Kindly shed some light on this for me please. Through my free membership of Visual Studio Dev Essentials, I have a free copy of SQL Server Developer edition installed on my personal machine.

How can we get free Developer edition copies for the organisation, we need to use this for a number of non-production instances?

I am aware that each user that accesses the non-production instance, through the application or back-end tool, needs to have a developer license.

Could you please give some guidance on how to go about doing this at the organisation level? Does each developer/tester/dba have to have their own Visual Studio Dev Essentials free subscription? That doesn't sound right to me, could you please guide or point me to an article that can help me?

The client has to use 2012 at this point in time, due to application support compatibility.

Thank you so much.

  • If your company has an Enterprise Agreement / Server & Cloud Enrollment for your Production environment, then your Developer Edition licenses would be governed by that agreement (and your company's lawyers should interpret that, not us).
    – AMtwo
    Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


Licensing questions are generally not applicable to this forum, but this is a pretty high level one that's more about process, and for an edition that technically doesn't require paid licensing.

Developer Edition is freely available right off of Microsoft's website for SQL Server. The direct download link is here. This will be for the latest version, 2019.

From a process perspective, you just need one copy of the installer and your company's System Admin should be able to use it to install Developer Edition on all of the servers you need to test with.

  • Thanks for your response @JD. I have checked the MS web site and I haven't been able to find the download for SQL 2012 Developer Edition, any ideas on how to get this please? I can see the Express edition. Also, if I'm able to download directly from MS website, that means we don't need the dba/developers/testers to each have a free subscription of Visual Studio Dev essentials to connect to the SQL 2012 Developer instance? Is this correct? Once again, thank you for your quick response.
    – PTL_SQL
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 1:30
  • @PTL_SQL SQL Server 2012 is past Microsoft's support lifecycle, so I don't think it's possible to find a copy through their website anymore (unless a cached copy of the link exists somewhere). Any reason you can't use SQL Server 2019? (There has been immense improvements since 2012.) Correct, Visual Studio Dev Essentials is not necessary for you to connect to a SQL Server Developer Instance.
    – J.D.
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 1:47
  • Thank you @JD, very helpful. The Client has to use 2012 at this point in time, due to application support compatibility. If we are not able to get the free Developer copy on the MS website, do you know how we may be able to get it?
    – PTL_SQL
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 6:30

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