cTrader vs MetaTrader 4 Introduction
Which trading platform is best; cTrader vs MetaTrader 4. It’s an essential question which has been on the mind of many forex traders. Figuring out which trading platform is the better of cTrader versus MetaTrader 4 is an age-old question that has plagued the forex community for years. Both platforms have their advocates and dedicated users whose opinion you will never be able to change.
Things got even more complicated recently when the MetaTrader 5 platform came into play. We recently looked at MetaTrader 5 in a previous post comparing cTrader vs MetaTrader 5, focusing on the platform from a manual traders perspective. Let’s dive in and explore the difference between cTrader vs MT4.
A Brief History of MetaTrader 4
To start this article comparing MetaTrader 4 versus cTrader, we will introduce MT4. If you are completely new to cTrader, check this cTrader Review first.
MetaTrader 4 is the fourth generation of the trading platforms developed by MetaQuotes Software. The market well received the first few trading platforms built by MetaQuotes. This positive reception was because they were functional, reliable and inexpensive in comparison to other options available in the early 2000s. However, it was MT4 that took the forex trading world by storm. The platform made it easy and relatively cheap to launch a forex brokerage. The notion of cheap is in the context of the tremendous amount of revenue that could be earnt. Because MT4 was attractive to brokers, they made it attractive to traders.
How did MetaTrader 4 Become so Popular
At the time, the conditions were perfect for MT4 to rise to success. The regulation was much looser than it is now. There was a lack of competition on the market and building a platform in-house can cost millions and take years. Online marketing was new and inexpensive. The world was transforming into a digital era. Everyone started to become connected via the internet on their notebooks and smartphones. There are billions of people, and everyone is out to make a quick buck. MT4 was a good platform, and in a lot of respects, it still is. One of the primary reasons MT4 became the de facto standard for forex brokers is, in our opinion, right time, right place.
Introduction to MetaTrader 4
No one can argue that MT4 was ahead of its time. It was light and worked well on the average person’s desktop. The platform was first released in 2005 and eventually discontinued in 2018. It has enough of everything to satisfy almost any manual trader. When it was first released, it was available on Windows desktop. By the end, the platform was available for Mac, web browsers, iOS and Android. The ability for traders to extend the capabilities of the platform helped it to take off. The platform offered MQL4, also known as MetaQuotes Language version 4. This language is for building custom indicators and trading robots known as Expert Advisors. MetaQuotes also introduced several initiatives that helped create an active community of traders, the main ones being a forum and a marketplace. Over the years, many platforms have tried to compete; the only one still here and thriving today is cTrader.
The Comparison: cTrader vs MT4
Let’s take a good look and compare the two trading platforms in some crucial areas of forex trading. Neither platform can be entirely summed up in one article. They both offer automated trading features which are an entire subject in itself. For this article, we look mainly at manual trading features. Let’s see which is better, cTrader vs MetaTrader 4.
Availability and Accessibility
One of the areas where MetaTrader 4 triumphed over cTrader was availability and accessibility. There is and probably always will be far more brokers offering the MT4 platform. While sources vary and an exact figure is hard to come by, the number is understood to be around 1,200 brokers offering MT4. Whereas, according to our complete list of cTrader brokers, there are just over 40 cTrader brokers.
Presently, there is no difference between MT4 and cTrader in terms of operating systems that the platforms work. Until recently MetaTrader 4 had a native version for macOS. Unfortunately, an update from Apple broke compatibility. It’s also possible to run MT4 on Linux systems using solutions like WINE. For Mac users on both MT4 and cTrader, they are pushed to use web-based versions of the trading platforms or find other compromises. While some workarounds exist, it’s never the same as native experience.
Interface and Tools
Everyone should be able to agree that cTrader prevails as the most stylish trading platform. Besides just looking good, user experience is significant. cTrader comes with a lot of advantages in this area. cTrader offers light and dark themes, customizable chart backgrounds, different layout options and a full-screen mode.
Moreover, the cTrader platform offers different font sizes, customizable hotkeys, changeable time zones and a whole bunch of other options that let you customize the behaviour of the platform depending on how you click and where. MetaTrader 4, on the other hand, is rather rigid in terms of customization. The design feels old and almost offensive. Customizing the workspace has a lot of limitations and doesn’t touch on many of the areas where cTrader does.
In terms of what the charts can and can’t do, both platforms pretty much match up. They both allow you to add and remove elements, customize colours, zoom in and out etc. What sets the two platforms apart is the number of indicators, chart types and timeframes available. cTrader offers a whopping 8 different chart types, these are Bar Charts, Candlesticks, Dot Charts, Heikin Ashi, HLC Chart, Line Chart, Renko, Range Bars. It’s worth noting that MT4 does have a few other objects available such as Fibonacci Arcs and Timezones. See the table below for a comparison.
cTrader is an advanced trading platform with a big focus on catering to manual traders. The platform offers a wide range of advanced order types while MetaTrader 4 offers only basic order types which are Market Orders, Stop Orders and Limit Orders. Whereas cTrader offers more advanced combinations which are Market Range Orders and Stop-Limit Orders. Additionally, cTrader gives options to choose the trigger side on Stop Orders, including Stop Losses. This setting allows you to select the Bid or Ask or the second Bid or Ask price, regardless of your order direction.
Another significant advantage of cTrader is that you can enter your Take Profit and Stop Loss levels for Market Orders. On MT4 this can only be done the pending orders. Also, cTrader has advanced protection settings which let you scale out of positions at certain levels and move your Stop Loss to the break-even point.
MetaTrader 4 indeed owns the automated trading community. One of the toughest areas for cTrader to penetrate was the EA community which was already well established before cTrader came to the market. Over the years, cTrader has extended the scope of their API, thus broadening what’s possible for robot developers. While there are many consultants and custom indicators available for cTrader, it’s nothing compared to MT4.
One big difference between the two platforms is that cTrader has a lot of interactive and tradable elements. The position watch area is actionable, letting you modify and close your positions and orders with a single click. The Marketwatch section is also tradeable, allowing you to select a volume and buy or sell. The Depth of Market ladders is also tradable. Chart Trading is another area that makes cTrader a fantastic platform. You can manage your positions, orders and price alerts just by dragging and dropping elements on the charts. On MT4, you can only create new orders from the Order Form and quick trading buttons on the charts which are open. This configuration makes it less easy to react to fast-moving markets.
Conclusion: cTrader vs MetaTrader 4
cTrader, as a trading platform, does have traders safety in mind. There are so many features that carefully thought through and designed to help manage risks. There are so many tooltips, risk calculators, alerts and much more. The general feeling you get is that this is a platform built for traders. We’ve been trading on cTrader for many years and what we have seen is staggering. It’s evolved from something good to something amazing. If you are a manual trader who needs a robust charting package and an interface that allows you to be agile, then cTrader is the right direction to go.
If you are new to Forex trading, then it’s not worth your time to learn MT4 since the platform is nearing its imminent death. cTrader is much more friendly to new traders as well. If you are being pushed toward MT5 by your broker or just considering ditching MT4, it’s certainly worth giving cTrader shot before making any decision.