In the world of automated trading, you know how important it is to have a reliable and fast internet connection and a rock-solid computer. That's why more and more traders are using remote hosting services to power their trading computers. But what exactly is a remote hosting service, and how can it benefit traders?
Let's take a look.
When you first start building trading systems, if you're like most people, you use your desktop computer at home. You may be using a laptop. But it's your computer, your hardware and you're running your trading platform from your computer.
This is local hosting.
So local hosting means you're using your own computer from home to run your trading platform - TradeStations, most likely in this case. So, when you start trading live, the trade orders are generated on your computer, and those orders to buy and sell are then sent through the internet to your broker.
Benefits of Local Hosting
Using your home computer has several strong benefits.
- Control. You have complete control of nearly everything. You get to determine which computer hardware to use, how much RAM your computer has, how fast your computer is, the number of cores, and even what processors you have.
- Lower monthly fees. You have to pay for electricity, but that's probably not a big issue. You're probably already have an internet service provider fee with or without your trading computer being hosted at home. So, no reply additional fee here unless you upgrade your ISP services for the purpose of trading.
Negatives of Local Hosting
The number of negatives that come with local hosting is many and varied.
- If you have a poor internet connection, that can be a big problem. Maybe even a deal breaker. If that's your situation, it's out of your control.
- If you have a power failure, your computer is down. That means your trades on not being executed!
- Computer crash. If this happens, you have to get back up and running quickly. That means fixing that computer or switching to a new computer. That also means restoring your computer from a backup. You've been backing up your computer, right?
- You will need to buy more equipment. Backup drives, backup software, surge protectors, and a power supply to help protect you against intermittent outages.
- All the software on your computer must be maintained by you. That's providing software updates. Fixing issues.
Let's contrast that with remote hosting.
What is Remote Hosting?
A remote host is a computer not located at your home. Instead, it is located remotely or away from your home. Put another way, a company (the hosting company) owns and holds the computer at their facilities, and you seemly rent the computer. To access this remote computer, you use special software to connect your home computer to the remote computer.
The most common way of doing this is with Microsoft Remote Desktop. Using this application on your home computer, you can log into your remote computer. That remote computer could be thousands of miles away. Once logged in, you get the look and feel of running your remote computer in a window. The computer on your desktop is merely a window into the remote computer. The remote computer does all the work running your trading platform, executing your trading program, and sending the orders to the broker for execution.
Traders who use remote hosting services can trade from anywhere with an internet connection without having to worry about the whereabouts of their physical trading computer. This is especially useful for traders who travel frequently or don't want to deal with the hassles of running trading computers. But even if you never or rarely leave your home trading computer, there can be considerable advantages to hosting your trading platform on a remote site.
So, what are the benefits of using a remote hosting service for your trading computer? Let's take a look at a few of the most important ones.
Benefit: Increased Security
Security is on the mind of everyone, and with a remote host, you have a lot more protection on your side. A desktop trading computer in your home is susceptible to physical damage from fires, floods, and theft. But when you host your trading computer remotely, it's stored in a secure data center that includes fire suppression systems and 24/7 security. This dramatically reduces the risk of your trading computer being damaged or destroyed.
What if your home computer crashes? If and when that happens, do you have a backup? Can you quickly get your computer up and running from that backup data? They do all of this for you if you have a remote hosting server. The hosting company backs up your data, and they can quickly get up and running if and when a computer crashes. Best of all, the hosting company handles this. Think how much less worry and hassle you have to deal with. Having your trading platform hosted allows you to focus more on trading instead of pretending to be an IT professional.
In addition, remote hosting services often have advanced security measures such as multi-factor authentication and encryption technology to protect against unauthorized access.
Benefit: Trade Anywhere In The World
Going on vacation doesn't mean stopping all trading systems and missing out on winning trades. With a remote hosting service, you can easily monitor and execute trades from anywhere worldwide as long as you have a computer and internet connection. You no longer have to be physically tethered to one location to keep an eye on the markets. This convenient solution also allows for greater flexibility in where you work.
My wife and I like to travel, and we might leave our wintery home and spend two weeks in Arizona. My remotely hosted TradeStation platform is easily accessible from my laptop. Say goodbye to missing out on potential opportunities due to being away from your usual office setup - with remote hosting, and the world is truly your trading playground.
Benefit: Nearly 100% uptime and less maintenance.
This one is huge! Remote hosting has nearly 100% uptime. Your computer can be accessed at any time and from anywhere. Your computer's hardware and software will be constantly monitored and updated, reducing the risk of crashes or other technical issues. The convenient accessibility and reliable upkeep provided by a remote hosting service make it an excellent option for businesses and individuals.
When it comes to hosting your files and technology, uptime is crucial. I remember the problems of hosting my TradeStation platform from home. The internet would glitch, which would cause havoc on my live trading account. Worse yet, the internet may go down, or the power to my home may fail during a storm. That's not fun when you have live trades. That's lost revenue or costly losses.
To get around this problem, a small hosting company can provide your trading platform with a rock-solid internet connection and nearly 100% computer up-time. So upgrading to a remote hosting service to ensure reliable uptime and a solid internet connection is mandatory.
Benefit: Less Need for Physical Space
Finally, you'll need less physical space when you use a remote hosting service for your trading computer. Once sitting in your office or desk taking up much space, that big computer box is no longer needed. So if you're tight on space in your home or office, a remote hosting service can free up some much-needed room.
Who Should Not Get A Remote-Hosed Trading Computer?
One group of people should refrain from investing in a remote host. That is, people who are not yet trading live. Suppose you're learning to code in EasyLanguage or learning to build trading systems. There is no need to have a remote host for your trading platform. Sure there are some excellent benefits even if you're not trading live, but do you need to spend the money on it?
So, if you're not trading live, you can skip the remote hosting company to save a few bucks. However, if you want the convinces of having your trading platform on a remote host and money is not an issue, then, by all means, do so.
How Much Does A Remote Host Cost?
The cost of a remote host can vary based on the company and its plan. Most have multiple hosting plans based on your needs. For example, the lower-end plans start as low as $40/month, while the higher-end plans require upwards of $200/month. Your price will largely depend on the features and specifications you desire. The more powerful the computer, the higher the monthly fee.
I recommend using a simple and affordable solution if you're starting with only a few live strategies. Expect to pay around $45 per month. As your needs grow, you can always upgrade to a more robust plan.
What Are Some Popular Companies That Provide Remote Hosting for Traders?
I've used Speed Trading Servers, and they did well for years. However, I've recently moved to ChartVSP as I was getting more value.
Having your trading platform hosted remotely is like outsourcing your trading platform's maintenance, reliability, and security to a professional 3rd party. That's how I look at it. I need a solid internet connection from home, and I don't want to worry about backups, computer crashes, or software updates. I let my hosting company handle that so I could focus more of my time on trading.
If you're looking for a way to improve your trading experience, consider using a remote hosting service.
Dear Mr. Swanson,
A colleague forwarded your article to me. Much appreciated. I am a long-term Tradestation user and have been searching recently for something precisely like what you talk about — a hosting service that can be used internationally. And for use with TS.
I have gotten opinions for creating local redundancy (Spectrum plus T-Mobile for backup) to a hosting service. But with the hosting, I have discovered that many services are all talk and are designed for lower needs users. I do not want to post a bunch of photographs in a giant file. I have one goal — to trade my methodology using intraday day data without interruption five days a week (Sunday night through Friday afternoon). And the connection to TS must offer download speeds equal to or greater than Spectrum (current is 300 mb download).
I also must have reliable tech support that I can CALL 24/7/365. I DO NOT want to get involved in a months-long online tutorial with CHAT. Not gonna happen.
If you could offer any additional suggestions on setup, I would be most grateful.
New York City
Hello Robert. I would take a look at ChartVPS. Their basic package, “Standard VPS,” is $40 per month, which is good for most people getting started. I’m using their “Intraday VPS” package” which is the next level up from the basic package Windows comes installed, and they will even install TradeStation. If you need more power, high-level packages are available. It’s been a rock-solid service. I’ve not used their customer service, so I can’t speak to that. But give it a try.