AuthorBy Jeffrey Cammack
Updated: March 21, 2023

MT4, MT5, cTrader

Trading platforms are software applications provided to traders by Forex brokers. You need a trading platform to make trades on the Forex market.

The most common trading platforms are MT4, MT5 and cTrader

The most popular trading platforms are third-party applications which you can install on your computer. The most common third-party trading platforms are MT4, MT5 and cTrader. Some brokers also have their own trading platforms, which are usually accessed via your browser.

Trading platforms are more than just trading applications

Trading platforms are more than just trading applications. Most trading platforms will also have charting tools, research tools, and options for automated trading or copy trading.

Which is the Best Forex Trading Platform?

Many believe that MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is the best platform because it is the most popular and is supported by most Forex brokers. Others argue that MetaTrader 5 (MT5) is better, as it enables trading of additional instruments such as stocks and commodities, is newer and has more modern features. Others prefer cTrader for its advanced customisation and intuitive layout.

Alongside MT4, MT5 and cTrader some Forex brokers also have their own platforms. Known as proprietary platforms, they are usually web-based and are better suited to beginner traders. They also tend to have a simplified interface and fewer customisation options.

Broker’s own platforms are often easier to use for beginner traders

With MT4, MT5 and cTrader, it is easy to switch brokers and keep your platform with all your preferences and customisations.

With MT4, MT5 and cTrader you can switch brokers but keep your platform

But if you decide to use a proprietary platform, the platform will not move with you if you decide to switch broker. This means you will lose any customisation and specific platform knowledge that you have gained.

First, let us have a closer look at the most popular third-party platforms.

MetaTrader 4

MT4 devices

Launched in 2005, MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is the world’s most popular trading platform. Like most retail trading platforms it’s available for free from MetaQuotes or any of these MT4 Forex brokers.

MT4 is considered the Forex trading industry standard due to its execution speed, customisability, broker adoption and security. Over 90% of brokers will offer support for MT4.

MT4 is the most popular trading platform in the world

MT4 runs smoothly and executes trades quickly, even on slower internet connections. But it is most famous for its customisation options.

You can build or buy trading robots for MT4 to automate your trading

MT4’s open-source scripting language, MQL4, allows traders to build and buy Expert Advisors (EAs), indicators and other trading robots. These can then be installed on the platform to assist with and automate trading.

MT4 also has an advanced charting package, allowing traders to view multiple charts at different timeframes. These charts can then be overlaid with indicators to provide even more precision.

Like most platforms, MT4 is also available on mobile, tablet, in a web browser and as a downloadable application. Be aware that some of the customisation options are lost on mobile devices or on a web browser.

MT4 is extremely popular, so there are thousands of reviews and guides that will help get you started and answer any question you may have. Most MT4 brokers will help traders set up the platform and offer specialist technical support.

The best MT4 broker is AvaTrade

The best MT4 broker is AvaTrade. With excellent MT4 technical support for beginners, both FSCA and ASIC regulation and competitive trading conditions, they come top of a long list of MT4 brokers.

MetaTrader 5

MT5 Devices

Launched in 2010, Metatrader 5 (MT5) is the most recent version of the MetaTrader platform. Though it is not as popular as MT4, MT5 is also supported by many brokers. It is more modern in appearance and features than MT4 but there is not a huge difference between the two platforms.

MT5 and MT4 are very similar trading platforms

Like MT4, MT5 allows traders to access the Forex market. But it also provides native access to other CFDs, like equities, stocks, and commodities. MT4 only supports access to these other markets via modifications to the platform. This wider range of CFDs is also good for brokers, as it lets them offer more products to traders in a single platform.

MT5 also comes with a more advanced scripting language (MQL5), which allows for more complex algorithms than MQL4. The MQL5 back-testing function is also more reliable, permitting a more precise understanding of how an EA is going to operate in a live trading environment.

The main problem for many traders is that MQL5 is not backwards compatible with MQL4. This means that any trading robots built for MT4 will not work in MT5 and vice versa.

Trading robots built for MT4 will not work in MT5 and vice versa

The MT5 interface may look like MT4 but it has more features. MT5 has a more advanced charting package, including 12 more timeframes and more built-in technical indicators. MT5 also has a Depth of Market function, allowing traders to see view the bids and offers for any given instrument or currency pair. Other features include an economic calendar, a live news feed, a larger number of pending order types than MT4 and an embedded chat system.

MT5 is also available on mobile, tablet, in a web browser and as a downloadable application.

The best MT5 broker is XM

The best MT5 brokers is XM. With tight spreads, excellent customer service, and great educational support, XM stands out from the rest of the MT5 brokers.

Here is our top list of reputable brokers offering MT5:


cTrader screens

cTrader is a multi-asset trading platform, allowing users to trade Forex as well as other CFDs. Launched in 2011, cTrader offers high-speed execution with a cleaner user interface than the competing Metatrader software.

cTrader also allows for automated trading with the built-in cTrader Automate. cTrader Automate allows traders to build or buy trading robots (cBots) and custom indicators. Algorithms built for MT4 and MT5 will not function in cTrader.

cTrader Automate and cTrader Copy let traders automate trading and copy trading strategies

Another feature, cTrader Copy allows traders to copy trading strategies, as well as provide strategies for copying by other traders

One of the best features of cTrader is the fully customisable layout. You can pick a chart-only layout or the default, which includes analysis and trading news. Even the charts are customisable, allowing you to display different charts side-by-side, or toggle between them. cTrader appears and functions in a similar manner to MetaTrader 4, so any transition would be easy if you are used to the latter.

It is easy to transition from MT4 to cTrader

If you tend to trade with a certain set of currencies, the platform also allows you to create a “favourites” window, allowing you to always have easy access to your most-traded currency pairs. Here you can immediately see quotes when you launch the application so that you can make trades quickly. Additionally, cTrader comes pre-packaged with over 30 technical indicators and objects, allowing even further customisation.

The best cTrader broker is FxPro

The best cTrader broker is FxPro. FxPro’s cTrader account offers tight spreads, market execution, no requotes and will allow for partial fills for orders that lack liquidity.

Currently, cTrader is supported by the following brokers:

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Min. Deposit
Min. Spread
USD 100
0.40 pips
USD 200
0.10 pips
0.20 pips
0.40 pips
0.50 pips

Proprietary (Broker-owned) Platforms

The other common type of trading platforms is broker-built and operated platforms. These proprietary platforms vary in and quality, but they are generally web-based and easy to use for beginners. Some of them are also quite different from traditional platforms like MT4.

Remember: If you use a broker’s own platform and then decide to switch broker, you will have to learn how to use another platform.


Some of the best and more interesting proprietary platforms are worth inspecting in more detail:

eToro Platform

eToro’s web platform is easy to use and is a big draw for beginner traders. With its unique integrated social component, advice and trading opportunities are always available from a community of traders. It includes a watchlist so you can see show detailed graphs for any currency pair you want.  While this is no replacement for technical analysis, it does provide a degree of insight with little effort.

Read our eToro review

IG Markets Webtrader 

IG Market’s web platform is one of the best broker-operated platforms available and has won many awards for its clean design and accessibility. Research tools, monitoring tools, complex order management and advanced charts are all included. Other features include simple functionality to open, close and edit individual and aggregate positions, chart customisation and risk management tools. Custom indicators are also available as well as access to data and news feeds to help spot trading opportunities.

Read our IG Markets review

easyMarkets platform

Day Trading with dealCancellation and Freeze Rate

easyMarkets were one of the first brokers to develop their own trading platform and have a history of platform innovation. While easyMarkets also offers support for MT4, most of the trading tools available to easyMarkets customers are only available through the easyMarkets platform. Feature highlights include dealCancellation, which allows clients to cancel an order within an hour of making a trade, and Freeze Rate, which allows you to freeze a price you see for a few seconds (especially useful in volatile markets).

Read our easyMarkets review


Marketsx is a new trading platform from by and offers traders fast, low-cost trading on over 2,200 financial instruments. It provides CFD trading on stock, Forex, commodity, indices, cryptocurrency, ETF and bond markets. As well as in-depth charting and asset comparison tools, Marketsx also gives traders a wealth of decision-supporting data with sentiment tools, tutorials, and regular live-streamed, expert analysis.

Read our Marketsreview

Specialty Platforms

While we have covered the most popular trading platforms, there are many other specialist platforms. These either behave differently than the more common platforms or require more advanced knowledge.


ZuluTrade is a popular option that specialises in copy trading and social trading.  With ZuluTrade, traders can copy each other’s trades and the embedded social network allows for the sharing of ideas and strategies. With over a million users, it is one of the largest copy trading providers around. An added benefit, you can link a pre-existing MT4 account to ZuluTrade. ZuluTrade is also available on iOS and Android devices.

NinjaTrader 8


Much like the MetaTrader platforms and cTrader, NinjaTrader 8 is available free of charge and offers a great deal of customisation. This includes advanced charting, complex order management and algorithmic trading via NinjaTrader’s C# based framework. While it is perfectly capable of trading the Forex market, most of the NinjaTrader community is focused on futures trading.



QuantConnect is for traders working in the development industry or comfortable with writing and editing code. It provides a comprehensive integrated developing environment (IDE) designed by algo traders for algo traders. Built on the Lean Algorithmic Trading Engine, an open-source cloud-based trading platform designed in C#, QuantConnect not only provides a design-environment it also connects some of the most sophisticated algorithmic traders in the open-source community together.

Final Word

There are lots of other niche trading platforms out there, especially for more advanced traders, but this article covers most of the popular choices.

A trading platform is only a tool. Your success or failure depends on you

Whatever you choose, remember that a trading platform is only a tool to connect you with the market and your success or failure will depend entirely on your trading choices. Make sure that those choices are educated, low-risk and decisive. As further reading we have a more comprehensive article on how to compare Forex brokers by more metrics.


What is the difference between a Forex trading platform and Forex broker?

A trading platform is a software application traders use to trade Forex, whereas Forex brokers are the companies that connect a trading platform to the Forex market.

Which is the fastest Forex trading platform?

MT4 is the lowest-latency platform, but execution speed will also depend on your internet connection and your broker’s connection to the Forex market.

Which is the easiest Forex trading platform to use?

eToro is famous for having an easy-to-use platform. But of the traditional platforms, cTrader is the easiest to learn.

Which is the best platform for beginners?

The best platform for beginners is MT4, as there are so many guides and tutorials on how to use it.

Are trading platforms free?

Yes, trading platforms are always free. Do not trust anyone who tries to sell you a trading platform.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors as it carries a high degree of risk to your capital: 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. Forex and CFD transactions involve high risk due to the following factors: Over-leveraging, unpredictable market volatility, slippage arising from a lack of liquidity, inadequate trading knowledge or experience, and a lack of regulatory protection for clients. Traders should not deposit any money that is not disposable. Regardless of how much research you have done, or how confident you are in your trade, there is always a substantial risk of loss. (Learn more from the FCA or from ASIC)

Our Methodology

Our State of the Market Report and Broker Directory are the result of extensive research on over 100 Forex brokers. The explicit goal of these resources is to help traders find the best Forex brokers – and steer them away from the worst ones – with the benefit of accurate and up-to-date information.

With over 150 data points on each broker and over 3000 hours of research and review writing, we believe we have succeeded in our goal. 

In a world where trading conditions and customer support can vary based on where you live, our broker reviews focus on the local trader and give you information about these brokers from your perspective.

All research has been conducted by our in-house team of researchers and writers, gathering information from various company representatives, websites and by sifting through the fine print. Learn more about how we rank brokers

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