Released in 2004 by MetaQuotes Software, MT4 has become the standard platform for those first coming into trading and shows no signs of slowing down
Five years after the release of MT4, MetaQuotes released its successor, MT5. But it never reached the success of MT4 which continues to be popular to this day.
MT4 interest over time – Google Trends
So why is MT4 the world’s most popular trading platform? In this article we will look at 20 reasons why MT4 is, and will continue to be, the most used trading platform in the world.
1. Its Free
The first and simplest reason is that it is free to use and that includes market data! Brokers pay a licence to MetaQuotes to whitelabel the platform and then provide it to their customers.
Other trading platforms can cost anywhere from $20 a month to several hundred a month when combined with data packages.
2. It’s Easy To Learn And Intuitive Interface
MT4 is very easy for the novice trader to learn. Almost every basic function in MT4 can be accessed in multiple ways, meaning that new users can avoid the frustration of not finding the function they want.
In MT4, settings and functions are often duplicated in:
- The main Terminal menus
- In the toolbars (which are also customizable)
- Via contextual menu (right click on chart or element)
- Via shortcuts
3. Lots Of Support And Education Material
There is a load of free education and support to help you learn advanced features. You will not be short of step by step instructions both to getting started with MT4.
Past the basics there is also no shortage of quality information on how to make the best use of MT4, including resources like NothardTrading.com!
4. There Is Little Incentive To Upgrade
Metaquotes Software released a new version Metratrader, MT5, five years after the release of MT4. Despite heavily promoting it over MT4, there is little traction to move to the new version.
This is because there is little difference between the two in terms of basic functionality and indicators. Originally MT4 was designed for Forex, while MT5 was supposed to offer more assets to trade, such as stocks.
However you can now trade most asset classes in MT4 including stock indices, commodities and even crypto currencies. Individual stocks are mostly traded on MT5 but most retail traders are looking to trade indexes anyway.
Another big disincentive to upgrade is that your custom MT4 indicators are not compatible with MT5.
5. Multi Platform
MT4 is available as a desktop application or as an application in both the Android and Apple app stores.
A web trading platform is also available and is light enough to integrate into any website. Click the picture below to see a demo MT4 webtrader.
6. It Is Extremely Customizable
MT4 is hugely customizable to suit your needs or preferred trading styles. This can range from simply having charts the way you want them to customize the toolbars and layout of windows.
Not only is every element customizable but you can also easily switch between multiple setups with the use of templates and profiles.
Templates allow you to instantly change or overlay a custom setup on a chart and profiles allow you to quickly switch between sets of charts.
7. Built In Indicators and Chart Objects
All of the basic tools you would need are built into MT4. There are 30 built in indicators including the basics such as RSI and moving averages.
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There are also 25 drawing tools and objects which cover most basic users’ needs including basic trend and support lines and the popular Fibonacci Retracement.
8. Custom Indicators
Metatrader is programmable via the open source MQL4 programming language which means anyone can create custom indicators for MT4.
MT4 custom indicators are one of the most popular features of MT4 and there are many thousands of custom indicators available for MT4!
Indicators and scripts can rage from simple to complex and can turn MT4 into a very powerful trading platform.
These can be something as simple as a candle timer indicator or an addition of a technical indicator not available by default such as Keltner Channel.
At the higher end these can be even more powerful tools such as a correlation matrix or trade terminal.
Admiral Markets Trade Terminal and Correlation Matrix – Available with Admiral Markets MT4 Supreme Edition (requires sign up to a demo account). Get it free here: Admiral Markets MT4.
Nothard Trading Indicators
You browse a range of free and pro indicators from NothardTrading here: MT4 Indicators.
9. Algorithmic Trading (trading robots)
A step up from indicators are MT4’s Expert Advisors. More commonly known as EAs these are plugins to MT4 that can open and close trades.
This feature means that automated trading strategies can be implemented in MT4, which is why EAs are also often known as Trading Robots.
10. It Has A Huge Community
MT4’s popularity has generated a huge community around it. This community is not just fellow traders on forums but most importantly a community of programmers.
As mentioned already the MQL4 programming language is open source so anyone can have a go at it. But there are also thousands of professional developers within the community who can build almost any function you are looking for.
When it come to finding fellow traders, you will never be short of forums to connect and share.
11. MetaQuotes Community Is Built In
Related to point 10, the great thing about MT4 is that MetaQuotes has built in access to their curated community portal – MQL5.com and integrated right into the trading platform.
You can access links to articles, and code base from the community directly from within the platform.
By linking your MQL5 profile to your trade terminal you can export charts and analysis directly from your trade terminal into your online profile to share with others or publish in articles.
12. Communication Is Built In
MT4 has an integrated mailbox allowing your broker to send you important news and alerts directly to your terminal so you never miss a beat.
13. Alerts And Notifications
MT4 has a full suite of alerts and notifications which are fully customizable. These can be on the charts as popups or sound alerts or send directly to your the MT4 mobile app or via email.
With programming these notifications can even be sent to third party applications such as Telegram.
Due to the ability to custom code MT4, even more useful alerts can be created via a custom plugin such as this Alarm Manager available with Admiral Markets MT4 Supreme Edition (requires sign up to a demo account).
14. It Is Extremely Reliable and Secure
MT4 is built for reliability and another side effect of being the world’s most used platform is that its performance is tried and tested over 15 years and hundreds of thousands of traders.
It is a lightweight, efficient program that is optimized for low memory use and internet connections and can run on a 1MB connection with as little as 512MB RAM.
15. Its Portable
MT4 is so lightweight that you can even carry around your installation with you on a pen drive or install it on a cloud server by using MT4 portable mode.
To learn how to use MT4 portable mode, read our article here: What Is MT4 Portable Mode And Why It Is Useful (full guide).
16. VPS Built In
Many traders will prefer to use a Virtual Private Server (VPS) to host their trading platform. This can be for many reasons but include choosing a server that has low latency to specific broker and server uptime (computer not crashing whilst in a trade).
MT4 excels in this field for both the availability and cost of VPS options. In fact MT4 has a built in VPS service from MetaQuotes which can cost as little as $13 a month.
There are also a lot of private options available which are specifically optimised for MT4. Due to the low cost of hosting the lightweight footprint of the MT4 software, many brokers even offer a VPS as a free benefit to clients.
17. You Are Free To Switch
Because MT4 is such a common platform and it is open source, if you ever want to switch brokers you don’t have to worry about losing any of your settings from your current terminal.
The MT4 data folder cannot be locked, so if you download a terminal from another broker you can simply access the data folder and copy all your templates and profiles across to the new terminal.
If you own any custom indicators, you can just copy those over as well.
18 It’s Truly Global
MT4 is a truly global platform. If you look on Google Trends Map you can see it has interest in 250 countries.
It is no wonder that it is used so globally as MT4 has support for 37 language options.
19. You Can Track And Share Your Performance
There are multiple tools available to track your performance in MT4 due to the way MT4 shares information.
If you are interested in sharing your trading, you can do so by making profiles in these sites public or by creating your own signal by linking your trades into the MQL5 platform.
Trades are verifiable
MT4 has a special feature called an investors password which can be used to share information in these services and verify that the trades happened on a live market.
20. MT4 Was The First Social Trading Platform
Long before eToro and similar platforms started shouting about social trading and being able to follow the lead of more experienced traders, MT4 was setting the trend.
The MQL5 signals marketplace contains thousands of public profiles of traders that you can follow or subscribe to and copy trades from. You can even earn money or reputation by making your own trades available to others.
Read More About MT4 Platform
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