Are you new to the trading industry and have no idea which trading platform is best for you? Fret not! We are going to learn about the key points to consider when choosing a trading platform in this article. Then, we will lay out the pros and cons of MT4 and cTrader, two of the most widely used trading platforms for retail traders.
A trading platform is a medium where traders can view charts, do technical analysis, get market data, place trades among other functions.
Point 1: Functionality
- the number of trading instruments available
(some brokers may not offer certain instruments on certain platforms)
- timeframes customizability
- availability of technical indicators
- built-in economic calendar
(both MT4 and cTrader have it)
- algorithmic trading
(EA on MT4 and cTrader Automate)
(The MQL community for MetaTrader and C#/ CTDN community for cTrader)
Point 2: User Interface
The interface is the most direct point of interaction between the traders and trading platforms. Thus, it is imperative to choose one that is easy to understand, practical to use and some even take the cosmetic design into account.
Point 3: Compatibility
If you are currently running Windows OS, then compatibility issues shouldn’t bother you as it is used by more than 87% of computer users around the world, compared to 9.5% for Mac OS and 2.35% for Linux.
Some trading platforms only support certain OS, and you may need third party applications if you wish to run it on another OS that it does not support.
Point 4: Performance
Speed of execution is very critical for traders, and even more so for those that trade high frequency systems and the likes. A good platform executes orders with minimal lag. However, do bear in mind that many other factors affect the execution speed including but not limited to the network speed, types of connection, location between the servers and device hardware.
Comparing MT4 and cTrader
MT4 has been in the industry since 2005 and it is still dominating the retail forex market.
Pros of MT4
- Beginner-friendly user interface
- Huge library of pre-built indicators
- Wide selection of automatic trading systems [Expert Advisors (EA)] available for purchase
- A big community of traders/ programmers specialise in MQL4, the programming language of MetaTrader 4
- Specially built smart trading tools (offered by FXPIG)
Cons of MT4
- User interface looks outdated
- Limited charting flexibility
- Lack of advanced order types (can be solved by using smart trading tools mentioned above)
cTrader is relatively new compared to MT4 as it was released 5 years after. It offers the best out-of-the-box trading environment compared to MT4. Not only that, but it is also an ECN trading platform.
Pros of cTrader
- Modern and featured-packed user interface
- Access to more market data (especially market depth)
- More advanced charting capabilities
- Advanced order type
- Advanced cTrader Copy for copy trading
Cons of cTrader
- Not many brokers offer cTrader
- Lesser automated trading system for sale in the market
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with either of them as they are both great platforms. Go with MetaTrader 4 if you are interested in the vast amount of EAs and indicators that are available in their store, and do not mind the outdated user interface. Opt for cTrader if you want a more modern-looking interface packed with functionalities, and access cTrader copy where there are tons of strategy providers that you can follow.