As many companies look towards the future of remote work, they are turning to messaging apps as a tool to stay connected. Although there are many apps designed for messaging and collaboration, the two big ones that most companies consider are Slack and Discord. Many organizations have to ponder the implications of the great Slack vs. Discord debate and settle upon one of the messaging services for their team. Here is the ultimate breakdown of the two apps to help you determine which one will better meet your organization’s needs.
Slack vs. Discord
To help you determine which messaging app will be best for your team, we will break down the differences between Discord and Slack, compare their basic features, and discuss the costs and features of each app’s premium versions.
Which is better, Slack or Discord?
Neither app is better than the other. Deciding which to use is dependent on your needs and the goals of your organization. Overall, Slack is sleeker and more professional, so it’s better for corporate businesses with an emphasis on professionalism. Discord has more opportunities for fun and engagement, so it tends to be better for non-businesses and companies trying to develop a “fun” corporate culture.
However, there are pros and cons to each app, and the specifics might help you decide which is better for your organization.
Both Slack and Discord offer free basic chat features. You can create group chats, separate chat rooms, and various channels for chatting with your friends or coworkers in both applications, and the basic layouts are the same. Slack is a little more user-friendly, and it only shows the server you are currently working in, which limits distractions.
In each app, the server owners or their designated representatives have the ability to create topic-specific channels and limit each channel to users with specific roles. This helps keep the text chat organized for easy access to specific information.
Free versus premium features
The free version of Discord beats the free version of Slack in terms of functionality. You can do everything you need to do in Discord without paying anything extra, whereas basic functionality that teams might need is lost with the free version of Slack.
Two main features that are free in Discord but require Slack premium are video conferencing and saving messages. After two weeks, the free version of Slack archives messages, and only members who have paid for the premium service can access these messages. Discord never entirely deletes messages, so you can find old conversations whenever you need them.
Although Slack’s free version does offer one-on-one video conferencing, it doesn’t offer group video calls or the ability to share your screen. Discord’s free platform provides the ability to video conference with up to 25 users.
Costs of Slack vs. Discord
The best thing about Discord is that the free version includes everything you need to run a successful server. However, there are two ways to upgrade. One is by purchasing a Discord Nitro subscription. This is for individual users, and it allows them to use global Discord emotes, send longer messages, and join more servers. Discord Nitro costs $9.99 a month or $99.99 for the full year.
The other way to upgrade is by boosting a server. Server boosts enhance a specific server rather than give more functionality to a particular user. Additional functionality in boosted servers includes extra custom emote slots, custom invite links, and improved messaging and video quality. You can achieve three levels of enhancement with server boosts, and a server needs 14 boosts to unlock them all. Individual members can contribute to the boost at their discretion for $4.99 a month, or a server owner can purchase every boost needed for a discounted price.
The great thing about Discord is that the server boosts, and Nitro only adds bells and whistles. Extra emote slots, longer messages, and improved quality are nice to have, but they aren’t needed to utilize the critical aspects of Discord’s functionality, which is chatting, texting, and voice and video calling.
The limitation of Slack when compared to Discord is that Slacks’ premium service offers some of the functionality that Discord provides for free.
Slack’s basic plan is $6.67 per person per month (when billed annually – it’s $8 per person per month when billed monthly). This plan unlocks the ability to view old messages and group calls with video sharing. The Business Plus plan offers single sign-on and the ability to export the data of all messages for $12.50 per person monthly. Slack also offers an enterprise plan for large corporations with unlimited workspace and data protection.
Both messaging apps offer a vast array of integrations with different bots and apps. As Slack is generally a more professional service, most app integrations you will find relate to business. Discord is more eclectic, so although there are Discord bots that relate to business, there are also bots that offer fun, engagement, and other functionality. Both apps allow anyone with programming skills to develop a bot, so if any functionality is missing with the integrations currently available, a technical team can create it.
Slack integrates with a variety of different apps to improve business productivity and efficiency, and the service promotes apps that provide this functionality. You can find Google calendar integrations, Sharepoint integrations, and various apps specific to different components of running a business, like HR or customer service-focused applications in Slack.
Slack also offers a variety of apps for fun and engagement. Keep in mind that since Slack is designed for business, most of the “fun” apps are dedicated to team building and things of that nature.
Discord is an eclectic service, so there are bots available that do almost anything you could want. Some Discord bots help you moderate the server, others integrate with project management apps such as Trello, and others still allow you to connect social media accounts to Discord.
Content creators can incorporate bots that automatically connect their Youtube channels, twitch accounts, or website RSS feeds to showcase new content. In addition, there are a variety of bots that allow you to add games, music, polls, and other fun, engaging content to your server. Discord generally relies on third-party users to create and promote bots, so it doesn’t offer a list of available integrations the way that Slack does. However, it’s easy for server owners to find the bots they need on their own.
Alternative solutions for businesses
Although Slack is great for business as a chat app, the lack of functionality with free video chat is limiting. Some companies use a combination of Slack and Zoom to fill the gap, as Zoom offers video conferencing with up to 100 people for just $14.99 a month. However, there are a few alternative solutions for businesses that provide both chat messaging and calls. Some of the most popular options for this are Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex.
Slack vs. Teams
Microsoft Teams is a runner-up to Slack for business communications. The advantage of Teams is that you never lose messages, and the free version offers video conferencing for up to 100 participants. The disadvantage is that it doesn’t have as many integration options, and most of its features are limited to a single organization. If you choose Teams, you will only be able to integrate other Microsoft products. Additionally, you will only have limited ability to interact with customers, clients, contractors, and other users that might not be in your organization. The heavy advantage here for Microsoft is that Teams is deeply integrated with other Microsoft Office 365 tools and that it comes as part of the enterprise plans without the need to assess another third-party software for communication and collaboration.
Slack vs. Webex
The free Webex plan also offers video conferencing for up to 100 people, but you are limited to 50 minutes per meeting. Webex also provides file sharing and basic messaging functionality with its free service. A limitation to Webex is that it doesn’t offer a lot of app integrations. If you need more than just basic chat and video conferencing, Slack is the way to go. Companies who already use the video collaboration hardware in their conference rooms can greatly benefit from this sort of interoperability as well so there are some gains to be made as far as productivity goes.
Alternative solutions for everyone
Although Discord was initially created as a messaging app for gamers, it’s quickly become one of the most widely used messaging apps on the internet. Direct competitors such as Overtone have gone out of business, and there are only a few alternative options that offer similar functionality. It’s no wonder that everyone from friend groups to content creators to enterprises are turning to Discord to grow their communities. It has excellent functionality for reasonable prices.
However, there are a few alternatives on the market. The two most significant competitors are Skype and Mumble.
Discord vs. Skype
Skype is the grandfather of video conferencing among friends. Although it has evolved to include a host of functionality, including a business version, it’s still a conferencing service at its core.
Skype is an excellent option for individuals trying to stay connected with friend groups and family. It offers basic messaging functionality, including voice and text chat. However, there are not a lot of bot integrations available, so it’s not the ideal solution for those looking to build an engaged community.
Discord vs. Mumble
Mumble is a chat app that many gamers use instead of Discord. The advantages of Mumble are that it’s secure and has extremely low latency, meaning users can chat without a lot of lag time. This leads to higher-quality voice chats, which can be important for gaming or podcasting. The user interface of Mumble is not as user-friendly as that of Discord, and it doesn’t offer nearly as many bot integrations.
Mio: One tool to connect them all
Mio is not a tool on its own. Their mission is the interoperability of other solutions. So with Mio, you can, for instance, let everyone keep their favorite tools like Slack, Teams, Zoom, or Webex, but you simply connect them all up. This makes sense, especially for large organizations that already have a brownfield of solutions scattered across various departments. Bring them all together by using the solutions of Mio.
So which is better, Slack or Discord?
Ultimately, the decision on which app to use is up to each individual or company. Overall, Discord is the better app for individuals, those trying to build an online community, and small businesses. This is because there is so much free functionality in Discord, and there are thousands of readily available integrations to make it fit almost any need.
Slack is better for larger companies and corporate environments. The expense of the premium services is a cost of doing business for large organizations, and the plethora of business or industry-focused integrations make it well suited for any corporate team. At the end of the day, you have to define your requirement, technical and cultural ones, and check what would be the best fit for you and your team.
YouTube: How to use Slack (Kevin Stratvert)
YouTube: How To Use Discord (Tech Insider)
Photo credit: The feature image was provided by Slack as part of a press kit. The screenshots are owned by the respective apps they show.