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Document ID: 829
Subject: Connecting to Firebird using ODBC
Creation date: 7/29/09 5:39 PM
Last modified on: 12/12/18 11:46 AM


Besides MySQL, Firebird is another open source database recently gaining significant momentum in the industry. The following section talks about accessing Firebird from WinSQL.

Firebird is derived from Borland InterBase 6.0 source code. It is a relational database that runs on a variety of operation systems including Windows, Linux, Solaris, BSD and other flavors of UNIX.

Download and installation

Database as well as the ODBC driver can be downloaded from The RDBMS itself has two types of architecture: Classic and SuperServer. We will be discussing the SuperServer architecture in this article. Refer to for more information about the difference between the two architectures.

Installation of the RDBMS as well as the ODBC driver is pretty straight forward. There are no configuration parameters during setup. Once the setup is complete, ensure that Firebird service is running.

Configuring the ODBC driver

In this example, we will be connecting to the Employee database that comes as an example with Firebird.

Follow the steps below to create a new DSN for firebird.

  1. Start ODBC Data Source Administrator either from within WinSQL or from the Control Panel
  2. Select the Drivers tab and ensure that Firebird/InterBase driver is listed among available driver
  3. Select either System DSN or User DSN and click Add button
  4. Pick Firebird/InterBase driver and click Finish
  5. The next screen prompts you to enter Firebird specific details and is shown below.

  6. Finally click Ok

The following table discusses some important parameters required during ODBC setup

Data Source Name: This field identifies the data source and you will see this in WinSQL's connection window.


Database: This is the most important piece of information and is often mistyped by new users. Since we are using the SuperServer architecture, this field expects a host name, TCP/IP port, and the file name representing the database. The format of this string is HostName/Port:FileName . You can omit the TCP/IP port number if the server is listening on the default port, which is 3050. For file name you can either use UNIX style or Windows style separators.

Client: Leave this blank. This is only required for embedded servers.

Database Account: This is the login ID. Try using SYSDBA, which is a pre-built account that comes with Firebird

Password: The default password for SYSDBA is masterkey

Role: Leave this blank, particularly if you are using the SYSDBA account.



Establishing Connection from WinSQL

Start WinSQL after creating the ODBC DSN. In the connection window, select your newly created DSN for Firebird.

At the time of this article, a plugin is not available for Firebird. Therefore, select Generic ODBC as the database type. If future, select Firebird if you see it in the drop down list box.

Important Concepts

Default Values

Following table lists values for some important parameters in Firebird database.

TCP/IP Port: 3050


Password: masterkey

System database name: None - all system tables are stored in the user database


The built-in login account in Firebird is SYSDBA with password masterkey. All security related information is stored in a special database called "security2.fdb". Firebird does not provide any programmatic access to this database from ODBC. Therefore, you cannot run SQL queries to modify existing users or add new ones.

Firebird comes with a command line utility to manage users called "gsec.exe", which is located in the Bin folder. You could also use the ODBC Driver setup screen to manage users. Click the Services button in Firebird ODBC setup screen and then click the Users tab.

More further information about security in Firebird, refer to

Creating new database

Databases in Firebird are embedded in a single file. The path of this file must be provided as part of the host name in the DSN setup. There are a couple of ways to create a new database:

  1. Using the isql utility that comes with Firebird
  2. Submitting a SQL query from WinSQL

We recommend that you use the "isql" utility to create a new database. The reason is that from WinSQL you always connect to the database specified in the DSN. To switch to a different DB, you must change the DSN to point to a different file. Unlike MySQL, Firebird does not allow a client running dynamic SQL to switch database. Although, a CONNECT command is available, it only works from the isql utility.


Following is a list of common error messages and their solution

Message: Your user name and password are not defined. Ask you database administrator to set up a Firebird login

Solution: Add a desired user to ensure that user ID / password is correct.



User comments

Posted by Martin on 2/20/13 4:45 AM

I have the same Problem as ezekiel mbori and francisco. Please help me ;-)

Posted by ezekiel mbori on 6/30/12 2:21 AM

Want to connect to firebird database from MS SQL LINKED SERVERS. How do i go about it.

Posted by francisco on 5/7/12 10:24 AM

windows server 2008: after odbc instalation, Idid a test conection, so I had post error "open database (namedb.fdb) failed". windows XP: after odbc instalation, Idid a test conection, so I had connection successful. I think that this problem from windows server 2008. Can you help-me? Thanks.

Posted by ashish ojha on 7/1/19 5:04 AM

Please provide me steps to setup window auth with client application with "Firebird-". I am trying but unable. Also how i can configure windows auth with "Database Workbench Pro 5".

Posted by AugSoft on 9/27/11 8:16 PM

Great article! We recommend this for people connecting to Firebird SQL 2.5 from an iPad, iPhone or other iOS device using our SDK (

Posted by Nattcho on 3/27/14 2:07 AM

Thanks a lot it was very usuful

Posted by Edison on 5/18/11 9:59 PM

Hi there, just like George Sideris, im also encountering database opening failure. Here is the situation, I have 2 instances of Firebird Server in the services. First is Firebird 2.1, running under port number 3050. Second is Firebird 2.5, running under port number 3055. Now, I wanted to connect to the second firebird server(port 3055), through ODBC. I followede the instructions above which is to put "localhost/3055:C:\..\db.fdb". But still a failure. Any help will be highly appreciated. Thanks a bunch.

Posted by shafiq on 8/31/16 1:45 PM

Visit this I have uploaded a working Ms access with firebird backend

Posted by Bruce on 8/15/11 6:29 PM

Edison, the probable reason you are having problems is that the Firebird driver you are using is for Firebird 2.0 and will not enable a link to 2.1 or 2.5, I am having the same problem (the link worked perfectly with 2.0 but stopped working when the database was upgraded to 2.1). There doesn't seem to be a new driver in the public domain yet.

Posted by George Sideris on 12/23/10 9:12 PM

Cannot connect to firebird with ODBC driver as installed from above Test Connection Gives message Open database (mydb) failed OS is W7 also same problem with SBS 2003

Posted by Chiranjeevi on 11/3/11 8:01 AM

Could someone tell me Why ODBC should be connected to Firebird database.I want to access tables and query from "c:\program files\Droster\Droster.gdb" which employee scheduling software.I am connecting this .gdb files from console even though not connected in ODBC configuration,please help me out

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