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The most popular trading platform without doubt is Metatrader 4, but there are others with some very different features.
Forex Metatrader 4.
Metatrader 4 is a Windows based forex trading platform, it is installed on your computer and connects to your broker for it’s data feed. It has extensive tools and is a great package for charting, it’s easy to use and you can find help on how to use it all over the internet. Most brokers offer MT4 for trading, sometimes in conjunction with their own proprietary platform. With MT4 you can also run custom indicators that you can download from the internet or create them yourself. As well as custom indicators you can run Expert Advisors on MT4, the wording is a bit misleading, but what it means is that you can run a program that will execute trades based on pre-programmed conditions.
Forex Metatrader 5.
Metatrader 5 is the latest version of the package, but take up has been slow since it is not backward compatible for custom indicators, however it does have some nice new features like many more chart timeframes, and for the programmers a nice new full blown debug system for your indicator development.
Web Based Forex Platforms.
The vast majority of the other mainstream platforms are web based, usually Java. The trade execution facility tends to be better on these platforms, Oanda which is one of the biggest retail brokers and has an excellent trade execution method, with default values for Stop Loss and Take Profit. On the Oanda platform you can trade directly off the chart, you can move your stop loss just by picking up the stop loss level and moving it on the chart. On the whole you tend to have weaker features on the web based platforms, but easier execution, which might not always be a good thing!
Using Multiple Forex Platforms.
A lot of traders use Metatrader for charting but the web based platform of their broker for executing trades, this kind of gives you the best of both worlds, great charting with ease of execution. For this though you ideally need a dual monitor setup, this is always handy to trade forex so that you can study different charts on different timeframes, also the wider your screen the better, on a normal screen you can’t usually fit a whole 24hrs of a 5m chart, while a wide-screen will give you more than that, giving you a better overview of what is happening in the market.