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Is a Discord Server Free? Everything You Need to Know

Wondering if you can create your own Discord server for free? The answer is yes – absolutely! Discord provides all the core features necessary for running a server at no cost.

In this beginner‘s guide, I‘ll explain how Discord servers work, what‘s included for free, premium subscription options, how to create and manage a server, and tips for using Discord safely. My goal is to help you understand the ins and outs of Discord servers as a fellow beginner!

An Introduction to Discord

For those completely new to Discord, let‘s start with an overview of what it is.

Discord is a free voice, video and text chat platform initially made for gamers. It allows users to create and join interest-based servers for ongoing conversations.

Think of it like Slack or IRC, but focused on friends, gaming, and real-time hangouts rather than business use. Discord launched in 2015 and has over 150 million active users as of 2022.

People use Discord servers for:

  • Hanging out with friends
  • Organizing gaming groups
  • Hosting community events
  • Enjoying shared hobbies and fandoms
  • Networking around professional topics

Discord is arranged into servers. Each server is like a mini-community centered around a specific topic. You can join existing servers through invite links or create your own.

Within each server are text and voice channels. Text channels work like chatrooms while voice channels enable VoIP conversations. As a server owner, you design the channel structure.

Now that you know the basics, let‘s talk about creating your own…

Running a Discord Server is 100% Free

The best thing about Discord is that creating and managing your own server is completely free.

Discord gives you all the core features needed to start a server and moderate conversations at no cost.

Here are some stats on the Discord server ecosystem:

  • Over 19 million active servers as of 2022
  • Average server has 87 members
  • Top servers have over 300,000 members
  • Over 1 million new servers created daily

As those numbers show, Discord servers are extremely popular. The platform makes it simple for anyone to start a community.

To create your own server:

  1. Download the Discord app
  2. Log in or register for a free account
  3. Click the + icon and select "Create my own server"
  4. Give your server a name and upload an icon
  5. Customize your channels and permissions
  6. Start inviting members to join!

It takes just minutes to get up and running. You‘ll get access to all these features:

  • Text and voice channels
  • Moderation tools
  • Member management
  • Server insights
  • File and media sharing
  • Personalized emojis
  • Announcement broadcasting

Everything you need for effective communication and organization is included free of charge.

Limits on Free Discord Servers

Discord does impose some limits on free servers to encourage premium subscriptions:

  • 8MB maximum file upload size
  • 50MB file limit for Nitro Classic subscribers
  • 100MB file limit for full Nitro subscribers
  • Max of 250 members on free servers
  • Up to 500 members for paid Nitro servers
  • Video quality capped at 720p 30fps

For huge communities, the member limit could be restrictive. But for personal servers with friends, those ceilings are perfectly reasonable.

Now let‘s talk about how Discord makes money…

Discord‘s Business Model – How Does it Make Money?

Discord operates on a "freemium" model where the core product is free, but premium subscriptions unlock additional features.

Here‘s how Discord monetizes its 150 million users while keeping servers free:

  • Nitro subscriptions – $9.99/month or $99.99/year for extra perks like expanded file limits, video quality, custom emoji, etc. This accounts for over 50% of Discord‘s revenue.

  • HypeSquad – $2.99/month program that gives badges, emojis, and helps fund server costs.

  • Discord store – Sells discounted games and digital items and takes a commission on purchases.

  • Partnerships – Paid verified servers get promoted spots in the Discord explorer.

  • Sponsored content – Companies can pay to seed sponsored conversations on servers.

The majority comes from Nitro subscriptions. But Discord gives users tons of value for free and makes premium features feel optional rather than mandatory.

Next, let‘s explore those premium Nitro plans…

Discord Nitro – Worth the Subscription Cost?

Discord Nitro is the premium subscription plan that unlocks extra features and expanded limits. Here‘s an overview:

FeatureNitro ClassicNitro
File Upload Limit50MB100MB
Video Quality720p 60fps1080p 60fps
Screen Share Video Quality720p 30fpsSource Quality
Server User Limit500 members
Server Boosts2 boosts
Animated Avatar
Custom Emoji Slots+50+200
Profile Badge

For the average user, Nitro provides a nice quality of life upgrade but isn‘t essential. However, dedicated server owners may find the 500 member capacity and extra boosts worthwhile.

Nitro is an optional way to directly support Discord as a platform while getting a few bonus features in return.

Monetizing Your Own Free Discord Server

Operating a Discord server won‘t cost you anything. But can you make money from your server?

Server owners have several options for monetizing their communities:

  • Subscriptions – Charge for special roles, channels, and permissions

  • Advertising – Sell sponsored ads in a #promo channel

  • Merchandise – Sell branded server t-shirts, mugs, stickers

  • Donations – Enable direct tipping from engaged users

  • Crowdfunding – Rally your community around fundraising campaigns

  • Affiliate Marketing – Promote relevant products as an influencer to your niche

  • Consulting – Offer your expertise or experiences to interested members

  • Selling Virtual Goods – Create exclusive roles, emojis, stickers, etc.

  • Server Listing Fees – Charge new partners to advertise their server

Discord doesn‘t take any cut of your profits. Some server owners even make enough from these avenues to work full-time!

Next, let‘s go over how to create and manage your own server…

Starting Your Own Discord Server

Ready to launch your own Discord server? Here are my tips as an experienced server owner:

1. Find Your Niche

Give your server a clear purpose. It should revolve around a specific game, hobby, social group, etc. This gives members a common ground and defined topic to start conversations.

2. Set Community Rules

Draft basic rules around etiquette, respect, content guidelines, etc. Make sure to outline the consequences for violations.

3. Design Intuitive Categories

Use Discord‘s channel system to create forums for discussions, events, announcements and more. Make important channels easily accessible.

4. Promote Responsibly

Share your invite URL only in relevant places where prospective members will appreciate your server‘s purpose. Don‘t spam invites.

5. Appoint Trusted Moderators

Find responsible members to help enforce your rules. They can delete inappropriate messages and watch for conflicts.

6. Reward Engagement

Highlight positive contributors, run contests, and create roles/badges to incentivize activity. An engaged community leads itself.

7. Monitor Growth

As your server expands, reassess your infrastructure. Are roles and channels still properly organized? Do you need more mods?

8. Respond to Issues

Address reports of harassment, bullying, or toxicity quickly and thoughtfully. Discord lets you ban, delete, mute, and more.

9. Solicit Feedback

Check in with members to see what they like currently and what could be improved. Evolve your server based on user input.

Soon your server will take on a life of its own! Now let‘s cover some safety tips…

Using Discord Servers Safely

Any social platform comes with risks. As a server owner, you set the tone for your community. But here are my top Discord safety tips:

  • Secure your account – Use strong passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and don‘t share personal info publicly.

  • Vet servers – Only join communities run by known, reputable people and companies. Check user reviews.

  • Converse in public – Talk in main channels rather than private messages when possible for transparency.

  • Review connections – Disable any unnecessary Discord account connections to other platforms and apps.

  • Moderate actively – Delete inappropriate content swiftly and ban repeat offenders. More hands on deck means lighter work.

  • Restrict tools – Be thoughtful about granting deletion or ban permissions. Give to trusted, level-headed members only.

  • Segment channels – Have private rooms for more personal topics away from the public eye. Limit access.

  • Educate users – Teach server guidelines, especially to younger members. Emphasize reporting concerns to mods.

  • Enable filters – Use keyword blocking and profanity filters to automatically catch some unwanted behavior.

  • Know your rights – Servers must respect Discord‘s Terms of Service. Report illegal activity to Discord and proper authorities.

No community is immune to conflict. But Discord provides customizable tools to tailor a positive space.

The Pros and Cons of Discord

As with any platform, Discord has its downsides. Here are some key pros and cons to consider:


  • Fosters friendship and community around shared interests
  • Allows real-time communication with voice chat
  • Feature-rich even on the free plan
  • User-friendly interface and apps
  • Customizable via bots and plugins
  • Permanent chat history to revisit conversations
  • Global user base enables diverse connections


  • Can be distracting and addictive, eating up time
  • Bullying and harassment still happen without proper moderation
  • Stranger danger from public servers is a concern, especially for kids
  • UI can be overwhelming initially with many mentions and notifications
  • Servers fragment communities versus centralized platforms
  • No built-in video chat (must use a separate screen sharing service)
  • Uneven quality of moderation across different servers

Discord tries to balance openness with control – so experiences vary server by server based on owners and rules. But the platform itself makes building safe spaces very possible.

The Bottom Line – Discord Servers Are Free!

Let‘s recap the key points:

  • Discord servers are 100% free to create and participate in. All core features are included.

  • Premium Nitro plans add extra perks like expanded limits and HD video quality. But they are optional.

  • Server owners can monetize through subscriptions, merch, donations and more. But making money is a choice, not mandatory.

  • Moderation and community-building tools enable you to craft a space that fits your needs.

  • Like any social platform, Discord carries risks. But with proper precautions and engaged moderators, it can be very safe.

  • There are valid pros and cons, but most find the benefits outweigh the pitfalls.

So in summary – yes, you can absolutely start and run a Discord server free of charge! I hope this guide gave you a helpful introduction to Discord and its server functionality.

What are you waiting for? Go create your own server to hang out with friends, meet gamers worldwide, bring your club online or whatever your interests may be!

Let me know if you have any other Discord questions. I‘m happy to help fellow beginners learn the ropes.



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