Understanding Forex Trading Software and Forex Trading Platforms

By: Richard M. Davieess

Understanding the differences between the types of Forex trading software and Forex trading platforms can help to make you a better trader in a number of ways. Choosing the trading software that most closely matches your needs can make your journey to Forex profitability much smoother and easier.

Online Forex brokers give clients access to information about market prices and the ability to make trades via their forex trading software offerings. Online Forex trading is fairly well established so there is general agreement amongst brokers about what kind of software is optimum for these purposes. The major division of the software is between client based and web based examples.

Of course, a primary need is for real-time, second-by-second access to market information. Forex trading is very fast paced and there is no room for a lag in delivery of information so that trading decisions can be properly made. Despite the claims of all Forex dealers that their particular software will perform speedily there are many things that can delay the receiving of data.

Having a newer computer, with adequate power and speed, is one critical consideration. Another is to have an Internet connection that is high speed so you can take advantage of all that your broker's software can offer you. Since distance from the broker's servers is another important point it is wise to have a broker in the same general area as you are. Having a broker half-way around the globe may cause you critical delays during times of rapid trading. This, of course, may be less of an issue as trading technologies advance.

A Choice: Client Based or Web Based?

Client based software offerings are those where critical portions of the software resides on your own computer. Web based packages run over the Internet and you can access your account on your broker's website from any computer with a web connection. Is one preferable? The trend is toward web based packages because these are much more convenient and reliable. If your computer is down for any reason you can still conduct business through a another computer. With client based software you would be restricted to the one computer.

Because the web-based software resides on the broker's system there is much greater security. The broker can secure the data by high-strength encryption so transmissions are always protected. A single trader's computer, on the other hand, is much more vulnerable to hackers, viruses, and other such security breaches.

The most basic features of a Forex trading software package is allowing a trader access for buying a selling and seeing real-time price information. So, of course, all packages should offer this ability. The trader can see up to the minute quotes for those currency pairs most often traded and can manage their accounts, either buying or selling by price or using stops and limits to enter and exit the market. Charting functions integrated right into the software are also very desirable.

Most brokers will offer a basic software package for free but there are higher-level, more capable programs also offered for a monthly fee. These more capable programs give you access to a large range of analytical functions and allow you to trade directly from the chart withing the Forex trading platform.

Since the heart of these systems are the data servers, Forex brokers' servers must be secure, with all transactions processed correctly and all data integrity maintained. Since every computer system can be crippled by events outside of the control of individuals there should be separate backup servers in different locations. This means that a natural disaster, or even a simple loss of power supply, does not cripple the operation. Data backups at regular intervals will also go a long way toward assuring that client data is preserved in an accurate state no matter what.

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