Several decades ago trading was mostly practiced only by institutional investors and high net worth individuals. With an advent of online trading, financial markets became accessible from every part of the world. Contemporary trading technologies, or should we say trading platforms, have provided great opportunities right in the hands of retail investors.
In this article, we will focus on the concept of the trading software and define various types of trading platforms thereafter.
Trading Software – What is it?
To put it simply, the trading platform is the software which main aim is to allow traders manage their market positions, i.e. open, close or amend them. The trading software also serves as the bridge between the trader and a broker. Through the trading platform, the broker shares real-time quotes and charts for a given financial instrument. Most of the time, the trading platform is absolutely free. However, some brokers might charge a fee for using the platform in exchange for an enhanced functionality.
Additionally, the broker can include extra features in the trading platform, e.g. news feed and the market analysis. This is meant to simplify trading, as one should not look at multiple screens or web pages at the same time.
Types of Trading Platforms
We can define 3 types of online trading platforms, which are:
Now let’s make them as clear as possible. Desktop trading platform implies that the software has to be installed on the trader’s PC. Such platforms are supposed to run on every operation system, though it still depends on the selected broker.
Instead of worrying whether the platform will launch on Windows, Mac or Linux, traders can go an alternative route. As you might have guessed, we are going to mention web-based trading platforms. The uniqueness of the web-based platform is that no software is required to be downloaded, as the platform operates with the help of browser using a web language like Java. The only condition for this platform to run smoothly is a swift Internet connection.
Lastly, the trader can pick a mobile platform. Thus, it is possible to access financial markets while being on the go. This ensures that no lucrative opportunity misses out of the sight. Mobile platforms are mostly available in the form of apps for Android or iOS devices.
Great brokerages usually offer all platform versions in a place to provide the maximum flexibility of trading.
Most popular trading platforms
It will not be an exaggeration to say that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of trading platforms available. However, it is rather easy to define current leaders in the market of the trading software. Let’s mention them: MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, cTrader and Sirix WebTrader.
These platforms offer a wide range of benefits, including a big pool of trading instruments, fast order execution, huge library of technical indicators and advanced charting tools. Each trading platform is different and advantageous in its own way.