On Discord, you create and join servers to chat and stream with other people. But the name “server” might bring some questions to mind. Are discord servers real, physical servers, or just a metaphor?
Does it matter where they are located?
Where Are The Discord Servers Located?
Discord maintains physical servers and datacenters in many regions across the world; however, Discord does not publicly disclose the location of all of its physical servers and data centers. Frequently, a single Discord region relies on multiple datacenters and server warehouses.
In order to achieve optimal performance in all regions of the world, Discord leverages dozens of data centers throughout the world. The location of the physical servers Discord uses will depend on the region your “Discord Server” resides in.
For example, servers for the us-central region are physically located in the US Midwest, while eu-central servers are located in Germany and adjacent countries.
Are Discord Servers Real Servers?
Discord servers are not real servers. The name is a metaphor. Discord “servers” are part of a database that is spread across a distributed network of real servers. Each “Discord Server” does not run on its own dedicated physical server.
Calling Discord groups “servers” comes from a time when gamers would use turn their PCs into private servers to host voice chat rooms with their friends and fellow gamers.
If you grew up in the 2000s, then you might remember creating a custom server on your PC to host voice chats on Ventrilo or Teamspeak.
Over time, and with the advent of cloud computing, hosting actual servers to voice chat with friends has gone out of style. Instead, most gamers prefer to use a cloud service like Discord for in-game communications.
Although “Discord servers” no longer run on dedicated physical servers, the term has stuck around. Most people call a Discord community a “server”, even though these communities are running on a distributed network of servers with shared computing power.
And if you’re wondering why Discord can’t give a real server to each “server,” consider that Discord needs to store a lot of data. Your server history doesn’t ever get deleted. That means that Discord has to store billions of messages and at the same time host voice and video calls flawlessly.
Having a server for each group would make storage much more expensive. Needless to say, Discord wouldn’t be a free service in that case.
Will Distance From A Discord Server Affect Your Ping?
Distance from a Discord server will affect your ping. The further away you are, the higher your ping will be, creating more lag and audio disruptions. However, if you have a good internet connection, this shouldn’t be a problem. Discord will typically connect you automatically to the optimal server.
Ping is a term used by gamers to talk about server latency. Latency refers to the amount of time it takes for your device to send a packet of data to the host server and receive a packet of data in response.
Each one of these roundtrips to the host server is called a ping, and the amount of time it takes to ping a host server is called latency.
But ping doesn’t just affect games. A high ping can cause latency or lag when using your Discord server, affecting your streams and voice calls.
Many factors affect ping, and one of them is location. It’s very simple: the farther away a server is, the longer it will take for a signal to reach it. If the server is closer, the ping will be lower.
This means your ping will be affected depending on your proximity to the Discord server you’re connected to.
Each voice channel and private DM call takes place in their own server region. By default, Discord automatically chooses the optimal region for a voice channel. You can also manually set the voice region, as you’ll see in the next section.
Sometimes, a little latency is unavoidable. If you’re chatting with people on different continents, the server will necessarily be far away from at least one of you.
But before blaming your high ping on server locations, check other reasons your ping may be high:
- You’re using a wireless connection. Low-capacity routers can make your ping slower. Try switching to a wired connection.
- Other people are using your connection. If many people are gaming or doing data-heavy things like streaming video on the same network, it could increase your ping.
- Your internet provider. It may just be that your internet provider’s connection is unstable or just doesn’t have a low ping. You can check the speed of your connection with a speed test or contact them directly to make sure.
How To Change Your Voice Region In Discord
Discord automatically sets the voice region for each channel, but you can change it manually if the automatic option isn’t giving you good results. Here’s how to change your voice region on Discord:
- Enter a Discord server by choosing a server from the left-hand sidebar.
- Once in the server, Right-click on the channel you want to change and select “Edit Channel.”
- Scroll down to “Region override.”
- Select the region you want to use.
- Save changes.
Note: You can only do this in servers where you have permission to edit channels.
Here are some detailed screenshots to guide you through the process.
Enter the server then right click on a voice channel and choose “Edit Channel”:
In the “Overview” section, scroll down and choose a new region from the “Region Override” dropdown:
Be sure to click the “Save Changes” button once you’ve selected a region override:
That’s it! You can revert the setting to “Automatic” anytime.
Remember that you might need to have a role with the necessary permissions to make this change.
Where Is Discord Located?
Discord’s headquarters are located in San Francisco, California. There are several Discord regions spread across the world. Each region may have several physical data centers to meet the computing demands of that region. Currently, they are located in:
- Hong Kong
- South Africa
- US Central
- US East
- US South
- US West
Remember, we’re not talking about the groups where you send messages and make calls. Those are called servers, but it’s just a metaphor.
Right now, we’re talking about the real Discord servers: the physical computer servers that house the information in Discord’s database.
As you may have noticed, the locations are rather vague. You won’t easily find specific physical addresses for Discord servers anywhere on the internet.
This isn’t unique to Discord – companies generally prefer not to make this information public as a safety measure against hackers and other people with malicious intentions.
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Discord communities are called “servers,” but they’re not physical servers. They’re organized across a database of multiple, shared servers, just like most online communication services.
However, the location of a server can still affect your experience. Your ping will be higher if a voice channel’s region is far away from you. You can change the voice region manually, but Discord automatically chooses the best one for most members by default.