This version of the documentation is archived and no longer supported.

Add Members to a Replica Set


This tutorial explains how to add an additional member to an existing replica set. For background on replication deployment patterns, see the Replica Set Deployment Architectures document.

Maximum Voting Members

A replica set can have a maximum of seven voting members. To add a member to a replica set that already has seven votes, you must either add the member as a non-voting member or remove a vote from an existing member.

Control Scripts

In production deployments you can configure a control script to manage member processes.

Existing Members

You can use these procedures to add new members to an existing set. You can also use the same procedure to “re-add” a removed member. If the removed member’s data is still relatively recent, it can recover and catch up easily.

Data Files

If you have a backup or snapshot of an existing member, you can move the data files (e.g. the dbpath directory) to a new system and use them to quickly initiate a new member. The files must be:

  • A valid copy of the data files from a member of the same replica set. See Backup and Restore with Filesystem Snapshots document for more information.


    Always use filesystem snapshots to create a copy of a member of the existing replica set. Do not use mongodump and mongorestore to seed a new replica set member.

  • More recent than the oldest operation in the primary’s oplog. The new member must be able to become current by applying operations from the primary’s oplog.


  1. An active replica set.
  2. A new MongoDB system capable of supporting your data set, accessible by the active replica set through the network.

Otherwise, use the MongoDB installation tutorial and the Deploy a Replica Set tutorials.


Prepare the Data Directory

Before adding a new member to an existing replica set, prepare the new member’s data directory using one of the following strategies:

  • Make sure the new member’s data directory does not contain data. The new member will copy the data from an existing member.

    If the new member is in a recovering state, it must exit and become a secondary before MongoDB can copy all data as part of the replication process. This process takes time but does not require administrator intervention.

  • Manually copy the data directory from an existing member. The new member becomes a secondary member and will catch up to the current state of the replica set. Copying the data over may shorten the amount of time for the new member to become current.

    Ensure that you can copy the data directory to the new member and begin replication within the window allowed by the oplog. Otherwise, the new instance will have to perform an initial sync, which completely resynchronizes the data, as described in Resync a Member of a Replica Set.

    Use db.printReplicationInfo() to check the current state of replica set members with regards to the oplog.

For background on replication deployment patterns, see the Replica Set Deployment Architectures document.

Add a Member to an Existing Replica Set

  1. Start the new mongod instance. Specify the data directory and the replica set name. The following example specifies the /srv/mongodb/db0 data directory and the rs0 replica set:

    mongod --dbpath /srv/mongodb/db0 --replSet rs0

    Take note of the host name and port information for the new mongod instance.

    For more information on configuration options, see the mongod manual page.


    You can specify the data directory and replica set in the mongo.conf configuration file, and start the mongod with the following command:

    mongod --config /etc/mongodb.conf
  2. Connect to the replica set’s primary.

    You can only add members while connected to the primary. If you do not know which member is the primary, log into any member of the replica set and issue the db.isMaster() command.

  3. Use rs.add() to add the new member to the replica set. For example, to add a member at host, issue the following command:


    You can include the port number, depending on your setup:

  4. Verify that the member is now part of the replica set. Call the rs.conf() method, which displays the replica set configuration:


    To view replica set status, issue the rs.status() method. For a description of the status fields, see replSetGetStatus.

Configure and Add a Member

You can add a member to a replica set by passing to the rs.add() method a members document. The document must be in the form of a local.system.replset.members document. These documents define a replica set member in the same form as the replica set configuration document.


Specify a value for the _id field of the members document. MongoDB does not automatically populate the _id field in this case. Finally, the members document must declare the host value. All other fields are optional.


To add a member with the following configuration:

Issue the following:

rs.add({_id: 1, host: "", priority: 0, hidden: true})