Comparing Slack vs Discord in 2023: Which Chat App Is Better?

Two major players that have taken center stage in this arena are Slack and Discord. But how do these two platforms hold up against each other in the battle of chat apps?
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In the age of digital communication, where the world is becoming increasingly interconnected, chat applications have become an indispensable tool for businesses, gaming communities, and even social circles. Two major players that have taken center stage in this arena are Slack and Discord. But how do these two platforms hold up against each other in the battle of chat apps? Allow us to navigate you through this comprehensive “Slack vs Discord” comparison.

Short Summary

  • Slack and Discord are popular messaging tools with different primary purposes - Slack is designed for business communication, while Discord is catered more towards gaming communities.
  • Both offer intuitive user interfaces, text/voice communication capabilities, video calls & screen sharing features as well as integrations and third-party apps.
  • Slack has extensive integrations & customizability but limited free plan. While Discord offers reliable voice/video call features plus extra security measures for gamers & indie game developers.

Slack and Discord: Origins and Purposes

Slack and Discord, both giants in the realm of team communication, have distinctly different roots. Stewart Butterfield’s company, Tiny Speck, developed Slack as an internal communication tool for game developers working on “Glitch”. It was intended for this purpose from the outset. Launched to the public in 2013, it has now evolved to offer features like video chat, enabling better team collaboration.

Discord, on the other hand, was born out of a desire to provide a communication medium for gamers, with video and voice channels as its key features. The name “Discord” was chosen to reflect the application’s purpose of facilitating communication among users. While its initial focus was the gaming community, Discord has recently broadened its scope to accommodate any group of people with a common interest, including project management.

Slack and Discord are both channel-based messaging tools. They help teams communicate and collaborate more effectively. However, there’s a major difference in their primary purposes. While Slack is primarily designed for business communication, Discord caters more to gaming communities and non-business communication, making it a viable Slack alternative for such groups.

Pricing Plans and Features

When it comes to pricing plans and features, Slack and Discord follow divergent paths. Slack caters more to enterprises with its four paid plans, while Discord’s paid plans cater to individual users. The stark contrast in pricing structures reflects the platforms’ different target audiences.

Slack’s pricing plans range from free to a premium enterprise grid plan, each offering different features. The free plan, while limited, offers the basic functionalities of the platform. The paid plans, on the other hand, unlock more advanced features, such as larger video calls and greater file storage.

Discord, meanwhile, offers three plans: free, Nitro, and Nitro Classic. Discord’s Nitro plans, priced at $9.99 and $4.99 respectively, offer additional features such as larger file sharing, higher resolution video calls, and aesthetic perks like animated emojis.

User Interface and Customization

The user interface and customization options of Slack and Discord cater to their respective user bases. Slack’s interface is streamlined, with channels, direct messages, and apps clearly visible on the right. It offers eight different themes and even allows those with coding knowledge to customize the entire Slack scheme using custom CSS.

Discord’s layout, while slightly more complex, is still user-friendly. It features the main chat window in the center, contacts and servers listed on the left, and active users on the right. It offers two themes: light and dark, catering more to its gaming-oriented user base.

Despite their differences, both platforms strive to provide an intuitive user experience. However, it’s worth noting that transitioning between teams is a more direct process in Slack, whereas Discord offers a more gaming-friendly interface.

Text Communication and Channels

Slack and Discord offer robust options for text communication, each with its own unique features. They both provide channels for users to communicate on specific topics, as well as direct messaging. In Slack, text chats are structured around public and private channels, threads, and direct messages, facilitating organized communication. However, direct messages in Slack are only accessible within the workspace the user is in, limiting cross-workspace communication.

Discord, on the other hand, offers the following features:

  • Organizes text chats around themes, such as #notes
  • Allows users to send direct messages to any user with their username and tag, facilitating wider communication
  • Utilizes Markdown for text formatting, offering more flexibility for text-based communication.

Voice Calls and Audio Quality

Voice calls, a crucial aspect of any chat application, are handled differently by Slack and Discord. While both platforms offer voice calling capabilities, Discord boasts advanced features such as push-to-talk and group voice calls of larger sizes. Each Discord server even has a dedicated voice channel for users to communicate immediately.

Slack, on the other hand, only allows video calls between two users in its free plan. For larger group calls, users would need to subscribe to their paid plans. This makes Discord the preferred choice for users needing to communicate with larger groups simultaneously.

However, it’s important to note that both platforms offer high audio quality, ensuring clear and uninterrupted voice and video communication. This makes them both reliable options for voice calls, with the choice between them depending on the specific needs of the user.

Video Calls and Screen Sharing

Video calls and screen sharing capabilities are another important factor in comparing Slack and Discord. Both platforms offer these features, but with different limitations and additional features. Discord allows up to 25 participants in a video call, a considerable amount for casual or gaming groups. Discord Nitro, the platform’s premium plan, even offers additional storage and more advanced features.

On the other hand, Slack’s free plan only allows video calls between two users. Their paid plans, however, provide the capacity for up to 15 people in one call and also enable screen sharing, making it beneficial for meetings. Users can even integrate Zoom into their Slack channels for advanced features.

Integrations and Third-Party Apps

Integrations and third-party apps are a crucial component of any modern chat platform, allowing users to streamline their workflows and expand the capabilities of the platform. This is where Slack really shines. It offers a wide range of integrations known as “apps”, including:

  • Google Drive
  • Trello
  • Dropbox
  • GitHub
  • Zendesk
  • Zapier

Just to name a few.

Discord, on the other hand, offers bots which are predominantly focused on gaming. However, these bots are third-party or user-generated features that enhance the capabilities of Discord’s voice and video calls for discord users.

These integrations and third-party apps augment the capabilities of Slack and Discord, linking other business applications to chat and boosting the functionality of the platforms. However, the nature of these integrations reflects the different focuses of both platforms, with Slack leaning towards work-related applications and Discord leaning towards gaming and social media.

File Sharing and Storage

File sharing and storage options vary between Slack and Discord. Both platforms allow users to share files, but they have different file size limits and storage capacities. Slack allows users to share files from Google Drive and their computer, with a file size limit of 1GB. On the other hand, Discord enables users to share files from their own device, with a file size limit of 8MB on its Free plan and 100MB on its Nitro and Nitro Classic plans.

While Slack offers limited storage with larger file sizes, Discord offers unlimited storage with restricted file sizes. However, it is worth noting that uploading a large number of files on both platforms can be impractical due to the required additional confirmation for each file.

Notifications and Alerts

Notifications and alerts are integral to any chat platform, keeping users updated on their conversations and any important information. Both Slack and Discord allow users to customize their notifications and alerts, but they approach this in different ways.

Slack provides a variety of notifications, including banner, desktop, and email notifications. All these can be customized for desktop, mobile, and email. In addition, Slack offers a “Do Not Disturb” feature to pause notifications, as well as reminders and notifications for mentions and direct messages.

Discord, on the other hand, offers a unique text-to-speech notification feature. This feature enables a robotic voice to deliver notifications in real-time, allowing users to keep abreast of team activities while continuing to work.

Supported Languages, Time Zones, and Customer Support

Supported languages, time zones, and customer support can greatly impact a user’s experience on a chat platform. While both Slack and Discord support multiple languages and time zones, their customer support services differ. Slack is currently available in 11 languages and allows users to personalize the app to over 60 distinct time zones. It offers a knowledgebase and contact form for free plan users, with 24/7 support, a four-hour first response time, and priority support available for paid plans.

Discord, however, is available in 28 languages and utilizes TimeZoneBot for changing time zones. While Discord also has a help center and contact form, it does not offer live chat and has comparatively slow response times.

Pros and Cons of Slack

Slack, being designed primarily for business communication, has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. One of its key advantages is its extensive integrations. With over 2,400 unique apps available, Slack lets users connect with a wide range of other business applications, making it a highly versatile tool for team communication. However, some slack users might be interested in exploring slack alternatives, leading to a “slack vs” comparison with other tools. Slack’s interface is also highly customizable, allowing users to choose from eight different themes or even create a custom theme if they have coding knowledge.

However, the platform’s free plan comes with several limitations, such as limited storage and integrations. On the security front, Slack complies with various industry standards for data security, including ISO/IEC 27001 and 27017, and provides two-factor authentication and single sign-on for company user accounts. It also utilizes encryption to safeguard data and minimize the risk of data breaches.

Pros and Cons of Discord

Discord, on the other hand, caters mainly to gamers and independent game developers within online communities. It provides a range of text and voice chat channels, private messaging, screen sharing, and a Slack-like interface with enhanced text support. One of the platform’s major advantages is its reliable voice and video call capabilities. It offers advanced features such as push-to-talk and group calls of larger sizes, making it a popular platform amongst gamers and indie game developers.

Discord provides extra security features for user accounts. These include enforcing strong passwords, two-factor authentication and blocking unknown messages. This helps protect the user from malicious activities. This helps to ensure the privacy and safety of its users.


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In the grand scheme of things, Slack and Discord serve two distinct user bases. Slack, with its business-oriented features and extensive integrations, is an excellent tool for businesses and professional communication. Its customizable interface and robust security measures make it a reliable choice for team collaboration.

Discord, meanwhile, caters more to gaming communities and casual users. Its advanced voice and video call features, coupled with its gaming-focused integrations, make it a popular choice among gamers and independent developers. While it does offer some professional communication features, it is more suited for casual and gaming-oriented communication.

Ultimately, the choice between Slack and Discord depends on the specific needs of the user or team. Both platforms offer a wide range of features and capabilities, making either a viable choice for different use cases. Whether you’re a business looking for a robust communication tool, or a gamer seeking a platform for casual chats and game discussions, both Slack and Discord have something to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Discord and Slack threads?

Discord is better for online gaming communities with voice channels and unlimited simultaneous users, while Slack is tailored for businesses with text-based channels and a limited message archive.

Does Slack have voice channels like Discord?

Yes, Slack does have voice channels like Discord with their launch of Huddles.

Why do people use Discord?

People use Discord to easily join chat servers and communicate with others via voice, video, or text. It’s a popular platform for gamers to connect with like-minded people and form larger online communities.

Discord has over a quarter of a billion users worldwide.

How do the pricing plans of Slack and Discord differ?

Slack’s pricing plans cater to enterprises, offering four different paid plans, while Discord offers two, designed for individual users: Nitro and Nitro Classic.

What are the file sharing and storage capabilities of Slack and Discord?

Slack and Discord both provide users with file sharing and storage capabilities. Slack offers larger file size limits but limited storage, while Discord offers smaller file sizes but unlimited storage.


Published on
July 12, 2023
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