Start a Discord Server Step by Step

Table of Contents

Whether you are migrating your community from an alternative platform or creating one from scratch, today you will learn how to make a Discord server. We will cover not only the technical aspects of creating a Discord server but also how to successfully manage a Discord community.

How to Make a Good Discord Server Step by Step

Currently, it’s free to create a server in Discord. Below are all steps you need to take to become a server owner.

#1 Step: Create a New Discord Server

Assuming you already downloaded Discord, let’s review the steps to create your own server. First, click on the plus icon in the servers’ section, on the left side of the screen.

Keep in mind that public or private servers are limited in terms of size. However, a community server can accommodate thousands (or even millions!) of users. If your goal is to gather lots of members worldwide, it’s best to create a community server.

To do that, click on “Add a Server” as shown above. You will find an available list of templates. For a community, the template “Local Community” works great. Next, select the purpose of the server, in this case, “For a Club or Community“.

Discord has many templates to make creating servers easier.

You can then give your server a name and add a thumbnail picture, before clicking on “Create”. And that’s it! You now have a Discord server.

This server will come with a series of predetermined voice and text channels (if you used the Local Community template). You can eliminate or modify these channels, as well as create additional ones.

Now, it’s time to customize the server and adjust some settings before starting to invite users.

#2 Step: Modify Relevant Settings

To modify your server settings, begin by clicking on “Server Settings”. This option appears in a drop-down menu when you click your server’s name in the top left corner of the screen.

A community server comes with specific features that aren’t available in regular servers. Among these benefits is Server Insights. This is a very useful set of analytics and data that help you better run your community.

Additionally, a community server allows you to apply for appearing in the Discovery section and showing a Welcome Screen. We will go over these later.

To create a community server, click “Enable Community”, and then, “Get Started”.

Enabling community on your server it’s a must to build a global community in Discord.

Now you are ready to start setting up your community server.

Let’s quickly review what each option means:

  • Verified email required: This will only allow people with a verified email to join your server. It’s a required setting to continue enabling the community server.
  • Scan media content from all members: Discord will automatically scan all media archives uploaded to the server. All explicit content will be removed. Like the setting above, this one is also required. After clicking on both checkboxes, click “Next”.
  • Rules/guidelines and community updates channels: In the next screen, you will be able to choose which channels you’d like to use for both purposes. You can choose among the predetermined channels or create your own. After setting this up, click on “Next”.
  • Default notifications to Mentions Only: Enabling this option allows you to only notify people of new messages when someone directly mentions them.
  • Remove moderation permissions from @everyone: This setting avoids new members acquiring full moderator permissions when entering the server.

The last step is to accept Discord’s community guidelines, and you are now all set.

Ideas to Customize Your Discord Server

Customizing your server it’s a must to create the best possible experience for users. By adding some customizations, you can create a friendly community that serves as a safe space for users to discuss a specific topic.

To begin customizing the server, go to “Server Settings”. It’s worth going through the options one by one and deciding what you want to modify from Discord’s defaults. Here, we will go over some usual customizations.

One of the benefits of having a community server is accessing extra customization options, like a Welcome Screen. This screen appears to new users that join the server, and its purpose is to tell them a little about the server and what channels to use to get started.

Orbit’s welcome screen.

Above it’s the welcome screen of Orbit’s Discord server. Orbit it’s a platform for community builders that offers relevant insights and useful resources, besides community support. It’s a great Discord server to join if you want help with your new community!

To create a welcome screen, go to Server Settings, click on “Welcome Screen”, and then “Set Up Welcome Screen“.

Discord will prompt you to select a recommended channel for people to visit when they first join the server. You can add up to five different channels, each one with an emoji and a short description.

You can also include a brief description of your server. When you are ready, simply click on “Enable”.

On the other hand, you could add some custom emojis to your server to make it more personal. The free version allows you to add up to 50 static emojis. To add more emojis and also animated GIF emojis and stickers, you will need to upgrade.

Upgrading to paid boosts and the Nitro version of Discord will give you a lot more customization power. But, what are boosts and Nitro?

On the one hand, boosts unlock extra features for your server, and the features add up with a higher number of boosts. Each boost starts at $4.99/month.

What’s interesting about boosts is that anyone can purchase boosts for your server. If there are members that love your community, they can boost it and get perks for everyone.

Boosts unlock a lot of powerful features for your server.

On the other hand, Nitro is the paid version of Discord, which unlocks not only server features but also perks for your personal Discord account. It costs $99.99/year or $9.99/month. There is also a cheaper version (Classic Nitro) with fewer features.

Some of the features that come with Discord Nitro also require boosts. However, with Nitro, you get two free boosts and discounts for up to 30% off the following boosts.

Upgrade to Nitro to unlock the full Discord potential.

As you can see, boosts and Nitro give you some robust server customization possibilities. You will be able not only to have animated emojis and stickers, but also to customize your server’s banner, avatar, and URL.

How to Promote Your Discord Community

Promoting your Discord community it’s vital for people to find you and join the server. Before you start promoting though, you need an invitation link that people can click to join.

To create an invitation link, hover over any text or voice channels and click “Create Instant Invite”. By default, these invitations expire after a day. You can click on the gear icon to change after how long the link expires (and even set the link to never expire).

Keep in mind that with a level 3 boost you can create a custom invitation link with, for example, the name of your server (instead of a random string of letters and numbers).

Click on the gear icon in the bottom right to change the link’s expiration date.

Since Discord doesn’t have a feed or ads, you need to recruit users from other channels. Now that you have an invitation link, start sharing it! You can share the link on your social media, email list, and wherever else you can think of.

Consider who is your server’s target audience. Where they may be hanging out online, based on their interests? Go there and promote your server. You can also offer incentives, like hybrid events, to persuade people to join.

Additionally, you can create a widget to embed in your website (find this option in “Server Settings” -> “Widget”). This widget will take people directly to your Discord server, so it’s a key step for recruiting new members.

On the other hand, another great way to have new members join your server is to apply for Discovery. If you are accepted, your server will appear in the Explore tab, allowing users with similar interests to find and join your server. However, there are some requirements you need to meet in order to do this:

It will take some time for a new server to apply for Discovery! Meanwhile, promote it in the ways we discussed above.

Lastly, keep in mind that you can discover a lot of tips and insights from other community builders. For example, Late Checkout is an agency that focuses on building community, and they discuss lots of tips and tricks for community builders on their Discord server.

Managing a community it’s hard, but you don’t have to do it alone! If you want to discover community builders’ insights to successfully manage their servers, check out our selection of communities for community builders.

How to Make Someone a Moderator on Discord

Discord gives you full control over who can speak inside each channel, how, and when. To view different channels’ permissions, first hover over a channel and select the gear icon to access that channel’s settings.

Then go to “Permissions“. Here is where you can manage which permissions to give users based on their roles (like moderators), or even give permissions to individual users.

You can edit not only who can view and manage the channel, but also who is allowed to send messages, attach media files, embed links, create threads, or use commands.

To make someone a moderator and give them permissions for the entire server, go to “Server Settings” -> “Roles”. Inside, you will be able to create specific roles for your server and assign permissions for each one.

First, create a role (you can name it whatever you want and customize other aspects, such as its color and icon). Then, the only thing left to do is to assign permissions for that role and add users, which you can do inside the “Manage Members” tab.

To learn more about community moderation and to get a template of Discord rules to use in your own server, check out our post –General Rules for Discord Servers.

Add Bots to Your Discord Server

Bots can make your life easier as a Discord server admin. They perform different functions automatically, and you can add them to your server to help you moderate the community or simply to make it more unique.

But before adding the bots, you need to find fun bots you’d like to add. To find bots, you can visit directories like Carbonitex or do a quick search on GitHub. There are many free bots available. We’ll demonstrate with a bot called YAGPDB.

  1. Go to the bot’s website and click “Add to server” or “Invite”.
  2. Select the appropriate server to add the bot. Next, review which permissions you want to grant, and authorize the bot.
add bots to your server

And that’s it. Your new bot will now appear in the server’s users list on the right side of the screen.

Today, we explored how to make a discord server step by step. If you are hungry for more, discover our recommended best practices for building a community around your brand.

Paola Baselica

Paola Baselica

Hey there! I'm Paola, and I like to call myself a word wizard. Since 2018, I've been writing content for diverse places across the web. Now I'm rocking it with Unita's copywriting crew, where I get to explore, write, and polish up the coolest communities you'll ever find on the web. It's been a wild ride, and I'm here to make every word count and every story pop 🎨✨📚