.NET Generic Host in ASP.NET Core

The ASP.NET Core templates create a .NET Core Generic Host (HostBuilder).

This article provides information on using .NET Generic Host in ASP.NET Core. For information on using .NET Generic Host in console apps, see .NET Generic Host.

Host definition

A host is an object that encapsulates an app's resources, such as:

  • Dependency injection (DI)
  • Logging
  • Configuration
  • IHostedService implementations

When a host starts, it calls IHostedService.StartAsync on each implementation of IHostedService registered in the service container's collection of hosted services. In a web app, one of the IHostedService implementations is a web service that starts an HTTP server implementation.

The main reason for including all of the app's interdependent resources in one object is lifetime management: control over app startup and graceful shutdown.

Set up a host

The host is typically configured, built, and run by code in the Program class. The Main method:

  • Calls a CreateHostBuilder method to create and configure a builder object.
  • Calls Build and Run methods on the builder object.

The ASP.NET Core web templates generate the following code to create a host:

public class Program
{
    public static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        CreateHostBuilder(args).Build().Run();
    }

    public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
        Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
            .ConfigureWebHostDefaults(webBuilder =>
            {
                webBuilder.UseStartup<Startup>();
            });
}

The following code creates a non-HTTP workload with an IHostedService implementation added to the DI container.

public class Program
{
    public static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        CreateHostBuilder(args).Build().Run();
    }

    public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
        Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
            .ConfigureServices((hostContext, services) =>
            {
               services.AddHostedService<Worker>();
            });
}

For an HTTP workload, the Main method is the same but CreateHostBuilder calls ConfigureWebHostDefaults:

public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
    Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
        .ConfigureWebHostDefaults(webBuilder =>
        {
            webBuilder.UseStartup<Startup>();
        });

If the app uses Entity Framework Core, don't change the name or signature of the CreateHostBuilder method. The Entity Framework Core tools expect to find a CreateHostBuilder method that configures the host without running the app. For more information, see Design-time DbContext Creation.

Default builder settings

The CreateDefaultBuilder method:

  • Sets the content root to the path returned by GetCurrentDirectory.
  • Loads host configuration from:
    • Environment variables prefixed with DOTNET_.
    • Command-line arguments.
  • Loads app configuration from:
    • appsettings.json.
    • appsettings.{Environment}.json.
    • User secrets when the app runs in the Development environment.
    • Environment variables.
    • Command-line arguments.
  • Adds the following logging providers:
    • Console
    • Debug
    • EventSource
    • EventLog (only when running on Windows)
  • Enables scope validation and dependency validation when the environment is Development.

The ConfigureWebHostDefaults method:

The Settings for all app types and Settings for web apps sections later in this article show how to override default builder settings.

Framework-provided services

The following services are registered automatically:

For more information on framework-provided services, see Dependency injection in ASP.NET Core.

IHostApplicationLifetime

Inject the IHostApplicationLifetime (formerly IApplicationLifetime) service into any class to handle post-startup and graceful shutdown tasks. Three properties on the interface are cancellation tokens used to register app start and app stop event handler methods. The interface also includes a StopApplication method.

The following example is an IHostedService implementation that registers IHostApplicationLifetime events:

internal class LifetimeEventsHostedService : IHostedService
{
    private readonly ILogger _logger;
    private readonly IHostApplicationLifetime _appLifetime;

    public LifetimeEventsHostedService(
        ILogger<LifetimeEventsHostedService> logger, 
        IHostApplicationLifetime appLifetime)
    {
        _logger = logger;
        _appLifetime = appLifetime;
    }

    public Task StartAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken)
    {
        _appLifetime.ApplicationStarted.Register(OnStarted);
        _appLifetime.ApplicationStopping.Register(OnStopping);
        _appLifetime.ApplicationStopped.Register(OnStopped);

        return Task.CompletedTask;
    }

    public Task StopAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken)
    {
        return Task.CompletedTask;
    }

    private void OnStarted()
    {
        _logger.LogInformation("OnStarted has been called.");

        // Perform post-startup activities here
    }

    private void OnStopping()
    {
        _logger.LogInformation("OnStopping has been called.");

        // Perform on-stopping activities here
    }

    private void OnStopped()
    {
        _logger.LogInformation("OnStopped has been called.");

        // Perform post-stopped activities here
    }
}

IHostLifetime

The IHostLifetime implementation controls when the host starts and when it stops. The last implementation registered is used.

Microsoft.Extensions.Hosting.Internal.ConsoleLifetime is the default IHostLifetime implementation. ConsoleLifetime:

IHostEnvironment

Inject the IHostEnvironment service into a class to get information about the following settings:

Web apps implement the IWebHostEnvironment interface, which inherits IHostEnvironment and adds the WebRootPath.

Host configuration

Host configuration is used for the properties of the IHostEnvironment implementation.

Host configuration is available from HostBuilderContext.Configuration inside ConfigureAppConfiguration. After ConfigureAppConfiguration, HostBuilderContext.Configuration is replaced with the app config.

To add host configuration, call ConfigureHostConfiguration on IHostBuilder. ConfigureHostConfiguration can be called multiple times with additive results. The host uses whichever option sets a value last on a given key.

The environment variable provider with prefix DOTNET_ and command-line arguments are included by CreateDefaultBuilder. For web apps, the environment variable provider with prefix ASPNETCORE_ is added. The prefix is removed when the environment variables are read. For example, the environment variable value for ASPNETCORE_ENVIRONMENT becomes the host configuration value for the environment key.

The following example creates host configuration:

// using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;

Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
    .ConfigureHostConfiguration(configHost =>
    {
        configHost.SetBasePath(Directory.GetCurrentDirectory());
        configHost.AddJsonFile("hostsettings.json", optional: true);
        configHost.AddEnvironmentVariables(prefix: "PREFIX_");
        configHost.AddCommandLine(args);
    });

App configuration

App configuration is created by calling ConfigureAppConfiguration on IHostBuilder. ConfigureAppConfiguration can be called multiple times with additive results. The app uses whichever option sets a value last on a given key.

The configuration created by ConfigureAppConfiguration is available at HostBuilderContext.Configuration for subsequent operations and as a service from DI. The host configuration is also added to the app configuration.

For more information, see Configuration in ASP.NET Core.

Settings for all app types

This section lists host settings that apply to both HTTP and non-HTTP workloads. By default, environment variables used to configure these settings can have a DOTNET_ or ASPNETCORE_ prefix, which appear in the following list of settings as the {PREFIX_} placeholder. For more information, see the Default builder settings section and Configuration: Environment variables.

ApplicationName

The IHostEnvironment.ApplicationName property is set from host configuration during host construction.

Key: applicationName
Type: string
Default: The name of the assembly that contains the app's entry point.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}APPLICATIONNAME

To set this value, use the environment variable.

ContentRoot

The IHostEnvironment.ContentRootPath property determines where the host begins searching for content files. If the path doesn't exist, the host fails to start.

Key: contentRoot
Type: string
Default: The folder where the app assembly resides.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}CONTENTROOT

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseContentRoot on IHostBuilder:

Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
    .UseContentRoot("c:\\content-root")
    //...

For more information, see:

EnvironmentName

The IHostEnvironment.EnvironmentName property can be set to any value. Framework-defined values include Development, Staging, and Production. Values aren't case-sensitive.

Key: environment
Type: string
Default: Production
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}ENVIRONMENT

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseEnvironment on IHostBuilder:

Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
    .UseEnvironment("Development")
    //...

ShutdownTimeout

HostOptions.ShutdownTimeout sets the timeout for StopAsync. The default value is five seconds. During the timeout period, the host:

If the timeout period expires before all of the hosted services stop, any remaining active services are stopped when the app shuts down. The services stop even if they haven't finished processing. If services require more time to stop, increase the timeout.

Key: shutdownTimeoutSeconds
Type: int
Default: 5 seconds
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}SHUTDOWNTIMEOUTSECONDS

To set this value, use the environment variable or configure HostOptions. The following example sets the timeout to 20 seconds:

Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
    .ConfigureServices((hostContext, services) =>
    {
        services.Configure<HostOptions>(option =>
        {
            option.ShutdownTimeout = System.TimeSpan.FromSeconds(20);
        });
    });

Disable app configuration reload on change

By default, appsettings.json and appsettings.{Environment}.json are reloaded when the file changes. To disable this reload behavior in ASP.NET Core 5.0 or later, set the hostBuilder:reloadConfigOnChange key to false.

Key: hostBuilder:reloadConfigOnChange
Type: bool (true or false)
Default: true
Command-line argument: hostBuilder:reloadConfigOnChange
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}hostBuilder:reloadConfigOnChange

Warning

The colon (:) separator doesn't work with environment variable hierarchical keys on all platforms. For more information, see Environment variables.

Settings for web apps

Some host settings apply only to HTTP workloads. By default, environment variables used to configure these settings can have a DOTNET_ or ASPNETCORE_ prefix, which appear in the following list of settings as the {PREFIX_} placeholder.

Extension methods on IWebHostBuilder are available for these settings. Code samples that show how to call the extension methods assume webBuilder is an instance of IWebHostBuilder, as in the following example:

public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
    Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
        .ConfigureWebHostDefaults(webBuilder =>
        {
            webBuilder.CaptureStartupErrors(true);
            webBuilder.UseStartup<Startup>();
        });

CaptureStartupErrors

When false, errors during startup result in the host exiting. When true, the host captures exceptions during startup and attempts to start the server.

Key: captureStartupErrors
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: Defaults to false unless the app runs with Kestrel behind IIS, where the default is true.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}CAPTURESTARTUPERRORS

To set this value, use configuration or call CaptureStartupErrors:

webBuilder.CaptureStartupErrors(true);

DetailedErrors

When enabled, or when the environment is Development, the app captures detailed errors.

Key: detailedErrors
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: false
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}DETAILEDERRORS

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.DetailedErrorsKey, "true");

HostingStartupAssemblies

A semicolon-delimited string of hosting startup assemblies to load on startup. Although the configuration value defaults to an empty string, the hosting startup assemblies always include the app's assembly. When hosting startup assemblies are provided, they're added to the app's assembly for loading when the app builds its common services during startup.

Key: hostingStartupAssemblies
Type: string
Default: Empty string
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}HOSTINGSTARTUPASSEMBLIES

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.HostingStartupAssembliesKey, "assembly1;assembly2");

HostingStartupExcludeAssemblies

A semicolon-delimited string of hosting startup assemblies to exclude on startup.

Key: hostingStartupExcludeAssemblies
Type: string
Default: Empty string
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}HOSTINGSTARTUPEXCLUDEASSEMBLIES

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.HostingStartupExcludeAssembliesKey, "assembly1;assembly2");

HTTPS_Port

The HTTPS redirect port. Used in enforcing HTTPS.

Key: https_port
Type: string
Default: A default value isn't set.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}HTTPS_PORT

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting("https_port", "8080");

PreferHostingUrls

Indicates whether the host should listen on the URLs configured with the IWebHostBuilder instead of those URLs configured with the IServer implementation.

Key: preferHostingUrls
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: true
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}PREFERHOSTINGURLS

To set this value, use the environment variable or call PreferHostingUrls:

webBuilder.PreferHostingUrls(false);

PreventHostingStartup

Prevents the automatic loading of hosting startup assemblies, including hosting startup assemblies configured by the app's assembly. For more information, see Use hosting startup assemblies in ASP.NET Core.

Key: preventHostingStartup
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: false
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}PREVENTHOSTINGSTARTUP

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseSetting :

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.PreventHostingStartupKey, "true");

StartupAssembly

The assembly to search for the Startup class.

Key: startupAssembly
Type: string
Default: The app's assembly
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}STARTUPASSEMBLY

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseStartup. UseStartup can take an assembly name (string) or a type (TStartup). If multiple UseStartup methods are called, the last one takes precedence.

webBuilder.UseStartup("StartupAssemblyName");
webBuilder.UseStartup<Startup>();

SuppressStatusMessages

When enabled, suppresses hosting startup status messages.

Key: suppressStatusMessages
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: false
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}SUPPRESSSTATUSMESSAGES

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.SuppressStatusMessagesKey, "true");

URLs

A semicolon-delimited list of IP addresses or host addresses with ports and protocols that the server should listen on for requests. For example, http://localhost:123. Use "*" to indicate that the server should listen for requests on any IP address or hostname using the specified port and protocol (for example, http://*:5000). The protocol (http:// or https://) must be included with each URL. Supported formats vary among servers.

Key: urls
Type: string
Default: http://localhost:5000 and https://localhost:5001
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}URLS

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseUrls:

webBuilder.UseUrls("http://*:5000;http://localhost:5001;https://hostname:5002");

Kestrel has its own endpoint configuration API. For more information, see Configure endpoints for the ASP.NET Core Kestrel web server.

WebRoot

The IWebHostEnvironment.WebRootPath property determines the relative path to the app's static assets. If the path doesn't exist, a no-op file provider is used.

Key: webroot
Type: string
Default: The default is wwwroot. The path to {content root}/wwwroot must exist.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}WEBROOT

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseWebRoot on IWebHostBuilder:

webBuilder.UseWebRoot("public");

For more information, see:

Manage the host lifetime

Call methods on the built IHost implementation to start and stop the app. These methods affect all IHostedService implementations that are registered in the service container.

Run

Run runs the app and blocks the calling thread until the host is shut down.

RunAsync

RunAsync runs the app and returns a Task that completes when the cancellation token or shutdown is triggered.

RunConsoleAsync

RunConsoleAsync enables console support, builds and starts the host, and waits for Ctrl+C/SIGINT (Windows), +C (macOS), or SIGTERM to shut down.

Start

Start starts the host synchronously.

StartAsync

StartAsync starts the host and returns a Task that completes when the cancellation token or shutdown is triggered.

WaitForStartAsync is called at the start of StartAsync, which waits until it's complete before continuing. This method can be used to delay startup until signaled by an external event.

StopAsync

StopAsync attempts to stop the host within the provided timeout.

WaitForShutdown

WaitForShutdown blocks the calling thread until shutdown is triggered by the IHostLifetime, such as via Ctrl+C/SIGINT (Windows), +C (macOS), or SIGTERM.

WaitForShutdownAsync

WaitForShutdownAsync returns a Task that completes when shutdown is triggered via the given token and calls StopAsync.

External control

Direct control of the host lifetime can be achieved using methods that can be called externally:

public class Program
{
    private IHost _host;

    public Program()
    {
        _host = new HostBuilder()
            .Build();
    }

    public async Task StartAsync()
    {
        _host.StartAsync();
    }

    public async Task StopAsync()
    {
        using (_host)
        {
            await _host.StopAsync(TimeSpan.FromSeconds(5));
        }
    }
}

The ASP.NET Core templates create a .NET Core Generic Host (HostBuilder).

This article provides information on using .NET Generic Host in ASP.NET Core. For information on using .NET Generic Host in console apps, see .NET Generic Host.

Host definition

A host is an object that encapsulates an app's resources, such as:

  • Dependency injection (DI)
  • Logging
  • Configuration
  • IHostedService implementations

When a host starts, it calls IHostedService.StartAsync on each implementation of IHostedService registered in the service container's collection of hosted services. In a web app, one of the IHostedService implementations is a web service that starts an HTTP server implementation.

The main reason for including all of the app's interdependent resources in one object is lifetime management: control over app startup and graceful shutdown.

Set up a host

The host is typically configured, built, and run by code in the Program class. The Main method:

  • Calls a CreateHostBuilder method to create and configure a builder object.
  • Calls Build and Run methods on the builder object.

The ASP.NET Core web templates generate the following code to create a host:

public class Program
{
    public static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        CreateHostBuilder(args).Build().Run();
    }

    public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
        Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
            .ConfigureWebHostDefaults(webBuilder =>
            {
                webBuilder.UseStartup<Startup>();
            });
}

The following code creates a non-HTTP workload with an IHostedService implementation added to the DI container.

public class Program
{
    public static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        CreateHostBuilder(args).Build().Run();
    }

    public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
        Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
            .ConfigureServices((hostContext, services) =>
            {
               services.AddHostedService<Worker>();
            });
}

For an HTTP workload, the Main method is the same but CreateHostBuilder calls ConfigureWebHostDefaults:

public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
    Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
        .ConfigureWebHostDefaults(webBuilder =>
        {
            webBuilder.UseStartup<Startup>();
        });

If the app uses Entity Framework Core, don't change the name or signature of the CreateHostBuilder method. The Entity Framework Core tools expect to find a CreateHostBuilder method that configures the host without running the app. For more information, see Design-time DbContext Creation.

Default builder settings

The CreateDefaultBuilder method:

  • Sets the content root to the path returned by GetCurrentDirectory.
  • Loads host configuration from:
    • Environment variables prefixed with DOTNET_.
    • Command-line arguments.
  • Loads app configuration from:
    • appsettings.json.
    • appsettings.{Environment}.json.
    • User secrets when the app runs in the Development environment.
    • Environment variables.
    • Command-line arguments.
  • Adds the following logging providers:
    • Console
    • Debug
    • EventSource
    • EventLog (only when running on Windows)
  • Enables scope validation and dependency validation when the environment is Development.

The ConfigureWebHostDefaults method:

The Settings for all app types and Settings for web apps sections later in this article show how to override default builder settings.

Framework-provided services

The following services are registered automatically:

For more information on framework-provided services, see Dependency injection in ASP.NET Core.

IHostApplicationLifetime

Inject the IHostApplicationLifetime (formerly IApplicationLifetime) service into any class to handle post-startup and graceful shutdown tasks. Three properties on the interface are cancellation tokens used to register app start and app stop event handler methods. The interface also includes a StopApplication method.

The following example is an IHostedService implementation that registers IHostApplicationLifetime events:

internal class LifetimeEventsHostedService : IHostedService
{
    private readonly ILogger _logger;
    private readonly IHostApplicationLifetime _appLifetime;

    public LifetimeEventsHostedService(
        ILogger<LifetimeEventsHostedService> logger, 
        IHostApplicationLifetime appLifetime)
    {
        _logger = logger;
        _appLifetime = appLifetime;
    }

    public Task StartAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken)
    {
        _appLifetime.ApplicationStarted.Register(OnStarted);
        _appLifetime.ApplicationStopping.Register(OnStopping);
        _appLifetime.ApplicationStopped.Register(OnStopped);

        return Task.CompletedTask;
    }

    public Task StopAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken)
    {
        return Task.CompletedTask;
    }

    private void OnStarted()
    {
        _logger.LogInformation("OnStarted has been called.");

        // Perform post-startup activities here
    }

    private void OnStopping()
    {
        _logger.LogInformation("OnStopping has been called.");

        // Perform on-stopping activities here
    }

    private void OnStopped()
    {
        _logger.LogInformation("OnStopped has been called.");

        // Perform post-stopped activities here
    }
}

IHostLifetime

The IHostLifetime implementation controls when the host starts and when it stops. The last implementation registered is used.

Microsoft.Extensions.Hosting.Internal.ConsoleLifetime is the default IHostLifetime implementation. ConsoleLifetime:

IHostEnvironment

Inject the IHostEnvironment service into a class to get information about the following settings:

Web apps implement the IWebHostEnvironment interface, which inherits IHostEnvironment and adds the WebRootPath.

Host configuration

Host configuration is used for the properties of the IHostEnvironment implementation.

Host configuration is available from HostBuilderContext.Configuration inside ConfigureAppConfiguration. After ConfigureAppConfiguration, HostBuilderContext.Configuration is replaced with the app config.

To add host configuration, call ConfigureHostConfiguration on IHostBuilder. ConfigureHostConfiguration can be called multiple times with additive results. The host uses whichever option sets a value last on a given key.

The environment variable provider with prefix DOTNET_ and command-line arguments are included by CreateDefaultBuilder. For web apps, the environment variable provider with prefix ASPNETCORE_ is added. The prefix is removed when the environment variables are read. For example, the environment variable value for ASPNETCORE_ENVIRONMENT becomes the host configuration value for the environment key.

The following example creates host configuration:

// using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;

Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
    .ConfigureHostConfiguration(configHost =>
    {
        configHost.SetBasePath(Directory.GetCurrentDirectory());
        configHost.AddJsonFile("hostsettings.json", optional: true);
        configHost.AddEnvironmentVariables(prefix: "PREFIX_");
        configHost.AddCommandLine(args);
    });

App configuration

App configuration is created by calling ConfigureAppConfiguration on IHostBuilder. ConfigureAppConfiguration can be called multiple times with additive results. The app uses whichever option sets a value last on a given key.

The configuration created by ConfigureAppConfiguration is available at HostBuilderContext.Configuration for subsequent operations and as a service from DI. The host configuration is also added to the app configuration.

For more information, see Configuration in ASP.NET Core.

Settings for all app types

This section lists host settings that apply to both HTTP and non-HTTP workloads. By default, environment variables used to configure these settings can have a DOTNET_ or ASPNETCORE_ prefix, which appear in the following list of settings as the {PREFIX_} placeholder. For more information, see the Default builder settings section and Configuration: Environment variables.

ApplicationName

The IHostEnvironment.ApplicationName property is set from host configuration during host construction.

Key: applicationName
Type: string
Default: The name of the assembly that contains the app's entry point.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}APPLICATIONNAME

To set this value, use the environment variable.

ContentRoot

The IHostEnvironment.ContentRootPath property determines where the host begins searching for content files. If the path doesn't exist, the host fails to start.

Key: contentRoot
Type: string
Default: The folder where the app assembly resides.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}CONTENTROOT

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseContentRoot on IHostBuilder:

Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
    .UseContentRoot("c:\\content-root")
    //...

For more information, see:

EnvironmentName

The IHostEnvironment.EnvironmentName property can be set to any value. Framework-defined values include Development, Staging, and Production. Values aren't case-sensitive.

Key: environment
Type: string
Default: Production
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}ENVIRONMENT

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseEnvironment on IHostBuilder:

Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
    .UseEnvironment("Development")
    //...

ShutdownTimeout

HostOptions.ShutdownTimeout sets the timeout for StopAsync. The default value is five seconds. During the timeout period, the host:

If the timeout period expires before all of the hosted services stop, any remaining active services are stopped when the app shuts down. The services stop even if they haven't finished processing. If services require more time to stop, increase the timeout.

Key: shutdownTimeoutSeconds
Type: int
Default: 5 seconds
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}SHUTDOWNTIMEOUTSECONDS

To set this value, use the environment variable or configure HostOptions. The following example sets the timeout to 20 seconds:

Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
    .ConfigureServices((hostContext, services) =>
    {
        services.Configure<HostOptions>(option =>
        {
            option.ShutdownTimeout = System.TimeSpan.FromSeconds(20);
        });
    });

Disable app configuration reload on change

By default, appsettings.json and appsettings.{Environment}.json are reloaded when the file changes. To disable this reload behavior in ASP.NET Core 5.0 or later, set the hostBuilder:reloadConfigOnChange key to false.

Key: hostBuilder:reloadConfigOnChange
Type: bool (true or false)
Default: true
Command-line argument: hostBuilder:reloadConfigOnChange
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}hostBuilder:reloadConfigOnChange

Warning

The colon (:) separator doesn't work with environment variable hierarchical keys on all platforms. For more information, see Environment variables.

Settings for web apps

Some host settings apply only to HTTP workloads. By default, environment variables used to configure these settings can have a DOTNET_ or ASPNETCORE_ prefix, which appear in the following list of settings as the {PREFIX_} placeholder.

Extension methods on IWebHostBuilder are available for these settings. Code samples that show how to call the extension methods assume webBuilder is an instance of IWebHostBuilder, as in the following example:

public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
    Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
        .ConfigureWebHostDefaults(webBuilder =>
        {
            webBuilder.CaptureStartupErrors(true);
            webBuilder.UseStartup<Startup>();
        });

CaptureStartupErrors

When false, errors during startup result in the host exiting. When true, the host captures exceptions during startup and attempts to start the server.

Key: captureStartupErrors
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: Defaults to false unless the app runs with Kestrel behind IIS, where the default is true.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}CAPTURESTARTUPERRORS

To set this value, use configuration or call CaptureStartupErrors:

webBuilder.CaptureStartupErrors(true);

DetailedErrors

When enabled, or when the environment is Development, the app captures detailed errors.

Key: detailedErrors
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: false
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}DETAILEDERRORS

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.DetailedErrorsKey, "true");

HostingStartupAssemblies

A semicolon-delimited string of hosting startup assemblies to load on startup. Although the configuration value defaults to an empty string, the hosting startup assemblies always include the app's assembly. When hosting startup assemblies are provided, they're added to the app's assembly for loading when the app builds its common services during startup.

Key: hostingStartupAssemblies
Type: string
Default: Empty string
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}HOSTINGSTARTUPASSEMBLIES

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.HostingStartupAssembliesKey, "assembly1;assembly2");

HostingStartupExcludeAssemblies

A semicolon-delimited string of hosting startup assemblies to exclude on startup.

Key: hostingStartupExcludeAssemblies
Type: string
Default: Empty string
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}HOSTINGSTARTUPEXCLUDEASSEMBLIES

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.HostingStartupExcludeAssembliesKey, "assembly1;assembly2");

HTTPS_Port

The HTTPS redirect port. Used in enforcing HTTPS.

Key: https_port
Type: string
Default: A default value isn't set.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}HTTPS_PORT

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting("https_port", "8080");

PreferHostingUrls

Indicates whether the host should listen on the URLs configured with the IWebHostBuilder instead of those URLs configured with the IServer implementation.

Key: preferHostingUrls
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: true
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}PREFERHOSTINGURLS

To set this value, use the environment variable or call PreferHostingUrls:

webBuilder.PreferHostingUrls(false);

PreventHostingStartup

Prevents the automatic loading of hosting startup assemblies, including hosting startup assemblies configured by the app's assembly. For more information, see Use hosting startup assemblies in ASP.NET Core.

Key: preventHostingStartup
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: false
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}PREVENTHOSTINGSTARTUP

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseSetting :

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.PreventHostingStartupKey, "true");

StartupAssembly

The assembly to search for the Startup class.

Key: startupAssembly
Type: string
Default: The app's assembly
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}STARTUPASSEMBLY

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseStartup. UseStartup can take an assembly name (string) or a type (TStartup). If multiple UseStartup methods are called, the last one takes precedence.

webBuilder.UseStartup("StartupAssemblyName");
webBuilder.UseStartup<Startup>();

SuppressStatusMessages

When enabled, suppresses hosting startup status messages.

Key: suppressStatusMessages
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: false
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}SUPPRESSSTATUSMESSAGES

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.SuppressStatusMessagesKey, "true");

URLs

A semicolon-delimited list of IP addresses or host addresses with ports and protocols that the server should listen on for requests. For example, http://localhost:123. Use "*" to indicate that the server should listen for requests on any IP address or hostname using the specified port and protocol (for example, http://*:5000). The protocol (http:// or https://) must be included with each URL. Supported formats vary among servers.

Key: urls
Type: string
Default: http://localhost:5000 and https://localhost:5001
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}URLS

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseUrls:

webBuilder.UseUrls("http://*:5000;http://localhost:5001;https://hostname:5002");

Kestrel has its own endpoint configuration API. For more information, see Configure endpoints for the ASP.NET Core Kestrel web server.

WebRoot

The IWebHostEnvironment.WebRootPath property determines the relative path to the app's static assets. If the path doesn't exist, a no-op file provider is used.

Key: webroot
Type: string
Default: The default is wwwroot. The path to {content root}/wwwroot must exist.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}WEBROOT

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseWebRoot on IWebHostBuilder:

webBuilder.UseWebRoot("public");

For more information, see:

Manage the host lifetime

Call methods on the built IHost implementation to start and stop the app. These methods affect all IHostedService implementations that are registered in the service container.

Run

Run runs the app and blocks the calling thread until the host is shut down.

RunAsync

RunAsync runs the app and returns a Task that completes when the cancellation token or shutdown is triggered.

RunConsoleAsync

RunConsoleAsync enables console support, builds and starts the host, and waits for Ctrl+C/SIGINT (Windows), +C (macOS), or SIGTERM to shut down.

Start

Start starts the host synchronously.

StartAsync

StartAsync starts the host and returns a Task that completes when the cancellation token or shutdown is triggered.

WaitForStartAsync is called at the start of StartAsync, which waits until it's complete before continuing. This method can be used to delay startup until signaled by an external event.

StopAsync

StopAsync attempts to stop the host within the provided timeout.

WaitForShutdown

WaitForShutdown blocks the calling thread until shutdown is triggered by the IHostLifetime, such as via Ctrl+C/SIGINT (Windows), +C (macOS), or SIGTERM.

WaitForShutdownAsync

WaitForShutdownAsync returns a Task that completes when shutdown is triggered via the given token and calls StopAsync.

External control

Direct control of the host lifetime can be achieved using methods that can be called externally:

public class Program
{
    private IHost _host;

    public Program()
    {
        _host = new HostBuilder()
            .Build();
    }

    public async Task StartAsync()
    {
        _host.StartAsync();
    }

    public async Task StopAsync()
    {
        using (_host)
        {
            await _host.StopAsync(TimeSpan.FromSeconds(5));
        }
    }
}

The ASP.NET Core templates create a .NET Core Generic Host (HostBuilder).

This article provides information on using .NET Generic Host in ASP.NET Core. For information on using .NET Generic Host in console apps, see .NET Generic Host.

Host definition

A host is an object that encapsulates an app's resources, such as:

  • Dependency injection (DI)
  • Logging
  • Configuration
  • IHostedService implementations

When a host starts, it calls IHostedService.StartAsync on each implementation of IHostedService registered in the service container's collection of hosted services. In a web app, one of the IHostedService implementations is a web service that starts an HTTP server implementation.

The main reason for including all of the app's interdependent resources in one object is lifetime management: control over app startup and graceful shutdown.

Set up a host

The host is typically configured, built, and run by code in the Program class. The Main method:

  • Calls a CreateHostBuilder method to create and configure a builder object.
  • Calls Build and Run methods on the builder object.

The ASP.NET Core web templates generate the following code to create a Generic Host:

public class Program
{
    public static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        CreateHostBuilder(args).Build().Run();
    }

    public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
        Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
            .ConfigureWebHostDefaults(webBuilder =>
            {
                webBuilder.UseStartup<Startup>();
            });
}

The following code creates a Generic Host using non-HTTP workload. The IHostedService implementation is added to the DI container:

public class Program
{
    public static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        CreateHostBuilder(args).Build().Run();
    }

    public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
        Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
            .ConfigureServices((hostContext, services) =>
            {
               services.AddHostedService<Worker>();
            });
}

For an HTTP workload, the Main method is the same but CreateHostBuilder calls ConfigureWebHostDefaults:

public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
    Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
        .ConfigureWebHostDefaults(webBuilder =>
        {
            webBuilder.UseStartup<Startup>();
        });

The preceding code is generated by the ASP.NET Core templates.

If the app uses Entity Framework Core, don't change the name or signature of the CreateHostBuilder method. The Entity Framework Core tools expect to find a CreateHostBuilder method that configures the host without running the app. For more information, see Design-time DbContext Creation.

Default builder settings

The CreateDefaultBuilder method:

  • Sets the content root to the path returned by GetCurrentDirectory.
  • Loads host configuration from:
    • Environment variables prefixed with DOTNET_.
    • Command-line arguments.
  • Loads app configuration from:
    • appsettings.json.
    • appsettings.{Environment}.json.
    • User secrets when the app runs in the Development environment.
    • Environment variables.
    • Command-line arguments.
  • Adds the following logging providers:
    • Console
    • Debug
    • EventSource
    • EventLog (only when running on Windows)
  • Enables scope validation and dependency validation when the environment is Development.

The ConfigureWebHostDefaults method:

The Settings for all app types and Settings for web apps sections later in this article show how to override default builder settings.

Framework-provided services

The following services are registered automatically:

For more information on framework-provided services, see Dependency injection in ASP.NET Core.

IHostApplicationLifetime

Inject the IHostApplicationLifetime (formerly IApplicationLifetime) service into any class to handle post-startup and graceful shutdown tasks. Three properties on the interface are cancellation tokens used to register app start and app stop event handler methods. The interface also includes a StopApplication method.

The following example is an IHostedService implementation that registers IHostApplicationLifetime events:

internal class LifetimeEventsHostedService : IHostedService
{
    private readonly ILogger _logger;
    private readonly IHostApplicationLifetime _appLifetime;

    public LifetimeEventsHostedService(
        ILogger<LifetimeEventsHostedService> logger, 
        IHostApplicationLifetime appLifetime)
    {
        _logger = logger;
        _appLifetime = appLifetime;
    }

    public Task StartAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken)
    {
        _appLifetime.ApplicationStarted.Register(OnStarted);
        _appLifetime.ApplicationStopping.Register(OnStopping);
        _appLifetime.ApplicationStopped.Register(OnStopped);

        return Task.CompletedTask;
    }

    public Task StopAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken)
    {
        return Task.CompletedTask;
    }

    private void OnStarted()
    {
        _logger.LogInformation("OnStarted has been called.");

        // Perform post-startup activities here
    }

    private void OnStopping()
    {
        _logger.LogInformation("OnStopping has been called.");

        // Perform on-stopping activities here
    }

    private void OnStopped()
    {
        _logger.LogInformation("OnStopped has been called.");

        // Perform post-stopped activities here
    }
}

IHostLifetime

The IHostLifetime implementation controls when the host starts and when it stops. The last implementation registered is used.

Microsoft.Extensions.Hosting.Internal.ConsoleLifetime is the default IHostLifetime implementation. ConsoleLifetime:

IHostEnvironment

Inject the IHostEnvironment service into a class to get information about the following settings:

Web apps implement the IWebHostEnvironment interface, which inherits IHostEnvironment and adds the WebRootPath.

Host configuration

Host configuration is used for the properties of the IHostEnvironment implementation.

Host configuration is available from HostBuilderContext.Configuration inside ConfigureAppConfiguration. After ConfigureAppConfiguration, HostBuilderContext.Configuration is replaced with the app config.

To add host configuration, call ConfigureHostConfiguration on IHostBuilder. ConfigureHostConfiguration can be called multiple times with additive results. The host uses whichever option sets a value last on a given key.

The environment variable provider with prefix DOTNET_ and command-line arguments are included by CreateDefaultBuilder. For web apps, the environment variable provider with prefix ASPNETCORE_ is added. The prefix is removed when the environment variables are read. For example, the environment variable value for ASPNETCORE_ENVIRONMENT becomes the host configuration value for the environment key.

The following example creates host configuration:

// using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;

Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
    .ConfigureHostConfiguration(configHost =>
    {
        configHost.SetBasePath(Directory.GetCurrentDirectory());
        configHost.AddJsonFile("hostsettings.json", optional: true);
        configHost.AddEnvironmentVariables(prefix: "PREFIX_");
        configHost.AddCommandLine(args);
    });

App configuration

App configuration is created by calling ConfigureAppConfiguration on IHostBuilder. ConfigureAppConfiguration can be called multiple times with additive results. The app uses whichever option sets a value last on a given key.

The configuration created by ConfigureAppConfiguration is available at HostBuilderContext.Configuration for subsequent operations and as a service from DI. The host configuration is also added to the app configuration.

For more information, see Configuration in ASP.NET Core.

Settings for all app types

This section lists host settings that apply to both HTTP and non-HTTP workloads. By default, environment variables used to configure these settings can have a DOTNET_ or ASPNETCORE_ prefix, which appear in the following configuration for the {PREFIX_} placeholder.

ApplicationName

The IHostEnvironment.ApplicationName property is set from host configuration during host construction.

Key: applicationName
Type: string
Default: The name of the assembly that contains the app's entry point.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}APPLICATIONNAME

To set this value, use the environment variable.

ContentRoot

The IHostEnvironment.ContentRootPath property determines where the host begins searching for content files. If the path doesn't exist, the host fails to start.

Key: contentRoot
Type: string
Default: The folder where the app assembly resides.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}CONTENTROOT

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseContentRoot on IHostBuilder:

Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
    .UseContentRoot("c:\\content-root")
    //...

For more information, see:

EnvironmentName

The IHostEnvironment.EnvironmentName property can be set to any value. Framework-defined values include Development, Staging, and Production. Values aren't case-sensitive.

Key: environment
Type: string
Default: Production
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}ENVIRONMENT

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseEnvironment on IHostBuilder:

Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
    .UseEnvironment("Development")
    //...

ShutdownTimeout

HostOptions.ShutdownTimeout sets the timeout for StopAsync. The default value is five seconds. During the timeout period, the host:

If the timeout period expires before all of the hosted services stop, any remaining active services are stopped when the app shuts down. The services stop even if they haven't finished processing. If services require more time to stop, increase the timeout.

Key: shutdownTimeoutSeconds
Type: int
Default: 5 seconds
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}SHUTDOWNTIMEOUTSECONDS

To set this value, use the environment variable or configure HostOptions. The following example sets the timeout to 20 seconds:

Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
    .ConfigureServices((hostContext, services) =>
    {
        services.Configure<HostOptions>(option =>
        {
            option.ShutdownTimeout = System.TimeSpan.FromSeconds(20);
        });
    });

Settings for web apps

Some host settings apply only to HTTP workloads. By default, environment variables used to configure these settings can have a DOTNET_ or ASPNETCORE_ prefix.

Extension methods on IWebHostBuilder are available for these settings. Code samples that show how to call the extension methods assume webBuilder is an instance of IWebHostBuilder, as in the following example:

public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
    Host.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
        .ConfigureWebHostDefaults(webBuilder =>
        {
            webBuilder.CaptureStartupErrors(true);
            webBuilder.UseStartup<Startup>();
        });

CaptureStartupErrors

When false, errors during startup result in the host exiting. When true, the host captures exceptions during startup and attempts to start the server.

Key: captureStartupErrors
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: Defaults to false unless the app runs with Kestrel behind IIS, where the default is true.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}CAPTURESTARTUPERRORS

To set this value, use configuration or call CaptureStartupErrors:

webBuilder.CaptureStartupErrors(true);

DetailedErrors

When enabled, or when the environment is Development, the app captures detailed errors.

Key: detailedErrors
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: false
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}DETAILEDERRORS

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.DetailedErrorsKey, "true");

HostingStartupAssemblies

A semicolon-delimited string of hosting startup assemblies to load on startup. Although the configuration value defaults to an empty string, the hosting startup assemblies always include the app's assembly. When hosting startup assemblies are provided, they're added to the app's assembly for loading when the app builds its common services during startup.

Key: hostingStartupAssemblies
Type: string
Default: Empty string
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}HOSTINGSTARTUPASSEMBLIES

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.HostingStartupAssembliesKey, "assembly1;assembly2");

HostingStartupExcludeAssemblies

A semicolon-delimited string of hosting startup assemblies to exclude on startup.

Key: hostingStartupExcludeAssemblies
Type: string
Default: Empty string
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}HOSTINGSTARTUPEXCLUDEASSEMBLIES

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.HostingStartupExcludeAssembliesKey, "assembly1;assembly2");

HTTPS_Port

The HTTPS redirect port. Used in enforcing HTTPS.

Key: https_port
Type: string
Default: A default value isn't set.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}HTTPS_PORT

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting("https_port", "8080");

PreferHostingUrls

Indicates whether the host should listen on the URLs configured with the IWebHostBuilder instead of those URLs configured with the IServer implementation.

Key: preferHostingUrls
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: true
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}PREFERHOSTINGURLS

To set this value, use the environment variable or call PreferHostingUrls:

webBuilder.PreferHostingUrls(false);

PreventHostingStartup

Prevents the automatic loading of hosting startup assemblies, including hosting startup assemblies configured by the app's assembly. For more information, see Use hosting startup assemblies in ASP.NET Core.

Key: preventHostingStartup
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: false
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}PREVENTHOSTINGSTARTUP

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseSetting :

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.PreventHostingStartupKey, "true");

StartupAssembly

The assembly to search for the Startup class.

Key: startupAssembly
Type: string
Default: The app's assembly
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}STARTUPASSEMBLY

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseStartup. UseStartup can take an assembly name (string) or a type (TStartup). If multiple UseStartup methods are called, the last one takes precedence.

webBuilder.UseStartup("StartupAssemblyName");
webBuilder.UseStartup<Startup>();

SuppressStatusMessages

When enabled, suppresses hosting startup status messages.

Key: suppressStatusMessages
Type: bool (true/1 or false/0)
Default: false
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}SUPPRESSSTATUSMESSAGES

To set this value, use configuration or call UseSetting:

webBuilder.UseSetting(WebHostDefaults.SuppressStatusMessagesKey, "true");

URLs

A semicolon-delimited list of IP addresses or host addresses with ports and protocols that the server should listen on for requests. For example, http://localhost:123. Use "*" to indicate that the server should listen for requests on any IP address or hostname using the specified port and protocol (for example, http://*:5000). The protocol (http:// or https://) must be included with each URL. Supported formats vary among servers.

Key: urls
Type: string
Default: http://localhost:5000 and https://localhost:5001
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}URLS

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseUrls:

webBuilder.UseUrls("http://*:5000;http://localhost:5001;https://hostname:5002");

Kestrel has its own endpoint configuration API. For more information, see Kestrel web server implementation in ASP.NET Core.

WebRoot

The IWebHostEnvironment.WebRootPath property determines the relative path to the app's static assets. If the path doesn't exist, a no-op file provider is used.

Key: webroot
Type: string
Default: The default is wwwroot. The path to {content root}/wwwroot must exist.
Environment variable: {PREFIX_}WEBROOT

To set this value, use the environment variable or call UseWebRoot on IWebHostBuilder:

webBuilder.UseWebRoot("public");

For more information, see:

Manage the host lifetime

Call methods on the built IHost implementation to start and stop the app. These methods affect all IHostedService implementations that are registered in the service container.

Run

Run runs the app and blocks the calling thread until the host is shut down.

RunAsync

RunAsync runs the app and returns a Task that completes when the cancellation token or shutdown is triggered.

RunConsoleAsync

RunConsoleAsync enables console support, builds and starts the host, and waits for Ctrl+C/SIGINT (Windows), +C (macOS), or SIGTERM to shut down.

Start

Start starts the host synchronously.

StartAsync

StartAsync starts the host and returns a Task that completes when the cancellation token or shutdown is triggered.

WaitForStartAsync is called at the start of StartAsync, which waits until it's complete before continuing. This method can be used to delay startup until signaled by an external event.

StopAsync

StopAsync attempts to stop the host within the provided timeout.

WaitForShutdown

WaitForShutdown blocks the calling thread until shutdown is triggered by the IHostLifetime, such as via Ctrl+C/SIGINT (Windows), +C (macOS), or SIGTERM.

WaitForShutdownAsync

WaitForShutdownAsync returns a Task that completes when shutdown is triggered via the given token and calls StopAsync.

External control

Direct control of the host lifetime can be achieved using methods that can be called externally:

public class Program
{
    private IHost _host;

    public Program()
    {
        _host = new HostBuilder()
            .Build();
    }

    public async Task StartAsync()
    {
        _host.StartAsync();
    }

    public async Task StopAsync()
    {
        using (_host)
        {
            await _host.StopAsync(TimeSpan.FromSeconds(5));
        }
    }
}

Additional resources

  • Background tasks with hosted services in ASP.NET Core
  • GitHub link to Generic Host source

    Note

    Documentation links to the ASP.NET Core reference source load the repository's main branch, which represents the product unit's current development for the next release of ASP.NET Core. To select the branch for a different release, use the Switch branches or tags dropdown list to select the branch. For example, select the release/6.0 branch for the ASP.NET Core 6.0 release.