I decided to take PipEasy’s suggestion on the Forex Factory forum to heart and go about weaning myself off looking at charts constantly. It was time to setup a VPS. Since my requirements were going to be pretty minimal and I didn’t have any prior experience, my main differentiating factor was price. I was just going to pick something cheap so I could test things out; gain some knowledge without throwing a ton of money away.
A simple Google search of ‘forex VPS’ turns up a plethora of options. The only feature I needed to look at when comparison shopping is that the VPS runs Windows Server 2003 or 2008, since all the trading platforms I use are Windows based. After reading some comparison reviews and general browsing I settled on Ultra Hosting.
Their most basic package goes for $25 a month. If you look at their forex packages, they offer a 15% discount if you plump for 3 months at $64 ($21 per month). What’s even better is that you can use the coupon code FXFBI to get an additional discount. I was expecting it to be just an additional 10%, but it ended up being closer to 50%. My total cost for 3 months was just $33.62 ($11 per month). That’s going to take some beating!
As luck would have it, their automated system was down and thus I had to wait 24 hours for my server to be ready. When I got my login and password they didn’t work. My first support ticket was answered and resolved within an hour. I then noticed that I had only been given 300Mb instead of the 5Gb I was supposed to have. A second support ticket and again resolved within an hour. So at least I know their support system is good.
If you are going to have your VPS send you alerts via e-mail then you also need to have a smtp relay. Another nice thing about Ultra Hosting is that they have their own smtp relay, so there is no need to shell out additional money for a service such as AuthSMTP or smtp2go.
Most people seem to use MT4 to generate their alerts but I have prior experience using FX Solution’s FX Accucharts and I knew that they provided more than just simple price alerts, although I’d never really used them in anger before. It actually has four types of alerts: price, time, indicators and news.
Price alerts are the regular kind where if price breaches a certain level an alert is fired.
Time alerts are like an alarm clock alert. You can have them fire at a certain time, on certain days, once or repeatedly.
Indicator alerts allow you to have an alert fire if one price crosses an indicator, or if one indicator crosses another. You can have alerts fire off if price goes above a trendline, or if one moving average crosses another, etc.
For news alerts, you can have an alert fired if a news report contains a certain word. You could set up an alert containing the word Ireland or Portugal or Sovereign, to be alerted to any news items that might relate to the crisis in Europe.
The final piece of the puzzle was making sure I was promptly notified that I’d received an actual alert fired off by FX Accucharts on my VPS. Blackberry mobiles are well known for having push email. This means that your Blackberry handset receives the email as soon as it reaches your e-mail account.
I have an Android smartphone and the good news is that Android mobiles are also push enabled when you sync to your gmail account. In running tests all week, I’ll often have my phone receive the e-mail before it even shows up on my desktop web browser.
I didn’t have any sort of notification program running on my desktop to alert me to new incoming mails so I set about resolving that hole. I had been using Trillian as my IM client. Trillian is supposed to support gmail notifications, but the latest version of Trillian Astra seems to be buggy with this feature (i.e. it doesn’t work). I switched to using Digsby which you can set to poll your gmail account once a minute (i.e. not true push but close). You can customize the pop-up notification window to show in one of numerous locations and it even has decent multi-monitor support (where you can pick which monitor the pop-up appears on). There is limited sound customization in Digsby right now. And by that I mean if you want to customize the sound played then you have to edit some text files manually, which will get overwritten the next time Digsby gets updated. Not ideal but bearable.
All the bits are now in place. Here’s to less time staring at charts. Instead I’m looking forward to just being alerted to price reaching breakout areas where I can trade if I see some momentum (or maybe a failed breakout) followed by turning my trading platform off and waiting for the next alert.