IRL #2: Cannot Connect to SQL Server

IRL #2 – Connectivity Issues

Problem: Application owner is trying connect to SQL Server to create a database, connection failed.  Error message suggests checking Instance Name and “Allow Remote Connections” option set to True.

Background: This client has a wide variety of SQL Servers in Prod, Test and Dev.  Many different versions and editions, quite a few coming from 3rd party vendors.  This was in a new test environment for an application already up and running in Prod.

Resolution Attempts:

  • Try to Connect via IP address – failed
  • Verify Instance name – verified
  • Verify “Allow Remote Connections” is set to 1/True – it is
  • Verify SQL Browser Service Running – discovered Set to Disabled
  • Verify TCP/IP network protocol enabled – discovered disabled


  • Enable TCP/IP for Named Instance SQLEXPRESS03
  • Restart Instance
  • Set SQL Browser Service to Automatic and start
  • Test logon via UDL file – success

Lessons you can benefit from:

  • SQL Express default install only enables Shared memory connections
  • Error messages are not always going to give you complete information
  • Have a process for testing

This entire process took about 10 minutes, including the instance restart.  There are 3 other Express edition installs on this server.


Other posts in the IRL – In Real Life series:

Thanks for reading!


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