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Discord vs Telegram for Building Online Communities: Which Platform is Best?

If you‘re looking to build an online community in 2023, you‘re likely considering two major players: Discord and Telegram. Both platforms have millions of users and offer tools to connect people. But is one better suited for community building than the other?

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll compare Discord and Telegram across key categories to determine which platform should be your community home base. After analyzing chat features, security, use cases, monetization and more, you‘ll have the knowledge to pick the right fit for your needs. Let‘s dive in!

Chat Functionality

For community platforms, flexible messaging capabilities are essential. How do Discord and Telegram stack up?

Conversations in Discord Servers

Discord centers around the idea of servers – dedicated digital spaces containing various text and voice channels for members to interact in. With topics segmented into channels, conversations stay organized.

Servers can support text chats, voice calls, video calls, and seamless integration with livestreams on Twitch or YouTube. This makes Discord an ideal fit for thriving gaming communities.

Chart showing Discord's text, voice, video and live streaming capabilities

In 2022, Discord averaged over 150 million active monthly users, with 4 million active servers. Over 38% of Discord users log in daily.

Telegram Offers Flexible Messaging

Rather than servers, Telegram is built around group messaging. Users can join groups or broadcast channels to connect with others.

While it offers robust text-chat capabilities, Telegram does not focus on integrated voice/video calls. Its strengths are fast messaging, broadcasting to large audiences, and a clean mobile-friendly interface.

For public figures and publishers, Telegram Channels provide immense reach – some exceeding 1 million followers! But group sizes are limited to 200,000 members.

Table comparing features of Discord and Telegram

Both platforms facilitate rich conversations in different ways. For communities that thrive through unstructured instant messages, Telegram delivers. Discord shines when more organization is required.

Security and User Privacy

As community membership grows, security and privacy become major considerations. How safe are these platforms?

Telegram‘s Secret Chats Offer Added Security

While all Telegram chats are encrypted, Secret Chats take it a step further with end-to-end encryption. This ensures messages can only be read by the sender and recipient, with no possibility of interception in between.

Even Telegram itself cannot access the content of Secret Chats. This is the gold standard for privacy-focused users. The tradeoff is losing some convenience features like cloud sync.

Discord Lacks End-to-End Encryption

Discord employs strong transport layer encryption meaning data is secured as its being transferred in transit. Additionally, encrypted data is stored on Discord‘s servers.

However, without end-to-end encryption, Discord can access message contents stored on their servers if legally compelled. For privacy purists, this could be a drawback.

According to a 2022 survey of Discord users, 67% say they share personally identifying information on the platform, highlighting the need for security.

Overall, Telegram offers a deeper level of privacy. But Discord balances strong security with added convenience.

Ease of Use for New Users

An inviting user experience is key to fostering community growth. Between Discord and Telegram, which platform is more beginner friendly?

Telegram‘s Intuitive Interface

For those entirely new to online communities, Telegram provides the most approachable onboarding experience. Its well-designed mobile and desktop apps focus squarely on fast, flexible messaging. The learning curve is nearly non-existent.

New users can quickly join groups or channels and instantly connect with tens of thousands of members.

Discord‘s Steeper Learning Curve

While Discord has a modern, gamer-centric interface, the platform does have a steeper learning curve. To get the most out of Discord, users must understand servers, channels, user roles, bots, permissions, and more.

The myriad of options can overwhelm newcomers at first. However, once you get the hang of it, Discord offers incredibly fine-tuned experiences.

According to a poll, 47% of users say Telegram has a more intuitive interface while only 19% chose Discord.

Community Building Powers

Now, let‘s analyze some key differentiators when building communities on these platforms.

Organized Servers on Discord

Discord really shines when it comes to structured community creation. The expansive servers with their intricate channels for segmented discussions allow for deeply organized social hubs.

Admins can dial in granular user permissions, automate moderation with helper bots, and craft tailored experiences. For large, managed communities, Discord is unmatched. Public figures like authors and podcasters are increasingly moving their forums to Discord.

Image of a thriving Discord server

The popular FIRE financial independence community has over 27,000 members in their Discord server interacting in channels like #stocks, #rent-vs-buy and #budgeting.

Telegram for Broad Outreach

While Telegram doesn‘t allow the complexity of Discord servers, its broadcasting powers excel when trying to reach a massive audience.

Creators can easily share updates globally through Telegram Channels. Some channels boast over 100,000 subscribers. For spreading news and messages farther and faster, Telegram is ideal.

Image of a Telegram channel

The choice between nuanced servers or wide broadcasting depends on your community‘s nature. Both platforms can attract big numbers.

Monetization Opportunities

For community creators and leaders looking to generate revenue, both Discord and Telegram provide options:

Monetizing Discord Servers

Popular techniques to monetize Discord include:

  • Paid access to premium channels or servers through tiers
  • Premium roles that give enhanced member benefits
  • Integrations with Patreon to offer supporters exclusive Discord rewards
  • Whop Discord to easily manage paid memberships

Discord‘s granular access controls and motivated user base enable compelling monetization strategies.

Money-making with Telegram

On Telegram, common money-making tactics include:

  • Paid private groups with monthly subscription fees
  • Sponsored posts/ads in large Channels
  • Donations from users through bots or links

While Telegram doesn‘t allow as many tiers, its huge broadcasting scale can attract sponsorships.

The Wall Street Bets Telegram channel earned over $1 million from sponsorships at the peak of its popularity.

The Verdict on Monetization

For community creators open to paid memberships and unlocking premium benefits, Discord delivers more options.

But for influencers and publishers simply seeking to amplify sponsorship revenue, Telegram can be very lucrative.

Use Case Examples

How do real communities use these platforms? Here are some examples of excellent fits:

Discord for Gaming & Fandoms

Discord is the go-to for vibrant gaming communities thanks to seamless voice chat and livestream integration. Servers dedicated to popular games like Fortnite and Minecraft thrive on Discord.

Fandom servers are also popular, letting superfans of bands, TV shows and more nerd out together in dedicated digital spaces.

Telegram for Content Creators

Telegram is hugely popular among bloggers, news outlets, YouTube creators, and public figures. Channels make sharing updates and snippets of long-form content simple.

Creators can link their websites/videos in posts while aggregating their most engaged followers in one place. Telegram dominates this niche.

Which Platform Should You Choose?

With our analysis complete, let‘s summarize when each platform excels:

Choose Discord If You Want:

  • Organized, segmented discussion channels
  • Robust moderation and governance
  • Opportunities for paid memberships
  • Seamless voice/video chat

Choose Telegram If You Want:

  • A massive broadcast audience
  • Lightning fast content sharing
  • Sponsorship monetization potential
  • Streamlined group messaging


While both Discord and Telegram can support amazing communities, they each shine in different scenarios. Evaluate your goals, resources and community values. For organized round-the-clock social hubs, Discord is the leader. When widespread broadcasting is the priority, Telegram takes the crown. Hopefully this guide has provided clarity to choose the best platform for your needs!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.