With the constant evolution of technology, trading platform developers have increasingly user-friendly programs for experts and beginner traders alike. Further, they’ve incorporated a breadth of features to facilitate easier trading. The choice of a trading platform thus boils down to the extra bells and whistles that set each platform apart from its competition. In this article, we will tackle the differences and resemblances between two popular platforms – MT4 and cTrader.
Developed by MetaQuotes in 2005, MT4 is a trading platform meant for forex trading. Though they’ve already released its successor, MT5, MT4 remains a popular choice among traders and brokers. You can download the platform and use it directly, but it is more commonly licensed out to brokers who then provide it to their clients. It can be used for trading on leverage, and it also supports automated, algorithmic trading. It has provisions for traders to create their own indicators and expert advisers and boasts a high degree of customization.
- Multiple languages: The platform is offered in multiple languages, which makes it accessible to traders all over the world.
- Charting: The platform offers a variety of chart types for traders to choose from according to their preferences.
- Expert Advisors (EAs): MT4 allows for the creation and implementation of automated programs that are capable of generating trade signals following a user-generated set of instructions and executing trades on their behalf.
- Customizability: The platform is highly customizable. From the tools they offer to the indicators and EAs, traders can easily customize them to suit their personal preferences.
- Support: MT4 provides for a direct line of communication between the broker and the trader, ensuring the trader always has access to support.
This is a forex trading platform that was developed by Cyprus’s Spotware Systems Ltd. It is best suited for use with the ECN and STP brokerage models and has since been adopted by popular ECN brokers such as Pepperstone. It shines most in its order execution and charting functionalities. cTrader’s user interface is also neat and easy to navigate for novices and experts alike. These are among the features that set this platform apart from its competition.
- Charts: The platform offers single, multi, and free chart modes that traders can choose from, depending on how they want to visualize the market.
- Market depth: Again, the platform gives traders a choice of viewing market depth on three levels – standard, price, and VWAP depth. With these, traders can find out the levels of liquidity at each price level, which can help in identifying opportune entries and exits.
- Algorithmic trading: cTrader also allows for automated trading using their algorithmic tool called cAlgo. It allows users to program their own trading robots using the C# language and .NET framework, build custom indicators, and perform strategy backtests.
- Indicators: The platform offers a large variety of indicators utilized by technical traders, in addition to more than 800 custom indicators.
- User Interface
cTrader was able to improve significantly on its interface, especially in areas where MT4 came short. Its interface is stylish and modern, allowing for smooth transitions between the numerous features it offers. cTrader also provides light and dark modes, customizable backgrounds, a full-screen option, and customizable layouts. You can also change your font on the platform, change time zones and customize your own hotkeys.
MT4, in contrast, does not allow for such a high degree of customization. Its outlook also seems rather traditional.
- Automated trading
MT4 allows for the creation of EAs using its native MQL4 language. These EAs are easily customizable, and since they are user-generated, easy to use. There are also tools to create robots without the need for programming. Further, due to its popularity, the platform’s online community is pretty large, which means traders can easily find support on the platform from other traders.
cTrader allows for the creation of forex robots (cBots) using its cAlgo tool. This tool allows for the creation of custom robots and indicators using the C# programming language. Since cTrader’s online community is not as large, it may be hard to find support on such functionalities.
- Market depth
When it comes to market depth, cTrader takes the crown. This is because they have provisions for their clients to view different levels of market depth, such as standard depth, price depth, and VWAP depth. Market depth is vital to traders as it shows the quantity of both buy and sell sides at each price point. This can be vital when identifying the ideal prices to enter or exit trades.
MT4, on the other hand, only offers one market depth feature. What’s more, since offering this feature would necessitate the use of third-party plugins, most brokers do not include this feature in their MT4 offering.
In this category, MT4 takes the crown. This is because the platform has been licensed out to more than a thousand brokers. This means that you can change brokers without necessarily having to change platforms.
cTrader, in contrast, is plenty popular among traders, but this popularity has not been replicated among brokers. There are less than 100 brokers who employ cTrader, and not all of them are licensed and regulated.
As far as charting platforms go, you would not be wrong to choose either MT4 or cTrader. The choice of the better indicator boils down to your personal preferences and your trading style. For instance, if you prioritize market depth, you’re better off choosing cTrader. Similarly, if your trading style involves extensive use of robots, MT4 would suit you best. Your choice of broker would also play a part in the platform you end up choosing because, as we have discussed, cTrader is not as widespread among brokers as its counterpart.
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