The world of Microsoft SQL Server licensing can be confusing and complicated, especially when there’s different licensing agreements and even differences between the agreements with different regions around the world.

Under the Microsoft Service Provider Licencing Agreement (SPLA), Conetix can provide licenses to run Microsoft SQL Server on your own Virtual Private Server (VPS).


Licenses are only provided for systems running on the Conetix infrastructure only. We do not provide licenses for external usage.

Versions Available

SQL Express

Cost: Free.

SQL Server Express is ideal for development as well as basic websites and basic applications. It does come with both database size (max 10GB), CPU (max 4 cores) and memory limitations (1.4GB) which may or may not suit your application.


This is a special license designed for public facing websites only. Microsoft place strict restrictions around this, which specifically excludes systems such as:

  • Customer Relationship Managers (CRM) systems
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems
  • Intranet / staff only sites

The simple guidance is, if users need to login to the website to access data, SQL Web licensing is not allowed.

SQL Standard

Cost: ~$590 and upwards (depending on core count)

SQL Standard greatly expands the available CPU’s allowed up to 24, up to 128GB RAM and up to 524PB of database storage.

SQL Enterprise

Cost: ~$1,100 and upwards (depending on core count)

SQL Enterprise expands on all of the resources allowed, as well as a number of additional features in availability, replication, security, and more. For full details on the differences, please see: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/sql-server/editions-and-components-of-sql-server-version-15?view=sql-server-ver15

Frequently Asked Questions

How many cores do I need to license?

A minimum of 4 cores. License packs are in “per 2 core” bundles, which will appear on your billing.

My existing provider told me something different, can you match my existing setup?

Unfortunately if a previous provider was providing the licensing in a different manner, we’re unable to match nor adjust the usage.

What version do I need?

This is best answered by your development agency. Conetix simply provides the infrastructure and does not do any development nor scoping of SQL requirements beyond basic analysis and review for licensing purposes.

For a full comparison, please see the Microsoft guidance: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/sql-server/editions-and-components-of-sql-server-version-15?view=sql-server-ver15

Which version performs the best?

There’s no performance difference between all versions. The differences are in the size of the databases and features.

Do I need to pay a license for my development server?

No. However, it must be clearly marked as development only and Conetix may review this to ensure it meets the Microsoft guidelines.

The costs are higher than I expected, why is that?

Pricing and license terms are set by Microsoft and their distributors. Conetix only adds a small margin to the wholesale cost we’re provided and simply offers SQL licensing as a service.

Can I access the database remotely?

By default, Conetix blocks all external database access for security. VPS customers can request specific IP exclusions either per IP (eg static office IP) or to be opened up completely.

Can I use my own license?

If your license is applicable to the License Mobility terms through an existing Volume License agreement, you can provide your own license to run SQL Server on Conetix infrastructure.

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