What To Look For When Choosing a Trading Platform

Colin First
Updated: Nov 10, 2020, 10:15 GMT+00:00

Once a decision has been made to apply some rigorous selection criteria, the next question would be, what criteria do we use to choose the best platforms

Ho to Choose a Trading Platform

Our team broke down the criteria as below:

  1. Reliability is the first factor as whatever you trade, only if you could get back your profits, would it make sense to do any good trading at all. So, the reliability of execution and the reliability of the deposit and withdrawals are the first key factors.
  2. Next would be the licensing. With several jurisdictions offering several kinds of licenses and with platforms using multiple licenses, it does make it a difficult task to find the right one. Having a license in a jurisdiction where the monetary authority closely watches, audits the company in terms of trades,deposits, withdrawals and funds.
  3. The fees and the charges that the platform charges are also key factors that need to be looked at as these eat into your profits and if they are too much – especially when you are a scalper, then your profits will never grow as you would like them to.
  4. Of course, the ease of use of the platform is another criteria but nowadays, most platforms use some standardised software for trading and so this basically evens out the field.
  5. The leverage, margin requirements and the ease of deposit and withdrawals are other factors as well but these are minor when compared to those that are listed above.

If you find a reliable platform based on the above criteria, we are sure that the trader would be ready to put up with slightly less leverage and a bit of hassle while making a deposit.

Prop Platforms Vs Commercial Platforms, Which One to Choose?

There are a variety of platforms which can basically be divided into two: one set are the prop platforms which are developed by the brokers themselves while there are other set of platforms which are developed by companies that specialise in the development of trading platforms. Each has its own set of features and own set of abilities.

While the prop platforms generally work with that specific broker and have features tailored to the broker, it becomes difficult for the trader if he wants to change the broker as he then needs to get used to the new platform used by the new broker.

Also, since the broker’s primary business is to earn commissions and charges, they may not be able to focus a lot of time and resources in building and customising their platform with high quality features as that is not their primary business. Examples of such platforms include those developed by FXCM, Alpari, Dukascopy, eToro, Plus500, XTB and etc. Though the platforms developed by them are of high quality and have excellent execution speeds, it makes it difficult for the trader to understand all the complex features and hence preferred by high end traders.

On the other hand, platforms developed by companies focused on developing trading software, like Metatrader, Ninja Trader etc, generally look more high class and user friendly. But they lack customization as far as the broker is concerned which might be a drawback with certain traders who would prefer a professional trading platform that is closely integrated with the broker feeds. Also, they need to sell these platforms to the brokers which means that they could embed certain features which favour the broker and which may not be liked by the trader. But their user friendliness and also the ease of moving from one broker to another broker, that such platforms provide, cannot be matched.

As listed above, some of the most famous trading platforms include MetraTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, Ninja Trader, cTrader and TradeStation.

MetaTrader 4

At the moment, MetaTrader 4 is the most used platforms across brokers and across retail traders. It is used by thousands of brokers, both big and small, though it is not preferred by large traders and fund managers. It has all the features which a retail trader needs and is extremely user friendly. As far as the broker is concerned, it is very easy and comparatively cheap to set it up and maintain as well. They have a good support team which helps the brokers to sort out any minor issues but with it being one of the oldest platforms, issues are few and far between. Fund managers and large traders do not trust the platform for high speed execution as they believe that it slows down the order execution and also has features which favour the broker.

MetaTrader 5

MetaTrader 5 has been introduced a few years back by the same company that gave MetaTrader 4 and the biggest edge that the new version has is the fact that it can be integrated easily with stock and option trading. MT4 was more for the FX market and it was difficult to plug it into the stock markets but MT5 has solved that problem and is also believed to be much faster in terms of order execution.


TradeStation is the platform of choice for large traders and fund managers as it is favoured mainly for its speed of execution and the technology involved. It does suffer in terms of user friendliness but for larger traders, the speed and reliability is what matters.

NinjaTrader and cTrader

Ninjatrader and cTrader are a couple of the oldest platforms in the industry and are still preferred by a small section of traders for their ease of use and for their ability to be small but still pack a punch. They have some special features that include the order entry and the type of orders that can be u through them, something which cannot be matched by the other platforms.


Apart from all the trading platforms that are available with the various brokers, there are other kinds of software that are available which make the job of traders a bit easier. There are the trading robots which help the trader to put in trades automatically. One of the most famous among them is a robot named FAP Turbo. Like all robots, it has received mixed reviews as it tends to work differently in different trading conditions. This is the drawback of many robots as they find it difficult to adapt to the changing market conditions and what work today doesn’t work tomorrow. It is difficult for robots to perform consistently but FAP Turbo has managed to push through under most trading conditions.

Charting Software

The most useful software that many expert traders find useful are the different kinds of charting software. Charting is an important ingredient in technical analysis and thus it is very important for the traders to have a charting software that they are comfortable with and has all the tools that they are likely to use while trading. Many traders use software just for charting purposes while they execute trades on a totally different platform. One of the most useful charting platform is the Autochartist which has several features inbuilt into it which includes pattern recognition so that traders need not spend too much time trying to analyse the patterns. This helps the trader to make better trading decisions.

Ultimately, what needs to be remembered is that everything comes down to how the trader trades and how comfortable he is with the platform and the software that he uses. Though these can help to improve the trading decisions made, they cannot guarantee any success as far as trading is concerned. The highly recommended platforms and software help to even out the field between the top tier and the medium tier traders and help to give an edge to the trader in the market. That is why it is important for the trader to choose the right platforms and the software as trading is a difficult job in itself and the traders would need as many partners in their trading which would help to push them towards success.


  • What are the Things That you Should Look for in a Platform?

Among several factors, the key would be the reliability, licensing, trading conditions and the fund safety. A perusal of their website and their reviews on various websites (including that on FXEmpire) would help in decision making.

  • Should I go with Platforms that give the Best Offers?

Be careful about platforms that give too many offers. At the end, it is a business for all and it is a low margin business at best. So, if a platform gives too many offers, then there needs to be something suspicious on how they make their profits. Check for the factors listed above and if the platform satisfies these, go ahead even if they don’t give any offers.

  • What Forex Software Should I use?

If you are a technical trader, make sure that you have a very good charting platform that you are comfortable with and has all the tools that you need. This is very important as your entire trading is based on this. If you are a fundamental trader, make sure that you have access to all the news and analysis from FXEmpire and other similar news platforms on a regular basis so that you are aware of what is going on around the world and can then make informed decisions.

  • Which is the Best Trading Software?

Though there is no easy and straightforward answer to this question, FXEmpire has spent all its effort in doing all the running and hard work for you to present the lists. These lists have been derived after hundreds of hours of work by our analysts and professionals based on strict criteria and would be a very useful guide for choosing the platform that is not only the best but also what you are most comfortable with.

About the Author

Colin specializes in developing trading strategies and analyze financial instruments both technically and fundamentally. Colin holds a Bachelor of Engineering From Milwaukee University.

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