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The best forex trading simulator

Reading time: 36 minutes


To be profitable in trading, you need two things: a forex trading account, and skills to analyze the market. The trader who is looking for a virtual trading account gets it: when it comes to investing in the stock market, practice beats theory!

Would you like to learn how to trade the forex market with a virtual portfolio? You have come to the right place – register to test the demonstration trading account.

In this article, we will go through the reasons why traders should use a forex trading simulator, the advantages of online trading simulation, the best forex brokers, the different types of trading simulation software (forex or binary option), trading contests and the key to success with a demo trading account.

Would you like to try online trading without investing real money? Are you passionate about trading contests and would you like to practice your skills on a trading simulator? We have reviewed the best trading simulators for you.

Although a degree and strong analytical skills can certainly help you succeed in trading, they will not be of any help if they are not accompanied by a practical aspect. It is well known that trading without practice is doomed to failure. Apart from theoretical knowledge, what really counts in currency trading is practice. An online forex trading simulator can help you do that.

Some believe that perfect mastery of any field requires at least 10 000 hours of practice. Success and mastery of trading probably require similar diligence. In other words, trading practice really makes the difference between a novice forex trader and a professional trader. To trade online free of charge, you first need to open a demo trading account.

That being said, you want to make sure that you don't lose money even when you trade on a demonstration trading account, especially during the first few days. This is where an online trading simulator is useful, as it allows you to test CFD trading without risking any real money, so without taking real risks. And when you want to do an online stock market simulation, there are a few essential points to consider.

This article also describes the main features available on the best free trading simulation software, the forex simulators available, how to discover trading with an online trading simulator, and highlights the risks of demo trading accounts.

How to access free MT5 trading

If you don't have a trading account with Admiral Markets yet, here are the steps to follow:

  • At the top right of our website, click on "Create Account"
  • To create a new trading account, enter your first name, your last name, and your email address. Then, click on the small arrow in a blue circle located below the information you have just filled in
  • You will be taken to a registration window where you will need to:
  • Enter a password for the "Trader's Room", and then confirm it
  • Fill in your phone number
  • Fill in your country
  • Fill in your first and last name once again
  • Fill in your date of birth
  • Tick the box "I accept the privacy policy and certify that I am above 18 years old"
  • Click on "Sign Up" below the information you have just filled in
  • In order to activate the account, confirm your email address by following the instructions that we have sent to you by email

You now have access to the "Trader's Room" of our Admiral Markets website! You can then access your trader space where you can:

  • Create one or more MT5 demo accounts
  • Add or remove virtual funds
  • Open or close real MT5 trading accounts
  • Add or remove real funds

MetaTrader 5 – Free online trading simulator

In order to finalize the creation of a MetaTrader 5 demo trading account, all that remains to do is:

  • In the "Dashboard" tab of the "Trader's Room", click on "Open Demo Account"
  • In the next window, select the type of account you want:
  • Admiral Markets which corresponds to the standard MT4 account
  • Admiral Prime, still for MetaTrader 4
  • Admiral MT5 for MetaTrader 5
  • Choose the currency of your choice for the demo trading account
  • Define the amount of the virtual deposit
  • Select the leverage you want
  • Tick the box "I accept the terms of use of the demo account and confirm that all the information provided above is correct and complete"
  • Finally, click on "Open New Demo Account"

Virtually trading the stock market

You now have a paper trading account at your disposal to trade the financial markets you want!

Then, a window opens on your browser with the following information:

  • The name of the server on which you will need to connect to trade online
  • Your login information
  • Your Trader password
  • Your Investor password

These 3 elements can be used to connect the trading simulation platform MT5 to your new demo account:

  • A link to the free trading platform MT5 WebTrader
  • An indication to find how to download the MetaTrader 5 virtual trading station
  • A link to download the Admiral Markets MetaTrader 5 Supreme Edition trading tools. These tools include the Mini Terminal and many other professional and relevant expert advisors (EA), as well as indicators

Free online trading – What is a trading simulator

An online trading simulator is a software that allows investors to practice their trading for free with virtual funds (paper trading). It also allows them to familiarize with the trading platform.

Most trading simulators offer a virtual balance of 10 000 euros or 100 000 euros. From there, novice traders can trade different financial instruments such as shares, bonds, currency pairs (forex), commodities, stock market indexes, crypto currencies, etc. Moreover, these instruments are available from many different market places such as the American market, the French market, the London stock exchange, the German stock exchange, etc.

A stock market simulator gives an accurate idea of real market conditions. Therefore, the investor can test the trading simulator under the best conditions. The only difference with a real account is that the balance remains virtual.

On forex trading platforms, even the fees related to trading are applied to the demo trading account, such as commissions or swaps to give a real idea of the investment made. Trading fees can significantly affect the return on investment, which is why it is essential to have them included in the demo trading account.

A trading simulation is useful as it allows you to see how fees are debited from investors' accounts and how it impacts the performance in real market conditions. It also allows you to learn the specific trading vocabulary.

Forex simulation – Why using a forex trading simulation software

If you are looking to learn how to trade in a safe environment, a forex trading simulator is probably the best option for you.

A forex simulator is a trading software which provides you with the impression of a live market session. The general aspects of trading, such as opening, changing and closing orders, remain the same.

Forex trading simulators allow you to:

  • Perform live simulations
  • Trade a virtual portfolio without risk in real conditions
  • Test many features and trading options
  • Test any forex strategy

There are several forex trading simulators, depending on the financial instrument traded or depending on the platform or device used.

Trading simulators based on financial assets:

  • Binary trading simulators
  • Stock exchange simulators
  • Forex trading simulators

Trading simulators according to the device used:

  • Trading simulators for PC computers
  • Trading simulators for Mac computers
  • Trading simulators for iPhone
  • Trading simulators for iPad
  • Trading simulators for Android

Best forex trading simulator – Choose an advanced trading platform

Your trading platform to learn how to trade online the forex market should provide you with real-time currency pair quotes in order to see live market fluctuations. This is the only way for you to progress and learn to trade; otherwise, you may just make random decisions without improving your forex trading skills. The primary purpose of the forex simulation software is to let you experience and learn to understand the virtual trading environment. A trading simulator also allows you to test automatic trading strategies.

When you start trading with a free demo account, it is important to work with a forex simulation software that is sufficiently advanced. This is necessary because if you just pick the most user-friendly platform, you may later find that this software is not suitable for your trading, and therefore may need to upgrade due to missing features.

In other words, it is better to choose a more advanced and complex platform to practice in the best environment from the beginning. Also, forget binary trading simulators that promise you easy profits.

However, you should keep in mind that if you do not want to day trade, an advanced platform is not as vital. If you are aiming to become a long-term trader (swing trader) and do not require detailed analyses every day, you may need to choose the platform that is the most accessible for you.

Another way to find a good forex or CFD trading simulator is to look for flexible backtest features.

The MT4 Supreme Edition platform offers the best day trading simulator that allows you to backtest manual strategies with historical data. This trading simulator can test different strategies over different time frames.

Therefore, you can find popular strategies and try them out. You will never know how effective these strategies can be until you try them.

Source: Admiral Markets Strategy Tester, EUR/USD M5 chart, January 2016

Nevertheless, a simple platform should still provide you with real-time currency pair quotes, and other additional features necessary for you to succeed in long-term trading.

Which online trading software to choose for your virtual portfolio

There are two ways to test the best stock market simulators:

  • Trading contests
  • Stock market simulation accounts (demo accounts)

Trading contests are designed for people who do not know much about trading and are just looking to see potential outcomes, without investing a lot of time. They are a way to test a demo account and see how it performs in online investing.

The second way is more advanced and educational; the best choice for those who want to invest more time in trading and learn the ins and outs of the financial markets, thanks to a trading simulator like the MetaTrader 4 platform for example. Let's discover more about these two options.

Demonstration trading accounts are offered by several brokers. Very often they are unlimited demonstration accounts so that investors can track their investments over the long term.

Forex trading contests

Some brokers organize trading contests so that beginners can see what trading is, and experienced traders can show their trading skills. The main idea is for novice traders to see how profits and losses are made. It can also allow them to understand the purpose of stop loss and take profit orders.

In the past, we have seen several trading contests, such as the Saxo Bank's Trading Talents in partnership with BFM Business, the XTB trading contest when they were launched on the French market in 2010 or the ForexBall contest offered by Admiral Markets. The trading contest gives you the opportunity to play in the stock market, which makes it a financial game (trader game).

Golden Boys game – Finance simulation game

Golden Boys is a website known for online stock market simulations. Traders have a 20 000 euros account, with the objective of growing their capital to become the best Golden Boy. The markets traded are the New York Stock Exchange and the Paris Stock Exchange. In this competition, about 270 stocks are available for trading, mainly from the Dow Jones, the Nasdaq and the CAC 40 indexes. Trading hours are from 9:15 AM to 10:15 PM to cover the French and the American markets. It is a game where you can trade in teams, an interesting way for people who like social trading and sharing their investments and strategies (the money is virtual of course). Trading games have really been on the rise lately, and Golden Boys is a solution to join.

Boursematch - Free virtual trading

The Boursematch website is a stock market simulation platform which allows investors to have a virtual share portfolio in order to test online trading. The website offers a ranking of the best traders to identify the most performant virtual portfolios.

The best traders' investments are available on their website, and it is possible to receive an email alert whenever a new order is opened on the virtual portfolio. The initial virtual capital is 30 000 euros. The Boursematch trading simulation is quite realistic, and the trading community pretty large.

Online trading is a risky business. That's why if you are new to this activity, it is better to test a stock market simulation game or an unlimited demo trading account. Most online brokers offer a free trading simulator to attract customers. This allows you to test the broker's tools and platforms (for Android or iPhone for example), or even test investment strategies. The stock market simulation software enables you to trade stock prices in real time.

How to access free MT4 trading

If you don't have an account with Admiral Markets yet, here are the steps to follow:

  • At the top right of our website, click on "Create Account"
  • To create a new trading account, enter your first name, your last name, and your email address. Then, click on the small arrow in a blue circle located below the information you have just filled in
  • You will be taken to a registration window where you will need to:
  • Enter a password for the "Trader's Room", and then confirm it
  • Fill in your phone number
  • Fill in your country
  • Fill in your first and last name once again
  • Fill in your date of birth
  • Tick the box "I accept the privacy policy and certify that I am above 18 years old"
  • Click on "Sign Up" below the information you have just filled in
  • In order to activate the account, confirm your email address by following the instructions that we have sent to you by email

You now have access to the "Trader's Room" of our Admiral Markets website! You can now access your trader space where you can:

  • Create one or more MT4 demo accounts
  • Add or remove virtual funds
  • Open or close real MT4 trading accounts
  • Add or remove real funds

MetaTrader 4 – Free online trading simulator

In order to finalize the creation of a MetaTrader 4 demo trading account, all that remains to do is:

  • In the "Dashboard" tab of the "Trader's Room", click on "Open Demo Account"
  • In the next window, select the type of account you want:
  • Admiral Markets which corresponds to the standard MT4 account
  • Admiral Prime, still for MetaTrader 4
  • Admiral MT5 for MetaTrader 5
  • Choose the currency of your choice for the demo trading account
  • Define the amount of the virtual deposit
  • Select the leverage you want
  • Tick the box "I accept the terms of use of the demo account and confirm that all the information provided above is correct and complete"
  • Finally, click on "Open New Demo Account"

Free software for virtual trading – MetaTrader 4

Training on a professional software is probably the best option for someone who wants to start trading online for free with a demo account. MetaTrader 4 is the most popular and probably the most advanced forex platform for online currency trading.

There is a high probability that you stay on MT4 (with a real account) after testing it with a demo account.

This is why you should choose the MT4 forex simulator as your online trading simulator. In addition, MetaTrader 4 for Mac comes with a wide range of free trading tools. Moreover, the MT4 platform is compatible with most AMF or FCA regulated brokers. The MT4 market simulator trains you with a free virtual portfolio to better prepare for real trading.

The great thing about MT4 is that it provides you with a vast amount of features that every trader is looking for. With this platform, you can scalp the market using the one-click trading of the Trade Terminal. Also, traders can perform detailed analyses using more than 50 professional technical indicators. In addition to this, the MT4 software displays prices in real time, which is perfect to discover real market conditions.

Another aspect of the Admiral Markets MetaTrader 4 platform is that you have unlimited access to the simulation software, and you can choose the amount of your demo account in the Trader's Room. You can also add or withdraw funds from your demo account.

Choose a good broker

Online brokers usually provide stock trading simulators or trading simulation software. It is important to choose a platform from a broker you trust, as you will probably keep the same one to trade with real funds once you have gained enough experience on a demo account.

There are many online brokers with different standard deposits on demo accounts, offering different instruments and various trading solutions.

The amount of the deposit on a virtual trading platform

It is vital to start paper trading with an amount that is close to your expected deposit amount once you decide to start trading with real money. For example, if you plan to trade with 10 000 euros, you should start paper trading with a virtual capital of 10 000 euros as well.

Trading on a demo account offers users the chance to test the trading platform, learn the ins and outs, or develop a trading strategy. When it comes to forex strategies, you need to have a good overview of how to place your stop losses and take profits. You also need to be comfortable with the notion of margin. Therefore, trying a forex broker that allows you to choose your starting capital on a demo account is essential.

Trading simulation on shares & ETFs

If you want to invest in shares and ETFs on a securities account, the Admiral.Invest account is made for you. You can trade shares from all major stock exchanges, even on an online stock exchange simulator. To do so, you need to open an Admiral Invest demo account on the MetaTrader 5 platform. With this account, share trading can be can simulated without financial risk.

On a simulation account, stock market prices have a 15-minute lag with the real-time stock market price. This stock market simulator allows you to understand better how to invest in shares and ETFs, without taking any risk for 30 days. If you are an Admiral Markets' client, you can have an unlimited security demo account, to familiarize yourself with share trading.

Being profitable with a virtual portfolio

After choosing the best forex simulator software to practice your skills, you should determine which goals you want to reach before moving on to a live account. This is the first rule when you start trading. Your demo account's goal must be settled as a real account. Trading the stock market with a virtual portfolio can help you prepare your investment plan for the future.

Do not overtrade on a demo account

Many traders find it difficult to start trading on a real trading account, as they find it stressful and risky to engage in trading without a trading strategy. It should not be forgotten that demonstration trading is not the same as real trading. This is where many traders often fail, as they have difficulty applying the trading strategy due to stress.

That's why you should set yourself a goal for your demo account before you start live trading. This goal can be anything you want, such as making a profit of 1 000 euros, having three consecutive months without losses or reaching a return on investment of 3% per month.

Don't be afraid of failure on a demo account

It is quite common with novice traders to see them open a few positions, lose some money and then open another demo account just to replenish their initial balance. This is wrong in many ways, as it shows that the trader is having troubles to deal with losses and failures; which is inevitable in forex trading. To trade on a real account or on an online trading simulator, you should never be afraid of failure.

Spend time paper trading on a free forex simulator

Although paper trading does not bring real financial gratification, you should try to do your best, and try to really estimate what you could do with real money. Trading on a demo account is vital as you must let yourself experience as many situations as possible and make as many mistakes before you can actually start trading forex like a professional. Fortunately, the MT4 demo account is available so you can start exploring online forex trading without putting your own funds at risk.

Free trading simulator – Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

Stock market simulation is very useful and comes as the first step of forex learning and online trading. It helps to avoid making beginner mistakes, such as placing orders by error. In addition, a demonstration trading software allows you to understand better the financial markets and the instruments you want to invest in. The trading skills learned on a demo account can then be applied to a live trading account.

Disadvantages

In the world of real trading, there are many more factors that will affect investment decisions, such as the tolerance to risk, the initial capital, investment horizons, and especially the psychology. The stress generated when trading with a live account is not comparable to demonstration trading.

Moreover, most traders trading on demonstration accounts do not grand much importance to money management. Since the money is virtual, they usually don't pay attention to it.

During free trading contests, many traders take excessive risks in order to make the best performance and win the prize. This doesn't reflect the reality of trading and should not be applied on a real account.

We advise you to use trading contests to test trading strategies and have fun, but in no case as a training to become a real forex trader. Doing free online trading allows you to start investing, and discover the best reliable online trading site.

Guide to use the Forex Strategy Tester and Day Trading Simulator

We will start with the Strategy Tester first. This is our best trading simulator to test strategies on CFDs and the forex market.

Once you have installed the MetaTrader 4 Supreme Edition platform (MT4SE), you can open the Strategy Tester by pressing the Ctrl + R shortcut or by clicking the Strategy Tester button at the top of your MT4SE forex platform (as shown in the example below). You need to select the preferred time frame window and the period over which you want to perform your tests. Make sure that you have enough historical data loaded up. It is recommended to properly adjust your account balance to match your live account.

Once completed, click the Start button. In this example, we will use the Master Candle template and will simulate (approximately) the last six months of trading (from the 01.01.2017 to the 05.07.2017).

Source: Admiral Markets MT4SE, USD/JPY H4 chart, 6th of July 2016, 17:35 platform time – Please Note: Past performance does not indicate future results, nor is it a reliable indicator of future performance

To ensure a maximum compromise between speed and quality, apply these settings:

  • Model: Open prices or every tick only
  • Visual mode: Tick the box (to ensure visual backtesting data)
  • Period: Select a time frame that matches your trading strategy
  • Spread: Current

Testing tips:

  • The slider just after the visual mode option allows you to speed up or slow down the visual backtesting process
  • If you use the Every tick model to test your Forex strategy, bear in mind that it might take a really long time to finish the backtest
  • The Every tick should be the most accurate, but also the slowest one
  • Backtest and backtest again, until you discover profitable settings

Once finished with the visual backtest, click the Results or Report tab and view the result. In the example below, we can see that the Master Candle strategy has produced approximately a 6,72 % ROI (Return On Investment) during the tested period. Much better than what banks offer, right?

Source: Admiral Markets Strategy Tester, MetaTrader 4 Supreme Edition (MT4SE)

After you finish testing, you will be able to publish and print the result (as shown below).

Source: Admiral Markets Strategy Tester (Personal), MetaTrader 4 Supreme Edition (MT4SE)

Test manual trading strategies using the free Admiral Markets simulator

Day trading simulation lets you place market and pending orders, set trailing stops, alter the stop loss and take profit on orders by clicking on the chart, save complex order definitions as templates, quickly close all open orders, and access many more features that are not available as standard in MetaTrader 4.

One of the best things you can do with our Strategy Tester is to use historical data to test manual trading strategies. Here's how you can do it:

Open the strategy tester by clicking on the icon (located at the top of your platform) or by pressing the Ctrl+R short. Choose the expert advisor named "Admiral – Trading Simulator.ex4", then set your trading instrument and select a time frame.

If you do not know which testing model to use specifically, choose Open Prices only. Only use other settings if you have enough experience.

Then, choose your preferred time window. You need to make sure that enough historical data exists for this period. Additionally, enable visual mode.

To make the simulation more authentic, adjust the initial account balance in the EA options to match your live account. You can do this by clicking Expert Properties within the MT4 simulator window, and then by clicking on the Testing tab.

Source: Admiral Markets Strategy Tester, MetaTrader 4 Supreme Edition (MT4SE)

To ensure maximum compromise between speed and quality, apply these settings:

Model: Open prices

Visual mode: Checked (to ensure visual backtesting data)

Period: Select a period that matches your trading strategy

Spread: Current

Source: Admiral Markets MT4 Trading Simulator, USD/JPY H4 chart, Data range: 01.01.2017 - 05.07.2017 – Please Note: Past performance does not indicate future results, nor is it a reliable indicator of future performance

You can apply different templates, add your indicators, trade normally, and see if your strategy worked or not. The major advantage of day trading simulation is the ability to backtest your strategy through different time periods. In the example below, you can see the example of backtesting using a custom template. The end result was + 1 748 EUR of profit.

Source: Admiral Markets MT4 Trading Simulator, USD/JPY H4 chart, Data range: 01.01.2017 - 05.07.2017 – Please Note: Past performance does not indicate future results, nor is it a reliable indicator of future performance

The Day Trading Simulator will also allow you to thoroughly analyze your trading activity if you press the "Analyse" button within the Mini Chart window.

Strategy Tester And Day Simulator trading tips

Smart Lines

Smart Lines use line objects drawn on an MT4 chart as the stop loss or take profit for positions. They provide three main features:

  • 1.Trend-line stop-loss (or take-profit)
  • 2.Multiple partial stops at different prices (i.e., partial closes at different price levels)
  • 3.Time-based stops (e.g., close all positions at midnight)

In order to create a smart line, just do the following:

  • Draw a horizontal line, a vertical line, or a trend-line on the chart
  • Hold down the Alt key while clicking on the line

A window (such as the example below) will then pop up, allowing you to choose which action the line should take.

Source: Admiral Markets MT4 Trading Simulator, USD/JPY H4 chart, Data range: 01.01.2017 - 05.07.2017 – Please Note: Past performance does not indicate future results, nor is it a reliable indicator of future performance

Speed trading tips

The main way of controlling the speed of the simulator is to use the slider next to the Visual Mode box, which contains values between 1 to 32.

The effect of the slider depends on:

  1. How powerful your computer is
  2. How many indicators you add to the simulator
  3. How many ticks are in each simulated bar

As a general rule:

  1. Value 32 on the slider will be extremely fast
  2. Values 28 to 31 will be between 10 and 20 times faster than in real life (e.g., an M15 bar is simulated within 1 minute)
  3. Values 20 to 27 will be between 2 and 5 times faster than in real life
  4. Values below 10 will be at approximate real-life speed (i.e., each M15 bar takes 15 minutes)

You can also experiment with the slider to find the best combination for your computer, and how quickly you want the simulation to run. Additionally, you can also control the speed of the simulation further using the EA's SpeedFactor property. You set this by clicking on the Expert properties button in the Strategy Tester, and then by altering the Value property in the Inputs tab.

Source: Admiral Markets MT4 Trading Simulator

The SpeedFactor parameter slows down the simulation. The larger the value, the slower the simulation. For example, you can create a simulation speed between values 31 and 32 on the MT4 slider by setting the slider to 32 and then adjusting the "Speed Factor" to a non-zero value.

The key to successful paper trading

Paper trading refers to the fact that a trader does not trade with real money, but trades via a free online stock exchange simulator, or via a strategy tester.

After choosing the best forex simulation software, you should determine which goals you want to reach before moving on to a live account. Whatever you do, remember not to overtrade.

Many traders have a hard time figuring out when to transition from using a demo account to a live account.

The choice is yours. Simply create your goal for transition. For example, monthly returns of at least 3%, or a profit of $1,000 for three straight months without losses.

Regardless of whether you are using forex / CFD simulation software, or a live account, don't be afraid to fail. Traders often produce losses, especially towards the beginning of their trading careers. If you exercise risk management within your trading, you can manage the risks effectively, and may be able to avoid them altogether.

There are many cases of traders who failed at some point but ended up producing significant profits.

For example, Jesse Livermore became famous making a fortune by shorting the stock market in 1929. However, he experienced both great success and humiliating failure during his ventures. Livermore filed for bankruptcy three times, but also became a Wall Street legend by amassing a $100 million fortune through speculative trades.

Not every trader's story is as dramatic and exciting as Livermore's. If you fear failure, you can gain experience and confidence by using risk-free forex trading simulation software.

Before trading FX professionally, it is crucial to gather experience – preferably, without losing money in the process.

You can do this by educating yourself on forex trading, and practicing what you've learned by demo-trading. It is vital to evaluate each trade's success and, finally, repeat the process over and over again. To do this, you can practice through our demo accounts.

About Admiral Markets

As a regulated broker, we provide access to some of the most widely used trading platforms in the world. With us, you can trade CFDs, shares, and ETFs.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.