How to connect to MSSQL remote server using SQL Server

How to Connect to Remote SQL Server?

Faq / October 13, 2021

In this article, we will explain step by step how to connect remotely to a SQL Server Express instance. Remote access is the ability to get access to a SQL Server from a remote distance in order to manipulate data which are located on that SQL Server.

There are two types of adjustments which must be set before connecting to the remote SQL Server. These settings are important because without them the connection to the remote SQL Server will not be able to be successfully created

Configuration settings:

  1. The SQL Server instance to allow the protocol being requested
  2. Allow access through the Window Firewall

In order to allow access to SQL Server instance, we have to enable TCP/IP protocol which is not enabled by default. TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) is a set of protocols developed to allow networked computers to share resources over the network. It was developed by DARPA under the ARPANET in the early 1970s.

In order to establish a successful remote connection is to set up appropriate ports through the Window Firewall. In SQL Server there are two types of instances. First is a default instance and the second is a named instance. To connect to the default instance of Database Engine, or named instance that is the only instance installed on the machine, the TCP port 1433 is the only port that you need to specify.

But if you have multiple name instances installed on your machine, to connect with one of them, we must provide a port number which corresponding to appropriate instance name. By default named instance used dynamic port, which means that every time when the Database Engine starts new port number is assigned. Because of that it is difficult to configure Windows Firewall to enable access.

In order to resolve this problem, there is a SQL Browser service, which provide the TCP port number that corresponds to the named instances. The SQL Browser services use UDP port 1434. Now we met with the basic matters relating to remote connection, let’s continue with the setup procedure.

Enabling TCP/IP protocol

The first step is to enable TCP/IP protocol on the SQL Server service. Open the SQL Server Configuration Manager in the Configuration Tools folder under the Microsoft SQL Server folder:

From the SQL Server Network Configuration node, select the Protocols item for the appropriate SQL Server. In the details pane, right click the TCP/IP item and select the Enable option:

After this step the Warning box pop up in which informs us that changes that are made won’t take effect until the next time service is started.

In order for the changes take effect, from console pane, select the SQL Server Services and from the details pane, right click the SQL Server (SQLEXPRESS) database engine instance and click the Restart option:

In the Protocols and Ports there are a several options that you can choose, depending on which type of protocols you select.

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article TCP is used for the default instance and named instance if is the only instance installed on the machine and default port is 1433.

  • All local ports: Rule applies on all ports from the selected protocol.
  • Specific local ports: In the text box you specify a port or set of ports to which the rule applies.

For this example, select the UDP protocol and in the Specific local ports enter port number 1434. To proceed with the settings SQL Browser services, click the Next button:

  • Domain: The setting is applied only when a computer is connected to a domain.
  • Private: The setting is applied when a computer is connected to a network that is identified as a private network.
  • Public: The setting is applied when a computer is connected to untrusted public network.