MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is an electronic trading platform widely used by retail traders online, especially in the fields of foreign exchange trading and cryptocurrency trading. It is not tied to any particular broker, so a trader wanting to use the MT4 for their trading can open accounts with one or more brokers from a broad list of brokers compatible with the MT4 platform.
The MetaTrader 4 platform has been around since 2005 and is one of the most well-known and popular trading platforms for retail currency trading online. In addition to being reliable and easy to use, it is also filled with trading data and valuable trading tools, and will also allow end-users to write and run their own trading scripts and robots for automated trading. It is also possible to utilize trading scrips and robots from third-party developers on the MT4 platform.
The MetaTrader 4 software consists of two main components: the server component and the client component. The server component is run by the broker, while the client component is used by the trader. You will therefore need to sign up with a broker and make a deposit before you can start using the MT4 platform for real-money trading.
- 1 One which devices can I trade when using the MT4?
- 2 Choosing a MetaTrader 4 (MT4) broker
- 3 Downloading and starting the MetaTrader 4 platform
- 4 Technical analysis and automated trading on the MT4
- 5 Questions and answers about the MT4
One which devices can I trade when using the MT4?
- You can trade directly in your web browser using the MT4 WebTrader on pretty much any device that can run a standard web browser.
- Downloadable software is available.
- Mobile MT4 apps for touch-screen devices are available for both iOS, Android and Windows mobile.
Which broker you select can limit what you get access to, so pay attention before you select a broker.
Choosing a MetaTrader 4 (MT4) broker
A wide range of online brokers are compatible with the famous trading platform MetaTrader 4 (MT4), so if you enjoy using this platform you have plenty of brokers to chose from and there is no need to stick with a broker that is less than optimal for you.
Using the right broker can have a huge impact on your long-term trading profitability, so spending some time and energy during the selection process is something we strongly encourage. It can be tempting to just go with the broker who happens to be running a cool ad campaign right now or the one all your friends are using, but it is much wiser to select one that suits your particular needs and preferences.
Below, we will take a look at a few aspects that are good to keep in mind when selecting a broker.
Your trading plan
For novice traders, spreading onelself too thin and doing a little bit of everything tends empty out even a substantial bankroll rather quickly. We suggest you do your homework, decide on a trading plan first and then select a broker suitable for that particular plan. This does not mean that you need or ought to be stuck with this plan for the rest of your life; only that it is better to make sustained profits on one thing before you start devoting head-space to the next.
Example: You decide to do USD/EUR daytrading and then pick a broker that offers great spreads and a great fee structure for exactly that. It doesn´t matter that this broker is awful for cryptocurrency trading, because you are not doing that. It doesn´t matter that this broker doesn´t even offer stock trading, because you are trading forex, not shares. It doesn´t matter that the overnight costs with this broker are high, because you have opted for day trading and will not be keeping positions open over night. Trying to find a broker that is reasonably okay at almost everything can prevent you from finding the broker that is optimal for your particular thing.
Important: If you eventually decide to venture into something else than your first trading plan, you might want to sign up with another broker for the second trading plan. A broker that is perfect for Trading Plan X may not be the best as you get started with Trading Plan Y, and so on. Since there are so many brokers that utilize the MT4 trading platform, you can have accounts with multiple brokers without having to learn the ins and outs of several trading platforms.
When it comes to trading in fast-moving markets, quick order execution can make the difference between a gain and a loss on a position. Therefore, it is generally advisable to go with a broker that has at least a decent execution speed. Your trading strategy will impact exactly how important this is, since some strategies rely more on quick execution than others.
Some brokers offer special trading accounts for brokers that need extra-fast execution speeds.
Deposits and withdrawals
The costs associated with deposits and withdrawals are easy to forget about when searching for a broker, but they can end up having a big impact on your profitability so we suggest you pay attention to them. Remember: every dollar you pay in transaction fees is not just a dollar lost, it is also a dollar that you could have invested instead – a dollar that could have made a profit.
- Is this broker offering deposits and withdrawals through a method that is affordable for you to use?
- Is the broker charging any fees on their end for deposits and/or withdrawals?
It is also important to select a broker that is accepting transaction methods that you feel comfortable about using online.
Last but not least, some brokers are accepting cryptocurrency transactions these days, so if this is something that would benefit you, go check them out.
When trying out a new broker, it can be nice to make a small deposit first to see how everything works out before you send over any larger amounts. Also, novice traders often want – or need – to start out with a small amount and build their bankroll gradually.
If any of this is applicable to you, make sure you check the minimum deposit requirements as you are comparing different brokers. Also, remember that sometimes the minimum deposit size will be tied to the type of trading account you want to open with the broker.
Today, there are brokers out there who accept deposits as small as 10 USD or even less for the first deposit, catering to the needs of nano-traders.
When it comes to costs, look at the whole picture
In many of the sections above, we have mentioned various costs. When you select a broker, it is important to take all the costs into account and see what it would cost you to carry out your particular trading strategy with this broker.
Broker A might be offering zero commissions, but what about the spreads for the currency pair you want to trade?
Broker B might have really tight spreads on USD/EUR, but is that the pair you plan on trading?
Broker C might seem great at first glance, but then proceed to nickel-and-dime a big hole in your bankroll through exuberant deposit fees, withdrawal fees, administration fees and a bunch of other small costs that adds up quickly.
It is also worth keeping in mind that some brokers charge wider spreads on third-party trading platforms (such as MT4 and MT5) than on their own proprietary trading platform. So, make sure the numbers you are comparing are for MT4 trading and not for something else.
It is advisable to select a broker that is regulated and licensed by a reputable authority.
Many traders also prefer to go with a broker that is legally present in their own country or region. Traders in the European Union may for instance prefer to select a broker that has a registered office within the European Union and holds a financial license from the appropriate national authority.
It is not unusual for larger brokers to run several subsidiaries in order to adhere to national and regional legal requirements in several different parts of the world.
Examples of authorities that have a good reputation among traders online are the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (CySEC), UK´s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).
Free play-money demo account
Today, many brokers will let you sign up for a free play-money demo account. This way, you can to play-money trading with them on the MT4 platform without risking any real money. It is a great way to see if you like the broker and the platform, and you can also play around and test out various tools and trading strategies without losing any real money. If you decide that you like the broker and the MT4, switching over to a real-money account and make your first deposit will be easy.
Generally speaking, serious and reputable brokers will be generous when it comes to letting you sign up for a demo account. They are confident in what they have to offer and will happily give you plenty of play-money and plenty of time to take a look for yourself.
Downloading and starting the MetaTrader 4 platform
If you want to download and install the MT4 platform on your computer, you can do it directly from MetaQuotes or use the link provided by your broker.
You download a zip file, open it on your computer and follow the step-by-step instructions.
Once you have gotten started, you can personalize the platform in various ways.
Technical analysis and automated trading on the MT4
The MT4 platform is highly suitable for technical analysis and automated trading.
If you are interested in technical analysis, you can find a wealth of trading data, charts and TA-tools within the platform.
The platform comes with a bunch of basic indicators included, but traders are also allowed, and encouraged, to use the internal programming language to program their own customized indicators, trading strategies and trading signals.
The platform has a built-in editor and compiler connected to a user-contributed free library of software, articles and help for anyone who wishes to learn more.
What are Expert Advisors?
At the MT4 and MT5 platforms, Expert Advisors are trading programs used for trading automation. In essence, Expert Advisors (Eas) are trading robots. If you don´t want to build your own, you can buy or rent one.
Does the MT4 permit algorithmic trading?
Yes, this platform allows and strongly support algorithmic trading.
Questions and answers about the MT4
Which trading orders can I use?
There are two main types of trading orders at the MT4 platform: Pending Orders and Market Orders.
A pending order will only be executed if the price reaches the pre-defined level. A market order works differently, and can be executed in one of four modes: instant execution, request execution, market execution, and exchange execution.
Is MT4 no longer available in the Apple App Store?
The MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms disappeared from the Apple App Store in September 2022, but returned again in March 2023. At the time of writing, both the MT4 and the MT5 platform can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.
Since MetaQuotes, the company behind MT4 and MT5, is a Russian corporation, the disappearance of the platforms from the App Store sparked rumours about the removal being connected to sanctions against Russia in the wake of the war in Ukraine. A representative of the company stated that the removal was instead caused by non-compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines. After making changes to the apps, both the MT4 and the MT5 iOS apps were returned to the App Store in March 2023.
Was MT4 removed from the Google Play Store too?
No, neither the MT4 nor the MT5 were removed from the Google Play Store.
How old is the MT4 platform?
The MT4 platform was launched in 2005, but has been upgraded many times since then.
The ancestor of the MT4 is the MetaTrader trading platform launched by MetaQuotes Software in 2002. After releasing several versions of this platform, the company unveiled the significantly enhanced MetaTrader 4 in 2005. It became a great success and helped boost interest in online retail trading. Soon, a wide range of online brokers were offering their clients MT4 trading and developers began creating third-party scripts and advisors for the MT4 platform.
The MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platform went into beta-testing in 2009 and was launched the following year. It did not displace the MT4, which remained highly popular. Instead, many brokers are now giving their clients access to both the MT4 and the MT5.