Home » Blog » SQL Server » Which Version of SQL Server is Best? Is It Free or Open Source?

Which Version of SQL Server is Best? Is It Free or Open Source?

Published By Aswin Vijayan
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On October 4th, 2023
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading
Category SQL Server
which version of SQL Server is best?

Synopsis: This blog is all about the most asked question regarding SQL Server databases. Which version of SQL Server is best? Which version of SQL Server is free to Use? These are the questions, that we are aiming to answer in this article with detailed explanations. In addition, we can learn the best way to migrate from a lower SQL version to a higher one.

First, we are going to talk about the free versions & then we can move toward the best one. However, there is no surety that a particular version that is best for one user will suit perfectly to other users. It’s a matter of requirements. Let’s begin learning in depth.

Which Version of SQL Server is Free to Use?

Well, the SQL Server database offers the Express Edition version to users for free. Apart from this, no edition is completely free. However, this edition is present in almost all SQL Servers. For example, SQL Server 2022 Express, SQL Server 2019 Express, SQL Server 2017 Express, SQL Server 2016 SP3 Express, etc.

Therefore, if users want to access the SQL Server free version, then they can rely on any of the versions but the edition must be Express Edition. Now, it’s time for us to simply find out the best version of the SQL server.

Find Out Which Version of SQL Server is Best?

We can not bluntly say that any of the SQL Server versions is best because it totally depends on the requirements of users. This is why if a particular SQL Server is best for user X, there are still chances that it won’t be perfect for user Y at all.

Now, if users still ask for any name, then the Microsoft SQL Server 2019 is the best one so far. However, with the 2022 server in the market, the 2019 server is no longer safe. If SQL Server comes up with the latest server say 2024 or 2025, then 2019 will be old. For now, it’s the best.

If users are thinking from a futuristic approach, then they should go with the 2022 version without a doubt. Let’s Understand the basis to decide whether a database is perfect for us or not. It’s equally important as finding which version of SQL Server is free for users.

  • On the Basis of Support
    Now, on the basis of support, we can say that SQL Server 2022 is better. This is because SQL Server 2022 provides support till 2033 whereas the 2019 server offers support till 2030 only.
  • Cost & Licensing
    The cost also plays a major role here & users must decide which one fits best into their pocket. The best server is the one that provides the maximum output in comparison to the cost of its license.
  • Performance
    Performance-wise, SQL Server 2022 version is the right choice for users as it has everything that is included in the 2019 version. In addition, it offers some extra features as well.

Also Read: SQL Server Corruption Causes Explained

What’s the Procedure to Upgrade SQL Server Step by Step

Now, the question arises how can we migrate & upgrade our SQL Server? For this, experts & Microsoft MVPs state that there are manual ways possible but not recommended. This is due to the high risk of data loss & complex procedures.

Therefore, opting for the SysTools from the list of Top 5 SQL Server Migration Tools is what users like the most. It provides users with a smooth database migration experience along with plenty of features.

It allows users to migrate SQL Server along with all database objects & even repair corruption issues as well. It provides a total of four migration option to users that are mentioned below:

  • Online to Online
  • Offline to Offline
  • Offline to Online
  • Online to Offline

Which version of SQL Server is best for users, we hope this query is answered. And if not, there’s a clear-cut answer in the coming sections. However, we must go through the step-by-step solution first.

Step-1. Launch the Automated Tool in your system first.

launch tool

Step-2. Select the Online or Offline migration mode now.

select modes

Step-3. Preview Database Objects before you move further.

select objects

Step-4. Here, Select the Destination Platform to proceed.

set destination

Step-5. Finally, Hit the Export button to finish the migration.

hit export button

Which Version of SQL Server is Best to Upgrade In?

In a nutshell, we would recommend SQL Server 2022 to users as it is future-proof & offers the same features as of 2019. In fact, it provides some additional features as well. If users can compromise on the cost factor, the 2022 SQL Server is the perfect match for them.

Also Read: Best 5 SQL MDF Viewer Tools With Details


Finally, now, we are at the end of this article & know which version of SQL Server is free for users. Also, now we know which version of SQL Server is best & why. Now, it’s time to end this article & users can send us any more queries regarding SQL Server migration, recovery, etc.