Trading platforms are the software, both browser-based and downloadable, that provide people with the means to trade through their chosen Forex broker. A good platform will not just provide access to the market and let you trade but will also have charting tools, research tools, and options for automated trading and copy trading.

A number of brokers offer their own proprietary trading platform alongside support for downloadable clients, so there are many different platforms to choose from. Additionally, most Forex brokers only support a few downloadable platforms, so if you already have a platform preference this will limit your choice of broker.

If you dont have a platform preference, or if you are just starting out trading, it is important to know which platforms a broker supports before making a deposit, as some platforms are more suited to either beginner or advanced traders. Equally important is ensuring that your chosen trading platform is compatible with the device and operating system you will be using to trade.

I know it may sound confusing, but thats what we are here for. Read on for a breakdown of the best brokers by platform choice and an explainer of the various downloadable versions and which brokers support them.

FXTM are a well regulated, secure, award-winning broker with excellent trading conditions.

In terms of the platforms, they offer the industry standard MT4 on all their Standard Accounts and the choice of MT4 or MT5 on their ECN Accounts. In addition, they also have their own proprietary mobile app; FXTM Trader. FXTM Trader offers users access to the FXTMInvest social trading tool, which allows for copy trading for a subscription fee. For those that dont want to download software to their home computer, MT4 and MT5 are also available through your browser and on mobile devices.

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FXCM is one of the biggest names in the Forex CFD businesses, and this broker really excels in platform choice for more experienced traders. FXCMs proprietary platform, Trading Station, is award-winning, widely respected and available through your browser, on mobile and as a download. FXCM also offers full support for MT4, though unfortunately not for MT5. FXCM are also one of the few brokers that supports ZuluTrade, a platform specialising in auto trading. If thats not enough, in addition to these three platforms, FXCM supports a host of speciality platforms, including AlgoTerminal, QuantConnect, MotiveWave and StrategyQuant.

AvaTrade is another major internationally regulated broker with over 200,000 customers worldwide. Avatrade offer desktop, tablet, mobile and web-based trading withMT4 and the proprietary AvaTradeGO as well as Duplitrade and ZuluTrade, both automated trading platforms.

Regulated by three major regulators and the recipient of many industry awards, XM Group stands out for their customer service and educational support. XM offer both MT4 and MT5 as platforms, and both are well supported by XMs world-class customer service team.

The most popular trading platform worldwide, MetaTrader 4 (MT4), is either a free download fromMetaQuotesor any of theseMT4 Forex brokers.

MT4 is considered the Forex trading industry standard platform due to its popularity, broker adoption, security, and customisability. As MT4 is so popular, there are thousands of reviews, guides and documentation that will provide an overview of the software and help get you started,includingour own MT4 guide. Most MT4 brokers offer assistance with setting up the software and will offer platform-specific technical support should you need it.

Here is our top list of reputable broker offering MT4 and check out our detailed breakdown of the bestMT4 Forex brokers in 2019:

The primary difference between MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) is that MT4 is predominantly a Forex trading platform,while MT5 is a multi-asset trading platform. This means that MT5 offers not only Forex but also trading in stocks, stock indices and precious metals. MT5 also allows for news feeds to be viewed in the platform and trades can be made on a chart. Though not offered by all brokers, it is becoming more common.

Here is our top list of reputable brokers offering MT5:

MT4 is only natively available forWindowsbut with some tweaking, can run on MacOS. MT5 is available forWindows, Mac and Linux. Apps for both versions are available oniPhone and iPadandAndroiddevices.

MetaTrader does not charge commissions for opening and closing positions, but most brokers will charge you for executing trades on the platform. Costs of trading will vary betweenbrokers, currency pairs, volumes traded, and depending on market fluctuations.

Webtrader is the browser version of the MetaTrader trading platform and has a simpler interface than the downloadable client. Beginners find that it is easier to navigate and make trades and, as you can export your trade history to Excel, you can survey past trades for mistakes or trends and track your improvement. This export and analyse process is perfect for new traders who want to learn as quickly as possible. WebTrader has an incredibly clear layout, making it easy to keep track of your trades.

As WebTrader is a browser-based platform, it requires no extra software or any particular operating system. You can access the platform on your mobile phone too.

Much like the download versions of MT4/5, WebTrader does not charge fees itself. Other fees vary according to the broker, spreads on different currency pairs, and commission fees.

Like MT5, cTrader is a multi-asset trading platform, allowing traders to trade Forex as well as other CFDs. It also has excellent charting tools and an intuitive user interface. It was first launched withFxPro.

One of the best features of cTrader is the fully customizable layout. You can pick a chart-only layout or the default, which includes analysis and trading news. Even the charts are customizable, allowing you to display different charts side-by-side, or toggle between them. Much of cTrader appears and functions in a similar manner to MetaTrader 4, so it would be a smooth transition if youre used to the latter.

If you tend to trade with a certain set of currencies, the platform also allows you to create a favourites window, allowing you to always have easy access to your most-traded currency pairs. Here you can immediately see quotes when you launch the application so that you can make trades quickly. Additionally, cTrader comes pre-packaged with over 30 technical indicators and objects, allowing even further customisation.

cTrader is best for intermediate and experienced traders those accustomed to MetaTrader may find it more comfortable to use and the layout cleaner. cTrader is very popular, and youll find many useful reviews and tutorials online, including in the App Store and Google Play if you plan on using your mobile phone to trade.

cTrader for desktop is available to download for Windows but is also available in your browser (Firefox, Chrome or Opera). Mobile platforms are available for both Android and iOS.

Commissions depend on the currency values and size of each trade. FxPro has a handy calculator to help you convert currencies and calculate how much commission youll pay on specific trades.

ZuluTrade is a popular platform that specialises in copy trading and social trading. With ZuluTrade, traders can copy each others trades and the embedded social network allows for the sharing of ideas and strategies. With over a million users, it is one of the largest copy trading platforms around. An added benefit, you can link a pre-existing MT4 account to your ZuluTrade platform. ZuluTrade is also available on iOS and Android devices.

Yes, eToro(full Etoro review here)is technically a broker but it is a broker with a very distinct platform. The world leaders in social trading, eToros platform is a combination of a traditional trading platform and social network similar in many ways to Facebook and Twitter. Though the actual trading platform itself is quite simplistic, especially in comparison to MT4/5 and cTrader, if you want to feel like you are part of a community and want to be updated constantly with feedback and ideas from other traders, then this is probably the best platform for you.

There are many other niche platforms out there, especially for more advanced traders, but this article covers most of the popular choices. Whatever platform you choose, remember that a platform is only a tool and your success or failure will depend entirely on your trading choices, so make sure that those choices are educated, cautious and decisive. Good luck!

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Trading leveraged products such as Forex and CFDs may not be suitable for all investors as they carry a high degree of risk to your capital.

It is really important that you do not trade any money that you cant afford to lose because regardless of how much research you have done, or how confident you are in your trade, there will always be a time that you lose.

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Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors and comes with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.