As you might imagine, there are quite a few trading platforms out there so we went ahead and tested all the major platforms that met our criteria:
- Offer a wide variety of asset classes;
- Commodities (eg. oil, gold, metals)
- Offer a well developed trading robot marketplace and community
- Ability to run self coded trading robots
This is a selection of the top 3 robot trading platforms we like best:
Metatrader is the most popular from all the trading platform we tested. From the brokers that don’t require you to use their own proprietary platform, a large majority offered Metatrader 4 & 5 to their traders. Having said that, many of the brokers that DID in fact have a proprietary platform, also offered Metatrader. One of the main reasons for this is the vast numbers of traders that already run Expert Advisors or EAs. Expert Advisors are the name given to robots developed for the MT4 and MT5 platforms. Metatrader comes with its own development interface which allows you to code your own robots, test, deploy, and run all your trading bots under one roof.
To code your own robots in Metatrader you would need to learn the MQL (Meta Quotes Language) which is a close variant to C++. If you don’t happen to be a programmer, MQL provides a marketplace where MQL 4 & 5 developers offer their services at a fixed price or a per hour tariff.
The flexibility you have to create strategies, test them, and run, is what most traders crave. Explaining in big part why this platform is one of the most widely used in the world.
cTrader is relatively newer to the market, and has for the most part, emulated many of the major features Metatrader offers. You can also code your own trading bots, which are called cBots. cTrader does not require you to learn a proprietary language like MQL, cBots are coded in C#.
There is an extensive community of enthusiastic developers, with its own marketplace for both cBots and coding services so you can implement your own trading strategies.
NinjaTrader is the most senior of all the platforms we tested, boasting its start of operations in the early 2000’s. NinjaTrader offers similar set ups as Metrader and cTrader, includes a built in simulator, and you have the option of coding and running your own trading robots.
So what are the differences?
NinjaTrader has a very strong presence in the North American market supported by some of the major brokerage firms. You wouldn’t need to look too far to find a broker in the US. Another point we found interesting was that it has a very loyal group of traders. This is one of the added perks of having been one of the first trading platforms of this type in the market. This large following has produced a very large number of user groups and communities. These are great places to learn, exchange ideas, and discuss strategy.
cTrader has by far, the best looking interface in our opinion. It looks sharp and modern, a clear plus over the other platforms. It has a very strong presence in Europe, and like NinjaTrader it has a strong community. Another point we liked is that if you are already a C# developer, you can dive right into coding your own trading bots with cTrader. If this is the case, this has to be a major plus for you. The brokerage options when it comes to cTrader are also quite extensive as it is very popular with CFD brokers.
Even though NinjaTrader and cTrader have some great points, it would be difficult not to have a preference for Metatrader at this point in time. Their brokerage options are counted in the hundreds; the choice is one of the widest in the industry. Their trading community is huge, and it is surprisingly easy to find developers to code Expert Advisors for you. Yes, the interface is clunky and somewhat outdated, there are quite a few functionalities that you do miss from the other platforms, but if that’s the only minus point, then it’s pretty clear this is the one that would have an edge for us.
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