Phenomenon of MT4: Why Do We Use the Outdated Terminal?

“Forex is MT4!” – this slogan should be offered to MetaQuotes company developed this immortal terminal. Indeed, about 90% of traders use it in their trading praxis. So why is MT4 still the most popular terminal today?

Phenomenon of MT4: Why Do We Use the Outdated Terminal?
Anna Shevelova Software Strategist
Phenomenon of MT4: Why Do We Use the Outdated Terminal?

You may have already guessed from the title of this article that its popularity is not due to its quality characteristics.

Its customization is quite “wooden”, candlesticks have a fixed width, timeframes are only standard, and custom timeframe can be only created by using a stand-alone add-on.

To say nothing of the standard grid on the chart: it’s drawn using round-number price levels in other terminals; as for MT4, the situation is totally weird. Therefore, most traders resort to using the indicator of round-number levels, while removing the standard grid at the same time.

And this is just what can be seen with the naked eye. In turn, developers face even greater challenges when developing software products. Features of the terminal have long been inferior to modern requirements despite the attempts by MetaQuotes to regularly update this terminal. Even though, there has been MT5 for a long time, which is superior to MT4 in terms of its functionality.

Why MT4 is so popular these days?

Probably, MT4 is not so bad for it enjoys the greatest popularity among trading terminals, partly due to its simplicity.

Alternatively, it was the best back in its day. We’re wondering why it continues to meet everyone's demands?

In this case, the point is most likely the brokers themselves who disseminate this terminal. The process of integrating the server side of MT4 with a broker’s database, billing and other functionality might be technically very complicated: this is why brokers didn’t want to reconfigure their servers when new terminals released. You know what programmers say: “Don’t change a thing if a system feels right for you”.

Although, this plugin is now used much less often (indeed, the number of manipulations by brokers have recently fell), many brokers used it back in their days and therefore offered only MT4 to their customers.

The second possible reason was a large number of software products (Expert Advisors, scripts, and indicators), which source code cannot be rewritten to be used in MT5 or another terminal: they would have to be created from scratch, and most traders would hardly go for it.
It turned out to be a closed cycle: brokers choose MT4 because most traders use it, and traders choose MT4 because all brokers disseminate it.

To break this cycle, some global changes in trading are required, for example, a large-scale changeover to web platforms.

Prospects for Browser Terminals

The future is in the hands of web platforms, as mobile trading is gaining momentum. You’ll agree that it’s convenient to open terminal in a browser (in your smart phone) without the need to download any additional software.

Speaking of web terminals, the given industry is still very young and currently evolving towards two directions.

The first direction is modification of ready-made terminals to suit the requirements of web terminals, such as the MT4 mentioned above.

There are some brokers who have already been successfully offering this browser terminal to their customers.
However, its functionality is far below that of its desktop version.

The second direction is development of web platforms by a particular broker for its customers.

With increasing technical capabilities, brokers will increasingly resort exactly to this model.

There are several reasons for it:

  • Independence from third-party developers.
  • More opportunities for individual solutions. It’s an excellent opportunity to stand out or make some unique instrument.
  • “Silent” updates. Traders won’t have to download them, as they’re automatically taken into account when loading the terminal in the browser.

However, the question remains about custom indicators and add-ons: they can be created in the web form, but nobody has done this job yet.

Separate Terminals for Analysis and Trading

Who says you must necessarily trade and analyze in a single terminal?

There is a tendency among novice traders to try fitting all their analytical tools into trading terminal, believing that it can improve their trading performance. You can also see our ranking of the best trading platforms for beginner traders.

In practice, they’ll win a few seconds of time, while too much unnecessary information are constantly dancing before their eyes.

It’s much easier to trade on a clean chart by installing a template pleasing to your eyes (here are a couple of nice templates) and make an analysis in another terminal or several terminals.

For example, you can analyze data in the order book on our website and view futures volumes in the ATAS platform using other web tools.

The main idea is to focus on searching for just working signal tools, no matter which terminal they’re in or which website they’re placed on, but not something for MT4 that we don’t understand whether it works at all.

Thank you for your time, and good luck in trading!

Anna Shevelova
Anna Shevelova Software Strategist