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Restore a Database from Queryable Legacy Backup

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  • Prerequisites
  • Procedure


Legacy Backup Deprecated

Effective 23 March 2020, all new clusters can only use Cloud Backups.

When you upgrade to 5.0, your backup system upgrades to cloud backup if it is currently set to legacy backup. After this upgrade:

  • All your existing legacy backup snapshots remain available. They expire over time in accordance with your retention policy.

  • Your backup policy resets to the default schedule. If you had a custom backup policy in place with legacy backups, you must re-create it with the procedure outlined in the Cloud Backup documentation.

Atlas supports restoring a database by querying a legacy backup snapshot.


Atlas doesn't support querying Cloud Backups.

You can use a queryable backup snapshot to export data for a database and restore to the target deployment. The following procedure connects to the queryable backup instance via an Atlas-provided tunnel.



You must stop the client operations only during restoration when you restore to the same database.

You must ensure that the target Atlas cluster doesn't receive client requests during restoration. The following use cases apply:

  • If you plan to restore to the same database, you must stop the client operations during restoration.

  • If you plan to restore to a different database, you don't need to stop the client applications. In this case, you can restore to a new Atlas cluster and reconfigure your application to use that new cluster once the new deployment is running.

  1. If it is not already displayed, select the organization that contains your desired project from the Organizations menu in the navigation bar.

  2. If it is not already displayed, select your desired project from the Project menu in the navigation bar.

  3. Click Legacy Backup in the sidebar.


The Overview tab on the Legacy Backup page lists the project's clusters.

  • If backup is enabled for the cluster, the Status is Active.

  • If backup is disabled for the cluster, the Status is Inactive.

For the deployment whose backup you want to query, click the ellipsis in the Options column and select Query.

You can also click View All Snapshots to view its snapshots and click Query under the Actions column for the desired snapshot.

  1. Select the snapshot to query and click Next.

  2. Start the process to query a snapshot. You will be prompted to enter your Atlas password.

  3. Select Backup Tunnel as the connection method to the queryable snapshot.

  4. Select your Platform.

  5. Click Download Backup Tunnel.

  6. Uncompress the downloaded file.

  7. Open a terminal or command prompt and go to the uncompressed <tunnel> directory. Run the executable to start the tunnel.

    The default port for the tunnel is 27017. To change the port, use the --local flag, as in the following example:

    ./<tunnel executable> --local localhost:27020


    If you change the port, you must include the port information when connecting.

To export the data from a database:

Include the following mongodump options to connect to the tunnel:

  • --port set to the port for the tunnel.

  • --db set to the name of the database to export.

  • --out set to an empty directory to output the data dump.


    Ensure that the user running mongodump can write to the specified directory.

mongodump --port <port for tunnel> --db <single-database> --out <data-dump-path>

For example, to connect to a tunnel running on port 27020 to dump out data from the test database to the /mydata/restoredata/ directory:

mongodump --port 27020 --db test --out /mydata/restoredata/

mongodump outputs the test database files into the /mydata/restoredata/test/ directory.

If mongodump is not in your $PATH, specify the path for the tool when running the command.

To restore a single database:

Include the following mongorestore options:


To restore to an Atlas cluster, we recommend you connect with a DNS seed list connection string using the --uri option.

  • --uri set to the connection string for the destination cluster.

  • --db set to the name of the destination database.


If your password contains special characters, it must be percent-encoded.

Optionally, you can include the --drop option to drop the database in the destination cluster if the database already exists.

mongorestore --uri "mongodb://<Port>,<Port1>,<Port2>" --ssl --db <destination database> <data-dump-path/database> --drop
mongorestore --uri "mongodb+srv://" --db <destination database> <data-dump-path/database> --drop


If using mongodump or mongorestore on Ubuntu 18.04, you may experience a cannot unmarshal DNS error message when using SRV connection strings (in the form mongodb+srv://) with the --uri option. If so, use one of the following options instead:

  • the --uri option with a non-SRV connection string (in the form mongodb://)

  • the --host option to specify the host to connect to directly

For example, to restore from the /mydata/restoredata/test directory to a new database restoredTest:

mongorestore --uri "mongodb://,," --ssl --db restoredTest /mydata/restoredata/test --drop

The example assumes that the destination replica set's primary or the destination sharded cluster's mongos listens on port 27017.

mongorestore --uri "mongodb+srv://" --db restoredTest /mydata/restoredata/test --drop

Once you have finished, you can terminate the queryable instance:

  1. Click Legacy Backup in the left navigation pane and click the Restores & Downloads tab.

  2. Hover over the Status column for the target deployment item and click Cancel.

  3. Click Cancel Restore Job.


Restart your application and ensure it uses the new target cluster.


Query a Snapshot


Restore a Collection