Trading with MetaTrader

An Introduction to the MetaTrader Platforms

Metatrader is the most popular forex trading platform in the world. It was developed with the sole purpose of helping retail traders get access to the financial markets from wherever they are. The terminal is even responsible for facilitating further interest in online trading through social media connectivity. The platform’s popular status has seen it gain support from the majority of big name forex brokers, many of which now offer demo versions for free.

There are two versions of the platform available; Metatrader4 (MT4) and Metatrader5 (MT5). Once located on a broker’s page, the link to download either one of these should appear and installation is quite straightforward.

Both versions are designed to run on Windows OS and Mac users are usually required to download a Windows ‘emulator’ called WINE, in order to configure their desktop first before further installation (although recent developments to the software have enabled Mac users instant access if the MetaTrader software is downloaded directly from the source). In either case, once MT4/MT5 is set up onto your local drive (you will even have the option of an icon feature for your desktop), you can connect to the local markets via your chosen broker.

The differences between MT4 and MT5 are not that of an upgrade, but rather the MT5 platform has been re-designed to suit traders with alternative investment styles or ambitions. Changes to a familiar favourite have come with all the pros and cons associated with such. Whilst MT4 features a simple, intuitive top menu and an option to add indicators to charts with a simple click, MT5 boasts better graphics, more indicators and bigger buttons. However, these additions and improvements also make the platform a little more sluggish to install and run. It has also been noted that there are tools, such as the Fibonacci, which seem to be missing levels. It is likely because of these concerns and general force of habit that market participants seem to prefer to use Metatrader4.

A main advantage of either MetaTrader platform over their competitors, is their built-in MetaEditor feature, which allows for the development of Expert Advisors (automated strategies, also referred to as EAs), as well as custom indicators, scripts and libraries. This versatility is a reflection of the possibilities the platform has to offer both new and experienced traders.

However, it should be noted that these platforms are local, which means they rely upon your computer’s hard drive and a secure internet connection. A simple crash or loss of signal could result in a slip up that disconnects you from a trade, potentially losing you a lot of money. As the risk of machine or connection failure is rare, this isn’t an issue for most traders. Yet traders looking for the ultimate in reliability, such as those interested in high volume/ high volatility/ algorithms for automated trade, can look to VPS for solution.

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server and is exactly that. A virtual desktop ensures that MT4 is installed and ALWAYS connected. Some brokers offer this to high deposit or VIP customers for free, but there are even companies that specialize in providing this service for forex traders of all levels, usually on a subscription basis.