MT4 or MetaTrader 4 is one of the most used forex trading platforms, licensed to brokers who offer client services. Installing an Expert Advisor (EA) can automate trading strategies and provide advanced currency pair tracking tools, which is why many forex traders hire an EA programming freelancer.
The combination of a technical trading tool and a digital platform is massively advantageous, monitoring the volatile forex market 24/7 and managing countless positions quickly and easily. Knowing how to choose a good Expert Advisor is the first step, and next, you’ll need to look into installing your selected EA on MT4 to streamline your services and future-proof your trades.
Why Install an EA on MT4?
The primary reason traders and forex brokers use an EA is that it can be programmed to follow exact instructions, and will do so immediately when a particular parameter is reached or a defined event occurs. It’s known as “automated trading” because the EA bot will initiate actions without any further prompt, whether you’re sitting at your desktop or fast asleep!
Traders often spend years refining trading strategies and approaches, so once you have a system you know and trust, your EA can take over and watch continually for the signals or indicators you follow. EAs are highly relevant to forex traders who trade numerous pairs concurrently or don’t have the time to watch movements and price variations 24/7, especially because forex markets never close.
High-quality EAs can make a considerable difference to trading returns by pre-empting trends, providing comprehensive monitoring reports, or acting quickly, so you reduce the risk of missing an opportunity or making a loss.
Do I Need a Programmer to Install an EA?
Just as you can–theoretically–create your own EA, you can also install it onto your trading platform, but it comes down to your time, skill, and technical expertise. Developing an EA is usually a job best completed by a professional with tried and tested approaches and the ability to program bespoke trading strategies into the bot–getting it wrong isn’t a risk worth taking when it comes to live trades!
How to Install an Expert Advisor on MT4
If you’re confident that your EA is ready to roll, you can install the bot onto MT4 like this:
- Copy your EA file, and paste it into the ‘Experts’ file within the MT4 program.
- Grant admin permission to make changes to the file.
- Launch MT4, go to the Navigator panel, and click on ‘Plus’ under the ‘Expert Advisors’ section to view available options.
- Select the right EA and drop it onto a chart.
From there, you need to check whether the settings and alerts are correct, but it’s very wise to test the EA before you install it on MT4 and rely on your bot to carry out your trading instructions.
Can I Test an EA on MT4?
Backtesting allows you to review how your EA performs in real-world scenarios. If you haven’t already tested the bot, you can do so on MT4 before you let it loose with your trading strategy.
In MT4, there is a ‘View’ option called ‘Strategy Tester,’ and when you click on it, you’ll see a viewing panel towards the bottom of the screen, where you can select the EA you want to test. You’ll need to pick a currency pair to run your backtests against and a specific time period, choosing which dates you will sample and checking the ‘Use Date’ box.
There are a few caveats:
- The price history data in your MT4 should be up-to-date because otherwise, you’ll likely find charting mistakes in your log or low-quality modeling results.
- Visit ‘Tools’ and ‘History Center’ to ensure you have a complete history before running a backtest.
- Testing needs a time frame to work properly, but it’s best to include one-minute tick data if you’re after reliable accuracy.
- If your EA bot is new, it can require significant hard drive space and cause program crashes, so try and run tests when you’re not working on anything important.
Backtests can take a couple of seconds to minutes, depending on how long you’re testing for and your processor speed, but you can review results at the bottom of the panel. This should help you assess how well your EA will perform and help you decide whether to hire a programmer on a reliable platform like Guru to make any necessary tweaks.