Top Free SQL Server Sites

In no particular order of preference, I have collated my favourite
sources of free SQL Server information and support.

Microsoft sites This
site gives you access to a huge searchable database of information on all
Microsoft products, including bug reports and fixes, and a download area for
service packs and so on. This site is usually my first port of call for on-line
SQL Server or NT support. The Hardware
Compatibility List
is a must-see if you are thinking about purchasing new
hardware. Bags on
information for the IT professional using Microsoft products, but less inclined
towards troubleshooting than the above site. Includes more downloads, on-line documentation, a tip-of-the-week
section and much, much more. The MSDN
carries a backlog of free articles from a variety of commercial
publications. Also sign up to the free Security
Alerts Email Service

News Server–A Microsoft-run
free newsgroup server. Anybody can subscribe for free and take part in
discussions. Even if you don’t have a query, you can learn a lot by following
the discussions here, and even help others out yourself. If you need a free newsreader to read the free news, why not try FreeAgent

Independent sites
will teach you all you need to know about performance optimization
for SQL server. A hotline for
general SQL Server news and product release information. Sign up for their free
Email newsletter. If you have your own SQL Server site, you can include
SQLWire news on your site for free.
has lots of articles and an active forums section where you can put your SQL
questions to "the team". You need to Register to use the forums,
but this is quick and free. You need to
subscribe to get access to all the material on this site, but they publish more
than enough free articles to make the site well worth a regular visit.

Certification sell
practice certification tests, but they also have free online samples. Even
better, you can
subscribe to their free question-a-day email service–handy for keeping even
the experienced DBA on their toes.
Another site with free sample exams for the certification candidate. As with
Examcram, you should not take the practice tests too often, you will just
start to remember the practice answers!

Sites not specific to SQL Server A
subsection of, another
great place to see if your query has already been asked and answered by
somebody else. For fairly obvious reasons, the ntfaq site will soon be superceded

Sadly, the newsgroups archive at is no
more. However, Google have now
acquired deja’s archives. If you are thinking about posting a
query to the SQL Server newsgroups, try here first–you may well find your
question has already been asked and answered. Google offer an Advanced
interface, which is still in Beta, for homing in quickly on the information you need.

And finally…

No review of SQL Server sites would be complete without a blatant plug for my
own site at SQL server tutorials for beginners, tips for experts and info on new SQL Server 2000 features. All my own work.

Neil Boyle
Neil Boyle
Neil Boyle left school at the age of sixteen thinking that computers were things that only existed in Star Trek. After failed careers as a Diesel Mechanic, Industrial Cleaner, Barman and Bulldozer Driver he went back to college to complete his education. Since graduating from North Staffs Poly he has worked up through the ranks from Trainee COBOL Programmer to SQL Server Consultant, a role in which he has specialised for the past seven years.

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