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Can You Trade on A Chromebook? (Beginner’s Guide)

While Chromebooks look like ordinary PCs and can perform most, if not all, tasks associated with Windows PCs, they are still relatively weaker on the hardware and performance level.

For one, they lack the sophisticated range of microprocessors that many Windows PCs have and can thus only support smaller programs and some Android apps.

If you’re an online forex or stock trader, the lack of support for desktop trading apps can be a downer, but there’s a way around it…

Can you trade on a Chromebook? 

Yes. You can trade stocks, forex, crypto and commodities on your Chromebook just as you can on your smartphone, tablet or PC. However, you can’t run most desktop trading apps on Chromebooks as they are designed specifically for Windows/Mac PCs.

Read 4 Popular Chromebook for Trading.

To trade, you either need to download the Android version of your trading software, or log in to your broker’s web-based platform through the browser.

Naturally, many people – particularly forex traders – don’t fancy trading on Android apps as they’re slow and susceptible to crashes.

As such, many Chromebook users prefer to use the web version of Tradingview to do the analysis and trade opening/closing. 

Fortunately, most forex brokers support Tradingview so you’ll probably be alright if this is the method you choose.

For stock and commodity traders, Android apps and web portals (cTraders) will work just fine on a Chromebook.

If you still want the regular FX trading experience, getting a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is also an option. These basically offer remote desktop functionality and allow you to analyze, monitor and execute your trade just as you would on a Windows or Mac computer.

Lastly, you can also install the Linux OS on your Chromebook and continue using the Windows version of MT4.

To run Linux on Chrome OS, you need to also install Wine, a compatibility layer that allows Windows programs to run on PCs with Unix-like operating systems.

If you’re a big-time forex trader, this would be the most sensible option.

Is a Chromebook laptop good for business?

Absolutely! Google’s continuous innovation in software security systems have made Chromebooks to be safer, and thus better for business users, than regular Windows PCs.

For instance, the fact that you can’t install legacy programs on a Chromebook and (mostly) have to work with apps from the Google store means your laptop can’t get malware attacks. 

You can also access productivity tools like Microsoft Office, Quickbooks and Google’s own Drive from your Chromebook, which also allows you to perform your tasks any time.

Read our Chromebooks guide for QuickBooks.

If you have an Android phone, you can turn on the auto-sync option and be able to log on to your accounts, view and modify your trades, and generally access any information at any time, whether on your phone or laptop, provided you have an internet connection.

Can you buy and sell stocks on a Chromebook?

Yes. As earlier mentioned, you only need to install your broker’s mobile trading app, or log in to their web portal to proceed with your stock trading. Trading stocks on a Chromebook is not much different from a phone or Windows/Mac laptop. 

Matter of fact, the fact that they don’t come with the heavy legacy apps of ordinary PCs means that Chromebooks are typically much faster and less likely to crash or buffer as you’re getting into, or out of trades. Unless, of course, your internet connection is bad.

It also helps that they have an average battery life of 10-14 hours, which means you can keep your charts open for much longer even when on the move.

Can you trade crypto coins on Chromebook?

You can buy and sell crypto coins from your Chromebook at any moment, whether through the Chrome browser, Android app, or by installing Linux and downloading your normal crypto wallet.

Apart from the Chrome OS being an incredibly secure software, the low-price tags of most Chromebooks mean you can buy one and use it as a dedicated cold storage unit for your crypto.

Notably, when using your Chromebook to store and trade crypto coins, you need to air-gap it (not connect it to the internet or any public network). If you must use the internet, use your phone or switch to the Guest mode.

Read 3 Best Gaming Laptop For Crypto Mining.

What kind of computer do you need for day trading? 

The rule of thumb is that any computer with a solid-state drive and at least 16GB of RAM can work for the average day trader.

Of course, you can still get the job done with 8GB of RAM, but unless you’re using the PC for trading only, you will eventually find yourself upgrading. 

The SSD over HDD thing is also self-explanatory; SSDs use less power and have faster boot times, which can help you modify your positions after an unexpected shutdown.

Another oft-forgotten feature of a great trading laptop is the Graphic Cards. Naturally, the more monitors you have, or plan to have, the more advanced your graphic card should be. But basically, anything from 2GB GPU can do.

Admittedly, most low-end Chromebooks have very basic features and are not suitable for high-volume trading, especially when multiple monitors are used.

The higher-end devices are however becoming more sophisticated and have better processing power, advanced graphics, and bigger screens.

Check out this review of the 4 Chromebooks for Trading for a more detailed breakdown.

Is a Laptop or Chromebook better for trading?

Both options appeal to different groups of traders for different reasons. For instance, most forex traders would say Windows and Mac laptops are better as they run MT4 and can seamlessly handle multiple open tabs.

Stock and Crypto traders, on the other hand, may prefer Chromebooks as they are not only cheap but also very secure.

The fact that Google is constantly improving the hardware and performance aspects of Chromebooks means that in the near future, they will become faster and more stable and consequently more appealing to professional traders.

How to trade stocks on a Chromebook?

As previously mentioned, there are 3 ways to trade stocks on a Chromebook. These are:

Use a VPS service: This not only allows you to replicate the functionality of a Windows/Mac PC, but also gives you access to faster price feed updates and high trade execution speeds.

However, paying for a VPS only makes sense if a user is trading in massive amounts of stocks or is a scalper.

Install the Android App: If your broker has a dedicated mobile app for trading, install it on your Chromebook and trade as you would on your smartphone.

The good thing about Chromebooks is that most of them have touchscreens, which means you can easily zoom in and out of charts with incredible ease and speed.

And if you don’t fancy working with Android apps, you can always use the Chrome browser to log in to your trading account.

Install and Run Linux: In forex trading, Windows applications like MT4 and Tradingview are simply irreplaceable. Fortunately, you can still run them on your Chromebook provided you first install both Linux OS (fortunately, it doesn’t take as much time as Windows), and Wine.

How to Trade Crypto on a Chromebook?

First off, you should only consider trading crypto on a Chromebook (or any other PC) if you have an offline wallet, you don’t plan on using the PC to access the internet or are only trading crypto CFDs.

See, cryptos are quite risky in that if someone compromises your wallet, your coins are lost forever so you want to prevent such a situation.

That said, trading crypto on Chromebooks is a straightforward thing – simply download your exchange’s mobile app, run it, and start trading.

Crypto is not as volatile as forex, so you don’t really need to spend on a VPS, or go through the hassle of installing Linux, unless you are moving very large amounts.

Final thoughts

The Chromebook may be a relatively limited machine in terms of speed and functionality. But if you’re just looking to make some quick trades, it will work just as well as any Windows PC.

You can create, view and analyze charts, set and receive price alerts, and execute trades in almost every financial instrument from your Chromebook without compromising in speed and security.

Chromebook is popular due to its high-level security and invulnerability to malware attacks, and of course, their cloud storage support.

The latter allows you to store data, including app data and your analysis charts in the cloud rather than on a hard drive, which therefore allows you to retrieve the data at any time, even from another device. 

If you’re constantly traveling, the Google Drive storage functionality will allow you to execute trades if and when necessary, irrespective of whether you’ve carried your Chromebook or not.

Checkout our guide on Chromebooks For Geforce.