Did you know that your choice of platform can affect your trading performance? If you're a beginner, here are the best trading platforms to start your forex trading with.
Every trader needs a trading platform, which is an online software provided by forex brokers to access the forex market. It may be in the form of a mobile app, downloadable software, a web-based platform, or any combination of the three. The platform may also provide additional tools or indicators needed for analysis and other trading means.
However, trading platforms come in many different kinds as there are a lot of companies now compete in the development of trading technology. Selecting which trading platform to use is crucial because it can affect the trader's performance in the currency market. However, it can be quite confusing because each platform offers different sets of tools and features. Also, it is worth noting that the choice of trading platforms is closely related to the choice of brokers because not all brokers provide all types of platforms.
Naturally, every trader desires a trading platform that could give them everything they need for their strategy and live up to their standards. After all, each trader may have specific needs related to which tool, speed, or research requirements in the platform. That is why the question of "which forex trading platform is the best" is very commonly asked by traders in the early times of their career. Given the rapid development of technology and the increasing competition in terms of software and trading platforms, this question is even more relevant for traders these days. But don't worry, we have summarized the main criteria of the high-quality trading platforms and a list of the best recommendations for you to check out.
What to Look for in a Trading Platform
- Make sure that the platform runs smoothly and free of technical failures, especially during high volatility. Avoid platforms that often delay your orders because it can lead you to losses, both in financial and psychological aspects. You can easily observe the performance on web platforms. Long-term traders would find this flaw as not highly significant, but scalpers and day traders would consider this vital and can be the main factor that contributes to their success in executing positions.
- Check for compatibility issues. Some trading platforms can only be used in specific devices and incompatible with the rest. That is why, make sure that the platform is compatible with your device and if necessary, try to install the platform on your mobile device. High compatibility means that the developers have a good operating system.
- The next aspect is regarding the functionality of the program. A good trading platform should have a sophisticated number of tools for technical analysis. The developers should also be able to build a platform that can simultaneously handle several financial instruments and automated trading systems. You should not experience difficulties in placing their orders, especially for both market and pending orders. In addition, it would be better if the trading platform can provide a separate window for monitoring trading volumes and economic events that can trigger extreme market reactions.
- Ensure that the platform has a user-friendly interface, so it is comfortable to read and use. The navigation should be easy to figure out and if the platform provides additional tools, you should be able to access it quickly. A messy interface can confuse you and therefore delay the transaction, adding unnecessary problems especially if you're a scalper.
- The visual aspect is another factor that shouldn't be underestimated. Find a platform that has a simple and effective design. Although it doesn't directly affect the trade, a clean visual can improve your satisfaction. After all, visual assessment is usually what makes a good first impression. In addition, it would be better if you can customize stuff such as changing the color of indicators, the background of the charts, etc.
- Last but not least is regarding the security of your data. The essential thing to remember is not to let your personal data be compromised, so make sure that the trading platform is secure. You can check the type of data encryption used in the platform to understand better how well your data is protected and transferred over the internet. Typically, reputable developers use firewalls both on server and application levels.
In retrospect to the abovementioned aspects, here are the 10 best trading platforms recommended for traders, particularly for beginners who put importance on ease of use and reliable performance:
1. MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 4 is probably the most popular and widely used trading platform among forex traders and is even said to be the standard in the industry. The software was released in 2005, specifically designed for forex trading by a company called MetaQuotes Corp.
Almost every reputable forex broker uses MetaTrader 4 as their main trading platform, making it very accessible for any trader. The reason behind its popularity is mainly caused by its distinctive features that are suitable for any type of traders, such as:
- 30 technical indicators.
- 23 analytical objects.
- Several customizable indicators (not included in the standard set of analytical tools).
- High performance.
- Allows copy trading.
- One-click trading.
- Flexible setting of price charts.
- Provides a favorable environment that enables traders to implement any trading ideas and develop their own strategies.
- Compatible with the most popular operating systems (Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux).
- Three execution modes.
- Four pending orders.
- Two market orders.
- Two stop orders and trailing stop.
- Nine different time frames.
- Lots of available Expert Advisors.
- Provides the editor of MQL4 trading strategies.
- Impeccable trading security.
The downside of using MetaTrader 4 is that sometimes you may find some brokers offer wider spreads on the platform than their central trading platform. Other than that, some professional traders have found that MetaTrader 4 can be somewhat slower than its competitors.
2. MetaTrader 5
Although it was produced by the same company as MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 is an entirely new platform. In contrast to most people's belief, it is not just an improved version of its predecessor because the two have different sets of tools aimed at different types of markets. Unlike MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 has a broader target user, not only for forex traders. Thus, it provides a wider selection of assets such as futures, stocks, and a broader selection of tools. This platform is also slightly faster, comes with a more extensive set of indicators, and has some additional features.
Compared to MetaTrader 4, this platform can handle many trading instruments and carry several orders simultaneously. Some of the advantages of using MetaTrader 5 are as follows:
- Provides 21 time frames, including 11 types of minute charts and seven types of hourly charts.
- 6 types of pending orders, including sell-stop, sell-limit, buy-stop, buy-limit, buy-stop limit, and sell-stop-limit orders.
- Traders can switch between hedging and netting mode.
- The Depth of Market (DOM) function that allows traders to view the bid and offer prices at different levels.
- More than 70 market analysis tools.
- Customization for sound alerts when a trading signal is approaching.
See Also: MT5 Forex Brokers and Their Advantages
cTrader is a globally recognized online trading platform developed by Spotware Systems Ltd. cTrader offers many attractive features such as fast execution, level II pricing, a complete range of orders, and advanced order protection.
Compared to MetaTrader 4 and 5, there are several differences. First, cTrader doesn't allow the customization of indicators and limits third-party programs whereas MetaTrader is fully customizable. Second, MetaTrader is well-known for its automated trading features, but cTrader is not. Third, MetaTrader offers additional features such as an economic calendar, real-time market news, and signal trading, whereas cTrader doesn't support such features. Apart from that, cTrader also its own advantages:
- Comes with a wide range of features suitable for various types of traders. On the side menu, traders can choose to trade manual, algo, and copy trading as well as receive in-depth analysis on their trading performance.
- cTrader is one of the best platforms for advanced charting because it has various responsive and detachable charts in different time frames and zoom levels.
- Different viewing modes, including full screen.
- Allows copy trading with cTrader Copy, which is accessible from the cTrader side menu.
- Available for desktop, web, and mobile (Android and iOS). Professional traders can also easily connect to cTrader via FIX API.
- Allows traders to develop algorithmic trading robots that could automate their trading strategies.
4. Ninja Trader
Ninja Trader is a widely-used trading platform released in 2004. It is specifically designed for active forex, futures, and stock traders. The platform is packed with useful features and a user-friendly interface that allows traders to trade efficiently. Suitable for both beginner and professional traders, Ninja Trader provides a wide range of useful tools such as analysis, the chart system, and data output.
There are two versions that you can choose, namely the basic or lite version which requires traders to set the charts manually. Meanwhile, the extended or pro version allows traders to use automated trading, unlimited trading, and analytical capabilities. It would cost $50 per month to use the pro version.
You can choose to download the demo version of the platform and test the features before using it for real trading. You can test your ideas through simulation and do some backtesting as well. Also, there is one distinctive feature offered by this platform: the ability to analyze cluster charts so that you can obtain accurate data on market sentiment.
However, keep in mind that Ninja Trader acts merely as a trading platform and not a market data provider. This means that if you need real-time or end-of-day market data, you must connect their platform to an independent market chart like Google Finance or Kinetick.
ZuluTrade is another top-rated trading platform that allows you to trade independently or invest in other traders. The official website provides a detailed guide specifically aimed at beginners. Other than that, the platform also displays instructions on how to attach a trading account to the platform.
Furthermore, ZuluTrade is excellent for beginners because it provides a massive opportunity to monitor professionals' strategies to be applied to their personal strategy. All you need to do is connect your trading account and activate the automatic transaction option in the platform. You can share a professional's strategy and copy it, so make sure that you choose a strategy that is suitable for your capital and risk management. In other words, traders would just have to pick a strategy that matches their preference, and then the system will turn the recommendations into real trading transactions on the trader’s accounts.
6. Mirror Trader
As the name suggests, Mirror Trader is a trading platform that allows its trader to mirror the transactions of successful traders, either with automatic or semi-automatic trading. Traders are free to choose which strategy they would like to try. So regarding its functionality, Mirror Trader is mostly similar to ZuluTrade.
Basically, the concept of mirror trading is quite simple: the platform will keep track of the buy and sell signals sent by expert traders. Through this platform, traders can see, analyze, and evaluate the signals and execute them in their own accounts. Conveniently, traders can only adopt these signals and build their own strategy from them.
There are three main features provided in this platform:
- Trading Portfolio. It basically consists of selected trading strategies for automatic mirroring. It is vital to create a compelling and balanced trading portfolio in order to diversify the investment profile.
- Strategies Performance. The platform displays a detailed summary of the performance of each strategy. This is incredibly helpful so that traders can make sensible choices.
- Strategies Filters. In mirror trading, choosing a strategy is the most crucial step. In this case, the platform allows traders to create a custom strategy filter that could identify which method is the most suitable based on the traders' taste and preference.
However, keep in mind that mirror trading is not as easy as it looks. At first glance, it seems simple to analyze and evaluate other traders' strategies. Yet, it actually needs a deep understanding of forex trading and experience. So before you mirror a strategy, make sure that the trader has a good track record and reliable performance in risk management.
See Also: Top 3 Basic Money Management Strategies
eSignal is a trading platform that supports various customizable features for its traders. In general, the platform offers all the standard features expected from a modern trading platform. eSignal users can also create their own trading strategies through the coding language.
With this platform, you can fully customize your charts in order to analyze the markets faster and more effectively. This platform might not be the most ideal for beginners, but there are certain features that might be helpful. You can use the trial platform to test your personal trading strategy before you invest real money. Also, the demo version is available for download by using a special coupon that you can get in a certain forum.
ProRealTime is a trading platform developed in France by IT-Finance. It is considered quite unique because it is a web-based software backed up on its cloud network. The platform itself provides various choices of advanced charting and at least 100 tools for technical analysis, market scanning, charting, automatic trading, and much more.
Not only that, traders can also customize their market scanners and trading strategies by using the unique ProRealTime language. As for the market data, ProRealTime provides high-quality real-time data guaranteed with 24-hour maintenance by an in-house team. This makes the platform particularly suitable for intraday traders that could make use of real-time data and execution.
However, in order to enjoy the full feature, traders must pay for a software license. On top of this, there are some additional fees if you want to access the real-time market data.
Libertex is a popular trading platform and was awarded the title of the best trading platform 2014 at the international exhibition of innovative technology in the online trading industry Forex-Expo. The trading platform is not only limited to forex. It also provides access to stock assets, commodities, and cryptocurrencies in one account.
Libertex supports trading in 50 different currency pairs and 43 of the most popular cryptocurrencies. It has quite a user-friendly interface and a simple trading process, making it suitable for novice traders. It has also adapted to popular operating systems and is available for both web and mobile devices.
SB-Pro is a trading platform often used by traders as an analytical tool. It is considered quite suitable for beginners because cluster graphs are one of the most effective compared to other platforms. Although SB-Pro is not much different from other platforms in terms of functionality, it is definitely worth checking out.
We can conclude that choosing a trading platform is not exactly easy especially in recent years where the competition among software companies continues to increase. Generally speaking, MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 are the two safest options to choose from for beginners because of their high reputation, accessibility, and reliable performance. Both are already tested and have received many positive reviews from users across the globe.
However, if you have a more specific trading strategy in mind, you can check out other trading platforms. By trying several trading platforms, you might find the right one that matches your conditions. It is better to use the forex demo account version first before you jump into real trading; see whether the platform is safe, provides the features you need, and easy enough to use.