EF Core NuGet Packages

Entity Framework Core (EF Core) is shipped as NuGet packages. The packages needed by an application depends on:

  • The type of database system being used (SQL Server, SQLite, etc.)
  • The EF Core features needed

The usual process for installing packages is:

  • Decide on a database provider and install the appropriate package (see below)
  • Also install Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore, and Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Relational if using a relational database provider. This helps ensure that consistent versions are being used, and also means that NuGet will let you know when new package versions are shipped.
  • Optionally, decide which kind of tooling you need and install the appropriate packages for that (see below)

See Getting started tutorial for Entity Framework Core for help getting started with EF Core.

Package versions

Make sure to install the same version of all EF Core packages shipped by Microsoft. For example, if version 5.0.3 of Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.SqlServer is installed, then all other Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.* packages must also be at 5.0.3.

Also make sure that any external packages are compatible with the version of EF Core being used. In particular, check that external database provider supports the version of EF Core you are using. New major versions of EF Core usually require an updated database provider.


NuGet does not enforce consistent package versions. Always carefully check which package versions you are referencing in your .csproj file or equivalent.

Database providers

EF Core supports different database systems through the use of "database providers". Each system has its own database provider, which is shipped as NuGet package. Applications should install one or more of these provider packages.

Common database providers are listed in the table below. See database providers for a more comprehensive list of available providers.

Database system Package
SQL Server and SQL Azure Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.SqlServer
SQLite Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Sqlite
Azure Cosmos DB Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Cosmos
PostgreSQL Npgsql.EntityFrameworkCore.PostgreSQL*
MySQL Pomelo.EntityFrameworkCore.MySql*
EF Core in-memory database** Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.InMemory

*These are popular, high quality, open-source providers developed and shipped by the community. The other providers listed are shipped by Microsoft.

**Carefully consider whether to use the in-memory provider. It is not designed for production use, and also may not be the best solution for testing.


Use of tooling for EF Core migrations and reverse engineering (scaffolding) from an existing database requires installation of the appropriate tooling package:

See Entity Framework Core Tools Reference for more information on using EF Core tooling, including how to correctly install the dotnet-ef tool in a project or globally.


By default, the Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Design package is installed in such a way that it will not be deployed with your application. This also means that its types cannot be transitively used in other projects. Use a normal PackageReference in your .csproj file or equivalent if you need access to the types in this package. See Design-time services for more information.

Extension packages

There are many extensions for EF Core published both by Microsoft and third parties as NuGet packages. Commonly used packages include:

Functionality Package Additional dependencies
Proxies for lazy-loading and change tracking Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Proxies Castle.Core
Spatial support for SQL Server Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.SqlServer.NetTopologySuite NetTopologySuite and NetTopologySuite.IO.SqlServerBytes
Spatial support for SQLite Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Sqlite.NetTopologySuite NetTopologySuite and NetTopologySuite.IO.SpatiaLite
Spatial support for PostgreSQL Npgsql.EntityFrameworkCore.PostgreSQL.NetTopologySuite NetTopologySuite and NetTopologySuite.IO.PostGIS (via Npgsql.NetTopologySuite)
Spatial support for MySQL Pomelo.EntityFrameworkCore.MySql.NetTopologySuite NetTopologySuite

Other packages

Other EF Core packages are pulled in as dependencies of the database provider package. However, you may want to add explicit package references for these packages so that NuGet will provide notifications when new versions are released.

Functionality Package
EF Core basic functionality Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore
Common relational database functionality Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Relational
Lightweight package for EF Core attributes, etc. Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Abstractions
Roslyn code analyzers for EF Core usage Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Analyzers
EF Core SQLite provider without a native SQLite dependency Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Sqlite.Core

Packages for database provider testing

The following packages are used to test database providers built in external GitHub repositories. See efcore.pg and Pomelo.EntityFrameworkCore.MySql for examples. Applications should not install these packages.

Functionality Package
Tests for any database provider Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Specification.Tests
Tests for relational database providers Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Relational.Specification.Tests

Obsolete packages

Do not install the following obsolete packages, and remove them if they are currently installed in your projects:

  • Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Relational.Design
  • Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Tools.DotNet
  • Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.SqlServer.Design
  • Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Sqlite.Design
  • Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Relational.Design.Specification.Tests