Last Updated on 13 April, 2021 by Samuelsson
Tradestation is one of the most popular trading software out there. With its beginner-friendly coding language and advanced platform features it is also one of the best trading platforms.
Tradestation is free for those holding a brokerage account with TradeStation securities. However, if you only want the software package it will cost you $99 as a retail subscriber and $199 as a professional subscriber.
Additional fees may apply if you want access to specific market data. However, the most common markets and indices are included with the TradeStation package, and many times adding additional market data can cost as little as $1, even if some data packages indeed cost more.
Data Subscription Fees
Below I have taken screenshots of the market data table within my TradeStation account. The data is from 2019, and I cannot guarantee that the prices you are going to see will be completely the same. Tradestation as many other brokers are constantly changing their fees, and you might come in on another plan than I did.
As you see, some market data is Also, keep in mind that the screenshots come from a futures account. There might be some different pricing if you open an equity account.
TradeStation and Trading Apps
With TradeStation come a number of trading apps that add more features to the software. Here are some of the different Trading apps beyond the basic features that are installed by default:
Portfolio Maestro lets you test one or several strategies on several symbols at once.
Trade Manager is a tool that you use to monitor your open positions
Trade Manager Analysis lets you see your trade history.
Walk forward Optimization performs a so-called walk forward optimization of your strategy
Radar screen lets you scan the market for stocks worth buying.
Options Station pro is a tool that, like the name implies, was made for options traders.
Advantages of Tradestation
According to us, TradeStation is one of the best trading software out there right now. It has powerful backtesting capabilities and many features that make trading easier for experienced as well as beginning traders. Here we have listed some of the best features according to us.
Combined Broker, Data Provider, and Trading Software
Tradestation is a broker, data provider and trading software which saves you all of the hassles of setting up connections between your trading software and broker and get the market data to show up in the trading platform.
Easy Coding language
Learning a coding language is ineluctable for those who want their strategy building to be more than a hobby. Despite the benefits of knowing a coding language, many beginners hesitate to invest time in learning how to code. That is a pity since there now are coding languages that are very easy to learn.
Tradestation comes with a coding name called Easylanguage, that was designed to be easy to learn while remaining powerful enough to satisfy the needs of more advanced users. As a beginner, you will find that you soon get the hang of it, and as a more experienced user, you will find that its simplicity saves you valuable time.
The latter is worth stressing in its own paragraph. Creating trading strategies is not about using the most advanced coding language and coming up with the most advanced ideas. Instead, the simplest ideas tend to work the best, and having to work with an advanced coding language will make you waste a lot of time on coding instead of hatching and testing trading ideas.
Powerful Backtesting Features
Tradestation is perfect for traders who want to backtest and optimize their trading strategies. With some basic easy language coding skills, you will be able to code most of your ideas and see if they worked historically.
However, in addition to basic backtesting, TradeStation also offers an inbuilt Walk forward optimizer that comes very handy for those who use walk forward as part of their robustness testing. In fact, Tradestation has taken the concept even further and includes something they call “cluster analysis”. What this does is that it basically runs several walk forward optimizations with different settings for the in and out periods. The more variations in window settings that the strategy withstands, the more robust the strategy is considered to be by many traders.
If you want to learn more about the above-mentioned concepts, we recommend you to read our article on curve fitting and robustness testing.
Many Users and Vast Resources
The TradeStation software is not new to the market, but has been around for a long time. Because of this, there are many resources for Tradestation and Easylanguage on the internet for you to use. Also, if you find other traders to work together with there is a great chance that they also run TradeStation which makes sharing of ideas and code much easier.
Auto Trading capabilities
Tradestation not only has features for backtesting and discretionary trading. It also has advanced auto trading features that you could use to let the computer auto-trade the strategies that you build.
Disadvantages of Tradestation
Tradestation is running on very old architecture, which could cause some issues. For example. the software is 32 bit which means that it only use 4 GB of ram for each instance. This issue has been solved by letting all the apps and chart windows run on one instance each.
Occasional Software Crashes
TradeStation is prone to crashing, and even if it has got better the last couple of years, it will still crash for you sometimes. In order to avoid bugs and software crashes, you should never update to the latest major release. Those tend to have many unsolved bugs and issues.
Remember that TradeStation offers great software tech support. At The Robust Trader, we have been in contact with them many times over the phone, and they are always helpful and knowledgeable!
Slower Than the Competition
Tradestation is slower than competing software like Multicharts and Amibroker. Still, it is not that slow and should be enough for most people’s need. However, if you want to backtest complete portfolios with many securities at once, we recommend other software like Amibroker which will run on a fraction of the time it would take TradeStation to run the same backtest.
Despite its shortcomings, TradeStation is our preferred trading software, and we are sure that it will be a great choice for you as well!