Quick Overview:
The .NET Ecosystem provides numerous tools and technologies that help to build futuristic business solutions. And .NET Framework and .NET Core are the primary development technologies under it. When selecting one among them, the question always arises: “Which is better between .NET Framework vs .NET Core?”.

The confusion between the .NET framework and .NET Core is still going on. But now, you can know the difference between them and better. So, let’s get started by understanding the basics.

Brief To .NET Framework and .NET Core 

Before you dive into the difference between .NET Framework and .NET Core, first, we must understand their basics.

.NET Framework is a software development technology developed by Microsoft to build Windows-oriented applications. You can effortlessly download it from the official Microsoft website in a single file containing all the libraries, scripts, and other development tools. In addition, it also includes services, database connectivity, APIs, and interface-building components.

Further, you can utilize the .NET framework using containerization technology, such as Docker. And if any of your current .NET framework-based application requires upgradation, you can do it by writing a new service in ASP.NET.

Additionally, the .NET framework provides the following technological advantages, which are not available in .NET Core:

  • ASP.NET WPA (Web Page Applications)
  • ASP.NET WFA (Web Form Applications)
  • WCF Configuration and Implementation
  • WCF Data Services
  • Windows Workflow Foundation
  • WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation)
  • Windows Form

Besides, there are some situations when .NET Framework would not be a reliable technology, including:

  • When you need a cross-platform compatible application
  • When more speed and performance are required
  • When open-source development technology is required

However, .NET Core framework can help you in all situations where the .NET framework doesn’t fulfill the project needs. .NET Core is also a Microsoft product released after the .NET framework. The primary aim of developing it was to provide developers the leverage of using .NET potential to create cross-platform functioning applications.

.NET Core is quite different from the .NET framework. It’s an open-source technology that runs on Linux, Windows, and macOS machines. In addition, it enables to build web-based and mobile applications. You can prefer .NET Core for projects with the following requirements: 

  • A multi-platform functioning application is required. 
  • Speed is the primary concern of the project 
  • The client requires a microservices architecture 
  • Open-source development technology is needed for more flexibility
  • You require CLI (command line interface) to control the operations

.NET Core VS .NET Framework: Differential Factors

It would be best to focus on the factors below to differentiate between .NET Framework and .NET Core. All the mentioned aspects are used by experts while selecting technology for development. Thus, once you undergo the differentiation, you will also gain a clear insight into the necessary technology. 

  • Platform Compatibility
  • Speed and Performance
  • Device Compatibility
  • License Type
  • Microsoft Support
  • Security
  • Types of Applications
  • Shipping and Packaging
  • Microservices Support

Platform Compatibility 

Regarding platform compatibility, .NET Core is considered better due to its compatibility with Windows, Linux, and macOS. In comparison, the .NET framework is only accessible on a Windows machine. 

Developing an application using .NET Core will run on all the major Windows, macOS, and Linux-based devices. However, .NET framework-based applications will only run on a Windows system. Thus, due to cross-platform compatibility, .NET Core is preferred by organizations.

Speed and Performance 

In the rapidly evolving industry, everyone needs a high-performing application that can execute requests within a minimal time. 

From an expert’s perspective, .NET Core is faster than the .NET Framework. With the introduction of ASP.NET Core, developers can accelerate application speed by 5x to 7x. In addition, .NET Core is the latest release, aligns with advanced standards, and is lightweight. Due to all such reasons, its code gets effortlessly compiled, providing appropriate outputs within minimal time to all end-users. 

Device Compatibility

When developing applications for devices with different operating systems, .NET Core effortlessly wins. You can utilize it for creating mobile, desktop, and IoT applications for Windows, Linux, and macOS-based devices. Whereas .NET Framework only allows development for Windows devices. 

In addition, .NET Core offers leverage to use machine learning and artificial intelligence in the application for better optimization. 

License Type

The dotnet vs dotnet core entirely contrasts in terms of license type. Where .NET Core is available as an open-source development technology, the .NET framework is under the proprietary control of Microsoft. 

In addition, only a few components of the .NET framework come under open-source license. Due to such factors, .NET Core is highly flexible, as you can customize it more efficiently per requirements. But, for .NET framework development, you need to rely on the scope of Microsoft and its standards.

Microsoft Support 

You will get Microsoft support for both if you select .NET Core or .NET Framework. You can expect the following support from Microsoft: 

  • Resolution to crash reports 
  • Security patches 
  • Bug fixing updates 
  • New version to support additional operating systems and devices 
  • Resolution for performance issues

In addition, Microsoft categorizes its support as long-term and standard, in which 36 months and 18 months of support are provided simultaneously. It depends on the version of .NET Core and .NET Framework, which decides whether you will get LTS (Long Term Support) or STS (Standards Term Support).


Data and code security are the two primary concerns regarding software development. Both .NET Core and .NET Framework are considered secure technologies. However, the .NET framework leads from .NET Core, as it provides Code Access Security or CAS. 

CAS is an advanced security mechanism that restricts the code from accessing core OS files, executing reflection, and more. Due to this, a user with high privilege gets prevented from performing malicious activity. 

Therefore, in terms of security, the .NET framework wins the competition. 

Types of Applications

Nowadays, everyone prefers a different application, such as mobile and web-based. Also, each user’s device’s operating system differs, creating an extended list of user requirements. To fulfill all such needs, .NET Core is a reliable choice. It allows the creation of cross-platform compatible mobile applications using Xamarin. 

But, if you want to create a desktop application for a Windows machine, then the .NET framework can help you. It works seamlessly on Windows and aids in aligning the app with the operating system’s standards. 

Shipping and Packaging 

You can download the .NET Framework and .NET Core from Microsoft’s official website. 

The .NET Framework is available as a single file, which you must download and install on your computer system. In addition, all essential libraries are also bundled with the .NET Framework. Contrastingly, .NET Core gets shipped as a NuGet package collection. 

Microservices Support

With the development and maintenance of complex systems, microservices architecture is getting used highly. You can also use it with .NET Core but not with .NET Framework. 

In addition, when you see a company offering .NET application development services with microservices, it’s referring to .NET Core. And you can opt for it, as it allows you to update a single application component without impacting the others in sync. Thus, .NET Core helps in increasing the uptime and data availability. 

.NET Core vs .NET Framework – The Difference Table

Differential Basis.NET Core.NET Framework
Definition .NET Core is a platform that offers the foundation for creating applications using technologies such as ASP.NET.It’s a framework that gets downloaded with all required components and libraries to develop software.
Source Type By default, a lightweight CLI is provided for all the operations.A few components are open-source; the rest work as per Microsoft’s policies and procedures.
Platform Compatibility  Compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOSCompatible with the Windows operating system
Packaging and Installation Open-source, making it more flexible for customization.You can seamlessly download and install it as a complete package of all development libraries.
Security LevelIt is not applicable to developing desktop applications. It enables the creation of only web and mobile software.More secure due to the availability of Code Access Security.
Application DevelopmentNot applicable to developing desktop applications. It enables the creation of only web and mobile software.Can only build Windows desktop applications using it.
Performance 5 to 7 times faster than .NET framework software.Provides modular speed and performance.
Microservices SupportEnables to build microservices architecture backend for efficient maintenance.It doesn’t support microservices.
CLI-based Tools It is less secure, as Code Access Security needs to be provided. It comes with a heavy CLI, providing all the necessary tools.

When to Choose .NET Core and .NET Framework?

Points to Consider for .NET Core:

  1. If your project necessitates the development of a microservices-based architecture, .NET Core is a suitable choice.
  2. When targeting multiple operating systems (Windows, Linux, macOS), .NET Core is preferred. Its cross-platform support allows you to reach a broader audience and deploy applications to various environments.
  3. If your project heavily relies on CLI tools, .NET Core should be favored. It offers robust command-line capabilities, making it well-suited for tasks like automation and scripting.
  4. When starting a new project from scratch, it’s advisable to use .NET Core. Microsoft has positioned .NET Core and its successors (e.g., .NET 5 and later .NET 6) as the future of .NET development, making it a forward-looking choice.
  5. If your project demands high performance and scalability, .NET Core offers significant performance improvements over the older .NET Framework, making it a preferable option for performance-critical applications.

Points to Consider for .NET Framework:

  1. If you have existing applications built on the .NET Framework, maintaining compatibility with those applications may necessitate the use of the .NET Framework. Migrating such applications to .NET Core can be a complex and time-consuming process.
  2. When your application is intended to run exclusively on Windows, the .NET Framework is a viable choice. It provides deep integration with Windows features and services.
  3. If your application relies on Windows-specific functionalities that are not available in .NET Core, such as Windows Forms, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), or ASP.NET Web Forms, using the .NET Framework is necessary.
  4. The .NET Framework offers a wide range of built-in services, including memory management, security, networking, data structures, and more. If your project heavily depends on these services, it may be more convenient to use the .NET Framework.

How To Avail .NET Application Development Services? 

Nowadays, .NET has been a trending choice between organizations for developing their business solutions. And the best way of building such an application is through a .NET development agency. But, you must ensure that your chosen firm is reliable and trusted, such as Positiwise Software Pvt Ltd. 

If you want to avail top-notch .NET development services, follow the below steps: 

  • 1: Assure the company provides both .NET and .NET Core development services. 
  • 2: Review the client feedback, portfolio, and pricing models. 
  • 3: Discuss your requirements with the company and get a cost and time quotation. 
  • 4: Test the skills of their .NET developers. 
  • 5: Analyze the data security standards of the firm. 
  • 6: Sign the NDA and initiate the project. 

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Conclusion: .NET Framework VS .NET Core – Which One To Choose? 

.NET Framework and .NET Core are the primary technologies most professionals consider for developing business applications. Both are the products of Microsoft but offer contrasting features and functionalities.

When looking to hire .NET Core developers, ensure they understand that .NET Core can run on any Linux, Windows, and macOS platform, whereas .NET Framework is only compatible with Windows OS. In addition, .NET Core aids in curating web-based and mobile apps. On the other hand, the .NET framework enables the creation of desktop applications. Also, .NET Core is faster and supports microservices but is less secure than the framework. Experienced .NET Core developers will be knowledgeable about these key differences between .NET Core and Framework.

Therefore, if you need a desktop app only for Windows machines, then choose the .NET framework. Otherwise, .NET Core will be the most appropriate choice.

Parag Mehta

Verified Expert in Software & Web App Engineering

Parag Mehta, the CEO and Founder of Positiwise Software Pvt Ltd has extensive knowledge of the development niche. He is implementing custom strategies to craft highly-appealing and robust applications for its clients and supporting employees to grow and ace the tasks. He is a consistent learner and always provides the best-in-quality solutions, accelerating productivity.

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