The ForexBrokers.com annual forex broker review (five years running) is the most cited in the industry. With over 50,000 words of research across the site, we spend hundreds of hours testing forex brokers each year. How we test.
Having used MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) for more than a decade, I wanted to create a comprehensive guide for traders. In this guide, I will breakdown the best brokers for MetaTrader 4 and answer the most common questions about the trading platform.
Best MetaTrader (MT4) Brokers
- IC Markets - Best overall for MetaTrader
- FP Markets - Full MetaTrader suite, competitive pricing
- XM Group - MetaTrader with custom indicators
- Pepperstone - MetaTrader suite with addons
- FxPro - MetaTrader suite, average pricing
- Vantage FX - MetaTrader suite, great pricing for higher balances
- Swissquote - MetaTrader suite, Swiss bank
Best overall for MetaTrader
IC Markets caters exceptionally-well to algorithmic traders through its commission-based accounts. Third-party research and trading tool plugins are part of the IC Markets MetaTrader platforms offering, making it our number one MetaTrader broker in 2021. Read full review
Full MetaTrader suite, competitive pricing
FP Markets' low effective spreads (Raw ECN account) combined with its platform add-ons and access to over 130 tradeable symbols is a winning combination in 2021. Like other best MT4 brokers, the full MetaTrader suite is available. Read full review
MetaTrader with custom indicators
XM Group is a vanilla MetaTrader broker that offers the complete MetaTrader suite, along with a few notable upgrades to enhance the experience, in addition to custom indicators. Trading tools aside, XM Group’s research offering is rich with depth and variety, challenging industry leaders such as IG and Saxo Bank. Read full review
MetaTrader suite with addons
While Pepperstone offers a small set of tradeable products, it provides one of the largest selections of third-party platforms, including multiple social copy trading options. Pepperstone's Smart Trader Tools module, developed by FX Blue LLP, brings a dozen platform add-ons that enhance the default MetaTrader experience if you have a balance of over AUD 500. Read full review
Full MetaTrader suite, average pricing
Besides offering the full MetaTrader suite, FxPro stands out for its execution methods, with both agency and market-maker execution available by account type. While not a discount broker, FxPro does offer an active trader program that can help high volume traders reduce their trading costs. Read full review
MetaTrader suite, great pricing for higher balances
Vantage FX offers the full MetaTrader suite, which includes the Smart Trader add-ons. While not a discount broker on its main accounts, if you deposit $20,000 to access the PRO ECN account, Vantage FX offers low effective spreads with commission comparable to pricing leaders. Read full review
MetaTrader suite, Swiss bank
Traders willing to pay a premium to have their brokerage account held with a Swiss bank choose Swissquote for its competitive, multi-asset offering. Like its competitors, Swissquote offers the full MetaTrader platform suite. Read full review
MetaTrader 4 Brokers List
Here is a list of forex brokers that offer MetaTrader 4: Admiral Markets, ADS Securities, AvaTrade, BlackBull Markets, City Index, CMC Markets, Darwinex, Dukascopy, easyMarkets , Eightcap , ETX Capital , Forex.com, FP Markets, FXCM, FxPro, HYCM, HotForex, IC Markets, IG, KVB Kunlun, Markets.com, OANDA, OctaFX, Pepperstone, Saxo Bank, Swissquote, Tickmill, Vantage FX, VT Markets, XM Group, and XTB.
Is MetaTrader 4 a broker?
No. MetaTrader 4 is a third-party trading platform that connects to a broker for forex trading. MetaTrader 4 is the most popular third-party platform for trading forex. Alongside MT4, cTrader is another popular trading platform.
Instead of MetaTrader, some brokers build their own custom trading platforms in-house. Based on assessing 27 brokers in our 2021 Review, the best forex brokers offer proprietary platforms.
MetaTrader Platforms Comparison
Using data from our forex broker comparison tool, here's a comparison of the MetaTrader platforms offered by the best MT4 brokers.
|Feature||IC Markets||FP Markets||XM Group||Pepperstone|
|Desktop Platform (Windows)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Social Trading / Copy-Trading||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|MetaTrader 4 (MT4)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|MetaTrader 5 (MT5)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Who created MetaTrader?
Founded in 2000, MetaQuotes Software Corp is the developer of MetaTrader4 (MT4) and MetaTrader5 (MT5) software. The MetaTrader suite, which is licensed by brokers and offered to traders, is one of the most widely used trading platforms for retail forex and CFDs trading globally.
How do I get a broker for MetaTrader?
We spent three months testing 27 different forex and CFDs brokers, then compiled a list of the best MetaTrader 4 brokers. Our top pick for 2021, IC Markets, offers the full MetaTrader suite alongside competitive pricing, add-on trading tools, and quality market research.
Once you decide on a broker you want to use for MT4, you simply open and fund a brokerage account and you can start trading forex and CFDs. Alternatively, most brokers offer demo accounts so you can use virtual funds to practice trading before funding with real money.
What is the difference between MT4 and MT5?
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is based on a prior generation (version) of software, whereas MetaTrader 5 (MT5) is the latest version. In addition to CFDs and forex trading, MT5 can support stock trading and futures trading, making it more of a multi-asset platform.
MT5 also includes advanced functions like utilizing cloud-storage to run strategies and to conduct backtesting. With MT4, backtesting must be done locally or through a virtual private server (VPS).
Overall, while MT5 looks and feels similar to MT4, MT5 is a more modern, faster trading platform. Despite the underlying advantages of MT5, MT4 is still more widely available and used.
Both MetaTrader 4 and 5 provide an easy-to-navigate layout. For charts, 31 different charting tools are provided alongside 51 technical indicators, providing traders a good starting point for performing basic technical analysis.
In terms of layout, customizable chart templates can control how default charts appear. Traders can save all their charts into a profile so the entire workspace is backed up, including all trend lines and chart configurations.
Lastly, it is worth noting that a web-based version of both MT4 and MT5 are available, although the web-based versions are not offered by all brokers and do not support automated trading as the desktop versions do.
Does MetaTrader support copy trading?
The signals market available on the MQL5 Community enables users to copy the live trades of approved signal providers. Also known as social copy trading, each signal provider charges a different subscription fee for access.
Does MetaTrader support automated trading systems?
Yes. Expert Advisors (EAs) are used in the MT4 and MT5 platform to run automated trading systems. An EA will either be a copy of the original .MQ4 file that contains the source code, which can be modified, or it will be an .EX4 (executable) file of the same code, which cannot be tampered with and is often chosen by those who want to distribute their strategies without revealing their source code.
Most EAs have a range of customizable parameters that let users specify the position size and risk/reward-related attributes, among other elements, that may be configured before automated trading is enabled.
Does MetaTrader support developers?
Today, MT4 and MT5 have extensive documentation, codebase, and articles to help developers create algorithmic trading systems. The MetaQuotes Language (MQL) syntax enables programmers to create automated scripts and trading systems.
The proprietary MQL language supports custom scripts, utilities, libraries, indicators, and automated trading strategies known as Expert Advisors (EAs). The MetaTrader developer ecosystem continues to evolve each year.
Does MetaTrader support backtesting?
Backtesting, or using historical data to assess how a strategy would perform in the past, is an important part of assessing the quality of any automated trading system. With MT4 and MT5, backtesting enables traders to see how an EA would have performed over a historical period of time for a requested instrument, e.g., currency pair.
When an EA is built and then tested on historical data for the first time, this is known as testing on out-of-sample data, which means the EA has never used these historical prices (in which case the result will not have the benefit of hindsight).
What are the risks of backtesting?
While backtesting is used by traders, it is also used by the signal creators too. Some developers may optimize their strategies over a historical data set (i.e., run it multiple times over the past three months of EUR/USD tick data) on purpose, which can lead to curve-fitted results.
While there can be some benefits to optimizing a strategy using historical data, results of a curve-fitted strategy can be misleading as only the best trades are cherry-picked, and the results of forward-testing the same strategy can be significantly different. Therefore, forward-testing a strategy can be even more important than backtesting it, before the value of results can be assessed.
Is automated trading with MetaTrader risky?
Yes. Experts, which are automated trading systems in MT4 and MT5, are built by traders and rely on backtesting to prove their profitability. As the famous market adage says, "past performance is not indicative of future results." The problem with automated strategies is that they rely on the benefit of hindsight bias. The reality is that very few trading systems are profitable over the course of an entire year.
Therefore, while there can be pros to using an automated strategy, traders must be aware of the pitfalls and know how to assess any strategy before using it to manage their investment capital.
Here are several tips to help you select a good automated trading strategy:
- Research and learn the trading methodology (strategy) the expert advisor follows for their automated strategy.
- Backtest the strategy across multiple instruments/timeframes, if possible, and examine its historical performance (if available).
- Compare the subscription cost and historical performance to similar automated strategies.
- Once you decide on a strategy, test the strategy with a small amount of capital first, then slowly increase your investment size over time.
Which MT4 broker is the best?
When it comes to forex trading on MetaTrader 4 (MT4) in 2021, the best MT4 broker is IC Markets. IC Markets offers the full MetaTrader suite alongside competitive pricing, add-on trading tools, and quality market research.
Is MetaTrader 4 only for trading forex?
The MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform is predominantly for forex trading. However, depending on the broker, MT4 often comes with a range of other symbols such as CFDs on indices, commodities, futures, energies, and metals.
What are "Expert Advisors" in MetaTrader?
When using MetaTrader platforms, such as MetaTrader 4 (MT4) or MetaTrader 5 (MT5), there are automated trading systems known as Expert Advisors (EAs), or Experts for short. Experts are not humans. Instead, they are the automated trading systems created by traders to execute a trading strategy.
When selecting a MetaTrader broker, traders should consider the trustworthiness of the broker (where it is regulated), the number of tradeable securities offered, pricing, customer service quality, and any available addons offered beyond the default MetaTrader experience.
All in all, MetaQuotes has proven itself to be a trusted leader in developing forex and multi-asset trading platforms for online forex brokers and retail traders globally.
To sign up for a live forex account or demo trading account with a MetaTrader broker that offers MT4 or MT5, see our list of reviewed brokers above to choose a broker that best suits your overall trading needs.
Here's a summary of the best forex brokers for MetaTrader.
- Best Forex Brokers for Copy Trading
- Best Forex Brokers for Beginners
- Best Forex Brokers for 2021
- Compare Forex Brokers
For our 2021 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 27 international forex brokers over a three-month time period resulting in over 50,000 words of published research.
Each broker was graded on 108 different variables, including our proprietary Trust Score algorithm. This innovative scoring system ranks the level of trustworthiness for each broker based on factors such as licenses, regulation and corporate structure (read about Trust Score here).
As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy.
Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .1% each year, providing site visitors with quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.
Forex Risk Disclaimer
"There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses." Learn more.