Discord, your place to chat, is one of the most popular free chatting apps available. Although it began as a place for gamers to get together to play games, it’s expanded to become a vast empire of various rooms in every niche. Learning how to use Discord is imperative for everyone, from parents wanting to know what their kids are doing online to content creators in the gaming niche to people who are looking for others who share a common interest.
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What is Discord?
Discord is a messaging app that allows people to connect with others worldwide with shared interests. Discord allows users to chat in real-time with text, video, and voice chat.
How Do You Start on Discord?
To get started on Discord, go to Discord.com. Here, you can either download the app or use the web version. You can also download the mobile app on your smartphone to use Discord on the go.
Next, you need to make an account. You can pick whatever you want, as you can change your display name between servers if you choose. It’s best to turn on two-factor authentication because scams are rampant (as they are everywhere), and you want to make sure your account is protected.
Once you have an account, you can start using Discord!
How to Use Discord?
You need to find Discord servers to join to start using the app.
Discord servers are individual communities that you can join on Discord. Think of the server as a channel or a Facebook group. They are unique islands within Discord. You need a specific invitation to enter each one. Once you join, you can participate in the conversation and make new friends.
There are over 19 million active servers on Discord that cover a wide variety of niches and interests. Although many of the servers are private, there are many public communities that you can find right on the Discord home screen.
Watch this video for easy ways to find Discord communities to join:
What is Discord Used for?
People use Discord for a wide variety of things. Many content creators own Discord servers so they can interact with their fans. Businesses use it to communicate internally in remote work environments or with external customers. Gamers use it to stream games with friends. There are art history servers, financial advice servers, mental health servers, educational servers, and servers in nearly any niche.
People join these servers to interact with others who share common interests. If you enjoy watching Twitch streamers, you may want to join their server to interact with them and make friends with other community members. If you want to learn something new, you may want to explore one of Discord’s many educational servers.
Chat Options on Discord
Discord is very similar to the chat rooms of the early days of the internet. The servers are places for strangers to meet, interact, and exchange ideas. It is different because it’s less anonymous (thus safer), and the chat history doesn’t disappear unless a server owner intentionally deletes it.
Discord also offers far more than traditional text chat. You can have a group chat, video chat, private one-on-one chat, and even live stream with the app.
How to Use Group Chat on Discord
Group chat is the default option inside of a discord server. The general chat rooms on the platform allow users to engage with each other via text chat.
Discord categories can include text chat channels and voice chat channels. Unless a server owner restricts permissions on these channels, anyone can join in and participate in the conversation.
How to Use Voice Chat on Discord
Most Discord servers also have a few channels dedicated to voice chat. To use one of these channels, click it with your mouse, and you will see your user name appear under the channel name. Your name indicates that you are in the channel. You will need a microphone set up to speak.
A great feature of Discord’s voice chat is that so many people can participate. Discord allows up to 100 people to join a voice chat room. With this many people, you will want to mute your microphone when you aren’t speaking. On the left-hand column, under all of the channels and categories, you will see your user name and profile. There will be a microphone button next to your name, which you can click to mute and unmute yourself. You will also find an icon that looks like a phone with an (x) near it. Simply click this to disconnect when you want to leave the voice chat.
How To Use Discord for Video Chat
Discord’s voice channels come with the ability to host video chat in addition to basic voice functionality. The most significant difference is that the video chat is limited to 25 participants, so if someone turns their video on in a larger group, some folks will get an error.
To use video chat, you will need a webcam and microphone. Hop into one of the voice chat channels. You will see the “voice connected” message in the bottom left-hand column. Under that, you will see an icon with a video camera labeled “video.” When you click on this, your video will turn on. You can now video chat with your friends!
How to Stream on Discord
Streaming on Discord is similar to video chatting. You can have up to 25 participants and use the voice chat channels. Instead of clicking the “video” button, you will click the button next to it labeled “screen.” This allows you to screen share in the channel.
With the screen share option, you can share your gameplay, watch YouTube videos together, or show someone how to do something.
How to Direct Message Someone on Discord
So far, all of these methods of communication have been within a given Discord server. However, Discord also has Direct message options where you can privately chat with your friends.
To direct message someone, you either need to be friends on Discord or be in the same server.
If you are direct messaging someone is the same server, right-click their user name. A pop-up will appear with several options. One of the options is “message.” If you click that, you will be brought to the direct message platform, where you can talk privately.
To direct message existing friends, go to your Discord home page. Here, you will see a list of your friends and a search bar to help you find the person you want to message. Click on your friend’s user name to start a direct message.
The direct message functionality also gives you the option to voice and video chat and share screens.
Advanced Discord Options
Getting into some servers and meeting new people is just the beginning. Now that you have the basics of using Discord, it’s time to get into some advanced options.
How to Create a Discord Server
One of the most amazing things about Discord is the ability to create your own server. Having your own server allows you to build a community right on Discord.
Creating a Discord server is easy. Place your cursor on the left side of the screen and scroll down your server list until you see the plus sign. If you aren’t in many servers yet, it will be on the screen already, but you will have to scroll if you are in a few.
Click the “+” button, and a pop-up will appear asking which type of server you want to create. Now you have your own server!
Customizing Your Discord Server
One of the best things about Discord is the wide variety of customization options available. You can add as many categories and channels as you want and limit some categories to specific roles. In addition, you can integrate a vast array of Discord bots to add games, moderation, workflows, tracking abilities, and nearly anything else you can imagine to your server.
When building a Discord server, it’s important to consider moderation. Discord has scams, phishing attempts, hate raids, and nefarious users like any other platform. Although Discord does offer some built-in safety options, like 2FA and various settings for authentication, the best way to add moderation features to your server is through a bot.
MEE6 is the best discord moderation bot available. You can use it to send welcome messages or set automatic notifications up on timers. You can configure it to automatically delete messages with bad words or that seem spammy. Server owners decide upon the settings and restrict what they see fit.
Premium Discord Offerings
Discord has numerous premium offerings to give users advanced features for additional charges. The great thing about Discord is that all the basic functionality is free. You don’t need to pay to video chat or screen share. Everything you need to communicate is free.
However, Discord does sweeten the pot a little with its premium features. Individual users can pay for Discord Nitro, a feature that gives them access to cool add-ons. Discord Nitro includes the ability to use any emote in any server, a larger upload size, higher quality video, and free server boosts.
Server boosts are premium upgrades for specific servers. Members can show their support by boosting a server for a monthly fee. Multiple tiers of boosted servers can be unlocked with more community support. Boosted servers get more emoji slots, higher quality audio, larger file uploads, and customization options.
Discord Versus Other Messaging Apps
Discord is, at its core, a messaging app. Other platforms have similar functionality, but Discord is the most versatile. Facebook Messenger doesn’t have group chat functionality. Skype is mainly limited to real-life friends. Slack is a wonderful alternative but better suited for businesses and doesn’t have as much functionality for free.
Other platforms generally have fewer free options and less functionality than Discord.
Discord – Your Place to Talk
Discord has successfully branded itself as your place to talk about anything, from gaming to movies to music. It will continue to grow and adapt, so you should learn how to use Discord and get on board now!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.