How to: Using MS SQL (dynamic ports) in PHP 7 with ODBC PDO

So I’ve just spent a painful number of hours to figure out how to connect to a Microsoft SQL Database (MS SQL) that’s using dynamic ports and named instances (if you’ve got a feeling I’m definitely not a M$ guy … you would be right).

Because I didn’t find a proper working how to on doing this and had to resort to reading mailinglist archives and far, far too many stackoverflow threads I’m posting everything here before I do my best to forget it.

Note: I’m using Arch (Manjaro) but it should work the same way on Ubuntu – just update paths and install commands.

Step 1: Install required packages

sudo pacman -S odbc php-odbc freetds

Step 2: Enable extensions in php.ini


Make sure to restart PHP-FPM after you’re done.

Step 3: Configure ODBC and FreeTDS

Edit odbcinst.ini

sudo nano /etc/odbcinst.ini
[FreeTDS] # This is your identifier! You'll need it in odbc.ini
Description = FreeTDS Driver v0.91
Driver = /usr/lib/ # THIS IS ARCH SPECIFIC PATH

If you’re not on arch you’ll have to find the location of for your distro, or you can just use locate to find it.

Edit odbc.ini

sudo nano /etc/odbc.ini
[mssqlconn] # This is important - you'll be refering to your DB with this
Description = MSSQL Server
Driver = FreeTDS # Same as identifier in odbcinst.ini
Database = NAME_OF_DATABASE # Not instance, database within the instance
ServerName = mssqlconn # This  is the same identifier as in freetds.conf
TDS_Version = 8.0


Edit freetds.conf

sudo nano /etc/freetds/freetds.conf

Add this to the end:

host = # HOSTNAME or IP of your server
instance = # Name of the INSTANCE (not DB)
tds version = 8.0

Step 4: Test connection

osql -S mssqlconn -U 'username' -P 'password'

If this works, you’re good to go!

Step 5: Connect from PHP

$serverName = 'mssqlconn';
$dbName = 'YourDb';

$pdo = new PDO(sprintf("odbc:DRIVER=FreeTDS;SERVERNAME=%s;DATABASE=%s", $serverName, $dbName), $username, $pass);


That’s it! The rest is standard PDO stuff.


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