Discord is a popular group-chatting app that, while originally made for gaming, has blown up since its 2015 launch.
Now all kinds of people have flocked to the platform to build group chats centered on politics, movies, writing, and every other community under the sun.
If you want to build your own community, or just make a chatroom for your friends, setting up your own Discord server is easy. No matter how you use the app — on desktop, in a browser, or on a smartphone — it’ll only take a minute.
And once you’ve made your own server, you can invite your friends, create different channels for different topics, and designate roles — for example, you can make some people chat moderators.
There are dozens of more granular changes you can make to the server, but we’ll stick to the basics here.
How to make a Discord server
Discord servers are just big chatrooms and once you’ve downloaded the app onto your iOS or Android phone or your desktop, they’re completely free to make.
And unlike other apps that let you host servers, once you’ve made the server, you don’t need to worry about keeping your internet active — Discord the company will take over on that end.
1. Open Discord and look to the sidebar on the left side of the app — if you’re on mobile, you might need to swipe your finger to the right to find it.
2. Click or tap the green plus sign at the very bottom of the sidebar, below your other servers.
3. Here, you’ll have a number of options. You can tap “Create My Own” to make a new server with no premade channels or roles, or select one of the offered templates. Each template is pretty similar, and they all come with at least one channel already set up.
For this tutorial, we’ll start with a blank “Create My Own” server.
4. If you’re on mobile, decide whether it’s for if it’s for a club or community, or just for your friends. You can also skip this question if you’re not sure or don’t care.
5. Give your server a name and picture. They don’t have to be unique, so don’t worry about your great server idea being taken.
Once you’ve made your server, don’t worry about being attached to it forever — you can delete a server at any time, although you might need to check in with the other members first.
How to invite friends to your Discord server
A chat room isn’t much fun without someone to talk to. Luckily, once the server is made, you can start adding people to it.
1. Click “Invite your friends.” If you’re on mobile, tap “Set up your server” first, and then “Invite your friends.”
2. A new window will open. At the bottom (desktop) or top (mobile) of this window will be a link you can send people, which they can click to enter your server. You’ll also be shown a list of everyone on your Friends List — click “Invite” next to someone’s name to send them the link immediately.
3. By default, this invite link will only last for a day — after that point, you’ll need to generate a new link. If you want to set the link to never expire, or put a limit on how many people can use it to join the server, click “Edit Invite Link” (desktop) or tap the gear icon next to it (mobile).
How to create channels in a Discord server
Discord servers are built to hold “Channels,” which is where the conversations happen. Channels are usually separated by topic to avoid clogging up the chatroom. And there are two types of channels: text channels and voice channels.
By default, your server will have at least one channel, probably called “General.” To make new ones:
1. Click or tap the small plus button in the left-hand toolbar, next to “Text channel” or “Voice channel” to create a channel. Text channels let you type and send files (images, videos, etc.), while voice channels let you talk or stream video.
2. Give your channel a name. If you’re on mobile, you can also choose here to make it private — this means that only you and the specific people you select can see it.
3. To further customize your channel, click the gear icon next to the channel’s name. If you’re on mobile, you’ll have to open the channel, swipe to the left to open the right-hand sidebar, and then tap the gear icon in the top-right.
4. In these menus, you can edit the channel’s name, “topic,” permissions, and more. You can also click or tap the red “Delete” channel option to get rid of the channel and erase all of the messages inside.
5. If you want to edit your server’s channel categories — these are the headings that appear above your channels — right-click or tap and hold on the category heading, and then select “Edit Category.”
6. In the menu that opens, you can change the category’s name and edit its permissions, which is great if you have several channels that should be restricted.
7. To create a new category, click or tap the icon next to your server’s name in the left sidebar, and then select “Create Category.”
How to designate roles in your channel
If you’re trying to manage a large server, then you should have a few people who can enforce the rules. This can be done through “Roles,” which can be given to users to decide what permissions and powers they have in the server.
1. Click or tap the server’s name at the top of the left sidebar, and then tap “Server Settings” or “Settings” — it’ll have a gear icon next to it.
2. Click or tap “Roles.”
3. If you’re on desktop, click the plus button next to “Roles” in the top-left. On mobile, tap the big blue “Create a Role” button,” or tap the plus sign in the top-right.
4. Give this new role a name, and select a color for it. We’ll call this role “Admin.” You can also choose whether users with this role are displayed more prominently in the member list.
5. From here, you can choose what abilities the roles have. Head to permissions and toggle these abilities on or off.
6. When you’re done, save your changes and exit this menu.
7. To assign a member of your server this role, right-click or tap and hold on their username in your server and select a role from the menu.
This user will now have all the permissions that come with the role you created.