Errors connecting to SQL Server Express 2005

Are you getting errors connecting to SQL Server Express 2005 via remote client software and yet have no problem connecting to it on the local machine?

Some of the errors you might be seeing are:

  • sql server does not allow remote connections
  • SQL Network Interfaces, error: 26 - Error Locating Server/Instance Specified
  • An error has occurred while establishing a connection to the server. When connecting to SQL Server 2005,this failure may be caused by the fact that under the default settings SQL Server does not allow remote connections. (provider:Named Pipes Provider,error:40-Could not open connection to SQL Server))
  • Server does not exist or access denied

If yes, then read on because SQL Server Express 2005 is not automatically configured for remote access during installation. It can be enabled however, so the problems you are having are more of a "feature" than a bug.

Why this page?Well, we too ran into this problem - just as you have now. In recognition of all of the kind help we received from the Internet newsgroups we thought it might be useful to collect the information here so as to provide assistance to others in the same position.

Here's a quick summary of the actions you need to take. The first three actions have a separate page which provides more details and some screen shots of the procedure.

  1. [Link] Enable the TCP/IP protocol using the Surface Area Configuration Utility
  2. [Link] Make sure the TCP/IP protocol is enabled in the SQL Server Configuration Utility
  3. [Link] Make sure the SQL Server browser is started. Note this step is optional. It is possible to set the SQL Server instance to use a fixed IP address - but this is non-standard for named instances.
  4. Make sure SQL Server and SQL Server Browser are exempted by the firewall on the server machine. This is done by putting sqlservr.exe and sqlbrowser.exe as an exception in the windows firewall. Chris D. sent in a note which might help.
  5. Note: In order to get things to work. You might need to completely reboot the server machine after making the changes. There have been reports that starting and stopping the SQL Server and Browser software is not enough.

More information