Connecting to Named and Default Instances in SQL Server

You might be aware that SQL Server supports multiple instances on a single machine and a there can be one default instance on any machine. When working with a default instance of a SQL Server you can connect to it by using just the name of the Windows Server where it is installed on. Whereas the when you have to connect to a named instance of SQL Server, you have to connect using the convention Servername\Instancename.

Let us look at this with examples.

Connecting to Default Instance:

When connecting to a default instance of SQL Server, you just have to enter the machine name where the SQL Server is installed. In the below example, I am connecting to a SQL Server 2005 default instance on a Server named SQLSVR2005VM.

Connecting to a named Instance:

Connecting to a named instance, you have to specify the machinename followed by a back slash “\” followed by the instance name. In this example (picture below), we are going to connect to a named instance called SQLTESTINSTANCE on the same machine SQLSVR2005VM, hence we need to type SQLSVR2005VM\SQLTESTINSTANCE to connect to the named instance.

Note: It is possible to configure the port number of a named instance to be 1433 in order to be able to access similar to default instance (without the back slash), but that case is not considered for this blog post. 

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