cTrader has become increasingly popular since its introduction 10 years ago. The web platform was initially launched with FxPro and has since been adopted by several leading cTrader brokers, including Pepperstone and IC Markets. But how does cTrader compare with industry leader, MetaTrader 4 (MT4)? Before you login and start trading, follow this platform review and tutorial as we cover technical indicators, cBots, copy trading costs, the mobile app and more.
What Is cTrader?
cTrader is a modern and intuitive forex and CFD online trading platform which was developed by the Spotware Systems group in 2011. The platform has become a strong contender against the MetaTrader packages, due to its STP (Straight Through Processing) capabilities for ECN (Electronic Communications Network) brokers.
Today, cTrader is offered as a downloadable application for both Windows, Mac OS or Linux operating systems, plus a convenient webtrader version. For on-the-go traders, there’s also a mobile app, which can be downloaded to all major devices.
You can trade a list with thousands of assets on cTrader, including currency pairs, commodities, indices, stocks, ETFs and even popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Spread betting is also available as an add-on through some brokerages. Leverage is available up to 1:500, depending on the broker and jurisdiction.
cTrader offers a clean, modern and visually appealing layout compared to MetaTrader. There are different layouts you can choose and you can also detach charts and customise them as needed. Additionally, there’s the option to switch between dark and light themes, which is a nice touch.
Market Depth Functionality
Contrary to only one kind of market depth offered by MetaTrader 5, cTrader displays three types of market depth and level 2 pricing:
- Standard Depth of Market – Displays the price and amount of liquidity available at that price. Note that standard DoM allows viewing but not trading.
- Price Depth of Market – Allows for precise trading with more details available, including selling and buying volumes. Price DoM is ideal for scalping strategies.
- VWAP Depth of Market – Volume-Weighted Average Price allows you to view expected VWAP prices against adjustable volumes. Orders are therefore filled against the full order book. VWAP DoM is ideal for trading large volumes.
cTrader’s charting features are both intuitive and user-friendly, with numerous customisation options to suit different styles.
- Chart Modes & Colour Schemes – You can choose between single-chart, multi-chart, or free-chart mode, plus resizing options. You can also customise any colours, from the chart background to the colour of your candles: simply right click on the chart window and click ‘Colour Options’, or click on the ‘Colour’ button in the chart toolbar.
- Timeframes & Chart Views – cTrader offers 54 timeframes across 6 different chart types, including Candlesticks, Heiken Ashi, Renko and Bar charts. You can also adjust the zoom level from the main toolbar at the top.
- Technical Analysis – You can use over 70 pre-installed technical indicators, objects and drawing tools directly from the chart. Popular tools include Exponential Moving Average (EMA), Fibonacci Retracements, Bollinger Bands, Pivot Points, support and resistance and volume profile indicators.
You can execute four order types: market, limit, stop and stop limit. For each one, a window will appear where you can adjust your parameters, set price alerts, choose the market range and expiry dates. You will then need to utilise the risk management tools and set the stop loss and take profit levels.
You can edit or cancel a open pending order by clicking on the ‘Modify’ button next to the instrument in your TradeWatch panel. Here you can edit the entry price, expiry date, stop loss and take profit, as well as trailing stop.
Located at the bottom of your screen, the TradeWatch panel allows you to enter or leave trades, view and modify positions, and manage transactions. You can also set advanced take profit and stop loss levels for a position, by clicking on the ‘Advanced Protection’ settings.
Advanced take profit will automatically initiate a partial close on a position when it reaches the desired profit level. The advanced stop-loss allows for more precise control over pip movements at the stop loss point.
Other impressive features that you will find include:
- QuickTrade – Allows traders to respond quickly to the markets by opening, closing and modifying orders within one or two clicks from every platform section. You can also hover over the red and green bars to view the live market sentiment indicator.
- Hotkeys & Keyboard Shortcuts – Traders can create handy shortcuts from within the settings panel for speed, comfort and convenience when trading.
- cTrader Automate – Formerly known as cAlgo, cTrader Automate is the platform’s algorithmic trading solution, where you can build robots and customise indicators such as the Hull Moving Average or Harmonic Pattern indicator.
- Copy Trading – Traders can become Strategy Providers and share their signals for followers to copy for a commission. Alternatively, investors can pay for, and replicate the positions of other traders.
- Economic Calendar & News – Accessible from the Active Symbol Panel (ASP), the economic calendar displays significant market events, whilst the news tab offers the latest developments from a range of top sources.
- cTrader Store – Includes thousands of developers offering custom bots, tools, heatmaps and indicators. For example, you can download a session indicator, a risk-reward tool, indicator alerts, or even a lot, position or risk size calculator.
- Community – The platform offers a community forum, plus a library of tools shared by fellow traders, a help centre and automated trading consultants.
- ChartShots – Individuals can share ideas and strategies with other traders, with options to share to social media platforms or embed into their own web pages.
- Chart Templates – Up to 50 chart templates can be saved for future use, which can accommodate a variety of strategies, timeframes or chart types.
- AutoChartist – Integrated into the TradeWatch panel, AutoChartist is a market-scanning tool designed to highlight the best trading opportunities in real-time.
- Export data – You can export historical data in Excel or HTML format, straight from the TradeWatch window.
Available for smartphones and tablets, including iPhone and Samsung devices, the mobile app features fluid and responsive charts on an attractive and customisable design.
As with the desktop version, you can switch between dark or light mode to suit your preferences. There are also intuitive mobile-adapted features to make trading on-the-go easy and seamless, such as zoom and scroll functionality and QuickTrade mode.
The app supports 5 chart rendering types (bar, candlestick, dots, line and area charts) plus 4 chart types (standard, tick, Renko and range). Impressively, cTrader Mobile also comes with all 65 technical indicators and 8 drawing tools, as well as a news feed, live market sentiment, price alerts and trade statistics.
You can also fully manage your account transactions and settings straight from the easy-to-navigate dashboard, plus configure your own push and email notifications. cTrader Mobile is available in 22 languages and you can download it in seconds from the App Store for iOS devices, or Google Play for Android phones.
cTrader Automate (formerly known as cAlgo) allows traders to build their own automated trading robots (cBots) and custom indicators using the C# programming language on the cTrader open API. The integrated solution supports manual backtesting in replay mode against historical data, an in-built code editor and a deal map.
The main advantage of cBots is that trades can be entered more precisely and quickly than a human can process manually. Indicators can be used for manual trading but can also be integrated into cBots to indicate trends and provide signals. Some popular cBots include the scalping or moving average bot, as well as the TradingView charting package bot.
To create and run a cBot or indicator, click on ‘New’ from inside the ‘cBots’ or ‘Indicator’ tab where a new template will be created with a default code. The user guide online contains instructions on how to optimise the codes, as well as other sample codes.
cTrader Copy is fully integrated within the platform and allows for a variety of copy trading strategies. You can access the feature by clicking on the ‘Copy’ tab in the main left-hand window. This allows you to check available strategies, compare history and fees, and start copying in just a few clicks.
You can easily search Strategy Providers and filter by age, fee amount, number of trade copiers, or the capital amount. Once you have chosen a provider, click on their cTrader ID to expand additional information such as average profit and total own funds.
Note that if you’re using a demo account, you can only copy free-of-charge strategies. Once you have selected a provider, your allocated funds will be converted into a copy trading account and all the open positions of the strategy are opened for you with the current market rates. You can stop copying and restart again at any time by going into the copy trading account settings.
If you’re unsure whether copy trading is for you, there are a number of online reviews you can check out. It’s also worth comparing the copy trading function against other popular services such as eToro or ZuluTrade.
cTrader vs MetaTrader 4
If you’re wondering whether to choose cTrader or MetaTrader 4 and how the platforms compare, we’ve weighed up the key criteria below.
Interface & Ease of Use
cTrader has been commended for its modern and uncluttered design, with light and dark themes and detachable windows. MetaTrader 4 is more outdated, though is arguably more familiar to experienced traders. Beginners may therefore prefer cTrader, though it is entirely down to personal preference.
cTrader includes over 70 built-in indicators and drawing tools, whilst MetaTrader 4 offers over 50. For this reason, cTrader does have the edge over MT4 in terms of the manual trading capabilities.
There are 9 timeframes available in MetaTrader 4, whereas cTrader offers over 50 across 9 chart types. cTrader also offers an additional chart type compared to MT4 (the dot chart) plus a chart-linking feature and detachable windows.
cTrader uses the C# programming language for cBots, whereas MetaTrader 4 uses the native MQL4 language for Expert Advisors (EAs). Overall, MetaTrader 4 is still the favourite for the wider range of automated tools and the more established online community.
cTrader’s DoM is available in three types: standard depth, price depth and VWAP depth, which is an excellent and sought-after feature. The basic version of MT4, however, does not support depth of market.
With cTrader, you can place pending orders even when the market is closed, which is not allowed in MetaTrader 4. cTrader also offers advanced take profit and stop loss and also displays more detailed order tickets, compared to MT4.
cTrader vs MetaTrader 5
If you’re choosing between cTrader or MT5, some of the key criteria do differ slightly compared to the cTrader vs MT4 comparison.
Interface & Ease of Use
Whilst MetaTrader 5 did include some cosmetic updates, it does still follow the old-school design that many traders are used to. Again, it is entirely down to personal preference, but some newbies are likely to find the cTrader interface more attractive and easy to navigate.
Both cTrader and MetaTrader 5 have an almost equal number of indicators, though MT5 offers a few more objects, such as Gann and Channel tools. Overall, the two platforms perform well in this area.
cTrader has chart-linking and detachable charts, which allows traders more flexibility to spread charts across multiple monitors. MT5, on the other hand, does not offer this feature. Furthermore, cTrader boasts over double the number of time frames than MT5, which has 21.
When it comes to algorithmic trading, both platforms are very different, with cTrader using the common C# coding language and MetaTrader 5 using MQL5. Nonetheless, MT5 was not received as well as MT4, which already offered the core functionalities that traders need. For this reason, cTrader is a favourable choice over MT5 in this area.
MT5 only offers one type of market depth, whilst cTrader offers three. cTrader’s highly sophisticated DoM tool responded to traders’ desires to view the full depth of bids and offers at each price. For traders who deal in large volumes, cTrader is the better choice for market depth functionality.
Apart from the ability to place pending orders when the market is closed in cTrader, there is not a great deal of difference between the two platforms when it comes to order types. Nonetheless, cTrader does make it easier to optimise order protection settings before entering the market, showing clear risk and reward figures, for example.
Based on our comparisons of cTrader vs MT4 or MT5, we’ve summed up some key advantages of trading:
- Modern & clean design with a customisable interface
- Supports FIFO netting account for US brokers
- Multiple languages on desktop and mobile
- Same features across web vs desktop
- Automated trading functionality
- Integrated copy trading
- Demo account
- FIX API
Traders may want to consider the following drawbacks of the platform:
- Smaller range of robots and custom indicators than MetaTrader
- Most FX traders are more familiar with MQL4 or MQL5, not C#
- Limited educational materials compared to MetaTrader
- Not as widely offered by brokerages as MetaTrader
Final Word On cTrader
cTrader is no doubt a strong contender against industry giant, MetaTrader 4, with a vast range of technical indicators, Depth of Market options, and competitive web integrations. Novices may be drawn to the attractive design and automated trading capabilities, though MT4 is likely to remain the overall favourite for experienced traders.
You can look out for the cTrader logo at top brokers to download the platform and start trading today, including ICMarkets, RoboForex, OctaFX, and HotForex. New traders should also download the demo account or make use of any trading simulator to get acquainted with the features.
What Is The cTrader Platform?
What Is A cTrader Account?
cTrader supports demo and live accounts, which are automatically synchronised with your cTrader ID (cTID). Demo accounts are hedged and include a default amount of 1,000 EUR to practice virtual trading with. Live accounts are provided through your broker and allow trading with real money.
Is cTrader better than MT4?
cTrader has become increasingly popular among investors looking for a modern interface with customisable features and extensive technical analysis tools. Nonetheless, MT4 remains the favoured choice among most traders, due to its establishment in the market and use of MQL4.
What Is The Difference Between cTrader And MT4?
The main differences between MetaTrader 4 and cTrader include the platform design and interface, as well as the coding language that is used to program robots and indicators. Due to its long-established status in the market, traders are more familiar with the features of MT4.
How Can I Access cTrader?
cTrader is designed for most operating systems, including Windows 10 or XP, Mac OS and Linux and you can download the platform once you have registered with a cTrader broker. You could also access the web version from any major internet browser, with no installation required.
How Do I Start Trading With cTrader?
If your broker doesn’t provide a user guide PDF, cTrader has a comprehensive and easy-to-digest manual which you can access online or via the PDF version. You can also check out cTrader’s useful YouTube tutorial videos if you need any visual help.