Connecting Argent Products To SQL Server On A Non-Standard Port

Customers often configure different TCP/IP ports to connect to SQL Server — leaving the default port of 1433 is often a security vulnerability.

When installing any Argent product, you’ll notice there is no option to specify what port to connect on.

Argent actually leverages off SQL Server’s own tools to handle port configuration. This maximizes flexibility for the customer to change ports if and when needed.

Connecting a client to a SQL Server instance using a non-standard port is automatically handled for you if you have the SQL Server Browser service running on the SQL Server.

When this service is running, the client trying to connect is informed of the correct port number to use. The client does not need to explicitly state or know the port number beforehand when connecting to the SQL Server.

Again, due to security concerns, many customers will also disable the SQL Server Browser service. When this happens, connecting on a non-standard port requires the “SQL Client Tools”.

Using SQL Client Tools To Configure Non-Standard Ports

The medium used to install SQL Server contains an option to install the “Client Tools” only.

These tools are used to configure the SQL connection layer on the machine you are installing it on.

The tools cannot be downloaded (e.g. they are not free), and must be installed from the SQL Server installation medium.

After installing the Client Tools, depending on the version of SQL Server, the name of the tool you need to use will be different:

SQL 2005/2008: Configuration Manager
SQL 2000: Client Network Tool

This tool allows you to configure which ports the client will connect to, for a designated SQL Server.

If the client connects to multiple SQL Servers, you can create an Alias on the client machine, under “SQL Native Client Configuration“.

Right-click and select “New Aliases“. Fill in the information, such as the custom port number, the server hostname/IP, and the protocol type (TCP/IP).

The configuration set in the SQL Configuration Manager writes information into some sort of metafile on the Operating System.

Whenever a SQL Server ODBC connection is made from the client machine to the SQL Server, the ODBC connection reads the information saved in Configuration Manager, and automatically adjusts the port, etc. based on the settings.

Note: This is a global setting that affects all applications connecting to the SQL Server via ODBC.