Forex Trading Platforms Comparison: MT4 vs MT5 vs CTrader

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Forex Trading Platforms

The forex marketplace is incredibly vast but nonetheless open to small investors and retail traders. If you trade in the forex markets, you would have heard of the many platforms available for forex trading.

This article discusses comparisons between three of the most commonly-used forex trading platforms: MT4, MT5 and CTrader.

What are MT4 and MT5?

MT4 and MT5 are trading platforms developed by MetaQuotes. The MetaTrader 5 (MT5) is essentially the successor to the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform. 

However, MT4 is solidly rooted in the online trading world as the go-to platform. MT5 has only been slowly adopted by Forex and CFD brokers recently.

For the most part, MT4 is widely considered the industry standard, although there are indications that MT5 could soon take over its throne as interest in the platform has recently spiked. 

Key Features of MT4 and MT5

  • MT4 and MT5 support multiple languages due to the widespread popularity of MT4, which makes it more accessible for non-English speakers.
  • Both platforms deliver excellent visualisation of market data, which traders can select based on their preferences.
  • Both platforms support algorithmic trading through expert advisors (EA). As such, trade execution can be automated, and the parameters can be configured based on the trader’s preferences. 
  • Both platforms are highly customisable and allow brokers and users to incorporate their own required tools, markets and indicators.
  • They both provide clear chat links between the trader and broker, thus giving traders access to convenient support for different trading order tips.

What is cTrader?

First released in April 2011, cTrader is a forex trading platform that employs a traders-first approach and is owned by Spotware. It is used by brokers like FxPro, Pepperstone and Varianse and gained popularity over the last decade amongst retail traders.

Key Features of cTrader

  • cTrader boasts a comprehensive assessment of market depth with three distinct views, namely: Standard depth, Price depth, and VWAP depth. These state-of-the-art market depth functionalities help traders to closely track market liquidity for different price points.
  • cTrader offers a unique algorithmic trading tool called cAlgo that allows traders to program robots to execute trades, create custom indicators, and perform strategies to backtest on historical data.
  • Generally, cTrader allows for three chart modes – single-chart, multi-chart and free-chart. These chart modes allow traders to customise how they want to view their charts, based on their preferences.
  • The cTrader platform also offers a wide array of timeframe options, and indicators like Moving averages, MACD, and Bollinger to analyse market data.

A Feature Comparison of MT4 vs MT5 vs CTrader

User Interfaces

MT4 and MT5 are similar in terms of design, with four charts taking up the majority of the screen. However, MT4 was specifically designed for forex trading, while MT5 supports other asset classes such as stocks. 

On the other hand, cTrader has only one chart in the centre, which leaves enough space for trading instruments and other unique features. In contrast, cTrader has a smoother, uncluttered and intuitive interface which makes for a better user experience. 

better user experience
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Programming languages

In terms of programming languages, MT4 and MT5 use MQL4 and MQL5 respectively, which are MetaQuotes Languages. However, it’s worth noting that MT5 is a 64-bit program, while MT4 was created for 32-bit computers.

On the other hand, cTrader employs the C# language, which suits automated trading, and the various scripts and indicators used in forex trading.

Auto-Trading Support

MT4 and MT5 offer Expert Advisors for auto-trading, which are easy to use and highly customisable.

cTrader’s cAlgo tool provides similar capabilities, however, MT4 and MT5 are widely believed to have the best in class support functions for their auto-trading tools, with a larger online community than cTrader.

Market Depth Capabilities

Analysing market depth is vital for traders as it enables them to assess liquidity and enter specific trades at precise price points. 

cTrader offers three alternatives for market depth assessment (standard depth, price depth, and VWAP depth), while MT4 only offers one market depth feature. 

Trading Instruments and Research Tools

Traders may use financial tools and features to conduct research to keep abreast of price movements.

MT4 was originally designed for forex traders, so it can only accommodate approximately 1,000 financial instruments.

On the other hand, cTrader does not impose such limits on the number of products and financial instruments a user can incorporate.

Bottom line

All things considered, MT4, MT5 and cTrader have their own strengths. MT4 and MT5 are known for their simplicity, flexibility and use of Expert Advisors. On the other hand,  cTrader is well-loved for its excellent user interface, intricate functionalities like market depth, multiple indicators and timeframes.

Overall, the choice of the platform still comes down to personal preference as they all boast sufficient features any trader would need.

The article is a part of our comprehensive series on “What Is Forex Trading: A Complete Guide

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