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.NET Core and .NET 5 Support Policy

What's covered

.NET Core and .NET 5 refer to several technologies including the runtime, ASP.NET Core, and Entity Framework Core.

Looking for the support policy for another part of the .NET platform? See the .NET Support Policy page.

Every Microsoft product has a lifecycle. The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it's no longer supported. Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to upgrade or make other changes to your software. This product is governed by Microsoft's Modern Lifecycle Policy.

The .NET Core and .NET 5 support lifecycle offers support for each release. The length of time and degree of support vary based on a few qualifications.

What releases qualify for servicing and how do updates effect servicing qualifications?

Customers can choose Long Term Support (LTS) releases or Current releases. The quality of all releases is the same. The only difference is the length of support. LTS releases get free support and patches for 3 years. Current releases get free support and patches for 15 months.

Within a release's support lifecycle, systems must remain current on released patch updates.

.NET Core and .NET 5 release lifecycle

Supported versions

The following table tracks release dates and end of support dates for .NET Core and .NET 5 versions.

Version Original Release Date Latest Patch Version Patch Release Date Support Level End of Support
.NET 5 November 10, 2020 5.0.5 April 06, 2021 Current 3 months after .NET 6 release (around February 2022)
.NET Core 3.1 December 3, 2019 3.1.13 March 09, 2021 LTS December 3, 2022
.NET Core 2.1 May 30, 2018 2.1.26 March 09, 2021 LTS August 21, 2021

Out of support versions

The following table lists .NET Core versions no longer supported.

Version Original Release Date Latest Patch Version Patch Release Date End of Support
.NET Core 3.0 September 23, 2019 3.0.3 February 18, 2020 March 3, 2020
.NET Core 2.2 December 4, 2018 2.2.8 November 19, 2019 December 23, 2019
.NET Core 2.0 August 14, 2017 2.0.9 July 10, 2018 October 1, 2018
.NET Core 1.1 November 16, 2016 1.1.13 May 14, 2019 June 27 2019
.NET Core 1.0 June 27, 2016 1.0.16 May 14, 2019 June 27 2019

Preview releases

.NET preview releases are supported through Microsoft Developer Support only if they're specifically designated 'Go-Live'. In such cases, the license allows you to deploy applications built on the specified .NET, ASP.NET Core, Entity Framework Core preview to production environments and provides access to Microsoft Support. For an explanation of available support options, visit Support for Business and Developers.

The support lifecycle for applicable pre-releases is as follows.

Version Release Date End of Support
.NET 5 RC 2 October 13, 2020 November 10, 2020
.NET 5 RC 1 September 14, 2020 October 13, 2020

.NET release cadence

We'll publish new major releases of .NET every year in November, enabling developers, the community, and businesses to plan their roadmaps. Even numbered releases are LTS releases that get free support and patches for three years. Odd numbered releases are Current releases that get free support and patches for 15 months.

Chart showing .NET Core 3.1 as an LTS release that happened in December 2019 and all other releases happening in November starting with .NET 5 and intercalating between Current and LTS

Long Term Support (LTS)

LTS releases are supported for three years after the initial release.

.NET Core 2.1 was only declared an LTS release when we released 2.1.3, on August 2018. That's why the end of support is a bit longer than three years from the original release date.

Current

Current releases are supported for three months after a subsequent Current or LTS release. Releases happen every 12 months so the support period for Current is 15 months.

How do the different support tracks work?

Customers choosing LTS will need the latest patch update installed to qualify for support. If a system is running 3.1 and 3.1.x has been released, 3.1.x will need to be installed as a first step. Once a patch update has been installed, applications will begin using the update by default. LTS releases will be supported for three years after general availability.

Customers choosing Current will need the latest patch update installed to qualify for support. If a system is running 5.0 and 5.0.x has been released, 5.0.x will need to be installed as a first step. Once a patch update has been installed, applications will begin using the update by default. Current releases will be supported for 15 months after general availability.

End of support

End of support refers to the date when Microsoft no longer provides fixes, updates, or online technical assistance. End of support may also be referred to as 'end of life' or abbreviated 'EOL'. This is the time to make sure you have the latest available update installed.

Updates are cumulative, with each update built upon all of the updates that preceded it. A device needs to install the latest update to remain supported. Updates may include new features, fixes (security and/or non-security), or a combination of both. Not all features in an update will work on all devices. Update availability may vary, for example by country, region, network connectivity, or hardware capabilities (including, for example, free disk space).

ASP.NET Core 2.1 on .NET Framework

Support for ASP.NET Core 2.1 on .NET Framework matches the ASP.NET Support policy for other package-based ASP.NET frameworks. The complete list of packages covered by this policy can be seen in ASP.NET Core 2.1 Supported Packages.

What operating system versions are supported to run .NET Core and .NET 5 applications?

.NET Core and .NET 5 are supported across several operating systems and versions. The .NET Core OS Lifecycle Policy provides current details on operating systems support policies and versions.

Automatic patching on Windows operating system

All versions of .NET that are supported can be automatically patched via Microsoft Update. This enables organizations to manage all .NET updates in the same way. Applications using the Framework Dependent Deployment model will benefit from .NET updates delivered by Microsoft update. There is no change to apps that use the Self-Contained Deployment model, so these apps are still responsible for keeping the runtime updated.

Accessing support

For assisted support with .NET technologies, contact a Microsoft Support Professional.

Community support is a great way to get help and even contribute to the projects. For more information, see the Community page.

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