How to Hide an Instance of SQL Server

By: Editor
March 07, 2010


Database administrator is often asked a question whether It is possible to hide an SQL Server Instance? so that it is not visible to users across the network. In this article we will go through the steps which DBA needs to follow in order to hide an instance of SQL Server.

You can find all the SQL Server Instance available within a network by opening up SQL Server Management Studio and then by choosing Browse for Servers option.

The good news is starting SQL Server 2005 you can hide an instance of an SQL Server so that the name of that particular instance is not visible to other across your network. By default this option is turned off. However, using SQL Server Configuration Manager you can hide an instance of SQL Server. This feature is also available in SQL Server 2008 and higher versions.

1. To open SQL Server 2005 Configuration Manager Type SQLSERVERMANAGER.msc in the run command and to open SQL Server 2008 Configuration Manager Type SQLSERVERMANAGER10.msc in the run command.

2. In SQL Server Configuration Manager, expand SQL Server Network Configuration and then right click Protocols for <SQL Server Instance> and then select Properties as shown in the below snippet.

3. On the Flags tab, in the Hide Instance drop down select Yes and then click OK to save the changes. There will be a warning message stating “Any changes will be saved; however, they will not take effect until the service is stopped and restarted”. Once the database engine service of the instance is restarted this configuration change will prevents the SQL Server Browser Service from exposing this instance of the database engine to client computers.

Once you have restarted the SQL Server Instance it will be only visible under the Local Servers tab. However, it will not be visible under Network Servers tab as shown in the below snippet.


In this article you have seen how easily a database administrator can hide an instance of SQL Server.

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