Online trading can be a good method of earning capital and growing a small business. There are lots of trading platforms that offer flexibility, as well as tutorials and guides to get you started.
Furthermore, online trading may provide your business with an extra layer of financial security.
Before you jump into online trading, it’s important to do plenty of research. Ensure you understand the potential risks, as well as the rewards, as markets can be versatile.
Demo accounts are a great way to get some practice in and familiarise yourself with the process.
10 BEST TRADING PLATFORMS COMPARED:
After you’ve brushed up on your trading knowledge, it’s time to choose your trading platform. Fortunately, there are a lot of reputable platforms with good reviews and a good range of financial instruments to trade. To give you balanced reviews, I will include upsides and downsides for each platform. This will help you make an informed decision based on what’s important to you and your business when it comes to online trading.
1. eToro: Best For Beginners
Top of my list is eToro. Launched in 2007, eToro is my number one choice of trading platform for small businesses. It is fantastic for beginner and experienced traders alike. Some big advantages of the platform are its simplicity and its clear layout, so you don’t have to spend ages looking for something. You can either search directly in the search bar, or navigate to the Discover tab to browse categories, traders to copy, Trending assets, daily movers and more.
Learning is a crucial part in trading successfully (and profitably) online. Because of this, eToro has created eToro Academy. Here, you’ll find a vast range of videos and guides to help with your trading activities. Topics include stocks, crypto, trading, investing, and using the eToro platform. There are advanced guides as well as beginner guides, making it ideal for all traders wanting to educate themselves further.
eToro enables users to set profit and loss rates so that their trade closes when it reaches a set profit or falls to a certain loss. This can be a really handy safety net to stop you losing more than you can afford.
An easy way to find out more about a business’s reputation is to look at real customer reviews. eToro has a decent 4.2/5 rating on Trustpilot. This is out of more than 15,000 reviews. Additionally, eToro has replied to 80% of negative reviews, which shows they’re keen to resolve issues.
A free demo account with $100,000 to play with.
Smooth interface that’s easy to navigate.
The ability to copy the portfolios of experienced traders.
A large range of trading instruments.
No commission fees on stocks.
A highly-rated eToro app available to trade on the go.
Allows users to post news, comments, etc. on instrument pages.
Some withdrawal, currency conversion, and inactivity fees apply.
Users can only trade in USD.
Limited support options available; live chat or ticket only.
Founded in 2006, AvaTrade is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. It has some impressive features that make it a great choice of trading platform. AvaTrade has earned an exceptional reputation as being a dependable Forex broker. But, it also facilitates the trading of stocks, commodities, crypto, and indices.
Avatrade’s interface is sleek. The layout and navigation is reasonably straightforward, but unfortunately it doesn’t match the simplicity of eToro. One notable feature is that there are tutorials easily accessible from your trading screen, so you don’t have to navigate away from what you are doing to look at certain how-to information.
The trading platform offers a wealth of educational information, going above and beyond to share their knowledge with their customers. Its Education section will provide a solid footing for people just starting out, and for those with some experience in the game. AvaTrade’s learning resources include topics like technical and fundamental analysis, calculating price moves, copy trading, how cryptocurrencies work, and even the psychology of trading. They cover pretty much every topic I can think of, which shows they know their stuff.
AvaTrade has an exceptional 4.8/5 Trustpilot rating, which is one of the factors I considered when choosing to put it 2nd on my list here. Loads of reviews praise the company’s customer service, which is great to see.
A free demo account
Available in lots of different languages.
Exclusive AvaProtect tool for robust risk management.
A decent app available.
A variety of contact options including a telephone number.
Allows copy trading.
High inactivity fees which are charged after just 3 months of non-use.
Next up, we have Plus500. This successful trading platform was founded in 2008 and has offices in London. It boasts more than 2,000 trading instruments, a figure which is steadily growing. It is well-regulated and widely used.
Plus500 has some useful guides and videos in its Training Academy. It offers free educational materials teaching users the basics. There are also regular news articles uploaded for people to keep up-to-date with market insights. However, the extent of learning resources is quite limited, especially when compared to my previous two recommendations.
Like eToro and AvaTrade, Plus500 have risk management tools, like setting profit and loss rates. It also has an email, SMS, and push notification service to alert users to price changes. I really like this feature. It is a simple yet convenient way of keeping up-to-date with changes in your trades and could prove essential for avoiding losses.
Plus500 has a 4.1/5 rating on Trustpilot and has responded to an excellent 93% of negative reviews. They also reply to negative reviews in under 24 hours, which is brilliant.
A free demo account which automatically resets your virtual money when it falls below a certain threshold.
App available across multiple devices.
No fees for commission, deposits or withdrawals
Learning resources are limited.
No telephone support available.
Charges overnight fees, conversion fees, inactivity fees, and Guaranteed Stop Order fees.
Founded in 2010 and based in Melbourne, Pepperstone is a diverse trading broker. It has several trading platforms available, namely TradingView, MetaTrader 4 and 5, and cTrader. You can choose to trade via a downloadable app, available for both mobile and desktop devices, or trade through the web-based platform.
Additionally, users can enjoy some comprehensive tools. One such tool is Autochartist, which simplifies the process of technical analysis, identifying trading opportunities and patterns. It displays probabilities and forecasts based on previous performances.
Pepperstone is a well-trusted and regulated broker. It processes an impressive $9.2 billion per day in trading volume and is used by over 300,000 traders around the world. What’s more, the broker has a Trustpilot score of 4.7/5, with many reviewers praising the company’s excellent customer service. If you want to get in touch with the team, there is live chat, an email address, and a telephone number.
As far as education goes, Pepperstone has a decent amount of content. It has 10 pages of webinars, plenty of trading guides, and courses to walk you through MetaTrader and Forex Trading. Although there’s a lot of it, most of the content available is aimed at beginners. So, if you’re an experienced traders, you may not get much use out of Pepperstone’s Education pages.
A free demo account.
Facilitates copy trading.
Multiple ways of getting in touch
Excellent technical analysis tools.
No dreaded inactivity fees, withdrawal fees, or deposit fees.
Learning resources are mostly limited to beginners.
Freetrade is considerably newer than my previous recommendations, having been founded in 2016. It is a UK-based company with more than 6,000 stocks available to invest in, all of which are commission-free. Furthermore, Freetrade offers a SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension) option, a perfect option for business owners to take care of their financial future.
The trading platform does not offer CFD trading, and is unsuitable for day traders. Freetrade is instead an ideal long-term investment solution. It promises to offer tax-efficient and hassle-free trading, and you can invest as little as £2.
Freetrade’s pricing structure is nice and simple. You do not pay any commission on your assets. A General Investment Account is free and beyond that, you pay a monthly fee for an ISA, SIPP, or Plus account. The ISA account is just £3/month, while the SIPP and Plus accounts cost a reasonable £9.99/month. There is also a 0.45% FX fee for trading in the foreign markets, but this is low compared to many other platforms. I really like this straightforward pricing structure.
Freetrade has won an impressive number of awards. It has been awarded Best Online Trading Platform by the British Bank Awards for last four years. It also has an excellent 4.3/5 Trustpilot rating, with users describing the ease-of-use of the platform and app.
If you’re looking to educate yourself, Freetrade can teach you the basics and beyond. It has a comprehensive range of guides and how-tos which cover lots of different topics. It teaches useful information such as how to build your portfolio, how you can value stocks, and how much money you should put into your investment. A downside though is that there are no video tutorials. All tutorials are text.
Different platforms available.
Simple pricing structure.
Low minimum investments.
No phone support.
No video tutorials.
Asset classes are limited, for example no CFDs or crypto.
Founded way back in 1974, IG Group is headquartered in London and boasts more than 330,000 clients worldwide. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is regulated, so customers can be assured they are dealing with a reputable and trustworthy company.
One of the things that stands out about IG is the huge range of trading instruments. There are over 18,000 markets to trade. Customers can trade commodities, Forex, indices, shares, futures and more. IG offers both CFD trading and spread betting, making it a flexible choice with an abundance of trading options. Furthermore, IG customers can make use of trading platforms like MetaTrader 4, ProRealTime, and L2 Dealer.
With more than 45 years experience behind it, IG shares its wealth of knowledge with its users. Not only is there loads of learning resources and news pieces freely available to read on the site, but there are also helpful podcasts and courses to take. More still, members can sign up for free trading webinars, hosted by experts. These can be both live and pre-recorded, and are run multiple times per week.
With regards to customer care and satisfaction, IG has a 4.0/5 rating on Trustpilot. While this is a little lower than previous recommendations, it’s worth noting that this score is out of more than 5,000 reviews. And, the company regularly replies to reviews, both good and bad.
Intuitive app available to trade on-the-go.
A free demo account.
Offers an in-depth trading analytical tool.
Risk management tools like market notifications and stop losses.
A phone number and email address to get in touch with the team.
No withdrawal or deposit fees.
Fantastic educational materials.
Overnight fees and inactivity fees.
Some fees are quite high, for example Forex and CFD stock trading.
7. Hargreaves Lansdown: Best For Long-Term Investments
Hargreaves Lansdown is based in Bristol, UK, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Like IG, Hargreaves Lansdown has been in the business for many years. It was founded in 1981. The company puts emphasis on customer satisfaction and works hard to create a positive customer experience.
Customers can enjoy Hargreaves Lansdown products like Stocks and Shares, Lifetime ISAs, Junior ISAs, Investment Accounts, and Pension options. One potential downside of Hargreaves Lansdown is that does not facilitate CFD trading or spread betting. It directs existing customers and new ones wanting to carry out these types of trading to IG. However, it remains a great option for businesses and individuals wanting to make long-term investments.
Hargreaves Lansdown has a respectable amount of educational resources. However, its educational strong point is its plethora of interactive calculators. Users can explore calculators for their pensions, savings, and investments. They can also calculate how they may be impacted by various taxes, like income tax, inheritance tax, and emergency tax.
At the time of writing, Hargreaves Lansdown has 6,144 Trustpilot reviews and has an overall rating of 4.3/5, which is excellent. Many reviewers praise the company’s customer service and clearly appreciate the efficiency of the team.
No withdrawal or inactivity fees.
Brilliant interactive calculators.
Team-allocated phone numbers to ensure you speak to the right person for your query.
Options for saving for children, including junior ISAs and junior SIPPs.
Degiro has a good selection of products. These include stocks, shares, bonds and futures. It’s a favourable broker choice for day traders and long term investors. In fact, it won a ‘First Place Day Trader’ award back in 2020. And, the company has won 86 awards in total at the time of writing, many of which are attributed to its low costs. Considering the low fees as well, Degiro is a good, user-friendly choice for beginners.
If you’re looking for some trading education, there are articles and videos on Degiro’s website. However, the range of material does not match some of the other brokers we’ve looked at in terms of the number of topics covered and more advanced subjects. Therefore, Degiro’s Investor’s Academy is more suited to beginners than experienced traders.
Degiro is not available everywhere. You cannot open a Degiro account in United States, Japan, South Africa or Hong Kong, to name a few.
Cyber attacks are on the rise, so it’s useful to know that Degiro is very big on security. Unlike some of the other sites I’ve reviewed, Degiro enables two-step sign in verification. Some people may find this inconvenient, but when it comes to money management, it’s a useful security feature to have.
Trustpilot reviews have rated Degiro as 4.3/5. The biggest winning factor appears to be the low fees, which is no surprise. But, many customers also praise the user-friendly platform as easy to use, and the range of instruments.
Very low cost broker.
Telephone number and email addresses for getting in touch.
An award-winning app.
Two-step verification in place.
Clear and intuitive interface.
A regulated broker.
No demo account available.
Cannot deposit via debit or credit card.
Learning resources and analytical tools are a bit limited.
Capital.com was founded in 2016. It uses AI technology to bring users the best possible trading experience. The company is a leader in Forex trading in particular, but also offers a commodities, indices, and stocks and shares.
The homepage looks a little busy, but there’s a lot of useful information on there. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for and you may even get inspiration from the latest news articles or the Trader’s Dashboard. Right there on the homepage is also a CFD Trading calculator to quickly show users potential returns based on previous results.
Furthermore, the innovative company enables lots of ways to deposit funds, including PayPal and Apple Pay.
Capital.com does education exceptionally well. It has a dedicated app for customers to download and learn all things trading from wherever they are. Users can set daily reminders to give them a nudge. Study more than 30 courses and browse the jargon-busting glossary. This app is a fantastic addition to a trader’s toolkit. More still, Capital.com customers can take advantage of news, insights, and analytics, as well as guides and webinars.
Capital.com has an average Trustpilot rating of 4.3/5 from nearly 7,000 reviewers. Customers will also appreciate how easy it is to find the company’s contact information, which is placed conveniently at the bottom of every web page.
A demo account available.
No deposit, withdrawal, or inactivity fees.
A wealth of educational tools and resources.
Easy to get in touch with the team.
Intuitive trading app.
Stock Index CFD fees are quite high.
Web trading platform is limited in terms of customisability and doesn’t offer price alerts.
My last trading platform recommendation for small businesses is Skilling. Founded in 2016, Skilling is a Scandinavian trading company. It has offices is Cyprus, Spain and Malta. Skilling offers over 900 Forex and CFD instruments to trade, including commodities, currency pairs, and shares.
Skilling has three types of accounts available, namely Standard, Premium, and MT4. The standard account is perfect for beginner traders, as it offers commission-free trading. The starting deposit for the Standard account is 100 Euros and Spreads are from 0.7 pips. The Premium account, on the other hand, does incur trading commissions and spreads are from a low 0.1 pips. It is also subject to a higher starting deposit (because of its low spreads) which is 5,000 Euros. All accounts benefit from negative balance protection, which is great.
Skilling provides a very useful selection of trading, insight, and technical analysis articles, which are regularly uploaded to the site. My favourite aspect of Skilling’s learning resources though is it’s courses. There are five, which is not as many as some of the other brokers I have recommended. However, I have found these to be in-depth and provide good quality education. Better still though, is that there are courses for beginner, intermediate, and advanced traders.
The company has a Trustpilot rating of 4.5/5, with an impressive 84% of reviews rating it ‘Excellent’. The responsive team have also replied to all negative comments.
Good for beginners and experienced traders.
A demo account available.
Telephone number, email address and live chat.
Commission-free trading on Standard accounts.
Free deposit and withdrawals for most payment options.
A 2.9% charge may occur for deposits and withdrawals using Neteller and Skrill “at its sole discretion”.
Not available in US.
Cost of spread a little high for standard accounts.
These ten trading platforms are all good for small businesses. However, eToro is, in my opinion, the best option, especially if you’re new to trading. The layout really does make it stand above the competition. I really like that it offers suggestions on trading options, as well as allowing users to post market news on the feeds. It has a community feel to it with people sharing their insights and expertise.
Yes, there are plenty of hosting providers that offer free web hosting. We’ve listed out the 10 best free web hosts that we recommend. I’ve signed up to each of the providers so I could try and test them for you. As we’ve discovered, whilst free web hosting certainly does exist, there are often limitations.
These limitations don’t stop you from signing up or enjoying free web hosting. However, they often mean that if you want a professional-looking website for the long-term, you may need to consider an alternative. Free web hosting limitations often fall down to storage/bandwidth or the ability to connect your own domain. Most free web hosts offer a free subdomain like www.yoursite.myfreehosting.com which doesn’t look very professional. In my opinion, the best web hosting companies are not free. If you want a fast loading site with customer service to match then a paid option is often better.
Some free web hosting providers to force adverts upon your website. However, not all of them do, as you can see above. Lots of free providers don’t place adverts or branding on your website in return for free hosting. Those that do impose adverts, banners or pop-ups often offer the ability for these to be removed by paying a small fee or upgrading to a premium plan.
Lots of web hosting providers will offer both a free and paid plan. Free plans are often designed as a way to test the waters. You’ll get a good feel and grasp of what the providers offer, without forking out any money, to begin with. However, most web hosts will offer a way for you to upgrade from a free plan to a paid plan.
Doing so shouldn’t cause you any hassle. A lot of web hosts make the transition easy, meaning you’ll pay the difference between the free and chosen paid plan without even knowing a change has been made.
When you don’t pay for a service, there’s not a whole lot of incentive for the provider to offer the best of the best. After all, they’re not going to give you a service equal to one that’s paid, for nothing. Customer support when it comes to web hosting is really essential in my opinion. This is why I recommend signing up for a paid web host.
Free web hosting tends to offer minimal but usually no support at all. If something goes wrong with your website, it’s important you have someone to turn to in order to get it fixed. If running a website is your priority, so should customer support. It’s for this reason you should consider an affordable web host like Hostinger.
You can pretty much do the same things as you can with a paid web hosting plan, with limitations. Popular features that are used by most web hosts include PHP, MySQL databases, scripts and FTP access. However, in a lot of cases, free web hosting places restrictions on these, or sometimes don’t offer them at all.
The most common issue with free web hosting is the lack of resources available. Whilst shared hosting (compared to VPS) is affordable because you share server space, free web hosting places even more strain on servers, meaning slower speeds and poorer performance. This is often coupled with limited storage space and bandwidth.
If uptime, performance and generating traffic is important to your web journey, I’d highly recommend considering a paid web host. These don’t always have to be expensive, and in most cases can be signed up to from as little as 80p per month.
Free web hosting is often a way of allowing you to try a service that you’ll end up paying for eventually. Think of free web hosting as more of a taster or trial of the ‘real’ thing. If you’re serious about hosting a website, you’ll more likely than not be signing up to a paid web host.
Some paid web hosts offer free trials, whereas others like 000WebHost have a free web hosting plan and a paid plan with Hostinger. They are the same company, just under two different names. This is clever marketing and is by no means cheating. If you like the free service you’ve received, you’re more likely to sign up to a paid or premium plan with the same company.