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Configuring Client Network Protocols

Client applications can connect to Microsoft SQL Server using the TCP/IP, named pipes, VIA, or shared memory protocols. The protocols are implemented using a client network library contained in the SQL Server Native Client dll. To configure SQL Server clients, use SQL Server Configuration Manager, which is a new Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in, available from the Start menu, or within the Computer Management utility. SQL Server Configuration Manager provides information about your client network protocols and allows you to configure some protocol options. SQL Server Configuration Manager also lets you change the default network protocols and define how to connect to specific servers.

Enabling and Configuring Protocols

SQL Server Configuration Manager incorporates the functions of Client Network Utility from earlier versions of SQL Server and provides client-configuration functionality for any version of SQL Server compatible with SQL Server.

To launch SQL Server Configuration Manager, click Start, point to Program Files, point to Microsoft SQL Server, point to Configuration Tools, and then click SQL Server Configuration Manager. To access the client configuration section, in the console pane click SQL Server Native Client Configuration.

Use SQL Server Configuration Manager to:

  • Change the default protocol, used by clients when attempting to connect to a server.

  • Change the order in which all enabled protocols are attempted, when connecting to a server.

  • Create client connections to specified servers and save them as configuration entries. Configuration entries consist of a server alias, a client protocol, and any relevant connection parameters, such as a pipe name, or port number.

  • Display information about the SQL Server client protocols currently installed on the system.


    SQL Server Configuration Manager creates registry entries for the server alias configurations and default client network library. However, the application does not install either the SQL Server client network libraries or the network protocols. The SQL Server client network libraries are installed during SQL Server Setup; the network protocols are installed as part of Microsoft Windows Setup (or through Networks in Control Panel). A particular network protocol may not be available as part of Windows Setup. For more information about installing these network protocols, see the vendor documentation.


The protocols available for SQL Server clients are TCP/IP, Named Pipes, VIA, and shared memory. For help in determining which protocol to use, see Choosing a Network Protocol.


The VIA protocol is deprecated. This feature will be removed in a future version of Microsoft SQL Server. Avoid using this feature in new development work, and plan to modify applications that currently use this feature.


To encrypt all data transmitted between an application computer and a computer running an instance of SQL Server, SQL Server can use the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Before enabling SSL encryption, you must install a server certificate from a certification authority on the database computer, and the client must trust the same root certificate signing authority. For more information about SSL encryption, see Encrypting Connections to SQL Server.

The Shared Memory protocol can only be used to communicate with processes running on the same computer as SQL Server. It is enabled by default. Windows manages the security of shared memory. Of the Microsoft client network protocols, this is the most secure.