What Is Trade Copying?

Do not confuse commercial trade copier software with a trading signal service which operates using a trade copier.

How does trade copying work?

copy trading mechanism There is a good chance you have come across the term “Trade Copier Service” or “Trade Copying EA” before in your trading. But let me clarify something, many people confuse commercial trade copier software with a trading signal service which operates using a trade copier.

Trade copying is the use of software to replicate (or duplicate) trades to multiple trading accounts. This allows the administration of more than one MetaTrader account at the same time and efficient risk control and management. Using trade copier software allows a trader to duplicate trades onto other accounts. Trades are first executed on what on a “master account” or so called "server" and then duplicated on to slave or "client" account(s).

This is great if you have more than one trading account as you won’t have to place separate orders in each account. This tool also allows you to share your trades with friends, family and clients. It doesn’t matter if both the master account and slave accounts are in different locations as the software will copy all trades. Pretty straightforward but a very useful tool for a trader to be able to use.

Using an EA

The term EA stands for “expert advisor“. It is a algorithmic program, capable of performing actions by given rules and following the instructions of a trader. Often it does not need any direct involvement of a trader once instructions have been set. Generally the Trade Copiers consist of two main components - a server EA and a client EA. Attaching the server EA to the MT4 or MT5 account creates a master account. The master account handles the sending of trades.Attaching the client EA to the MT4 or MT5 account creates a slave account. The slave account receives the trades from the master. The advantages of using expert advisor over trade copying service are explained in the section below.

Advantages of using EA over trade copying service

Many signal service providers will charge you a fee to copy their trades, altough there are also some free providers. Using service instead of EA can lead to slow trade execution, especially in times of market volatility, which translates into less favorable open price of every deal you copy. Most trade copier services will need you to have a real account with funds greater than $1,000. Traders often are not able to set their own parameters for the signals that are being copied. That means that using signal service for copying trades may not been flexible enough for your trading style. There are concerns related to privacy among traders, because using copying service expose all your trade positions to the service host.


Using an EA is preferable option for trades duplicating over the using of service. It allows you to perform high frequency trading, custom risk control and management, without privacy exposure to third-party providers. It is fully automated and without costly subscriptions, monthly or hidden fees. Extra cash can be saved also on VPS (Virtual Private Server) - it is nice to have but not mandatory - your own computer can make the job done. The EA can be used as local or remote trade copier - it can be accessed virtually from anywhere and you can have multiple copies from the EA installed on multiple MetaTrader platforms.

Related article: What is forex arbitrage?