How to Set Up SQL Server Replication Step by Step

SQL Server replication is a powerful tool for data distribution and synchronization in a wide range of applications. Read on to unlock the true potential of SQL Server replication and secure your data with confidence.


By Zelia / Updated on October 19, 2023

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What is replication in SQL Server

SQL Server replication is a database technology and process that allows you to copy and distribute data from one database (the publisher) to one or more destination databases (subscribers) within the same or different SQL Server instances. This mechanism enables you to maintain copies of data across multiple locations or databases, ensuring data consistency and availability. SQL Server replication is used for a variety of purposes, including data distribution, load balancing, reporting, and data synchronization between different parts of an organization.

Types of SQL Server replication

SQL Server replication is a versatile feature that enables you to distribute and synchronize data between SQL Server instances or databases. There are several SQL Server replication types, each designed to meet specific data distribution requirements.

  • Snapshot Replication: Ideal for one-time or infrequent data distribution, where the entire dataset is replicated to subscribers.
  • Transactional Replication: Ensures near real-time data consistency and is suitable for high-transaction-volume environments.
  • Merge Replication: Allows bidirectional data synchronization, making it suitable for mobile applications and scenarios where data updates occur at multiple locations.
  • Peer-to-Peer Replication: Offers scalability and fault tolerance by enabling data distribution across multiple nodes.
  • Bi-Directional Replication: Facilitates data synchronization between two or more databases, ensuring that changes in one database are reflected in the others.

How to set up replication SQL Server step by step

Setting up SQL Server replication involves a series of steps and configurations to define the publication, distribution, and subscription of data. Here's a general overview of the process:

Note: Before setting up replication, ensure that you have SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) installed and appropriate permissions to create publications and configure replication.

1. Set up replication agents: Generate distinct Windows user accounts on your local server for the Snapshot Agent, Log Reader Agent, Distribution Agent, and Merge Agent.


2. Prepare the snapshot folder: Create a new folder labeled as 'repldata.' This serves as the designated location for storing the publication snapshot. Allocate the necessary permissions to each of the replication agents for this directory.


3. Configure distribution: In SQL Server Management Studio, establish a connection with the publisher, right-click the Replication folder, and select Configure Distribution. Proceed through the configuration process by following the wizard. Ensure that the SQL Server Agent is set to start automatically during this phase.


4. Set database permissions: In SQL Server Management Studio, expand the Security section, right-click Logins, and select New Login. Generate logins for all previously established local accounts (repl_snapshot, repl_logreader, repl_distribution, and repl_merge). These logins should be associated with users who belong to the db_owner fixed database role in both the distribution and test databases.


5. Create publication: Within SQL Server Management Studio, right-click the Replication folder and select New Publication. Follow the wizard to determine the publication type, articles to be published, and the schedule for the snapshot agent.


6. Create subscription: In the Replication folder, right-click the previously created publication and select New Subscriptions. Navigate the wizard to specify details such as Distribution agent location, Subscribers, Subscription database, Distribution agent security, Synchronization schedule, Initialization method.


7. Monitor replication: Monitor the replication process by accessing the Replication Monitor within SQL Server Management Studio. Here, you can access information regarding the status, performance, and synchronization details of the publishers, publications, and subscriptions.

Backup and restore your SQL database to ensure data security

While replication is essential for data distribution and accessibility, it's equally critical to safeguard your data. AOMEI Cyber Backup provides a robust solution for backing up your SQL databases. Regular backups serve as a safety net, ensuring that your data remains secure and recoverable in case of unforeseen events such as data corruption, hardware failures, or disasters.

AOMEI Cyber Backup offers a centralized backup and control system designed to protect all SQL Server databases within your local network. It is compatible with SQL versions from 2005 to 2022 and offers a thorough solution to secure your SQL databases, maintain data integrity, and facilitate quick recovery.

To begin, you can initiate the process by downloading and installing AOMEI Cyber Backup on your server. Feel free to explore its features with a 30-day free trial:

Download Free TrialMicrosoft SQL Server 2005-2022
Centralized and Secure SQL Backup

Before you perform a database backup, please make sure:
1. Your computer with both AOMEI Cyber Backup Agent and Microsoft SQL Server installed.
2. The local disk or network shared to store backup files.

Simple steps to perform a SQL database backup and restore

1. Access to Source Device >> Add Microsoft SQL. If the database exists and the version is supported, it will appear automatically. Otherwise, you can click Add Microsoft SQL >> Download proxy program, and install the program on the device with SQL Server installed. Then click Already installed proxy and select the proxies you want to add.


2. Click>> Authentication to validate the database instance. You can choose Windows Authentication or SQL Authentication. Enter the credentials and click Verify.


3. Click Backup Task >> Create New Task, and select Microsoft SQL Backup as your backup type.


4. Device Name: Click Device Name to select SQL instance and database for backup. You can choose the number of databases you want to backup according to your needs.


5. Backup Target: Specify a local path or network path as backup target. To back up SQL database to remote location, you could click Add a new network storage.The added path will be saved in Add storage.


6. Schedule (optional): Set up a schedule to run the SQL database backup daily/weekly/monthly, and set the backup method as Full/Incremental/Differential.


▶ Additional features of the trial version:
• Backup Cleanup: Help you to delete older backup version automatically and therefore save storage space.
• Email Notification: Enable you to receive email notifications when the task is abnormal or successful.

7. Start Backup: You can choose to Add the schedule and start backup now or Add the schedule only and click Start Backup to executeSQL server automatic backup.


8. Restore from backup: Click Backup Task on the left menu bar, locate the task you want to restore, and click >> Restore. You can specify the target location by choosing Restore to original location or Restore to new location.



SQL Server replication is a powerful tool in the arsenal of database administrators and organizations striving for efficient data management and distribution. Its importance in maintaining data integrity and availability cannot be overstated.

By understanding the types of replications, mastering the setup process, and complementing it with robust data security measures through solutions like AOMEI Cyber Backup, you can confidently navigate the intricate landscape of database management. Embrace SQL Server replication and fortify your data management strategies for a future of accessibility, consistency, and security.

Zelia · Editor
Zelia is an editor from AOMEI Technology.She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. Writing is one of her hobbies and she wants her articles to be seen by more people. In her spare time, she likes to draw and listen to music, and it is a pleasure for her to focus on her own world.