I have always been a strong believer in the fact that correct execution of trading strategies and the reliability of a server setup are two very important aspects of successful trading with automated trading strategies. For this reason I have always advised people to get a VPS and I have made a big effort to make videos and educational material for Asirikuy members about how to setup file transfer servers, auto log in solutions, added security features, etc. However all systems – no matter how much we try to make them reliable – are prone to failure due to the very nature of their working. There are a myriad of reasons why a VPS can fail – even if it is by definition much more reliable than a home server – and due to this fact we need to prepare ourselves for when the worst case happens. What will we do if a worst case scenario arises and our VPS becomes inaccessible ? What will we do if such a disaster happens ?
Virtual Private Server failure is not a fantasy, it happens and it can happen quite often depending on the reliability of your VPS provider and the actual nature of your trading systems. If you are using poorly coded systems that are very memory and processor hungry they can actually crash the Metatrader platforms or the whole VPS while an unreliable VPS host can take long hours to answer support requests or even days to fix a problem. Since most people tend to use shared VPS hosting solutions (which are very cheap) the providers are generally not very eager to help and they will take their time so -since money is at stake here- we must have an adequate plan for VPS failure. These are the five things you need to do to prepare for when the worst happens :
1. Keep a record of everything running on your VPS with set files for all your systems. When a VPS fails we cannot be certain of how much time it will take to get it back online, although the “real” VPS solutions that have dedicated servers will allow you to get back online within a few minutes the shared solutions most people use will often have slower support and getting back online may be a matter of hours or – if the provider is very bad, in which case you should consider a change – a day or two. Having a record of what was running and the experts that were setup will give you the opportunity to quickly start a backup solution somewhere else.
2. Have all metatrader instances pre-configured with your accounts on your home computer. Although a home computer is a very unreliable place to run production systems (like trading platforms) they can save you from financial loss if your VPS have failed and you absolutely need to get the platforms running. As soon as a VPS fails, start-up your home backup solution and load the platforms with the experts and set files you saved. This will allow your systems to somewhat remain in control until the VPS is fixed.
3. Do not trust a single VPS provider. Even though you might have had a good experience with a VPS provider in the past I would always encourage people -especially those with larger accounts – to get at least a couple of servers so that they can use one in case another one fails. It would be extremely rare for two or more servers to fail at the same time and having an additional VPS to host platforms and start backup solutions in case another fails is of primordial importance to guarantee that you will be able to have at least one reliable server running your trading system. My advice is this regard is that if your trading expenses allow it you should attempt to diversify your VPS usage through at least 2 different companies so that when the worst case happen on one VPS you will be able to temporarily run thins on another.
4. Keep account numbers, passwords, servers and broker telephone numbers handy. From when I started trading I always keep a small laminated paper with all my account number, servers, passwords and broker phone numbers in my wallet in case something bad happens. It might be the case that you are somewhere where you cannot have access to your secondary VPS solutions or your home computer and all you can do to intervene is use a local computer or to call your broker to close your positions. If such a case happens it might take you a while to go through your email and retrieve all the necessary login information so having all of these things on a quick-access source is of primordial importance. Just make up an excel spreadsheet with all this information, print it on a small piece of paper and laminate it to protect it from ware, water damage, etc.
5. Have a mobile solution ready. I remember one time almost a year and a half ago when one of my VPS crashed and I had no way to access my other servers, one of the accounts was holding a God’s Gift ATR trade which was supposed to get closed within the hour (through an internal closing mechanism), this position was trading on an account with almost 50K so it became important for me to close this position at the right time to prevent it from becoming an unnecessary loss. Since I couldn’t access my home computer or other servers I used a mobile phone with MT4 and my handy laminated account number/password sheet to access the account and close the position. The position was closed at a profit and it would have reached the SL a few hours later if I had not closed it on the internal closing mechanism when it was supposed to (I knew this was the case because I was monitoring other accounts trading the same position). In this case a mobile solution saved me from a loss and definitely allowed me to take control over a situation in which otherwise this might not have been possible. If you can have a phone with the mobile MT4 solution installed for emergencies this would be a huge plus.
In the end we – as traders- need to understand that although a VPS is a reliable solution for trading 99% of the time, they are not infallible and they will also fail some of the time. Pretending that a VPS will not fail is naive and it will probably bring you financial loss since you cannot entirely rely on any IT solution as – by the nature of computers – they are prone to fail for one reason or another. For this reason continuously checking on your servers and ensuring that their execution is done in a timely and correct fashion should be one of your main concerns as a retail trader focused on automated trading solutions. Of course, VPS and Metatrader platform monitoring is also a problem, something we are currently working on at Asirikuy :o).
If you would like to learn more about trading systems and how you too can design your own strategies based on sound profit and risk targets please consider joining Asirikuy.com, a website filled with educational videos, trading systems, development and a sound, honest and transparent approach automated trading in general . I hope you enjoyed this article ! :o)