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mongo Shell Method

This page documents the mongo shell method, and does not refer to the MongoDB Node.js driver (or any other driver) method. For corresponding MongoDB driver API, refer to your specific MongoDB driver documentation instead.

Instructs the server to avoid closing a cursor automatically after a period of inactivity.

The noCursorTimeout() method has the following prototype form:



Session Idle Timeout Overrides noCursorTimeout

MongoDB drivers and mongosh associate all operations with a server session, with the exception of unacknowledged write operations. For operations not explicitly associated with a session (i.e. using Mongo.startSession()), MongoDB drivers and the mongo shell creates an implicit session and associates it with the operation.

If a session is idle for longer than 30 minutes, the MongoDB server marks that session as expired and may close it at any time. When the MongoDB server closes the session, it also kills any in-progress operations and open cursors associated with the session. This includes cursors configured with noCursorTimeout or a maxTimeMS greater than 30 minutes.

Consider an application that issues a db.collection.find() with cursor.noCursorTimeout. The server returns a cursor along with a batch of documents defined by the cursor.batchSize() of the find(). The session refreshes each time the application requests a new batch of documents from the server. However, if the application takes longer than 30 minutes to process the current batch of documents, the session is marked as expired and closed. When the server closes the session, it also kills the cursor despite the cursor being configured with noCursorTimeout. When the application requests the next batch of documents, the server returns an error.

For operations that return a cursor, if the cursor may be idle for longer than 30 minutes, issue the operation within an explicit session using Session.startSession() and periodically refresh the session using the refreshSessions command. For example:

var session = db.getMongo().startSession()
var sessionId = session
sessionId  // show the sessionId

var cursor = session.getDatabase("examples").getCollection("data").find().noCursorTimeout()
var refreshTimestamp = new Date() // take note of time at operation start

while (cursor.hasNext()) {

  // Check if more than 5 minutes have passed since the last refresh
  if ( (new Date()-refreshTimestamp)/1000 > 300 ) {
    print("refreshing session")
    db.adminCommand({"refreshSessions" : [sessionId]})
    refreshTimestamp = new Date()

  // process cursor normally


In the example operation, the db.collection.find() method is associated with an explicit session. The cursor is configured with cursor.noCursorTimeout() to prevent the server from closing the cursor if idle. The while loop includes a block that uses refreshSessions to refresh the session every 5 minutes. Since the session will never exceed the 30 minute idle timeout, the cursor can remain open indefinitely.

For MongoDB drivers, defer to the driver documentation for instructions and syntax for creating sessions.