Unable to Find an Instance of SQL Server on the Network (by Browsing) – SQL Server Problem


This article explains how to resolve the SQL Server problem of a missing instance of the SQL Server.


Often while trying to use the browse function in SQL Management Studio or through a software application that is attempting to help a user to connect to a database instance, the browsing feature will not detect the instance of SQL Server.


This can be caused by settings within SQL Server (such as running the SQL Server Browser service) or the server firewall blocking the port.


Testing the connection by using SQL Management Studio can be very helpful in isolating the problem to SQL Server rather than a 3rd party application.  Assuming SQL Management Studio is unable to find the instance of SQL Server from a different computer on the network, the following should be explored:

  • SQL Server Browser Service (used to add the SQL instance to the list of SQL servers and helps direct clients to the correct SQL instance when multiple SQL instances reside on the same SQL cluster) needs to be started.
  • The application’s preferred protocol(s) (e.g. Named Pipes and TCP/IP) need to be enabled.
  • Firewall exceptions need to be added on the server to prvent blocking of critical ports (UDP Port 1434 is used by SQL Browser Service).

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