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MetaTrader 4, also known as MT4, is an electronic trading platform widely used by online retail foreign exchange speculative traders. It was developed by MetaQuotes Software and released in 2005. The software is licensed to foreign exchange brokers who provide the software to their clients. The software consists of both a client and server component. The server component is run by the broker and the client software is provided to the brokers customers, which use it to see live streaming prices, charts and to place orders as well as manage their account.
The client is a Microsoft Windows-based application that became popular mainly due to the ability for end users to write their own trading scripts and robots that could automate trading. In 2010 MetaQuotes released a successor, MetaTrader 5, however uptake was slow and as of April 2013 most brokers still used MT4. While there is no official MetaTrader 4 version available for Mac OS, some brokers provide their own custom developed MT4 variants for Mac OS.
Its developer MetaQuotes Software had previously released a number of versions of the MetaTrader software starting in 2002. Metatrader 4 was a significantly enhanced version and was released in 2005.Script errorScript error
Between 2007 and 2010 a number of brokerages added the MT4 platform as an optional alternative to their existing trading software due to its popularity with traders and the large number of third party scripts and advisors.Script errorScript error
In 2010 a significantly re-coded MetaTrader 5 went into public beta testing and was subsequently released later in the year.Script errorScript error
The client terminal includes a built-in editor and compiler with access to a user contributed free library of software, articles and help. The software utilizes a proprietary scripting language, MQL4, which enables traders to develop Expert Advisors, custom indicators and scripts. MetaTrader's popularity largely stems from its support of algorithmic trading.
MT4 is designed to be used as a stand alone system with the broker manually managing their position and this is a common configuration used by brokers. However a number of third party developers have written software bridges enabling integration with other financial trading systems for automatic hedging of positions. In late 2012 and early 2013, MetaQuotes Software began to work towards removing third-party plugins for its software from the market, suing and warning developers and brokers.
The complete MetaTrader 4 package includes the following components:
- MetaTrader 4 Client Terminal - the client part. Provided free by brokerages for real-time online trading and as Demo (practice trading) accounts. This provides trade operations, charts and technical analysis in real time. The internal C-like programming language allows users to program trading strategies, indicators and signals. 50 basic indicators are included, each of which can be further customized. The software runs on Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista/7. Some users have reported success using Wine on Linux for the client terminal and on Mac using WineBottler.
- MetaTrader 4 Mobile - controls a trading account via mobile devices such as mobile phones or PDAs. Runs on Windows Pocket PC 2002/Mobile 2003. Newly released mobile versions also run on the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
- MetaTrader 4 Server - the core of the system, the server part. Designed to handle user requests to perform trade operations, display and execution of warrants. Also, sends price quotes and news broadcasts, records and maintains archives. Works as a service. Does not have a separate interface.
- MetaTrader 4 Administrator - is designed to remotely manage the server settings.
- MetaTrader 4 Manager - designed to handle trade inquiries and manage customer accounts.
- MetaTrader 4 Data Center - a specialized proxy server and can be an intermediary between the server and client terminals. It reduces the price quote sending load on the main server.
The platform is focused on margin trading. Some brokerages use the platform to trade CFD but it is not designed for full-time work in the stock market or to conduct non margined tradingScript errorScript error.
MetaTrader 5 is designed as a platform for equity markets as well as foreign exchange, CFD and futures trading.
Both MetaTrader 4 and 5 can use custom indicators and trading programs (called Expert Advisors) for trading automation.