Connect to Server (Login page) - Database Engine

Applies to: SQL Server Azure SQL Database Azure SQL Managed Instance Azure Synapse Analytics Analytics Platform System (PDW)

Use this tab to configure the connection properties when you connect to Microsoft SQL Server Database Engine. In most cases, you can connect by entering the computer name of the database server in the Server name box and then selecting Connect. If you're connecting to a named instance, use the computer name followed by a backslash and then the instance name. For example, mycomputer\myinstance. See Connect to the Database Engine for more examples.


While Microsoft Entra ID is the new name for Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), to prevent disrupting existing environments, Azure AD still remains in some hardcoded elements such as UI fields, connection providers, error codes, and cmdlets. In this article, the two names are interchangeable.

Many factors can affect your ability to connect to SQL Server. For help, see the following resources:


To connect with SQL Server Authentication, SQL Server must be configured in SQL Server and Windows Authentication mode. For more information about determining the authentication mode and changing the authentication mode, see Change server authentication mode.

Connect to a server

You can connect to any supported server from the login page by providing the server name and authentication details, as noted in the following sections.

Server type

When you register a server from Object Explorer, select the type of server to connect to: Database Engine, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, or Integration Services. The dialog box only shows the options for the selected server type. When you register a server from Registered Servers, the Server type box is read-only and matches the server type displayed in the Registered Servers component. To register a different type of server, select Database Engine, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, SQL Server Compact, or Integration Services from the Registered Servers toolbar before you start to register a new server.

Server name

Select the server instance you want to connect to. The most recent server instance you connected to, appears by default.

To connect to an instance of SQL Server Express, connect using the named pipes protocol specifying the pipe name, such as np:\\.\pipe\3C3DF6B1-2262-47\tsql\query. For more information, see the SQL Server Express documentation.


Connections are persisted in the Most Recently Used (MRU) history. Select the Server name dropdown list to remove entries from the MRU, hover over the server name to remove, and then select the Delete key on your keyboard.

When you connect to Azure SQL Database, you can specify a database in the Connect to Server dialog box on the Connection Properties tab, which you can access by selecting Options>>.

By default, you connect to the master database. If you specify a user database when you connect to Azure SQL Database, you only see that database and its objects in Object Explorer. If you connect to master, you can see all databases. For more information, see the Microsoft Azure SQL Database Overview.


The current version of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) offers eight authentication modes when you connect to a Database Engine. If your Authentication dialog box doesn't match the following list, download the most recent version of SQL Server Management Studio.

  • Windows Authentication: Microsoft Windows Authentication mode allows a user to connect through a Windows user account.

  • SQL Server Authentication: When you connect with a specified login name and password, SQL Server performs the authentication by checking to see if a matching SQL Server login account exists and if the specified password matches the one previously recorded. If the SQL Server login doesn't exist, authentication fails, and you receive an error message.

  • Microsoft Entra MFA: This interactive workflow supports Microsoft Entra multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA helps safeguard access to data and applications while meeting user demand for a simple sign-in process. It delivers strong authentication with various easy verification options like phone calls, text messages, smart cards with pins, and mobile app notifications. When the user account is configured for MFA, the interactive authentication workflow requires more user interaction through pop-up dialog boxes and smart card use. If the user account doesn't require MFA, you can still use the other Microsoft Entra authentication options. For more information, see Using Microsoft Entra multifactor authentication.

  • Microsoft Entra Password: This method for connecting to Azure SQL Database uses identities and their passwords in Microsoft Entra ID. It's useful when your Windows login credentials aren't in an Azure federated domain, or the initial or client domain is using Microsoft Entra authentication. For more information, see Use Microsoft Entra authentication.

  • Microsoft Entra Integrated: This mechanism for connecting to Azure SQL Database uses Windows identities federated with Microsoft Entra ID. Use this method for connecting to SQL Database if you're logged in to Windows and using your credentials from a federated domain, or a managed domain configured for seamless single sign-on for pass-through and password hash authentication. For more information, see Use Microsoft Entra authentication and Microsoft Entra seamless single sign-on.

  • Microsoft Entra Service Principal: A service principal is a Microsoft Entra identity that you can create for use with automated tools, jobs, and applications. With Service Principal authentication, you can connect to your SQL instance by using the client ID and secret of a service principal identity. In SSMS, enter the client ID in the User name field and the secret in the Password field. For more information, see Microsoft Entra server principals and Microsoft Entra service principal with Azure SQL.

  • Microsoft Entra Managed Identity: Managed identities are special forms of service principals. There are two types of managed identities: system-assigned and user-assigned. System-assigned managed identities are enabled directly on an Azure resource. User-assigned managed identities are a standalone resource you can assign to one or more Azure resources.

    To use a managed identity to connect to a SQL resource through GUI clients such as SSMS and ADS, the machine running the client application must have a Microsoft Entra client running with the identity's certificate stored in it. This requirement is most commonly achieved through an Azure VM because you can assign the identity to the machine through the VM's portal pane. For more information, see Managed identities in Microsoft Entra for Azure SQL.

  • Microsoft Entra Default: This option performs authentication based on passwordless and noninteractive mechanisms, including managed identities, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, and the Azure CLI.

User name

The user name to connect. This setting is read-only when you select Windows Authentication or Microsoft Entra Integrated authentication. The setting is prefilled with the current login with your Windows user name.

If you connect with Microsoft Entra Universal with MFA, Microsoft Entra Password, Microsoft Entra Service Principal, or Microsoft Entra Default, enter the name of the Microsoft Entra identity you're connecting with.

User assigned identity

This option appears when you connect with Microsoft Entra Managed Identity. Completing this option properly depends on the type of the identity.


Enter the login you connect with. This option is only available if you connect using SQL Server Authentication.


Enter the password for the login. This option is only editable if you choose to connect using SQL Server Authentication, Microsoft Entra Service Principal, or Microsoft Entra Password authentication.

Remember password

Select this option for SQL Server to store the password entered. This option is displayed for the same authentication methods mentioned for the Password option.


Select the level of encryption for the connection. The options for SSMS 20 are Strict (SQL Server 2022 and Azure SQL), Mandatory, and Optional. When enabled, SQL Server uses TLS encryption for all the data sent between the client and server. For more information, see SQL Server and client encryption summary.

The default value is Mandatory in SSMS 20. Strict (SQL Server 2022 and Azure SQL) encryption should be used for Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Managed Instance. Strict (SQL Server 2022 and Azure SQL) encryption can be used for SQL Server when the instance has Force Strict Encryption enabled.

Mandatory encryption can be used for SQL Server when the instance has Force Encryption enabled. It can also be used when no encryption is configured for the instance, if Trust server certificate is enabled. While this method is less secure than installing a trusted certificate, it does support an encrypted connection.

The Encryption property appears on the Login page for SSMS 20.x and later versions.

Trust server certificate

When enabled, with Optional or Mandatory encryption selected, or if the server is configured to force encryption, SQL Server doesn't validate the server certificate on the client machine when encryption is enabled for the network communication between client and server.

The Trust server certificate property appears on the Login page for SSMS 20.x and later versions.

Host name in the certificate

The value provided in this option is used to specify a different, but expected, CN or SAN in the server certificate for the server to which SSMS is connecting. This option can be left blank, so that certificate validation ensures that the Common Name (CN) or Subject Alternate Name (SAN) in the certificate matches the server name to which you're connecting. This parameter can be populated when the server name doesn't match the CN or SAN, for example, when using DNS aliases. For more information, see Encryption and certificate validation in Microsoft.Data.SqlClient. |

The Encryption property appears on the Login page for SSMS 20.x and later versions.


Select to connect to the server.


Select to collapse the connection dialog or expand the dialog to display the Connection Properties, Always Encrypted, and Additional Connection Parameters tabs.