TeamSpeak vs Discord: Which one should you use?

Discord vs TeamSpeak

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!

Overview

Discord

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:

  • free
  • can be used in browser
  • accessible
  • widely used
  • offers most features required by most people

TeamSpeak 3

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
  • Customizability
  • Full control

TeamSpeak 5

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

DiscordTeamspeak 3Teamspeak 5 (Beta currently closed)
Price (Hosting a server)Free, Nitro boosts increase audio qualityVaries based on slots, between 5-50$ a month4 Slots are free, then varies based on slots
PlatformsPC, Mac, inside Browser, iOS and AndroidPC, Mac, iOS and AndroidPC, Mac, iOS and Android
FocusCommunity basedFocus on Voice chatCommunity based
Best forContent creators and communitiesGaming clans or GuildsGaming clans or guilds, communities also possible
User InterfaceVery clean and modernAged and confusing to most newcomersClean and modern
UsabilityGenerally user friendly, some things are confusing though (position of settings for example)Confusing at the start but intuitive once you learn itUnknown at the moment, probably better than TeamSpeak 3
CPU/Resource UsageRelatively low, but has a high priority which can cause performance problems on low-end machineslowlow
Mobile AppFreePaidUnknown, new app coming sometime in 2020
IntegrationsIntegrates with lots of games and services like SpotifyIntegrates with some games, can add functionality with pluginsIntegrates with some games, can add functionality with plugins
Base AudienceYounger generationOlder generationOlder generation
Uptime / Reliability Mixed, Discord has downtimes occasionally meaning no servers workDepends on your Server configuration, ranging from worse than Discord to 100% uptimeDepends on your Server configuration, ranging from worse than Discord to 100% uptime
Text chatYesYesYes
Voice chatYes (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 qualityAlright, can be made better with Server boostsDepends, ranging from bad to perfect.
Generally better than Discord
Depends, ranging from bad to perfect.
Generally better than Discord
VideochatYesNo, can be added with pluginsNo, can be added with plugins
EmojisYes, also supports custom emojisNoYes
BotsWide variety of bots with different functions, lots of good free optionsLots of plugins of varying qualityLots of plugins of varying quality
Permission systemGood with some minor quirks. Can achieve almost everything once you understand how to use it properlyIn-depth with granular control of user permissionsIn-depth with granular control of user permissions
OverlayYes, supports most games and looks cleanYes with Overwolf, kind of datedYes, also with Overwolf
Data protection/
Privacy
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 advertisersVery good, data is end-to-end encrypted and you can host your own serverVery good, data is end-to-end encrypted and you can host your own server

Conclusion

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.

Integrations

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.

Audiences

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!

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