SQL Server Vs. Access, Which Should You Use On Your Website?

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SQL Server vs. Access, Which Should You Use On Your Website?

 January 9th, 2020

Both SQL Server and Access are developed by Microsoft.  Both relational database management systems have a considerable presence in organizations worldwide, and both are used for website development as well.  However, because there are notable differences between the two, you should do your due diligence to determine which database management system is right for you.



Maximum database size 524,272 terabytes.  Maximum data file size 16 terabytes

Maximum database size 2gigabytes

Each instance of SQL Server 2016 allows for 32,767 simultaneous connections.

255 concurrent users

Maximum number of objects is 2,147,483,647

Maximum number of objects per database is 32,768


If your website database data is medium to large size, the right choice would be SQL Server.  However, there are many instances where using Access makes more sense.  If your data is smaller instead of medium or large, then using Microsoft Access would be the better choice, and using SQL Server would be overkill.  Also, in some instances, your hosting provider might charge you more to use a SQL Server database.

Another thing to consider is the ease of use.  Those that are not tech-savvy would find that Access is easier to use.  Even website developers that do not have any Access skills, the learning curve is so much smaller than using SQL Server. They can fumble through it and set up their database.  However, SQL Server is not so easy, and if the website developer does not have the required knowledge to use it, hiring a SQL Server developer will be required, which will drive up costs.  With Access, it is elementary to build an interface to enter data and run reports.  Access has built-in wizards to help you through this process.

However, as previously stated, due your due diligence.  Remember that you are limited to 2 gigabytes of data.  If you know your data is going to grow past 2 gigabytes, or you need features that Access simply does not have, then you should rethink using Access and move to SQL Server.

SQL Server

If you know right at the outset that your database is going to grow and you are going to have several people entering data as well as accessing data, then choosing SQL Server at the start of your development is the right choice.  Also, if your project is significant, and you have no idea how to use SQL Server, then you already know that you are going to have to hire a SQL developer for your website.

SQL Server has features that are not available in Access.  A few examples would be better security features or stored procedures.  SQL Server is also the better choice for Scaleability.  Your database could quickly grow past 2 gigabytes. Furthermore, Access could start producing weird errors because several people are using the database at the same time.


SQL Server is a more robust database management system than Access.  If you know at the start of your project that your database will outgrow the 2 gigabyte maximum of Access, or there are features in SQL Server you are going to need, then choosing SQL Server is the right choice.  If, however, your website is small and you do not project substantial growth (and certainly not over the 2-gigabyte maximum size), or you do not need all the features that SQL Server has, then using Access would be the right choice for your website.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this blog, feel free to contact us.

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