A reader emailed me and asked if I could recommend a quality/affordable Metatrader VPS (Virtual Private Server) service. There are couple that I recommend here.
But there is also an alternative that some people may not be aware of.
…and it can save you quite a bit of money, over the long run.
In this post, I'm going to tell you what a VPS is for, the benefits and drawbacks and a cheaper (and almost as effective) alternative. Then I will show you exactly how to set up this DIY VPS solution.
Let's do this…
What is A VPS and What is it For?
A virtual private server is an installation of Windows that is running on a hosting company's server. Just like a website is hosted at a hosting company, you can also host an installation of Windows at a hosting company.
Then you can login to your virtual computer from any other computer with internet access and use the VPS machine like it was a computer sitting at your desk.
This is useful for people who run Expert Advisers (EA), alert indicators or any automated trading programs in Metatrader. Since the VPS is running 24/7, the EA will always be available to take trades.
If you choose a VPS that is near your broker, you may benefit from faster connection speeds.
Using a VPS is also very helpful if you have an indicator in Metatrader that gives trading alerts. You can use it to send you a text message or send you an alert in the Metatrader app if you have a smartphone. The advantage of using a VPS is primarily the uptime. You do not need to worry about power outages at your home or your cable internet going on the blink again.
The downside is that it costs some money every month and it can really eat into your trading profits, especially if you are trading a small account.
As we will see, the cost can really add up.
Let's get down to numbers. A DIY Metatrader VPS can save you as much as $839.40 per year. How did I come up wth this number?
If you look at this chart from Earn Forex, there can be a wide range of prices when it comes to purchasing a VPS service.
At the high end of the spectrum is a VPS that costs $69.95 per month. That is where I get the $839.40 per year figure from.
If you are on a budget, that can be pretty steep…can we do better?
We sure can…
The Forex Trading VPS Alternative
I'm going to teach you how to keep a computer running at your home that uses very little electricity, takes up very little space, has more than enough power, has no additional monthly cost (except for the electricity) and can be accessed remotely from another computer.
Of course, this may not be for everyone. My forex trading VPS alternative assumes three things:
- You have a reliable internet connection running at your home.
- You have a little bit of technical skills and can follow a few directions to get things working.
- You do not have frequent power outages in your neighborhood.
If any of the above are an issue for you, then a hosted VPS may be a better solution. But if you are OK with the above, let's get started.
Step 1 – Buy A Netbook (Your Personal Metatrader VPS)
This will be the only cost that you will incur. Although it will cost some money up front, you will not have to worry about high monthly fees later.
I recommend a netbook because they:
- Use very little electricity
- Are compact
- Have more than enough power
- Are inexpensive, you can get a used one off eBay for between $80-$250
- The monitor is built in
I was able to get a Asus Eee PC 900 series netbook on eBay for $85, including shipping. It is actually in really good condition. The only downside is that the top cover is lavender (not shown).
You could also get a newer Windows tablet that can run MT4.
I use it to run my Metatrader indicators with alerts.
Here is a picture:
Here are the specs on this little guy:
- Processor: 900Mhz Celeron M
- Memory: 512 MB
- Hard Drive: 8 GB solid state
- Operating System: Windows XP
Let's compare that to a typical VPS (I wasn't able to get specs on the $69.95 VPS, but here are specs from another host at a similar cost):
- Processor: Intel Xenon
- Memory: 8192 MB
- Hard Drive: 80 GB
- Operating System: Unix
So the VPS is much more powerful, but do you really need all that power? In my experience, not really.
If you are just running Metatrader, you do not need a lot of disk space, memory or processor power. However, if you will be running multiple EAs at once, you may want to buy a slightly more powerful computer.
This is a really bare bones system, but if you want something more powerful, you can spend a couple hundred and still get a really good netbook. It would still be a huge savings over a high end VPS server.
But it is perfect as a VPS alternative, especially when you can get one for as cheap as I did.
So install MT4 on your computer and you are good to go!
Step 2 – Sign Up For NO-IP
Now that you have a PC to run Windows and Metatrader, you will need to be able to log into the netbook while you are on the road.
One way that you can do this is to setup a free account with NO-IP.
NO-IP basically allows your remote computer to securely find your netbook from outside your home network.
You just install a small NO-IP program on your netbook and when you are on the road, you can login to your netbook just like it was on your local network.
Just use the Remote Desktop Connection feature in Windows and you are all set.
But before you are able to do that, you need to do one more thing…
Step 3 – Set Up Your Router
Your home router will have to be setup to allow the connection to your netbook, remotely. This may seem a little complicated at first, but it is not actually that hard.
Just follow the guides that NO-IP provides. If you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself, then I would recommend finding a more tech savvy person to help you.
Remote Connection Alternatives
You can also use a program like PocketCloud if you want to access your netbook from an iOS or Android device. It is similar to NO-IP in that you install a small program on your netbook and you will use the PocketCloud servers to connect to your PC.
There are other similar alternatives, so see what works best for you. I have used PocketCloud before and it works well.
There are also programs like pcAnywhere, which allow you to connect to your home computer while you are on the road. I have not used pcAnywhere before, so I cannot give you an honest review of it.
If you only have Windows XP Home and cannot use Windows Remote Desktop Connection, you can also use a VNC program like UltraVNC. It is also free, but if you have Windows XP Pro, it is less complicated to use RDC in instead of UltraVNC.
So that is how you can save $839.40 per year on a VPS system and get a system that can work almost as well. Again, this might not work for everyone, but it can be a significant cost savings over a hosted solution.
If you are still in doubt about what to do, give both solutions a try for a month and see what works best for you. If the netbook solution doesn't work for you, you can always sell it to someone else on eBay.
Just be sure you get a good deal when you buy, so you don't lose money later. Make it a good trade. 🙂
Again, the only downside with this solution is that you are relying on your home internet connection and power source, which may or not be reliable. Therefore, when you have the budget to upgrade your Metatrader VPS solution, I would highly recommend going with something like Amazon or 1&1.
Also, don't forget your VPN, for when you are connecting to your VPS, from outside your home. 😉
Do you use a hosted VPS or do you use your own solution? How has it worked for you? Let us know in the comments below…