I am developing a software which requires SQL Server. But for a 50MB application it is not a good idea to tell customers to install SQL Server. So I think it's better to use SQL Server Express LocalDB.

I want to give feature of accessing my app from Local Area Network. But I am not getting any related topics to do this.

Is it possible to access SQL Server Express LocalDB on Local Area Network?

What are the limitations of SQL Server Express LocalDB compared to SQL Server?

  • Have you considered SQL Server Express? (Rather than express local db). Jul 6, 2016 at 10:13
  • Can you confirm you specifically require a version of Microsoft SQL Server rather than your application needs a database that use Structured Query Language. Jul 6, 2016 at 10:18
  • @Peter Currently I am implementing application in SQL Server Express. I am searching for other alternatives only because of its size. Jul 6, 2016 at 10:34
  • 1
    If you want the features of SQL Server then I think Express is as low as you want to go. Anything less than than like embedded edition is so limited its a pain to work with. If you don't need the security or scalability of SQL Server you could consider MS Access? But if its truly going to be a lan based multi user system express is far superior. Jul 6, 2016 at 10:45
  • @SirSwears-a-lot and IT researcher: just to be clear, you wouldn't want to use LocalDB for an app that can be accessed across the network. LocalDB is a user-mode program, meaning there is no service that runs independently of a user session. So someone would need to log into Windows in order to start the instance, and it would shut down when they logged off. You might be able to set up a Windows Scheduled Task to start up an instance outside of a login session, but that is clearly outside of the intended purpose of LocalDB. Feb 5, 2019 at 18:11

2 Answers 2


LocalDB cannot be accessed remotely, it's by design and documented.

Here is a description of LocalDB.

Here is a list of LocalDB features and limitations.

I don't see how installing SQL Server can be a problem. 120 MB is not that big nowadays even for small applications. You can embed the setup in your application and ship SQL Express with your setup kit. If you need a SQL Server Edition with a small footprint, consider using SQL Server Compact Edition.

  • Is there any ways to me other than installing SQL server ? Jul 5, 2016 at 13:21
  • @ITresearcher Updated my answer Jul 5, 2016 at 13:29
  • That's not entierly true. I successfully shared a local folder containing a LocalDB on LAN and connected to this shared LocalDB instance from another computer. But as Mike Lowery wrote in his answer, only one user can access the LocalDB instance at a time.
    – Andreas
    Mar 31, 2022 at 8:38

The mdf/ldf files can reside on a server share but I believe only one PC can access the files/database at a time (i.e. no concurrent access from multiple clients running their own LocalDB instance). That's dissimilar to MS Access where multiple PCs can connect to a shared mdb file residing on a server share.

From the documentation:

The LocalDB files can only be opened by one instance of LocalDB at a time.

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