SQL Express is a free and feature-limited SQL Server edition. It is used for embedded to small-scale data-driven mobile and desktop applications.
SQL Express is a relational database management system that is free to download, use, and distribute.
This version comes with limited features and is designed for applications with up to 10GB databases.
This lightweight version is actively supported and updated by Microsoft.
You can download SQL Express from this link.
SQL Server Express is free to download and use in production.
It also comes in different editions based on your needs.
|SQL Server Express w/ Tools||Contains the core SQL Server database along with the tools to manage SQL Server instances, including SQL Server Express, LocalDB, and SQL Azure|
|SQL Server Management Studio||Includes tools to manage SQL Server instances, including LocalDB, SQL Express, SQL Azure (does not contain SQL Server)|
|SQL Server Express LocalDB||LocalDB is a lightweight version of Express that has all its programmability features yet runs in user mode and has a fast, zero-configuration installation|
|SQL Server Express w/ Advanced Series||This package contains the database engine, Express Tools, Reporting Services, Full Text Search, management tools, and all the components of SQL Server Express|
SQL Express versions and their release and support end dates.
|Version||Release Date||Support End Date|
|SQL Server 2005 Express Edition||Nov 7, 2005||Apr 12, 2016|
|SQL Server 2008 Express||Feb 8, 2009||Jul 9, 2019|
|SQL Server 2008 R2 Express||Apr 16, 2010||Sep 9, 2019|
|SQL Server 2012 Express||May 14, 2012||Sep 12, 2022|
|SQL Server 2014 Express||Apr 1, 2014||Sep 9, 2024|
|SQL Server 2016 Express||Jun 1, 2016||Jul 14, 2026|
|SQL Server 2017 Express||Sep 29, 2017||Oct 12, 2027|
|SQL Server 2019 Express||Nov 4, 2019||Jan 8, 2030|
Here we show how to download and install SQL Express.
Download the SQL Server from Microsoft.
Select Express from the download selection.
Click the Download Now button to start downloading the installer file.
An installer .exe file will be downloaded.
Run this file and choose the installation type.
The Basic installation is the quickest and installs default configuration of SQL Server Database Engine.
Custom installation allows you to specify the install location and features.
Lastly, Download Media downloads the setup files for offline installation and the SQL Server Engine version can be chosen.
SQL Server Express has the following size limitations:
1GB for database engine memory
10GB for database size
1MB for buffer cache
CPU: the lesser of one (1) socket, or four (4) cores
Data security is important when personal data is stored such as contact information, banking details, credit card information, and more. Encryption is used to protect from unauthorize access to this data. Here are some ways on how to protect your data:
Provide access to relevant persons only
Encrypt the folder containing all database files
Starting with the 2016 SP1 version of SQL Server Express, the Always Encrypted feature is built-in. Here is what it does.
Always Encrypted protects sensitive data by offering column-level encryption.
It relies on necessary keys to decrypt data to be stored on the client-side.
These keys are never available to the Database Engine which separates the owner of the data and those who manage it.
Lightweight, easy to understand and use
Free to download, distribute, and use in production
Easy to scale up and migrate to full SQL Server
Automatic patching and installation of important Windows and SQL Server updates
Includes anti-malware and intrusion prevention modules
Can be used in a Virtual Machine
Automated backup to blob storage
Supports ETL using SSIS to automate processes
Supports Reporting Services creating SRS reports as a standard reporting interface
Data Analysis using stored procedure, views and transformations
Integration with other applications through ODBC, Linked Server, etc.
SQL Express is for small to medium sized databases only.
Maximum database size of 10GB (4GB for SQL Express 2008 and earlier)
1GB maximum memory used by the database engine
1MB maximum buffer cache
No support for SQL Server Agent service
Cannot be used for deployment with more than 50 hosts