Discord is a free, cross-platform text (instant messaging) or voice chat software. Initially, the application presented itself as an all-in-one tool specially designed for gamers. Today, it goes beyond the framework of video games to expand to all communities and all sports clubs, schools or around any passion. It mainly allows you to simply chat with your friends in pairs or in groups and is a serious competitor to the tenors of instant messaging and audio chat such as Skype, Facebook Messenger or TeamSpeak.
Available as software to download and install for free for Windows, Mac and Linux, Discord is also available on Android and iOS mobile platforms (iPhone and iPad), and as an online service, accessible from a simple internet browser. An Internet connection is obviously required to access the communication services.
Why use Discord?
Discord is a communication application that allows you to exchange text messages, files and communicate in audio with your contacts, anywhere in the world and in complete security. The data exchanged is encrypted and the application incorporates a protection system against DoS (denial of service) attacks. On the other hand, the software offers the possibility of creating and administering your own chat rooms.
Organized in the form of text or voice rooms, Discord offers different discussion topics to meet people around a common passion, or meet friends in a private chat room. Each user can connect to a room and wait for other members to connect. No need to send invites or login links. On the other hand, to integrate a room, you will have to be accepted by its administrator. Everyone is free. Just log in or create an account if you don’t already have one, or create your own server to host your discussion group. Once you’re a member of a room, you can connect to it whenever you want, just as if it were a discussion group or a forum.
Focused on communities and not specialized in video games, Discord is therefore an all-in-one communication software that brings together all kinds of users around common themes. Gaming, Music, Education, Science and Technology, Content Creator, Anime and Manga, Movies and TV, are the main categories accessible. You can also use the search engine to indicate the main subject that interests you or if you are only looking for content in French, for example.
To communicate and participate in chat sessions, Discord works like other instant messaging services. Just enter your text and add emojis, GIFs, etc. To target someone in particular, you will have to enter the @ before the name of the user concerned. A little practical information: in the list of discussions, the symbol # means that it is a text channel, and the audio symbol indicates a conversation in voice chat.
More than a free VoIP software, it’s a real social network. You can accept or not certain members and know which members are connected. Similar to social media messaging services, you have the option to change your status: online, idle, do not disturb, or invisible. You also have the possibility to like or put an emotion emoji (emoticon) on the messages of other members.
In addition to messaging services, Discord allows you to upload and send files to the current chat room. Documents, photos, PDFs or others can be shared simply and quickly.
Last practical tip for novice users, administrators have the option of pinning messages, which will therefore always be visible at the start of the conversation but also via the small pin icon. These are generally reminders of rules of good conduct, or important information to notify.
Technically, Discord is for everyone, but it was designed specifically for online gamers. It consumes few system resources to be able to work at the same time as a video game session. The application can be associated with a Steam account, as well as Twitch or YouTube to broadcast a live video stream.
If you want to go up a gear with Discord, know that there is a paid license with subscription, Discord Nitro, which comes in 2 editions: Discord Nitro and Discord Nitro Classic. Users will be able to benefit from additional customization options, animated emojis, 100MB upload for files to share and support for HD video, screen sharing and Go Live streaming.
Also read: Which free video conferencing apps to use to keep in touch with loved ones?
What’s new in the latest version of Discord?
In June 2020, users will be able to view all unread messages in all their conversations and chat rooms in which they are subscribed in the Inbox menu.
In May 2020, Discord users on Android saw the application interface change with a tabbed conversation system.
Microsoft wants to acquire Discord for $10 billion
What OS is Discord compatible with?
Download the software for Windows, Mac or Linux to benefit from Discord directly on your computer or use the online service directly via your usual browser (without installation).
Discord is available for free on the Play Store for Android smartphones and tablets (from version 5.0 or higher), and on the App Store for iPhones and iPad (from iOS 10.0 or higher).
What are the alternatives to Discord?
Like Discord in the past, Mumble is a VoIP application dedicated to video games, which allows gamers to communicate with each other directly from the servers of the game in progress. The software also offers chat rooms and offers several appearances (skins) to customize the interface. A setup wizard is available for all versions of Mumble, for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS.
Telegram is a free, cross-platform instant messaging application that encrypts your conversations end-to-end, for optimal protection of your privacy. It supports audio and video chat and also facilitates sharing of any type of file. Like Discord, Telegram is available for download for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers (note the dedicated version on the Windows Store for Windows 10), and as an Android and iOS mobile application. You can also use it with your browser as an online service.
More oriented for professionals, Slack is one of the software that has revolutionized teleworking like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. These collaborative applications allow you to stay connected with your team while working together on the same project. They include, among other things, an instant messaging and VoIP service that frees you from voluminous e-mails and endless file modifications. Secure and efficient, Slack can integrate, according to your needs, the applications you use on a daily basis in order to centralize and simplify all your daily tasks. If you’re building a small team of collaborators, you can use Slack for free. On the other hand, if your needs are growing, you will have to acquire a paid license, in the form of a subscription.
Available only in the mobile applications for Android and iOS, Wire offers the possibility of making audio and video calls, in addition to its instant messaging service. Like WhatsApp, you can create as many chat groups as you want with your friends or collaborators. Like Telegram, Wire offers a system for encrypting your conversations and even allows you to send encrypted and ephemeral messages, which will self-destruct as soon as they are read.
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