The two most widespread trading platforms used for Forex trading are MetaTrader 4 and Metatrader 5. Both platforms are developed by MetaQuotes Software Corporation and are available in desktop, mobile, and web versions. MetaTrader 4 (MT4), by far the most popular forex trading platform, was introduced back in 2005 while MetaTrader 5 (MT5) is dating from 2010. A common misinterpretation is that MT5 is a newer and more advanced version of MT4. Well, It is not true MT4 and MT5 are two different trading platforms. So, which platform is better? Which one should I use?
MT4 vs MT5 Comparison
MetaTrader 4 sets the standard for forex and CFD trading. It is simple to use and navigate and it very popular among the traders. It has 9 different time-frames. It offers 30 built-in technical indicators, 33 types of analytical objects two types of market orders, 4 types of pending orders and trail-stop function. You can create custom indicators and expert advisors in proprietary programming language MQL4. It is easy to learn as it’s syntax is taken from well-known programming language C. If you do not have any programming skills a very good user manual with lots of examples can be found at the official platform’s site.
MetaTrader 5 offers 38 built-in indicators and 44 analytical objects. It has 21 time-frames, DOM (Depth of Market) access, two types of market orders and six types of pending orders. It also has built-in an economic calendar with interesting features as event, forecast, and impact. MT5 uses proprietary programming language MQL5 to create custom indicators and expert advisors. Its syntax is taken from object-oriented language C++. Moreover, the execution is faster and it requires less run-time memory resources.
It important to understand that the program written in MQL4 will not work on the MT5 platform neither will MQL5 program work on MT4. MQL5 is easier to program and by its features, it is more advanced than MQL 4. Backtesting can be performed at higher speed and that can save you lots of time during the process. It also allows for multi-currency back-testing. On the other hand, since MT4 is a more popular platform there are more custom indicators and expert advisors available for that platform. Many commercial system and forex robots are only available for MT4.
MT5 released five years after MT4 was primarily designed to do some things that older platform was not able to do. It is more convenient for trading other instruments than forex, like stocks and commodities. The newer platform complies with the US “No hedging rule”. It states that US broker clients must trade on FIFO (First In First Out) basis. It means that if you have open multiple positions with the same trading instrument you must close them in the same order as they were opened. This feature is a reason why the newer platform is not as accepted since the traders that are not from the USA see it as a disadvantage.
Metaquotes provide technical support only for the MT5 platform. Both platforms use the same community page www.mql5.com. It is a place where you can connect with other users ask them questions, share experiences and find and purchase expert advisors, custom indicators and other utilities. You will see that MT4 has a larger user base.
It is important to know that if you open a trading account for one platform you will not be able to access that account with another platform. Overall there is not a big difference between the platforms since both will offer you a professional trading environment. So, the trading platform should be considered as a factor when you are choosing the broker but not as the most important one. You should care more about broker regulation, trading conditions (spread, commissions, swaps) and trading instrument portfolio.
Which one is better?
Both platforms will offer you a professional trading environment with an abundance of useful features. Both are available as desktop, web and mobile applications. Thought MT5 has more built-in functionalities I advise you to opt for MT4 since this platform is more popular and it has more custom indicators, expert advisors and add-ons in the market. You should consider using MT5 only if you need to comply with US regulations if you will spend a lot of time back-testing or you prefer to trade stocks and commodities over forex.