How To Create An AFK Channel In Discord

If you’re a server owner or admin, you can create all kinds of channels within that server. The channel type we are going to discuss today is an AFK channel. You will see them on a bunch of servers, especially the more populated ones. You may have wondered what they were for but never asked. This tutorial will show you how to create an AFK channel in Discord and explain why you might want one in the first place.


Gaming

Let’s cover the why first so you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you’re running a gaming server or channels where people DM a lot, you may have lots of logged in users but nothing happening in chat. People might be in game, doing something else, Direct Messaging or just have Discord open while they are busy elsewhere. You may also have a high population of lurkers.

Whatever is going on, you may want to shift all members who aren’t actively engaging in chat to a specific server where they can reside until they are ready to engage again. It’s a better option than kicking them after a timeout and keeps them in the server until they are ready. That’s why you create an AFK channel.

Now the how.

Create an AFK channel in Discord

You create an AFK channel in much the same way you create any other. You will need to be server owner or admin with the right privileges to create a channel but the rest is a breeze.

  1. Log into your Discord server as usual.
  2. Select the server at the top to access the Server Settings menu.
  3. Select Create Channel.
  4. Set text or voice as usual and name it AFK or something meaningful.
  5. Save your new channel.
  6. Under Overview, select your new AFK Channel from the center pane.
  7. Set the AFK Timeout to your desired time.
  8. Save all your changes.

You should now see a new channel called AFK or whatever you called it in your list. Now, whenever someone is inactive for a set amount of time, they will be automatically moved into the AFK channel. Depending on what time you set in step 7 above, members will find themselves in AFK after that time. They can then move channel when they are ready to do so.

You can go into the channel and remove all voice and chat permissions for the @Everyone group if you want. I don’t see the point but a ‘proper’ AFK channel would mute everyone. People are moved into AFK because they are AFK or busy DMing or raiding. If they want to chat, they would chat so I don’t see the point of removing permissions. Your opinion might differ though.

If you don’t have an AFK channel, Discord won’t do anything and will leave them be. If you do have an AFK channel, it will automatically move members after that set period. Don’t make that period too short. Nobody wants to be moved from their channel if they just go to make coffee or get a snack. I tend to suggest a 15 minute timer. That’s enough time for most things but not so long that you have a full, but silent channel.

How does Discord know you’re AFK?

The code behind the feature has not been made public but we understand the main functions of the AFK bot. As far as we know, when you create an AFK channel, the Discord AFK bot will also join. It will scan users on your server for activity and use internal timers to assess whether they are present or not. Once the timer expires, if the bot doesn’t detect activity, it moves the user to the AFK channel.

For the most part, the AFK bot works well. It does occasionally move people to the AFK channel who are chatting. If this happens, shut down Discord and open it again and see if it stops. The bot may not be picking up your activity and think you’re AFK. If it keeps happening, talk to the server owner or admin and have them investigate.

Tell people you’re AFK in Discord

You can also notify your server or channel you’re going AFK for a while so people don’t chat to you until you return. You can either manually move yourself to the AFK channel or use the AFK bot. This bot will automatically reply to mentions or DMs that you’re away and store the messages so you can check them all when you return. It won’t stop you being moved to the AFK channel but does keep everything organized so you can quickly catch up on your return!