MT4 – Still the Gold Standard in Retail Online FX Trading
Released in 2005, MT4 was definitely not the first iteration of MetaQuotes’ MetaTrader suite, but it was the one that landed the brand at the top of the preferences of retail FX traders world-over.
Arguably, it had a major role in the popularization of online trading as a whole too.
These days, the majority of online brokerages offer MT4 as a platform option – if not THE platform option. Slowly but surely, being able to offer MT4 has become a sort of mark of legitimacy and professionalism for these brokers.
MT4 is made up of two components: a server-side one and a client-side one. The two are licensed out together to brokers. The client-side version of the software is what traders download and use for their needs.
The server-side component is run by the broker.
The client is a Windows-based app, which is easy to install and which has achieved great popularity on account of its features linked to customization.
Indeed, traders can create their own technical indicators on the platform, not to mention their own auto traders (called EAs – Expert Advisors) and custom scripts.
In 2010, MetaQuotes released MT5, which – although nominally MT4′ successor – was never really meant to replace the former, being aimed at a slightly different target category of traders. Long story short in this regard: MT4 is still the dominant force in online trading, to this day.
Obviously, since its launch, the platform has seen its fair share of updates and upgrades.
The proprietary scripting language (the coding language used for the above detailed customizations) used by MT4 is MQL4. For a while there, MQL4 fell behind its younger cousin (MQL5), but – as mentioned above – it has since been updated quite significantly. This is an important component of the success of the platform, since – as stated above – much of its popularity stems from its support of algorithmic trading.
Such an approach allows skilled traders to trade profitably in a hands-off manner. Needless to say, to put the full potential of EAs into play, one needs to make use of a reliable and fast VPS service.
In addition to the Server and Client Terminal versions, MT4 offers a number of other components too.
MT4 Mobile is one such component, also aimed at users. MT4 Administrator is used for the remote management of server settings, while MT4 Manager handles customer accounts.
The Data Center component is a clever little way to alleviate server load: it is an intermediary between the user and the server, as it is in effect a specialized proxy server.
The platform features two order types: market orders and pending orders. Of these two, Market Orders can be executed in 4 different ways: Market Execution, Instant Execution, Request Execution and Exchange Execution.
Pending Orders are obviously only executed when the asset price reaches a certain predefined level.
It has to be pointed out that with Market Execution, trades are executed at the broker’s price, even if they happen to be different from the displayed price.
Here’s a list of brokers that support the MT4 trading platform.
|Broker||Features||Min Deposit||EURUSD Spread|
|75% of clients lose money. Capital at risk. US Clients: Yes Regulated: Yes||
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