Updated: 01/03/2024

MT4 vs MT5

Choosing the right trading platform is crucial for forex traders looking to engage with financial markets…

MT4 vs MT5
20 Nov 2023
WRITTEN BY Chad Smith
EDITED BY Henry Hicks
REVIEWED BY Chris Padgett

Table of Contents

Choosing the right trading platform is crucial for forex traders looking to engage with financial markets effectively. MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) remain the leading platforms in this space, each bringing its own set of features to the table. MT4, known for its user-friendly interface and widespread adoption, has long been the industry standard, offering sufficient tools for many traders. MT5, on the other hand, is newer and provides more advanced functionalities that cater to not just forex but also to markets like stocks and commodities.

While both platforms are developed by MetaQuotes Software Corp., they differ in various aspects including their trading instruments, technical analysis tools, and algorithmic trading capabilities. MT5 boasts an expanded range of indicators, graphical objects, and timeframes, and has an economic calendar integrated within the platform. Its design caters to both seasoned and retail traders by allowing multi-threading and partial order filling, which can enhance trading experiences.

Key Takeaways

  • MT4 and MT5 are popular platforms among forex traders, each with distinct features and tools.
  • MT5 offers advanced functionalities like more technical indicators and supports more markets beyond forex.
  • Traders should weigh platform differences in terms of performance, security, and customisation to choose the right one for their needs.

History and Development

In this section, you’ll gain an understanding of the origins and advancements of MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5), which are pivotal tools in online trading.

Origins of Metatrader 4 and 5

MetaQuotes Software Corp, a software development company, launched MT4 in 2005. This platform quickly became a standard for its user-friendly interface and customisability with tools such as expert advisors (EAs) and scripts. MT5 was released five years later, in 2010, with the intention of offering more features and catering to markets beyond Forex, such as commodities and stocks.

Both platforms were designed to offer an enhanced trading experience but with different goals in mind. MT4 focused on Forex trading simplicity, while MT5 aimed to provide a richer trading environment with additional timeframes, built-in economic calendars, and the possibility to trade more financial instruments.

Evolution of Trading Platforms

The transition from MT4 to MT5 signalled a step towards more sophisticated trading platforms. While MT4 set the stage with its powerful automation capabilities and strong following among traders, MT5 expanded upon this by offering a 64-bit multi-threaded platform, better suited for modern 64-bit operating systems.

The evolution of these platforms reflects the demand for more complex analysis tools, faster execution speeds, and the ability to handle a larger variety of trading assets. It is noteworthy that MT5 supports an enhanced scripting tool for algorithmic trading, MQL5, which allows for more advanced programming capabilities compared to MT4’s MQL4.

Key Features of MT4 and MT5

When examining the MetaTrader platforms, MT4 and MT5, it’s crucial to focus on their distinct features, ranging from user interfaces to intricate charting tools. Understand that each platform is designed to cater to different trading needs and preferences.

User Interface and Usability

MT4 boasts a user-friendly interface which you might find more straightforward if simplicity is your priority. It’s tailored towards Forex trading and is equipped with the essential functions needed for trading in this market. MT5, in contrast, hosts an array of advanced trading tools. Its interface is more complex, potentially offering you a broader scope for conducting trades in different asset classes, including stocks and futures.

Charting and Analysis Tools

The charting capabilities of MT5 are more extensive than those of MT4, which provides you with a higher level of detail in your analysis. You have access to:

  • 21 timeframes with MT5, as opposed to 9 in MT4, giving you more granular control over your chart analysis.
  • 38 built-in indicators in MT5, while MT4 offers 30, allowing for a more varied and detailed technical analysis.
  • For graphical objects, MT5’s 44 can give you more options compared to MT4’s 31, enhancing your ability to mark up charts.

Trading Operations and Execution Modes

While both MT4 and MT5 support multiple types of order execution modes, MT5 offers you additional order types. These can be especially relevant if you’re looking for more advanced trading operations. Beyond the basic market orders, both platforms support various execution modes:

  • MT4 includes Instant, Request, Market, and Exchange execution.
  • MT5 expands on this with two additional order types that might be crucial for your trading strategies.

In terms of custom indicators, both MT4 and MT5 allow for these, but MT5‚Äôs improved programming environment might provide you with more flexibility in developing and running these tools. MT5’s 64-bit processing power can also be an advantage in terms of running complex strategies that demand more computing resources.

Differences in Trading Instruments and Markets

When choosing between MT4 and MT5, it’s crucial to comprehend the variety and scope of markets you can access with each platform.

Diversity of Tradable Instruments

MT4 primarily serves the Forex market, giving you access to a large selection of currency pairs. While you can trade Contracts for Difference (CFDs), the range is somewhat limited compared to MT5. Options and Futures are not standard on MT4, restricting your ability to diversify within these markets.

Conversely, MT5 offers an expanded range of financial instruments. In addition to Forex, you can engage with a broader spectrum of CFDs, StocksFuturesOptions, and Bonds. This allows for a more diversified investment portfolio directly through the platform.

CFDs, Indices, and Other Markets

With MT5, your reach extends significantly into CFDs on a multitude of markets, including not just forex, but also stocksindicesmetalsenergies, and cryptocurrencies. This variety ensures that you can manage a more comprehensive collection of assets across different sectors.

Indices¬†trading is another area where MT5 excels; it provides access to a range of global indices, allowing you to speculate on the entire sector and not just individual stocks. If you’re interested in commodities, MT5 has you covered with a robust selection of¬†metals, such as gold and silver, and¬†energies, including oil and natural gas. Such breadth in trading instruments enhances your capability to spread risk across various markets.

Algorithmic Trading and Customisation

In the realm of electronic trading, MT4 and MT5 platforms stand out for their capabilities in algorithmic trading and customisation. You benefit from features that allow for a high degree of precision and efficiency, catering to various trading strategies.

Expert Advisors and Trading Robots

MT4 offers you the ability to use Expert Advisors (EAs) which automate trading based on predetermined criteria, and the same functionality is available in MT5 with enhancements. While EAs underpin both platforms‘ approach to automated trading, MT5 provides a more diverse range of financial instruments and improved strategy tester options for backtesting, enabling you to evaluate the performance of trading robots with more accuracy and over a wider range of data.

MQL4 vs MQL5 Programming Language

Developing EAs and custom indicators in MT4 requires MQL4, a language designed specifically for this purpose. In contrast, MT5 uses MQL5, which, despite being similar in syntax, is more advanced, featuring object-oriented programming elements. This means with MQL5, you can execute more sophisticated operations and your EAs can handle events like filling or cancelling orders more efficiently.

MQL4 is generally simpler and might be sufficient for basic trading robots, while MQL5 offers complex features advantageous for in-depth algorithmic trading.

Custom Indicator Development

Custom indicators are pivotal for refining your trading strategies, and both platforms support this functionality. MT4 might cater to you if you prefer straightforward indicator development, but if you desire more complexity and functionality, MT5 is your go-to, thanks to its advanced programming capabilities. MT5 also allows for custom indicators that can analyse an unlimited amount of data, considerably more than MT4, providing you with broader analytical capabilities.

With either platform, you can significantly enhance the analysis and decision-making process by using custom indicators to monitor and forecast market movements, which are integral to successful algorithmic trading.

Technical Analysis and Indicators

When considering MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5), your choice for technical analysis and indicators is critical. Each platform offers unique tools and features that cater to different aspects of trading analysis.

Built-in and Custom Indicators

MT4 boasts a vast selection of custom indicators, which are widely used by traders for analysing price action. If you have developed custom indicators or rely on community-made ones, MT4 provides ample support:

  • Custom Indicators: Large library available, with many created by the MQL4 community.
  • Ease of Use: Simple integration and application to your charts.

MT5 steps up the game with a broader range of built-in technical indicators, offering new possibilities in market analysis:

  • Built-In Indicators: More than 80 are readily available, which surpasses the quantity offered in MT4.
  • Custom Indication: Despite the advanced features, MT5 allows the import and development of custom indicators as well.

Technical Analysis Tools

MT4 provides a full suite of technical analysis tools that are sufficient for most traders’ needs. These tools facilitate real-time analysis of forex markets, using popular methods such as Gann angles for identifying support and resistance levels:

  • Charting Tools:¬†Nine timeframes are available, covering the most common analysis scenarios.

MT5, on the other hand, elevates the analytical functions to a more sophisticated level. Not only does it have more timeframes and chart types, but it also includes additional analytical objects to enrich your analysis:

  • Advanced Charting Tools:
    • 21 timeframes for intricate inspection of price action.
    • Tick charts and Renko charts for a different perspective on market movement.
    • Gann tools, which offer additional layers of analysis over MT4‚Äôs capabilities.

By understanding the nuances of MT4 and MT5 indicators and analysis tools, you can tailor your trading approach to leverage the strengths of each platform.

Performance and Security Aspects

When you choose between MT4 and MT5, understanding how they handle performance and security is crucial to ensure a robust trading experience.

Multi-threading and Speed

MT5 stands out with its multi-threaded architecture, which allows for enhanced performance and faster processing. This is particularly advantageous when you’re conducting complex analyses or simulations. In comparison, MT4 does not support multi-threading and might be slower, especially when handling multiple operations simultaneously.

  • MT4: Single-threaded with potential limitations in speed during heavy tasks.
  • MT5: Multi-threaded, which allows for more efficient processing and higher performance.

With MT5, you can expect a more seamless experience when operating on various devices, including mobile and tablet. This adaptability ensures that both platforms provide reliable performance across different devices, although MT5’s advanced architecture gives it an edge in speed.

Security Features

Both MT4 and MT5 take your security seriously, offering features aimed at protecting your trading activities. Your data and transactions are safeguarded with industry-standard encryption protocols.

  • MT4 and MT5: Both utilise strong encryption to secure your data transfers.

However, MT5 provides additional safety measures, such as a two-factor authentication system that further secures your account against unauthorised access. This feature is indispensable for maintaining the integrity of your trading endeavours, whether through a broker or a demo account. It assures that only you can access your account, even if someone discovers your primary password.

Global Accessibility and Regulations

In the realm of online trading, your access and compliance with regulations are pivotal. The platforms MT4 and MT5 are broadly utilised, but the scope of their use and adherence to international regulations can influence your trading operations.

Use in Different Markets

MT4:

  • Forex Market: You’ll find that MT4 is a preferred choice for Forex traders, especially in the UK and US due to its simplicity and ample liquidity.
  • CFDs and Futures: Less common but still available for trading various Contracts for Differences (CFDs) and futures.

MT5:

  • Expanded Access: MT5 provides access not only to Forex but also to stocks, indices, and commodities across global markets.
  • USA and UK: Both countries support MT5, but the trading instruments available to you might be restricted by local regulations.

Compliance with International Regulations

MT4 & MT5:

  • Regulations: Both platforms operate within the stringent regulatory frameworks imposed by authorities in the USA and UK.
  • Experienced Traders: If you’re an experienced trader, you should note that leverage and margin restrictions may vary significantly between these regions due to different rules enacted to protect investors.

Remember, your use of MT4 or MT5 should always reflect your compliance with the current regulatory environment to ensure a smooth trading experience.

Additional Platform Services

In the competitive realms of MT4 and MT5, you gain access to an array of platform services that enhance your trading experience. These services provide essential market insights and foster effective communication.

Market Research and News

MT5 offers a comprehensive suite of market research and news. You can access an economic calendar directly from your platform, keeping you abreast of important financial events and indicators that can impact market conditions. This tool is designed to inform your trading strategies with timely analysis and insights into global economic shifts.

  • Economic Calendar: Stay updated with forecasts and actual figures of economic announcements.
  • Financial News: Real-time updates keep you informed on current events influencing the markets.

Communication Tools

Communication is streamlined on both platforms with effective tools. These platforms have taken communication to a new level with features like an integrated email system that allows you to receive important broker communication directly within the platform.

  • Email System: Directly connect with your broker for any queries or support without leaving the platform.
  • Research and Analysis: Utilise the inbuilt tools to perform complex technical and fundamental analysis.

By leveraging these additional services, you enrich your trading practice with timely research, news, and communication tools, keeping you one step ahead in the fast-paced financial markets.

Practical Considerations

When deciding between MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5), it is essential to understand how each platform aligns with your trading strategy, experience, and goals, particularly regarding account types, order execution policies, and the ease of use for beginners.

Account Types and Leverage

MT4 primarily focuses on forex trading with platform-specific accounts that might restrict leverage. Expect varied leverage options, but always within the regulatory requirements of your region. By contrast, MT5 offers a broader range of financial markets, including stocks and commodities, and generally provides more versatility in leverage options.

  • Leverage on MT4: Typically up to 1:30 for retail clients under ESMA regulation.
  • Leverage on MT5: Can extend beyond 1:30 for professional clients and varied instruments.

Order Types and Policies

With MT4, you’re working with four pending order types: buy limit, sell limit, buy stop, and sell stop. MT5 introduces two more: buy stop limit and sell stop limit, enhancing your ability to manage entry points.

Both platforms facilitate the use of stop-loss orders to help limit potential losses, with MT4 often favoured for its simplicity and MT5 for its additional features like netting and hedging modes. Order-fill policies also have key distinctions:

  • Fill or Kill: Available on both, requires the entire order volume to be filled at once.
  • Immediate or Cancel: Also present on both, fills all or part of the order and cancels the remaining quantity.
  • Return: Exclusive to MT5, this fill policy allows the unfilled volume to remain active.

Learning Curve for New Users

For newcomers to trading, a steep learning curve can lead to the increased danger of losing money. MT4’s interface is considered less complex and could be more suitable if you’re new to trading. The¬†demo trading¬†option present in both platforms is indispensable for practising without risk.

MT5 has a slightly higher learning curve due to its additional features. If you are inclined towards advanced trading techniques, mobile trading, or a broader asset range, the time investment in learning MT5 could be valuable. Both platforms provide educational resources to help you grasp their specifics.

Remember to choose the platform that best matches your level of expertise and trading needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between MT4 and MT5 in terms of trading functionalities?

MT5 offers more technical indicators, graphical objects, and timeframes, and supports more order types such as fill or kill and immediate or cancel compared to MT4. MT5 also allows up to 100 concurrent charts, whereas MT4 limits this to 8.

Which platform is more suitable for beginners, MT4 or MT5?

MT4 is often considered more user-friendly for beginners due to its simplicity and its widespread adoption which means a larger community and more available resources for support.

Is there any indication that MT4 will be discontinued in the future?

As of now, there is no official confirmation that MT4 will be discontinued, despite MT5 being marketed as its successor. Brokers and traders worldwide continue to use MT4 extensively.

Can an existing MT4 account be transferred to MT5?

No, accounts and established expert advisors or scripts on MT4 are not directly transferable to MT5 due to differences in the coding language between the platforms.

How does cTrader compare with MT4 and MT5 for forex trading?

cTrader is known for its intuitive interface and advanced trading capabilities like Level II pricing and one-click trading. However, MT4 and MT5 provide more robust algorithmic trading capabilities and a larger user base.

What are the potential successors of MT4 and MT5 in the online trading market?

While both MT4 and MT5 continue to dominate the market, potential successors may include platforms that offer more advanced automation, greater integration with third-party applications and improved access to a range of financial instruments.

author avatar image
Chad Smith

Chad Smith is the Director of Research & Analysis here at ForexBrokerListing.com. Chad previously served as an Editor for a number of websites related to finance and trading, where he authored a significant number of published articles about trading and the impact of technology in transforming investing as we know it. Overall, Chad is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher with more than 15 years of trading experience, and you can find him teaching his dog how to trade in his free time.

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