esports and LAN tournament gamers. The company benefited from relationships with Twitch streamers and subreddit communities for Diablo and World of Warcraft.[15]

In January , Discord raised an additional $20 million in funding including an investment from WarnerMedia (then TimeWarner).[16] In , WarnerMedia Investment Group sold its share as it was shut down following AT&T's acquisition of WarnerMedia.[17][18]

Microsoft announced in April that it will provide Discord support for Xbox Live users, allowing them to link their Discord and Xbox Live accounts so that they can connect with their Xbox Live friends list through Discord.[19]

In December , the company announced it raised $ million in funding at a $2 billion valuation. The round was led by Greenoaks Capital with participation from Firstmark, Tencent, IVP, Index Ventures and Technology Opportunity Partners.[20]

In March , Discord changed its motto from "Chat for Gamers" to "Chat for Communities and Friends", and introduced server templates. This was part of their response to an increase in users as a result of the COVID pandemic.[21][22]

In April , Discord's Twitter username was changed from @discordapp to @discord.[23] Later in May , Discord changed its primary domain from to[24]

Starting in June , Discord announced it was shifting focus away from video gaming specifically to a more all-purpose communication and chat client for all functions, revealing its new slogan "Your place to talk" and a revised website. Among other planned changes would be to reduce the number of gaming in-jokes it uses within the client, improving the user onboarding experience, and increasing server capacity and reliability. The company announced it had received an additional $ million in investments to help with these changes.[25]

In March , Discord announced it had hired its first finance chief, former head of finance for Pinterest Tomasz Marcinkowski. An inside source called this one of the first steps for the company towards a potential initial public offering, though co-founder and CEO Jason Citron had stated earlier in the month he was not thinking about taking the company public. Discord doubled its monthly user base to about million in [26] The same month, Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal reported that several companies were looking to purchase Discord, with Microsoft named as the likely lead buyer at a value estimated at $10 billion.[27][28] However, they ended talks with Microsoft, opting to stay independent.[29] Instead, Discord launched another round of investment in April [30] Among those investing into the company was Sony Interactive Entertainment; the company stated that it intended to integrate a portion of Discord's services into the PlayStation Network by [31][32]

The old Discord wordmark (–)

In May , Discord rebranded its game controller-shaped logo "Clyde" in celebration of its sixth anniversary.[33] The company also changed the color palette of its branding and user interfaces to a much more saturated one to be more "bold and playful", and changed its slogan from "your place to talk" to "imagine a place", believing that it would be easier to attach to additional taglines; these changes were met with backlash and criticism from Discord users.[34]

Discord acquired Sentropy, a company that specialized in using artificial intelligence systems to monitor online networks for abusive messages to highlight problematic users, and provide recommendations to users for the means to block such messages or users, in July With the acquisition, Sentropy's tools will be used exclusively for monitoring Discord servers to help with Discord's goals to prevent harassment of users.[35]

Ahead of a new funding round in August , Discord had reported $ million in revenues, triple from the prior year, and had an estimated valuation of $15 billion. According to Citron, the increased valuation was due to the shift away from "broadcast wide-open social media communication services to more small, intimate places", as well as increased usage from the COVID pandemic, and capturing users that have left Facebook and other platforms due to privacy concerns.[36] Citron states that they are still in talks with several potential buyers including all major gaming console manufacturers.[36] From this, the company secured an addition $ million in further investments in September [37]

In September , Google sent cease and desist notices to the developers of two of the most popular music bots used on Discord - Groovy and Rythm, which were installed on an estimated 36 million servers combined.[38] These bots allowed users to request and play songs ad-free from YouTube. Two weeks later, Discord partnered with YouTube to test a "Watch Together" feature, which allows Discord users to watch YouTube videos together.[39]


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.[40] Although Discord services may initially seem directed only towards gamers, in recent years several new updates have made it more useful for the general population.[citation needed]


Discord communities are organized into discrete collections of channels called servers. Servers are referred to as "guilds" in the developer documentation.[41] Users can create servers for free, manage their public visibility and create both channels and channel categories up to [40][note 2] Any given server can have up to , members, as discovered when the official Discord server for the video game Genshin Impact reached maximum capacity.[42]

Starting October , 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 to include esports teams and musical artists.[43][44][45]

By the end of , about servers were verified.[46]

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 $ a month. "Discord Nitro" subscribers get two boosts included in the price of Nitro, and 30% off for all other boosts.[47]

In , Discord unveiled a new feature, known as "Community servers".[48] It includes such features like a custom welcome screen, server insights, and the ability to advertise on Discord's Server Discovery page.[48]


Channels may be either used for voice chat and streaming or for instant messaging and file sharing. The visibility and access to channels can be customized to limit access from certain users, for example, marking a channel "NSFW" (Not Safe For Work) requires that first-time viewers confirm they are over 18 years old and willing to see such content.

Text channels support some rich text via a subset of the Markdown syntax.[49] Code blocks with language-specific highlighting can also be used.[49]

Discord launched Stage Channels in May , a feature similar to Clubhouse which allows for live, moderated channels, for audio talks, discussions, and other uses, which can further be potentially gated to only invited or ticketed users. Initially, users could search for open Stage Channels relevant to their interests through a Stage Discovery tool, which was discontinued in October [50][51]

In August, the Discord launched Threads, which are temporary text channels that can be set to automatically disappear. This is meant to help foster more communication within Servers.[52]

Direct messages

Direct messages in Discord allow people to text, share files, live stream and call others privately outside of servers. An added feature in Discord direct messages is the ability to create message groups of up to 10 users.[53] This acts similar to a server's text channel, with the ability to initiate a call simultaneously for all the members in a direct message group (in servers, people can only join voice channels but cannot be called into)

User profiles

Users register for Discord with an email address and must create a username. To allow multiple users to use the same username, they are assigned a four-digit number called a "discriminator", prefixed with "#", which is added to the end of their username.[54]

Both at the server and the user level, Discord allows users to connect these to their Twitch or other gaming service account.

Users can assign themselves a profile picture. Subscribers for Discord Nitro, part of Discord's monetization plan, can use animated profile pictures.[55]

In June , Discord added a feature that allows all users to add an About Me section to their profile. Subscribers for Discord Nitro also get the ability to upload a profile banner image.[56]

Video calls and streaming

Video calling and screen sharing were added in October , allowing users to create private video calls with up to 10 users,[57] later increased to 50 due to the increased popularity of video calling during the COVID pandemic.[58]

In August , this was expanded with live streaming channels in servers. A user can share their screen if Discord has detected they are playing a game and others in that channel can join the channel to watch the stream. While these features mimic livestreaming capabilities of platforms like Twitch, the company does not plan to compete with these services, believing that these features are best used by small groups.[46]

Digital distribution

In August , Discord launched a games storefront beta, allowing users to purchase a curated set of games through the service.[59] This will include a "First on Discord" featured set of games that their developers attest to Discord's help in getting launched, giving these games 90 days of exclusivity on the Discord marketplace. Discord Nitro subscribers will also gain access to a rotating set of games as part of their subscription, with the price of Nitro being bumped from $ to $ a month.[60][61] A cheaper service called 'Nitro Classic' was also released that has the same perks as Nitro but does not include free games.

Following the launch of the Epic Games Store, which challenged Valve's Steam storefront by only taking a 12% cut of game revenue, Discord announced in December that it would reduce its own revenue cut to 10%.[62]

To further support developers, starting in March Discord gave the ability for developers and publishers that ran their own servers to offer their games through a dedicated store channel on their server, with Discord managing the payment processing and distribution. This can be used, for example, to give select users access to alpha- and beta-builds of a game in progress as an early access alternative.[63]

Also in March , Discord removed the digital storefront, instead choosing to focus on the Nitro subscription and having direct sales be done through developer's own servers.[64] In September , Discord announced that it was ending its free game service in October as they found too few people were playing the games offered.[65]

Developer tools

In December , the company introduced its GameBridge API, which allows game developers to directly integrate with Discord within games.[66]

In December , Discord added a software development kit that allows developers to integrate their games with the service, called "rich presence". This integration is commonly used to allow players to join each other's games through Discord or to display information about a player's game progression in their Discord profile.[67]

Discord also provides tools for users to create their own bots.[68] There are tools such as discord.js[69] that allow bot developers to interact with the Discord API to control their bot.

Documentation for the Discord API is hosted on GitHub and formatted to be displayed on their website.[70]


Discord is a persistent group chat software, based on an eventually consistent database architecture.[71]

Discord uses the metaphors of servers and channels similar to Internet Relay Chat even though these servers do not map to traditional hardware or virtual servers.[note 1] They are instead database entities in Discord's servers.

The desktop, web, and mobile apps all use React, using React Native on iOS/iPadOS and Android.[2] The desktop client is built on the Electron framework using web technologies, which allows it to be multi-platform and operate as an installed application on personal computers.[72]

All versions of the client support the same core feature set; screen sharing with desktop audio is Windows exclusive. Discord is specifically designed for use while gaming, as it includes features such as low latency, free voice chat servers for users and dedicated server infrastructure. Support for calls between two or more users was added in an update on July 28, [73]

The software is supported by eleven data centers around the world to keep latency with clients low.[74]

Discord uses the Opus audio format, which is low latency and designed to compress speech. In July , Discord added noise suppression into its mobile app using the Krisp audio-filtering technology.[75]

Discord's backend is written mostly in Elixir,[3]Python,[4] as well as Rust,[5][6]Go, and C++.[7]


While the software itself comes at no cost, the developers investigated ways to monetize it, with potential options including paid customization options such as emoji or stickers.[12] The developers have stated that while they will look for ways to monetize the software, it will never lose its core features.[76]

In January , the first paid subscription and features were released with "Discord Nitro Classic" (originally released as "Discord Nitro"). For a monthly subscription fee of $, users can get an animated avatar, use custom and/or animated[55] emojis across all servers (non-Nitro users can only use custom emoji on the server they were added to), an increased maximum file size on file uploads (from 8 MB to 50 MB), the ability to screen share in higher resolutions, the ability to choose their own discriminator (from # to #) and a unique profile badge.[77] In October , "Discord Nitro" was renamed "Discord Nitro Classic" with the introduction of the new "Discord Nitro", which cost $ and included access to free games through the Discord game store. Monthly subscribers of Discord Nitro Classic at the time of the introduction of the Discord games store were gifted with Discord Nitro, lasting until January 1, , and yearly subscribers of Discord Nitro Classic were gifted with Discord Nitro until January 1, [60] In October , Discord ended the free game service with Nitro.[65]

In June of , Discord introduced Server Boosts, a way to benefit specific servers by purchasing a "boost" for it, with enough boosts granting various benefits for the users in that particular server. Each boost is a subscription costing $ a month. For example, if a server maintains 2 boosts, it unlocks perks such as a higher maximum audio quality in voice channels and the ability to use an animated server icon. Users with Discord Nitro or Discord Nitro Classic have a 30% discount on server boost costs, with Nitro subscribers specifically also getting 2 free server boosts.[78][79]

Discord began testing digital stickers on its platform in October for users in Canada. Most stickers cost between $ and $ and are part of Discord's monetization strategy. Discord Nitro subscribers received a free "What's Up Wumpus" sticker pack focused on Discord's mascot, Wumpus.[80]


By January , Hammer & Chisel reported that Discord had been used by 3 million people, with growth of 1 million per month, reaching 11 million users in July that year.[16][81] By December , the company reported it had 25 million users worldwide.[66] By the end of , the service had drawn nearly 90 million users, with roughly million new users each week.[82] With the service's third anniversary, Discord stated that it had million unique registered users.[83][84] The company observed that while the bulk of its servers are used for gaming-related purposes, a small number have been created by users for non-gaming activities, like stock trading, fantasy football, and other shared interest groups.[46]

In May , one year after the software's release, Tom Marks, writing for PC Gamer, described Discord as the best VoIP service available.[13] Lifehacker has praised Discord's interface, ease of use, and platform compatibility.[85]

In , Discord had at least million registered users across its web and mobile platforms.[86] It was used by 56 million people every month, sending a total of 25 billion messages per month.[87] By June , the company reported it had million active users each month.[25] As of , the service has over million monthly active users.[86]


Discord has had problems with hostile behavior and abuse within chats, with some communities of chat servers being "raided" (the taking over of a server by a large number of users) by other communities. This includes flooding with controversial topics related to race, religion, politics, and pornography.[88] Discord has stated that it has plans to implement changes that would "rid the platform of the issue".[89]

To better protect its users and its services since these events, Discord has implemented a trust and safety team that is on call around the clock to monitor the servers and respond to reports. This includes dealing with user harassment, servers that violate Discord's terms of service, and protecting servers from "raiding" and spamming by malicious users or bots. While they do not directly monitor messages, the trust and safety team can determine malicious activity from service use patterns and/or user-generated reports[90] and take appropriate steps, including more detailed investigation, to deal with the matter. The service plans to expand this team as they continue to gain new users.[46][82]

Discord gained popularity with the alt-right due to the pseudonymity and privacy offered by Discord's service. Analyst Keegan Hankes from the Southern Poverty Law Center said "It's pretty unavoidable to be a leader in this [alt-right] movement without participating in Discord".[91][92] In early , CEO Jason Citron stated Discord was aware of these groups and their servers.[93] Citron stated that servers found to be engaged in illegal activities or violations of the terms of service would be shut down, but would not disclose any examples.[94]

Following the violent events that occurred during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, , it was found that Discord had been used to plan and organize the white nationalist rally. This included participation by Richard Spencer and Andrew Anglin, high-level figures in the movement.[91] Discord responded by closing servers that supported the alt-right and far-right, and banning users who had participated.[95] Discord's executives condemned "white supremacy" and "neo-Nazism", and said that these groups "are not welcome on Discord".[91] Discord has worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center to identify hateful groups using Discord and ban those groups from the service.[96] Since then, several neo-Nazi and alt-right servers have been shut down by Discord, including those operated by neo-Nazi terrorist group Atomwaffen Division, Nordic Resistance Movement, Iron March, and European Domas.[97]

In January , The Daily Beast reported that it found several Discord servers that were specifically engaged in distributing revenge porn and facilitating real-world harassment of the victims of these images and videos. Such actions are against Discord's terms of service and Discord shut down servers and banned users identified from these servers.[98]

In July , Discord updated its terms of service to ban drawn pornography with underage subjects.[99] Some Discord users subsequently criticized the moderation staff for selectively allowing "cub" content, or underage pornographic furry artwork, under the same guidelines. The staff held that "cub porn" was separate from lolicon and shotacon, being "allowable as long as it is tagged properly."[99] After numerous complaints from the community, Discord amended its community guidelines in February to include "non-humanoid animals and mythological creatures as long as they appear to be underage" in its list of disallowed categories, in addition to announcing periodic transparency reports to better communicate with users.[]

In March , the media collective Unicorn Riot published the contents of a Discord server used by several members of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa who were also members of the United States Armed Forces.[]

In January , two days after the storming of the United States Capitol, Discord deleted the pro-Donald Trump server "The Donald", "due to its overt connection to an online forum used to incite violence, plan an armed insurrection in the United States, and spread harmful misinformation related to U.S. election fraud", while denying that the server had any direct connection to the attack on the Capitol building. The server had been used by former members of the r/The_Donaldsubreddit, which Reddit had deleted several months previously.[]

On January 27, , Discord banned the r/WallStreetBets server during the GameStop short squeeze, because of "hateful and discriminatory content", which users found contentious.[] One day later, Discord allowed another server to be created and began assisting with moderation on it.[]

See also


  1. ^ abThe developer documentation refers to servers as "guilds".
  2. ^Categories are technically classified as channels with no messages, holding other channels with messages.


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Further reading

External links


How Discord (somewhat accidentally) invented the future of the internet

Most longtime Discord users have a similar origin story. They liked playing video games, and liked playing with their friends, so they used TeamSpeak or Skype to talk to their friends in-game. They mostly hated TeamSpeak and Skype, but they were really the only options.

Eventually, a lot of those gamers realized something. They wanted to talk to their gaming friends even when they weren't in a game, and they wanted to talk about things other than games. Their gaming friends were their real friends. As luck would have it, in early , a new tool called Discord showed up on the market. Its tagline was not subtle: "It's time to ditch Skype and TeamSpeak." It had text chat, which was cool, but mostly it did voice chat better than anybody else.

Early users set up private servers for their friends to play together, and a few enterprising ones set up public ones, looking for new gamer buds. "I don't have a lot of IRL friends that play games," one Discord user, who goes by Mikeyy on the platform, told me. "So when I played Overwatch, I started my first community … to play games with anyone on the internet. You'd play a couple of games with someone, and then you're like, 'Hey, cool, what's your Discord?'"

Fast-forward a few years, and Discord is at the center of the gaming universe. It has more than million monthly active users, in millions of communities for every game and player imaginable. Its largest servers have millions of members. Discord's slowly building a business around all that popularity, too, and is now undergoing a big pivot: It's pushing to turn the platform into a communication tool not just for gamers, but for everyone from study groups to sneakerheads to gardening enthusiasts. Five years in, Discord's just now realizing it may have stumbled into something like the future of the internet. Almost by accident.

Going all in

Pivots are actually crucial to the history of Discord. It wouldn't exist without them. Before he was trying to reinvent communication, co-founder Jason Citron was just one of those kids who wanted to play games with his friends. "That was the era of, like,," he told me (in a Discord chat, of course). "I was playing a lot of Warcraft online, dabbled in MMOs a little bit, Everquest." At one point he almost didn't finish college thanks to too many hours spent playing World of Warcraft.

Citron learned to code because he wanted to make games, and after graduating set out to do just that. His first company started as a video game studio and even launched a game on the iPhone App Store's first day in That petered out and eventually pivoted into a social network for gamers called OpenFeint, which Citron described as "essentially like Xbox Live for iPhones." He sold that to the Japanese gaming giant Gree, then started another company, Hammer & Chisel, in "with the idea of building a new kind of gaming company, more around tablets and core multiplayer games." It built a game called Fates Forever, an online multiplayer game that feels a lot like League of Legends. It also built voice and text chat into the game, so players could talk to each other while they played.

Discord co-foundersDiscord co-founders Stan Vishnevskiy (left) and Jason Citron.Photos: Discord

And then that extremely Silicon Valley thing happened: Citron and his team realized that the best thing about their game was the chat feature. (Not a great sign for the game, but you get the point.) This was circa , when everyone was still using TeamSpeak or Skype and everyone still hated TeamSpeak or Skype. Citron and the Hammer & Chisel team knew they could do better and decided they wanted to try.

It was a painful transition. Hammer & Chisel shut down its game development team, laid off a third of the company, shifted a lot of people to new roles and spent about six months reorienting the company and its culture. It wasn't obvious its new idea was going to work, either. "When we decided to go all in on Discord, we had maybe 10 users," Citron said. There was one group playing League of Legends, one WoW guild and not much else. "We would show it to our friends, and they'd be like, 'This is cool!' and then they'd never use it."

After talking to users and seeing the data, the team realized its problem: Discord was better than Skype, certainly, but it still wasn't very good. Calls would fail; quality would waver. Why would people drop a tool they hated for another tool they'd learn to hate? The Discord team ended up completely rebuilding its voice technology three times in the first few months of the app's life. Around the same time, it also launched a feature that let users moderate, ban and give roles and permissions to others in their server. That was when people who tested Discord started to immediately notice it was better. And tell their friends about it.

Discord now claims May 13, , as its launch day, because that was the day strangers started really using the service. Someone posted about Discord in the Final Fantasy XIV subreddit, with a link to a Discord server where they could talk about a new expansion pack. Citron and his Discord co-founder, Stan Vishnevskiy, immediately jumped into the server, hopped into voice chat and started talking to anyone who showed up. The Redditors would go back, say "I just talked to the developers there, they're pretty cool," and send even more people to Discord. "That day," Citron said, "we got a couple hundred registration[s]. That kind of kicked the snowball off the top of the mountain."

Early Discord teamThe early Discord team, circa Photo: Discord

One user, who goes by Vind on Discord, was among Discord's earliest cohort of users. He and his Battlefield 4-playing friends ditched TeamSpeak for the app, right as they were also starting to do more than just talk about Battlefield. "We were moving away from being purely about the game to being more about a general community." Discord let them set up different channels for different conversations, keep some order in the chaos, and jump in and out as they wanted. But Vind said one feature particularly stood out: "Being able to just jump on an empty voice chat, basically telling people, 'Hey, I'm here, do you want to join and talk?'"

Almost everyone I talked to picked that same example to explain why Discord just feels different from other apps. Voice chatting in Discord isn't like setting up a call, it doesn't involve dialing or sharing a link and password or anything at all formal. Every channel has a dedicated space for voice chat, and anyone who drops in is immediately connected and talking. The better metaphor than calling is walking into a room and plopping down on the sofa: You're simply saying, I'm here, what's up?

Add that to the list of things about Discord that turned out to be unexpectedly powerful. In retrospect, of course, it feels obvious. Vishnevskiy describes it as feeling like "a neighborhood, or like a house where you can move between rooms," which is a radically different thing than most online social tools. It had no gamification systems, no follower counts, no algorithmic timelines. "It created a place on your computer and on your phone," Citron said, "where it felt like you friends were just around, and you could run into them and talk to them and [hang] out with them." You open up Discord and see that a few of your friends are already in the voice channel; you can just hop in.

The third place

From a technical perspective, none of this is easy. "It definitely requires a different way of architecting the system," Vishnevskiy said. Discord spent a long time working on making it easy to be in a voice channel on your phone, then seamlessly switch when you open Discord on your computer. And it continues to work on latency, the enemy of every real-time communications developer.

More recently, the company has added video chat to the stack, believing that was the next level of high-fidelity conversation Discord needed. The team wanted to build a way to screen-share during a game, basically creating a small-group or private Twitch that would let users stream games with their friends watching. Doing that in 4K, at 60 frames per second, was hard enough. They weren't sure how to add it, either: Should they add a separate channel for video, or would users have a hard time choosing between voice and video? They eventually added it into the voice channel, turning it into an incremental step up from voice rather than a separate thing.

There's not much that Discord does that users strictly can't do elsewhere. On one hand, it's a lot like Slack, blending public channels with easy side-chats and plenty of ways to rope in the right people. It's also a bit like Reddit, full of ever-evolving conversations that you can either try to keep up with or just jump into when you log in. (In fact, a lot of popular subreddits now have dedicated Discords, for more real-time chat among Redditors.) It uses simple status indicators to show who's online and what they're up to. But by putting all those things together, in a way that felt more like hanging out than doing work, Discord found something remarkable. Everybody talks about the notion of the Third Place, but nobody's come closer to replicating it online than Discord.

Beyond just making sure things work right, flexibility is key to Discord. The ladder of communications, from text to voice to video, has always been important to get right. Communities can decide who gets access to certain tools and design their space however they want. But it goes even deeper: If you're in a video chat, for example, you can choose whose video you're seeing, not just whether yours is on or not. You can also be in multiple chats at once, blending one into the background while focusing on another. "It's supposed to all work in harmony," Vishnevskiy said, "but not focus you on something specific like a Google Meet or a Zoom. Doing it passively is also a core feature." When users say Discord just feels better, that's usually what they're talking about.

While Zoom, Teams and others focused on building teleconferencing features — breakout rooms, Q&A, integration with work tools, transcripts, that sort of thing — Discord has continued drilling down on quality and latency. "We invested a lot in integration with GPUs and stuff like that, really deeply," Vishnevskiy said. "Voice was solved long ago at scale, but we wanted to solve it with 1, people in a voice channel … and they could be all talking at sub-millisecond latency. That's not important for people on a teleconference call." Turns out, though, it was important for a lot more than gaming.

Discord videoVideo chat is one of Discord's more recent features, and it seems to fit right in.Image: Discord

As Discord grew, so too did some of its communities. And pretty quickly, many of them took on lives outside of games. Vind found himself running a pretty large community, about all things Formula 1 racing, not long after he joined Discord. "I was actually not the creator of it," he said. "Someone else created it and then basically abandoned it immediately." Vind joined at the very beginning, in , when there were only 50 or so people on the server. He checked to see who owned the server — and thus had complete control over it — and found it was a totally uninvolved Discord user. Vind eventually tracked him down on Reddit, and asked him for admin privileges so he could add some new features. "And then he just gave me ownership," Vind explained. The guy was focused on creating a Formula 1 group on Kik, which he thought was going to be the better platform. (Whoops.)

Vind's goal was to build a big community, but not around any particular game. Or even necessarily around racing. "I wanted to build something that was more of a general community, where people feel welcome and just share the interest of Formula 1."

The Formula 1 server now has more than 5, users. The history of the internet says that groups of that size almost inevitably devolve into some kind of messy chaos, making moderation and community-building hard to keep up with. Vind said there have been challenges, sure, but for the most part things have worked OK. Discord's moderation bot, named CarlBot, does a pretty good job of automatically deleting problematic messaging and alerting the mods. "And then if that happens, we ban them," Vind said. "We don't want anyone who uses that kind of language in the community." Those are the rules. When users join the Formula 1 server, they have to read and agree to those rules before they're allowed to post.

'The society we want to see'

Not everyone has it so good. Discord's troubles with problematic content are epic and well-documented. It has at various times been a home to members of the 4chan and 8chan crowd; a number of "Kool Kids Klub" servers that are only barely disguised KKK groups; and countless examples of online bullying, hate speech and other kinds of awful behavior. It pops up everywhere. What happens on the platform isn't necessarily meaningfully different from, say, what happens on Reddit or Facebook, but experts have said they worry about Discord because its semi-private nature and small team make it harder to police. Since Discord's users skew young, there are even more challenges.

Discord employees now admit they noticed this too late. The problematic content on the platform only became an urgent issue after the deadly protests in Charlottesville in , which had been planned and discussed openly on Discord for a long time before the event. Before that, there was no Trust and Safety team at Discord; Sean Li, who leads that team, joined the company about a month before Charlottesville. And for too long, the company thought its job was just to keep the worst stuff — the porn, the racial slurs, the flagrantly illegal content — off the platform. It turned a blind eye to the rest, figuring that because it wasn't a public space, what was the harm? Just don't join the server, and nobody can come after you.

Now they see it differently. "Discord is like a country with million inhabitants, living in different states and towns," Li said. "We make the rules on what is allowed to help shape the society at large, and we empower server moderators and admins to help us enforce and expand upon them based on the needs of their communities." He wants to help moderators create whatever kind of community they want, and Discord's also getting better at giving moderators the tools and knowhow to do so, but only within the boundaries set by the broader platform. Those didn't exist for too many years. Now, Discord's trying simply to be clear and forceful about what's acceptable and what isn't, and to enforce those rules consistently. It's investing in bots and other automated mod tools, but the Trust and Safety team now makes up more than 15% of Discord's staff. While there's still plenty of bad stuff on the platform, progress seems to be strong.

Discord roles and permissionsDiscord has more rules than before, but it still leaves much in the hands of moderators.Photo: Discord

Meanwhile, the other thing Discord has had to figure out is how to make money. This is a significantly less urgent problem: The company has raised nearly $ million, including $ million this past summer that valued the company at $ billion. Forbes estimated its revenue at over $ million this year. Point is, Discord has plenty of runway. But there's not often a clean exit path for a huge communications platform with a spotty reputation for moderation (just ask Twitter and Reddit). Eventually, the company's going to have to make real money. And Citron and Vishnevskiy both adamantly say they don't want to sell ads or user data.

Users have long made businesses out of Discords. Mikeyy, for instance, eventually graduated from playing Overwatch to running a big server for people who play FIFA, and particularly those who like to play its addictive Ultimate Team mode. Mikeyy and his team of moderators and admins run a VIP server inside the larger community, where for $ a month they offer exclusive trading tips, guides and more. Everything runs through PayPal and similar services, though, and Discord doesn't see a dime. Over the last couple of years, Discord has become a place where lots of streamers, influencers and others chat more directly with their fans — Discord has official integrations with Twitch, Patreon and more — but it doesn't get a cut there either.

So far, Discord's main source of income has been Nitro, its $a-month premium service that lets users change their username, use more emoji and get both video and voice in slightly higher quality. But Discord always had bigger plans. One plan seemed obvious: Sell games to gamers! In Discord launched the Discord Store, with a hand-selected set of games available for purchase. Done with beating TeamSpeak and Skype, Discord was coming for Steam. Except that didn't work. Users didn't come to Discord to find games, they came to hang out with their friends. The Store only lasted a few months, and Nitro Games, a Netflix-for-games service that sounds a lot like Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now, didn't last much longer.

The Discord Store's failure was an eye-opening moment within Discord. And it caused another pivot: Discord had to be less about video games and more about becoming the place for people to hang out with their friends. It was now in the era of Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox and so many other games where being together was far more important than the activity on the screen.

'Your place to talk'

People had used Discord for non-gaming things from the early days of the service — as many as 30% of servers were about something else — but the team had never paid them much attention. Starting last year, they did. They ran focus groups and user studies, trying to figure out how millions of people were using Discord. One question they asked was, "What's the biggest misconception about Discord?" The overwhelming answer: "It's for gamers." People who wanted to have their study group/knitting club/origami lessons/sneaker-shopping crew in Discord were having trouble getting others hooked into this kooky app with the alien logo and all the in-jokes about TeamSpeak.

In early , as Discord was embarking on a big redesign and rebranding exercise designed to help it appeal more broadly, COVID happened. Suddenly, stuck at home, everyone's social life turned to the internet. Discord's user numbers increased by 47% from February to July, and all those newbies discovered what millions of gamers already knew: that having a place to hang out with their friends is a powerful thing, and that Discord did it better than anyone. Study groups started using Discord; teachers used it for class; friends used it to hang the way they normally would after school or on the weekend.

At the end of June, Discord's rebrand was complete. Its new tagline was "Your place to talk," and its homepage was mostly free of gaming jargon or confusing instructions. (Though the nods to gaming do persist, from the controller-alien logo to the .gg at the end of every Discord server's URL.) "As we look back at the last few months," Citron and Vishnevskiy wrote in a blog post announcing the redesign, "it's clear that as people spend more and more time online, they want online spaces where they can find real humanity and belonging."

In the months and years to come, Discord has plenty of work to do, particularly on continuing to improve moderation tools and make sure the communities on its platform operate the way the company hopes. And as it keeps adding more features — eventually, VR and AR and so many others will be on gamers' and everyone's wish lists — it'll have to figure out how to do it all without adding the kind of complexity it has so far avoided.

But five years in, it's clear that Discord has done something remarkable. It's built a space that feels unlike any other on the internet. It's not quite group chat, it's not quite forums, it's not quite conference calling. It's all of those things and none of them. It turns out, in that messy middle, is a place that mirrors what it's like to be human, and interact with other humans, more closely than just about anything else on the internet. (For better, and sometimes for worse.) That's not what Citron, Vishnevskiy and their team were going for, but it's what they have now. And they're not pivoting anymore.

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What is Discord?

When playing video games on PC, players often need to solve two problems: How to talk to one another, and how to organize people long enough to actually get a game going.

Discord is the latest in a long line of apps designed to solve that problem. The free platform, which blends the approachable chat UI found in apps like Slack with video and voice chat, a la Skype, has quickly become one of the most popular, reporting million users, with 14 million people logging on every day. Discord is great to use to talk to your friends while playing games, but it&#;s also useful for creating places where people can congregate, meet up to find other players, and socialize.

Here&#;s everything you need to know about Discord, including where to get it, what it costs, and why you might want to check it out &#; especially before firing up your next multiplayer game.

Further reading

So, what is Discord?

Setting up a test server in discord.

Discord is a chat app, similar to programs such as Skype or TeamSpeak, or professional communications platforms like Slack. It&#;s geared specifically toward video game players, providing them with ways to find each other, coordinate play, and talk while playing. It supports video calls, voice chat, and text, allowing users to get in touch however they please.

Discord is especially useful if you&#;re trying to play PC games. The app makes chatting pretty easy and offers search functions that can help you find other people and add them to a friends list for quick communication. Lots of people use it not just for talking to each other while playing games, but as an organizational and social tool.

Thanks to this breadth of functionality, users have also embraced Discord as a semipublic, forum-style community platform: Groups of players with common interests, such as fans of a particular game or studio, can create or join &#;servers,&#; both public and private, where lots of people can meet and hang out, chatting via text, video, or voice.

While most of the servers are related to gaming, you can also find public Discord servers that focus on a variety of topics, including things like anime, cryptocurrency, self-improvement, and just making friends and hanging out. There&#;s also nothing requiring servers to be created for gaming, so if you want a place in Discord to discuss a topic, you can always make one. Handy places to find and search for public servers include,, and

Oh, and finally, Discord is free.

What separates Discord from other platforms?

A Discord text chat.

Though there are a lot of free communication programs online, Discord stands out thanks to its wide array of chat options. It combines all the best features of more commonly used programs, such as Skype and Slack, with an easy-to-use interface. A voice chat program wouldn&#;t be much use if it slowed down your games while you&#;re using it, so the team making Discord is dedicated to making it as efficient as possible.

That versatility has led large groups of users to embrace Discord as a place to meet and chat with people who have similar interests, not just friends. It&#;s part communications app, part social media portal. While the chat room side of the app, in which users can join public or private &#;servers,&#; is probably its most popular, it also provides a social forum that&#;s great for organizing people to play games as well. Essentially, you don&#;t need video games to make Discord useful: It&#;s extremely handy for joining with groups of friends in a private server, or meeting like-minded folks in public ones.

When you create a Discord server, you can configure it in a multitude of ways by setting up different roles for members, such as creating roles for other administrators and moderators or creating a special role for your most active members. Setting up different member roles has a number of benefits for your server including making it easier to manage your server, rewarding members for being active, as well as providing different access permissions.

Discord is also accessible through a number of means, which makes it easy to use even if you&#;re not sitting in front of a gaming PC. The app has a downloadable PC program you can run on your computer &#; which is the handy, lightweight version best for running in the background while you play games &#; as well as a web-based version and a mobile version. That means you can interact with people in your Discord chat servers from basically anywhere, extending the social capabilities of the app.

Find a server (or make one)

Searching for a Pokémon server.

So how does Discord work? In a word: Servers. As with other chat apps, such as Slack, Discord lets you set up a chat room it refers to as a server, to which you can invite people. When you invite someone to the server, they get a link that lets them join it, where they can either text or voice chat with other people using that server. Each server can be broken down further into &#;channels,&#; small spaces for discussions on specific topics, as opposed to one giant live forum. Channels come in text and voice versions, to further make them easier to use. You can also make individual channels on your server private, so only people who are invited into those rooms can use them. On top of that, the whole server can be either public, which anyone can join, or private, which makes it invite-only.

You can be a part of multiple servers at a time, making Discord a hub for social interaction. You might have one private server for you and your friends specifically, so you can coordinate before playing a game, while also being a part of several public servers (we joined the local Pokémon Go Discord server to try to find people to raid with, for example). There&#;s no limit on how many servers you can be a part of. You can easily switch from server to server at will: The list of your servers is always displayed on the left side of the app, and choosing your destination is simply a matter of clicking one or another.

Joining a server is as easy as clicking a link, though, generally speaking, you need to be invited first. Many servers are public and available through Discord&#;s search function &#; for instance, Pokémon Go players in Los Angeles have a public &#;PoGo LA&#; server to coordinate playing the game in their city, and anybody can join it. Discord also has special &#;verified servers&#; &#; official servers created by game studios and other notable entities that serve as official community forums for fans to chat with each other and with game developers.

Creating a server in Discord.

Creating a server of your own is also a snap. A vertical list along the left side of the app shows the servers you&#;re already in, so you can switch between them easily. A &#;plus&#; icon is the spot where you can make a server of your own. Give it a name and a photo to define it, if you like, then select a server location that&#;s close to you, and that&#;s it &#; now the server exists and Discord will generate a link that lets you invite other people to use it.

Once inside, your server will have lists for voice and text channels on the left side of the screen. You can quickly add and name new channels using the &#;plus&#; icons near the top of each list. Each channel has various control settings, as well, including the ability to make them private and invite-only, and to choose who can create invite links.

Make friends

A Discord friend list.

Like most other chat apps, Discord also supports the ability for you to create a list of &#;friends&#; who use the app that you can contact directly outside of any servers.

The easiest way to add friends to your list is by finding their names in servers you&#;ve already joined. You can right-click on a user name to find an &#;Add Friend&#; button at the bottom of the screen, which will send a friend request to that user. You can also click a user name and pull up that person&#;s User Profile, where another button is located for you to add the person as a friend.

It&#;s also possible to search for users and add them as friends. If you know their username and they&#;ve set their privacy settings to allow for search, you can find them using the search field at the top-left of the screen. You can then add those public people as friends just by clicking on the photos of any user on the list.

You can also send friend requests directly from your friend list, without doing a search. From your friend list in the Discord client program, you can click the blue &#;Add Friend&#; button near the top-left side of the screen. That&#;ll bring up a field that lets you add the person&#;s complete user name and their four-digit &#;DiscordTag.&#; The user name you&#;re looking for should come out like this: HelpyHelpnotbot# You&#;ll need to get that info from your friend to add them on Discord, though.

Once you&#;ve got some friends, clicking their names on your friends list allows you to quickly open up a direct message feed with them, or request video and voice calls. You can add set up a group video or voice chat with multiple friends, even without a server.

Connect accounts and build a profile

Connecting accounts in Discord.

Discord lets you connect other social media accounts to the app (including but not limited to Steam, Twitch, Twitter, Spotify, and Xbox) to make it easier to track down people you know and flesh out your user profile. Since the app combines private communications with public chat rooms, connecting accounts goes beyond the usual use of finding people you&#;re already friends with to connect to on Discord. It also makes it easier for people to know who you are in the real world, should you so choose.

Connecting accounts is easy and works the same as with other chat or social media apps &#; mostly by just allowing you to connect by prompting you for your password for other accounts. The additional functionality of being able to find people you meet on Discord on other media portals has the added function of making Discord into more of a social network itself. If you&#;re using it to access public servers to find like-minded players in various games, it can be a handy way to meet people.

If you&#;re more privacy conscious, you can choose whether or not to have your connected social media accounts appear on your Discord profile by toggling the option within your settings. Additionally, if you decide to connect your Xbox account to Discord, you can have it display what game you&#;re playing in a status-like message in each server&#;s user list and within your profile.

Texting it up

A text chatroom in Discord.

As you start navigating servers and channels, you can write text messages to anyone quickly and easily using the text field at the bottom of the Discord screen. There&#;s a lot more going on here than just knocking out quick messages, though. You can drag GIFs and images into chat by dragging them into the text field, or using the &#;upload&#; button on the left side of the text window. If you want to edit or delete a message you&#;ve already sent, simply hover over the message and click the pencil icon to edit or click the &#;&#;&#; button and select delete.

Text on Discord also supports &#;Markdown,&#; giving you quick and easy ways to alter the text in your Discord chats without having to learn actual coding. Markdown is especially useful for doing things like adding bold, italics, strikethroughs, spoiler alerts, and other formatting to your text messages. It&#;s fairly easy to learn, and Discord has a blog post explaining how it all works, so you can elevate your text game. If you don&#;t feel like learning Markdown, fear not, you can still spruce up your text using Markdown, just highlight the text you want to add Markdown to and a formatting style bar will appear above the text input field, select the formatting you want to apply and Discord will automatically insert the proper Markdown language, then hit enter to send.

In addition to just text, you can use emotes on Discord to react to messages. All you need to do is click the smiley face with the &#;+&#; button to react to something you or someone else typed into the server. Using emotes can be a fun way to react to what your friends say or post, whether it be text, photo, or video.

Be heard

A Discord voice chat room.

Voice chat on Discord is pretty easy. Entering a voice channel on a server automatically turns on your microphone, provided you have a working one attached to your computer. You can also access voice chat by creating voice calls or group calls to friends by clicking the phone icon on your Friends List.

Once you&#;re in voice chat, Discord offers some handy quick controls at the bottom of the voice chat window or channel window. Clicking the microphone icon mutes your own mic instantly, while clicking the headphones icon activates &#;deafen.&#; That kills all incoming sound from Discord, as well as mutes your microphone. You can also adjust your audio settings for voice chat and video in the Settings menu, which is accessed by clicking the gear icon. Getting out of a voice call or voice channel on a server requires you to hit the &#;hang up&#; icon, which is a phone with an arrow pointing down.

Control who you see and hear

Adjusting volume in Discord.

Just because you share a server with someone doesn&#;t mean you have to listen to them. Discord includes all the social media-style features that let you determine how you interact with people. Right-clicking a person&#;s name on the server list prompts a drop-down with a number of options, such as sending a private message, adding the person to your friend list, initiating a voice call, and muting or blocking them. You can even adjust another user&#;s volume on your end if they&#;re too loud. Muting a user means you don&#;t hear their voice in a voice chat, but they can still hear you. Blocking someone prevents you from seeing their text messages; however, you will still hear them if you&#;re both in the same voice chat.

When you&#;re an admin on a server &#; either because you created it or because the admin of a server you&#;re on gave you that power &#; you have even more control over undesirable people hanging around. Right-clicking names includes the ability to deafen users so they can&#;t hear anything from other users, or to ban them from a server outright.

Go Live

Streaming a game in Discord.

Discord also has a feature called Go Live which can be enabled by server owners to allow users to stream live gameplay to other users on the server. To &#;Go Live,&#; users simply need to click the Go Live button (the display with the arrow in it) found in the bottom left of your screen when connected to a voice chat. Once you click the Go Live button, you will be able to select the game and start streaming it. You can also use Go Live to share your screen or a specific app, which is great if, for example, you want to watch YouTube videos with other people.

Once you or someone is streaming through Go Live, you will see an indicator next to their name in the voice chat showing that they are live, at which point you can click the Join Stream to start watching. Discord allows people to stream in p at 30fps, p at 60fps, and 4k at 60fps &#; your quality option depends on the type of Discord account you have (e.g. regular free account, Nitro Classic, and Nitro, respectively).

Discord Nitro

Discord Nitro subscription details.

While you can use Discord for free, the app also offers a paid subscription called Discord Nitro. People who pay for Discord Nitro, which costs $10 per month or $ per year, get access to a handful of additional features including the ability to use animated emotes as well as use one server&#;s emotes on another, upload bigger files, stream in 4K using Go Live, and boost servers (which helps your favorite servers unlock more functionality and features for its users).

Every Nitro user is granted two boosts by default (though you can always purchase more), which they can use on any server they are in. Boosts are helpful to servers because, as previously mentioned, they unlock functionality for everyone in the server, therefore allowing server owners to offer an even better experience. Features that can be unlocked include more emote slots for the server, better audio quality for voice chat, the ability to customize your server with animated server icons and other graphics, a custom vanity URL to share with people, and much more. If you’re interested in learning more about server boosts, Discord has written a  support article explaining all the details, such as how many boosts you need to unlock the three different levels and what functionality you can unlock at each level.

Going mobile

Using Discord on mobile.

It can be frustrating to use the same program on different devices and use entirely different layouts. Luckily Discord pulls everything together by using similar layouts and functions whether you use it on your desktop or laptop; even the mobile apps on your phone and tablet will be intuitive to use. The good news here is that you don’t need to default to your computer when you want an update on your favorite group chat or gaming server. The mobile app can even video call, start discussions, initiate voice calls, and find thousands of servers across the platform. Mobile Discord and Desktop Discord have the same vital tasks and are equally easy to navigate on any of your devices. When you’re away from your personal device, you can log in to your account via a browser and have immediate access to all of your conversations remotely.

Where do you get Discord?

Whether you want to use Discord on your desktop or laptop or access it through the web, you can get it If you want to use Discord on the go, you can download the app. There are versions for both Android and iOS phones and tablets. Go to theGoogle Play Store or theiTunes App Store to get the right app for your device.

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The ULTIMATE Discord Setup Tutorial 2020! - How to Setup a Discord Server 2020 with BOTS \u0026 ROLES!

What Is Discord and How Does It Work?

Discord is a free app that combines the voice chat aspects of services like Skype and Teamspeak with the text chat aspects of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and instant messaging services. Here's how to use the Discord app for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and web browsers.

What Is Discord Used For?

Discord was made for online gamers as a free alternative to voice chat services like TeamSpeak, Mumble, and Ventrilo. These services facilitate Voice over IP (VoIP) communication between members of gaming clans, guilds, and other groups. Instead of using the voice communication tools built into games, which are often of lower quality and lack features, gamers use these services to play together.

The downside is that most VoIP services require a server, which usually isn't free. Some hosting companies provide a free VoIP server when a regular game server is rented. However, there is usually a cost associated with running a TeamSpeak, Mumble, or Ventrilo server.

Discord offers a similar service at no cost. The Discord app is free to download, signing up for a Discord account is free, and anyone can create a Discord server for free.

Discord offers a premium service called Discord Nitro. Paying for this premium service comes with perks like larger image uploads and the ability to choose the numbers that are added to your Discord username.

What to Do If Discord's Installation Process Fails: Learn More

How to Get Started With Discord

To get started with Discord, create a temporary account. You can register this account to make it permanent, or discard it when you're done. You can add an avatar or profile picture to your account, but it's not required.

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Discord app website.

  2. Select Open Discord in your browser.

  3. Enter your desired username and select the arrow to the right of the text field.

    Your username doesn't need to be unique. It will be combined with a four-digit number to differentiate it from other users who use the same name.

  4. Select the I am not a robot

  5. Select Skip to immediately start using Discord, or select Get Started for a tutorial.

  6. Enter your email and password, then select Claim Account to register your account, or select outside the pop-up window to skip this step.

  7. Start searching for communities and servers to join.

  8. When someone gives you an invitation link to a server, click the link to join.

If you don't finalize your account creation, the account is lost when you close the browser. Select Claim Account, enter your email address, then follow the instructions in the email to make your account permanent.

Discord Web Version vs. Discord Desktop App

Discord Web App

  • More or less identical to the desktop app.

  • Push-to-talk only works when the browser window is in focus. It's unavailable while gaming.

  • Doesn't require a download. Use it anywhere, on any computer.

Discord Desktop App

  • More or less identical to the web version.

  • Push-to-talk and game viewing are enabled all the time.

Discord is available as a web app that runs in most browsers. You can also download a desktop version for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. The desktop and web versions of Discord are functionally identical in almost every way and look nearly the same.

There are a few differences between the browser and desktop versions of Discord. In the desktop app, push-to-talk is enabled all the time. In the web app, push-to-talk only works when the browser window is in focus, so it's unavailable while playing. The desktop version allows you to show your friends what game you're playing. The major benefit of the web version is that it doesn't require a download. You can use it anywhere, on any computer, without waiting to download and install anything.

If you use Discord a lot, the desktop app is a worthwhile download, but the web app is great because it lowers the bar for entry; for example, when you're playing a game with your friends and want to invite an outside player into voice chat. With a service like TeamSpeak or Mumble, they must download the app, create an account, and enter your server information. With Discord, all they do is click your invite link, type a temporary username if they don't have one, and they're ready to go.

Discord Mobile App

In addition to the desktop and web apps, Discord is available as an app for iOS and Android. The Discord mobile app has a similar look to the desktop app, but it's modified to work on smaller screens. When you're on a server, swipe right to see a list of voice and text channels, and swipe left to see a list of the members on the server.

Voice chat on the mobile Discord app works like the desktop app. You can use it to communicate with your friends or teammates when you're playing on a console that doesn't support Discord.

You have the same abilities to adjust the volume of other users, mute people, so that you can't hear them, and mute yourself if you don't want your friends to hear what's going on in your house.

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How to Join a Server on Discord

Although Discord features many servers that anyone can join, there is no central list of available servers. To join a Discord server, you often need a member or admin of that server to give you a link. Some servers have permanent links, and others expire within a day.

If you have a link to a Discord server, select the link or join through the Discord app:

  1. Open the Discord app or open Discord in a browser.

  2. Select the plus (+) in the left pane.

  3. Select Join a Server.

  4. Enter the invite link, then select Join.

  5. To leave a server, right-click the server's name in Discord, then select Leave Server.

How to Find Servers to Join

If you have a friend with a Discord server that you want to join, ask for an invite. If you're a member of a community that uses Discord, ask for an invite or look on the community website, subreddit, forum, wiki, or wherever else you think a permanent link might be stored.

You can also search for public servers that anyone can join by selecting the magnifying glass in the left pane of the Discord app.

Another way to find Discord communities is to run a query on your favorite search engine. For example, if you play Final Fantasy XIV, search for final fantasy xiv discord server.

How to Create a Server on Discord

Creating servers on Discord is free, but you need to create an account first. After making your account, log in to Discord on your platform of choice, and then:

  1. Open Discord and select the plus (+) on the left side of the window.

  2. Select Create a Server.

  3. Enter a server name and select a region.

  4. Select Create.

  5. Your server is ready to go immediately, and you're given a link to share with others. Select the Set this link to never expire check box if you want to create a permanent link for your community.

  6. Select Invite People from the server page to see the invitation link. To invite friends and people from other servers, right-click their user icon in Discord and select Invite to server > Your server.

How to Delete a Server on Discord

To take down the Discord server you created:

  1. Select the server from the list in the left pane.

  2. Select the down arrow next to the server name.

  3. Select Server Settings from the drop-down menu.

  4. Select Delete Server.

  5. Reenter the server name when prompted.

  6. Select Delete Server to confirm.

You cannot undo a server deletion. Before taking down your Discord server, be absolutely certain that you want to delete it.

How to Add Friends on Discord

There is no way to search for friends by email address or username, so you will need someone's full discord tag or be friends with them on another platform before you can add them on Discord.

When you sign up for Discord, you enter a username. This is only part of your Discord tag. In addition to the name you choose, Discord adds four digits in this format: Username#

Look in the lower-left corner of your Discord home screen to find your full Discord tag under your username.

If you have your friend's full Discord tag, including the numbers, you can send a friend request:

  1. Open Discord.

  2. Select the Home icon in the upper-left corner.

  3. Select Friends.

  4. Select Add Friend and enter your friend's full Discord tag, then select Send Friend Request.

  5. Your friend appears in the Pending tab until they accept the request.

How to Find Friends on Discord From Other Services

The desktop version of Discord allows you to link your Discord account with other services like, Steam, and Reddit.

You don't have to link accounts, but doing so makes it easier to find your friends. Linking some accounts, like Xbox One, also provides the ability for your friends to see what you're playing on the other platform.

To link accounts on Discord, select Connect Accounts at the bottom of the Add Friend screen.

This gives you the option to select the type of account you want to connect. You can also choose which connected accounts you want to display on your Discord profile.

When you link your accounts, Discord automatically pulls your friends list from the other service and checks to see if any of your friends are on Discord. If it finds anyone, you can send a friend request.

How to Make Group Calls for Screen Sharing

In addition to servers, Discord supports direct messages (DMs) to communicate privately with friends and group direct messages to communicate with small groups of friends. These exist separately from servers, so you and your friends don't need to be members of the same server to use this feature.

To create a group DM with your friends for a private voice chat, video chat, and screen sharing:

  1. Open Discord.

  2. Select the Home icon in the upper-left corner.

  3. Select Friends.

  4. Select the New Group DM icon in the upper-right corner of the app.

  5. Choose friends to invite, then select Create Group DM.

  6. Select the phone icon to start a voice call. Or, select the video camera icon to start a video call.

    With a voice or video call in progress, select the camera icon to turn on your webcam, or select the monitor icon to share your screen.

  7. Select Leave Call to end the call when you are done.

Up to 10 people can participate in a Discord group DM at once, so it's a good way for small groups to communicate without creating a separate server. If you want more than 10 people on a call at one time, create a voice channel on a Discord server and use that instead.


  • Discord’s Overlay feature lets users voice chat and message other players while gaming. To use this feature, select User Settings (gear icon) next to your username. Under App Settings, select Overlay, then click the slider to toggle on Enable In-Game Overlay.

  • When you block someone on Discord, that person won't be able to chat with you. You won't see their messages or receive message reminders. The person will also be removed from your Friends list. The blocked person can, however, still read your messages and see when you're online. To block someone on the Discord desktop app, right-click their name and select Block. On the Discord mobile app, tap the person's profile picture, then tap the three-dotmenu and select Block. If you decide you want to view the blocked user's messages, select Show Message (desktop) or Blocked Messages (app).

  • When you enable push-to-talk in Discord, your microphone is muted until you're ready to speak. This helps if background noise is interfering with your voice-chat communication. To turn on push-to-talk, select Settings (gear icon) > App Settings > Voice & Video. Under Input Mode, check the Push to Talk box to enable the feature.

  • Streaming on Discord means you can share your screen or broadcast video via your webcam in a livestream. To start a stream on Discord, open the app and join a voice channel. At the bottom of the app, select Video to stream from your webcam, or select Screen to share your computer screen. (Streaming from your screen is only possible using the Discord desktop app, not the mobile app or browser version.) When you select Video, you'll begin streaming right away. If you select Screen, you'll choose what window you want to share, along with a resolution and frame rate. If you're on a PC, you'll also have the option of enabling sound. Select Go Live to start streaming.

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Does work how discord

Explained: What is Discord?

Explained: What is Discord?

Explained: What is Discord?

What is Discord?

Discord is a free to access chat app similar to Slack or Skype that allows users to chat in real time using text, voice or video. Initially created for video gamers to interact with each other while playing games, Discord has grown in popularity with over million users currently. The app hosts servers/chatrooms on different topics, however games, music, anime and memes tend to be the most popular.


How Does Discord work?

Discord can be accessed via desktop computer, browser or by mobile app. Users can set up or join a chatroom, which Discord refers to as a ‘Server’.

Users can join groups they’ve been invited to or create their own private chat server and invite their friends &#; they can then use text, or voice to chat, with other people using that server or chatroom. There are also public servers that anyone can take part in. 


Each server can be broken down into ‘Channels’, which are smaller spaces or chatrooms, to discuss specific topics. These Servers and Channels also may have different levels of access permissions for different users. It can range from having the permission to ban other users, to having the ability to upload files and images to the channel.


While, having many of the same functions seen on desktop, the mobile and browser version of Discord do not have the share-screen option that allows users to stream their specific windows or desktop to other people. 

Users can also send direct messages to other users so conversations are kept private.


Why Do Teens Like It?

Discord is popular with teenagers because it provides a platform to chat with other people about common interests. It is also integrated with other popular platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, so users can sync Discord to these accounts. While users can join large servers with many other members, Discord is also popular with people who want to set up a small private server where they can interact with friends.


What is the Minimum Age Requirement?

Discord requires users to be 13 year’s old, and the legal guardian of users between the age 13 and 18 years old must also review and agree to their Terms of Service. However, there is no verification method for this other than having to verify your account through an email.


In Ireland, the Digital Age of Consent is 16, this means that organisations and online services must get parental consent before they collect or use the data of anyone under that age.


What are the Risks?

  • The content is user generated so, there is always the possibility of children being exposed to inappropriate content – swearing and graphic images are among the things that parents should look out for. Discord provides moderation features, but the degree of moderation can vary from server to server.
  • Discord hosts NFSW (Not Safe For Work) servers and channels. These may potentially contain inappropriate or offensive content. In order to view content that is NSFW (not safe for work), users must confirm that they are 18 or older. Since there is no age verification process, it is easy for younger users to access this content.
  • There is a high degree of anonymity on Discord and it is possible that users could receive unwanted contact. However, there are privacy settings that can be adjusted so that only confirmed friends can send you direct messages.
  • Although Discord is a free to access service, there is a paid element which gives users access to extra features such as customisable tags, and larger file upload allowances.


Privacy and Safety Settings

Direct Message Settings

Discord privacy settings allow users to control who can add them as a friend or send them direct messages.

The &#;Safe Direct Messaging&#; setting automatically scans and deletes direct messages which contain explicit content, although this does not apply outside of direct messages.


To review and change privacy settings, select the &#;User Settings&#; icon by the account username, and select &#;Privacy & Safety&#; menu item.


Users can be blocked on Discord by accessing that member&#;s profile in a group, clicking on the three dots on the top right, and select &#;Block&#;.



Friend Request Settings

By default anyone can send you a friend request, but the options can be adjusted in the privacy setting on the user’s account.



The Everyone option means that anyone who knows your DiscordTag/Username or is in a mutual server with you can send you a request.  This automatically includes both Friends of Friends and Server Members options.

The Friends of Friends option means that a user must have at least one mutual friend with you in order to add you as a friend. You can view this information in their user profile by clicking the Mutual Friends.


Server Members allows users who share a server (chatroom) with you to send you a friend request. Deselecting this means that you can only be added by someone with mutual friends as you.


Moderation Settings

Users who set up their own Discord Server (chatroom) can adjust the moderation settings for that Server. Enabling the Explicit Content Filter detects and deletes images and uploads considered to be inappropriate.



Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication can enabled on a user’s settings. This involves registering the devices you use and then having to enter a code received either by email or text message in addition to your password, in order to log in to your account.



To report content or users, Discord requires the User ID of the user being reported, the Message Link, and, if a server is being reported, the Server ID is required. 

To access this information, the user must enable ‘Developer Mode’ which is found in User Settings.


Locating a User ID:

Right-click on the user&#;s username, and select &#;Copy ID&#;.









Locating the Message Link:

Click on the three dots on the right of the message, and select Copy Link.











Locating the Server ID:

Right click the Server name, and click Copy ID.


This information should be submitted via Discord’s Trust & Safety form.


Advice for Parents

  • We recommend spending some time familiarising yourself with Discord, before making any agreements with your child about using the app. 
  • Talk to your child about the privacy settings on their account. The Direct Message settings are automatically set to ‘Everyone’, but this can be changed to ‘Friends’, or to ‘Safe Direct Messaging’ which will scan messages for explicit content.
  • Familiarise yourself with the app and the servers that your child is interested in joining, and this will help you determine if the content is age appropriate.
  • If your child is creating their own server, talk to them about the setting and moderation tools available to them.
  • Ensure that your child is aware of the blocking and reporting features that are available.
  • There is a high degree of anonymity for users on Discord, speak to your child about making friends online, and remind them never to reveal personal information. For more, read our guide to sharing information online.


Discord Explained: How Does It Work \u0026 Is It Secure?

Discord: Everything You Need to Know


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By Alex Wawro

Here's what you need to know about popular game streaming and chat app Discord

If you play a lot of online PC games, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with Discord. Essentially Skype for game enthusiasts, this service is designed to help players communicate and coordinate via private servers that let you text and voice-chat with other people.

The Discord app works with desktop and mobile platforms, combining the features of a chat lobby, a message board, a VoIP chatting system and a streaming service into one app that's not going to hog resources on your phone or PC.

Discord's popularity has only multiplied in recent years, with the app now reaching over million registered users. If you're looking to get a group together to play Outriders, communicate easily to an entire server of Minecraft players, or just hang out online with a small group of friends to chat about whatever interests you, then you should keep reading to learn what this growing platform offers.

How do I get started with Discord?

Once you've created a Discord account, you can choose to run it in your browser or install the Discord app. The app gives you many more customization options and is a must for anyone looking to run a server.

Once you're set up, you can start by either creating a new Discord server yourself and sending out invitation codes right away, or by using an invitation code to join a pre-existing server. Creating a server just requires a valid server name; nothing needs to be installed.

Unfortunately, you can't browse for servers to join on the Discord app itself. But it's still quite easy to join an active community. There are many verified servers with open invitations that you can find with a quick Google search — the official PUBG server is one such example. Many popular streamers and content creators will also have public invitation codes posted on their Twitch or YouTube channels.

What makes Discord better than other VoIP services (like Skype)?

If you want just to talk with a small group of friends while playing some games, both Skype and Discord will get the job done. However, Discord stands out by giving you the option to run the app in a browser, letting you change individual people's mic levels and offering an overall lower-latency voice chat, which helps when talking to people across the globe.

MORE: The Best Gaming Desktops Available Now

If you've installed the Discord app on your PC, you also have the option of having it run as an overlay while you're playing games. This makes it easy to tweak audio levels or type something quickly without having to alt/tab to another window.

Where can I use Discord?

Discord is available on Windows and Mac computers and can be accessed by downloading and running the Discord app, or in-browser at the official website. The browser version has some limitations, like not being able to bring up Discord's in-screen overlay while you're playing games or doing other things.

Discord is also available for Android and iOS devices and includes many of the same features on mobile that you see on desktop. 

You can also currently use Discord on Xbox One, though only to see what Xbox games your Discord friends are playing; you can't (yet) chat in a Discord server from your Xbox. Discord is coming to PlayStation in some form now that Sony has made a minority investment in the chat platform, but it's yet unclear how it will work or whether we can expect cross-console Discord chat in the near future.

What makes Discord good for large groups?

Managing large groups of people is arguably where Discord shines the most. When you make a Discord server, you can also make seperate channels with different levels of access permissions for different users. This prevents popular servers from putting everyone in one giant message thread or voice-chat channel.

Several automated admin and moderation tools help keep things from going too far off the rails, even if your server doesn't have a single human moderator. Very big servers can have over thousand users, with the usual culprits like PUBG and Minecraft accounting for some of the biggest groups. With groups that large, you'll need as many tools as you can get to prevent a certain flavor of internet from showing up.

A well-managed Discord server resembles an organized message board in many ways, with locked announcement and guideline threads up top and several more-specific locations for people to gather down below. The difference is that everything is flowing in real time and most channels have voice chat enabled.

What about smaller groups?

If you plan to play with just a dozen or fewer friends, Discord is still a very good tool for keeping tabs on who's available to play. Discord can notify others of what game you're playing so users don't have to check three different programs to see who's online and what everyone is doing.

If your friends are all playing different games, you can always pop open a separate voice-chat channel while still being able to text chat with them.

How is Discord good for streamers?

If you're a Twitch or YouTube streamer with an audience of any size, Discord is a great place to manage your following. Discord gives your viewers more flexibility than a simple chat window on Twitch does. As a streamer, you can also rest easy thanks to Discord's Streamer Mode, which intelligently hides invite codes, DiscordTags and other personal info should any of it find its way on-screen during a stream.

MORE: Help Me, Tom’s Guide: Is Discord Tracking Me?

Streamers can also sync Discord to their YouTube or Twitch accounts and do things like set up subscriber-only channels and give subs special permissions on the server. In general, a streamer's Discord server can make for a good one-stop shop for interaction among you and your followers, whether you're live or not.

What is Discord Nitro?

For $10 a month or $ a year you can sign up for Discord Nitro, which functions more as a status symbol and a tip jar than as an upgraded version of the app. While you get some functional perks, like bigger image-upload caps (up to MB) and higher-quality screen sharing, the rest of the benefits are purely cosmetic. The Discord team has promised not to lock up currently free features behind Nitro in the future.

Among the cosmetic perks are animated avatars and animated emojis in chat. You can also customize the DiscordTag number that comes after your name, and you get a special badge to display your support.

What are Discord bots?

Many of the best community- and server-management tools available for Discord don't come with the app, but are installed separately as third-party programs. These are called bots, and Discord has a listing of officially endorsed bots that give server owners comprehensive moderation tools and integration with other apps, like Twitch or YouTube.

You can also find unofficial bots that do a lot more, like let you call real phone numbers, add server stat readouts or display player career stats for games like Fortnite. Not all of these bots are free to install or free to use, and there's no guarantee that they'll stay updated with the latest version of Discord. However, some of them are widely popular and offer very specific fun or useful extras to help spice up your server.

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. He currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice. 


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Why you should use Discord (even if you’re not a gamer)

Right now, there’s a rumor floating around the tech sphere suggesting that Microsoft may buy the online chat app Discord for roughly $10 billion. That may sound surprising to some people who haven’t even heard of the service, or think that it’s still geared toward gamers as it was at the beginning. While Discord didn’t become a global communication darling like Zoom did during the COVID pandemic, it has become an essential way for people to connect with their pals and broader communities through text, voice, and even video chats. Here’s an overview of how the service works and what it takes to get started.

What is the Discord app?

Founded in , Discord started out with a heavy focus on gaming. Its creators wanted a simple way to converse while playing desktop games through an app that wouldn’t eat up a lot of computing resources and slow down their performance. 

The service calls its communities “servers,” which contain voice, text, and video channels. If you’re familiar with the popular corporate communications software, Slack, you’ll find some similarities when signing up for Discord. 

Users can belong to a variety of servers, and even create their own to establish online communities. 

How to start using Discord

Like many other communication apps, Discord has free options for both Windows and macOS—but it will also run in a browser tab if you don’t want to download anything. Adding the dedicated app does offer a few advantages, however, including the ability to steam video to your channels. Also, if you’re sloppy about your tabs, you may find the app much easier to manage. If you want to keep it off your computer completely, you can also opt for the mobile version, which works on both iOS and Android.

The process for creating an account is extremely familiar, and once that’s done, you’ll have to join a server. The easiest way to get going is to nab an invite to a server from a friend who’s already using Discord. In that case, clicking the link will bring you straight to the server so you can start interacting in channels. 

If you don’t know anyone currently using the service, you can either start your own or browse the many public options out there. Starting your own is simple, but may be a little boring until you can get others on board. Click the plus sign on the left side of the interface to create your own server. Then, click the icon on the left part of the screen to find the option to invite people. If you don’t want to start building your own community from scratch, hit the magnifying glass icon to see a list of popular servers you can join at the jump. The “Science and Technology” server, for example, is a good place to start because it’s an official partner server, which means the service has certified that it’s a quality place to communicate with people. 

[Related: 6 secure alternatives to WhatsApp]

You’ll have to prove that you’re a real person when you join and also agree to the server rules regarding content and behavior. Once you’re in, you’ll see a list of the channels set up by that community on the left-hand side of the interface.

As you join servers, they’ll also show up on left-hand side of the interface so you can easily find them and go back later.

Upgrading your account

If you find Discord particularly fun or useful, the company offers a $10 monthly (or $ annual) subscription to its upgraded tier, which it calls Nitro. Many of the advantages are purely aesthetic, including the ability to collect and make animated emojis or use an animated avatar in the chats. There are some tangible benefits, though. Nitro allows users to stream video in HD and upload files up to MB in the channels. 

Subscribing to Nitro also grants users two monthly Server Boosts, which translates to upgrades for any communities you’re a part of. For instance, if a server collects enough boosts from its members, it can allow higher file size uploads or unlock additional emojis and other vanity elements. 

Why start with Discord now?

The company has shown a ton of growth during the pandemic and the breadth of open communities is impressive. If you’re interested in a topic, there’s almost certainly a subsect of people talking about it on Discord right now. Microsoft’s rumored purchase could bring the service even closer to the mainstream, so you’ll want to lock down a username and get an established profile before the floodgates open.

Because of Discord’s flexibility, it also offers some opportunities for creators. Many streamers and public figures, for instance, offer private channels on the app that are only available to people who subscribe to their Patreon, which makes it useful for generating new users. Perhaps you’ll enjoy it enough to become an influencer on your own.

Stan Horaczek

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