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A trading platform is the way a Forex trader interacts with the markets, and it is an inseparable part of placing and closing orders. Internet trading being more and more available has driven innovation in the fintech sector for the past decades. As a result, there are many trading platforms these days. The one which seems the most use is Metatrader 5, but there are others, software which comes pretty close to the industry leader. Perhaps the best among them is cTrader. This platform was developed to directly rival MT5, and it has certainly managed to do so! If you are wondering what platform is best for you, check out the following article, which provides an in-depth comparison between the two:
Why having good trading software matters
As we mentioned, trading software is an inseparable part of the arsenal of any FX trader. Both retail and experienced participants in the FX market interact with it using their platforms of choice. Despite this similarity, their needs for the software are quite different. Beginners ca n benefit from automated trading, and professionals might need advanced charting tools and analytical capabilities. Both cTrader and Metatrader 5 (MT5) have access to a lot of features, which can be beneficial to clients from all skill levels. To give a well-rounded assessment of the software, and which platform comes on top, we will examine five key points. First, how compatible they are with different devices and operating systems. Secondly, how approachable their UI is. Next, how powerful their analytical tools and automated trading are. And finally, how commonly you can find each piece of trading software with brokers out there. So without further delay, let’s see what platform comes on top:
Most Forex traders interact with the markets from their desktop computers. Both platforms have PC versions, which are compatible with most operating systems. However, if that is not enough, both also have very versatile web-based distributions. These can be accessed from any modern browser and have all features you would expect from the desktop platform.
Next, a larger and larger number of traders interact with the markets from their mobile devices. So, developing trading software for Android and IOS devices is crucial. cTrader is avaialble on both, and can be find in the GooglePlay Store and the AppStore. Metatrader 5 is available on GooglePlay. For traders using IOS, please note that the platform was removed from the AppStore towards the end of 2022. The removal was unexpected and shocked the industry. Currently, no new distributions of MT5 can be downloaded on iPhones and Mac computers. The platform’s web version is still accessible for them, and people who had the platform on their devices are not affected. However, until the software is reinstated on the AppStore, we have to say that cTrader has an advantage when it comes to compatibility.
2. User Friendliness
The next point of comparison is the user friendliness of the two platforms. This is pretty important to both newer and more experienced traders. We are happy to report that both cTrader and Metatrader 5 have clean interfaces without much clutter. You can easily get your bearings of each platform even if you have not seen either of them before.
However, MT5 goes even further in its efforts to make the platform more user-friendly with its in-built tutorials. The first time you start the platform a pop-up appears and guides you though its many features. This tutorial covers topics from opening and closing trades to making use of the in-platform marketplace for trading robots and the social aspects of Metatrader 5. That is why we consider the platform to be the more user-friendly of the two.
3. Analytical Tools
When examining the two platforms’ analytical prowess, we will take a closer look at three types of tools. First, how many timeframes and chart types does the platform support. Secondly, how many analytical objects are available. Finally, how many indicators traders can use. Please note that both platforms provide in-depth customization options, so we will just be covering what is available in their default distributions.
On to our first point, MT5 supports 21 timeframes and three types of charts. cTrader has over twice as many timeframes, with 56 types available in the stock distribution of the platform. There are also three times as many timeframes, with nine versus the three available on Metatrader 5.
Next, how many analytical objects are available with cTrader? The stock version has 33. In comparison, Metatrader 5 comes on top with 46 indicators. These tools can be used to gauge and visualize the patterns of assets, so you can make better decisions while trading.
The third tools we would like to get a closer look at, the indicators, can also be utilized to assess these patters. These are commonly employed by day traders, and the ones included in the default MT5 distribution are 38. cTrader has 70, once more coming on top.
To sum up, the platform which has the more tools is definitely cTrader. This is especially important for experienced users of the software who know the value of TA and can perform it efficiently.
4. Automated trading
Next, what makes the two platforms stand out from their competition the most is the availability of automated trading. That can be done via bots on both of these platforms, or via copy trading. Let’s start with the trading bots available on each of them. These are called Expert Advisers, and are basically scrips that you can use to trade instead of you:
Metatrader 5 is the successor of MT4 – a legendary trading platform, which was the first software to introduce trading via bots to the mass public. Ever since then, a cornerstone of the Metatrader platforms has been the community built around developing and making use of these bots. They can be sold and bought on the marketplace hosted on the platform and vibrant discussions around them are had on the MT5 forums.
cTrader has not been around for as long as the other platform, but it already has an impressive amount of focus on trading bots. There is only one difference and that is the fact that cTrader developers use C++ as their programing language, which is more accessible than the one MT5 runs on. That means MT5 bots are compatible on cTrader, but the opposite is not the case. It has the same community features we discussed above, too. It is difficult to give the point to any one of the two platforms here, as they are pretty close to one another in these aspects.
Secondly, copy trading is a feature which allows you to track and mimic the best traders on the platform. By starting to copy them, you will be opening and closing the same trades as them. Both Metatrader 5 and cTrader have this capability, and the only difference is that it comes pre-built with cTrader. On the other hand, whether it allows you to copy trade depends on the broker you are dealing with. As you will see in the next section, MT5 is available with the vast majority of brokers. So automated trading is more easily accessible on it, even though you would need to get a specific plug-in. The platform comes slightly before cTrader in this comparison.
5. Availability with brokers
However useful a trading platform is, you still need a good Forex broker to go along with it. That is the biggest problem with cTrader, in our view. It is available with a lot less companies than its competition. In fact, the developers of the platform are very peculiar about who they issue licenses for the software to. Also, re-licensing it is not possible.
The opposite is true for Metatrader 5. A license for the platform can easily be acquired from either MetaQuotes or another broker, making the amount of firms able to qualify for one of them much higher. That has led to some issues, however – the ease of acquiring a license sometimes means unreliable, or dangerous, brokers are able to get their hands on one. But in general determining whether a firm is trustworthy does not have much to do with what trading platform it uses. You need to be vigilant with any new broker you encounter.
To sum up, the point in this section has to be awarded to MT5, as there are a lot more excellent brokers which offer it.
To sum up everything so far, let’s take a look at how both platforms performed in the five areas we compared them in:
|Point of comparison||cTrader||Metatrader 5|
|Availability with brokers||✔|
It seems Metatrader 5 is the better platform of the two, based on these criteria. However, cTrader comes incredibly closely behind it. The two platforms are backed by dedicated developers, who continue to introduce newer and newer features. We have seen the total grip of MT5 over the markets loosen, especially after the platform was removed from IOS. So we are eagerly following both of these platforms to see what they will look like in the future.
At the current moment, however, they seem to fit two different niches better. We mentioned the different needs of retail and experienced traders several times so far. We consider cTrasder to have more of the tools which professional traders need. That is because of the higher focus on analysis with the platform. On the other hand, a newbie trader will have a much better time trading on MT5, because of the ease of access and better availability of the software with more companies.
With all that said, as good a trading platform can be, you need a reliable broker as well. Below are some of the best companies that have Metatrader 5 available. We will also list some of the best providers of cTrader:
Best MT5 brokers
|License||CySEC, ASIC, IFSC, FSCA|
|Trading platforms||MT5, MT4, FBS Trader|
|Maximum leverage||Up to 1:3000, based on jurisdiction|
|Spread||From 0 pips|
FBS is a great all-around Forex broker. The firm’s low entry cost is especially useful to new clients who might not want to commit a lot of their money outright. It is hard to beat $1 as a minimum deposit requirement, even with micro accounts costing about as much these days! And traders of all skill levels will be able to enjoy the tight spreads offered by the firm. Its leverage goes up to 1:3000, based on the jurisdiction you wish to trade in. We recommend being careful with low margin however, and making sure you know the risks associated with this kind of trading.
2. FP Markets
|Trading platforms||MT5, MT4, Iress|
|Maximum leverage||1:30 in Australia and the EU, 1:500 for other clients|
|Spread||From 0 pips|
We would like to highlight FP Markets next because of the advanced copy trading it provides access to. In fact, its distribution of MT5 comes with the copy trading plugin we mentioned pre-installed. So getting started with copy trading is only a matter of opening an account with the firm and downloading its platform! Copy trading is also a very advantageous way to trade automatically for newer clients. FP Markets allows you to not only see the top performing clients on its servers, but also to choose one based on your preferred risk level as an individual trader. The people you can copy are ranked from 1 to 5 where 1 is the safest strategy and 5 is the most risky one.
|Trading platforms||MT5, MT4|
|Maximum leverage||1:30 for EU clients, 1:500 for others|
Last but not least, OctaFX offers access to some more unconventional assets you can trade. The clients of the firm can use MT5 to trade crypto in particular. With how many scammers there are on the crypto market, it is difficult to find a safe place to trade digital asset CFDs. OctaFX is a reputable financial institution, trusted by tens of thousands of clients. It has tight regulation as well. So it manages to fill this niche we mentioned. If you are interested in the crypto market, check out this broker!
Best cTrader brokers
|License||FCA, CySEC, ASIC, DFSA,|
|Minimum deposit||$200 AUD or equivalent|
|Trading platforms||MT4, MT5, cTrader|
|Maximum leverage||1:30 to 1:500, based on jursdiction|
|Spread||From 0.1 pips|
In line with cTrader being more beneficial to experienced traders, Pepperstone will offer you access to a set of special Professional Account promotions. Among them is access to a rebate program. Using it, you can start earning back the price of the spreads you pay for each position you open. There is also a referral program which can net you a pretty significant bonus of up to £30 000 if you introduce fellow traders to the broker.
2. IC Markets
|Trading platforms||MT4, cTrader|
|Maximum leverage||1:30 to 1:500 based on jurisdiction|
|Spread||From 0 pips|
IC Markets prides itself on some of the tightest spreads in the industry. Its cTrader accounts have spreads of 0 pips for the EURUSD pair. The commission for trading is quite low too. It is of $6 per round turn, or $3 per side. These low costs are perfect for high-volume traders. Additionally, an advantage of trading with commissions is that you can rely on a predictable and fair pricing model. That is why we can recommend this broker to you!
|License||FCA, CySEC, FSCA, SCB|
|Trading Platform||cTrader, MT4, MT5, FxPro Trading Platform|
|Leverage||1:30 to 1:200, based on jurisdiction|
Last but not least, FXPro is a British Forex broker. London is considered the fintech capital of the world, and this firm certainly lives up to that. It offers access to tight spreads and low trading costs. However, if you are interested in cTrader, you would also probably be interested in trading using VPS. This service allows you to utilize your own dedicated server, without needing to worry about potential downtimes. The service costs $30 monthly, but the broker waives the fees of high-volume traders who can use it for free.