The MetaTrader trading platforms have become the most popular trading platforms for forex and CFD traders around the world.
The two platforms, MetaTrader4 and Metatrader5, are very similar, however, there are a few key differences between the two.
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The first thing to be aware of is that MT5 is an entirely new platform, rather than an upgrade to MT4. The first platform, MT4 was released in 2005 and was built specifically for forex traders. The architecture was designed to handle positions and orders in a certain way.
The platform became very popular and it became clear that there was demand from stock traders for a similar platform. However, MT4’s position handling didn’t comply with trading regulations on some stock exchanges. MT5 was therefore created using a different position and order handling system to comply with these rules. At the same time, a lot of other features were added to the platform.
Besides the fundamental difference between the two platforms, a lot of additional features were added to MT5. While MT4 has four types of pending orders available, MT5 introduces 2 additional pending order types. These allow limits to be placed on conditional orders. This gives you more control over stop-loss orders.
MT5 has 21 different timeframes, compared to MT4’s 9 timeframes. The 9 timeframes included with MT4 are fairly standard. MT5 adds 2,3,4,6, 10, and 20-minutes charts and 2, 3, and 6-hour charts. MT5’s strategy backtesting is far more advanced. It is multithreaded, which means multiple simulations can be run simultaneously. For anyone creating automated strategies, this is a major advantage. Tick data and 1-minute data is also handled differently. With MT4 you need to download this data manually. In MT5, it downloads and updates automatically. Time and sales data can be accessed on MT5 which is relevant to stock traders.
Although MT4 includes most of the standard indicators you would need, MT5 includes 8 additional indicators. This is not an important difference as any indicator you need can be downloaded and added to either platform. MT5 also introduces several new analytical objects to identify cycles and trends. Perhaps the biggest difference besides order and position handling is that MT5 can easily be used to trade multiple asset classes, with multiple accounts, using more than one currency. MT5 also allows you to set up more than one trading account and then transfer cash from one account to the other.
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If you are wondering which platform is better, or best suited to your needs, the answer is probably MT5 – but not always. MT4 is the better bet if you are certain you will only be trading forex and CFDs, and you want to keep things very simple. It is a simpler platform and easier to get to grips with.
If you trade stocks or more than one asset class, MT5 is definitely the right platform for you. If you are unsure, MT5 is also your best bet. You wouldn’t want to learn to use MT4 and then find you want to trade stocks and need to learn MT5 too. The learning curve is slightly steeper for MT5, but you will have more options and more functionality at your disposal.
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