“ASP.NET Is Too Expensive”

I hear this a lot from customers when they’re investigating the feasibility of a project: “we want to use PHP, ASP.NET is too expensive”.

I thought I’d write this article to look at some of the reasons why customers might think this, and hopefully dispel the myths.

Myth #1) ASP.NET means you need to use Windows Servers.

Windows means licences, which bumps up the cost, right? To an extent, yes that’s true. Pricing up a fairly decent level server at www.fasthosts.co.uk gives a price of £149 per month. That’s with Linux CentOS included free, to add Windows 2012 R2 Standard, add £25 a month, or around 14% extra for a Windows server, so not a huge increase.

£25 a month will work out around £300 per year in savings choosing Linux over Windows.

But who is going to maintain the servers?

Windows is a lot easier to manage than a Linux server, with many programmers possessing the knowledge on how to keep a Windows machine secured and up to date. But for Linux, you’re going to need to outsource that task, or hire a dedicated system administrator.

That £300 saving will be eaten up in no time!

But wait! The latest incarnation of ASP.NET is ASP.NET Core, based on the now open sourced .NET Core, which now supports Linux (as well as MacOS). So you don’t need that “expensive” Windows server anyway!

Myth #2) ASP.NET Requires MS SQL Server, which costs a fortune

SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition will set you back around £3,227 per licence. That’s quite a hit, but bear in mind there’s also an express edition available – which is completely free for databases up to 10Gb in size. For development this is more than enough, and for many projects is certainly enough to see them through launch and even the first few years of operations.

But wait, there’s another option. You dont actually HAVE to use MS SQL Server! You can use MySQL, just as you would with a PHP project! And it’s completely free!

Myth #3) I need a Visual Studio Licence For Each Developer

Visual Studio Professional will set you back £573 per copy, and you’ll need a copy per developer, so that’s quite a considerable cost.

But Visual Studio is just an IDE, the actual .NET compiler is a standalone process that can be accessed from the command line. You could use a text editor and command line if you really wanted.

But Microsoft have been releasing free versions of Visual Studio for a long time now. Visual Studio Express wont cost you a penny, and will do almost everything that the Professional version will do.

There are also many other IDEs out there, such as SharpDevelop, if you really want to avoid Microsoft applications. 



So it’s not true after all that ASP.NET is expensive, in fact if you go with a Linux server, running MySQL, the cost is completely free!

There’s really no reason to rule out ASP.NET for your next project, and plenty of reasons to rule it in. Unlike PHP, ASP.NET is a compiled language,  which makes it a lot faster when it comes to execution. I’m struggling to find a comparison benchmark between the two, but  Raygun reported a 2,000% performance increase when switching from Node.js to .NET Core!

Maybe personal choice, but I’ve always found the toolset and framework of .NET, especially Visual Studio, far easier and much more productive to work with. This leads to shorter development times, drastically reducing the startup costs of projects.

This is the reason why we at Nighthawk Software chose to specialise in ASP.NET / .NET Core development, and this is why we think you would be foolish to discount ASP.NET / .NET Core for your next project.