Connecting to Report Server

Sometimes, people that have been working with a technology for a while assume that something is so obvious, they don’t feel it needs explaining. This means that those who are trying to wrap their heads around something for the first time could be missing a crucial step. They could be staring at the interface feeling like an idiot because it must be something really simple.

I had this when I was first trying out Report Builder. I was fine using it on demo environments where everything was already configured. But when it came to building my own demo environment from scratch, I hit a major snag: connecting to the Report Server. When you turn on Report Builder for the first time, there’s a message at the bottom saying that there’s no current report server, along with a link to Connect.

There are a lot of things for which you need to be connected to an instance of SQL Server running SSRS. Lots of articles, blogs and guidance on doing those things have a note that if you’re not connected to a report server, you’ll have to connect. That sounds simple enough. You click the connect button, choose the server and all should be good. Right?

When you click connect, you get a new menu asking you to enter the name of the server, or choose it from a list of recently connected servers. Again, this seems simple enough. After all, I’d only just installed SQL Server so I knew what it was called.

I entered in the server name, clicked connect. And… waited. After quite a while of it trying to connect, I got an error message telling me it couldn’t connect.

There was no option to browse to find the server. I tried entering the directory location of the server. I tried the name of the database. I checked that I’d not mistyped anything. And when I searched online for guidance, I just found instructions for doing other things that included a helpful instruction telling me to connect to my report server. None of them told me how.

Eventually, I overcame my embarrassment at missing something that should be easy, and went to one of my co-workers for advice. There’s a URL for the web services of the report server.

If you have access to the machine where SSRS is installed, you can open up the Reporting Services Configuration Manager. One of the menus is Web Service URL.

This gives you the URL you need, but you can work it out as follows.

http://<machine name>/ReportServer_<SQL Server instance name>

If you enter this in an internet browser, you get to a directory of the elements published to Reporting Services. If you enter this is the Connect dialog in Report Builder, you get the connection you need.

Hopefully this post will prevent someone else from staring at their screen for ages feel silly for missing something obvious.

Comments (35)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you!

  2. Agreed w/ James, this is good stuff!

  3. James G - says:

    Hi Jessica, I spend over 6 hours trying different connections and searching for solutions as you did at one time. I never put "reportServer" in the path. That did the trick. I am soooooooo thankful !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

  4. Eileen McKanzi says:

    Thank you so much Jessica. So helpful for me…

  5. Carlos says:

    Thanks a lot!

    I "only" spend one hour trying to make the connection,

    before I found your post!

    great, thanks a lot!

  6. J says:

    Hey Jessica

    My problem came after I added the correct url because it still said it was unable to connect. Any ideas?    

  7. Collins Muthama says:

    I spent days researching on that issue. Thank you so much

  8. christ3 says:

    Works like a charm… thanks

  9. Kirill says:

    Thank You, Jessie!

    Awara IT Solutions Russia

  10. Kirill says:

    Thank You, Jessie!

    Awara IT Solutions Russia

  11. artistdedigital says:

    Thanks heaps…seriously I can not thank you enough…have been trying to solve this problem since morning…and now its 7:29 PM….my weekend starts now…hahahahahahaha…cheers Jess…

  12. hassan says:

    Thank you so much Jessica,

    It works with me, exactly as you discribed

    Really appreciated.

  13. Efrain Melendez says:

    You Rock!!!!

  14. Coa says:

    This is really good article…Unfortunately I found this after I found solution by myself(few days spent for nothing)…

  15. J Bricks says:

    thank you thank you. I’ve just spent 45 minutes banging my head against a wall until I found your article.
    I’m sure everyone appreciates your guidance in plain simple to understand language!

  16. J Bricks says:

    thank you thank you. I’ve just spent 45 minutes banging my head against a wall until I found your article.
    I’m sure everyone appreciates your guidance in plain simple to understand language!

  17. tanveer says:

    Hi Jessica.,,, I have spend more then 5 days just trying to get this connected. Thank you for the share.

  18. ali says:

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I appreciate it a lot.

  19. eli says:

    tnx a lot honye
    good luck

  20. Manuela says:

    Hi, Thanks you resolved my first problem, after I had another and I have to verify the user and password in the properties of the DataSource ‘Credentials stored securely in the report server’ and ok. Thanks!!! you solution one of my troubles. Colombia-Bogot谩

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thanks You for this blog entry. Saved ma a ton of time!

  22. A says:

    Very helpful. Thanks for sharing

  23. Yasser says:

    i think people like you should make them a statue of gold.

    thanks alot 馃檪

  24. Umesh Bhavsar says:

    Thanks a lot. Nicely covered detailed info. Very helpful.

  25. Johan says:

    Thank you very much , spend some time trying to figure out how to solve this. Much appriciated.

  26. LeeQ says:

    Thank you so much for your clear and understanding article. I was at the point of pulling out my hair (if I had any) over this one particular issue. I scoured the web looking for a simple explanation. Thank you!

  27. Diana says:

    Muchas gracias por tu ayuda.

  28. Islam Sharaf says:

    1- Right click on server name in Management studio
    2- in General Tab select URL and paste it in your path

  29. rory says:

    Thank you so much! Missed the underscore and it was driving me nuts!

  30. sue says:

    Thank you so much- you rule!
    PS: Top tip, don’t accidentally use the URL from "Report Manager URL" in RS config, you need the one from "Web Service URL", asclearly stated in the instructions above! I spent ages re-starting things & faffing about with user accounts, and had just picked
    up wrong URL. Must learnt to read instructions properly.

  31. ComputersSuk says:

    Copied the URL from the server.>Configuration Manager. Just can’t get it to Connect. Maddening!

  32. John M says:

    This did it.
    Thank you so very much!!!
    Elegantly explained, too.

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  34. Steve says:

    Thanks for this. Getting Reporting Services running in SQL Express 2014 has been one of the more arduous projects I’ve done in awhile. You have the top slot on this question. Well deserved.

  35. Chad says:

    I agree with Steve. Arduous is the word. I cannot see anything remotely like this anywhere. Now that you have told us the real address I just noticed that it is appears as the Virtual Directory when Viewing connection properties when logged into the Report
    Server. The latest saga which I think it is somehow related to the connection is Report Builder crashes (stops working) due to some unspecified reason. However when I open as Administrator it works okay and your advice is brilliant. Maybe I don’t have the
    right access set for non admin user.

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