Desktop Platform versus Web-Based Platform
Among the variety of platforms offered by brokerage companies, you have probably wondered which one to choose and which version to use – desktop or web based. In recent years, technology has improved significantly and currently the choice of platform type depends mainly on the preferences of the trader.
For sure, trading software has improved the speed, efficiency, and scope of trading decisions but some limitations such as security and mobility still exist. On the other hand, web-based platforms typically offer more flexibility and better computing efficiency because they do not take up space on the computer’s hard drive and have less CPU usage, but are they worth it? So, the main question is still relevant – should I choose a desktop-based terminal, or should I rely on browser-based trading? As we have already said, currently the answer to this question depends mostly on you and your preferences.
What Kind of Trader are You and What is Your Strategy?
One of the things that all kinds of traders would like to have is plenty of speed. The platform must ensure the fastest possible execution of orders. However, speed depends on several factors, including the capabilities of your internet provider, and this is relevant for both desktop and web-based terminals. For example, you probably have different download and upload speeds, which means that the prices you see on your screen are often already changed when you submit your order. When we speak about speed, the other thing that matters is your computer speed, mostly if you use a desktop platform.
If you are a scalper or your strategy requires many orders per day (such as automated trading), then you probably will prefer low-latency order execution and the desktop version will be your choice. However, the desktop platform sticks you to the PC and good internet connection all the time you want to trade.
If you do not have the chance to be in front of your computer all the time you would like to be and rely only on the desktop trading platform, then you will probably miss out on some profitable opportunities. For example, when the result of the OPEC meeting to reduce production comes out, you will most likely want to trade the news by opening a position with crude oil. But if you are at work or somewhere outside, then your desktop platform will not benefit you. It will not give you the flexibility and mobility of the web-based terminal.
What about Security?
You should ask the question which one is safer – using my desktop platform or using my web browser. Some articles on the Internet inform that larger institutions usually offer greater security of personal data. This means that a larger institution may have a better cybersecurity system and you would prefer to guarantee your personal data with it. This way, the desktop version you host is usually less secure than the version served by your browser.
Which One Will Crash Less?
As the average computer user, you have probably encountered several crashes on your computer system. In terms of platforms, your computer may crash first, and then your broker’s server may also crash. When deciding between a desktop and a web-based terminal, keep in mind that desktop platforms will be exposed to both a computer system failure and a broker server failure, while web-based terminals will only be exposed to the broker’s server crash. However, both desktop and web-based platforms will not work if you lose your internet connection. In addition, desktop terminals can slow down your computer because they use more memory, while web-based platforms do not take up additional space on your computer.
Another thing to keep in mind is the ability to update. Updating your web-based terminal will be easier to do, as you do not need to download additional software. The platform is usually updated immediately when the new update is available.
Desktop Platforms versus Web-Based Platforms – Quick Comparison
- If you are a scalper or use some automated trading (such as Expert Advisors), the desktop version is the right choice for you.
- They usually have significantly more features than web-based platforms.
- They usually store your data on your hard drive so that you are independent of cloud failures.
- They provide more information and a better ability to monitor trading positions and price movements.
- If your brokerage company only offers a web-based platform that you consider ineffective, then you will probably switch to another brokerage firm.
- They do not require you to download any additional software.
- They do not occupy any additional space on your hard drive.
- You can log in through any modern browser on any computer connected to the Internet.
- They are exposed only to the broker’s server failure.
- You can trade from your mobile device via its browser.
- Your secure connection is updated to the latest standards.
After All, which Platform is Better?
Some traders say that desktop terminals are more reliable because the chances of a browser window crashing due to other activity are higher. Others say the desktop version can also crash, though less likely. We outlined the pros and cons, in our opinion. So, the answer to this question depends mainly on you, your trading habits and what you want of a trading platform.