IT:AD:SQL Server Browser


The basic purpose of the SQL Server Browser service is to provide instance and port information to incoming connection requests.

  • Introducted with SQL Server 2005
  • Runs as a Windows Service
  • Is an Extension of SQL Server Resolution Protocol (SSRP)
  • Is of use when more than one instance of SQL Server is installed on a machine.

Of use to developers who have both SQL Server and SQL Server Express installed on their dev box.

  • Is essential information for a DBA to provide safe access to their SQL Server instances.
  • If you have only one SQL Server instance, and it is running on port 1433, turning it on or off will have no impact.

That's why developers get a bit caught out when they install one SQL Server instance (eg SQL Server Instance), program for a while, install another instance (eg full version of SQL Server), and things stop working. It's because the SQL Server Browser instance is turned off.

  • If you have more than one instance, and the service is turned off, you have to provide the port number along with the IP address (or server name+instance name).
  • If the SQL Server Browser instance is turned off, your named instances will not be published in the list of SQL Server instances on the network (which could be a good thing).