Trading terminals or platforms are special programs with which forex traders make their deals. At the moment, this is the easiest and fastest way to trade. Traders moved away from phone deals back in the last century, when it became clear what a wide range of functionality, speed and quality of order processing is provided by Internet trading. Now there are more than a dozen different programs and applications for Forex trading , and these are only the most popular. What is the difference between trading terminals and which one is optimal for effective Internet trading – in today’s material.
Types and features of trading terminals
Trading terminals can be both universal and designed for a specific type of trading. For example, there are trading platforms suitable for any market. There are also terminals that are designed exclusively for trading on the stock exchange, and only through a specific broker . Forex traders, of course, are not interested in such platforms.
All trading terminals for forex trading can be divided into the following categories:
- Client platforms. In order to start trading on such a terminal, you need to download and install it on your computer. Thus, the trader is “tied” to the workplace, however, it is these platforms that have the maximum functionality, and most of the additional trader’s tools (custom indicators , trading robots ) can be installed only on them;
- Web terminals. Trading platforms that open directly in the browser. You can access them from any device, just log in. In the future, thanks to cloud technologies and, possibly, blockchain, such platforms will not be inferior to client ones, and will become objectively the best; however, at the moment, their functionality is rather scarce, and terminals are often suitable only for intermediate control of the trading process;
- Mobile platforms. These are applications that are installed on a smartphone or tablet, allow you to always be aware of the status of transactions, and also have basic functionality for trading. They are convenient in non-standard environments, but few traders use them as their main trading terminal.
In addition, there are special platforms, for example, for passive investing or for copying transactions of other traders. The functionality of such terminals is tailored for a specific operation, so in its league this platform will be better and more convenient than the universal one.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular trading platforms of all categories.
Most Popular Forex Trading Platforms
At the moment, most forex traders prefer client terminals. Despite the next version released 7 years ago, MetaTrader 4 holds the lead in this category.
The most popular terminal for Forex trading. Almost every broker provides it to its clients, otherwise traders go to the company that can provide this platform for work.
The terminal is easy to learn, even beginners in trading, getting lost at the first start, after a few hours of active use, can learn all the nuances of the platform.
Most of the terminal is occupied by the price chart (if desired, it can be reduced or even minimized). A chart can be overlaid with various graphical constructions, technical tools and indicators, a wide selection of which is presented in a standard package. In addition, the platform can be loaded with additional indicators, as well as various advisors and automated trading systems. Most of the instruments can be installed on the chart by selecting in the corresponding tab of the top menu.
To the left of the chart, there is a quote screen for all assets available for trading. The chart of any currency pair or CFD from the list can be opened in a separate window, you can also open a deal at the market price with one click, or place a pending order . Below the quotes window is the platform navigator, where all terminal functions are listed. Most often, this window is used to install and configure custom indicators and advisors.
At the bottom of the platform is the order window . Here you can find information about all deals, both active and pending. You can also see the trading report for the selected period, news feed and other additional information.
MetaTrader 4 is appreciated for its versatility and flexibility – it is difficult to find another terminal for Forex trading that has the same ergonomics and functionality.
The fifth version of the trading terminal from MetaQuotes differs very slightly from the fourth – perhaps that is why the overwhelming majority of traders are still using MT4 and are in no hurry to switch to a more recent version. However, the fifth Metatrader also has its own characteristics and advantages.
In terms of the interface, the differences between MT5 and MT4 are minimal. The top panel has been slightly changed, additional tabs have appeared in the quotes window – otherwise it is the same MetaTrader 4.
However, new features have been added to some of the old tabs and windows:
- In the quotes window (“Market Watch”), in addition to the list of assets and the tick chart, it is now possible to view the details of a specific trading instrument, as well as to trade in one click without opening a chart;
- Even in the basic version of the platform, the user can start auto-trading using an Expert Advisor or a script;
- The economic calendar appeared in the lower window , as in the MT4 wЛeb terminal ;
- In “Navigator” you can quickly select and rent a VPS-server (directly through the terminal, without going to other sites; for more details, see this article);
- The ability to view the Depth of Market on the chart;
- A separate freelance exchange has been developed for the platform, where you can order the development of your own trading robot. Security of cooperation and arbitration is provided by MetaQuotes.
Even when opening a trading account, the trader chooses the type of trade: netting or hedging. The second type is the usual MT4 trading with the possibility of concluding several deals on the same asset. When choosing netting, all transactions will be combined into one, which is closer to the realities of the exchange, but complicates trading on several strategies at the same time.
However, all of these features are not enough for most of the trading community to change the penultimate version of the MT platform to the latest. Moreover, add-ons are still being developed for MT4 (in particular, several years ago one of the main functions of MT5 – one-click trading – was transferred to MT4).
Mirror Trader is considered to be one of the best social trading platforms. It is mainly used to copy trades of other traders (signal providers). However, each user can trade independently or make any changes to transactions and close them at any time. In addition, a trader can become a supplier himself and earn commissions from subscribers (users who open profitable trades based on his signals).
Mirror Trader’s functionality is not as wide as that of MT4. In the main window, located on the left side, you can choose to display a live chart or a list of suggested strategies. Independent trading is conducted on the live chart, you can set up any timeframe , install additional technical analysis tools . In the strategies tab, the user selects a ready-made vehicle from the proposed ones. Then the user becomes a subscriber of the strategy and, according to the signals of the chosen strategy on the trading account , deals are automatically opened.
There are also several tabs in the right window. The most basic one – “Signals”, allows you to receive specific signals from strategies, choosing only those that the user considers really promising. Each signal is accompanied by brief information, such as a description of the strategy. There you can also manage signals, open and close deals on them, as well as make changes. In the window, in other tabs, you can view the portfolio of selected strategies , the history of transactions and other information.
In the upper part of the terminal, there is a panel of quotes that change in real time.
The Mirror Trader platform is great for social trading, but few people use it as their main terminal.
Ninja Trader is another universal trading platform that requires a client program to trade. This terminal has even wider functionality than MetaTrader 4, but it is much more difficult to master. Through Ninja Trader, you can trade not only in Forex, but also in the stock and commodity-futures markets, therefore this terminal is mainly provided by brokers covering several financial markets at once.
By default, after installation, four windows are opened in the terminal, but the main one is the top left. Through it, you can carry out all the main operations: setting up a chart, opening and closing deals, monitoring a trade, etc. The other three perform an auxiliary function, providing analytical information .
The main window is the “Orders” tab. Here a trader can choose a market (some brokers have several available for trading at once) and a trading instrument. Next, the window displays the chart and the trader, after conducting a preliminary analysis, can open a deal. Open orders will be displayed here, allowing you to control the trading process in one window. In the same window, you can view all the data on the trading account, all basic information is located in the “Account Operations” tab.
The additional window “Market Analyzer” provides the basic parameters of price movement for a certain period, such as minimum and maximum, as well as readings of the Stochastic , a moving average of a certain period, etc. Everything is the same, but in graphical form, you can see in the window “Forex Chart “. This is a standard live chart, where you can choose to display any asset, configure the main parameters, and also set any indicator of their main package.
The ability to flexibly customize the interface allows you to arrange windows in any order, as well as change their size as it is convenient for the user. Having understood the functionality of the platform, the trader gets a powerful analytical tool, moreover, suitable for trading in several markets at once.
MetaTrader 5 web terminal
The online version of the MT5 platform includes all the main functions of the original terminal, but, for objective reasons, is deprived of some of the features, such as installing custom indicators and robots.
The main part of the trading platform consists of a live chart, on which you can install basic instruments, quote windows and order panels, just like in the original MT5. In addition, the service allows you to track the calendar of economic news , as well as download indicators and advisors for the client version of the terminal.
The cTrader trading terminal is in many ways similar to MT4 and MT5, but it has a few original “chips”. Thanks to these features, the platform, although it is less popular, has its own circle of connoisseurs.
The terminal is in many ways similar to the client versions of MetaTrader, but the interface at first glance seems even simpler, and the design is more stylish and pleasant. The chart window and the list of orders on the right side of the screen are very similar in design and functionality to those in Metatrader, but the left window with the market overview and the list of assets has significant differences.
First, in the quotes window, you can immediately view the Depth of Market, and in several display options. This possibility is already provided in MT5, but it is absent in MT4. Secondly, through the same window, you can work with the quick trade function, opening deals in one click without opening additional windows.
In addition to the main platform display style, there are several alternative ones, for example, without the left tool window. If you wish, you can trade only with the help of a chart, although this narrows the possibilities of analysis.
Most of the functions are available for use through the top menu, as in MT terminals. From there, you can choose the type of platform, set up an indicator or other technical instrument. A detailed list of instruments is displayed to the right of the chart.
cTrader is a convenient and functional terminal with a pleasant design, which is popular among a narrow circle of connoisseurs. Reaching a large audience and becoming the main trading platform for Forex traders is only hindered by the fact that MetaTrader entered this market much earlier and has already managed to offer traders everything they need.
Which terminal is better?
In addition to the trading platforms discussed above, there are many other trading terminals, including mobile MT , ZuluTrade social trading platform and others. However, the functionality of the mobile version of MT4 is similar to an online terminal, and ZuluTrade, according to many traders, is inferior to Mirror Trader as a social trading platform.
Despite the fact that the majority of traders will unequivocally call MetaTrader 4 the best Forex terminal, each of the platforms discussed above is superior to the others in some way. MT4 is the sweet spot for almost any trader for any trading style.
However, for traders who prefer to copy professional trades, the Mirror platform is more suitable (despite the fact that Metatrader also has a similar extension based on MTQL). Those who want to trade not only on Forex, but also on the stock exchange, and through one broker, keeping everything under control in one terminal, cannot do without Ninja Trader.