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Read Preference maxStalenessSeconds

Replica set members can lag behind the primary due to network congestion, low disk throughput, long-running operations, etc. The read preference maxStalenessSeconds option lets you specify a maximum replication lag, or "staleness", for reads from secondaries. When a secondary's estimated staleness exceeds maxStalenessSeconds, the client stops using it for read operations.


The maxStalenessSeconds read preference option is intended for applications that read from secondaries and want to avoid reading from a secondary that has fallen overly far behind in replicating the primary's writes. For example, a secondary might stop replicating due to a network outage between itself and the primary. In that case, the client should stop reading from the secondary until an administrator resolves the outage and the secondary catches up.

To use maxStalenessSeconds, all of the MongoDB instances in your deployment must be using MongoDB 3.4 or later. If any instances are on an earlier version of MongoDB, the driver or mongos will raise an error.


Starting in version 4.2, MongoDB introduces a flow control mechanism to control the rate at which the primary applies its writes with the goal of keeping majority committed lag under a specified maximum value.

You can specify maxStalenessSeconds with the following read preference modes:

Max staleness is not compatible with mode primary and only applies when selecting a secondary member of a set for a read operation.

When selecting a server for a read operation with maxStalenessSeconds, clients estimate how stale each secondary is by comparing the secondary's last write to that of the primary. The client will then direct the read operation to a secondary whose estimated lag is less than or equal to maxStalenessSeconds.

If there is no primary, the client uses the secondary with the most recent write for the comparison.

By default, there is no maximum staleness and clients will not consider a secondary's lag when choosing where to direct a read operation.

You must specify a maxStalenessSeconds value of 90 seconds or longer: specifying a smaller maxStalenessSeconds value will raise an error. Clients estimate secondaries' staleness by periodically checking the latest write date of each replica set member. Since these checks are infrequent, the staleness estimate is coarse. Thus, clients cannot enforce a maxStalenessSeconds value of less than 90 seconds.

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