cTrader is one of the most commonly used Forex platforms and there are lots of reasons for its popularity. For starters, the company that created it hails from Cyprus, a small island country in the Mediterranean that has emerged as a cardinal financial center in this region thanks to its lenient tax regime.
The platform is widely implemented by ECN brokers worldwide, enabling users to trade directly with liquidity providers without the involvement of a dealing desk. The initial launch of the platform was made by FXPro in 2011, which remains one of the top brokers to this day.
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Presently, cTrader is used by many other trading companies, including the well-known Pepperstone, Fondex, IC Markets, and Liquid Markets. The platform serves two main functions – charting and execution of trades. Copy and automated trading are also available across a broad range of financial instruments, including currency pairs, commodities, shares, cryptocurrencies, and indices.
Spotware Systems – the Developer behind the cTrader Platform
The cTrader platform is the flagship product of Spotware Systems. The company was founded by fintech pundit and entrepreneur Andrey Pavlov in 2010 and has its headquartered in Limassol, the second-largest city on the isle of Cyprus.
Spotware Systems has grown greatly over the past ten years. It currently employs a team of more than 110 fintech experts who share over a hundred years of cumulative experience in the financial industry.
The Cyprus-based company developed its flagship cTrader with one clear goal in mind, to offer traders and brokers alike a premium platform that provides them with ultimate functionality, transparency, and flexibility.
In the spring of 2011, FxPro became the first broker to make use of cTrader under the terms of an exclusive agreement with Spotware Systems. Some of the world’s largest brokerages soon followed suit.
Always in pursuit of excellence, Spotware Systems has introduced many improvements to its flagship product over the past decade. The most recent updates came in December 2019 when the company rolled out an updated desktop version of cTrader that features better drawing tools, a new zooming function on charts, and improved trading robots for better backtesting.
cTrader Interface and Workspace
One of the main drawing attractions of cTrader is its clean and straightforward design. The interface is easy on the eye and very uncluttered, which ensures intuitive navigation for all end users. Compared to other popular platforms like MetaTrader, for example, cTrader is significantly easier to work with and navigate.
Traders can acquaint themselves with the platform and its features in under an hour, even if they have never used it before. The workspace is just as intuitive, with the main toolbar placed vertically on the left side. It leads you to the most important functions of cTrader – trading, copy trading, automated trading, and the analysis section.
Most of the windows are dockable allowing users to move them around. Toward the bottom, you will find all the relevant information you need to efficiently manage your account, including your currently available balance, equity, margin level, and unrealized profits and losses. At the very bottom, the software shows you which foreign exchange markets are currently open, which is a nice touch.
You can easily track your open positions, active orders, trading history, and deposit/withdrawal transactions with the buttons located under the chart section. There is also the option to tailor workspaces to your preferences and save them for future use. Less important control elements are not intrusive and do not get in your way while you trade.
Order Execution with cTrader
The success of every trader partially depends on how quickly their broker fills their orders. Traders will experience no delays with brokers using cTrader since the platforms fills orders in a matter of milliseconds.
Furthermore, there is a decent choice of order types here, including Market, Limit, Stop Limit, Take Profit, Stop orders, Good Till Day, and One Cancels the Other orders. It is possible to process multiple orders simultaneously without order queue. Placing orders is made easy with this intuitive platform.
There is a vertical watchlist with a drop-down menu where you can find the full list of instruments along with their current buy/sell prices. Select your preferred pair or instrument and enter the desired parameters for your order.
The active and pending orders are displayed in the window below the chart section. Another way to execute a trade is via the New Order dialog box. This dialog also shows you some really helpful information about the respective instrument, including the required margin, its market hours, pip value, and the daily changes in its price.
cTrader Account Management
With cTrader, it is no longer necessary to store usernames and passwords for individual demo and live accounts. The platform enables its users to manage multiple accounts with great ease and convenience. All your sign-in information is stored into a cloud for quick and hassle-free access, along with your custom-made watchlists and workspaces.
Your accounts are linked to the same user ID. This gives users the flexibility that comes with managing their trading activities from different devices. If a trader creates a custom watchlist with the instruments they want to track on their desktop computer, they will be able to load the same watchlist on their tablet or smartphone.
Once traders sign in with their unique cTrader IDs, they have immediate access to all their trading accounts and the full range of Spotware Systems products. There is no need to log into cTrader and cTrader Automate separately, for example.
It is possible to jump from one account to another in a few simple steps. You can select the Switch Account option from the Spotware cTrader context menu and switch from demo to live account in a split second.
cTrader Charting Capabilities
The cTrader platform has powerful capabilities for charting with a neatly designed charting area and a rich selection of chart types to fit different strategies, including bar, candlestick, dot, line, HLC, and Heikin Ashi charts.
These can be displayed in three different modes. The software shows you one chart at a time in single-chart mode or several charts in multi-chart mode. There is also the free-chart mode which enables you to detach a chart and see it in an entirely separate window.
The cTrader platform also features a nice set of functions and tools for drawing on your charts. You can draw trend, vertical or horizontal lines, for example. Other useful functionalities include trading channels on your charts with the help of the Equidistant Price channel, finding fork patterns with the Pitchfork function, and adding objects or text to your charts.
It is also possible to set price alerts directly on charts in case you wish to implement Limit and Stop orders at a given price. The feature enables you to set up sound notifications. This is particularly useful if you are away from your desktop computer.
The Chartshot is another useful function, which allows you to take and save screenshots of your charts. The Watchlist section contains one small colored icon next to the drop-down menu with the instruments. This one enables you to link instruments to charts based on color. Trading directly through charts is also possible in cTrader.
Copy Trading with cTrader
Copy trading is easily one of the most appealing features of cTrader, especially in the eyes of beginners who are yet to master the peculiarities of the markets. The social trading service is facilitated by cTrader Copy. An overhaul of the cMirror trading service, it enables users to register either as investors (i.e. regular traders) or as strategy providers.
The service is also available via the web-based version of cTrader. All you have to do is click the Copy button in the vertical menu on the left-hand side of the screen. Investors can follow strategy providers and copy their trades directly in their portfolios.
There are very convenient filters you can use to find providers based on specific parameters, including performance fees, number of copiers, trading volume, and Return on Investment (ROI). Copiers can choose what portion of their available balance to allocate to each strategy they follow. However, the allocated amount should be higher than the minimum set by the provider who has devised the strategy.
When you click on the name of a given strategy provider, the software shows you important information such as their all-time ROI and capital, the minimum required investment for the respective strategy, and when it was created.
There is a search box that enables you to quickly and conveniently find specific strategies. Providers, on the other hand, can start offering their strategies without any induction period. They can determine what commissions to charge their copiers and collect the fees on a day-to-day basis. It is also possible for them to choose whether their strategies are public or available through invitations only.
Other Useful Features You Will Find in cTrader
Apart from trade execution, social trading, and charting capabilities, cTrader is also loaded with a plethora of other great features intended to further enhance users’ trading experience. Some of these functionalities aim at facilitating speed, convenience, and efficiency while others help with analysis, allowing you to make more intelligent trading decisions.
- The Quick Trade function is particularly convenient because it allows you to open, close, and adjust your orders either with a single click or two clicks of the mouse button. This is possible from all sections of cTrader. With Quick Trade, you can adequately react to the dynamic price movements of the markets.
- Market Snapshots enable traders to better understand the price values their orders were filled at. Each deal, order and position ticket in cTrader includes a maximum of fifty fields of information along with a comprehensive timeline of events. Armed with such details, users can remain informed at all times.
- cTrader Automate is an overhaul of what was previously known as cAlgo. It facilitates algorithmic trading and allows users to create fully automated customer robots (cBots) and technical indicators, provided that they know how to work with the C# programming language.
The cTrader Automate was designed to enhance efficiency and productivity, enabling the optimization and backtesting of different strategies. Robots and technical indicators can be loaded within seconds thanks to the Plug and Play feature in cTrader Automate.
- The Spread Betting add-on built into cTrader allows users to select the amounts they want to earn or lose per pip when the markets fluctuate in their favor or against them. Said amounts are referred to as “stakes”. Spread betting is similar to trading with CFDs, but with CFDs, you must choose your lot size or trading volume in terms of units. You need a separate cTrader account for spread betting, though.
- Technical indicators and timeframes are available in abundance in cTrader. Investors who are keen on technical analysis have a choice from a comprehensive list of over 50 indicators, including Momentum Oscillators, MACD Crossover, Chaikin Volatility, and Bollinger Bands, among many others. Where timeframes are concerned, cTrader users have access to many different options such as m1, m5, m15, m30, H1, H4, D1, W1, and M1.
- Depth of Market is particularly useful because it gives traders access to a complete range of executable prices. These are Level II prices, which is to say they come straight from the liquidity providers on the interbank market. Volume Weighted Average Prices (VWAP) are used to fill orders against the entire order book.
- Traders who use the platform can devise and save custom watchlists to better organize their favorite trading symbols. These can also be stored in a cloud for quick access from any location and device at all times. In the desktop version of cTrader, you can undock individual watchlists and conveniently move them around your workspace.
Spotware Systems’ Product Lineup
The product lineup of Spotware Systems spans several products, starting with the downloadable version of cTrader for Microsoft Windows. There is also a web-based version of the software you can instantly access in your browser without downloading anything. Mobile users can install the developer’s dedicated applications on their Apple or Android portable devices.
Downloadable cTrader for Desktop
The dedicated downloadable cTrader is available for a free download on laptops and desktop computers that operate on Windows 7, 8 or 10. To our knowledge, cTrader has no downloadable version that works on Macintosh computers.
We explain this with the costs associated with the utilization and support of one such version. Spotware Systems have probably decided the Mac user base is not as extensive and does not justify investing in the development of one such platform.
One solution for Mac users is to partition their computers, which enables them to boot either into Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X when the device starts. Another option is to download and install the CodeWeavers CrossOver compatibility layer and use it to run the trading platform.
Installing the software has several advantages, starting with the fact it gives you access to a larger set of useful features. For instance, the desktop version enables you to undock charts and move them in all directions, which is otherwise impossible in the browser-based version.
The same goes for the all-inclusive solution for algorithmic trading cTrader Automate, which is also available only via the downloadable platform. You will have to install the Windows-compatible software if you are looking to test and run various trading cBots.
Despite missing a couple of key features, the browser-based cTrader Web is not without its advantages. For starters, it provides you with instant access to your trading portfolio, history, and open positions via any desktop device, regardless of what operating system it uses.
The web version has been optimized to perform seamlessly across many popular browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer. This version also poses as a great solution for Mac users as Spotware Systems has put a strong emphasis on ensuring full support for the Safari browser.
Trading on the Fly with cTrader Mobile
Spotware Systems has designed native applications for iOS and Android mobile devices. The apps offer features similar to those in the desktop version, including advanced order types, charting, tools for drawing and analysis, and quick order execution. You need iOS 9 or later for Apple smartphones and tablets and 4.4 or later for Android.
The mobile software enables users to trade without a dealing desk via direct processing (STP). Mobile traders can pick from a rich set of financial instruments including currency pairs, stocks, exchange-traded funds, indices, cryptocurrencies, and commodities like oil and precious metals.
There are tons of nice functionalities here including detailed symbol information and a trading schedule, showing traders when the markets are opened or closed. The apps have powerful capabilities for advanced technical analysis. There are 5 types of charts, including line, dot, area, bar, and candlestick charts, along with 26 timeframes ranging from one minute to one month.
On top of that, you get 50 popular technical indicators, with some of the options being Fractals, Center of Gravity, Hull Moving Average, Polynomial Regression Channels, Alligator, and Cyber Cycle. The indicators, along with the drawing colors and the Fibonacci levels, are entirely customizable.
Spotware likes to cater to traders from around the world by offering them a choice from 22 languages in addition to English. The smart design of the app allows for effective trading on the go. Users can immediate orders with a single tap thanks to the Quick Trade feature.
There is a complete history of all your executed deals. The apps also send users price alerts and notifications about the status of their orders. It is possible to switch between trading accounts with one tap on the screen.