Client: SQL connection fails to connect across network

When testing for connectivity to a remote SQL Server or Express database, you might get the following message after testing the connection:

Client Error Message (Connection Failed - Error 26)


To enable remote connection on SQL Server 2008 Express, follow the steps below:

  1. Start SQL Server Browser service if it's not started yet. SQL Server Browser listens for incoming requests for Microsoft SQL Server resources and provides information about SQL Server instances installed on the computer.
  2. Enable TCP/IP protocol for SQL Server 2008 Express to accept remote connection.
  • (Optional) Change Server Authentication to SQL Server and Windows Authentication. By default, SQL Server 2008 Express allows only Windows Authentication mode so you can connect to the SQL Server with current user log-on credential. If you want to specify user for connect to the SQL Server, you have to change Server Authentication to SQL Server and Windows Authentication.
  • Note: In SQL Server 2008 Express, there isn't an SQL Server Surface Area Configuration so you have to configure from SQL Server Configuration Manager instead.

    Verify if the firewall is blocking the connection

    Turn off the firewall to verify if it is blocking remote connections to SQL Server. 

    Open the firewall dialog, right-click to show properties.

    Turn off the firewall and hit Apply.  Test your SQL connection again to see if it works.  If not, you'll need to investigate further.

    If the connection was successful and you want the firewall enabled (recommended), you'll need to add a firewall rule on inbound connections.

    Allow Remote SQL Connection Rule in Windows Firewall (Server 2008)

    Type: Inbound Rule
    Name: SQL Server TCP Port 1433
    Protocol: TCP
    Port: 1433

    Open the windows firewall dialog again, and add a new inbound rule.  Select port as the type.

    Select TCP as the protocol and port 1433. 

    Select the appropriate profile for your organization.

    Allow the connection.

    Give a descriptive name like below:

    Add another rule using the same process above for the SQL Browser service:

    Type: Inbound Rule
    Name: SQL Browser UDP Port 1434
    Protocol: UDP
    Port: 1434

    Retest your remote SQL connection.

    Other references:

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