How to Download SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition for Free

Update1: As per April 2018, the process has slightly changes since I wrote this blog post. Now you can find it under “Downloads” tab, under “Servers” section. (Thanks to “David Shannon” for pointing this out.)

Update2: Click here to utilise the SQL Server installer. By clicking the link you’ll download an executable file “SQLServer2016-SSEI-Dev.EXE” produced by Microsoft that gives you three options:

  • “Basic”: To quickly install basic features like SQL Server Database Engine
  • “Custom”: You go through SQL Server installation wizard to choose what you want to install
  • “Download Media”: To download SQL Server setup files and install them later

SQL Server Developer Edition with SP2

A while ago Microsoft decided to provide Developer edition of SQL Server 2014 and 2016 for free. So we should be able to download SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition for free legitimately. If you search for it on the Internet you’ll quickly find out that it is NOT that straightforward. In this post you see how to download SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition for free legally.

But, what is the difference between SQL Server Developer Edition and any other editions? Well, generally speaking, the Developer edition has all features of an Enterprise edition, but, it’s not for commercial use. To learn more about different editions of SQL Server 2016 have a look at here. I encourage you to see this datasheet as well.

To be able to download SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition for free you need to have MSDN Subscription or you can join Visual Studio Dev Essentials.

Download SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition using MSDN Subscription:

  • If you do have an MSDN subscription you can easily download SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition for free. Just click here and download.

SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition from MSDN

Join Visual Studio Dev Essentials and Download SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition:

  • Joining Visual Studio Dev Essentials is free and simple. While you join Visual Studio Dev Essentials lots of benefits will get unlocked including a free SQL Server Developer Edition.
  • Click here to join Visual Studio Dev Essentials
  • Click “Join Now”

Joining Visual Studio Dev Essentials

  • Sign in with your Microsoft account
  • Confirm terms and conditions

Confirm Visual Studio Dev Essentials Terms and Conditions

  • Click download SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition for free

SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition from Visual Studio Dev Essentials

  • As you see no key requires

SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition from Visual Studio Dev Essentials

Now you can install and use SQL Server Developer Edition for free.

3 thoughts on “How to Download SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition for Free

  1. Excellent, thanks very much. Please note however, the process has changed slightly and the software is now found on the downloads tab

  2. Thanks for the post. It is very helpful. I have one query. In our team, we are 20 developers and 5 Testers. All our developers got MSDN subsctiptions and We are using SQL server developer edition. My Question is what about Testers? they have a single database server (shared) and our application is deployed on this server. Now all 5 testers need to test the application. These 5 do not have MSDN subscription Can they use SQL Server Developer edition in that shared server for free? or they still need MSDN subscription for all of those?

    1. Hi,
      Welcome to BIInsight.com.
      Well, you don’t really need to have MSDN subscription for each person to install and use the Developer edition.
      The Developer edition is free of charge while it is used for dev/test purposes and not production.
      Therefore you can download the Developer edition once and share the installation media across the organisation.
      The other point is that you don’t really need to have separate instances of SQL Server for each individual.
      Here is the thing, you’ll need to have only one instance for dev and another one for test.
      That said, while you have MSDN subscription, you can also install and use the Enterprise edition, again for dev and test purposes only and for production.
      Hopefully that helps.

      Cheers.

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