Trading platforms are an inseparable part of online forex trading nowadays. They enable forex traders to gain access to price quotes, live charts, execute orders, and other additional advantages. In this article, we are going to talk about some of the most popular ones, including Web Platform, Metatrader 4, Metatrader 5, cTrader, and SIRIX.
Trading platforms are an inseparable part of online forex trading nowadays. They basically connect broker and clients, and enable forex traders to gain access to price quotes, live charts, execute orders, and other additional advantages. With the advance of technology, forex trading platform too, became a subject of competition among forex brokers. Each tries to surpass the others in terms of providing the best additional advantage that will be warmly received by the masses. Consequently, many kinds of forex trading platforms emerged, grant forex traders with many, many options.
However, for forex traders, the main benefit of forex trading platforms are their ability to create a conducive trading environment where optimum decisions and maximum profit could be reached. At this point, the many options of forex trading platforms available in the market might confuse people, especially beginner traders. One of the reasons why Metatrader 4 (MT4) is still the most popular forex trading platform till now is that people are comfortable with the same old-same old, and are particularly hesitant to move on, while the platform is the one they have been using since the beginning of their trading career. To hop from one to another is quite risky, as each platform has different characteristics. But if you think about it, although starting is best with the easiest and most common forex trading platform, in order to assure long term advantage, it is best to choose platform that is best suited to optimize your trading style.
On that premise, knowing the various forex trading platforms available in the market is quite necessary in the course of improving one's trading quality. In this article, we are going to talk about some of the most popular ones, including the old favorite browser-based Web Platform, Metatrader 4, its sibling Metatrader 5, cTrader, and SIRIX.
The oldest online trading system, Web Platform is the beginning of what is later developed into installable forex trading platform softwares. The emergence of Web Platform opened up unlimited possibilities, namely online forex trading that could be done by retail investors easily, instantly, everywhere. Prior to Web Platform, forex trading is quite troublesome as it involved manual exchange or transfer payment via banks.
Forex traders could access Web Platform as they do any websites in the net, after they registered to a certain forex broker and received confirmation of username and password. The Web Platform feature, appearance, and performance itself may differ between forex brokers. Overall, the main advantage of Web Platform is its accessibility through any PC without having to download any software first, so forex traders are truly able to trade whenever, wherever. Beside of that, Web Platform feature is commonly simpler than average forex trading platform, with similar analytical tools incorporated in it.
See also: Using Broker's Facilities The Right Way
Till this day, some forex brokers are still providing Web Platform as an alternative, although they might have already providing other kind of forex trading platform. Web Platform is also a favorite among binary options broker, with more binary options broker make use of Web Platform instead of paid for the use of externally-developed software or took the effort to build an in-house one. Some forex brokers who are still providing Web Platform are XM Webtrader and Exness Webtrader, etc.
Metatrader 4, a.k.a MT4, is undeniably the most widely used among forex trading platforms. Developed as software by Metaquotes Software Corp, it was released in 2005 and then licensed to forex brokers, who customized it afterward for their clients' use. Just like Web Platform and other forex trading platforms, forex traders could follow price quotes and movements on charts, as well as utilizing various technical analysis indicators and executing orders. However, MT4 advantage is that it is the best in development and application of automated/algorithmic trading.
Automated trading in MT4 could be developed by the brokers, the traders themselves, as well as third party. MT4 enable forex brokers to give out signals for their clients through the platform, but installation of third party expert advisor/robot and custom indicator is also very simple. Best of all, each trader could build their own automated system with MQL4 programming language.
Unlike Web Platform that is only available through PC/MAC, MT4 is more handy, available in PC as well as mobile version in almost every OS out there. These benefits made it a favorite among forex brokers and traders alike, with few exception (Japanese brokers and traders are reportedly less interested in MT4). Visit any broker you'd like to join with, there is a huge chance that they provide MT4 for you to trading with.
Metatrader 5, a.k.a MT5, is the younger sibling of MT4. Built by Metaquotes Software Corp and released officially in mid-2010, MT5 was expected to take the place of older MT4 with its various additional advantage. MT5 comes with many things that MT4 does not have, such as 21 timeframes instead of just 9, separate economic calendar, integrated marketplace, etc.
However, forex brokers and traders seemed reluctant to adopt the newer platform, and many prefer to stick with MT4. There are at least two reasons:
- Expert advisors and custom indicators built with MQL4 does not work in MT5; if traders want to work with the same system, they have to rewrite it. Therefore, investment and efforts that was spent on building automated trading in MT4 might be wasted.
- MT5 default was set in accordance with US regulator NFA rules which ruled out hedging and implement FIFO rule (First In First Out). It contradicts many trader's strategies and sometimes offend people just by being set in accordance with NFA rules.
Because of such circumstances, a large part of MT5 users are new traders, and Metaquotes is hard-pressed to sustain MT4 with updates that includes MT5 features. Some forex brokers that are providing MT5 platform are Alpari and IronFX.
Built by Spotware Systems, cTrader was launched in 2010 with the accompaniment of cAlgo to support algorithmic trading. Spotware claimed that dealing desk intervention is impossible with cTrader, and therefore guaranteed to improve brokers' direct market access as well as traders' trading experience. Advantages of cTrader that the Metatrader siblings lacking in are speed and execution accuracy.
cTrader commonly available in several versions, including desktop, android, iOS, and web-based. Its unique characteristics and uncluttered appearance has made it a new favorite among traders. For this reason, some forex brokers jump ship by offering cTrader alongside MT4, or MT4 and MT5, for their clients. Among them are OctaFX and Fibogroup.
The youngest among forex trading platforms in this list, SIRIX was developed by Leverate. It lacks algo trading ability and is missing some indicator, but its number one distinction is that it integrates social trading within the platform. Therefore, it displays not only charts and the necessary indicators, but also trades made in the social trading system.
This forex trading platform is not available in desktop version, but it is user-friendly, and could be accessed in web, mobile, and tablet version. This way, SIRIX offers the freedom of Web Platform, the ease of cTrader, and the advantage of social trading in one single platform. It has started to gain name for itself among retail forex brokers and traders, with some brokers introduced it as an alternative to the already known MT4. Some of those brokers are Forex Broker Inc and FXPRIMUS. If you want to simply experience SIRIX trading, you could go directly to its official website to try it out in demo without having to register or deposit any funds.
Beside of those five, there are also many kinds of forex trading platforms developed by forex brokers specifically for their clients only. Some of the well known are AGEA Streamster and FXCM Trading Station. Some brokers also provide specified platform for certain accounts, such as PAMM.
Each forex trading platform has their own pluses and minuses. In order to choose the one that most suited to you, consider these points:
- What kind of advantage you would like to have when doing your trades?
- Is the platform compatible with your computer/gadget?
- Can you trade effectively and smoothly with it?
To know the answer, try the platform in demo first, and test it until you are certain that you are good with it. If trying other forex trading platforms but the one you have been using is no good, then just stay with what is good for you. Still, trying them out sounds interesting, doesn't it!?