Discord is a fantastic program for chatting with friends, family and wider communities, but if you've never used it before it can be hard to navigate. From finding the right server to setting up your own, we'll take you through the best ways to use Discord.
How to join Discord
Discord can easily be joined online via its website. While a seperate application is offered for download, you can also join and use Discord via the web with no download necessary.
The Discord application is available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Linux.
When you first join Discord, you'll be placed in your own personal server, which you can build out or leave as is.
How to use Discord
Discord is very helpful for connecting communities together, whether that be your gamer friends, your family or your work colleagues. When you join a Discord chat (known as a 'server') you'll be presented with a variety of panels.
On the left side of Discord, you'll find a list of channels. These are usually based around a set topic and help organise chat rooms.
There are two kinds of channels in Discord — text channels, where people can share their opinions and voice channels, where people are able to connect their microphones and chat in a group call. These channels can be particularly helpful for online gaming sessions.
On the right side of Discord, you'll find a list of people currently online, usually grouped by their assigned role. Generally, Discord servers will contain at least one moderator alongside other members.
Discord users can interact through a variety of methods, including chatting, using emojis, sending gifs and attaching images, files or links.
How to find the right Discord for you
The Discord app offers a handy feature called 'Server Discovery' where you can find a whole range of servers available for the things you love.
For example, if you're looking for an Overwatch server, simply navigate to the 'Server Discovery' magnifying glass icon in your toolbar, type 'Overwatch' into search, and browse the results to find a suitable server.
Discord doesn't prioritise the most popular servers, so you'll have to look at member numbers and server descriptions to find the right one for you.
From there, simply click into a server to 'lurk'. In this mode, you can browse the channels and content of the server and decide whether it's right for you. At the top of the server, you'll find a 'Join' button that allows you to become part of your chosen server.
How to create your own Discord server
On the left side of Discord, you'll notice a giant + button labelled 'Add Server'. Here, you can create your own server, invite friends and create channels as you please.
Next to the usual 'text' and 'voice channel' spots, you'll notice another + button. You can click this to add and label text channels.
Once a text channel is created, click the gear icon to set a channel topic and any specific settings you might need. For example, if you'd like to set up a channel only a few people can see, you can modify viewing with 'permissions'.
Clicking the arrow in the upper left corner will open up the server settings, and it's here that you can assign roles to people (which allows them different degrees of power in your server), add in custom emojis that everyone can use and set up any rules for moderation.
It's a good idea to set up an explicit content filter on your server if you don't currently have moderators to do it for you. The recommended moderation level should be at least 'Medium' to reduce the risk of your server being overridden by trolls or rude behaviour. From this menu, you can also kick troublemakers out of your server or ban them entirely.
Discord is a fantastic platform for setting up group chats of any kind, whether you're into gaming or not. It's extremely handy and simple to use so if you're looking at setting up any kind of chat online, you should consider it a viable and accessible option.
With these handy tips, you should be well on your way to joining - and building - a great little community.