Discord alternatives: The main pros and cons

The free voice chat and messenger app Discord is particularly popular among young people and gamers. However, if you are looking for a chat app with more security or as a serious communication platform for teams and companies, a Discord alternative is a good idea!

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The best Discord alternatives compared

With a Discord alternative, you can use a communication app that meets your needs in terms of security, integration, and hosting more than Discord.

Discord alternative Features
TeamSpeak - High-security encryption (end-to-end and AES)- Clear sound quality and best performance for voice chats- Synchronization of servers and settings- Focused on gamer community
Mumble - Open source with cross-platform support- User security through user authentication and chat encryption- Excellent sound quality
Microsoft Teams - Versatile chat features for groups, online meetings, and conferences.- File transfer and editing for teams using Office 365- Integration of business and third-party apps- Secure encryption and administration
Troop Messenger - Chat and team app with self-explanatory, simple operation- Documentation of past meetings- Video conferencing with screen sharing and private chat function- Group messages and messages to selected team members
Slack - Team chat software for audio/video chat with up to 15 participants- Supported integration for third-party software- Ping function for users who are offline- Clear event feed in chat- Encrypted file upload
Skype - Classic app for audio and video chats for two people or groups of up to 100 participants.- Easy file transfer and screen sharing function- Support for landline and mobile
Wire - Secure encryption for chats- Group chats, video/audio chats, web conferencing, instant messaging- Screensharing and file transfer
Flock - Chat functions for video, audio, groups, conferences- Voice messages, search functions, screen sharing- Integration of third-party apps- Project management and scheduling
Steam Chat - Chat features for Steam users include video, audio, and text- As a mobile messenger app, even on the go- Drag-and-drop creation of voice/video channels

Reasons to look for a Discord alternative

Discord is an excellent free tool for video, audio, and text chats and has proven itself in group chats and livestreams. Creating a Discord server is free, and thanks to thematically separated voice channels, Discord is especially suitable for community building online. Disadvantages of Discord include chat bombing, trolling, bots, hate comments, and poor data protection due to Discord selling user data. It’s possible that you might therefore be looking for an app like Discord as an alternative to it.

Even though Discord offers individual security settings, there are alternatives available that guarantee more security and appeal to a broader audience. The advantages of Discord alternatives include:

  • Better integration of third-party software
  • Better encryption (e.g., Perfect Forward Secrecy) and privacy (no use of data for advertising purposes as with Discord)
  • Broader target audience (not primarily gamers)

The 9 best Discord alternatives

The following overview reveals in detail which Discord alternatives are available and what advantages and disadvantages they offer.

TeamSpeak

TeamSpeak is an app like Discord, as it is a free Voice-over-IP (VoIP) software. Just like Discord, the focus is on voice chats parallel to online gaming – perfect as a Discord alternative. In the gaming community, TeamSpeak has been one of the most popular voice chat apps for team players for years. Many gamers use the software as a communication tool for digital guilds or clans with their own Teamspeak server. It should be noted that it works as a voice app. For video chats, an add-on or plug-in is required (as of TeamSpeak version 3).

Pros Cons
✔ Wide distribution, cross-platform, and many users. ✘ Other protocols are not supported
✔ Secure end-to-end/AES encryption and protected privacy ✘ Plug-in required for video conferencing, free of charge
✔ Outstanding voice/sound quality (removal of background noise, automatic volume adjustment, echo cancellation) ✘ Own, rented or TeamSpeak associated server required (non-commercial TeamSpeak server setup free of charge).
✔ Conserves online connection due to bandwidth between 5.1 and 25.9 Kbit/s  
✔ Free TeamSpeak server/licenses for non-commercial use.  
✔ For iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, Mac  

Mumble

Just like TeamSpeak, the free VoIP software Mumble is an app like Discord, but appeared ten years before it. Its main focus is parallel voice chat while gaming. Its target group is primarily the gamer community. Of course, Mumble is also suitable for small teams as a communication and collaboration tool when agreements are to be made without video chat. Mumble also requires a client on the PC to connect to one of the many Mumble servers or its own server.

One strength that sets Mumble apart is its strong encryption of conversations using TLS, UDP, and AES. New Mumble versions even use ECDHE and AES-GCM encryption for perfect forward secrecy. Another argument is the low latency (delay) and thus the excellent clear sound quality. Since Mumble requires little processor power, it runs flawlessly even during intense gaming. A handy setup wizard is available to assist you making it a great Discord alternative.

Pros Cons
✔ Open source ✘ Setting up a Mumble server is complicated
✔ Any number of connected channels for chats ✘ As a smartphone app from third-party providers only
✔ Low latency and high sound/voice quality  
✔ Secure chat encryption  
✔ Audio positioning according to player position in game  
✔ Digital assistant helps with setup  
✔ For Windows, Mac, Linux  

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is familiar to most Office 365 users – and might come as a surprise contender in our overview of apps like Discord. The video conferencing software from Microsoft enables video and voice chats with any number of users and supports all known Microsoft apps such as Word and Excel with an Office 365 license. Collaboration and efficient project management is easily possible with Microsoft Teams as a digital office. The composition of teams and sub-teams is flexible. Meetings and ideas can be recorded for everyone in OneNote, files can be stored and planning can be structured in the shared scheduler. Although there is a free license, Teams only really shines with a Microsoft 365 subscription.

Pros Cons
✔ Versatile integrated text/video chat features for teams and project management. ✘ All benefits only with paid Microsoft 365 license
✔ Use of Microsoft 365 apps such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint ✘ With many chats and teams, it is sometimes confusing
✔ Virtual group rooms for parallel, location-independent, central file editing, meeting, and planning in the team  

Troop Messenger

Troop Messenger is closer to the collaboration tool Slack than to the Discord app, but also combines chat features like instant messaging, video calls for conferences, and screen sharing. The user interface is reminiscent of classic messenger apps like WhatsApp, which can take some getting used to at first. However, it is precisely this simplicity that suits users who need the most straightforward communication and collaboration tools possible for small to medium-sized teams. Chats take place in real time and are documented for later message searches via search filters. Recent versions offer features such as:

  • Burnout: Closed,private chat with selected team members
  • Respond Later: Mark messages for later response
  • Forkout: Group messages to selected team members
  • Jumper: Select group members for a private chat
  • Shoutout: Group message to any number of group members
Pros Cons
✔ All important functions for audio/video chats and messaging incl. screen sharing and collaboration tools ✘ Somewhat outdated chat interface
✔ Temporary and private messaging ✘ Video and audio chats only with paid plan
✔ Message search and search filters  

Slack

Most office workers probably know Slack as video conferencing and collaboration software – not least since working from home became more commonplace. Its focus is on business project and teamwork. To this end, it offers helpful features such as private messaging, group messaging, search filters, screen sharing, and file sharing. In the free license, Slack includes documentation of chat histories for past 10,000 messages. Since large companies need significantly more, the paid version is recommended in any case.

A central event feed keeps teams up to date, while files can be stored centrally for team members. A particularly practical feature is that third-party apps and business tools can be easily integrated into Slack. The @ function also allows users to be directly mentioned even when they are offline. Although Slack supports text chats as well as video and audio chats, the free version only offers 1-to-1 calls. In the paid version, up to 15 users can participate in the audio/video chat.

Pros Cons
✔ Powerful search function for sent/unsent messages, files, phrases, and passages. ✘ Chat histories only for the last 10,000 messages from teams.
✔ Real-time chats for video/audio incl. screen sharing ✘ Only 5 GB storage in free version
✔ Clearly arranged due to thematically separated channels and teams  
✔ Many functions even in the free version  
✔ Integration of more than 200 third-party apps such as Google Calendar, Outlook, or other business/management apps  

Skype

As a simple and intuitive software for video chats, Skype is not only a classic, but keeps up with the competition. Skype forgoes gaming features and focuses on essential free features like 1-to-1 video chats, group video chats for up to 100 participants, file and screen sharing, instant messaging, and support for calls to landlines and mobiles.

Pros Cons
✔ Simple, clear user interface ✘ Personalized advertising banners in chats
✔ Widely used messaging/VoIP software for audio/video chats ✘Skype account required
✔ Skype Translator for real-time translation ✘ Data protection unclear due to US server
✔ Screen sharing  
✔ Sending video messages  
✔ International cheap landline calls with “SkypeOut”  

Wire

The Wire chat app supports video and audio chats, group calls, instant messaging, file sharing, a ping function, and reliable end-to-end encryption for files and conversations. Data is not sold to third-party providers, giving Wire users high privacy protection. Although there is a free app for personal use, Wire considers itself a collaboration app and is designed for business teamwork with paid licenses for companies. The software is open source, supports use via its own servers, allows cross-platform synchronization, and only requires a valid email address (no phone number) to register.

Pros Cons
✔ Cross-platform synchronization ✘ Text encryption in no very high standard
✔ SoundCloud and YouTube integration ✘ Operation requires getting used to
✔ Simple, clear features for VoIP calls, group chats, conferencing, instant messaging, screen sharing, sending files and media  
✔ For all common systems and end devices  
✔ Chat participation via browser even without login  

Flock

As a team and collaboration software, Flock supports collaboration in groups and offers features for project management, group messaging, project/team-related chats, video, and audio conferencing as well as the uncomplicated exchange of files and information. Data can be synchronized across devices, making Flock particularly flexible to use. The free version already includes the main features, but limits message searches to the past 10,000 messages. The creation of private group channels is unlimited, while public channels accessible to all members are limited to ten.

Pros Cons
✔ Public and private channels for direct/group chats ✘ No group video chats in free version
✔ Integration of third-party software and collaboration tools ✘ Free storage only up to 5 GB
✔ Project management features with to-do lists, message search, guest functions, and code snippet sharing  

Steam Chat

Since the focus of Discord alternatives lies in finding alternative chat software for online gaming, Steam Chat must also be mentioned. For Steam users, Steam’s integrated voice and video chat is particularly practical, since no third-party application is necessary. The similarity to Discord is already evident in the user interface, which makes it easy to get used to for former Discord users. Steam Chat makes it possible to create new group chats via drag-and-drop and invite other participants in this way. There is also a Steam Messenger app for Android and iOS that offers instant messaging and group chats with Steam contacts.

Pros Cons
✔ Easy to adjust to due to similarity to Discord ✘ Requires Steam account
✔ Video, audio, and text chat functions  
✔ No external app required for Steam users  
✔ Community building through different channels and posting rights for users  
✔ Messenger app for Android and iOS  
✔ Invite users to join a group by sending specific URLs  

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