In the fast-paced world of financial trading, the choice of trading platform can significantly impact a trader's overall performance and experience. This article delves into a detailed comparison of MT4, MT5, TickTrader, and TradingView. We dive deep into specific areas, from user interface and execution to backtesting and availability. By the end, you may have a well-rounded overview of the best forex trading platform suited to your specific trading needs.
Trading Platforms: Overview
Trading platforms are the backbone of modern financial markets, providing the necessary infrastructure for market access and trade execution. They serve as a critical link between traders and the markets, offering real-time data, charting tools, and execution capabilities.
The platforms we’re focusing on today are:
- MetaTrader 4 (MT4): The world's most popular trading platform, favoured for its ease of use.
- MetaTrader 5 (MT5): An upgraded version of MT4, offering advanced features while maintaining MT4's accessible interface.
- TickTrader: A highly customisable platform offering 1,200+ trading tools, advanced order types, and Level 2 pricing.
- TradingView: An all-in-one platform boasting advanced technical analysis tools, screeners, and fundamental data from global exchanges.
This comparative analysis of MT4, MT5, TickTrader, and TradingView functionalities aims to offer an in-depth examination of these platforms in key areas, such as:
- User interface
- Technical analysis tools
- Trading and execution capabilities
- Strategy development
This analysis provides traders with a comprehensive understanding of each platform's strengths and weaknesses, aiding them in choosing the one that best aligns with their strategies and goals. Ready? Let’s get started.
User Interface and User Experience
A trading platform's user interface and experience are massive deciding factors for many traders. So, how do each of these platforms stack up?
MetaTrader 4, established in 2005, may seem dated compared to its contemporaries, yet it stands out with a highly customisable interface and custom charting capabilities. Renowned for its simplicity and ease of use, MT4 caters to both new and experienced traders. It offers alerts, where traders can set notifications for specific bid/ask price levels or at a specific time that can be delivered via email, text, or notifications on the MT4 app.
It also provides access to thousands of third-party signals through its community. This feature allows traders to view and subscribe to signals directly within the platform, with the option to execute trades with specific stop-loss and take-profit levels automatically. However, MT4 does have its limitations, notably the absence of an integrated economic calendar, which many traders rely on for planning and strategy.
Launched in 2010, MetaTrader 5 (MT5) builds upon the familiar and simplistic layout of its predecessor, MT4, but introduces a cleaner interface with additional features. MT5 retains the same alert functionality as MT4, with the added capability to receive alerts when trading volumes exceed specific thresholds.
MT5 also mirrors MT4's signals system, with the significant enhancement of incorporating the MQL5 programming language. This addition opens the door to more complex and sophisticated trading strategies, which might not be feasible with MT4's capabilities. Moreover, addressing a notable gap in MT4, MT5 includes an integrated economic calendar, providing traders with crucial market-related events and news directly within the platform.
TickTrader, introduced in 2021 by FXOpen, draws parallels to MT5 in style but with enhanced functionality and customizability. For example, its comprehensive alert system is notably more extensive than its counterparts. This system can notify users of events ranging from position status changes and price movements to economic news releases and specific indicator fluctuations. These alerts can be received within TickTrader, through its mobile app, via email, or even on Telegram.
Although trading signals are not currently available on TickTrader, this feature is on the horizon. Another area where TickTrader excels is its economic calendar, which surpasses MT5's offering. It provides not only an economic calendar but also integrates additional resources like upcoming dividends, earnings reports, and IPO schedules.
TradingView, launched in 2011, has rapidly become a favourite among traders and investors, attracting over 30 million users monthly with its versatile and intuitive chart-focused interface. While its alert system may not match the comprehensiveness of TickTrader, TradingView offers advanced price alerts, like notifications for prices entering or leaving a specific channel. Additionally, it provides alerts for indicators, strategies, and even specific drawing tools on charts. These notifications can be delivered through email, the TradingView app, or desktop alerts.
Unlike MT4 and MT5, TradingView doesn’t host dedicated signal providers that generate trade instructions or automatically buy and sell for you. Instead, traders can manually set up alerts on indicators or strategies for notifications to enter/exit a trade. Notably, these alerts can be used to trigger a request to an external URL for automatic trade execution.
TradingView’s economic calendar is both detailed and user-friendly. While it covers a wide range of economic events, it doesn’t include the more stock-oriented features found in TickTrader, such as information on dividends, earnings, and IPOs.
Charting and Technical Analysis Tools
Now, let’s compare the charts and indicators on MT4, MT5, TickTrader, and TradingView.
MT4, being the oldest in this lineup, offers a fundamental but sufficient range of charting and technical analysis tools. It includes 30 built-in indicators, 24 drawing tools, and 9 timeframes. It also offers tick charts, though its functionality is relatively limited.
Notably, over 2,000 custom indicators have been developed using the MQL4 programming language. This extensive library, created by the MT4 user community, provides traders with a wealth of options they can explore.
MT5 enhances the charting and analysis capabilities found in MT4, offering a richer selection of tools for traders. It includes 38 native indicators, 46 drawing tools, and support for 21 different timeframes, ranging from 1 minute to 1 month. Tick charts are present in MT5, which are slightly more advanced than in MT4’s. Chart customisation in MT5 is also more advanced than MT4, offering additional flexibility for traders to tailor their charting environment.
MT5 also leverages the MQL5 programming language, a more sophisticated version of its predecessor, MQL4. This allows for the creation of more complex indicators and strategies, with several thousand third-party tools available for traders to choose from.
TickTrader, with its impressive array of over 1,200 trading tools, stands out for its extensive range of built-in indicators and drawing tools. There’s even a handy heat map and pulse feature, which provides an at-a-glance overview of the markets. Moreover, TickTrader beats others in timeframe flexibility, offering ranges from as short as 1 second to as long as 1 month and boasting detailed tick charts.
The platform also boasts advanced chart customisation capabilities similar to MT5, but it distinguishes itself with a clearer, more user-friendly layout. Another notable aspect is its support for the C# programming language, enabling the development of custom indicators. While TickTrader may not have the extensive community-driven indicator development seen in platforms like MT4 and MT5, numerous C# indicators available online in libraries can be adapted for use in TickTrader.
TradingView, celebrated for its user-friendly and highly customisable Supercharts, provides an extensive array of analytical tools. It caters to a broad spectrum of traders with over 400 built-in indicators, more than 100,000 community-built indicators, and 110 drawing tools. The platform supports over 20 timeframes, although seconds-based periods are exclusive to paid subscribers. It also includes versatile screeners for various asset classes, allowing users to filter through numerous assets based on specific criteria.
A unique feature of TradingView is Pine Script, its native scripting language, enabling the development of a vast range of custom-built indicators on the platform. In comparing technical analysis on MT4, MT5, TickTrader, and TradingView, TradingView stands out with the most comprehensive selection of tools. However, this vast selection might overwhelm new FXOpen traders, potentially presenting a steeper learning curve than other platforms.
Trading and Execution
Trading and execution differ between these platforms. You’ll find our supported markets on MT4, MT5, TickTrader, and TradingView below, alongside the order and account types on offer for our clients.
At FXOpen, we support all asset classes across each trading platform: forex, stocks, indices, commodities, and cryptos. However, you’ll need to be classified as a professional client to trade cryptocurrencies in the UK and Australia. Also, cryptocurrency trading isn’t available on the TradingView platform.
When it comes to order types, MT4 and MT5 are the most limited, offering market, stop, and limit (with Good-Till-Cancelled (GTC) and Good-Till-Day (GTD) functionality) orders.
TickTrader, in stark contrast, boasts a broad range of order types and execution styles:
- Slippage control for market orders
- Slippage control for stop orders
- Limit GTC/GTD
- Immediate or Cancel Order (IOC)
- One-Cancels-the-Other (OCO)
- One-Triggers-Another (OTA)
- Ladder of the Orders
Lastly, TradingView is slightly more advanced than MT4 and MT5, providing market, stop, limit GTC/GTD and stop-limit orders.
Across all platforms, we offer both gross and net accounts. The only exception is MT4, where net accounts are unavailable.
In a net account, all positions in the same asset are consolidated into a single net position. On the other hand, a gross account maintains each trade independently, allowing for multiple positions on the same asset to exist, each with its own individual profit and loss.
Backtesting and Strategy Development
Algorithmic backtesting and strategy development, while not essential for all traders, can be an exceptionally useful process. While each platform possesses advanced backtesting and development capabilities, they vary in their approaches.
MT4 supports the development of Expert Advisors (EAs) using the MQL4 programming language. EAs are automated trading algorithms that execute trades on behalf of traders based on specified criteria. These tools allow for both automated trading and backtesting.
MT4 features a built-in Strategy Tester, which provides backtesting for these EAs against historical data. Through the Strategy Tester, traders can simulate their EAs over past market conditions, gaining feedback on the strategy's performance, potential risks, and profitability. It’s worth noting that MT4 suffers from some software limitations, meaning it may be slower and less reliable than newer platforms.
MetaTrader 5 (MT5) enhances the backtesting and strategy development features familiar to users of MT4, with several notable improvements. For instance, more advanced strategies can be developed with MQL5 vs MQL4. It also has the ability to automatically load historical data for testing and offers diverse testing modes, including 'Every Tick' for detailed analysis and 'Walk Forward Analysis' for strategy validation.
Additionally, MT5 comes equipped with built-in debugging tools for troubleshooting strategies and supports third-party strategy-building tools. There’s even real-world trading simulation with random or fixed execution delays, mimicking network lags experienced in live trading.
TickTrader's backtesting and strategy development capabilities resemble those of MT5 but with its unique features. Expert Advisors (EAs) in TickTrader can be developed using C#, a powerful and versatile programming language, and can be easily tested through the platform's Backtester feature. This tool offers various options to simulate live trading conditions realistically alongside fast analysis.
A significant advantage of TickTrader's Backtester is its ability to automatically access extensive historical data for a wide range of assets, some going as far back as 1999, with many different timeframes on offer. Moreover, TickTrader provides a comprehensive suite of backtesting metrics, offering traders deep insights into the performance and effectiveness of their strategies.
Note that backtesting isn’t available for FXOpen EU and AU clients.
TradingView stands out with its comprehensive strategy tester, which allows traders to create their own strategies using Pine Script and explore numerous community-developed strategies. This backtesting feature is notably user-friendly and clearly visualises strategy performance. However, the extent of data available for backtesting is limited for free users. Full access to extensive historical data, crucial for in-depth analysis, is reserved for Premium subscribers.
Additionally, TradingView accommodates manual backtesting through its Bar Replay function, allowing traders to test strategies manually on historical price charts. This feature is useful for traders without the skills to code their strategy.
Each platform here is available on a wide range of devices:
- MT4: Windows, macOS, Web, iOS, Android
- MT5: Windows, macOS, Web, iOS, Android
- TickTrader: Windows, Web, iOS, Android
- TradingView: Windows, macOS, Linux, Web. iOS and Android versions are coming soon.
The Bottom Line
This analysis has hopefully given you a clearer idea of which platform is best for your trading style and needs. Each has its unique strengths and features, meaning it’s a good idea to perform a trial run before making a final decision. To explore the advantages and disadvantages of MT4, MT5, TickTrader, and TradingView firsthand, you can open an FXOpen account. This step will enable you to fully experience their functionalities and settle on your ideal trading platform. Happy trading!
This article represents the opinion of the Companies operating under the FXOpen brand only. It is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation with respect to products and services provided by the Companies operating under the FXOpen brand, nor is it to be considered financial advice.