It seems like a trivial thing, but the quality of the connection between you and your MetaTrader broker can dramatically affect the quality of execution. When the markets move rapidly, delays in milliseconds make the difference between execution at a requested price versus heavy slippage. It is a wise idea to ensure you do everything in your power to minimize trading risks.
The steps to check the latency to your MT4 broker are simple.
1) Figure out their IP/Domain address. It is not the obvious “mbtrading.com” or whoever your broker is. You’ll have to look it up inside of your MetaTrader installation. Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\YOUR BROKER HERE\config. The example below shows the list of servers for Alpari.
2) Double click on the server that your live account is linked to. If you’re not sure which server you connect to, you’ll find it when you log on to your account inside of MetaTrader.
3) Double click on the appropriate .srv file that you found in step 1. When you do so, a box will come up. Select the “Select a program from a list of installed programs.”
4) Choose Notepad and push OK.
5) You’ll see a lot of gobbledy-gook come up. Only a few words are obvious. You’re either looking for an ip address (as shown on the Alpari image) or a web address (as shown in the Forex.com image).
6) This step is the only one unique to your operating system. If you have Vista or Windows 7, just click on the button in the bottom left corner, then type in “Command”. If you have XP, you’ll need to push Start. Select Run, then type in “cmd” and push enter.
You can see that my connection is on the bad side. This is not surprising. The broker, GO Markets, is in Australia, while this test was done from Dallas, TX. It’s not realistic to expect a blazing fast connection halfway around the world.
Your options for improving connectivity are rather limited.
1) Move your computer closer to your broker. If you are not familiar with trading using a VPS, I strongly recommend reading that link. I can resolve my slow connection to Australia in this example by finding a reputable VPS provider in that country.
2) Try switching ISPs. Upgrading your plan is not likely to help. If you live outside of a major city, your only option is probably VPS.