Businesses work online nowadays. That’s simply how it is. You have people connected across the world, at home, and at the office. Files need to be shared and conversations need to be had. Online workspaces exist for this, and the best two out there are Slack and Discord.
In this article, I’m going to compare the two based on the following metrics:
Features – How each workspace benefits you
Focus – What each platform is generally used for
Value – Paid vs. Free benefits
At their cores, Slack and Discord are pretty much the same thing: a spot to chat and share files. If that’s all you need, either one is more than enough. But, those who want to make the most of their platform will want to master the many features of each.
It’s not uncommon to be a part of multiple servers on either platform. Both workspaces allow you to switch at will, with notifications for all popping up on the side. Both apps feature server specific notification options, such as muting or notifying upon mention only.
Channels operate a tad different between the two. Discord shows all channels available to the user, and allows admins to organize them between categories. It also features voice chat channels and the option to hide channels in drop boxes.
Slack also shows available channels, but notifies the group when someone new enters. Both apps contain username mentions such as “everyone”, “channel”, and “here”, with Discord having an extra “role” mention aka “leaders” or “marketing team”.
Fortunately, it’s incredibly simple to invite users to your channel. All you need to do is generate a link in-house and send it over. Both apps allow you to edit your text for clarification – a nice touch, alongside emoji reactions for when you’re not bothered to type a response.
Slack users can set a status by their name, and the platform also states their respective time zone which is essential for worldwide teams. Slack also includes a self-channel where you can post anything you want for later. It’s a nice in-house spot to keep track of your priorities.
Multiple per-channel management features are available through Slack, including a list of shared files, jumping to a certain date, and viewing starred/pinned messages. Discord includes some of these features as well, but Slack simply has more.
Slack’s biggest differentiator is it’s incredible tool integration features. Trello, Dropbox, GitHub, Google Apps, and more are built right in to the workspace. This feature alone places it above any other online workspace, as it maximizes productivity in-app.
Each app also includes video and screen sharing features. This is essential for app tutorials, more intimate conferences, and showing off those sweet gameplay clips. Unfortunately for Slack users, this is only included in the paid plans, while Discord offers this for free.
Advantage: Slack. Both are great workspaces, but Slack wins in terms of better features. Discord’s video sharing is great, but not over Slack’s file integration.
By and large, Discord was originally designed for gamers to form clans and chat with one another. As it’s grown, however, it’s focus has expanded on becoming a fleshed out workspace. The app prevents users from being DDoSed out of games, has an in-game overlay for voice, and even states what users are playing in the right-hand bar.
Now it’s even beginning to incorporate game statistics within the app, with Divinity: Original Sin II being the first one to test it. It’s voice chatting is incredibly low-latency and jumping in between channels is a breeze. Discord even attempts to gamify it’s workspace by incorporating level-ups, and its screen sharing is going to be great for showing off game highlights and other clips with friends.
A lot less casual than Discord, Slack is defined as more a pure workspace. It’s a no frills UI with slick features all pointed towards you becoming a more productive person. It’s time zones, app incorporation, channel management features, and self-channel area showcase this. Also, the dev team over at Slack are wonderfully transparent, responsive, and do their best to solve your problems as quickly as possible.
Advantage: Slack. Gamers have a nice platform with Discord, but both apps are striving to become the optimal workspace. In that regard, Slack wins hands-down.
Fortunately, both apps offer tons of value without paying. Discord allows for unlimited users in every server, offers all of it’s controls, and even has a web-app alongside Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Linux applications. It has a payment plan, Discord Nitro, for $4.99/mo that includes a few extras for power-users.
Nitro users get an animated avatar, custom emojis in every server, a file upload cap of 50MB (up from 8MB for free users), and a badge on your profile stating how long you’ve supported the app.
Slack is on more of a “freemium” model. Free servers have a 8,462 user cap, a limit of 10,000 messages to be searched, and only allowing for 10 app integrations. Free users only get 5GB cloud storage for all users as well.
There are two paid tiers: Standard for $6.67/mo annually (or $8/mo billed monthly), and Plus for $12.50/mo annual (or $15 billed monthly). Standard users gain access to guest accounts, mandatory two-factor authentication, group video calls, screen sharing, unlimited app integration, searching through all message history, and 10GB of cloud storage for each member. Plus users will get all aforementioned features alongside an upgraded 20GB of cloud storage and 24/7 tech support.
Advantage: Discord. While the paid features for Slack are worth the price, most servers don’t need a majority of them. They are more for a specialized group of users.
Both workspaces are genuinely great options as a workspace. Gaming focused groups tend to lean towards Discord for it’s additional gaming centric features, but it comes with everything necessary for running a successful business.
However, Slack simply has more in every regard. While you do have to pay for a few additional features, the free options are more than enough for your business needs.