VPS – Power and Speed like Professionals
C. Test results
Before talking about VPS, a quick reminder of what a server is in the true sense of the word. It’s a powerful computer that never shuts down, so you can run applications all the time. Of course, it is understood that a good and stable broadband internet connection is also part of a professional server installation.
A Virtual Private Server is a personal server that can be rented in a data center. In two words, data centers are server farms. These servers can be rented according to your needs (you can adjust your configuration). These data centers, in addition to ensuring server stability and a good Internet connection, are located in cities that are important for the interconnection of networks (an essential criterion for trading). For example, all websites in the world (including PlateformeTrading.com) are hosted on servers.
Depending on the budget of the site, you can either buy your own server and connect it to a good internet connection, or rent space on a server. I think that in 99% of the cases it is VPS, only very large or very specialized companies can afford to invest and maintain a server infrastructure. Depending on your audience, you can choose them in different parts of the world.
PlateformeTrading.com has been using a VPS for trading for a year. The two objectives for an independent trader are: to ensure that he has a powerful and stable computer on which to run his trading platform at all times and to ensure that he has a fast internet connection with the exchanges on which he trades. If you have automatic trading programs, you should seriously consider getting a VPS.
For the first objective, the simple fact of switching from one’s computer to a VPS makes the trading platform more stable, that’s obvious. Moreover, the Trading VPS will be dedicated only to analyze and trade, all its power will only be used for that. Whereas, on your personal computer, there are always programs running in the background that use a little power. In addition, the components are very recent, and updated regularly, and are often much better than those of personal computers. Data centers are truly professional infrastructures.
For the second objective, one of the criteria of choice in trading is its location or its fast connection with the main cities of the financial markets, in order to be able to place your orders as quickly as possible. In our case, we considered 5 cities: New York, Chicago, Frankfurt, London and Amsterdam.
For some, this may seem trivial, but it is important to understand that in trading, the main players have the financial means to have IT infrastructures that allow them to place trading orders in a few milliseconds, or even microseconds.
An independent trader will never be able to compete with these infrastructures, but he can at least try to increase his order placement speed as much as possible. We can say that with a good internet connection and a good computer, our trading orders will be placed in 600/800ms. A VPS can save you up to 300ms, which is 40% faster, a big advantage over other independent operators.
Finally, a last advantage is the computer security. Data centers are very secure places, with many barriers and protocols against viruses and internet attacks. For my part, there is no need for antivirus or firewall on a VPS (yet another power saving for the trading platform).
You don’t need anything more than your personal computer and your internet connection. No additional investment. Its interest is that the whole platform will be connected as close as possible to the stock exchange and that only the sending of your clicks will take time (a click only counts for a few milliseconds through the Remote Connection).
In the case of your computer, with the same power and internet line, you have all the data from the platform including quotes, volumes, positions but you may also have other personal programs that use the bandwidth. A lot of information passes through your internet line (without you really knowing it) … While on the VPS line, closer to the stock market, there is only your trading data. This is the most important point of the VPS: its speed of connection to markets.
Looking at the diagram, you can quickly see the advantages of VPS, it is an almost indispensable tool for trading in 2022, especially now that speeds are getting higher and higher (algorithmic trading is a big part of it).
The key point is your own internet connection, not your computer. We can say that if you are already trading from your computer, the VPS connection will always be better. To test your internet connection for VPS, there are 2 ways.
The first is to go to sites like speedtest.net or nperf.com and see the test results. The most important thing for trading is not to have a very high speed but to have a high stability and low latency.
On these sites, you must have stable (almost flat) throughput curves, with at least 50Mb/s download (to receive data) and 20Mb/s upload (to send your orders). The latency is indicated in the result, ideally it should be 5 to 10 ms for an optical fiber or 25 to 50ms for ADSL (if it is higher, contact your provider and ask him to try to improve it). Of course, Fiber Optics is to be preferred for Trading.
The second way will be, when you are remotely connected, to use a tool built into the connection bar to control its speed. If it is bad, check with your internet provider, the VPS will not be able to do anything (especially if the tests of the 1st way are good).
III. VPS vs WorkStation (Dedicated Computer)
Both VPS and Workstations are intended to increase the power of the machine to stabilize the Trading Platform and are very good solutions for improving overall performance. But choosing to invest in your own workstation or in a VPS is not the same thing. There are 2 major differences:
- Price: The Workstation will always cost less than the VPS, with comparable power/features. It is a personal investment that allows you to increase your power for your trading but also for your personal applications when you are not trading. An estimate can be that the Workstation will cost you 1/1.5 years of VPS, after that the VPS will be more expensive
- Connection Speed to Market Streams: Even if you have an excellent fiber connection with low latency at home or at your office, it will never match the connection speed of the VPS. When you have a VPS, it is as close as possible to the exchanges you are trading, there is very little time loss (optimized latency). And you connect directly to the VPS online. If your internet connection is fiber and stable, you will be in the optimal configuration to place your orders. The Workstation will never offer you this time saving in order execution. If, in addition, you have Sierra Chart as a platform, you will have an incredible time saving compared to other traders
Beware, you still need a computer with several screens to connect to your VPS. The difference between a computer to connect to a VPS and a workstation is that the workstation is much more powerful and allows you to run your trading software directly at home.
Finally, the VPS is more expensive than the Workstation but it has advantages for trading that the Workstation can never match like the dedicated power of its trading platform and a professional internet connection.
IV. VPS for All Budgets
A. 3 VPS in Test
If you search a little on the internet, you will see that there are many offers that are proposed, and this for all uses (website, dedicated applications, file sharing…). In this fair where hundreds, even thousands, we have chosen 3: Vultr, Contabo and Kamatera. To choose them, and in addition to the criteria specific to trading and price, we took into account the tests of specialized organizations and the user reviews of several sites (there are also many).
We did not use the easy way out which is to recommend the most known VPS such as Amazon Web Service, Microsoft Azure, Ionos or Kinsta, which are not suitable for trading. We looked for servers that offer good value for money for interesting trading performance i.e. connected very quickly to the main trading cities.
To test the latencies between two cities in the world, you can use the WonderNetwork at the following address: https: //wondernetwork.com/pings.
B. Selection Criteria
In the case of VPS, providers offer different types of environments. Without going into too much detail, you can choose an environment without guaranteed resources (the cheapest) to one dedicated and optimized for RAM or CPU (the most expensive). In the table below, the proposed options are listed in order of price. From one option to another, the price can double, triple or even go up to x10 for a Dedicated Processor Optimized VPS. In our trading case and to limit the costs a little, we recommend one of the first two types proposed by the suppliers (but the second one can be 50% more expensive).
For the non-guaranteed service option, don’t worry, it will be enough for our trading activity with only one important software running on the VPS. The most expensive types are reserved for computational applications with very high resource requirements (making video, synchronizing databases or applications between several locations…), in short they are really not necessary to have a single software.
And also, if you are not satisfied with the performance, you can upgrade it in a few clicks on your private access. All configurations are flexible, it’s just a matter of price. Start small and grow afterwards. If your trading results improve with a VPS, there is nothing to stop you from upgrading to a higher level for more stability and performance.
The RAM, the Hard Disk and the Processor are fundamental for the platform to work properly and to have the expected power gain and stability. 8Gb of RAM is the minimum for trading platforms (and according to Sierra Chart developers), 16Gb is the standard size, 32Gb is to have room (unless you have multiple instances, multiple footprints and/or bookmaps and trading programs). The size of the hard disk depends on your platform.
In the case of Sierra Chart, the developers recommend 250GB dedicated. In practice and if you don’t have dozens of FootPrint or BookMap or automatic trading programs, you will only need 100/150GB (and saving all the information from a few order books).
The type of hard disk is important. The new NMVe drives offer data transfer speeds 5 to 15 times faster than HDDs. Suppliers often offer a choice between an HDD and an NMVe (of lower capacity than the HDD), ALWAYS TAKE THE NMVe. For the processor, a minimum of 4 cores is required for the 8Gb of RAM to be effective. From 6/8 cores, you will be fine, beyond that, you will have all the margin necessary. Typically, vendors make combinations with a minimum of core for a minimum of RAM, and vice versa.
For the server test configurations, we have defined 3:
>> Config 1 – Basic: RAM = 8Gb + Processor = minimum 4 cores + Hard Drive = minimum NMVe of 100GB (especially for Sierra Chart) + Operating System = Windows 10 or Windows Server 2019 or 2022 (prices are usually posted for Linux which is free, and it would be useless to have a VPS with Windows server 2016 or less, and Windows 10 is not always offered).
>> Config 2 – Standard: RAM = 16Gb + Processor = minimum 6 cores + Hard Drive = minimum NMVe of 150GB (especially for Sierra Chart) + Operating System = Windows 10 or Windows Server 2019 or 2022 (prices are usually posted for Linux which is free, and it would be useless to have a VPS with Windows server 2016 or less, and Windows 10 is not always offered).
>> Config 3 – Advanced: RAM = minimum 24Gb + Processor = minimum 8 cores + Hard Drive = minimum NMVe of 300GB (especially for Sierra Chart) + Operating System = Windows 10 or Windows Server 2019 or 2022 (prices are usually shown for Linux which is free, and it would be useless to have a VPS with Windows server 2016 or less, and Windows 10 is not always offered).
With Sierra Chart, if you use complex Studies (Indicators) such as FootPrint and BookMap, you will need more processor cores and RAM to have a stable platform, than if you only use price charts, Market Profile and Order Book. Config1 is only valid for traders who use “simple” indicators. As soon as a trader uses multiple ChartBooks with indicators such as FootPrint and/or BookMap, he must have config2 or config3.
There are 3 other options that you should look at in detail before buying: installation, maintenance and backup.
- For the installation, the goal of this tutorial is to allow you to do it yourself. Most of the time, providers offer to install your server for you for an extra 20 or 30 €. With this manual and the video, you will know how to do everything yourself.
- For maintenance, and in the case of a trading platform, you will continue to update it as you would on your personal computer and you won’t have to do much for Windows Server, except to update it regularly, also as you would on your personal computer. No need to take the option, you are not an administrator of several organizations! The price goes from 50€ to 100€ per month for the provider to take care of everything… Too expensive for the service!
- For the automatic backup, you can choose yourself if you want to pay for it. If you already have a backup space (see article How to Turn a USB Hard Drive into a Personal Cloud) and/or are willing to remember to back up regularly, you don’t need one. If not, you can take it. Prices range from 5€ to 15€ per month, it’s a bit expensive to synchronize your server once in a while but it’s acceptable for a trader who doesn’t want to bother with this aspect. Do not launch the synchro when you trade otherwise you lose power and internet speed.
The other options offered by the suppliers are not necessary for trading. The reserved bandwidth is not a criterion because the trading data does not weigh much in internet traffic (at worst, a few hundred MB per day, only the backup of your platform is what will cost you the most bandwidth). Those for websites like fixed IP number, SSH or CMS applications are also irrelevant.
C. Test results
Before the results, the 3 VPS have been tested in real conditions for several months: Vultr, Contabo and Kamatera. The internet connection to connect has always been a 1Gb Ultra Stable Symmetrical Fiber Optic connection, with 5/6ms latency with speedtest.net and nperf.com tests. The PC is a very powerful laptop (32Gb and i9 11 gen).
The 3 options selected all fulfill the expected functions.
For server performance, it has always been very good for the purpose (sometimes slow with 8Gb, see below) and there have been no server crashes or major problems. All met expectations.
For the internet connection, it is difficult to estimate the exact gain between VPSs but there is a real difference between your home or office internet connection and all VPSs. The Order Book and order placement are smoother, latency is better (latency = reaction time between the click and the effect on the screen; in trading, the time scale is milliseconds, so anything that can be gained is good to go).
Let’s start with Contabo. It is the first one that PlateformeTrading.com has tested during 3 months with configuration 2 (16Gb, 6 cores and 100Go). The low price was an important factor in this first trial. In use, the performance of the server is excellent. Twice we experienced slowdowns on the server (for 10-15 minutes), which were blamed on the shared side of the infrastructure (server and/or internet connection) rather than the trading platform. Otherwise, 3 perfect months.
As this was the first VPS, the difference in internet connection and order placement was obvious compared to a fiber connection and a good personal computer (which has the same RAM and a more powerful processor). After Contabo, it was obvious that others had to be tested.
Vultr (tested for 1 month in Config2) and Kamatera (tested for 1 month in Config2) are comparable in use and have the same performance, at least in user experience. For the internet connection, it is not possible to see with the naked eye the difference between the different providers (surely less than 5ms difference) but when you run internet tests, like speedtest.net or nperf.com, you can see that all of them have an internet latency of 0 or 1ms while with a personal internet connection, the latency is more like 5 to 10ms, or even more (for Contabo, you have to add the latency of the connection to the city of the stock exchange that you are trading)
In the tests of specialized organizations, the results are: Vultr then Contabo and finally Kamatera. Contabo is the slowest (only 5 to 10 ms) but still the most competitive. Here is the vpsbenchmarks.com test for December 2021. Tests carried out on less powerful servers but which still give an idea of the respective performances of the suppliers.
As you can see, there are so many possible options in the configuration choice that it is impossible to list them here. For the price comparison, we have chosen to take the cheapest types (if 2 types are recommended, the second one is 50 to 100% more expensive). Prices shown are +/- 10% depending on options. Of course, price is an important criterion, that’s why this manual does not present the most expensive options at 500€/month or more.
Depending on the provider, there may also be trial periods and/or possible discounts for pre-payment, which bring the cost down (but the best is to use the links below to take advantage of the PlateformeTrading.com offer). Here are the results (with a EURUSD exchange rate of 1.10 and prices before tax, add the VAT of your country):
The order of results for the performance is as follows: Contabo, Vultr and Kamatera.
1) Different VPS for different Configurations and Budgets
In the VPS market for trading, the quality of service is not directly proportional to the price of the service. The price difference is not particularly justifiable, except to gain 20 to 30ms. Especially since the cost of the most expensive is not insignificant. Over a year, we are talking about 2 600€ to almost 3 000€, excluding taxes, for the best in config3. For Contabo, it’s totally acceptable, less than 600€ in config3 and 1 year prepaid. Honestly, at this price and even if the internet latency is not perfect, no independent trader has any excuse not to have a VPS!
To finish with the comparisons, you can adapt it to your traded markets. Here are some examples of how to choose the right one (and if the budget is not the most important criterion).
In terms of price, if you want the best of the best for trading, take Vultr. If you have a small budget but still want to enjoy the benefits of VPS, take Contabo. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, take Kamatera (except in Config3 where Vultr is unbeatable).
Last precision on the configuration options, Contabo offer configurations in almost fixed formulas, that is to say that if you take 16Gb of RAM, you are obliged to take 6 cores of processors, only the size of the Hard Disk can be increased for a few euros per month. Vultr (in some cases) and Kamatera (all the time) offer a customizable configuration. Interesting to lower the price a bit (for example, take 20GB of RAM with 250GB of NMVe for a few euros less per month compared to 36GB of RAM and 350GB of NMVe which are a bit too much).
2) Trade multiple exchanges with multiple VPS
If you want to take full advantage of the power of a VPS while trading multiple exchanges, you will need to get as many servers as you have exchanges. When you choose an offer, you specify the location of the server. This location is fixed, it is not possible to have a single VPS in 2 different cities (logical, you will tell me since you rent space on a physical installation).
So, if you trade New York and Frankfurt, you will either have to make a choice between one of these 2 cities, or take 2 VPS, one in each city… The monthly cost of an environment can quickly soar if you trade 3 or 4 exchanges and want the optimal configuration.
To limit expenses and still get good service, you can bundle some scholarships. For example, if you only trade the US markets or the European markets, you can choose a server in only one city of the geographical area, the city chosen being the one of the exchange you trade the most.
For the other exchanges in the area, even though you will have worse latency/speed than directly in the city, it will still be better than at home or in the office. For example, if you trade NY and Chicago with Chicago the most, take a single system in Chicago. If you trade Frankfurt and London with Frankfurt the most, take one in Frankfurt.
Now it’s up to you to define your needs and budget to choose your VPS(s). The choice is not as simple as it seems. You don’t change your VPS every week (like for your personal computer). Take the time to think it through and go to the sites to make your estimate. There is no need to rush.
Once you have made your choice, you can proceed to the purchase and installation of the VPS.
PlateformeTrading.com’s personal choicewas Contabo for 2 main reasons:
1) the price which is extremely competitive compared to others and,
2) the extra cost of the two others is not justified since the estimated latency gain is only 20 to 40 ms for an extra hundred euros per month.
Vultr and Kamatera are solutions for fast sclapers in highly volatile markets.
Below, you will find all the steps for your installation. These steps are explained in the illustration video available on the YouTube channel here.
Be aware that you need 1 to 2 hours to install and configure your VPS. Take the time to do things right for your professional trading environment.
V. Purchase and Installation
A. Purchase – Affiliation PlateformeTrading.com
By going through PlateformeTrading.com to buy your VPS (by clicking on the link below), the site will receive a few tens of euros in commissions (or dollars). However, we want to give them back to you to help you progress in your trading experience, especially with Sierra Chart… So, with this tutorial, you will have already saved the installation fee of 20 to 30€… but that’s not all, you will also benefit from 3 free videos on the whole PlatformTrading.com website.
Contabo : From 20€ to 40€ for PlateformeTrading.com
Vultr: 35$ for PlateformeTrading.com and You will receive 100$ (VAT included) valid for 14 days, for 35$ spent, and with an active account more than 14 days… in trading, you will exceed these conditions very easily. You will save 3 weeks of config2 and 12 days of config3 : This is the most interesting affiliation of PlateformeTrading.com
Kamatera: $20 for PlateformeTrading.com, you get nothing.
The commission to the site will be paid approximately 2 months after the activation of a paid option (trial periods are not counted). Within 48 hours after receiving the confirmation from the supplier, you will receive an email with the voucher to spend on the whole site! Please use the link above, otherwise the voucher will not be possible.
In this document, you will find the main steps to get started with your VPS. The whole process is detailed in the video tutorial on the site. Let’s move on to the purchase (account creation and payment), the installation of your Remote Login from your computer and the VPS itself for the trading platform. The process is as follows:
1) Choose your options on the supplier’s website
2) Create your private account (an email will be sent to verify your email address, please click on the link). The password used will only be used to connect to the provider’s website, you will have to create another one to access your VPS
3) Fund your account by credit card/Paypal/Crypto, this is where you can benefit from discounts
4) Once the account is funded, the provider will create your environment (this takes a few minutes to a few hours). One clarification: most of the time, the supplier is English and does not have a French version. During the creation, we will see later how to change the language of use of Windows
5) During this time, you will receive several emails including one with your login information for your Windows Sever session of your VPS (including an IP address XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX, a username (normally Administrator and a default password)
6) Log in to your provider’s private access and, if possible, change your password and choose a personalized one. You can find the window directly from the default panel or in the account or server information section
7) If you wish, activate the Double Factor Authentication and download the application on your Phone (not all Double Authentication applications are available, adapt if necessary). You can also enable the Recognized Devices option, which allows you to be notified if a new computer connects to your VPS, if available.
Now you are ready to connect to your VPS, install Windows Server and your trading platform (Sierra Chart).
8) On your personal computer, open the Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) application
9) Use the IP address provided by the Provider, for the connection to the Windows Server session, use the username/password provided (normally the username is Administrator)
10) Set the RDP options to be modified: in particular, save the connection information so that you don’t have to enter it every time and keep the display of the computer that connects (important to use all your screens).
Once connected :
11) In Windows Server Manager, disable the IE Enhanced Security Configuration option
12) Go to the Windows user settings and change the default administrator password provided by the provider
13) Check the language, date format and number settings. Display the time of other cities, if needed
14) Partition the disk to isolate the Trading Platform (Sierra Chart)
15) Do all the Windows updates and restart the number of times necessary (a little annoying but absolutely necessary). Some providers already have updated Windows, others not (obviously an updated version of Windows is more expensive).
16) Change some Windows settings
> Never ever change the Windows Firewall Settings.
> Check the security settings
> Install the internet browser (Chrome, Firefox…), if needed
> Install the backup software, if needed
17) Transfer the Trading Platform (Sierra Chart)
18) Launch it and save your connection settings if not already done
19) Change the programs to be started automatically with Windows
20) Restart the server once to bring stability to the changes made
It’s done! You have configured your VPS! From now on, you will be able to trade with professional power, speed and stability!!!
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