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

Replica Set Member States

On this page

Each member of a replica set has a state that reflects its disposition within the set.

Number Name State Description
0 STARTUP Not yet an active member of any set. All members start up in this state. The mongod parses the replica set configuration document while in STARTUP.
1 PRIMARY The member in state primary is the only member that can accept write operations.
2 SECONDARY A member in state secondary is replicating the data store. Data is available for reads, although they may be stale.
3 RECOVERING A member in this state is replicating the data store but does not yet have a consistent view of the data. Data is not available for reads until the member transitions to state secondary.
5 STARTUP2 The member has joined the set and is running an initial sync.
6 UNKNOWN The member’s state, as seen from another member of the set, is not yet known.
7 ARBITER Arbiters do not replicate data and exist solely to participate in elections.
8 DOWN The member, as seen from another member of the set, is unreachable.
9 ROLLBACK This member is actively performing a rollback. Data is not available for reads.
10 REMOVED This member was once in a replica set but was subsequently removed.


Core States


Members in PRIMARY state accept write operations. A replica set has at most one primary at a time. A SECONDARY member becomes primary after an election. Members in the PRIMARY state are eligible to vote.


Members in SECONDARY state replicate the primary’s data set and can be configured to accept read operations. Secondaries are eligible to vote in elections, and may be elected to the PRIMARY state if the primary becomes unavailable.


Members in ARBITER state do not replicate data or accept write operations. They are eligible to vote, and exist solely to break a tie during elections. Replica sets should only have a member in the ARBITER state if the set would otherwise have an even number of members, and could suffer from tied elections. There should only be at most one arbiter configured in any replica set.

See Replica Set Members for more information on core states.

Other States


Each member of a replica set starts up in STARTUP state. mongod then loads that member’s replica set configuration, and transitions the member’s state to STARTUP2. Members in STARTUP are not eligible to vote, as they are not yet a recognized member of any replica set.


Each member of a replica set enters the STARTUP2 state as soon as mongod finishes loading that member’s configuration, at which time it becomes an active member of the replica set. The member then decides whether or not to undertake an initial sync. If a member begins an initial sync, the member remains in STARTUP2 until all data is copied and all indexes are built. Afterwards, the member transitions to RECOVERING.


A member of a replica set enters RECOVERING state when it is not ready to accept reads. The RECOVERING state can occur during normal operation, and doesn’t necessarily reflect an error condition. Members in the RECOVERING state are eligible to vote in elections, but are not eligible to enter the PRIMARY state.

A member transitions from RECOVERING to SECONDARY after replicating enough data to guarantee a consistent view of the data for client reads. The only difference between RECOVERING and SECONDARY states is that RECOVERING prohibits client reads and SECONDARY permits them. SECONDARY state does not guarantee anything about the staleness of the data with respect to the primary.

Due to overload, a secondary may fall far enough behind the other members of the replica set such that it may need to resync with the rest of the set. When this happens, the member enters the RECOVERING state and requires manual intervention.

Members in SECONDARY state can be forced into state RECOVERING to prevent client reads by using maintenance mode. You can toggle maintenance mode with the replSetMaintenance command. Maintenance mode is also enabled automatically by the compact and touch commands. While maintenance mode is on, a member will remain in RECOVERING state and will reject client reads.


Members that have never communicated status information to the replica set are in the UNKNOWN state.


Members that lose their connection to the replica set are seen as DOWN by the remaining members of the set.


Members that are removed from the replica set enter the REMOVED state. When members enter the REMOVED state, the logs will mark this event with a replSet REMOVED message entry.


Whenever the replica set replaces a primary in an election, the old primary may contain documents that did not replicate to the secondary members. In this case, the old primary member reverts those writes. During rollback, the member will have ROLLBACK state.


A member in FATAL encountered an unrecoverable error. The member must be shut down and restarted; a resync may be required as well.