Host and deploy ASP.NET Core

In general, to deploy an ASP.NET Core app to a hosting environment:

  • Publish the app to a folder on the hosting server.
  • Set up a process manager that starts the app when requests arrive and restarts the app after it crashes or the server reboots.
  • Set up a reverse proxy that forwards requests to the app.

Publish to a folder

The dotnet publish CLI command compiles app code and copies the files needed to run the app into a publish folder. When deploying from Visual Studio, the dotnet publish step happens automatically before the files are copied to the deployment destination.

Folder contents

The publish folder contains .exe and .dll files for the app, its dependencies, and optionally the .NET runtime.

A .NET Core app can be published as self-contained or framework-dependent app. If the app is self-contained, the .dll files that contain the .NET runtime are included in the publish folder. If the app is framework-dependent, the .NET runtime files aren't included because the app has a reference to a version of .NET that is installed on the server. The default deployment model is framework-dependent. For more information, see .NET Core application deployment.

In addition to .exe and .dll files, the publish folder for an ASP.NET Core app typically contains configuration files, static assets, and MVC views. For more information, see Directory structure.

Set up a process manager

An ASP.NET Core app is a console app that must be started when a server boots and restarted if it crashes. To automate starts and restarts, a process manager is required. The most common process managers for ASP.NET Core are:

Set up a reverse proxy

If the app uses the Kestrel web server, nginx, Apache, or IIS can be used as a reverse proxy server. A reverse proxy server receives HTTP requests from the Internet and forwards them to Kestrel after some preliminary handling. For more information, see When to use Kestrel with a reverse proxy.

Using Visual Studio and MSBuild to automate deployment

Deployment often requires additional tasks besides copying the output from dotnet publish to a server. For example, extra files might be required or excluded from the publish folder. Visual Studio uses MSBuild for web deployment, and MSBuild can be customized to do many other tasks during deployment. For more information, see Publish profiles in Visual Studio and the Using MSBuild and Team Foundation Build book.

By using the Publish Web feature or built-in Git support, apps can be deployed directly from Visual Studio to the Azure App Service. Visual Studio Team Services supports continuous deployment to Azure App Service.

Publishing to Azure

See Publish an ASP.NET Core web app to Azure App Service using Visual Studio for instructions on how to publish an app to Azure using Visual Studio. The app can also be published to Azure from the command line.

Additional resources

For information on using Docker as a hosting environment, see Host ASP.NET Core apps in Docker.