Updated: 01/03/2024

MT5 vs cTrader

When considering online trading, the choice of platform can have a significant impact on your trading…

MT5 vs cTrader
20 Nov 2023
EDITED BY Henry Hicks
REVIEWED BY Chris Padgett

Table of Contents

When considering online trading, the choice of platform can have a significant impact on your trading experience and performance. MetaTrader 5 (MT5) and cTrader are two leading platforms that have garnered attention for their features, capabilities, and approach to financial market access. MT5, developed by MetaQuotes Software Corp., has its roots in the success of MetaTrader 4 and is known for its advanced technical and fundamental analysis capabilities. In comparison, cTrader, produced by Spotware Systems, is praised for its intuitive user interface and strong focus on trading conditions and execution speed.

Each platform offers a distinct set of features and tools tailored to different types of traders. MT5 provides extensive market analysis tools, and automated trading systems (Expert Advisors), and supports trading in not just forex but also stocks, commodities, and indices. Contrarily, cTrader is favoured for its smooth user experience, level II pricing, and rapid order execution, making it a prime choice primarily for forex and CFD traders. The choice between MT5 and cTrader often comes down to personal preference, associated brokerage accounts, and the specific requirements of your trading strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • MT5 and cTrader cater to different trader preferences with unique tools and functionalities.
  • User experience varies significantly between platforms, influenced by interface design and execution speed.
  • Access to markets and the cost structure of each platform can influence your choice as a trader.

Overview of MT5 and cTrader

As you explore the world of trading platforms, understanding the capabilities of MetaTrader 5 (MT5) and cTrader is essential. These platforms offer an array of features tailored to your trading needs.

Origins and Evolution

MetaTrader 5 (MT5) is a platform designed by MetaQuotes Software and introduced in 2010. It is a successor to the highly popular MetaTrader 4 and was developed to offer more features, such as access to CFDs, stocks, and futures. Over the years, MT5 has evolved to include additional tools and expanded its functionality to cater to a growing audience of traders.

cTrader, on the other hand, was developed by Spotware and released in 2011. It is known for its intuitive user interface and a focus on providing a transparent trading experience. cTrader has continuously updated its system to keep pace with the latest trading trends and trader demands, emphasizing usability and advanced technology.

Programming Languages and Developer Support

MT5 uses a proprietary scripting language called MQL5, which provides significant improvements over its predecessor, MQL4. This change allows for more complex and varied trading robots, as well as the creation of custom indicators. MT5’s Integrated Development Environment allows you to develop, test, debug, and optimise algorithmic trading strategies with ease.

In contrast, cTrader’s platform employs C# as its programming language for developing custom indicators and automated strategies via cTrader Automate. This choice aligns cTrader closely with the .NET framework, which can be advantageous for developers familiar with mainstream programming environments.

Both platforms embrace developer support through comprehensive documentation and active community forums, ensuring that you have the guidance and resources required to fully utilise the platforms’ programmability. These tools are constructed to suit both beginner and advanced traders, ensuring that you can customise your trading experience to your skills and preferences.

User Interface Comparison

When you choose a trading platform, the user interface is crucial for a seamless experience. It not only affects how you navigate and interact with the platform but also determines your efficiency in executing trades. Let’s compare the user interface aspects of MT5 and cTrader.

Design and Accessibility

MetaTrader 5 (MT5) has a design that some may find to be a bit outdated, with a style akin to older Windows interfaces. Despite this, it remains functional and familiar to many traders. cTrader, in contrast, boasts a more modern look, with a clean and intuitive layout that may appeal to the contemporary trader. Both platforms offer a light and dark theme, catering to your preference or reducing strain on your eyes during long trading sessions.

Customisation Options

Customisation is where cTrader particularly stands out; you have the liberty to tailor the platform to your needs, including moving and resizing charts and creating a personalised trading environment. MT5 also offers customisation capabilities, albeit a bit more limited compared to cTrader. However, MT5 makes up for this with a comprehensive set of tools and functionalities that can still be adapted to your trading style. Both enable you to adjust various settings, but cTrader offers a smoother, more user-friendly interface for customisation.

Technical and Charting Capabilities

When comparing MT5 and cTrader, you’ll notice that both platforms provide an impressive array of charting and technical analysis functionalities. Each platform is designed to cater to your in-depth technical analysis needs, with advanced charting capabilities and a suite of technical indicators.

Advanced Chart Types and Tools

MetaTrader 5 (MT5) offers three main types of charts: line, bar, and candlestick, with access to 21 different timeframes. This enables you to view price movements over varying periods with clarity. On the other hand, cTrader expands on this by offering nine different chart types and an extensive 54 timeframes, giving you the flexibility to analyse the markets with great precision.

Both platforms are well-equipped with charting tools. MT5 features an array of drawing tools and objects to help you annotate and identify patterns on your charts. Similarly, cTrader provides a robust set of charting options that allow for extensive customization and precision in your technical analysis.

Technical Indicators and Analysis Support

MT5 is known for its comprehensive set of technical indicators. You have access to over 38 built-in indicators for conducting various forms of technical analysis. Notably, MT5 supports automated trading through Expert Advisors (EAs) that can integrate custom indicators for a tailored analytical approach.

In contrast, cTrader also provisionally supports an extensive range of technical analysis tools but stands out for its user-friendly interface that promotes intuitive navigation through its various analytical features. While cTrader may not have as many in-built indicators as MT5, it is highly customizable, allowing you to fine-tune your technical analysis with assorted third-party indicators and analytical tools.

Trading Execution and Orders

When you trade Forex, the efficiency of trade execution and the types of orders you can utilise play a critical role in your trading strategy’s success. Both MT5 and cTrader platforms boast advanced capabilities in these domains, but they cater to different preferences and needs of traders.

Order Types and Execution Speed

MT5 offers three types of orders, including market orders, pending orders, and stop orders, giving you a versatile range of options for executing your trades. The platform is also known for its fast trade execution, a crucial factor for scalpers and day traders who depend on quick market entry and exit.

cTrader, however, takes execution speed to another level. It is praised for its lightning-fast order execution, sometimes averaging less than one millisecond. This can be particularly beneficial when the markets are volatile, and prices change rapidly.

Algorithmic Trading and Expert Advisors

For those of you interested in algorithmic trading, MT5 provides a rich environment with Expert Advisors (EAs). These are programs that allow automation of the analytical and trading processes in the MT5 platform. EAs make it possible for you to execute trades based on predefined parameters without manual intervention.

cTrader doesn’t fall behind in this regard. It offers comparable algorithmic trading features, allowing you to deploy automated trading strategies efficiently. The platform’s focus on customisation enables you to tailor these strategies to your specific needs and preferences.

Risk Management Features

Understanding and implementing risk management features is essential for safeguarding your investments. MT5 offers an array of options like server-side trailing stop losses, which ensure your risk mitigation measures remain in effect even when your trading terminal is closed.

cTrader also provides robust risk management tools to protect your positions. Its server-side features are designed to ensure that your pre-defined stop-loss and take-profit levels are adhered to without the need for your computer to be continuously running.

By using these platforms, you can select an environment that aligns with your trading style whether it involves high-speed execution, complex algorithmic systems, or stringent risk management.

Asset Classes and Market Access

When choosing between MT5 and cTrader, you’ll find that both platforms provide comprehensive access to a variety of markets, though some differences in their offerings are clear.

Forex and Multi-Asset Trading

MT5: Launched by MetaQuotes, MT5 is a versatile platform which allows you to trade Forex and a spectrum of other assets. It’s designed as a multi-asset platform giving you access to not only currency pairs but also stocks, indices, and commodities. You’re afforded a wide range of analytical tools, with over 30 built-in indicators and 24 analytical objects to assist in your trading decisions.

cTrader: While cTrader is highly favoured for its Forex trading capabilities, especially known for its rapid trade execution speeds, it also supports a variety of asset classes. This platform has a reputation for a user-friendly interface that can be particularly appealing if you prioritise a sleek design and straightforward functionality in your trading activities.

Cryptocurrency and ETF Accessibility

MT5: This platform accommodates the growing interest in cryptocurrency trading, enabling you to navigate this volatile market with various built-in tools. Additionally, if you’re interested in a broader investment scope, MT5 provides options for trading Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), diversifying your portfolio even further.

cTrader: While focused on Forex, cTrader does offer access to other markets including cryptocurrencies. Its approach to transparency and advanced charting tools can be valuable if you’re looking to delve into the complexities of cryptocurrency markets. However, information regarding ETF trading specifically on cTrader is more sparse, suggesting a more limited scope in this area compared to MT5.

Mobile and Desktop Experience

In your quest to select a suitable trading platform, understanding the mobile and desktop experience is pivotal for seamless trading. Whether you’re on the go or working from a desk, the adaptability and compatibility of the platform across various devices and operating systems should influence your decision.

Platform Adaptability Across Devices

MetaTrader 5 (MT5) and cTrader both offer robust solutions for both desktop and mobile trading. MT5 provides desktop applications for Windows and has a web version that runs across various browsers, which means you can easily switch between devices without missing a beat.

  • Web: Accessible without downloads
  • Windows Desktop: Dedicated application
  • MacOS: Access via Wine or play on Mac software
  • Linux Systems: Can operate with certain adaptations

cTrader, on the other hand, is renowned for its sleek interface and emphasis on intuitive navigation, both on web and mobile platforms. it’s web application is accessible from most browsers, thus ensuring that you can trade from almost any device.

  • Web: User-friendly interface
  • iOS/Android Mobile App: Seamlessly transition between devices

Operating System Compatibility

When looking at operating systems, both MT5 and cTrader have made strides towards reach and accessibility:

  • MT5: Has wider device compatibility with dedicated desktop applications for Windows. MacOS and Linux users can run MT5 using emulators or third-party software.
  • cTrader: Focus is more on the web and mobile apps. While there may not be a native desktop application for MacOS and Linux, the platform’s web version is highly versatile.

To sum up, both MetaTrader 5 and cTrader provide you with options to trade effectively regardless of your preferred device. It’s important to consider your specific needs, whether it’s native desktop applications or a smooth web trading environment, to decide what works best for you.

Brokerage and Liquidity Integration

When considering trading platforms like MetaTrader 5 (MT5) and cTrader, your understanding of brokerage and liquidity integration is essential. Both platforms have relationships with a variety of forex brokers and liquidity providers to ensure efficient trade execution for you.

MT5, being more established, is often supported by a wide range of brokers, including industry leaders such as IC MarketsFXTM, and Pepperstone. One of MT5’s strengths is its ability to integrate with various liquidity providers, which can result in better pricing and execution for your trades.

With cTrader, you’ll find that it positions itself with a focus on a clear and intuitive user experience. It also boasts strong ties with forex brokers such as FXPro and Pepperstone. The platform has made strides in liquidity integration, supported by Brokeree’s Liquidity Bridge integration in the summer of 2023, which allowed it to extend its services and enhance the trading environment for brokers worldwide.

Here’s a simple tabulation of key points:

Brokers Supporting PlatformIC Markets, FXTM, PepperstoneFXPro, Pepperstone
Liquidity IntegrationExtensive, with multiple providersEnhanced by Brokeree’s Liquidity Bridge

When you select a platform, consider the linked brokers and their reputation in the market. Your choice can impact your trading experience regarding order execution, spreads, and more. Therefore, ensure that the platform you opt for aligns with your investment objectives and trading style.

Platform Costs and Transparency

When choosing between MT5 and cTrader, it’s fundamental to consider not just the interface or tools, but the implications of cost and transparency on your trading activities. Each platform has a distinct approach to fees, which can impact your bottom line.

MetaTrader 5 (MT5) has no inherent costs for downloading or using the platform. However, brokers who provide MT5 can incorporate their own fees, such as spreads, commissions, and overnight financing charges. While MT5 itself is transparent about its no software fee policy, the clarity of additional fees depends on the broker you select.

  • No download fee
  • Broker-specific costs:
    • Spreads
    • Commissions
    • Swap rates (overnight financing)

cTrader, on the other hand, promotes a transparent pricing model, often appealing to traders who prefer knowing exactly what they’re paying for. Often, cTrader fees include a markup on spreads or a set commission per trade, which is usually calculated per 100,000 units of currency traded.

  • Transparent fee structure
  • Common costs:
    • Mark-up on spreads
    • Commission per trade

While both platforms provide advanced trading technology, it’s your responsibility to scrutinise any potential hidden fees. Whether it’s for data exchange, platform usage, or advanced technical tools, hidden fees can accumulate, affecting your trading efficiency and cost management.

In summary, ensure that you review the fee structure of each platform and the brokers that facilitate trading on them. Transparency in costs is crucial; hidden fees can erode profits. Choose a platform and broker that aligns closely with your trading needs and budget, ensuring there are no cost-related surprises in your trading journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of using cTrader compared to other trading platforms?

cTrader offers a user-friendly interface with advanced charting tools, level II pricing, and quick entry and execution times. Its platform is praised for its clean design and the transparency it provides to your trading.

How do the charting tools differ between cTrader and MT5?

The charting tools on cTrader are known for their superior interface, with a focus on analytical tools and customisation options. MT5, on the other hand, offers a wider array of built-in technical indicators and analytical tools, with the ability to download additional ones.

Can traders from the USA access and trade on cTrader platforms?

No, currently cTrader is not available to traders based in the USA due to regulatory environments. You will need to seek alternative platforms authorised to operate within the United States.

What types of accounts are offered by brokers using cTrader software?

Brokers with cTrader typically offer various account types, including ECN, STP, and direct market access accounts, catering to the needs of different traders by providing variable spreads and commission structures.

How does the user interface and experience compare between MT5 and cTrader?

cTrader is often regarded as more modern and intuitive, potentially offering a better user experience for traders who prioritise ease of use. MT5 has a more traditional interface that may appeal to those familiar with earlier MetaTrader platforms.

In terms of market access and trading instruments, how does cTrader stack up against MT5?

cTrader is widely regarded for its CFD trading framework and tends to be favoured by traders focusing on forex and commodities. MT5 provides access to a broader range of markets, including stocks, futures, and options, alongside forex.

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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