Is ASP.NET Core a Web Server?


Scott Campbell

Is ASP.NET Core a Web Server?

If you are new to web development or exploring different technologies, you might have come across the term ASP.NET Core. But what exactly is ASP.NET Core?

Is it a web server, a programming language, or something else altogether? In this article, we will dive into the details of ASP.NET Core and answer this question.

Understanding ASP.NET Core

ASP.NET Core is an open-source web framework developed by Microsoft. It is a cross-platform framework that allows developers to build modern, cloud-based applications for the web. While ASP.NET Core is not a web server itself, it can be hosted on various web servers.

What is a Web Server?

A web server is software that handles HTTP requests and serves HTML pages or other resources in response. It listens for incoming requests from clients (typically web browsers) and sends back the requested resources. Examples of popular web servers include Apache HTTP Server and Nginx.

How Does ASP.NET Core Work with Web Servers?

ASP.NET Core applications can be hosted on different types of web servers depending on your requirements. Some of the options include:

  • Kestrel: Kestrel is a cross-platform web server built specifically for ASP. It is lightweight and optimized for high-performance scenarios.
  • IIS (Internet Information Services): IIS is Microsoft’s web server for Windows operating systems. You can host your ASP.NET Core application using IIS by configuring it as a reverse proxy server.
  • Nginx: Nginx is a popular open-source web server that can be used as a reverse proxy server to host ASP.NET Core applications.

When you develop an ASP.NET Core application, you write the code that defines how the application should respond to incoming HTTP requests. This code runs on the web server, which handles the communication between the client and your application.

Advantages of Using ASP.NET Core

Now that we have a better understanding of ASP.NET Core, let’s explore some of its advantages:

  • Cross-platform: ASP.NET Core is built to run on Windows, macOS, and Linux, allowing you to develop and deploy applications on your preferred operating system.
  • High performance: With its lightweight web server Kestrel and other performance optimizations, ASP.NET Core can handle high traffic loads efficiently.
  • Modularity: ASP.NET Core follows a modular architecture, making it easy to add or remove components as needed. This promotes code reusability and maintainability.
  • Open-source: Being open-source means that ASP.NET Core benefits from a large community of developers contributing to its improvement. It also gives you access to a vast ecosystem of libraries and extensions.


In summary, while ASP.NET Core is not a web server itself, it is a powerful web framework that can be hosted on various web servers. Its cross-platform nature, high performance, modularity, and open-source nature make it an excellent choice for developing modern web applications. Whether you choose Kestrel, IIS, Nginx or another web server to host your ASP.NET Core application depends on your specific needs and preferences.

If you are interested in exploring ASP.NET Core further, check out the official documentation and tutorials provided by Microsoft. Happy coding!

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