O discord is a text, audio or video chat app created to unite communities of gamers, but over time, it has evolved to become a tool for users of all types, from those who just want to chat with friends, to work groups in corporate environments. Check out our guide and learn how to use Discord.
What is Discord?
Discord is a text, audio and video chat app and content sharing platform aimed at creating and managing online communities. The software supports organizing servers divided between text chat rooms, audio or video calls, similar to a forum.
Discord was launched in 2015 with a focus on gamers, but in recent times it has been improved by Discord Inc., which seeks to position it as a messaging app for the general public.
Originally the company’s target was Skype, but today it is seen more as a competitor to team management programs such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and Rocket Chat, among others, as it is versatile enough to be used in corporate environments.
What platforms is it available on?
You can use Discord with the native desktop app, on dedicated versions of Windows, macOS and Linux (.deb and .tar.gz, also available in the repositories of some distributions, such as Linux Mint), or on mobile devices, for iPhone and iPad (iOS/iPadOS) and Android.
There is also a web version at discord.com/app, which can be accessed on computers, mobile phones and tablets.
1. How Discord works
Discord works as a portal that brings together several communities, using an organization similar to that of online forums, but with more resources. Let’s look at some of its features:
Discord communities are organized on servers. It is possible to create your own server for free, and set its access as public (it can be found in searches) or private, only by invitation sent by the administrator.
A server can hold up to 250 users, and an administrator of an official server, linked to a website, community, software, or game, can be verified as official, similar to verifying Twitter profiles.
When creating a server, it will by default bring up some basic channels, among them the text “General”. Through it you will be able to chat like all members of the community, since it has no restrictions.
The administrator can create as many text channels as he wants, organizing them by themes and subjects, and assign access limitations based on user roles (more below). Conversations support user quotes and message replies, similar to instant messengers.
Users on a server can be organized into roles, which the administrator can create and name as he wishes. Each position can be identified by a color, and its attributions and permissions can vary according to the needs of each one.
By default, the Administrator (the creator of the server and others to whom he assigns the role) can do everything, and it is he who determines what permissions a user can have, from access to channels, permission to change name, create invites, ban other users , access text, audio and voice channels, attach files and links, mention other users and more.
The level of granularity that Discord offers for configuring user roles is quite large, and you can create very permissive or very narrow combinations as needed.
2. Control notifications
Depending on how many servers you join, using Discord and paying attention to all of them can be maddening. There will always be those who take priority over others, who should be the first to receive attention.
Knowing this, Discord offers meticulous control of notifications, separated by server, channel and users. You can completely turn off alerts for an entire server, keep only alerts from a specific channel, or prioritize messages from a specific contact. The adjustments are at your discretion.
3. Organize servers into folders
This is a feature that not everyone knows exists: since 2019, Discord allows you to organize servers into folders, just by dragging the icon of one over another. That way, you can separate the communities you access into categories such as games, work, friends, and others.
Once you create a folder, right-click on it to change its name and color, and leave the folders as you see fit, to organize your favorite channels.
4. Use and abuse of bots
Discord allows you to use bots, automation tools created by the community for the most diverse purposes. Thanks to the app’s open API, developers can enhance the platform’s functionality with features ranging from moderation automation, recording video streams and audio chat, a useful feature for podcasters.
Most bots available are for entertainment purposes, like adding memes, emojis, mini games, music, etc. , levels on the server, alerts about the start of broadcasts from administrators, and much more.
5. Chat in voice and video at ease
Discord’s video chat is one of the most flexible among the apps used as team managers, even though it wasn’t originally developed for that purpose. Compared to Slack, which limits calling to only one-to-one in free mode, Discord supports video conferencing with up to 10 users (temporarily increased to up to 50 users during the COVID-19 pandemic).
In voice chat, another advantage: while Slack again limits one-to-one calls between non-paying users, Discord supports real-time conversations with audio between up to 99 participants, without charging a penny for it.
6. Discord Nitro is good but not mandatory
Discord Nitro is a Discord add-on subscription plan that offers some perks for paying users, such as:
- Creating a greater number of personalized and animated emojis;
- Use animated avatars;
- Create custom usernames;
- Upload files up to 100 MB (8 MB in the free version);
- High definition screen sharing;
- Two server boosts and 30% off additional boosts.
Discord Nitro costs $9.99/month or $99.99/year, but its perks are in addition to basic features that Discord already has in the free version. Overall, it is possible to have a better free experience than other team management apps, which limit paid functionality.