Discord has long been a go-to community platform for gamers and other communities seeking a space to connect, communicate, and collaborate.
Over time, however, shifts in technology and user preferences have led to the rise of alternatives that promise unique features and an advanced approach to community building.
In this blog, we will explore the top 12 Discord alternatives for the year 2023. While Discord has been a linchpin for many, it's worth considering whether it remains relevant for community building.
We'll delve into the features and nuances of these Discord alternatives, shedding light on scenarios where Discord might not be the optimal community platform for fostering community growth and interaction. Whether you're seeking enhanced security, streamlined collaboration, or a specialized focus, read on to disover the platforms that align more closely with your community's unique requirements.
Why Use a Discord Alternative?
While Discord has been successful in catering to the needs of gamers and various interest groups, it may not be the ideal community platform for everyone, especially for those looking to build branded communities. Here are some potential pain points that community builders experience with Discord:
Limited Control and Customization
Discord is primarily designed for gaming communities, and its features may not be tailored to meet the specific needs of business-oriented groups. Unlike some of its counterparts, Discord also lacks a branded community app. Overall, there is limited control over customization options, making it challenging for community builders to create a professional and branded community experience.
No Space For Forums/Links
The lack of threaded discussions and dedicated spaces in Discord makes it challenging to organize and follow specific topics. A more structured system that allows for threaded discussions and easy sharing of external links could improve content organization.
Not Built For Phones
With the increasing use of mobile devices for internet access, having a community platform optimized for mobile is crucial. A community platform with mobile-friendly design can significantly enhance the user experience, making it more accessible and convenient for members who prefer mobile interaction.
User Onboarding Challenges
Discord's interface and features can be overwhelming for newcomers, especially those unfamiliar with gaming or similar platforms. Business communities might require a more user-friendly and intuitive community platform that facilitates easy onboarding for members with diverse backgrounds and tech proficiency levels.
While Discord is suitable for smaller to medium-sized communities, larger business communities may experience scalability challenges. As the community grows, the platform may struggle to handle the increased volume of users and data, impacting the overall user experience.
Branding and Professionalism
Discord's branding and interface may carry a casual and gaming-oriented aesthetic, which might not align with the desired image of a professional business community. Users seeking a more polished and corporate appearance may find that Discord doesn't provide the level of branding control they need.
While Discord has Nitro for community incentivization, the fact that it comes with a cost might limit its effectiveness for certain communities. A community platform with cost-free incentivization system could be more appealing, fostering community growth and member retention.
Ultimately, while Discord excels in certain niches, its limitations in terms of business-centric features, customization, and scalability may prompt community builders to explore alternatives better suited to their specific needs.
Top 12 Discord Alternatives
Scenes, an all-in-one community platform, stands out as an ideal choice for community building, offering a comprehensive set of features that not only replace multiple tools but also enhance the overall community experience.
All-in-One Community App: Replacing 10+ Apps: Scenes emerges as an all-encompassing solution, consolidating the functionalities of multiple apps into one cohesive platform. From forums and chat to events and member management, Scenes ensures that your community thrives without the need for a multitude of separate tools.
Customization for Community Identity: Scenes understand the importance of community identity. It empowers administrators to personalize their space with distinctive branding, tailored URLs, and features that cater specifically to the unique requirements of their community. This level of customization fosters a sense of belonging among members.
Monetization Opportunities: Scenes introduce a monetization dimension, allowing community leaders to generate revenue seamlessly. It is one of the very few community platforms offering courses, webinars, and digital products directly from the community platform open up new avenues for sustainable community growth.
Engagement Through Gamification: Elevate your community into an engaging and immersive environment with Scenes' gamification features. Recognizing and rewarding member contributions through community coins adds a layer of interaction that goes beyond conventional community platforms.
Limited Free Trial Period: One of the drawbacks of Scenes is its 14-day free trial period. While this trial period allows users to explore the platform's features, it may be a limiting factor for those seeking a more extended evaluation before committing to a subscription.
Scenes vs. Discord: A Detailed Comparison
Centralized Community Platform
Scenes provide a centralized hub, streamlining community activities, events, discussions, and member management into one easily navigable space. Discord lacks this centralized organization, making it challenging for larger communities to manage effectively.
Scenes offer easy-to-use forums that encourage engaging discussions and brainstorming, fostering a more collaborative environment. Discord's emphasis on real-time chat might result in fragmented conversations, hindering in-depth discussions.
With Scenes, planning and organizing events is simplified through tools like calendars for scheduling and promotion. Discord may lack dedicated event management tools, making it less suitable for communities that heavily rely on organized events.
Scenes go beyond by allowing administrators to keep a comprehensive record of members, track engagement, and create custom profiles for better organization. Discord, while robust, may lack some of these detailed member management features.
White Label App on iOS and Android
Scenes provide a white label app on both iOS and Android, allowing communities to customize and brand their app for a seamless user experience. Discord's mobile experience, lacking a dedicated community app, falls short in comparison, especially for users who primarily engage via mobile devices.
These features make Scenes an efficient Discord alternative but also ideal for creating and maintaining lively online communities.
Need help in how to go about community building, management, or anything community-related? Speak to one of our Community Doctors and receive your diagnosis.
2. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is another good Discord alternative. It is a collaboration platform developed by Microsoft, providing a wide range of features for team communication, collaboration, and productivity. It is designed to facilitate teamwork and streamline communication within organizations.
- Integration with Microsoft 365: Seamless integration with other Microsoft 365 apps, making it a powerful platform for users already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem.
- Collaboration Features: Offers a comprehensive set of collaboration tools, including file sharing, editing, and real-time co-authoring.
- Security and Compliance: Provides enterprise-level security features and compliance standards, making it suitable for businesses with strict security requirements.
- Resource Intensive: The desktop application can be resource-intensive, which may affect performance on less powerful devices.
- Free Version Limitations: While there is a free version of Teams, certain advanced features are available only in the paid plans.
- Learning Curve: Some users may find Teams initially complex, especially for those new to collaboration platforms, leading to a learning curve.
Another great Discord alternative, WhatsApp, is a widely used messaging app that enables users to send text messages, and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share multimedia content. It is designed for personal communication and is commonly used for chatting with friends and family.
- Simplicity: WhatsApp is user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
- Widespread Adoption: WhatsApp is widely used globally, so many people are already familiar with it.
- End-to-end Encryption: WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption for messages, ensuring a high level of privacy and security.
- Mobile-Centric: WhatsApp is designed for mobile devices, making it a convenient community platform for those who prefer a mobile-centric community.
- Limited Customization: WhatsApp groups have limited customization options compared to Discord servers.
- Less Ideal for Large Communities: While it works well for small to medium-sized groups, managing larger communities may be challenging due to limited organizational features.
Slack is a collaboration hub that facilitates communication and teamwork within organizations. It is a great Discord alternative as it provides channels for different teams and topics, direct messaging, file sharing, and integration with various third-party apps and services.
- Professional Environment: Slack is designed for professional communication within a workplace or team, making it a suitable community platform for business-focused communities.
- Integration: Slack offers a wide range of integrations with other tools and services, allowing for a seamless workflow.
- File Sharing: It provides a convenient platform for sharing files and collaborating on documents within the workspace.
- Organization: Channels, threads, and customizable notifications help keep conversations organized.
- Pricing: Slack's pricing model can be relatively higher for large communities or organizations.
- Learning Curve: Some users may find Slack's interface and features initially complex, requiring a learning curve.
5. Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups is a feature within the larger Facebook platform that allows users to create, join, and participate in communities based on shared interests, activities, or affiliations.
- Integration with Facebook: Facebook Groups are part of the larger Facebook platform, allowing for seamless integration with user profiles and other Facebook features.
- Familiarity: Facebook stands out as a Discord alternative as many people are already familiar with Facebook, making it an accessible community platform for most members.
- Diverse Content Sharing: Users can easily share various types of content, including text, images, videos, and links.
- Scalability: Facebook Groups can accommodate both small and large communities.
- Privacy Concerns: Some users might have privacy concerns related to Facebook's data policies.
- Moderation Challenges: Moderation tools may not be as advanced as other dedicated community platforms and Discord alternatives, making it challenging to manage large communities effectively.
6. Google Chat
Google Chat is a communication platform developed by Google as part of the Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) suite of productivity tools. It is designed to facilitate messaging and collaboration within teams and organizations. Here’s what makes Google Chat a better Discord alternative:
- Integration with Google Workspace: Google Chat seamlessly integrates with other Google Workspace applications, fostering collaboration and productivity.
- Threaded Conversations: Conversations are organized into threads, making it easy to follow discussions and reference previous messages.
- Collaborative Document Editing: Integration with Google Docs allows for real-time collaboration on documents within the chat interface.
- Google Meet Integration: Easily transition from chat to video meetings with Google Meet integration.
- May Require a Google Workspace Subscription: While Google Chat is available for personal Google accounts, some advanced features may be limited to Google Workspace subscribers.
- Less Customization: Compared to other community platforms like Scenes and Circle, Google Chat may have fewer customization options for community branding and organization.
Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging and community platform that focuses on speed and security. It offers a range of features beyond basic messaging, including group chats, channels, and file sharing. Here's an overview of how it is a better Discord alternative:
- Privacy and Security: Telegram emphasizes end-to-end encryption and privacy features, providing a secure communication environment.
- Versatility: Telegram supports text, voice, and video messages, as well as file sharing. Channels allow for broadcasting to large audiences.
- Bot Integration: Telegram has a robust API, allowing the integration of bots that can perform various tasks within groups or channels.
- Cross-Platform Support: Telegram is available on multiple platforms, including mobile devices, desktop computers, and the web.
- Smaller User Base: While Telegram has a substantial user base, it may be smaller than WhatsApp or Facebook, potentially impacting community reach.
- Limited Integration: While there are bots and some integrations, Telegram may not have the same level of third-party app integration as platforms like Scenes or Slack.
- Less Structured Environment: Telegram's interface is designed for simplicity, and while this is advantageous for ease of use, it might lack the structured environment needed for more complex community interactions, especially in comparison to platforms like Discord.
Mumble is an open-source, low-latency voice communication software primarily designed for use by gamers. It provides a high-quality, real-time voice chat experience for individuals and groups.
- Open Source: Mumble is open-source, allowing users to customize and modify the software according to their needs.
- Minimal Resource Usage: Mumble is lightweight, consuming fewer system resources compared to some other voice chat applications.
- Positional Audio: Mumble supports positional audio, meaning the sound comes from the direction of the speaker's avatar or location in supported games.
- Less Versatile: While Mumble excels at voice communication, it may lack the text and multimedia features found in other community platforms like Scenes, Slack, etc.
- Limited Non-Voice Features: Mumble primarily focuses on voice communication, and while it does have some text chat functionality, it may lack the additional features found in platforms designed for broader community engagement.
- Setup and Configuration: Setting up and configuring a Mumble server might require more technical knowledge compared to some other communication platforms.
Twitch is a live streaming platform primarily focused on video game streaming and esports, but it has expanded to include various categories of content. Here’s why Twitch stands out as a great Discord alternative:
- Live Interaction: The live chat feature enables real-time interaction between streamers and viewers, fostering a sense of community.
- Platform Integration: Twitch integrates with various gaming platforms and software, making it accessible to a wide range of gamers.
- Content Moderation Challenges: Managing and moderating live chat can be challenging, leading to instances of toxic behavior or inappropriate comments.
- Dependency on Viewership: Streamers' income is often tied to the number of viewers, making it less predictable and stable compared to some other community platforms.
- Discoverability Issues: With the vast amount of content on Twitch, discoverability can be an issue for smaller or newer streamers.
- Copyright Concerns: Like other content platforms, Twitch has faced challenges related to copyright issues, particularly in the context of music played during streams.
Skype is a telecommunications application that provides video chat, voice call, and instant messaging services. It was one of the earliest and most widely used platforms for online communication, connecting users through the Internet, which makes it a powerful Discord alternative.
- Cross-Platform Compatibility: Skype is available on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and web, providing broad compatibility.
- User-Friendly Interface: Skype has a user-friendly interface that is relatively easy for new users to navigate.
- Screen Sharing and Collaboration: The screen sharing feature is useful for collaboration, presentations, and troubleshooting.
- Limited Messaging Features: The instant messaging features on Skype may be considered basic compared to more feature-rich community platforms.
- Ads in Free Version: The free version of Skype includes ads, which can be a downside for users who prefer an ad-free experience.
- Microsoft Account Requirement: Users are required to have a Microsoft account to use Skype, which may be a limitation for those who prefer not to use Microsoft services.
Circle is a community platform designed for building online communities and fostering connections among creators and their audiences. It offers tools for creators to establish membership-based communities, engage with their followers, and potentially monetize their content.
- Content Monetization: Creators can monetize their content through subscriptions, providing a potential source of income.
- Engagement Tools: Circle provides tools for fostering engagement, including discussion forums and direct messaging, to enhance the sense of community.
- Integration Capabilities: Integration with other platforms allows creators to streamline their online presence and connect with their community across different channels.
- Learning Curve: Users, especially those accustomed to other community-building platforms, may experience a learning curve when transitioning to Circle.
- Limited Free Options: Depending on the pricing model, the availability of certain features may be limited for free users.
Reddit is a social media platform and online community where registered members can submit content, such as text posts, images, links, and comments, which are then voted up or down by other users. It is organized into a vast number of user-created communities, known as "subreddits," each focused on a specific topic or theme. Here’s what makes it a great Discord alternative:
- Community Engagement: Users can engage with like-minded individuals in specific interest communities (subreddits).
- Anonymous Participation: Users can participate without revealing personal information, providing a level of anonymity.
- Active User Base: Reddit has a large and active user base, contributing to the availability of discussions and content.
- Moderation Challenges: Moderating large subreddits can be challenging, leading to instances of inappropriate content or spam.
- Echo Chambers: Some subreddits may develop into echo chambers, where certain opinions are amplified, and dissenting views are discouraged.
- Learning Curve: For new users, Reddit's interface and the system of subreddits and karma might have a learning curve.
- Troll and Toxic Behavior: Due to the platform's anonymity, there can be instances of trolling and toxic behavior in some discussions.
- Limited Customization: While subreddits can have unique themes and rules, users have limited control over the overall appearance and customization of the platform.