Get to know the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 Trading Platforms
Every forex trader must have heard the name of the MetaTrader trading platform, be it MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5. Why not, all forex brokers carry the MetaTrader platform as the main online trading tool. However, do you know who created MetaTrader, what is the difference between MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5, and what are the advantages that make it popular with traders in various countries? This article will introduce you to this most popular trading platform in more depth.
The MetaTrader 4 trading platform was developed by the Russian-based company MetaQuotes Software and was first launched in 2005. This software is offered by MetaQuotes to forex brokers to facilitate online forex trading with the latest technology. Forex traders can use MetaTrader for free, but brokers must pay a license to MetaQuotes to make it available to traders.
Previously, MetaQuotes had released several versions of MetaTrader since 2002, but they tended to be considered failed products. The new warm welcome received by MetaTrader 4 is favored by traders because it allows the installation of trading robots and the use of technical indicators more easily and intuitively with the MQL4 programming language. Traders can watch price movements in real-time, apply technical analysis, as well as Buy/, Sell orders and monitor transaction history on one screen.
For brokers, the MetaTrader 4 platform which has six integrated components (Server, Client, Data Center, Administrator, Manager, Mobile) also makes IT department performance easier. During 2007-2010, the number of top forex brokers who adopted MetaTrader 4 continued to grow until this platform became the number one online trading software with the largest number of users worldwide.
Over time, MetaQuotes felt that MetaTrader 4 was too “outdated” and had difficulty accommodating the new features traders needed. Therefore, MetaQuotes started developing the MetaTrader 5 trading platform in 2009. Real accounts based on the MetaTrader 5 trading platform were launched in September 2010.
An example of the appearance of MetaTrader 5, the “sister” of MetaTrader 4:
At the very beginning of the release of MetaTrader 5, traders balked at this trading platform. The problem is, even though it looks similar to MetaTrader 4 and even has more advanced technology, it has two drawbacks:
- The earliest versions of MetaTrader 5 implemented the FIFO (First In, First Out) rules. The real purpose of MetaQuotes is to comply with United States rules that prohibit hedging techniques in a single account. However, the result is that this platform is rejected by the majority of traders from various regions.
- MetaTrader 5 uses a different programming language from MetaTrader 4, namely MQL5. As a result, traders are reluctant to switch to MetaTrader 5 because they have to rewrite the trading robot or expert advisor that they already rely on.
Responding to these criticisms, MetaQuotes finally revised the FIFO rules, so that each broker can set for themselves whether to apply FIFO (prohibiting hedging) or not applying it (allowing hedging). Subsequently, starting from build 600, MQL4 and MQL5 can be used to perform the same MetaEditor, thus helping a smoother transition for traders from MetaTrader 4 to MetaTrader 5.
Finally, in January 2018, MetaQuotes announced it had stopped selling licenses and updated new functionality on MetaTrader 4. Since then, many forex brokers have only allowed the opening of new accounts on MetaTrader 5, although MetaTrader 4 is still allowed for existing traders.
MetaTrader Trading Platform Functions
The MetaTrader platform is liked by many people because of its complete functionality, and it is available in various versions ranging from desktop (Windows and macOS), web trader, to applications (Android and iPhone). In general, the Client terminal on MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 has five sections with the following functions:
- Menu Bar and Shortcuts: The very top of the MetaTrader platform contains the Menu Bar and various Shortcuts. Here traders can access various options for modifying the platform window ( View ); inserting technical indicators or other tools above the price chart ( Insert ); change the chart type to line, bar, or candlestick ( Charts ); create Buy/Sell orders and modify or test trading robots ( Tools ); increase and decrease the number of graphic windows, or rearrange the window formation ( Window ); and get a guide on how to use Metatrader ( Help). Shortcut options are provided to speed up access, but actually include features already available on the Menu Bar. For example, to display the Buy/Sell order form more quickly, a trader simply clicks the “New Order” button in the shortcut row.
- Price Chart Fields: The default price chart setting is black, but you can modify it by right-clicking on the top of the chart section. These modifications can include background color, timeframe type, chart type, Zoom In-Zoom Out, Depth of Market (DoM), and so on. To display a particular pair price chart, traders can click on one symbol pair in the Market Watch list, and drag and drop ( drag and drop ) on the graph area that is already open. If you want to put a certain technical indicator, just click “Insert” on the Menu Bar, then select what indicator you want.
- Market Watch: This section contains a list of pairs that you want to monitor daily. The default settings usually only include major pairs, but you may be able to add them by right-clicking on the Market Watch section and then clicking the “Symbols” option.
- Navigator: This section contains a description of your trading account (account number and account holder name), as well as various features that can be installed by drag and drop onto the price chart. Some examples of these features include technical indicators and trading robots that are already installed on the platform.
- Alert Folder, History, etc.: In this section, you can monitor how much balance you have left, how much profit or loss you got, how many trades were open, and how many trades were closed (account history). Every profit and loss has been calculated automatically into a certain US Dollar value, so you don’t need to be confused about calculating it manually. In addition, you can get the latest market news, forex calendar, get messages (mails) in the form of the latest broker announcements, access the marketplace where trading signals are traded, and so on.
In short, the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 trading platforms are sophisticated software that allows traders to trade forex online. This software can be obtained from a forex broker after you open a demo or real trading account.
When you first open it, you may feel confused, so it’s better to try it on a demo account first. Click and drag each menu to experiment with its functionality. At least, try to display charts of various pairs and place orders. The guide can be obtained from the user guide available on the Help menu, watching MetaTrader videos from Youtube, consulting with fellow traders, or asking for instructions directly from the broker.