trading platforms
trading platforms

CFDs are traded by means of a platform. This is a computer programme and mobile application offering prices, trading, histories of transactions and various other things. In most cases, platforms also feature charts, indicators and other analytical tools. By far the most popular trading platforms for CFDs are MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5, usually known as MT4 and MT5 respectively.

This article takes a look at these two platforms. It’s meant for beginners to trading, so it focusses on the most important features and differences. If you’re an experienced trader, be sure to stay tuned to Exness Academy for our upcoming article considering platforms in greater detail.

MetaTrader 4 (MT4)


MT4 has been the standard for online trading for about 15 years. Almost immediately after its release by MetaQuotes Software Corp in 2005, MT4 became the default platform offered by brokers of CFDs. Traders appreciated its usability, responsiveness and options for customisation. MT4 is available for desktop/laptop computers plus Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. It also has a web version called ‘WebTerminal’.

trading platforms

In addition to the familiar charts, MT4 offers four types of pending order (not including the three pending instructions, namely stops, targets and trailing stops). It also features 30 built-in technical indicators. Nine timeframes allow traders to analyse from one minute to one month.

What arguably separates MT4 from other equivalent platforms released before 2010 is its user-friendliness. For nearly any common action, from setting and moving stops to closing orders and various others, there’s a range of different ways to do it. Stops for instance can be moved by dragging on charts themselves as well as by right-clicking on an order in the terminal and selecting ‘modify or delete order’. One-click trading became standard in all versions of MT4 after March 2013: this function was revolutionary at the time.

MT4 is old. In the 15 years since its release, it hasn’t started to look seriously dated, but more and more traders are switching to MT5. One of the main reasons for this is that MetaQuotes is expected to end support for MT4 sooner or later. Another crucial reason is the rise of mobile trading: MT5 mobile has a significantly wider range of functionalities than MT4 mobile.

mobile trading

MetaTrader 5 (MT5)


At its core, MT5 desktop is really just a new and improved version of MT4. When traders started trying it for the first time after its release in 2015, it was only here and there that they found significant differences between the two platforms. MT5 was designed with the aim among others of handling other categories of instrument beyond forex, specifically shares and indices.

trading platforms

The desktop version of MT5 introduced more timeframes for a new total of 21. A number of extra indicators was also included as standard, and two new types of pending order were added. Some of the more important additions though were a built-in economic calendar and a functional depth of market.

There are some key differences between MT4 mobile and MT5 mobile. Perhaps the biggest of these is that MT5 mobile’s history features a breakdown into positions, orders and deals as standard. This can effectively take the place of a written or manually typed journal for most traders.

What’s more, MT5 mobile on Android devices allows users to view two charts at the same time. MT5 is the first widely available mobile trading platform to have this feature. The final key difference between the two mobile platforms is that MT5 mobile has a fully functional news feed.

MT4 and MT5 desktop: the key differences





Depth of market

Available as a window but only functions for setting pending orders

Fully functional: displays volume as well as prices for pending orders

Economic calendar



Built-in graphical objects



Built-in indicators



Types of pending order






Programming language

MQL4, incompatible with MT5

MQL5, backward compatible with MT4 in its latest version

Which of the two trading platforms is better?


The simple answer is that neither is necessarily ‘better’. If you already trade on MT4 and you’re happy with it, there’s really no pressing reason to switch. However, for the average new trader, MT5 is more suitable due to its modernity and greater functionality on mobile.

By opening a personal area with Exness, you can easily experiment with both platforms. Demo accounts are available for both MT4 and MT5, so you can familiarise yourself with either or both in a risk-free environment before you decide which to start with for real.


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