With electronic trading having established itself as a primary gateway to the financial markets, determining which trading platform to operate with is critical.
The majority of top brokerages offer access to MetaTrader platforms, recognised across the board as the industry standard.
MetaTrader 4 (MT4), developed by MetaQuotes Software in 2005, and MetaTrader 5 (MT5), established five years later. Which platform provides more of complete trading experience, though, is, of course, trader dependent. Some prefer the simplicity MT4 brings to the table; others favour MT5’s wide-ranging features.
According to MetaTrader, MT4’s trading platform provides everything required to function as a Forex or CFD trader. MT5, on the other hand, presents a multi-asset trading platform enabling access to the Forex and CFD market, as well as futures, options, stocks, and bonds.
MT4 and MT5 are similar in presentation, delivering simple, easy-to-use functions on both live and demo accounts. The platforms also allow users to modify the interface to suit personal preferences.
MT4 and MT5 WebTrader trading platforms are compatible with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and IE 10+.
MT4 and MT5 for Windows are available on Windows 7 or higher. It is also supported on Mac OSX.
Technical analysis is an integral part of many trading plans.
Different trading systems, as you can probably imagine, require different timeframes, different order types and trading tools to function successfully.
- MT4 comes with 3 execution modes, 2 market orders, 4 pending orders, 2 stop orders and a trailing stop. MT5 takes it a step further. Advanced depth of market (DOM – figure 1.B) features are available (MT4 comes with basic DOM), as well as 2 market orders, 6 pending orders (buy stop, buy limit, buy stop limit, sell stop, sell limit and sell stop limit), 2 stop orders and a trailing stop. You can access market depth by right-clicking on the financial instrument (via the Market Watch feature) of choice and selecting Depth of Market (Alt+B).
- 9 traditional timeframes are available on each currency pair on MT4. For traders focused on higher timeframes this is usually sufficient. Day traders and scalpers, however, tend to require additional timeframes – MT5 provides 21 timeframes to enable more of a comprehensive detailed analysis of minor price movements.
- 24 analytical objects (drawing tools) and 30 built-in technical indicators are available on MT4, along with more than 700 indicators for purchase and 2000+ free custom indicators. At the same time, MT5 provides access to 38 technical indicators, unlimited number of charts (MT4 has a limit of 128 charts), and 44 graphical objects, including functions such as lines, channels, Fibonacci tools, Elliot tools, shapes, and arrows. Analytical tools can be applied to both price charts and indicator windows.
- Setting alerts is a common practice in trading and investing; both platforms permit this function. MT5 also comes with an additional feature by way of an economic calendar, in place to inform traders of upcoming news events.
- MT4 allows only hedging while MT5 permits both hedging and netting.
Detaching charts or other screen objects is not possible on MT4, at least not natively. MT5, fortunately, includes native support, enabling the detachment of charts from the trading terminal window.
Multiple monitors provide the freedom to observe open positions as well as any trading instruments followed.
MQL4 and MQL5 are built-in programming languages for MT4 and MT5, respectively.
Understanding MetaQuotes language allows traders to create scripts, technical indicators, and Expert Advisors (EAs – trading robots) of any complexity.
Without delving into the world of coding, MQL4 and MQL5 put simply, is there to produce programs that follow certain orders/logic, and can conduct transactions on the trading terminal.
MQL5 is considered the more efficient and easier to use over MQL4; another key point to bear in mind is MQL4 code cannot be transferred into MQL5 code.
Also of note is the MetaTrader Market, the largest online store offering traders the opportunity to purchase/rent hundreds of different trading applications.
MT4 and MT5 mobile applications permit trading via iOS and Android-powered smartphones and tablets.
This functionality provides the freedom to effectively ‘trade on the go’, with full access to operations such as interactive charts, trade orders, analytical tools, and account status.
Most seasoned traders are satisfied with a trading platform that’s reliable and user friendly. The main reason behind MetaQuotes developing MT5 was to enable access to markets unavailable on MT4, including major stock markets.
Therefore, MT4 is great for the decentralised foreign exchange market. Traders who want to explore different markets and demand access to additional timeframes, however, may find the MT5 platform to be the better alternative.
Some traders choose to remain with MT4 due to algorithmic trading strategies having been coded with MQL4, which, of course, are not compatible with MQL5.