The 5 Best Discord Alternatives

Discord is one of the most popular communication platforms out there at the moment. And lately, it’s been gaining steam as a place for communities. The site was initially built to help gamers organize large groups and chat with friends using text, audio, and video. 

However, because it’s free and the UI is so easy to set up and navigate, many now use it to host their communities and have discussions about much more than just gaming. Discord now hosts communities and topics covering everything from crypto to photography.

Part of the reason for the platform’s success is that it aimed to make communication among gamers as easy and streamlined as possible. However, because of this, and because the platform still primarily targets gamers, some creators and businesses might find that it lacks dedicated features for professionals. Luckily, there are some Discord alternatives out there that work just as well or better.

Where Does Discord Fall Short? 

Discord does a lot of things really well. It allows just about anyone with some know-how to set up their own community and start chatting with like-minded people. It’s also free unless you upgrade to their “Nitro” package. 

But as mentioned before, Discord’s streamlined chat options and informal nature mean better choices exist for people looking for a dedicated business or community-building platform. 

Customization

Discord doesn’t completely lack customization features. Hosts can use their brand logo as their profile picture and incorporate their company name into their server name. But other features like creating custom banners and links are reserved for the larger communities. Basically, when you host on Discord, you will always be tied to their platform, UI, and server structure. There is no option to create your own service using your branding, and their templates and features like you would get when you create your own website.

Monetization

Discord’s lack of built-in monetization is one of its most significant drawbacks. If you want to charge subscribers or community members for a service you’re offering, you’ll have to use a third party. The host or a moderator will then have to go in and ensure the subscriber list stays updated, which can be a hassle. In short, there are Discord alternatives that greatly outpace the platform in this regard.

User Interface

Depending on how you look at it, Discord’s simple UI can either be positive or negative. It’s easy to navigate, even for those without much tech experience, but it’s also not very professional in appearance. It features things like controllers (it was made for gamers, after all), and its emoji options can be a bit too informal for some. Integration with other apps can also be a challenge.

Community Features 

Community feature is another area businesses and creators might find Discord lacking. While the platform can be great if your primary focus is to chat with members using text, audio, or visual, that’s about it. There are limited analytics, upload sizes are surprisingly small (8MB for unpaid users), and creators will have to find workarounds if they want to integrate things like courses.

The Best Alternatives To Discord

Nas.io

Nas.io was built from the ground up to help businesses and creators build and grow their communities. And the platform is filled with features that are hard to find elsewhere, as well as those you would expect, such as text, audio, voice, and live streaming.

Customization

Nas builds its users’ communities around what they need. The platform even creates custom resource materials for its users’ members. However, the best part is that the community completely belongs to the host. This means branding is just as present as it would be if you were to create a website using a website creator. Of course, channel customization features also make an appearance here.

Monetization

Nas offers complete built-in monetization. That means it’s super simple to charge for things like membership fees and classes. They also offer global payments and crypto. Unlike Discord, there’s no going back and forth tracking subscriptions via spreadsheet.

User Interface

The UI is clean and extremely simple to use. And since it’s built around a host’s needs, it can be as formal or informal as they want. Integration with other apps, like WhatsApp and even Discord, is also here. 

Community Features

This is where Nas.io really shines. All of the things you’d expect in a community platform are here, like the ability to categorize channels and assign community managers. However, the platform’s analytics are highly fleshed out, and courses can be easily integrated. Nas offers to provide hosts with community managers if they choose, and their members get access to classes taught by industry experts.

Slack

 

Slack is another great option when searching for a Discord alternative. The platform is relatively simple to use, and it’s been around for a while now. 

Customization

Slack does a great job of making it easy to create and organize things like channels and groups. However, that’s about it when it comes to customization. Like Discord, hosts are stuck with Slack’s lone template when creating their communities. The platform’s storage limit is also only 5GB, meaning storing large files and videos might quickly become a challenge for communities.

Monetization

Unfortunately, Slack doesn’t offer built-in monetization. Hosts will have to use a third party similar to when using Discord. 

User Interface

Slack’s UI is pretty straightforward, even for those who aren’t very tech-savvy. The platform is also more business-oriented for those looking for something more professional than Discord and offers easy integration with other apps.

Community Features

The greatest thing about Slack is how it handles communication. The platform was designed as an online workspace to foster collaboration, so this isn’t surprising. Users can also chat via text, audio, or video, and the platform provides limited analytics. However, as mentioned earlier, Slack struggles when it comes to hosting resources. There is also no course or service integration.

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    Facebook

    Facebook’s Groups feature allows users to create their own communities on the world’s largest social network. However, the platform does lack in some key areas.

    Customization

    Customization options are pretty nonexistent on Facebook. Users are limited to a singular feed, similar to the same feed you might see on your Facebook profile. Custom branding and links are also absent here. 

    Monetization

    It is possible to monetize memberships to a Facebook group, but this will have to be done through a third party with plenty of sifting through spreadsheets to keep subscriptions up to date. In fact, it should probably be mentioned that Facebook has caught some flak in recent years for its own monetization efforts for things like ads. 

    User Interface

    When you create a group on Facebook, you basically create a custom Facebook feed with specific members. So, the Facebook UI is just carried over to groups, which isn’t a bad thing considering most people are already familiar with the social network. 

    Community Features

    Facebook does community features better than some other Discord alternatives. The platform makes it easy to upload things like photos and videos. Hosts can also store resources in groups, and it’s a breeze to quickly start live streaming. However, groups can’t be subdivided into different channels, and there is no built-in integration for things like courses. 

    WhatsApp

     

    If you’ve already heard of WhatsApp, then odds are you use it for texting or calling. The app is pretty much ubiquitous outside the U.S. But it does offer some interesting features for those looking to build a community. 

    Customization

    Unfortunately, customization is not one of those features. There is no way to create subgroups or topics, meaning conversations can quickly get hectic (as anyone who has ever made a group chat can attest). There is also no way to really tie a community back to a brand. 

    Monetization

    There is no built-in monetization, but it is possible using a third party. 

    User Interface

    The UI is probably WhatsApp’s biggest draw. It’s extremely basic. However, for many, that’s a good thing. The app does text chat, and it does it really well. You basically form a group chat, and users are free to start having conversations. But for anyone who craves a bit more organization, this might be a downside. 

    Community Features

    WhatsApp gives users the ability to send audio and text messages, as well as have audio and video calls. That’s about all there is, though. As said before, groups can’t be divided by topic, and there is no live streaming. 

    Telegram

     

    Telegram has emerged as a more community-friendly version of WhatsApp in recent years. And while that’s a bit of an oversimplification, the platform does offer many more features than WhatsApp, wrapped in a similar messaging package.

    Customization

    Telegram might look pretty bare-bones when it comes to customization, but it allows users to create special folders to separate their regular messages from groups. Branding can also be displayed in place of a profile picture. 

    Monetization

    Like other Discord alternatives on this list, monetization is possible via a third-party payment service.

    User Interface

    Although it’s a messaging app at its core, Telegram might be difficult for new users to navigate. Groups are easy enough to find and read through, but the app offers many features that aren’t as easy to find. 

    Community Features

    Telegram’s features are where it sets itself apart from WhatsApp. Hosts can create groups with up to 200,000 members or “channels” with an unlimited audience. Text, voice, and video chat are all here as well. Hosts can assign admins, and the app supports video group calls. However, there is no way to subdivide a group or add topic channels. 

    In Summary 

    If you’re looking to make a switch, there are some great Discord alternatives out there, each specializing in something different. Need something a bit more professional? Give Slack a try. Simply want a way to chat with members? Why not use Telegram? Want a dedicated community builder? You can’t go wrong with Nas. 

    No matter what kind of community you want to build, there’s no reason not to start today. 

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