How to prepare MT4 for testing and optimizing advisors
If you intend to carry out optimization of the adviser in a quality manner, and even more so if you plan to do regular testing of forex advisors in general, then first of all you need to take care of preparing a full-fledged terminal for testing. For testing, of course, high-quality historical data is very important, which must first be downloaded to the terminal. And so that testing and optimization is faster, you need to configure it correctly.
And that’s what we’ll do today.
What does it mean to "correctly configure the terminal"?
The main purpose of the terminal for testing and optimization, no matter how strange it may sound, in fact, testing and optimization. Surely many of you have seen how they prepare production cars for racing. First, they throw out all the excess to reduce weight, then they are already fine-tuning. In addition, these cars do not drive on public roads. In addition, vehicles of this kind are sharpened for a certain specialization, because it would be rather silly to participate in drag racing by car for drifting, right? All the same with the terminal for testing.
Firstly, they do not trade on it and almost all the time it will be offline - it will not connect to the server at all. This is mainly done in order to prevent mixing quotes of various quality, from different types of accounts, from different time periods and from different sources.
Secondly, the terminal needs to be facilitated. With each new version, the MetatTrader 4 terminal becomes harder and more demanding on machine resources. And if a trader uses the strategy tester built into the terminal to test indicators and trading experts, then the weight of MT4 can reach tens of gigabytes, which greatly inhibits its performance and does not carry any functional load. Therefore, you need to mercilessly clean the terminal from all unnecessary information: logs, indicators, advisers, scripts, letters, history - all this goes to the trash.
Thirdly, it is necessary to solve the issue with the specialization of the terminal.
And fourthly, of course, periodically it is required to carry out maintenance and general cleaning of the terminal, updating quotes, cleaning up irrelevant files, and so on.
The process of properly configuring the terminal
The achievement and maintenance of this state of "readiness" of the terminal is ensured by the sequential implementation of three stages:
1) installation of a separate terminal and its general “cleaning” before preparing for picking for testing;
2) the definition of "specialization", the main parameters for testing the future "testing ground", as well as a base with a history of quotes for the instrument of interest;
3) importing the history of quotes and blocking the terminal from external influences.
Also, from time to time you will have to update quotes and delete files that have accumulated during the process, say, once a month or even less. If you do not fulfill all these requirements, you can mislead yourself and, as a result, lose money on a real account when you receive “graded” test results. Having once completed the above procedure for preparing the terminal and periodically maintaining it in a working, up-to-date state, with subsequent testing of advisers, you will not only save your energy, nerves and time, and, most importantly, turn the optimization process from a useless exercise into an effective study, which allows you to get quite reliable assessment of the expert’s potential and abilities.
We install a separate terminal and do its cleaning
We are used to launching the MT4 terminal through an icon on the computer desktop. Many do not even think about what it consists of. Fortunately, on the pages of the site you can find lessons detailing how to install the adviser in the MT4 terminal and the MT5 terminal or how to install the indicator in MT4 and MT5. In the video tutorial, I will analyze the folder structure of the terminal in more detail, and at the same time we will find out which files are needed for what, and which of the terminal (before testing) can be deleted.
Determined with the specialization of the terminal
I have each terminal for testing prepared for a specific task. To get started, let's install the terminal and think about its specialization. You can take the terminal on the website of any broker you use, but I will use the Alpari terminal. Recently, I have focused on the study of long-term strategies, so for testing on the period from D1 and above, I have allocated a separate terminal. The rest of the advisers I usually write with the control of closing the M1 candlestick and working on periods from M15 minimum and do not use tick pipers and scalpers. Therefore, I will not stop at the terminal for testing tick advisors, since the basic principles there are exactly the same. I use a separate terminal for all major pairs, separate for minors and all exotics, separate for metals and cryptocurrencies, a couple of separate terminals for CFDs. Total 6 terminals.
In the video tutorial, I detailed the entire process of preparing the terminal for testing. We did not talk only about how to establish the history of tick quotes, but this has already been written in this, in this and in this article. Also, we did not touch on the topic of testing and optimization of advisers on history itself, since you can also find suitable articles on the blog pages. Now, with a high-quality history of quotes, you can easily organize your own laboratory for studying, testing, optimizing and using trading experts that you like with higher quality and faster on real accounts.