I have an unpaid internship for a very new startup company with little tech experience that's trying to be a Groupon clone. They're currently using Wordpress and I've been trying to decide what web framework to push them towards, since I'll have to learn that language and implement it as well.

Is ASP.Net MVC a realistic option for a web based startup company with little financial backing? For example, I know in the Rails hosting is slightly cheaper because of the whole free OS thing and there are free "gems" available to do things like a mailers, but how much more expensive can it get if I go with ASP.Net MVC since such add-ons stop being open source?

How much does the cost of hosting for .NET applications add to the equation?

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    There question was too broad, so I refocused it towards the impacts that financial burdens can have when considering a .NET architecture in your web application design.
    – maple_shaft
    Aug 28, 2012 at 1:47
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    "...A very new startup company with little tech experience that's trying to be a Groupon clone. They're currently using Wordpress...with little financial backing." WOW. That's so much fail..... Keep your resume up to date. If you were a paid employee, I would honestly start telling you to cash (not deposit) your check too. This company WILL fail, its just a matter of time.
    – GHP
    Aug 28, 2012 at 12:50
  • @Graham +1, a bear just smelled their fail somewhere in Asia. Aug 30, 2012 at 9:49

3 Answers 3


Not a whole lot. The people to program things, and the people to manage the infrastructure are a few orders of magnitude more expensive than any hosting cost issues you can run across. There are plenty of free "gems" -- check out nuget for .NET's version of that. Cloud-wise, both EC2 and Azure offer windows boxes so you aren't stuck owning hardware.

The one place it probably could get more expensive is in developer tools -- most of the OS stuff has a few FOSS tools of choice, whereas with .NET good most tools are not free. While you can get MSDN Ultimate subscriptions for all your developers, free for three years (check out bizspark), you will have to pay for that stuff after the initial three-year period. And there are some necessary ancillary tools such as resharper. TeamCity is an awesome build server but it isn't free either. You get the idea.

See StackOverflow for a huge Q&A community with lots of .NET devs. It is a very well documented, well supported platform.

Personally, I would avoid startups with shaky backing these days, but even in that case one could make headway with ASP.NET. The game is about Minimum Viable Product and .NET can get you there just as well as rails with the right team.

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    I would like to note that Microsoft has come a long way to becoming more affordable and available to start ups with limited funding. They have programs and discounts for software now as well managing partner programs that your company can be eligible for.
    – maple_shaft
    Aug 28, 2012 at 1:48
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    Furthermore, while Microsoft tools aren't necessarily cheap, they are, on the whole, pretty high quality. Also, Microsoft works very hard to support its developer community with good resources.
    – Joel Brown
    Aug 28, 2012 at 2:22
  • @JoelBrown - While the intial costs to use Microsoft technology can for many actually come to little to no cost, the real costs only appear later, of course most of the time you also are able to afford those costs also. I have to look at how many people have made made using free tools compared to the number of people who have made money using tools produced by Apple and Microsoft. This sort of remains of the saying "you have to spend money to make money" and I still believe that NOTHING in life is free. In recent months Samsung as discovered that to be true about Android.
    – Ramhound
    Aug 28, 2012 at 11:41
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    TeamCity has a free tier which would be appropriate for a small startup.
    – Ed James
    Aug 28, 2012 at 14:27
  • @EdWoodcock -- perhaps, really depends on how you manage releases. I've found that you can get to 20 build configs real quick if you are doing serious CI. Aug 28, 2012 at 15:13

If I can be quite honest here, I was in the same situation you're in. I wanted to host a Rails applications because I was under the impression that it was cheaper to host. After all, it's Open Source right?

Not the case.

In fact, almost every Rails project has to be run on a high-tier hosting such as Heroku (initial costs about 39$), because if you run it on a shared environment you are bound to find trouble with incompatibilities.

What is the .NET alternative? Well, it's the same price and some cases even cheaper. Take for example Softsys Hosting's Eco 1 Package - it costs 15$/month and you get all those specs. More than enough for starting and you receive a full on stack.

As you can see, empirically, cost is not that different.

  • Visual Studio? Free.
  • Entity Framework? Free.
  • SQL Server? Free (for starter needs)

I have launched three websites already using full on Microsoft .NET stacks and have not paid a dime for "licensing fees" just hosting fees.

  • How ? Windows licenses still cost, mono is not production-ready, and at the time of writing, .net core didn't exist and sql-server didn't run on Linux... 15$ a month = cheap ? That's 180 a year (for very basic hosting), that's far from cheap. GoDaddy hosts for 1€ per month, running your own server costs $100 a year (no limitations) ...
    – Quandary
    Jul 10, 2017 at 9:42

In .Net land, it is not that hard to create decent product using open source only (just browse nuget.org). Switch MsSql with Postgre, entity framework with nhibernate, unity with structuremap, mstest with xunit. You can even switch asp.net-mvc with fubumvc or even nancy if you want more lightweight option.

But I would recommend you to use ruby on rails. Ecosystem around it is much larger and I find ruby being less verbose and more pleasant to work with language than c#.

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    entity framework is free/open source, unity is free/open source, mstest is free, asp.net is free/open source. The only one that really makes sense is MsSql (which also has a surprisingly powerful free edition)
    – MattDavey
    Aug 29, 2012 at 8:02
  • @MattDavey you are looking for sense using wrong context (my apologies for wording answer incorrectly). what I really meant is - those tools suck when compared to others. and if we zoom out a bit and look at .Net platform as a tool itself, it kind a sucks too. Aug 29, 2012 at 8:17
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    @ArnisL. That's a brave statement to make with no backing. Can you support that opinion with a respectable reference? I suspect not. Stack exchange is built on the Microsoft technology stack. Dec 27, 2012 at 22:01
  • @flem you should be your own respectable reference - check out yourself. light in brighter light is a shadow, important part here is - "when compared to others". Dec 28, 2012 at 7:44

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