Discord these days is the popular choice for most people when it comes to communicating with friends and family online. Whether it be about games, movies, TV shows, food, or anything else. When Discord launched it became the go-to option for gamer communication. Opening up a new method for voice and text chat.
Finally, gamers had another good quality app that they could use to coordinate their gameplay with teammates during party content. Like raids, dungeons, and multiplayer matches against the enemy team. But since its arrival, Discord has changed some over the years and is now much more than just the premier game chat app.
It has a lot of different features to offer that make it a great option for anyone to keep in contact with like-minded individuals on just about any topic. If you’ve never heard of Discord before, that’s totally ok. Maybe you just don’t spend much time online or maybe you’re simply used to another chat app. Like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, TeamSpeak etc.
But if you’re wanting to learn more about Discord and what it offers, and why it might be a benefit to you, this guide will walk you through everything important about Discord. First, though, let’s take a little more of an in-depth dive into what Discord is.
What is Discord?
Discord is a chat app for mobile devices and PC. It requires an online connection, and was originally launched as a chat app for gamers. It’s a still chat app for gamers, but it’s also now more than that.
You can use it for text chat, voice chat, video chat, and even for sharing links, videos, and other content. Since going beyond gaming, Discord, now, is an app for keeping in contact and communicating with friends, family, and other like-minded people who share the same love for your interests. It’s basically just a place to hang out and chat.
So it’s not just for gamers anymore. It’s for anyone, and it can be a great place to talk with others.
What platforms is Discord available on?
Discord is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. It can be downloaded directly from the respective app stores. Or if you’re on Windows or Mac, you can simply use it from the Discord website. Although, you do get a richer experience from the app.
Eventually, Discord will be integrated with PlayStation consoles in some form. It’s also available on Xbox One, but you can’t use it for chat. It only allows you to see what you’re Discord friends are playing.
Update: February 08, 2022
Discord has now been integrated with PS5 and PS4, but not quite in the way you might think. You can link your PSN account through the Discord app so that it shows what you’re playing and how long you’ve been playing it. Voice and text chat however are still not available.
Is Discord free?
The use of Discord is free. Downloading it is also free. That being said, there are some paid subscription options that Discord offers. With these you get extra features that free users do not get. So it’s up to you to decide whether or not those features are worth your hard-earned money every single month.
For some, the subscription may be valuable. For others, they might not be. But the beauty of the paid options is that they don’t really need to be paid for in order to have a great experience with Discord. Using the free version of it is perfectly fine and you still have access to all or most of the features that are necessary to have a great experience.
What are the Discord subscription options?
Discord has two different subscription plans available for users. There’s Discord Nitro and Discord Nitro Classic. Nitro is $9.99 a month and offers more features than Nitro Classic. You can also subscribe to Nitro on an annual basis at $99.99 a year.
Nitro Classic has a few less features than Nitro, but still more features than the free membership. It costs $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year.
Update: December 8, 2021
Discord now offers a new set of subscription tiers called Premium Memberships. These are currently in a testing phase and have only been activated for a select group of communities. Members of those communities may start to see premium subscription options pop up in the coming days and weeks.
Premium Memberships allow communities to put some or all of the server behind a paid monthly subscription tier. Allowing them to monetize the server. Tiers also provide incentives for members.
Discord hasn’t announced a full rollout of this feature yet, but it won’t be happening until sometime in at least 2022. Discord also plans to roll this out to new communities in the future. Though it’s likely communities will need to request access, which Discord can approve or deny.
What does Discord Nitro get you?
Subscribing to Nitro will get you a bunch of nifty bonuses that amp up the user experience. With Nitro, you’ll get improved emoji capabilities and you can collect and create your own customized emoji, including animated emoji.
You also get a personal profile. Which lets you claim a custom tag, and add an animated avatar to your online persona. Then there’s the server boosts. While you can boost a Discord server as many times as you want, subscribing to Nitro will get you two free server boosts to start. You can use these on your own server if you want, or on a server you frequent and really enjoy.
In addition to the two free boosts, you also get a 30% discount on any additional boosts. Your badge will also gain a little identifier that shows how long you’ve been boosting. The last two perks are some of the most useful. You’ll be able upload files up to 100MB as opposed to 8MB with a free account.
Lastly, you also get access to high-resolution video for video calls, Go Live streaming, and screenshare.
Can you gift Nitro to friends?
You sure can! Discord has added the ability for users to gift Nitro to other users. So if you and your friends are in the same server, and you want them to be able to enjoy Nitro perks alongside you, you can gift them a Nitro subscription to get them started.
What is a server boost?
A server boost is a way for you to add extra perks to your server or the server of your choice. The perks are shared across the community so anyone who is a part of that server can utilize them. The booster also gets some unique perks that only they have access to. Such as Server Booster role within the community, and a Server Booster badge that shows up next to their name.
Since anyone can boost a server though, anyone who does boost will get these perks. Whereas the rest of the perks that come along with a boosted server are shared with everybody. To get the boosted perks, the server has to have unlocked the level rewards. There are three levels in total, and each one adds a little more to the perk pool.
You can view all of the level-specific perk unlocks below.
What is a server
The way Discord works, is that it breaks up communities into servers. A server could be dedicated to your favorite YouTuber. Or it could be a server that was created by you and your friends for use with your game nights. It could even be one that’s dedicated to hanging out and chatting about your favorite movies. Or about school if you want a server for studying with class mates and sharing ideas.
Servers are given a name by the creator, and then the server is further broken down into categories and channels. Categories and channels help to keep the community organized so discussions don’t overlap. Ensuring there is a specific place for everything, and making discussions easier to find for other community members.
For instance, you might have a server for your game nights. People play a lot of different games. So you could set the server up with categories for each game to keep the chats organized. You could also set up multiple voice chat channels so that there are specific ones for different activities. e.g. a channel for raids, a channel for random chats, and a channel for any other game content.
Joining a Discord server
Servers can have a seemingly infinite amount of members. Some servers are open and you can join at your leisure. Other servers are private and you’ll need an invite to join them. To join a private server, you would either have to request to join and that request would need to be approved, or someone would have to send the invite to you and you would accept the invite.
Once a member joins a server, they can be given a role (or multiple roles) by community admins. These roles can dictate what each member is able to do inside of a server. Furthermore they can also limit which channels a member or members can see. As an example, you might have a channel that is specifically for admins. And perhaps you don’t want anyone but admins to see or be able to interact with this channel for security reasons. So you could simply lock any non-admin members out from seeing that channel.
Let’s get a little more specific about member roles. As they will play a part in how members can interact with a server. Member roles must be set up by another member that has the ability to control what each role has access to. These are called role permissions. Role permissions can span a varied amount of things. Like say, managing the role permissions. Something usually reserved for an admin role.
Permissions can also be for things like changing nicknames, and banning or kicking members from a channel or server. Roles can also be set up with any name you wish. So you don’t have to call it an admin role. You could call it “moderator” if you like. Or really anything. Give it a fun cheeky name if you want to. That is, if you’re someone who has the ability to adjust these things.
If you’re simply a user, then you will just be able to see what your roles are. Roles also have associated colors to help indicate the status of each member when they communicate in chats. This displays their name in their highest level associated role color.
Can I create new servers?
You can create a new server anytime you like. There are even options for starting one from scratch or starting from a template based on the type of community you’re trying to create. All you have to do once you have a Discord set up, is click on the “+” symbol in the Server list to create a new one and get started.
What features does Discord have?
Discord has a pretty large list of features for members. Making it a very versatile chat app. Some of the features have already been discussed above. Such as the ability to add roles to members, set permissions for members, and the ability to split up server communication into different categories, and chat channels.
Discord also lets you share files with other users. These could be images, like JPG, PNG, GIF etc., or they could be music files or other types of documents. Free members can upload files that are up to 8MB in size. Nitro members can upload files that are up to 100MB in size.
You can share links, too. Whether it be a link to a web page or a link to a video you simply wanted to share with your friends. Videos can also be played right inside of Discord so members don’t have to open web pages just to see the content. Which is pretty handy.
One of the newer features that Discord added is called Threads. And these are just as they sound. They’re chat threads that can add even more organization in a chat channel. Say you have a chat channel that’s simply labeled as a “general” channel where people can talk about anything. But only you and one or two other members are discussing a particular topic. Threads allow you to keep the discussion in that general channel while also allowing you to keep it separate from the rest of the channel’s discussions.
For voice chat, there’s a feature called noise suppression. This will cancel out more or less everything but your voice. So the only thing people hear from your mic is you talking. These are just a handful of the main features. But there are plenty more. You can find a full list of features here.
Does Discord have themes?
There are a couple of themes, but nothing too crazy. You have your basic light and dark theme, and then one that syncs it with whatever your computer is using. Officially, this is all the themes there are.
Though there may be some unofficial ways to add themes to your Discord app. Having said that, we’re not sure if this is against Discord’s Terms of Service. So proceed with caution if you decide to look into using them.