MongoDB Configuration Files: How to Create, Use and Customize Simplified 101


MongoDB Configuration Files_FI

Developers have a huge impact on their business’s growth. But to outpace their competition, they need every advantage they can get. That means working with the most agile and automated database so they can accelerate the development of their applications and stay flexible in the long run. For some, this database is MongoDB.

In this article, you will gain information about MongoDB Configuration Files. You will also gain a holistic understanding of MongoDB, its key features, creating MongoDB Configuration files, using MongoDB Configuration files and customizing MongoDB Configuration files. Read along to find out in-depth information about MongoDB Configuration Files.

Table of Contents

What is MongoDB?

MongoDB is a NoSQL database that was developed by MongoDB inc, which is schema-free. It was designed and created using c++ and javascript allowing for higher connectivity. It uses a collection of Documents and has an option for creating schemas as well. It doesn’t follow the same structure of a traditional database wherein the data is stored in form of rows.

Since general RDBMS are easier to use same is the case with MongoDB. MongoDB uses a NoSQL platform making it easier for individuals having less or no prior programming knowledge. MongoDB processes the data in a semi-structured format, allowing for processing large volumes of data in one go simultaneously. It can be hosted on mostly all the cloud platforms be it Google’s Cloud, Microsoft Azure, or even Amazons’ Web Services.

MongoDB uses Binary JSON and MQL as an alternative to SQL. BSON allows for data types such as the floating-point, long, date, and many more that are not supported by regular JSON. MQL offers additional capabilities when compared to regular SQL making it more relevant for MongoDB as it processes JSON-type documents.

MongoDB is a NoSQL Server in which data is stored in BSON (Binary JSON) documents and each document is essentially built on a key-value pair structure. As MongoDB easily stores schemaless data, make it appropriate for capturing data whose structure is not known. This document-oriented approach is designed to offer a richer experience with modern programming techniques.

To install MongoDB click here.

Key Features of MongoDB

MongoDB Configuration File: MongoDB Architecture
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Main features of MongoDB which make it unique are:

1) High Performance

Data operations on MongoDB are fast and easy because of their NoSQL nature. Data can be quickly stored, manipulated, and retrieved without any compromise on data integrity.

2) Scalability

In the Big Data era, MongoDB data can be distributed across a cluster of machines quickly and equally, free of bulkiness. The scalability of MongoDB handles a growing amount of data capably. Sharding is a process in MongoDB used to horizontally scale the data across multiple servers when the size of data increases.

3) Availability

Data is highly available with MongoDB as it makes multiple copies of the same data and sends copies of data across different servers. In case any server fails, data can be retrieved from another server without delay.

4) Flexibility

MongoDB can easily be combined with different Database Management Systems, both SQL and NoSQL types. Document-oriented structure makes MongoDB schema dynamically flexible and different types of data can be easily stored and manipulated.

To learn more about MongoDB, click this link.

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What is the MongoDB Configuration File?

The MongoDB configuration file provides MongoDB database admins with numerous options and settings for controlling the operation of the database system.

A MongoDB configuration file can be used to configure mongod and mongos instances at startup. The MongoDB configuration file contains settings that are equivalent to the command-line options mongod and mongos.

Using a MongoDB config file simplifies the management of mongod and mongos options, especially in large-scale deployments.

How to Create the MongoDB Configuration File?

This section assumes that you have already installed MongoDB on your system. If you have installed MongoDB with the Brew package manager on macOS, MSI installer on Windows, or yum or apt on Linux, you will find that a default MongoDB configuration file has already been created.

  • On Linux, the path to the MongoDB configuration file is located at:
  • On macOS, the path to the MongoDB configuration file is located at:
/usr/local/etc/mongod.conf (on Intel processors)


/opt/homebrew/etc/mongod.conf (on Apple M1 processors)
  • On Windows, the MongoDB configuration file is located at:
<install directory>binmongod.cfg

On Linux and macOS, you have to initialize the mongod daemon process for the MongoDB system as follows:

  • On macOS, you can use the following command:
brew services start mongodb-community@5.0
  • On Linux, you can use either of the following commands:
sudo systemctl start mongod


sudo service mongod start

If you used a ZIP or TGZ file to install MongoDB, you will have to create your own MongoDB configuration file. A simple MongoDB configuration file can be found in the next section. After creating the file, you need to initialize your MongoDB instance using the –config or -f alias to mongod. For example,

  • On Linux, the command for initialising MongoDB instance is:
mongod --config /etc/mongod.conf


mongod -f /etc/mongod.conf

How to Use the MongoDB Configuration File?

The following is an example of the default MongoDB configuration file that you will find on the paths listed above:

   fork: true
   bindIp: localhost
   port: 27017
   dbPath: /var/lib/mongodb
   destination: file
   path: "/var/log/mongodb/mongod.log"
   logAppend: true
      enabled: true

As you can see, the MongoDB Configuration file adheres to the YAML format (a superset of JSON). The following is a brief explanation of the variables:

  • fork is true; this setting enables the daemon mode for mongod allowing you to run the database as a conventional server.
  • bindIp is localhost; using this setting forces the MongoDB server to only listen for requests coming from the localhost IP. You can use it to listen to other secure IPs.
  • port is 27017; this is the default port used by MongoDB database instances. You can change the port to a custom one if you wish.
  • quiet is true; this disables all but the most critical entries in the output/log file. For production deployments, you should set it to false.
  • dbPath is /var/lib/mongodb; this setting specifies where MongoDB should store its files.
  • systemLog.path is /var/log/mongodb/mongod.log; this is the path where mongod will write its output.
  • logAppend is true; this ensures that mongod appends new log entries rather than overwriting existing ones during the server start operation.
  • storage.journal.enabled is true; this enables journaling. 

How to Customize the MongoDB Configuration Files?

To customize the MongoDB configuration file, use SPACE characters instead of TAB characters for indentation because YAML doesn’t support TAB characters.

1) Security Options

To limit access to your MongoDB instance, you can set the following options:

   bindIp: localhost,,,/tmp/mongod.sock
   authorization: enabled

In the example above, you can see that there are four values to the bindIp variable, that are as follows:

  • localhost: This is the localhost access interface.
  • This is a private IP address usually used for VPN and local network interfaces.
  • This is a private network interface normally used on local networks.
  • /tmp/mongod.sock: This is a Unix domain socket path.

2) Replication

A replica set in MongoDB is a group of mongod processes that maintain the same data set. Replica sets provide redundancy and high data availability and are the basis for all production deployments.

The replication option is quite easy and only requires that the replSetName have a value that is consistent among all members of the set. You can consider the following:

   replSetName: set1

3) Sharding

MongoDB uses sharding to split data across multiple server instances to support high throughput operations on large data sets.

To configure sharding on your MongoDB cluster, you need to configure config servers for storing metadata for the shared cluster and shards that store the data. To configure the config server instances, you can create a new MongoDB configuration file that specifies configsvr for the sharding.clusterRole setting as follows:

  dbPath: /var/lib/mongo/db/configdb
enabled: true
  destination: file
  logAppend: true
  path: /var/lib/mongo/db/logs/configsvr.log
  port: 27002
  clusterRole: configsvr
  replSetName: ConfigReplSet

As you can see, the config servers must be deployed as a replicaset.

You also need to configure a query router as follows:

  destination: file
  logAppend: true
  path: /var/lib/mongo/db/logs/queryrouter.log
  port: 27011
  configDB: ConfigReplSet/

To configure the shard servers, you can specify shardsvr for the sharding.clusterRole setting, and if you are running the shards as a replica set, then you should set the replica set name as well:

  dbPath: /var/lib/mongo/db/sharddb
    enabled: true
  destination: file
  logAppend: true
  path: /var/lib/mongo/db/logs/shard.log
  port: 27014
  clusterRole: shardsvr
replSetName: ShardReplSet

4) Run Multiple MongoDB Instances on One System

During testing, you might need to run multiple MongoDB instances on your VM or local machine. This can be achieved by using a base configuration for each instance, but you can consider the following configuration values:

   dbPath: /var/lib/mongo/db1/
   pidFilePath: /var/lib/mongo/
  • The dbPath value specifies the location of the MongoDB instance’s data directory. Each database should have a distinct and well-labeled data directory.
  • The pidFilePath on the other hand specifies where the mongod process stores it’s process id (PID) file. 


In this article, you have learned about MongoDB Configuration Files. This article also provided information on MongoDB, its key features, creating MongoDB Configuration file example, using MongoDB Configuration files and customizing MongoDB Configuration files in detail. For further information on MongoDB Replica Set Configuration, MongoDB Compass Windows Installation, MongoDB Count Method, you can visit the following links.

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Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Jeremiah is specialized in writing for the data industry, offering valuable insights and informative content on the complexities of data integration and analysis. He loves to update himself about latest trends and help businesses through the knowledge.

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