Metatrader is a kind of software that connects to the different trading platforms and allows to trade in them through a computer or smart phone. In other words, Metatrader is the link between the two. That is why this software is mostly used by Forex traders who have an opportunity to choose the broker with which they wish to trade, as long as it is compatible with the Forex platform.
In this way, and in case it is not compatible, Metatrader acts as a bridge that will allow you to trade with the broker of your choice within the same platform.
Metatrader today, has two versions: MT4 and MT5, which were created by MetaQuotes Software Corporation in 2005 (Metatrader 4) and 2010 (Metatrader 5). This company is of Russian origin and is a leader in the financial software market.
Why use Metatrader to trade?
The first thing you should know about Metatrader is that it is a free and lightweight software, which you can download directly from its official website and allow you to perform operations quickly, which is considered a great advantage when operating in volatile markets.
This platform allows you to configure stop loss, market, pending and trailing stop orders to maximize profits.
In addition, you can make use of the EA (Expert Advisors), who will trade for you automatically using the best investment strategies. Finally, it offers you a transaction history where you can see all the movements you have made previously and the positions you have opened to help you generate more effective strategies for your future transactions.
Metatrader is ideal for Forex traders who wish to take advantage of market fluctuations through speculation and opening up of opposite positions. With both versions you can trade bonds, stocks, indexes, metals, commodities or financial derivatives such as:
- CFDs (Contracts for difference)
What is Metatrader 4 about?
MT4 has remained the most popular e-commerce platform among Forex users for approximately ten years. Its mobility, multiple features and security has made it a classic for all users who trade day after day in this market.
This first version uses a MetaQuotes language (MQL). This is a sequence of commands that is incorporated into the platform to implement specific exchange strategies, facilitate automatic trading and analyze information.
Additionally, the MQL4 has various functions such as:
The Expert Advisors are automated trading systems also known as commercial robots. These will analyze and make the negotiations in the system during a real-time event or a previously planned event. With the EAs you can create your own applications, use them, upload them to a code library or sell them in the Metatrader Market.
Custom Indicators are indicators that you can create on your own thanks to the MetaEditor embedded in the software, in addition to the 30 indicators that are already incorporated. With them you can analyze the commercial situations of the market and use them in your favor.
Scripts or scripts are responsible for handling operations at the beginning of an event. However, it is important that you keep in mind that it does not allow any other simultaneous operation. In addition, these scripts will help you calculate possible risks, as well as manage operations, export and import data and create orders in closed markets.
In them you can store the custom functions and blocks that you use frequently in your user program.
Metatrader 4 vs. Metatrader 5
5 years later, MetaQuotes incorporated the Metatrader 5 (MT5) into the market. In 2018, the company saw a massive increase in the trading of shares and commodities, so they designed a new software capable of adjusting to that new market that was about to explode.
Its main objective was to offer new functions and improve some existing ones of the previous version (MT4). Among its main differences is the MetaQuotes language, where Metatrader 5 uses MQL5 and Metatrader 4 uses MQL4. Additionally, in MT5 an additional type of execution was added together with two types of pending orders, more advanced graphics and better analytical tools.
MT5 also has an integrated fundamental calendar, offers exclusive indicators and has a black box for programming, which makes them a much simpler experience.
While it is true that both versions are not extremely different, we have created a comparative table for you to choose the one that best suits your objectives:
|Programming language used||MQL4||MQL5|
|Number of orders executed||3||4|
|Number of pending orders||4||6|
|Ease of use and navigation||Very easy||Somewhat difficult|
|Number of indicators||30||38|
|Availability in brokers||Very high||Not so high|
So, what is the verdict?
When talking about Metatrader 4 and Metatrader 5, one thinks that one of them overcomes the other, when this is not entirely true. The reality is that, although Metatrader 5 is the latest version of the software and offers new and more analysis tools and services, Metatrader 4 still tops the list of the most popular, but... Why is this happening?
The first reason is that both versions are not compatible with each other, due to the different encoding that each platform has. This means that if you thought about writing again your MQL4 code in the MQL5 it would be very expensive and exhausting. So users who already use MT4, prefer to stay with it, because they know the easy operation of the platform and that it has not depreciated at all.
To make matters worse, Metatrader 4 is available to most Forex brokers, while the MT5 is not as popular yet.
However, this does not mean that the Metatrader 5 has nothing to offer, on the contrary... MT5 allows you to test strategies with different currencies, while at the same time allowing higher speed optimizations to configure your Expert Advisors (EAs).
As we mentioned before, both platforms are very similar even in their design, so the use of MT4 or MT5 will depend on the user's objective.
The most advisable thing would be to decide what kind of tools you intend to use, as well as the EAs, indicators, scripts, libraries and the available markets in each one of them, since this can make the difference. MT4 has proven useful for both beginners and experts, but if you want to explore with more complex strategies, you should probably follow the path of MT5.
We hope you found this article helpful. Please don't hesitate to share our questions or ideas in the comment section.
In addition, we want to invite you to be part of Libertex, where we have both platforms (MT4 and MT5) and where you can create a free demo account to start trading with Metatrader right away. You won't lose anything if you try! We also offer you our free lessons so you can learn how to do it effectively.