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So I have a SQL Server 2016 instance running a mission critical workload. I want to install an SSL/TLS (publicly signed) certificate into the server, and enable encryption.

But I don't want to incur any downtime during this process. I am worried that when I deploy the certificate and enable encryption, this will cause downtime of some kind - either by requiring a restart of the server, or it will somehow cause existing non-encrypted connections from applications to begin failing.

So really hoping to get some guidance from a SQL Server expert on what to do to avoid downtime when enabling SSL encryption on the server. I am OK with not setting the server to require encryption on all connections.

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You can install a SSL/TLS TCP reverse proxy. Then instruct clients to use that machine. Limit the access to non-SSL port via firewall. This should be possible with haproxy.

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