.NET Core vs. .NET Framework: What’s the Difference and is One Better?

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.NET Core vs. .NET Framework: What’s the Difference and is One Better?

The application development field is intricate, necessitating an assortment of abilities and knowledge. Developers utilize many diverse platforms to design application software. .NET Core and .NET Framework are popular platforms developers use to develop different software applications.

.NET Core is an open-source software development framework created by Microsoft. With .NET Core, developers can integrate modern UWP interfaces into Windows Forms, utilize third-party editors like Emacs and VI, and deploy .NET Core apps in containers. As the older platform, .NET Framework has an easy learning curve, provides a stable environment to work in, and does not have continuous upgrades and changes as with .NET Core.

Choosing one over the other can be daunting, especially if you have yet to gain prior experience with any of the two platforms. This comparison will explore the differences between .NET Core and .NET Framework to help you decide which suits your next project.

Let’s jump right into what sets these two apart!

.NET Core vs. .NET Framework: Side-by-Side Comparison

.NET Core.NET Framework
Release DateJune 27th, 2016February 13th, 2002
Cross-Platform Support?Yes, it supports Windows, macOS, and LinuxNo, it only supports Windows
Open-Source?YesNot fully open source though some components are
Deployment ModelSelf-contained or framework-dependent deploymentFramework-dependent deployment
Application TypesWeb applications, command-line tools, and microservicesDesktop applications, web applications, and services
Development EnvironmentCommand-line interface (CLI) and Visual Studio CodeIntegrated Development Environment (IDE) such as Visual Studio
Compatibility with Existing ApplicationsLimited compatibility may require some modification or recompilationHigh compatibility, can run existing applications without modification
API SurfaceSmaller but growingLarger and more mature
Performance and Scalability  Highly scalable and performs better than .NET FrameworkLess scalable and has lower performance compared to .NET Core
Security?Does not Include a Code Access Security featureHas Code Access security feature
Cloud and Web DevelopmentASP.NET CoreASP.NET Web Forms, MVC, and Web API 

.NET Core vs. .NET Framework: What’s the Difference?

While Microsoft develops both platforms, they have significant differences that set them apart. Since .NET Core is open-source, it is highly compatible with almost all operating systems, giving it an advantage over .NET Framework, which mainly works with Windows. .NET Core is the improved version of .NET Framework that works well with modern apps.

Let’s break down the differences in detail.


.NET Core is compatible with different operating systems, including Linux, Windows, and macOS, giving it an edge over .NET Framework. Businesses can use this framework to develop applications on whichever platform they use. Unlike the traditional .NET Framework, which only works with Windows, the .NET Core architecture can work on all platforms.  

Enterprises can deploy the .NET Core for their web development services regardless of the operating systems they use. Due to its open-source nature, most developers find .NET Core an ideal choice in application development. Its impressive performance also contributes to its wide use and popularity. .NET Framework is quite restrictive because it only supports web services, websites, and apps on Windows OS. This means any business that does not operate on Windows operating system cannot use this framework for software development.


Performance is a critical area of consideration when deploying a new framework. You want a top-performing system that will help you optimize your work. Additionally, a highly scalable framework is crucial so you can upscale as your needs grow.

.NET Core stands out in performance and scalability contests, delivering up to 13 times the speed compared to .NET Framework. Its modular design allows for a more streamlined and optimized runtime. This explains why it is the go-to platform for developers looking for a high-performance system.  

If your system development involves microservices architecture, Microsoft recommends the ASP.NET Core framework because of its optimal performance. Another factor that can impact performance is the deployment process. .NET Framework requires the installation of a large runtime on the target machine. In contrast, developers can deploy .NET Core as a self-contained application, which includes the necessary runtime components. This can lead to faster startup times and a smaller memory footprint for .NET Core applications.

With the newer versions of .NET C ore focusing on performance, we expect an even better performance and smooth workflows on .NET Core.

Deployment Model

.NET Core has a flexible deployment model which allows instant updates of newer versions in the machine without affecting the performance of existing applications. Users can also use the new app bundling tools to deploy the .NET Core framework in apps that need isolation without interfering with the other apps.

On the other hand, .NET Framework only allows the deployment of web applications on the Internet Information Server. .NET Core edges out .NET Framework through its hosting flexibility. For instance, if you are running an e-commerce business and looking to develop an application to automate your processes, then .NET Core is a great option. This language can help you create an app compatible with all devices and operating systems. It gives you access to different tools and languages for quality app development. You can use SQL Servers for backend development and develop the user interface with HTML, JavaScript, and CSS to get an intuitive application that will make your business run smoothly and efficiently.

Virtualization software digital technology computer PC
.NET Core has more hosting flexibility than .NET Framework.



When choosing between the two platforms, you must establish whether they are open-source or proprietary. .NET Core is open-source, meaning the source code is available for redistribution and modification. Developers can customize and modify .NET Core to suit their needs and requirements. They can also contribute to the source code of .NET Core, making it a more flexible and adaptable framework. .NET Framework, on the other hand, is mainly proprietary and released under Microsoft Reference Source License. However, it has few free, open-source components.


Both .NET Core and .NET Framework are secure, and Microsoft has prioritized security for both platforms. However, their approach to security is quite different.

.NET Framework includes a Code Access Security contained in the Windows security model for improved security. Microsoft updates the Code Access Security with the latest security patches, making the system impenetrable and safe from malicious activities. Code Access Security is available in all .NET Frameworks versions, and it’s implemented through a shared infrastructure. Although .NET Core lacks Microsoft’s proprietary Code Access Security, it employs a flexible and robust security framework to secure its applications.

.NET Core vs. .NET Framework: 6 Must-Know Facts

  • Microsoft developed both platforms to aid in the development of web applications.
  • .NET Core is an updated version of .NET Framework, featuring high scalability, performance, and cross-platform capabilities.
  • .NET Core is fully open-source, while .NET Framework is proprietary with limited open-source components.
  • .NET Framework was released in 2002, while .NET Core came in 2016.
  • Both .Net Core and .Net Framework platforms support Windows and Windows Server.
  • .NET Core is more flexible, making it suitable for modern apps.

.NET Core vs. .NET Framework: Which One Should You Use?

When choosing between .NET Core and .NET Framework, there are multiple factors to consider. The superior option is .NET Core to create modern, cross-platform applications. It boasts outstanding performance, scalability, and security features and is lightweight and open-source. It is suitable for creating cloud-native applications because it supports containerization and microservices architecture.

On the other hand, the .NET Framework is still an excellent option if you need to create new Windows-only applications or if you already have any current ones. It offers a vast selection of third-party libraries and tools and has a more extensive ecosystem with improved backward compatibility. Its future is uncertain as Microsoft switches its focus to .NET 6 and beyond, and it is not as lightweight or efficient as .NET Core.

The decision between .NET Core and .NET Framework ultimately comes down to your needs and requirements. So, you should assess the demands of your project and select the platform that best satisfies them, taking into account elements like performance, security, compatibility, and development flexibility.

.NET Core vs. .NET Framework: What’s the Difference and is One Better? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the difference between .NET Core and .NET Framework?

.NET Core is an open-source, cross-platform framework for developing modern apps. It’s lighter and more modular than the .NET Framework, with a lower footprint and faster performance. The .NET Framework, on the other hand, has been around since 2002 and is a mature, Windows-only framework.



Which is better: .NET Core or .NET Framework?

This depends on your unique application. The.NET Framework might be a better option if you need to create a Windows-only application or employ legacy technologies. Similarly, if you want to create a modern, cross-platform application with improved performance, .NET, Core is probably preferable.

Is .NET Core backward-compatible with .NET Framework?

NET Framework 4.5 and later versions are backward-compatible with apps created with previous versions of the .NET Framework. In other words, programs and components built with prior versions will run without modification on .NET Framework 4.5 and later versions.


Is .NET Core faster than .NET Framework?

Yes, .NET Core is generally quicker than .NET Framework. Because .NET Core is intended to be lighter and more modular than .NET Framework, it can perform better in many situations. Your unique use case and implementation will determine the precise performance difference.

Can you migrate from .NET Framework to .NET Core?

Microsoft provides a tool called the .NET Portability Analyzer that assists you in determining whether your code is compatible with .NET Core. If your code is compatible, you can port it to the new Framework and migrate it to .NET Core.


Can .NET Core and .NET Framework coexist on the same machine?

NET Core installations are independent of the .NET Framework version, so you can install both .NET Core and .NET Framework on the same machine without issues. In fact, you can run different versions of .NET Core on the same system simultaneously.


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