.NET Core vs .NET Framework- A Comprehensive Analysis

.NET Core vs. .NET Framework

As a business entrepreneur or software developer, choosing the right framework for building applications is important to ensure smooth and streamlined development. The two most popular frameworks that have gained attention are .NET Core and .NET Framework. These two frameworks are widely used for building applications but have different features, compatibility, benefits, and drawbacks. On the one hand, .NET Core is a cross-platform framework that provides better performance and scalability, whereas .NET Framework has an extensive pre-built components library. Like this, there are many differences that make it crucial to select the right one based on your project details, requirements, scope, and scalability. Your choice of the right framework not only helps you develop your applications successfully but also impacts their smoothness and functionality. To choose the right one, the most important thing is to understand their differences. In this blog, we will make a comprehensive analysis of the .NET Core vs. .NET Framework to help you make informed decisions.

What is .NET Core and .NET Framework?

.NET Framework is a development framework used to build and run applications on just windows devices. This framework of Microsoft was developed in 2002 to create desktop, web, and mobile applications, but only for Windows-based systems. .NET framework has an easy-to-use OOP Environment and interface, which makes development tasks much easier. It offers various tools, programming languages, and libraries to build functional and user-friendly applications. Its biggest demerit is it is close source with only certain components as open source. This gave rise to the need for .NET Core.

.NET Core is a free and open-source framework for creating modern, cloud-enabled web and desktop applications that can run on Mac OS, Linux, and Windows Operating systems. This high-performance framework, which Microsoft maintained, was released in 2016 as a successor to the .NET Framework. The main purpose of making .NET was to achieve cross-platform compatibility, scalability, and the ability to run on different platforms and devices such as Windows, macOS, and Linux.

.NET Core vs. .NET Framework - Understanding the Key Differences

To choose the right framework, it's crucial to understand its differences to find out which one aligns with your project’s requirements and scope. Have a look at a few differences between .NET Core vs. .NET Framework:

Open Source

.NET Core

It is a fully open-source framework that encourages community contributions and transparency. This means developers can build applications using .NET without paying any license fees.

.NET Framework

.NET is licensed software, which means it is a closed-source framework with only a few components as open source.

Cross Platform Compatibility

.NET Core

It is fully compatible with multiple devices and operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, and Linux. This means the applications you develop using .NET core will work on all Windows, Linux, and macOS-based devices, making them more versatile and scalable.

.NET Framework

Contrary to .NET Core, .NET Framework is accessible only on Windows devices and can run only on Windows systems. This limitation makes it suitable only for applications that are proposed to run on Windows only.

Performance and Scalability

.NET Core

In the fast-paced world, you have to make an application that is high-performing, robust, and scalable, and can execute requests in less time. .NET Core is the perfect choice as it is faster than .NET Framework due to its microservices architecture. The innovation of ASP.NET Core further increased the application's speed from 5x to 7x. It allows you to create lightweight applications that align with modern workloads and offer better results. Using .NET Core, you can create, test, and deploy applications directly on the cloud infrastructure

.NET Framework

.NET Framework also offers good performance but is far behind .NET Core as it's not optimized for high-performance scenarios like .NET Core. It does not offer much speed, scalability, or flexibility, which decreases its performance.

Application Models

.NET Core

The .NET Core application model includes ASP.NET Core, console applications, Windows Universal Apps, and cross-platform libraries. However, its disadvantage is that it is useful for building web apps and not desktop apps, as it does not support desktop application development. It mainly focuses on the web, Windows Store, and Windows Mobile.

.NET Framework

The .NET Framework supports a range of application models, including Windows Forms, Windows Presentation Foundation, WCF (Windows Communication Foundation), and ASP.NET. It is used for creating web applications as well as desktop applications, as it supports WPF applications and Windows forms.


.NET Core

.NET Core is a cross-platform framework that needs to be packaged and installed independently. You have to install it on your underlying operating system and add modules as per your needs. It requires Nuget packages compiled directly into an application or a folder inside the application.

.NET Framework

.NET Framework needs installation as a single package with a runtime environment for the Windows operating system. The runtime environment includes everything, including all the components you need for application development.

Deployment Model

.NET Core

.NET Core is more flexible in deployment. Whenever a new version of .NET Core becomes available, it instantly updates the framework in new directories or folders of existing programs without causing any disturbance. It provides faster deployment of ASP.NET Core applications directly in the cloud. It also allows you to self-host the applications by creating a private hosting process and deploying them there directly.

.NET Framework

The .NET Framework, being a closed source, is a Windows-only framework that is less flexible in deployment. According to the version of the .NET Framework installed on the machine, you can deploy web applications only on an internet information server first. After that, each program needs to be manually updated by the person to keep everything up to date.

Library Collection

.NET Core

The .NET library offers multiple ready-to-use components that allow you to add more features to applications using customizable elements. It has robust class libraries along with CoreCLR, the common redesigned language runtime that allows you to choose and use the required libraries only for the respective application development.

.NET Framework

.NET framework allows you to utilize built-in class libraries and tools like Visual Studio to facilitate basic functions like graphic rendering, file writing or reading, DB integration, etc. These libraries allow you to create high-performance apps that offer enhanced user experience.

Mobile Development

.NET Core

.NET Core is compatible with open-source mobile app platforms like Xamarin and other open-source platforms via .NET Standard Library. You can use its Xamarin tools to configure and customize mobile apps to devices such as iOS, Android, and Windows phones.

.NET Framework

.NET Framework does not support any strong tools or frameworks for mobile app development at all, which is its biggest drawback. Therefore, it is not useful for building mobile apps.

Security Features

.NET Core

In terms of security, .NET Core does not have features like Code Access Security, which makes it less secure than .NET Framework. However, it use some flexible security measures.

.NET Framework

It has code access security features as well as a Windows security model to keep the environment safe and secure.

Microservices and Rest Services

.NET Core

.NET Core supports both microservices and rest services. You can develop and implement microservices using REST API and can personalize them with different technologies and languages.

.NET Framework

.NET Framework does not support microservices' development and deployment but supports REST API services. This makes it less efficient in terms of scalability and performance.

CLI Tools

.NET Core

.NET Core provides lightweight CLI, editors, and command line tools along with a choice to switch to an integrated development environment (IDE).

.NET Framework

It is heavy for CLI, and most developers prefer working on CLI instead of IDE. Moreover, it features CLI tools, which means programs can be translated into Common Intermediate Language code instead of machine mode.

Which One should you choose?

Choose .NET Core when:

  • You develop cross-platform applications for various operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  • Need flexibility to use tools and third-party editors to enhance functionality
  • Seek support for microservices architecture
  • Need a scalable, flexible, and high-performance system
  • Your project requires CLI tools
  • Executes various .NET versions on the same server

Choose .NET Framework when:

  • You are building an application for Windows only
  • Applications are simple and already running on .NET Framework
  • Your project requires third-party.NET libraries or NuGet packages
  • Your application depends on Windows-specific functionalities
  • Your project needs functionalities like WCF, web forms, ASP.NET Web forms, workflow, etc.
  • Working with applications that need a solid and mature support system


By now, you must have understood the differences between .NET Core and .NET Framework. To ensure the proper functionality and success of your applications, it's crucial to choose the one that aligns with the project needs and requirements. .NET is ideal for cross-platform application development and web and mobile apps, whereas .NET Framework is only suitable for Windows devices and for creating desktop applications. To harness the full potential of the selected framework, make sure to choose a skilled and experienced .NET developer who knows the framework inside out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get great articles direct to your inbox

The latest Resourcequeue news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.