Zorro and the brokers

Zorro needs a broker for receiving online price data and buying or selling assets. Most brokers offer free demo accounts (also called practice, paper, or game accounts) where trading can be tested without risking real money. A demo account with a broker can usually be opened in 5 minutes on their website. In most cases you'll get an MT4 account, and can start trading with Zorro's MT4 bridge. A real account for trading with real money takes longer, as the broker has to confirm your identity through some ID verification process.

Selecting a broker and account

Every broker has a different trade model and different values for spread, commission, rollover, or slippage. Many brokers offer the choice between several account types. Select the account with the smallest lot size and the highest leverage. Maybe you've read in a trading book to avoid high leverage as it implies "high risk". That's nonsense. High leverage just means that you're free to determine your own leverage. And the higher the leverage, the smaller the required margin and the greater the distance to the dreaded margin call. When trading the same number of contracts with the same budget, a low leverage account is always more likely to be wiped out than a high leverage account. Small lot sizes are preferable as you can trade with less capital and can better adjust the trade volume. For low-budget trade strategies, a micro lot or nano lot account is mandatory.

Here are the criteria for selecting the best account for Forex trading:

Connecting Zorro to a broker

Zorro is designed to directly work with all brokers that fulfill at least one of the following requirements:

Simulating a certain broker and account

In backtests, Zorro can simulate any broker through asset specific parameter sets that are automatically updated from the broker API, or can alternatively be set up by script. Broker and account specific parameters, such as rollover fee, spread, lot size, pip cost, etc. are loaded from the History\AssetsFix.csv file. This file can be edited with a text editor for simulating different accounts and assets in the backtest. For details see Data Import.

Manually trading with Zorro

If your broker is not yet supported by any of the three methods above, you can trade manually by using Zorro as a signal provider. For this, run your strategy on a FXCM demo account, and enter or exit a trade with your broker when you see (or hear) that Zorro opens or closes a similar trade in its message window. If your strategy has not a too-short time frame, it won't matter when there are a few minutes delay between Zorro's and your trade entry. Zorro plays the sound file trade.wav each time when it enters a trade, and win.wav / loss.wav each time when it closes it. Those files are located in the Zorro main folder, and you can replace them with an alarm sound if you want to get alerted every time for entering a trade.

Please be aware that the trading restrictions also apply when you use Zorro not directly for trading, but only for displaying trade signals.

Running Zorro on a VPS

It has several advantages to run Zorro not at home, but on a virtual private server (VPS) hosted by a commercial service provider. You'll have a fast and reliable online connection to the broker, regardless how bad your internet is at home, and can access Zorro from anywhere. VPS are available from many providers for a small fee, such as $20 to $30 per month. It's recommended to select a large and reliable company, like 1&1 or Amazon, for hosting a trading VPS. Amazon offers its EC2™ servers even free during the first year. The setup is not totally trivial to a beginner, so we're offering a VPS installation service on the download page. If you want to do it yourself, here are the basic steps for setting up an Amazon VPS:

Make sure that the time and the time zone of the VPS is set up correctly. It does not matter which time zone - you can either use your PC's time zone, or the VPS time zone, or any other time zone - but the VPS time must be correct and match the zone. If it is wrong, Zorro will display a wrong UTC time in the server window, and strategies based on market open and close times - such as gap trading - won't work anymore. If in doubt, set the VPS to the time and time zone of your PC at home.

Running multiple Zorro instances

The free Zorro version can trade with one broker and one account only. Zorro S allows to trade several Zorro instances simultaneously with different scripts, brokers, and accounts (for details about setting up the account list, see Data Import). How many Zorro instances can run at the same time depends on the broker connection, the Internet bandwidth, and the PC resources (speed and memory). As an example, a Amazon EC2 Micro Instance - the lowest and cheapest one - can support up to 4 Zorro instances with a normal broker connection, or up to 2 with a MT4 connection.

Observing your VPS trade status

It is recommended that you regularly observe Zorro's trade list, profit status, and messages on your PC or smartphone. For this let Zorro display the trade status and the message window on an Internet page. Here's the instruction for Amazon EC2 with Windows Server 2012:

Running Zorro as a trade signal provider

This is for Zorro S users only, as the free Zorro license does not permit providing trade signals. Some trade copy services such as ZuluTrade™ offer a free VPS for their signal providers. The VPS is already configured, completely with MT4, but it's a little tricky to copy Zorro onto it. Here's the procedure for ZuluTrade, step by step:

When you provide signals, please play fair in the interest of your followers. Do not use martingale or similar methods, even though this might attract more followers at first. In the end, only the very few signal providers that survive more than one or two years will earn long-term trust and profits.

See also:

Trading 101, Strategy, Links, order, broker plugin, MT4 plugin

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