Discord is a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and instant messaging service created by Jason Citron in 2015. The platform enables users to message and call fellow users and share media via Direct Messages or private communities called servers. Most servers can only be accessed through invite links shared by server members.
Users can run Discord on various devices, such as Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, and internet browsers. As of 2022, the platform has over 300 million registered users.
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As an instant messaging social platform, Discord is designed to manage public and private communities online. It gives its users tools for online communication, like video and voice calls, persistent chat rooms, and other gamer-centric services. Later on, Discord made changes to attract typical users using the platform.
When registering to Discord, users must have their email address and username. To allow multiple users to use the same username, they will be assigned a four-digit Discord tag—prefixed with a hash or pound (#)—added at the end of their username.
Users can add their custom profile picture and a description on the bio or about me section on their profile. Discord Nitro members can use anime profiles and upload animated or static custom images as their profile banners.
Also, Discord users can link their accounts from other platforms, like Steam, Spotify, Xbox, PlayStation, Reddit, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, and a few more. These can optionally be displayed on a user’s profile.
Communities on Discord are grouped into a private collection of channels called servers. Each Discord user can create a server for free, create voice and text channels, and manage their visibility and specific categories. Any server has a known capacity of up to 800,000 members, based on when Genshin Impact’s Discord server reached maximum capacity.
However, Discord increased the server capacity to over one million members for their 2021 Snowsgiving event.
Discord later allowed game publishers, developers, artists, and esports teams to verify their servers. These servers will have a badge similar to the feature on other social media platforms. It helps other users identify them as an official community; verified servers are moderated by their development or publishing team.
Members can help their server access perks via the Server Boost feature. It unlocks more emojis, higher-quality voice channels, and other advantages. A server boost costs $4.99/month, while Discord Nitro users have two boosts included in their subscription and a 30% off for further boost purchases.
Discord channels can be used for streaming, chats, or file sharing. Their owners can customize access to channels to limit certain users; for instance, channels with Not Safe For Work (NSFW) content require new viewers to verify that they’re over 18 and are willing to see such content.
In May 2021, Discord released Stage Channels, which allows live, moderated channels for discussions, audio talks, and other related entertainment. These channels can be set exclusive to specific members through tickets or invite links.
Discord also launched the Threads feature in August 2021. These are temporary text channels that are self-deleting or automatically disappear. A year later, the platform released Forums, a channel similar to Threads but for more organized discussions.