Back in the day, I created a tutorial on how to create a cheap MT4 VPS (Virtual Private Server) that you can run at home. That article is still popular and it's a great way to get started with 24/7 alert indicators or running Metatrader 4 Expert Advisors (EAs) on demo or small live accounts.
But when you have serious money on the line, you want to step up to something that is much more robust.
That's where MT4 and a VPS are essential.
If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I'm totally against off-the-shelf EAs that promise the world. They are curve-fitted crap that prey on lazy people who don't want to do the work to learn to trade.
However, I am a huge fan of using EAs for Incremental Automation, or automating parts of a trading strategy. I also wholeheartedly believe in using alert indicators to notify you of potential trading setups.
Don't get me wrong, fully automated EAs can work. However, you really have to know the inner workings of the system to understand when it needs to be tweaked.
But in order to take advantage of all this automation goodness, you need to be able to make sure that these systems are running properly.
The first step is to monitor your MT4 server, so you know when it is offline.
In this blog post, I'll show you what to be aware of when searching for a trading VPS outage alert service and I'll share with you what I've been using for over a year.
What About the Alerts a Host Provides?
Many VPS hosts provide an alert service that tells you when your VPS server is down. That may sound like a good idea at first.
But when you think about it, that's like having an alert beacon that sends the location of a plane that has crashed.
If the plane is totaled, it won't be able to send out a signal.
Sure, a built-in VPS alert will work when your individual server goes offline. But if the VPS host experiences a major outage, none of their systems will work…including their alert service.
So while it can be useful to use the host's alert service, it won't give you the coverage you need for automated MT4 trading. You need a third party solution.
Website Uptime Monitors
Another popular solution that people suggest in trading forums is to use a site like Uptime Robot. This is a free service that pings your Windows VPS at regular intervals to check that it is running.
I use this service to monitor the uptime of this website and it works great. It sends me an email when Trading Heroes is down and when it's back online.
However, services like Uptime Robot will only let you know when your Windows server is offline. You will NOT get an alert if MT4 is shut down, if MT4 has lost the broker connection or if your EAs are not turned on.
What you really need is a MT4 EA that will let you know when Metatrader is not working properly.
The Best Way to Monitor a MT4 Trading VPS
After some research, I realized that it's hard to find a good solution to this problem. Most serious traders “roll their own” alert.
So when my friend Micah approached me with his solution, I was a little skeptical. I thought that it would probably be like the other services out there.
But then he invited me to be part of the beta testers group for free, in exchange for helping optimize the service. So I had nothing to lose by trying it out.
That was about 14 months ago and I'm finally ready to talk about it.
I'm still using the service and I consider it essential, if you are running any type of MT4 EA or alert indicator.
Here's where I feel this service is really stands out…
Multiple Alert Servers
Other services out there monitor the uptime of your VPS with an EA. But most of them only use one server to monitor the EA.
If that server ever goes down, you won't get an alert.
The Lost Fox Alarm Service uses 3 separate servers to monitor the MT4 EA on your VPS. If any of them detect that your MT4 server is not working properly, it will immediately send you a simple email or mobile app push notification.
Here's what the email looks like:
The service is surprisingly easy to setup.
It just takes 3 simple steps:
- Login to your account on the Lost Fox website and download the EA.
- Install the MT4 EA and give your MT4 server a name (identifier) in the EA settings.
- Add the name of your MT4 server to your Lost Fox profile to start monitoring it.
Monitor Multiple MT4 Servers
At the moment, the service allows you to monitor up to 20 MT4 VPS servers. That may change at some point, but that should be more than enough for any trader.
Mobile Apps Available
Finally, they also have native Android and iOS apps that you can install on your mobile device. This way, you don't have to ghetto-rig a solution to get an alert on your phone.
The reality is that if you have serious money riding on your trading VPS server, you should use more than one monitoring service.
But I believe that the Lost Fox service should be your primary alert system.
This service does cost a few bucks every month, so it's only for profitable traders.
But if you have a significant amount of money riding on your MT4 VPS server, it's a small price to pay, to potentially prevent yourself from losing thousands of dollars.
Sleep easier knowing that your MT4 VPS is being monitored.
Micah offers a free trial, take advantage of it here.
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