Using the Microsoft SQL Server Driver for PHP

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Using the SQL Server Driver for PHP from Microsoft


This short manual is for running Moodle 2.0 (and upwards) using the Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL) RDBMS. The steps detailed below must be performed before installing Moodle itself.

First of all, the minimum required version of MSSQL has been stabilized to MSSQL 2005 (v.9).

Installation overview

1. Install Microsoft SQL Server including SQL Server Management Studio. (A free version, SQL Server Express Edition is available for testing.)

Make sure to choose mixed authentication (Windows and local accounts) to keep things simpler later. Define the "sa" account password when requested (it's the default System Administrator account which has full access to all databases by default).

2. Configure Windows for MSSQL.

By default, MSSQL listens to port 1433 for incoming TCP/IP connections and this port needs to be opened in the firewall. This is explicitly configured in the firewall installed (either Windows Firewall in the Control Panel or the configuration interface for other firewalls). If the port was changed when MSSQL was installed, then specify the correct port number to open in the firewall.
Confirm the TCP/IP protocol is enabled in: SQL Server Configuration Manager -> Network Configuration -> Protocols -> TCP/IP enabled

3. Create and configure a new database.

Open "SQL Server Management Studio" and create a new empty database.
  • Execute the following command to enable Row Versioning:

4. Install PHP and a web server.

5. Install the SQL Server Driver for PHP.

On the web server, install SQL Server Driver for PHP including all the pre-requisites listed on the download page. Note: it is critical to install the SQL Server Native Access Client version documented on the download page of the SQL Server Driver for PHP.
Configure PHP to use the appropriate SQLSRV driver. In php.ini, set the following:

For PHP 5.2.4 (or later)


For PHP 5.3.2 (or later)


For PHP 5.6.24 (or later)


The Microsoft documentation for the SQL Server Driver for PHP is available at:

6. Install and configure Moodle.

Continue with the standard Moodle installation.

7. The Moodle config.php should include lines like these:

$CFG->dbtype    = 'sqlsrv';         // Required
$CFG->dbhost    = 'localhost';      // Assuming that MSSQL is on the same server, otherwise 
                                    // use the actual name or IP address of your database server
$CFG->dbname    = 'moodle';         // The name of the newly created Moodle database
$CFG->dbuser    = 'yourusername';   // your database username
$CFG->dbpass    = 'yourpassword';   // your database password
$CFG->dbpersist =  true;
$CFG->prefix    = 'mdl_';           // The prefix can be changed per individual preferences, 
                                    // but NEVER leave this blank!
If the config.php file doesn't exist, it will be generated as normal from the Moodle installer. Alternatively, use the config-dist.php file that comes with the Moodle package to create a custom config.php file.

8. Restart or start your web server.

If Moodle still cannot communicate with the database server, turn display_startup_errors to "On" in the /PHP/php.ini file, then restart the web server and check for any errors that may indicate incorrect DLL versions or missing dependencies. These error reports, turned off by default in PHP, can be vital in locating a problem with new extension installations.

9. Test the database connection.

Try this PHP script, just add a text file called test.php from the example below and change ('localhost', 'db_user', 'db_password') to align with the config.php settings, and load from local host (http://localhost/test.php).
$link = sqlsrv_connect($this->dbhost, array('DATABASE'=>'db_name', 'UID' => 'db_user', 'PWD' => 'db_password'));
if($link === FALSE) {
    echo 'Could not connect';
    die('Could not connect: ' . sqlsrv_errors(SQLSRV_ERR_ALL));
echo 'Successful connection';

10. Complete the rest of the Moodle installation as usual.

See Also