I always felt like Discord more or less replaced TeamSpeak. While older communities often stayed on TeamSpeak (and it still is the go-to program for some games) it’s rare that new communities chose it over Discord.
Now with TeamSpeak’s overhauled version coming up, it was time to revisit the old TeamSpeak vs Discord discussion.
Surprisingly, I found lots of use cases where TeamSpeak would actually be the better option.
But enough introductory talk, let’s get right into the comparison!
Discord is a community and voice-chat platform with a modern design. It is completely free to use.
Each server is divided into text channels and voice channels. Different Roles and permission systems can be used to dictate who can see or use which channels.
It’s main selling points are:
- can be used in browser
- widely used
- offers most features required by most people
TeamSpeak 3 is a voice chat platform. It features an in-depth permission system, various channels, and user groups.
Using it is free, but hosting a Server costs varying amounts of money.
It’s main selling points are:
- Very good audio quality
- End-to-end encryption
- The older audience is used to it
- Full control
TeamSpeak 5 is the upcoming overhaul of TeamSpeak. It will add some new features to the selling points of Discord 3:
- Free Server hosting available (Limited to 4 slots)
- Various audio improvements
- Unlimited channels and servers
- Even more control over your server
- Responsive interface
Discord vs Teamspeak: Feature Comparison
|Discord||Teamspeak 3||Teamspeak 5 (Beta currently closed)|
|Price (Hosting a server)||Free, Nitro boosts increase audio quality||Varies based on slots, between 5-50$ a month||4 Slots are free, then varies based on slots|
|Platforms||PC, Mac, inside Browser, iOS and Android||PC, Mac, iOS and Android||PC, Mac, iOS and Android|
|Focus||Community based||Focus on Voice chat||Community based|
|Best for||Content creators and communities||Gaming clans or Guilds||Gaming clans or guilds, communities also possible|
|User Interface||Very clean and modern||Aged and confusing to most newcomers||Clean and modern|
|Usability||Generally user friendly, some things are confusing though (position of settings for example)||Confusing at the start but intuitive once you learn it||Unknown at the moment, probably better than TeamSpeak 3|
|CPU/Resource Usage||Relatively low, but has a high priority which can cause performance problems on low-end machines||low||low|
|Mobile App||Free||Paid||Unknown, new app coming sometime in 2020|
|Integrations||Integrates with lots of games and services like Spotify||Integrates with some games, can add functionality with plugins||Integrates with some games, can add functionality with plugins|
|Base Audience||Younger generation||Older generation||Older generation|
|Uptime / Reliability||Mixed, Discord has downtimes occasionally meaning no servers work||Depends on your Server configuration, ranging from worse than Discord to 100% uptime||Depends on your Server configuration, ranging from worse than Discord to 100% uptime|
|Voice chat||Yes (Varying quality, generally decent)||Yes (Quality depends on Server, from worse than Discord to pretty much perfect)||Yes (Quality depends on Server, from worse than Discord to pretty much perfect)|
|Voice/ Audio quality||Alright, can be made better with Server boosts||Depends, ranging from bad to perfect.|
Generally better than Discord
|Depends, ranging from bad to perfect.|
Generally better than Discord
|Videochat||Yes||No, can be added with plugins||No, can be added with plugins|
|Emojis||Yes, also supports custom emojis||No||Yes|
|Bots||Wide variety of bots with different functions, lots of good free options||Lots of plugins of varying quality||Lots of plugins of varying quality|
|Permission system||Good with some minor quirks. Can achieve almost everything once you understand how to use it properly||In-depth with granular control of user permissions||In-depth with granular control of user permissions|
|Overlay||Yes, supports most games and looks clean||Yes with Overwolf, kind of dated||Yes, also with Overwolf|
|Pretty awful. Discord claims to not sell your data but according to their ToS they can sell all of your data including everything you send in chat to advertisers||Very good, data is end-to-end encrypted and you can host your own server||Very good, data is end-to-end encrypted and you can host your own server|
As you can see there are lots of advantages to both Discord and TeamSpeak, especially the upcoming version 5. But which one should you choose?
I generally recommend Discord if you plan on using it as a community platform with a voice chat feature. This applies to online communities, communities for content creators, and so on.
TeamSpeak, on the other hand, is a good alternative for when the voice chat is the main focus. The quality is simply better than Discords. Lots of gaming clans use ts for that reason.
Especially with TS5 coming up the community capabilities of TeamSpeak will be expanded, meaning that it’s going to be an even better alternative to Discord if your community is centered around voice, not text chat.
There are some important things which differentiate the two platforms significantly and might completely change your decision, so let’s look into them a bit further:
Privacy and data protection
Discords policy when it comes to privacy and data protection is pretty bad. While most users don’t mind, it is important to be aware of this.
If you plan on handling any sensible data inside your program of choice I’d recommend staying away from Discord and looking for alternatives. This mostly applies to businesses.
TeamSpeak offers the ability to host your own server and have full control over the encryption, making it a much safer alternative in such a case.
If you’re a Streamer or Content Creator then Discord offers much more capability when it comes to connecting your medium of choice to your community. Twitch integrations, YouTube bots and other systems can truly turn your Server into a part of your community space.
TeamSpeak has plugins, but they are different from Discord bots and webhooks. While they offer a range of cool features, I still can’t recommend TS3 or 5 if you want to use them as a community space for your content.
The audience is a major factor when it comes to deciding whether Discord or TeamSpeak is better for you.
Say your audience is comprised of World of Warcraft players. They probably don’t mind using TeamSpeak, as it still is a widely accepted standard in that scene. However, if you have a lifestyle channel, good luck growing a TeamSpeak server for it. Discord will work much better in such a case.
It really comes down to understanding what your audience is looking for. Do they want to voice chat all the time or do they want a place to hang out and interact with you and each other? Do they even know what TeamSpeak is or did they solely use Discord for the past years?
All questions worth considering before putting in the work to set the server up properly. I am currently working on a guide for that whole process, as from my experience most servers have a horrendous permission system and lots of issues.
That’s it for this comparison. Please let me know in the comments what your stance on the topic is and if you’re interested in improving your Discord Server, check out the Discord section!