×

Authorised and Regulated: FCA UK / SCB
×

Speed up an MT4 Backtest

If you’re not backtesting your strategies then how do you know that your choice of parameters is effective? The process of backtesting uses historical data to reconstruct possible trades in the past, using the rules defined in your chosen strategy. This testing allows you to improve and optimize your trading strategy before applying it to real-life trading situations. The premise is that if the strategy performed well in the past, it is likely to do so in the future as well, or if it did poorly in identifying past potential trading opportunities, you can see where you need to tweak the strategy.

However, to get the most accurate results from backtesting on MetaTrader 4, you will need to customize the backtest. There are a variety of inputs for which you can set amounts, such as tick size, fractional or round lot size, position sizing, exit rules, stop loss, slippage assumptions and so on. The idea is to set the parameter according to what you are likely to use in real-life trading.

While all this might sound really exciting and good for traders, what can be frustrating is that MT4 backtesting can take time. In fact, some custom indicators seem to take much more time than others, while the same backtest might take more time in one instance than it did in the past.

How to Speed Up Backtesting on MT4

Different people might recommend different ways to speed up the backtesting process. Here are some things that have been found successful by most users:

  • Rather than using stealth stops, use fixed stop loss. Expert Advisors on MT4 take longer to calculate each tick in the stealth mode, although these calculations are important to determine the exits.
  • If the strategy you have chosen uses closed bars, ensure that indicator values are calculated only once per bar. Although this might appear obvious, many people, even veterans at backtesting, fail to ensure this.
  • If your strategy permits, use Open Only prices for backtesting. However, open only prices should not be used if:
  • Times when trades open and exit in a single candle or bar. This can occur when your take profit or stop loss is likely to be hit on an open trade’s very first bar.
  • Trade does not open on the first tick of a bar.
  • Exits occur when a bar is still open, except for take profit and stop loss.
  • Use “open prices” or “control points,” rather than tick backtests. If this does not speed things up, it is possible that there could be a bottleneck somewhere, slowing MT4 down. The two areas that could be responsible for such bottlenecks are your CPU and your storage. In order to prevent such bottlenecks, you can:
  • Switch from HDD to SDD, which has much faster load times.
  • Find out how to delete immediately or even avoid creating unnecessary objects.
  • Unless it is an intraday strategy, avoid processing ticks (or anything else for that matter) that are not required.
  • For longer tests, try the non-visual mode. All the visual mode does is to allow you to see whether the code is performing as expected on the chart.

Remember, backtesting a strategy or EA is important before applying it to your live account. So, even if it does take a little more time than you had anticipated, it will be well worth the time investment.

Disclaimer

If you liked this educational article please consult our Risk Disclosure Notice before starting to trade. Trading leveraged products involves a high level of risk. You may lose more than your invested capital.

Welcome to Blackwell Global

Blackwell Global operates across a range of jurisdictions, please see the options below.
Please see below the protections you'll waive by not continuing to the UK website.
switching to the global website.
By clicking Switch to Global website, you acknowledge the information below.

Best Execution

Protections you'll keep


Blackwell Global will ensure to always act in the best interest of our clients by offering a best excution policy across our wide range of trading products

Segregated Account

Clients funds will be stored in segregated client money accounts, we ensure security of funds With tier 1 banking parnters.

Balance Protection

Blackwell Global will uphold our commitment to clients by offering negative balance protection.

Leverage Restriction

You will not be protected by the leverage caps for retail clients under the FCA UK entity for CFD trading. 200:1 is the maximum leverage under our global entity. The protection of 1:30 is the maximum leverage under our UK entity

Restriction on Incentives
Restriction on Incentives

Clients and partners will not be protected by FCA restrictions on Incentives to retail clients and traders, Under our FCA entity no trading incentives may be offered.

Protections you'll waive

Start Trading Now

Tight Spreads from 0.1 pips

Trade Micro Lots

FCA Regulated

Segregated Funds

Personal Account Manager