Although it's the birthplace of spam, the Internet has many redeeming qualities. Sometimes when you're stumped by a SQL Server problem, you can use the Internet to find information and solutions. Not all advice is good advice, but the Web provides a way for you to post questions and exchange ideas with other SQL Server professionals. Here are links to seven of the best online SQL Server discussion groups.

7. PASS Forums


The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) user-group Web site hosts discussion forums about topics including data warehousing, Data Transformation Services (DTS), and replication. Although many areas of this site require membership, the forum content is open to the public. You can peruse the PASS online forums at http://www.sqlpass.org/forums.

6. Tek-Tips Forum


Another active online forum is the Tek-Tips forum. Although this site displays only 10 threads per page, it offers a keyword search of the site's online content. You can find the SQL Server Tek-Tips forum at http://www.tek-tips.com/gthreadminder.cfm/lev2/4/lev3/27/pid/183.

5. SQL Server Central


Forums on the SQL Server Central site run the gamut of SQL Server topics, including forums for administration, DTS, security, and certification. This site also offers an email-based discussion list. You can access the SQL Server Central discussion forums at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/forum.

4. DevX Discussion Forum


For development discussions, the DevX site provides a general discussion forum. The forum isn't broken into specific groups, so it's hard to navigate, but the discussions can be a good source for development information. You can post to the DevX discussion forum at http://news.devx.com/cgi-bin/dnewsweb.exe?cmd=xover&group=database.sqlserver.general.

3. Public Newsgroup


When you're searching the Web for SQL Server answers, one of the first places you should go is the public SQL Server newsgroup. This is an active group that has many notable participants. You can access the public SQL Server newsgroup by pointing your newsreader to comp.databases.ms-sqlserver.

2. SQL Server Magazine Discussion Forums


Naturally, SQL Server Magazine offers discussion forums about topics relating to SQL Server 2000, 7.0, and 6.5. These forums include discussion groups for nearly all SQL Server topics and include performance, security, OLAP, and DTS. The site also includes a link to T-SQL forums. You can find the SQL Server Magazine forums at http://www.sqlmag.com/forums.

1. Microsoft Newsgroups


Microsoft provides 16 public SQL Server newsgroups through which you can interact with other SQL Server professionals. The root newsgroup for the public SQL Server forums is microsoft.public.sqlserver, and the news server is msnews.microsoft.com. If you have a Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscription, you can access Microsoft managed newsgroups at http://msdn.microsoft.com/newsgroups/managed.