How to Build a Chat App Like Discord


Are you fond of using VoIP software that allows you to stay connected with friends and family? Well, the Discord app is a famous chat software that has recently gained a lot of popularity. It was founded by Hammer & Chisel, a game development business that failed to launch popular games.

However, everyone gets a breakthrough, but persistence is key. Discord is proof of that. It came into existence when gamers started experiencing poor chat features in games. Discord started as an application targeting gamers allowing them to stay connected and share their mutual interests. However, it soon started catching the attention of other users and expanded its functionality.

Finally, the Discord app experienced a surge in active users during the coronavirus pandemic when it hit 100 million monthly active users in 2020. Today it covers various community verticals and supports chat, voice, video, and sharing of documents and multimedia. It’s quite similar to platforms like Skype and Zoom with similar functionality. This article covers in detail how you can build a chat app like Discord that will be successful in the market.

What is the Discord App?

If you are not aware, Discord is a free chat application that connects millions of people worldwide. It was initially developed for gamers, but it is now used by a vast majority of people for all kinds of topics.

The Discord messaging app is used by people 13 and above. It supports various discussion boards and communities that engage in lively conversation regarding different interests and topics. There is a wide range of topics on Discord that you can participate in.

However, there are open communities around general topics as well as private and invite-only servers that support small, intimate groups of people that like to stay connected. You can choose which communities you’d like to be part of, which means you can control your experience on the app.

The Discord app is available for both iOS and Android users. It uses various operating systems such as macOS, Linux and Windows, and several other web browsers. Furthermore, a chat app like Discord has 300 million registered members.

In 2021, it generated an annual revenue of 300 million dollars. If you are wondering if you can take advantage of the potential of a chat app like Discord, read on to find out in detail how to build a similar app.

Must-Have Features in a Chat App Like Discord

Discord’s popularity in part is due to its engaging features that have smooth integration. People can chat in public and private channels without any disruption or hassle. Following are must-have Discord features that you shouldn’t miss if you’re working to build a similar app.

Channels and Servers

An app like Discord has 500 channels and servers in total on each of its servers. These are used by users to communicate with each other and stay connected. Discord supports thousands of servers supporting endless topics of interest. You can find a channel for anything that you can possibly think of.

However, what if there’s not a channel you like and want to make one of your own? You can do that, too, by making your own server. Once you make it, you can share the invitation on social media and start your discussion as participants gather.


The Discord app has powerful chat functionality that promotes seamless conversations among users. Initially, it only supported voice chats. Now, users can video chat as well. There are dedicated voice channels as well that do not have a message option. You can join a channel and start participating over voice chat in a few clicks. However, if you’re looking to build a video chat app, you’ll have to include quality video.

Roles Management

Another interesting feature if you use Discord app is the ease and convenience of assigning roles within a server or channel. Each one has an admin who can assign different roles to the participants in the chat. Admins of a channel can maintain decorum by controlling who can read, share and join a channel.

Admins can also defy channel permissions individually or collectively. Discord supports around thirty channel permission options which give users a number of ways to join channels. This is one of the most appealing features of Discord.

Screen Sharing

Screen sharing is an effective feature to include in your chat app like Discord as it promotes ease of communication. Many apps like Discord include a screen-sharing feature that makes it easier for participants to hold discussions by sharing their computer or phone screen. It promotes effective communication among the users.

Messaging History

Another feature to consider if you’re building a chat app like Discord is features and space that support message history. Users of the Discord app have unlimited storage and can easily search past messages.

Some apps don’t provide unlimited storage, and past messages automatically get deleted after a certain time frame. This is done to save space. Messages, while they don’t take up a lot of space, can add up over time and affect the storage capacity of the app. So if you’re building a chat app for business use, unlimited storage is essential as messages from past months can be crucial in business discussions.

File Sharing

File sharing is an integral feature in many chat apps like Discord today. Skipping file sharing would be a mistake. While Discord doesn’t support a high file sharing limit, user’s still don’t seem to mind that.

The app extends an upload limit of 8 MB on a free account, while if you have the Discord Nitro subscription plan, you can get 50 MB. To incorporate this feature in your app, you need to find out the needs of your target audience. You should also be mindful of investing in powerful servers as otherwise, it will not support large file sharing.

Step By Step Guide to Make an App like Discord

Apps take a significant amount of time and expertise to create. You need developers who understand the framework and can develop the specific features you need in the app. While there is a lot of work that goes into building a chat app like Discord, we have outlined the seven basic and vital steps that will bring your chat app to life.

1. Market Research and Competitors Analysis

The first thing you need to do when making a chat app like Discord is conduct thorough market research and competitor analysis. Find out what features similar apps contain and what additional benefits you can bring to your app for the users.

Additionally, you need to understand your target audience and their needs. You should conduct research to know their likes and dislikes. Conducting market research will help you simplify the development of the app and lead to an optimally functioning product that attracts your target audience. To create a highly useful chat app like Discord, it is advisable to create a user persona.

2. Demographic

Your market research will include developing, identifying, and understanding the demographics of your target audience. This will include the user’s age, the devices they use, and geographical locations they may be living in. Demographics are important to consider to develop an app that appeals to your target audience.

3. Behavioral Trends

Researching behavioral trends will help you discover which features you can skip in the app and which ones to include. Behavioral trends of your target audience reveal a lot, and their patterns are important to dissect the selling features of your chat app like Discord.

After you have studied the behavioral trends, a competitive analysis will help you determine the unique value proposition (USP). Moreover, conducting a SWOT analysis and researching your competitors in the market will help you identify market gaps so that your product can fill those.

4.Build a Development Team

The next step in developing your chat app like Discord is hiring a development team with the skills and expertise to develop the application. You will need their help at every stage of the application process.

Hiring the right developers with the experience you need to build the app is key. For instance, if you are building a VoIP app for Android, you will need developers who have experience of making apps for Android. Some things you should consider before selecting developers to build a chat app like Discord include tech stack elements, programming languages, and frameworks they are familiar with.

5. Prototypes and Design

A prototype is the likely next step in building your chat app. It can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run. Prototypes experiment with the main concept of the app before you start developing it and move it to the product stage. Prototypes are the basic hand sketched designs that reveal everything included in the app. At this stage, making changes to the app design and functionality is easier. The prototypes and designs will serve to optimize your app as you go into the final development stages.

6. Build an MVP

The next step to make your chat app like Discord successful is creating a minimally viable product (MVP) and testing it thoroughly. This will help determine its performance and technical competence.

If you take the time to build an MVP, it will enable you to understand which features of the app are liked by the users and which aren’t. This information is very useful as you can use it to make the necessary modifications to the app and optimize the user experience increasing the likelihood that it will be successful with the target audience.

7. Test the App

Lastly, testing is an important step in developing and launching your chat app like Discord. Testing will rule out many issues that you can fix before the final rollout. There are a few options for testing, such as automated testing, stress, and load testing, testing the usability and functionality, testing the integration, and lastly, testing the configuration and compatibility of the app.

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App like Discord

There are several factors that determine the cost to make an app like Discord. For instance, you have to consider the app’s features and functionalities, UI/UX, technology stack, the time frame for development, the complexity of the app, the number of team members, hosting and security charges, and those of the developers.

Taking all these factors into account, the average cost can vary between $20,000 to $30,000 if you include just the main functions. However, a customized app can increase the cost significantly.

How Appixels Helps As Your Success Partner

Appixels is one of the leading app development companies that has successfully created many apps suited to our client’s preferences. We have an expert team of developers and other professionals who walk through the entire app development process with you, ensuring its success in the market.

We can help you develop any kind of app, and our team of experts will help you polish your idea or even suggest app ideas from scratch.

Final Thoughts

There is a massive difference between thinking of a creative idea and taking it to completion. Building a voice chat app like Discord is a massive project that requires the right technical expertise.

To build a Discord-like app successfully, you should be clear about your business goals and objectives. It will also benefit you to have a clear idea about its features and functionality. This will help you gather the right resources to build a successful app.

The field of VoIP applications is still new and in the expansion phase. If you have an idea to develop a similar product, it will likely be well-received by the audience. However, make sure you have conducted a thorough market and consumer analysis before moving forward.

To build an app like Discord, partner with Appixels for market-leading solutions for app development.