If you’ve been playing online games for any amount of time, you know how frustrating it is to find a chat service that serves all of your needs. Party chat is often limited to the platform. Game chat cuts out when you move between matches. Group phone calls are frustrating to set up. And Slack calls, Zoom meetings, and Google Meet sessions have to be set up from scratch every single time.
Trying to come up with ideas for your roles for your Discord server? Take a look at our Discord Roles Ideas guide to get the creative juices flowing.
That’s why so many casual, professional, and influential gamers have turned to Discord. On the surface, it may look like just another chat app. But when used correctly, it serves as one of the best personalized online video, text, and audio chat services out there. To get the most out of it, you’ll want to learn how to create a Discord server, which is far easier than you’d think.
What is Discord?
Discord is a chat app. Its design and functionality are very similar to Slack, but with a core focus on online gaming support. It actually originated as a PC gaming solution to help make in-game chatting and support much more manageable and private than game chat.
It has all the basics, including instant messaging, threads, video, and audio chat. The app even comes equipped with a robust search function that makes it incredibly easy to find your friends, gaming communities, or specific parties. And it’s that ease of access that has transformed Discord from a reliable chat alternative into a community-building tool.
Unlike the other remote chat apps out there, Discord serves as somewhat of a public forum, similar to a toned-down Reddit. You can find public Discords around various topics, ranging from game discussion to programming and everything in between. There are no limitations on what a server can be created for, as long as it falls within Discord’s community guidelines. This means you can join or create a server that serves your needs, but the question is, should you?
Should You Make a Server?
Discord has made a name for itself as an open and approachable platform. It’s meant to be accessible, and their developers have continued to prioritize core user experience over anything else. But just because a server is easy to make doesn’t necessarily mean you need one.
To help you decide, here are a few reasons why you might want to learn how to create a Discord server.
You Want an Organized Way to Communicate
If you’ve been struggling to find a uniform and simple way to communicate with your squad, Discord is the best place you can go. You don’t need to worry about which gaming platform you’re on, dealing with party creation, or having to maintain a group phone call. Instead, you can create a clean environment that makes playing and communicating online easy.
Create specific channels for partying up, tips and tricks, and maybe a random meme-filled channel designated for non-game chatter. You can even build out separate user groups for specific friends that you play with the most. With a server, you can truly create an all-in-one hub for your fireteam, friends, family, or anyone else that you game with.
You Want a Private Platform
One of the dangers of using a public platform is the lack of privacy. There’s always the chance that your data will be used for advertising or that someone you’d rather not interact with finds a way into your online community. That’s not the case with Discord.
Again, Discord’s number one priority has been user experience. That means no algorithm-driven ads. No data tracking. And the ability to have complete control over your privacy. Do you want a server for just you and your closest friends? You can do that. Want to open it up to those interested in your favorite FPS? You can do that too.
You Want to Build a Community
If you’re a streamer, content creator, or eSports pro in the making, this is by far the most powerful benefit of leveraging Discord. It takes every other reason we’ve already mentioned and combines it with the ability to share and promote your Server to grow your community. It’s more personal, more organized, and provides the greatest potential to grow.
Everyone in the influencer space is turning to Discord to engage with their fans, friends, and team. You no longer have to maintain every chat thread, message, and comment on Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Instead, you bring them a place where like-minded fans just like them are eager to watch, play, and chat with you.
How to Create a Discord Server: Getting Started
If any of those reasons have you eager to learn how to create a Discord server, then you’re in the right place. Luckily, no matter how you decide to do it, whether through the mobile app or on your PC, you’ll be following the same steps. Let’s get started.
1. Add a Server
Look to the left side of your screen and select the plus icon to Add a Server. On the mobile app, you’ll need to open the menu first by selecting the three horizontal lines (known as the hamburger) in the top left corner.
2. Start From Scratch or Use a Template
You’ll immediately be presented with the option to create your own or start with a template. The six templates currently available are a good way to kickstart your server with popular prepopulated channels and settings. Creating your own will simply give you a blank slate to work with.
3. Community or Personal
Whether you choose a template or create your own, you’ll then need to select if this is a personal Discord or Community server. The “club or community” option will start you off with less strict privacy settings, while the “me and my friends” option will make your Discord more difficult to find without a direct invite. Don’t worry — you can always adjust these settings later on.
4. Add a Name
Now, input your chosen server name and upload a featured image for the server. Once you’re ready, hit Create.
5. Send Out Invites
If you already have friends, family, or a community that you want to have access to the server, go ahead and invite them. At first, the invite option should be present in the middle of your screen. If you need to invite new members later on, just look for the icon with a person and a plus in your left-hand sidebar.
At this point, it may be worth checking out Discord’s Getting Started Guide to get familiar with the basic functionality of operating your own Discord. If you want to just start looking around, you can also look into your server settings, create channels and categories, adjust notifications, and much more by selecting the drop-down arrow at the top of your server menu.
Creating Discord Channels
Right now, if you created your own server, you currently only have the General Channel available. And if you went with a template, you maybe have two to three additional channels. As you begin to use your server, you’ll want to add more channels to keep yourself and your community organized. Here’s how:
1. Create a Channel or Category
It’s worth noting that unlike other chat platforms, Discord has a tier system for your channels. This means that you can create isolated channels or list them under categories. Both options are accessible in your sub-menu and follow the same basic creation process.
Simply open that menu and select Create Channel or Create Category. For this guide, we’ll start by creating a Category.
2. Add a Category Name
Now just choose a name for your category and decide if you want it to be private or open to everyone on your server. That’s it — you now have a new category.
3. Add a Channel Name
Adding a channel is just as simple, just with one additional step. Besides adding a name, you’ll need to designate if it’ll be a text or voice chat channel. Again, decide if this is a private channel or open to everyone. Once you have roles set up, you’ll see them pop up at the bottom of the creation pop-up for easy selection.
Now just hit create.
4. Adjust Permission and Channel Settings
This isn’t a necessary step for creating Channels, but it’s worth noting that you have additional setting options that can be changed. Simply hit the gear icon next to a given channel to open up channel settings. From there, you can make more specific privacy decisions, explore integrations, and send invites to users.
Creating Roles in Discord
For the last piece of how to create a Discord server, you’ll want to establish specific roles for your server. For private use, this will likely be less stringent or necessary. But if you’re looking to develop a Discord community, it will keep your server organized and help avoid any abuse or unwanted changes. Like everything else in the setup process, it’s fairly easy to do, here’s how:
1. Open Server Settings
As always, start by opening up your menu by clicking the downward-facing arrow in the top left corner. From there, select Server Settings.
2. Select Roles
Click on Roles to open up the larger menu. You’ll have one role to start with, @everyone, that is automatically created when you launch your server. This role defines the permissions available to everyone on your server if they don’t currently have a designated role.
3. Create a New Role
To create a new role, simply select the plus icon at the top of the page. This will open up the same permission settings that you saw when first looking at the @everyone role.
4. Adjust Permissions
Any changes that you make will be made server-wide. This simply means that if someone is given a role, anything you allow should be active throughout the server. There are a large number of settings available for you to change that are broken down into the following categories:
- General Server Permissions
- Membership Permissions
- Text Channel Permissions
- Voice Channel Permissions
- Advanced Permissions
Each is worth looking over to fully understand what you can and can’t do with server roles. And if you simply want to allow specific individuals to have full access to everything, just skip right to Advanced Permissions and create an Admin role.
5. Save Changes and Test
Once you’re ready, go ahead and save your changes and go back to the top of your screen. From there, select to view the server as your new role to make sure everything works as you expect it to.
6. Assign Roles
To assign specific member roles, go to the Members tab within the Server Settings menu. Then click the plus sign next to a members’ name and select the role you want them to have.
7. Assign Channel Roles
If you’d rather do this a bit more broadly, you can apply roles to specific channels instead. Go ahead and click the gear icon next to a channel to open up your channel settings. Then open the Advanced Permissions and select specific roles or members that have access to a given channel.
Just know that any channel roles will supersede server roles.
Key Discord Roles to Consider
Roles are a vital component of an effective and healthy Discord server. When you’re first starting out and learning how to create a Discord server, it can be difficult to know which roles you need to make sure everything runs smoothly. Here are a few options that we recommend you use:
This is the first role that you should make. The Admin should have access to all available permissions for your server — in the early moments of your server, this will just be you. Having a “skeleton key” role like this ensures that you can troubleshoot any other roles, have control over final decisions, and stop you from getting kicked out of your own server.
Be careful who you give access to this role. Having multiple admins can become complicated and should be saved for those with a controlling interest in the community that you’re building.
If you’ve spent any time on Twitch, you likely know what mods are. They help you engage with and moderate your community. On Discord, you can create blanket Mod roles to manage messages, review text logs, control voice and text settings, and even kick or ban members acting in bad faith.
It may make even more sense to designate specific mod roles and settings to individual channels as your community grows. This can help you make more refined setups without fear of limiting other mods.
Staffing roles sit somewhere in the middle of Admin and Mod responsibilities. They likely have greater access to the overall server settings but still hold some responsibility for reviewing overall community health. These individuals should have the ability to attach/upload files, embed links, and manage specific channels.
It may be wise to keep these private at first unless you have a really good reason to make them visible to everyone.
Members are the most generalized and limited roles you’ll have on your server. These are the individuals just using it with no control over operations. Members should have access to channels and the ability to create text threads and start audio/video calls. From there, it’s really up to you regarding how much you want them to be able to do.
Like your mods, it may make more sense to create membership roles on a channel by channel basis. And over time, you may want to establish different tiers based on community involvement, interests, or if you add a paid component through Patreon or Twitch.
Bots are great for streamlining simple tasks, but you don’t want to give them access to everything. It’s tempting to give them full permission, but remember they aren’t infallible and can accidentally leak their token if you’re not careful.
We recommend using them for simple tasks such as assisting mods during reviews, answering common questions, and adding 3rd party integrations. Start by really limiting any bot usage and slowly add more permissions over time.
Tips for Growing a Discord Server
You’ve learned how to create a Discord server, and you’re ready to launch! But now comes the even more difficult part. How do you get more people to join? Here are a few tips to accelerate your server growth.
1. Engage With Your Community
You (and your team) are the face of your Discord Community. If you don’t actively interact or drive conversations, you’ll lose members as well as the chance of anyone recommending that someone join.
This doesn’t need to be a full-time job, just be sure that you welcome members, regularly post new comments or threads, host a handful of Q&A’s and even jump in random channels from time to time. The more you’re there, the more your server will be seen as active and healthy.
2. Keep Your Server Organized and Focused
Another piece of engagement is keeping things on track. It’s easy to try to please everyone, which eventually allows your channels, categories, and roles to get out of control.
Stick to the core purpose of your community. Create polls to ask members what is working and what isn’t. And if you want to add anything outside your focus, either create a new category or even launch a separate Discord Server.
3. Promote Your Server
This is likely a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning that at some point, you’ll need to do some promotion. Organically, this can be anything from listing your server on your Twitch channel, mentioning it on your podcast, or just having it linked to your social profiles.
You can also go the paid route and take out highly targeted ads on Facebook, Google, or YouTube. If you go this route, start with a few bucks and focus on your branding and messaging. It can be incredibly easy to overspend and not see any actual return.
Lastly, it’s worth looking into getting your server listed. There are plenty of sites or other Discord servers dedicated to connecting users to servers that may interest them. This is more of a check-the-box type of action, but it’s worth it to help give your server some clout.
4. Engage Outside of Discord
You need to be where your community is. If you aren’t engaging with them on other social channels, Twitch, or online forums, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Just like your members want to see you active within your server, they also want to see you engaging on the other platforms that they like.
It’s even worth taking it a step further and organizing online or in-person events (eventually) that allow you and your fans to meet in new and more personal ways. This is obviously a big step, so start with being where your audience is online and then create some bigger events down the line.
How to Create a Discord Server: Next Steps
We hope you’ve found this guide useful for learning how to create a Discord server. Hopefully, you’re well on your way to creating a thriving community or just a great way to chat with your squad.
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