How to Build a Chat App Like Discord?

Prateek Saxena June 24, 2022
How to Build a Chat App Like Discord

Discord was founded by Hammer & Chisel, a game development business whose games failed to capture public attention. But, as they say, everything works out for the best. Here’s how.

Gamers used to experience trouble with the built-in group voice chat feature in the games. At best, the audio quality was bad, and at worst, it was dreadful. This grabbed the attention of Hammer & Chisel creators, who already had experience in game development, and this is where the idea of a voice chat service (especially for gamers) sprouted.

Discord was created with the intention of being able to interact and coordinate with other games. However, to the developers’ astonishment, its popularity surged across a variety of community verticals.

Discord is now being used to make phone and video calls, share multimedia and documents, and do practically everything else that platforms like Zoom and Skype can do.

If you want to learn how to make an app like Discord, this article will help you understand about this chat app in detail. We are also discussing the Discord tech stack, the features of the Discord app, and how to build a chat app like Discord, along with the costs incurred in its development.

So, let’s get started on your Discord app creation journey now!

What is Discord?

Discord, a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) application, lets users create their own personal server and interact with other users. Anyone can use Discord to create, manage, and invite people who have similar interests, exchange multimedia content (music, video, and photos, as well as documents), and trade information.

In Discord, there are different kinds of channels:

  • Users can talk and share files and images using an in-text channel
  • Users connect through an audio or video call in real-time with the background sound cancellation capability in the voice channel

This platform works with a variety of operating systems, including Linux, macOS, and Windows, as well as several web browsers. There is a Discord app for both iOS and Android devices.

There are various advantages to using Discord over other communication services. Slack’s freemium edition, for example, has storage constraints and limits on messaging history, but Discord has neither.

Discord messaging app stands out with its black background and cartoon-style visuals; it’s definitely a lot of fun to use. The app’s unique selling point is that you can add as many users as you want to your servers. If you want to connect 5000 people on a server, Discord makes it simple. All you need to do is get in touch with customer support, and they will switch your server to a hardware-assisted server.

Discord’s annual revenue was 45 million dollars in 2019, and it reached 300 million dollars in 2021. It now has 300 million registered members and over 150 million monthly users.

Discord's annual revenue

A Brief History of Discord with the Timeline

The Discord messaging app was first made public in May 2015 under the domain name discordapp.com. In March 2020, it changed its tagline from “Chat for Gamers” to “Chat for Communities and Friends’’, and the website was redesigned to feature fewer gamer jokes.

As of 2021, the app has 140 million monthly active users and 300 million registered accounts. Here’s a brief timeline of the app.

History of Discord

Let’s take a look at how Discord’s market value has risen over the last six years.

Discord's market value

Must-have Features in a Chat App like Discord

Discord’s integration of unique and engaging features has increased its popularity in a short period of time, and it is currently a shining star among all voice chat and communication apps.

Here are some features that you cannot miss if you want to build a chat app like Discord.

Channels and Servers

People hang out on servers and channels to interact with other users. There are a total of 500 channels available on each Discord server. Thousands of servers exist on Discord, covering practically every topic that you can think of.

If you can’t find one that you like, you can make your own server and send an invitation on social media. Users can also quickly communicate through public or private chat to discuss specific topics.

Chats

Discord Chat was initially designed for voice conversation, though text chatting is also available. Discord chat features allow for voice as well as video chats, and there are specialized voice channels without a message option. Individuals may join various channels and begin listening and talking in only a few clicks. If your aim is to build a video chat app, you will also need quality video.

Roles Management

Within the server or channel, the admin of a group can assign roles to group members. An admin can control who has access to read, send, and join the channel. You also have the option of defining permissions for all channels collectively or individually.

There are roughly thirty permission options on Discord, and you can join these in a number of different ways. This adaptability in channel management is the most enticing feature of the Discord app.

Screen Sharing

Screen sharing is a valuable feature to include if you want to build a video chat app like Discord. It becomes easier for users to communicate when they can share their computer or phone screen with those they’re talking to. Discord and many apps like Discord have a screen-sharing feature to allow for effective communication among the participants.

Message History

If you want to build a chat app with features similar to Discord chat features, you will need to provide unlimited storage as well as the ability to search through past messages.

Some messaging apps have an option for messages to be deleted automatically after a certain amount of time. It is usually done to save up space. Texts aren’t particularly heavy, but can add up over time. However, if you are using the app for business, the messages from months ago may be very important.

Integration

Integration of third-party services and accounts with your app is given less importance, but it can be quite beneficial.

Allow users to link their social network accounts to your app. Steam and/or Twitch integration is a useful feature if you’re creating a gaming chat room. You can also provide integration with business software and platforms for businesses.

Notifications

Every messaging platform has notifications or message alerts as a standard feature. In addition, a modern chat app should allow users to turn off notifications entirely or partially so that they can turn them off if they don’t want to hear the beeping or ringing sounds of incoming messages while at meetings, school, or the office. Apps like Discord allow users to silence all notifications, as well as individual channels and servers.

[Also Read: How to Build a Push Notification Strategy For Higher Conversions]

Integration with bots

Bots are software programs that carry out pre-programmed actions. Admins can install them on servers as they have a lot of cool features. Medalbot is a popular bot on Discord that allows users to capture live gameplay videos.

File-sharing

This function is available in all modern messaging apps, so skipping it would be a mistake. You may have noticed the file upload feature in Discord, which has an 8 MB limit, and Nitro subscribers get a 50 MB plan. Large file sharing necessitates the use of more powerful servers. Therefore, to calculate the suitable file size limits, you’ll have to analyze the file-sharing requirements of your app’s target audience (if any).

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Making an App Like Discord

Guide to Making an App Like Discord

Market Research and Competitor Analysis

The target audience is the very first thing you should consider when you want to build a video chat app like Discord. It’s critical to understand the customer’s requirements to move on with the development process and provide a superior final result.

You can divide your research into two categories:

Demographics- This includes a look at the user’s age, geography, and the devices they use to surf the web.

Behavioral Trends- Researching behavioral trends can assist you in figuring out what you should skip and what you need to include in your app.

After that, do a competitive analysis. Make a list of all of your significant VoIP competitors, then evaluate their online presence and unique value proposition (UVP). You can use a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competition and then use the findings to ensure that your app fills the gaps in the market.

Build a Development Team

Various professionals will be required for each level of the mobile app development process. To provide efficient app development services, you need to select a mobile app development team with expertise in cutting-edge technology. The following roles will make up the team:

  • UI/UX Designers,
  • Project Manager
  • QA Experts
  • App Developers (Android & iOS)

You and the development team should build up an app development process, select important features, and design the program before getting into the actual development of your voice chat app.

Build an MVP

It is strongly advised to start with a minimum viable product and test it thoroughly to determine its technical competence and performance. You’ll be able to figure out what users enjoy and don’t like about your app if you take an MVP approach.

You can use this information to make the necessary modifications to your app to make the experience better and offer only what users want.

Select a Monetization Strategy

Select the appropriate monetization method for the app. You can easily find out what the user would pay for once you’ve determined their needs. You can select a monetization model from the following options.

Advertising: Ads within the app pay for your expenses and help you earn money.

Freemium: Your app’s basic functionality is free. However, some features require payment.

Subscriptions: Users can subscribe to your service on a monthly or yearly basis.

Blocking ads: Ads can be removed by paying a certain amount of fee.

Test the App

Testing is indeed the answer to the question of how one can successfully launch a voice chat application. Here are a few options for testing:

  • Testing for functionality
  • Automated testing
  • Testing for usability
  • Compatibility and Configuration Testing
  • Stress and load testing
  • Testing for integration

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Promote your App

Once you’ve finished developing your product, it’s time to promote it. Your app’s promotion will assist you in reaching your target audience. Here are some ideas for promoting your VoIP application.

  • Start a marketing campaign
  • Use influencer marketing to your advantage.
  • Use social media to promote your app.
  • Organize marketing events

Discord Tech Stack

Here’s the answer to the popular question among many entrepreneurs: “What tech stack does Discord use?”

Discord messaging app is developed with cutting-edge technologies, has a client-server networking architecture, and leverages WebRTC—a real-time communication standard that allows the app to work across platforms and allows developers to reuse code.

Frontend

The front-end technologies used to build Discord include the following.

Developers can also use other technologies, such as

  • Kotlin, or Java for Android
  • Swift and Objective-C for iOS apps

Backend

The backend design of all Discord signaling servers is built on Elixir. On the server side, developers can use the following.

  • Node.js
  • Python
  • Ruby, and
  • C++.

DevOps

Discord employs DevOps tools such as Webpack, an open-source JavaScript module bundler designed specifically for JavaScript, and Babel, a next-generation JavaScript compiler.

Encryption

  • Voice over browser (DTLS)
  • Text chats (TLS)

API

  • WebSocket

Audio and Video Calls

  • Media Streams
  • PeerConnection
  • DataChannel

The Discord tech stack is extensive and varied. You can, however, use other technologies as well to build apps like Discord.

How Much Does It Cost to Make an App Like Discord?

The chat app development cost depends on several factors involved in the app development process, like-

  • App complexity
  • The chosen mobile app platform
  • The app’s features and functionalities
  • UI/UX
  • Technology stack
  • Number of team members on the project
  • Time frame
  • Region and charges of developers
  • Hosting and security

Based on the aforementioned factors, the average cost of mobile app development would be roughly $20,000 to $30,000 if only the main functions were included. If you want a customized app, the pricing estimate is likely to change. If you want to add more features and functionalities, or if you want a cross-platform VoIP application, the total cost will undoubtedly rise.

How Appinventiv Can be your Partner in Success?

VoIP chat apps aren’t easy to create. Many factors must be considered- the technology underlying group video and voice calls is always evolving, and you must also address high-priority data security issues, maintain robust safe servers with solid backends, and so on. It’s not an easy task by any means.

Appinventiv can be your trusted partner if you want to build a chat app like Discord but don’t know where to start. We are a well-known mobile app development company with a group of talented IT professionals having extensive web and mobile development experience.

Our apps are responsive, smart, and engaging. Our projects are managed effectively using the Agile methodology, and our QA assures that your product is error-free.

Our team recently worked on a voice-based social media app business model where we helped our client, Innovative Eyewear, with an app that enables users to send and receive audio messages optimized for Bluetooth wearables. We added in the feature to allow voice posting to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook using Bluetooth glasses. The app later went on to get $1+ million in funding.

In case you are also looking to build something similar, get in touch with us. We will be delighted to help you!

Conclusion

We hope this article helped you learn how to build a video chat app like Discord. By now, you’ve probably realized that a creative idea can make a massive difference when it comes to app development. Furthermore, since the field of VoIP applications is still fresh and expanding, any innovative app development concept will be warmly received by the audience.

FAQs

Q. What exactly is Discord?

A. Discord is a real-time chat app that enables people to communicate through text, video, and voice recordings.

Q. How long would it take to develop a Discord-like app?

A. Making an app like Discord will take approximately 4 to 6 weeks on average.

Q. How much does it cost to create a Discord-like app?

A. If only the basic features are included, an app like Discord will cost between $20,000 and $30,000.

Q. How do you make a Discord-like app?

A. To get a fantastic app like Discord, start by establishing your goals, planning your idea, choosing a pre-built platform, contacting the ideal app development agency, conducting market research, and considering the app design and development phases, and advanced features.

THE AUTHOR
Prateek Saxena
DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
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