How to Connect to the Remote SQL Server? | 4 Easy Steps

Last Modified: September 4th, 2023

Remote SQL Server - Featured Image

The pandemic forced enterprises and businesses to go online, making employees work from home. By remote connection, employees could safely work anywhere on any platform, device, or network.

To facilitate remote connection, Microsoft SQL Server, a relational database management system, has a feature, remote SQL servers, that are potentially used only for backward compatibility.

With remote SQL servers, users could remotely access essential files or documents. It gives access to share data and objects among organizations. Remote SQL Server provides flexibility in the database management and various operations on the enterprise’s data. 

In this article, you will learn how to remotely connect to the Microsoft SQL Server.

Table of Contents


  • Understanding of databases

How to Connect to Microsoft SQL Server remotely?

Remote SQL Server access is the ability to access the Microsoft SQL Server remotely to perform various operations on the data. With the assistance of remote SQL servers, there is no need for the client to manually establish a connection between the other servers.

In this article, you will learn how to connect to a Microsoft SQL server remotely. Before you start, there are two adjustments you need to make for a successful connection.

The configuration requirements for remote SQL Server are – to permit protocol being requested in the SQL Server instance and allow Window Firewall access.

Follow these below-given instructions to connect remote SQL server properly:

Step 1: Enabling TCP/IP protocol

  • Open the Microsoft SQL Server folder.
  • Navigate to the Configuration Tools and open the SQL Server Configuration Manager.
SQL Server Configuration
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  • Select the protocol item from the SQL Server Network Configuration.
  • Click on the TCP/IP options and enable it.
Protocols for Server Network Config.
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  • A warning message will appear. Click the okay button.
  • For the changes to take effect, go to the console panel and select SQL Server Services.
  • Right-click on the SQL Server (SQLEXPRESS) database engine and click the Restart options.

Step 2: Configure the Windows Firewall

  • Choose the Windows Firewall from the Control Panel.
  • Navigate to the advanced settings.
  • On the left panel, select the Inbound Rules.
  • Under Actions, click on the new rule button.
Configuring Windows Firewall
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  • The new inbound rule wizard will appear under the rule type; opt for the Port and click the Next button.
  • Depending on your requirements, choose a suitable protocol.
  • Enter the port number as 1434 in the specific local port.
  • Under the Action sections, choose the “Allow the connection” option.
Allowing connection through firewall
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  • Click next, under the Profile dialog, tick mark domain, private, and public check boxes, then proceed.
SEtting up domain
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  • Give the rule a name and click on the Finish button.

Step 3: Establishing the newly created rule

  • Navigate to the Rule Type and go to the new rule section.
  • Select Custom Rule.
Setting up custom connection
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  • Under Services, go to programs and click the customize button.
  • Choose “Apply to this service” and opt for SQLEXPRESS.
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  • Click on next all the way, enter the name of your rule name and click on the Finish button.

Step 4: Connection to Server

  • Start the Microsoft SQL Server.
  • Enter the name of the instance you wish to connect with.
  • Under the Authentication drop-down box, choose the SQL Server authentication.
  • Enter your login and password credentials.
  • Click on the connect button. 
Connecting to SQL Server
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Limitations of Remote SQL Server

Traditionally, it is considered a bad practice to remotely connect to SQL servers on Windows devices. Remote connections cause security vulnerabilities and utilize system resources in an unwanted way.

There are even cases where RDP connections are unavailable, leading to security issues. To avoid these scenarios, you can use alternatives that do not involve establishing RDP connections.

For instance, running SQL Server management studio (SSMS) allows users to run their SQL Server by running SSMS and do their work.

In this, the RDP sessions are constantly open, and SSMS drastically reduces the requirement to make remote connections to the Microsoft SQL Server database.

What is Microsoft SQL Server?

Microsoft SQL Server Image
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Mircosoft SQL Server is a relational database management system (RDBMS) developed in April 1989 to assist enterprises in performing various tasks, including data analytics, business intelligence, and data storage. Many businesses and IT professionals use it to manage databases since it is built upon SQL, a standard query language.

Microsoft SQL Server has ties with Transact-SQL (T-SQL), an extension of SQL to provide all the necessary SQL functionality to create and maintain applications that require business logic from the backend.

The primary component of Microsoft SQL Server includes the database engine, which controls all the processing, security, stored procedures, and data storage.

Below the database engine, there is SQLOS (SQL Server Operating System), which takes care of the lower-level processes like job scheduling, memory management, and locking data.

Key Features of Microsoft SQL Server

Here are some key features to have an eye for:

1) High Security

Data security is one of the essential requirements when dealing with transactions, procuring, and database management. All the data in the Microsoft SQL server is always encrypted and encoded.

Previously, users could not perform relational or calculation operations on the secured data, but in 2019 with the help of “Secure Enclaves,” the issue was resolved.

The encrypted data is communicated across the SSL/TLS, and the Windows Data Protection API (DPAPI) is used to encrypt data at rest for authentication and authorization. Microsoft SQL Server provides limited access options to protect the data from theft and other malicious attacks.

2) Big Data Clusters

The Big Data Clusters help developers to deploy various clusters of SQL Server and HDFS containers operating on Kubernetes in one go.

It is an infrastructure that runs the clusters parallelly where you can read, write, and perform various processes on big data from Transact-SQL to Spark. You can quickly merge and analyze relational data with high-volume big data with Microsoft SQL Server.

The clusters have in-build snippets for management tasks and data visualization tools like the SQL Server PolyBase to perform data integration without needing ELT (extract, transform, and load).

The cluster administrator portal provides status on your clusters and even has a dashboard for monitoring and analytics.

3) UTF-8 Encoding Support

Microsoft SQL Server supports the UTF-8 data encoding system for export, import, column-level, and database-level data collections.

It supports data types like char, varchar, etc., and helps in data storage saving by using the apportioned character set. You can easily create or modify the object collation type to object collation with UTF-8 encoding.

The main motive for encoding data while storing or retrieving is to reduce memory space and storage optimization in the Microsoft SQL Server. It also provides a certain level of security for sensitive data.

4) Disaster recovery

Microsoft SQL Server has a feature, Always On availability groups for disaster recovery and high availability solutions for business alternatives to database mirroring.

The maintenance of two or more copies of a database on various other server instances of the SQL Server database engine is known as database mirroring.

In all, Microsoft SQL Serve makes five copies, one is the primary replicate that handles group failovers, and the other four are secondary replicas.

The primary replica is available for data recovery, and the Always On availability groups ensure efficient resource management.

The secondary to primary replica redirection enhances the effectiveness of the database management and improves the database availability drastically.

What are Remote SQL Servers?

Remote SQL Servers are supported in Microsoft SQL Server only for one reason, backward compatibility.

It is a configuration that assists a client in connecting to the Mircosoft SQL Server’s instance to run a stored procedure on another instance without establishing a new connection between them.

The remote SQL Server processes the clients’ requests and returns the required results to the original server, which then passes them to the client. Instead of the client-connected server doing the work, a remote server will do the needful, providing more efficiency to the backend. 

Remote SQL Servers come in pairs, and you must configure both to recognize each other as remote servers.

Most of the time, there is no need to set up the configuration options for the remote SQL server. By default, the remote SQL Server set local and remote devices or computers to permit the remote server connection.

However, for remote server access to work, you must set up the configuration options to 1 on both devices. The remote access controls all the logins done from the remote server, and you can save it as a stored procedure or in the SQL Server Management Studio to save time.

For security reasons, you must enable remote procedure calls (RPC) against a remote SQL Server. This configuration increases the server’s security by reducing its attackable surface area. 


In this article, you learned about Microsoft SQL Server and how to connect to Microsoft SQL Server remotely. Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system and provides enterprises enhanced security for their data.

Connecting remotely to the SQL Server makes your executing speed quick; you can indirectly establish connections via the remote SQL server.

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Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Vidhi possesses a deep enthusiasm for data science, with a passion for writing about data, software architecture, and integration. She loves to solve business problems through tailored content for data teams.

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