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Backtesting

This page explains how to validate your strategy performance by using Backtesting.

Backtesting requires historic data to be available. To learn how to get data for the pairs and exchange you're interested in, head over to the Data Downloading section of the documentation.

Backtesting command reference

usage: freqtrade backtesting [-h] [-v] [--logfile FILE] [-V] [-c PATH]
                             [-d PATH] [--userdir PATH] [-s NAME]
                             [--strategy-path PATH] [-i TIMEFRAME]
                             [--timerange TIMERANGE]
                             [--data-format-ohlcv {json,jsongz,hdf5}]
                             [--max-open-trades INT]
                             [--stake-amount STAKE_AMOUNT] [--fee FLOAT]
                             [-p PAIRS [PAIRS ...]] [--eps] [--dmmp]
                             [--enable-protections]
                             [--dry-run-wallet DRY_RUN_WALLET]
                             [--strategy-list STRATEGY_LIST [STRATEGY_LIST ...]]
                             [--export {none,trades}] [--export-filename PATH]

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -i TIMEFRAME, --timeframe TIMEFRAME, --ticker-interval TIMEFRAME
                        Specify timeframe (`1m`, `5m`, `30m`, `1h`, `1d`).
  --timerange TIMERANGE
                        Specify what timerange of data to use.
  --data-format-ohlcv {json,jsongz,hdf5}
                        Storage format for downloaded candle (OHLCV) data.
                        (default: `None`).
  --max-open-trades INT
                        Override the value of the `max_open_trades`
                        configuration setting.
  --stake-amount STAKE_AMOUNT
                        Override the value of the `stake_amount` configuration
                        setting.
  --fee FLOAT           Specify fee ratio. Will be applied twice (on trade
                        entry and exit).
  -p PAIRS [PAIRS ...], --pairs PAIRS [PAIRS ...]
                        Limit command to these pairs. Pairs are space-
                        separated.
  --eps, --enable-position-stacking
                        Allow buying the same pair multiple times (position
                        stacking).
  --dmmp, --disable-max-market-positions
                        Disable applying `max_open_trades` during backtest
                        (same as setting `max_open_trades` to a very high
                        number).
  --enable-protections, --enableprotections
                        Enable protections for backtesting.Will slow
                        backtesting down by a considerable amount, but will
                        include configured protections
  --dry-run-wallet DRY_RUN_WALLET, --starting-balance DRY_RUN_WALLET
                        Starting balance, used for backtesting / hyperopt and
                        dry-runs.
  --strategy-list STRATEGY_LIST [STRATEGY_LIST ...]
                        Provide a space-separated list of strategies to
                        backtest. Please note that ticker-interval needs to be
                        set either in config or via command line. When using
                        this together with `--export trades`, the strategy-
                        name is injected into the filename (so `backtest-
                        data.json` becomes `backtest-data-
                        SampleStrategy.json`
  --export {none,trades}
                        Export backtest results (default: trades).
  --export-filename PATH
                        Save backtest results to the file with this filename.
                        Requires `--export` to be set as well. Example:
                        `--export-filename=user_data/backtest_results/backtest
                        _today.json`

Common arguments:
  -v, --verbose         Verbose mode (-vv for more, -vvv to get all messages).
  --logfile FILE        Log to the file specified. Special values are:
                        'syslog', 'journald'. See the documentation for more
                        details.
  -V, --version         show program's version number and exit
  -c PATH, --config PATH
                        Specify configuration file (default:
                        `userdir/config.json` or `config.json` whichever
                        exists). Multiple --config options may be used. Can be
                        set to `-` to read config from stdin.
  -d PATH, --datadir PATH
                        Path to directory with historical backtesting data.
  --userdir PATH, --user-data-dir PATH
                        Path to userdata directory.

Strategy arguments:
  -s NAME, --strategy NAME
                        Specify strategy class name which will be used by the
                        bot.
  --strategy-path PATH  Specify additional strategy lookup path.

Test your strategy with Backtesting

Now you have good Buy and Sell strategies and some historic data, you want to test it against real data. This is what we call backtesting.

Backtesting will use the crypto-currencies (pairs) from your config file and load historical candle (OHLCV) data from user_data/data/<exchange> by default. If no data is available for the exchange / pair / timeframe combination, backtesting will ask you to download them first using freqtrade download-data. For details on downloading, please refer to the Data Downloading section in the documentation.

The result of backtesting will confirm if your bot has better odds of making a profit than a loss.

All profit calculations include fees, and freqtrade will use the exchange's default fees for the calculation.

Using dynamic pairlists for backtesting

Using dynamic pairlists is possible, however it relies on the current market conditions - which will not reflect the historic status of the pairlist. Also, when using pairlists other than StaticPairlist, reproducibility of backtesting-results cannot be guaranteed. Please read the pairlists documentation for more information.

To achieve reproducible results, best generate a pairlist via the test-pairlist command and use that as static pairlist.

Note

By default, Freqtrade will export backtesting results to user_data/backtest_results. The exported trades can be used for further analysis or can be used by the plotting sub-command (freqtrade plot-dataframe) in the scripts directory.

Starting balance

Backtesting will require a starting balance, which can be provided as --dry-run-wallet <balance> or --starting-balance <balance> command line argument, or via dry_run_wallet configuration setting. This amount must be higher than stake_amount, otherwise the bot will not be able to simulate any trade.

Dynamic stake amount

Backtesting supports dynamic stake amount by configuring stake_amount as "unlimited", which will split the starting balance into max_open_trades pieces. Profits from early trades will result in subsequent higher stake amounts, resulting in compounding of profits over the backtesting period.

Example backtesting commands

With 5 min candle (OHLCV) data (per default)

freqtrade backtesting --strategy AwesomeStrategy

Where --strategy AwesomeStrategy / -s AwesomeStrategy refers to the class name of the strategy, which is within a python file in the user_data/strategies directory.


With 1 min candle (OHLCV) data

freqtrade backtesting --strategy AwesomeStrategy --timeframe 1m

Providing a custom starting balance of 1000 (in stake currency)

freqtrade backtesting --strategy AwesomeStrategy --dry-run-wallet 1000

Using a different on-disk historical candle (OHLCV) data source

Assume you downloaded the history data from the Bittrex exchange and kept it in the user_data/data/bittrex-20180101 directory. You can then use this data for backtesting as follows:

freqtrade backtesting --strategy AwesomeStrategy --datadir user_data/data/bittrex-20180101 

Comparing multiple Strategies

freqtrade backtesting --strategy-list SampleStrategy1 AwesomeStrategy --timeframe 5m

Where SampleStrategy1 and AwesomeStrategy refer to class names of strategies.


Prevent exporting trades to file

freqtrade backtesting --strategy backtesting --export none --config config.json 

Only use this if you're sure you'll not want to plot or analyze your results further.


Exporting trades to file specifying a custom filename

freqtrade backtesting --strategy backtesting --export trades --export-filename=backtest_samplestrategy.json

Please also read about the strategy startup period.


Supplying custom fee value

Sometimes your account has certain fee rebates (fee reductions starting with a certain account size or monthly volume), which are not visible to ccxt. To account for this in backtesting, you can use the --fee command line option to supply this value to backtesting. This fee must be a ratio, and will be applied twice (once for trade entry, and once for trade exit).

For example, if the buying and selling commission fee is 0.1% (i.e., 0.001 written as ratio), then you would run backtesting as the following:

freqtrade backtesting --fee 0.001

Note

Only supply this option (or the corresponding configuration parameter) if you want to experiment with different fee values. By default, Backtesting fetches the default fee from the exchange pair/market info.


Running backtest with smaller test-set by using timerange

Use the --timerange argument to change how much of the test-set you want to use.

For example, running backtesting with the --timerange=20190501- option will use all available data starting with May 1st, 2019 from your input data.

freqtrade backtesting --timerange=20190501-

You can also specify particular date ranges.

The full timerange specification:

  • Use data until 2018/01/31: --timerange=-20180131
  • Use data since 2018/01/31: --timerange=20180131-
  • Use data since 2018/01/31 till 2018/03/01 : --timerange=20180131-20180301
  • Use data between POSIX / epoch timestamps 1527595200 1527618600: --timerange=1527595200-1527618600

Understand the backtesting result

The most important in the backtesting is to understand the result.

A backtesting result will look like that:

========================================================= BACKTESTING REPORT ==========================================================
| Pair     |   Buys |   Avg Profit % |   Cum Profit % |   Tot Profit BTC |   Tot Profit % | Avg Duration |  Wins Draws Loss   Win%  |
|:---------|-------:|---------------:|---------------:|-----------------:|---------------:|:-------------|-------------------------:|
| ADA/BTC  |     35 |          -0.11 |          -3.88 |      -0.00019428 |          -1.94 | 4:35:00      |    14     0    21   40.0 |
| ARK/BTC  |     11 |          -0.41 |          -4.52 |      -0.00022647 |          -2.26 | 2:03:00      |     3     0     8   27.3 |
| BTS/BTC  |     32 |           0.31 |           9.78 |       0.00048938 |           4.89 | 5:05:00      |    18     0    14   56.2 |
| DASH/BTC |     13 |          -0.08 |          -1.07 |      -0.00005343 |          -0.53 | 4:39:00      |     6     0     7   46.2 |
| ENG/BTC  |     18 |           1.36 |          24.54 |       0.00122807 |          12.27 | 2:50:00      |     8     0    10   44.4 |
| EOS/BTC  |     36 |           0.08 |           3.06 |       0.00015304 |           1.53 | 3:34:00      |    16     0    20   44.4 |
| ETC/BTC  |     26 |           0.37 |           9.51 |       0.00047576 |           4.75 | 6:14:00      |    11     0    15   42.3 |
| ETH/BTC  |     33 |           0.30 |           9.96 |       0.00049856 |           4.98 | 7:31:00      |    16     0    17   48.5 |
| IOTA/BTC |     32 |           0.03 |           1.09 |       0.00005444 |           0.54 | 3:12:00      |    14     0    18   43.8 |
| LSK/BTC  |     15 |           1.75 |          26.26 |       0.00131413 |          13.13 | 2:58:00      |     6     0     9   40.0 |
| LTC/BTC  |     32 |          -0.04 |          -1.38 |      -0.00006886 |          -0.69 | 4:49:00      |    11     0    21   34.4 |
| NANO/BTC |     17 |           1.26 |          21.39 |       0.00107058 |          10.70 | 1:55:00      |    10     0     7   58.5 |
| NEO/BTC  |     23 |           0.82 |          18.97 |       0.00094936 |           9.48 | 2:59:00      |    10     0    13   43.5 |
| REQ/BTC  |      9 |           1.17 |          10.54 |       0.00052734 |           5.27 | 3:47:00      |     4     0     5   44.4 |
| XLM/BTC  |     16 |           1.22 |          19.54 |       0.00097800 |           9.77 | 3:15:00      |     7     0     9   43.8 |
| XMR/BTC  |     23 |          -0.18 |          -4.13 |      -0.00020696 |          -2.07 | 5:30:00      |    12     0    11   52.2 |
| XRP/BTC  |     35 |           0.66 |          22.96 |       0.00114897 |          11.48 | 3:49:00      |    12     0    23   34.3 |
| ZEC/BTC  |     22 |          -0.46 |         -10.18 |      -0.00050971 |          -5.09 | 2:22:00      |     7     0    15   31.8 |
| TOTAL    |    429 |           0.36 |         152.41 |       0.00762792 |          76.20 | 4:12:00      |   186     0   243   43.4 |
========================================================= SELL REASON STATS ==========================================================
| Sell Reason        |   Sells |  Wins |  Draws |  Losses |
|:-------------------|--------:|------:|-------:|--------:|
| trailing_stop_loss |     205 |   150 |      0 |      55 |
| stop_loss          |     166 |     0 |      0 |     166 |
| sell_signal        |      56 |    36 |      0 |      20 |
| force_sell         |       2 |     0 |      0 |       2 |
====================================================== LEFT OPEN TRADES REPORT ======================================================
| Pair     |   Buys |   Avg Profit % |   Cum Profit % |   Tot Profit BTC |   Tot Profit % | Avg Duration   |  Win Draw Loss Win% |
|:---------|-------:|---------------:|---------------:|-----------------:|---------------:|:---------------|--------------------:|
| ADA/BTC  |      1 |           0.89 |           0.89 |       0.00004434 |           0.44 | 6:00:00        |    1    0    0  100 |
| LTC/BTC  |      1 |           0.68 |           0.68 |       0.00003421 |           0.34 | 2:00:00        |    1    0    0  100 |
| TOTAL    |      2 |           0.78 |           1.57 |       0.00007855 |           0.78 | 4:00:00        |    2    0    0  100 |
=============== SUMMARY METRICS ===============
| Metric                | Value               |
|-----------------------+---------------------|
| Backtesting from      | 2019-01-01 00:00:00 |
| Backtesting to        | 2019-05-01 00:00:00 |
| Max open trades       | 3                   |
|                       |                     |
| Total/Daily Avg Trades| 429 / 3.575         |
| Starting balance      | 0.01000000 BTC      |
| Final balance         | 0.01762792 BTC      |
| Absolute profit       | 0.00762792 BTC      |
| Total profit %        | 76.2%               |
| Trades per day        | 3.575               |
| Avg. stake amount     | 0.001      BTC      |
| Total trade volume    | 0.429      BTC      |
|                       |                     |
| Best Pair             | LSK/BTC 26.26%      |
| Worst Pair            | ZEC/BTC -10.18%     |
| Best Trade            | LSK/BTC 4.25%       |
| Worst Trade           | ZEC/BTC -10.25%     |
| Best day              | 0.00076 BTC         |
| Worst day             | -0.00036 BTC        |
| Days win/draw/lose    | 12 / 82 / 25        |
| Avg. Duration Winners | 4:23:00             |
| Avg. Duration Loser   | 6:55:00             |
| Rejected Buy signals  | 3089                |
|                       |                     |
| Min balance           | 0.00945123 BTC      |
| Max balance           | 0.01846651 BTC      |
| Drawdown              | 50.63%              |
| Drawdown              | 0.0015 BTC          |
| Drawdown high         | 0.0013 BTC          |
| Drawdown low          | -0.0002 BTC         |
| Drawdown Start        | 2019-02-15 14:10:00 |
| Drawdown End          | 2019-04-11 18:15:00 |
| Market change         | -5.88%              |
===============================================

Backtesting report table

The 1st table contains all trades the bot made, including "left open trades".

The last line will give you the overall performance of your strategy, here:

| TOTAL    |    429 |           0.36 |         152.41 |       0.00762792 |          76.20 | 4:12:00      |   186     0   243   43.4 |

The bot has made 429 trades for an average duration of 4:12:00, with a performance of 76.20% (profit), that means it has earned a total of 0.00762792 BTC starting with a capital of 0.01 BTC.

The column Avg Profit % shows the average profit for all trades made while the column Cum Profit % sums up all the profits/losses. The column Tot Profit % shows instead the total profit % in relation to the starting balance. In the above results, we have a starting balance of 0.01 BTC and an absolute profit of 0.00762792 BTC - so the Tot Profit % will be (0.00762792 / 0.01) * 100 ~= 76.2%.

Your strategy performance is influenced by your buy strategy, your sell strategy, and also by the minimal_roi and stop_loss you have set.

For example, if your minimal_roi is only "0": 0.01 you cannot expect the bot to make more profit than 1% (because it will sell every time a trade reaches 1%).

"minimal_roi": {
    "0":  0.01
},

On the other hand, if you set a too high minimal_roi like "0": 0.55 (55%), there is almost no chance that the bot will ever reach this profit. Hence, keep in mind that your performance is an integral mix of all different elements of the strategy, your configuration, and the crypto-currency pairs you have set up.

Sell reasons table

The 2nd table contains a recap of sell reasons. This table can tell you which area needs some additional work (e.g. all or many of the sell_signal trades are losses, so you should work on improving the sell signal, or consider disabling it).

Left open trades table

The 3rd table contains all trades the bot had to forcesell at the end of the backtesting period to present you the full picture. This is necessary to simulate realistic behavior, since the backtest period has to end at some point, while realistically, you could leave the bot running forever. These trades are also included in the first table, but are also shown separately in this table for clarity.

Summary metrics

The last element of the backtest report is the summary metrics table. It contains some useful key metrics about performance of your strategy on backtesting data.

=============== SUMMARY METRICS ===============
| Metric                | Value               |
|-----------------------+---------------------|
| Backtesting from      | 2019-01-01 00:00:00 |
| Backtesting to        | 2019-05-01 00:00:00 |
| Max open trades       | 3                   |
|                       |                     |
| Total/Daily Avg Trades| 429 / 3.575         |
| Starting balance      | 0.01000000 BTC      |
| Final balance         | 0.01762792 BTC      |
| Absolute profit       | 0.00762792 BTC      |
| Total profit %        | 76.2%               |
| Avg. stake amount     | 0.001      BTC      |
| Total trade volume    | 0.429      BTC      |
|                       |                     |
| Best Pair             | LSK/BTC 26.26%      |
| Worst Pair            | ZEC/BTC -10.18%     |
| Best Trade            | LSK/BTC 4.25%       |
| Worst Trade           | ZEC/BTC -10.25%     |
| Best day              | 0.00076 BTC         |
| Worst day             | -0.00036 BTC        |
| Days win/draw/lose    | 12 / 82 / 25        |
| Avg. Duration Winners | 4:23:00             |
| Avg. Duration Loser   | 6:55:00             |
| Rejected Buy signals  | 3089                |
|                       |                     |
| Min balance           | 0.00945123 BTC      |
| Max balance           | 0.01846651 BTC      |
| Drawdown              | 50.63%              |
| Drawdown              | 0.0015 BTC          |
| Drawdown high         | 0.0013 BTC          |
| Drawdown low          | -0.0002 BTC         |
| Drawdown Start        | 2019-02-15 14:10:00 |
| Drawdown End          | 2019-04-11 18:15:00 |
| Market change         | -5.88%              |
===============================================
  • Backtesting from / Backtesting to: Backtesting range (usually defined with the --timerange option).
  • Max open trades: Setting of max_open_trades (or --max-open-trades) - or number of pairs in the pairlist (whatever is lower).
  • Total/Daily Avg Trades: Identical to the total trades of the backtest output table / Total trades divided by the backtesting duration in days (this will give you information about how many trades to expect from the strategy).
  • Starting balance: Start balance - as given by dry-run-wallet (config or command line).
  • Final balance: Final balance - starting balance + absolute profit.
  • Absolute profit: Profit made in stake currency.
  • Total profit %: Total profit. Aligned to the TOTAL row's Tot Profit % from the first table. Calculated as (End capital − Starting capital) / Starting capital.
  • Avg. stake amount: Average stake amount, either stake_amount or the average when using dynamic stake amount.
  • Total trade volume: Volume generated on the exchange to reach the above profit.
  • Best Pair / Worst Pair: Best and worst performing pair, and it's corresponding Cum Profit %.
  • Best Trade / Worst Trade: Biggest single winning trade and biggest single losing trade.
  • Best day / Worst day: Best and worst day based on daily profit.
  • Days win/draw/lose: Winning / Losing days (draws are usually days without closed trade).
  • Avg. Duration Winners / Avg. Duration Loser: Average durations for winning and losing trades.
  • Rejected Buy signals: Buy signals that could not be acted upon due to max_open_trades being reached.
  • Min balance / Max balance: Lowest and Highest Wallet balance during the backtest period.
  • Drawdown: Maximum drawdown experienced. For example, the value of 50% means that from highest to subsequent lowest point, a 50% drop was experienced).
  • Drawdown high / Drawdown low: Profit at the beginning and end of the largest drawdown period. A negative low value means initial capital lost.
  • Drawdown Start / Drawdown End: Start and end datetime for this largest drawdown (can also be visualized via the plot-dataframe sub-command).
  • Market change: Change of the market during the backtest period. Calculated as average of all pairs changes from the first to the last candle using the "close" column.

Assumptions made by backtesting

Since backtesting lacks some detailed information about what happens within a candle, it needs to take a few assumptions:

  • Buys happen at open-price
  • All orders are filled at the requested price (no slippage, no unfilled orders)
  • Sell-signal sells happen at open-price of the consecutive candle
  • Sell-signal is favored over Stoploss, because sell-signals are assumed to trigger on candle's open
  • ROI
    • sells are compared to high - but the ROI value is used (e.g. ROI = 2%, high=5% - so the sell will be at 2%)
    • sells are never "below the candle", so a ROI of 2% may result in a sell at 2.4% if low was at 2.4% profit
    • Forcesells caused by <N>=-1 ROI entries use low as sell value, unless N falls on the candle open (e.g. 120: -1 for 1h candles)
  • Stoploss sells happen exactly at stoploss price, even if low was lower, but the loss will be 2 * fees higher than the stoploss price
  • Stoploss is evaluated before ROI within one candle. So you can often see more trades with the stoploss sell reason comparing to the results obtained with the same strategy in the Dry Run/Live Trade modes
  • Low happens before high for stoploss, protecting capital first
  • Trailing stoploss
    • Trailing Stoploss is only adjusted if it's below the candle's low (otherwise it would be triggered)
    • High happens first - adjusting stoploss
    • Low uses the adjusted stoploss (so sells with large high-low difference are backtested correctly)
    • ROI applies before trailing-stop, ensuring profits are "top-capped" at ROI if both ROI and trailing stop applies
  • Sell-reason does not explain if a trade was positive or negative, just what triggered the sell (this can look odd if negative ROI values are used)
  • Evaluation sequence (if multiple signals happen on the same candle)
    • ROI (if not stoploss)
    • Sell-signal
    • Stoploss

Taking these assumptions, backtesting tries to mirror real trading as closely as possible. However, backtesting will never replace running a strategy in dry-run mode. Also, keep in mind that past results don't guarantee future success.

In addition to the above assumptions, strategy authors should carefully read the Common Mistakes section, to avoid using data in backtesting which is not available in real market conditions.

Further backtest-result analysis

To further analyze your backtest results, you can export the trades. You can then load the trades to perform further analysis as shown in our data analysis backtesting section.

Backtesting multiple strategies

To compare multiple strategies, a list of Strategies can be provided to backtesting.

This is limited to 1 timeframe value per run. However, data is only loaded once from disk so if you have multiple strategies you'd like to compare, this will give a nice runtime boost.

All listed Strategies need to be in the same directory.

freqtrade backtesting --timerange 20180401-20180410 --timeframe 5m --strategy-list Strategy001 Strategy002 --export trades

This will save the results to user_data/backtest_results/backtest-result-<strategy>.json, injecting the strategy-name into the target filename. There will be an additional table comparing win/losses of the different strategies (identical to the "Total" row in the first table). Detailed output for all strategies one after the other will be available, so make sure to scroll up to see the details per strategy.

=========================================================== STRATEGY SUMMARY =========================================================================
| Strategy    |   Buys |   Avg Profit % |   Cum Profit % |   Tot Profit BTC |   Tot Profit % | Avg Duration   |  Wins |  Draws | Losses | Drawdown % |
|:------------|-------:|---------------:|---------------:|-----------------:|---------------:|:---------------|------:|-------:|-------:|-----------:|
| Strategy1   |    429 |           0.36 |         152.41 |       0.00762792 |          76.20 | 4:12:00        |   186 |      0 |    243 |       45.2 |
| Strategy2   |   1487 |          -0.13 |        -197.58 |      -0.00988917 |         -98.79 | 4:43:00        |   662 |      0 |    825 |     241.68 |

Next step

Great, your strategy is profitable. What if the bot can give your the optimal parameters to use for your strategy? Your next step is to learn how to find optimal parameters with Hyperopt