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How to Install MongoDB Using npm

Learn how to use MongoDB’s Node.js driver with npm to connect with the database and perform CRUD operations.

MongoDB is a modern, general-purpose document-oriented data platform that has been widely paired with Node.js in popular tech stacks such as the MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js) and the MERN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, React.js, and Node.js).

npm, Node.js’s package manager, is the bridge that allows the MongoDB Node.js driver to be installed, making it easier for developers to work with MongoDB from inside a Node.js application.

Prerequisites

This blog post walks you through the steps needed to connect to a MongoDB database with the Node.js driver which is distributed as an npm package. To follow along, you will need the following tools:

  • Node.js and npm

    Node.js is a JavaScript runtime for building fast and scalable network applications, and it comes with npm installed. You can download an installer for your platform from the Node.js website.

  • MongoDB Node.js driver

    To connect your application with a database, you need a software component, also known as a driver. MongoDB Node.js driver supports database connection, authentication, CRUD operations, and observations, among other features.

  • MongoDB Atlas

    You can create a database either locally or in the cloud by using MongoDB Atlas, a fully managed cloud database service.

First, make sure you have the compatible version of Node.js. You can do that by running the following command in your terminal:

 node --version

If you see an error, head over to the Node.js documentation and install the correct Node version.

The Node.js installer also installs npm, the Node package manager. To make sure you have npm installed, execute the following command in your terminal:

npm --version

If you’re facing an issue with this or any other npm commands, refer to the npm documentation to help resolve them.

Project repository

You can explore the finished code for this project in its GitHub repository. Alternatively, you can follow along and build the project from scratch.

Initialize the Project

First, create a project directory called “node-mongoDB”. Open your terminal and execute the following command:

mkdir node-mongoDB && cd node-mongoDB

Once inside the directory, create a “package.json” file by running the following command:

npm init -y

The “y” flag generates an npm package that uses the default values.

In this project, we’ll use ECMAScript modules, which are the standardized way to package JavaScript code. To enable ECMAScript modules, add a new field to the “package.json” file:

"type": "module"

This will instruct Node.js to treat your JavaScript code as ECMAScript modules instead of the default CommonJS modules. Enabling ECMAScript modules will also allow us to use top-level await. In short, this means that we can use the await keyword outside of async functions.

Add MongoDB as a Dependency

Next, install the MongoDB driver along with its dependencies by running the following command:

npm install mongodb

The execution of the npm install command will take a few seconds to a minute depending on your network connection. The command downloads the mongodb package from the npm public registry into the node_modules directory of your project.

Create a MongoDB Atlas cluster

For this tutorial, you will need a MongoDB database instance. If you don’t have one at hand, you can create a free cluster in MongoDB Atlas. Follow these steps to create and connect to a cluster:

Be sure to save the connection string and database user’s credentials for connecting to the database.

Connect to Your Cluster

Now that we have a cluster, we can connect to it. It’s considered a good practice to keep your connection string and credentials separate from your code. You can do that by creating a configuration file that’s not checked into revision history. Create a “.env” file at the root of your project and add your cluster connection string as a variable:

DB_URI=mongodb+srv://<username>:<password>@<clustername>.mongodb.net/

To load that configuration into our application, we’ll use the dotenv package. Install it by executing the following npm command in your terminal:

npm install dotenv

Next, create a new directory “src” in your project and a new “index.js” file in it. To do that, you can execute the following command in your terminal:

mkdir src && touch src/index.js

Open the project in your favorite code editor and then, start editing the “src/index.js” file.

At the top of the file, import the dotenv package. Because we’re using ECMAScript modules, we should use the import/export syntax instead of the CommonJS require() function.

import { config } from 'dotenv';

Then, we need to invoke the config() function to load the variables from the “.env” file into process.env. Once we’ve done that, we can log the connection URI to make sure the configuration is loaded correctly.

import { config } from 'dotenv';

config();
console.log(process.env.DB_URI);

Execute the script in your terminal:

node src/index.js

You should see the connection string. Now that we have the URI loaded, we can use the MongoDB Node.js driver to connect to our cluster and query data. Let’s separate that logic in a new “src/studentsCrud.js” file. Create the file and open it in your editor.

Start by importing the MongoClient object from the mongodb npm package. MongoClient is an object used to initiate the connection with the database.

import { MongoClient } from 'mongodb';

After that, create a new async function called connectToCluster with the following implementation:

export async function connectToCluster(uri) {
   let mongoClient;

   try {
       mongoClient = new MongoClient(uri);
       console.log('Connecting to MongoDB Atlas cluster...');
       await mongoClient.connect();
       console.log('Successfully connected to MongoDB Atlas!');

       return mongoClient;
   } catch (error) {
       console.error('Connection to MongoDB Atlas failed!', error);
       process.exit();
   }
}

The function accepts a parameter — uri — and instantiates a MongoClient. Then, it connects by invoking the asynchronous connect() method. We use the await keyword to wait for the connection to be established before executing the following statements. The whole implementation is wrapped in a try/catch statement. In case of an error, we’re logging a message on the standard output and we’re terminating the execution with process.exit().

In the following sections, we’ll implement simple CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations on a collection of “students” in our database. Let’s lay the ground by creating a new function called executeStudentCrudOperations() in the “src/studentsCrud.js” file. From that function, we’ll connect to the database using the extracted URI and the connectToCluster() function. We’ll also wrap the connection call in a try/finally statement. In the finally block, we’ll ensure the connection is closed when the script finishes execution or if any error occurs.

export async function executeStudentCrudOperations() {
   const uri = process.env.DB_URI;
   let mongoClient;

   try {
       mongoClient = await connectToCluster(uri);
   } finally {
       await mongoClient.close();
   }
}

Let’s use the function to connect to our cluster! Import it in the “src/index.js” file and invoke it. Make sure you use the await keyword. Without it, the script will terminate before the function finishes its execution. You can also remove the line that logs the connection string.

The final version of the “src/index.js” file should look like this:

import { config } from 'dotenv';
import { executeStudentCrudOperations } from './studentsCrud.js';

config();
await executeStudentCrudOperations();

Execute the script in your terminal:

node src/index.js

You should see the following messages logged:

Connecting to MongoDB Atlas cluster...
Successfully connected to MongoDB Atlas!

Great job! In the following sections, we’ll implement simple CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations on a new “students” collection in our database.

CRUD Operations

Now, you can select a database by using the db() method. If the database doesn’t exist yet, it will be created.

Our example will create a database called “school”, which will have a collection of “students”.

Update the executeStudentCrudOperations() function from the previous section:

export async function executeStudentCrudOperations() {
   const uri = process.env.DB_URI;
   let mongoClient;

   try {
       mongoClient = await connectToCluster(uri);
       const db = mongoClient.db('school');
       const collection = db.collection('students');
   } finally {
       await mongoClient.close();
   }
}

Create

Now that you have a database and a collection set up, you can create a new document by using insertOne(). To create a document:

  • Create an asynchronous function called createStudentDocument, and pass collection as a parameter.
  • Inside the function, create an object called studentDocument, and store the student’s information in it.
  • Using await, pass the newly created object as a parameter to insertOne().

Copy and paste the following function in your “src/studentsCrud.js” file, right after the connectToCluster function export.

export async function createStudentDocument(collection) {
   const studentDocument = {
       name: 'John Smith',
       birthdate: new Date(2000, 11, 20),
       address: { street: 'Pike Lane', city: 'Los Angeles', state: 'CA' },
   };

   await collection.insertOne(studentDocument);
}

Now that you’ve written the function, you have to call it. Inside the try block in executeStudentCrudOperations(), after you’ve defined the collection, call createStudentDocument(). Make sure to use await so that the script waits for execution of the function before exiting.

export async function executeStudentCrudOperations() {
   const uri = process.env.DB_URI;
   let mongoClient;

   try {
       mongoClient = await connectToCluster(uri);
       const db = mongoClient.db('school');
       const collection = db.collection('students');

       console.log('CREATE Student');
       await createStudentDocument(collection);
   } finally {
       await mongoClient.close();
   }
}

Execute the “src/index.js” script in your terminal:

node src/index.js

You should see the message “CREATE Student” logged on your terminal. To verify that the document was created, navigate to your MongoDB Atlas instance, and select Browse Collections. Once selected, you should see your newly created database, collection, and document.

Even though you haven’t provided the _id field, notice there’s an id field present for your document. This is because if you don’t provide the id field, the database will automatically create a unique id for the document.

Find

You can use the find() method to retrieve documents from the database. This requires you to pass a query object with optional properties to filter the database. Similar to the createStudentDocument() function, you will create a findStudentsByName() function.

Copy the following function and add it after the createStudentDocument() function.

export async function findStudentsByName(collection, name) {
   return collection.find({ name }).toArray();
}

Call this function inside the try block and persist the retrieved document to a new variable. Use console.log() to print the variable. Make sure to comment out the call to the createStudentDocument() function. Otherwise, the script will create a new document with the same information and a new id.

export async function executeStudentCrudOperations() {
   const uri = process.env.DB_URI;
   let mongoClient;

   try {
       mongoClient = await connectToCluster(uri);
       const db = mongoClient.db('school');
       const collection = db.collection('students');

       // console.log('CREATE Student');
       // await createStudentDocument(collection);
       console.log(await findStudentsByName(collection, 'John Smith'));
   } finally {
       await mongoClient.close();
   }
}

Execute the script in your terminal:

node src/index.js

You should see the studentDocument object logged on your terminal.

To play around, try updating the name to John and notice what happens.

Update

Use the updateOne() method to update documents. This method has two required parameters:

  • The query selector object that indicates which documents need to be updated
  • An object indicating what changes need to be applied

Let’s create a function that updates the specified fields of a document with a specified name:

export async function updateStudentsByName(collection, name, updatedFields) {
   await collection.updateMany(
       { name },
       { $set: updatedFields }
   );
}

Call this function and then findStudentsByName() once again to verify that the document was updated.

export async function executeStudentCrudOperations() {
   const uri = process.env.DB_URI;
   let mongoClient;

   try {
       mongoClient = await connectToCluster(uri);
       const db = mongoClient.db('school');
       const collection = db.collection('students');

       // console.log('CREATE Student');
       // await createStudentDocument(collection);
       console.log(await findStudentsByName(collection, 'John Smith'));

       console.log('UPDATE Student\'s Birthdate');
       await updateStudentsByName(collection, 'John Smith', { birthdate: new Date(2001, 5, 5) });
       console.log(await findStudentsByName(collection, 'John Smith'));
   } finally {
       await mongoClient.close();
   }
}

Execute the script once again:

node src/index.js

You can compare the logged documents — before and after the update. If you refresh your MongoDB Atlas page, you should also see the updated document.

Delete

To remove documents from the database, use the deleteMany() method. This method takes in an object specifying which documents to delete as its first parameter.

Let’s create a function that deletes all documents with a specified name right after the updateStudentsByName() function:

export async function deleteStudentsByName(collection, name) {
   await collection.deleteMany({ name });
}

Call the function inside the try block. You can uncomment the previous function calls, too.

export async function executeStudentCrudOperations() {
   const uri = process.env.DB_URI;
   let mongoClient;

   try {
       mongoClient = await connectToCluster(uri);
       const db = mongoClient.db('school');
       const collection = db.collection('students');

       console.log('CREATE Student');
       await createStudentDocument(collection);
       console.log(await findStudentsByName(collection, 'John Smith'));

       console.log('UPDATE Student\'s Birthdate');
       await updateStudentsByName(collection, 'John Smith', { birthdate: new Date(2001, 5, 5) });
       console.log(await findStudentsByName(collection, 'John Smith'));

       console.log('DELETE Student');
       await deleteStudentsByName(collection, 'John Smith');
       console.log(await findStudentsByName(collection, 'John Smith'));
   } finally {
       await mongoClient.close();
   }
}

Execute the script one final time:

node src/index.js

You should see that no documents with the specified name are found after the deleteStudentsByName() function is executed. Refresh the MongoDB Atlas page. You’ll see the documents have been removed.

Conclusion

This tutorial scratches the surface of the MongoDB Node.js driver and Atlas. The MongoDB Node.js driver offers various methods, including but not limited to methods for aggregating, inserting, and replacing documents. You can also use Atlas to distribute and secure your data, build for optimization, and perform other functions.

FAQs

How do you install MongoDB using npm?

To install MongoDB using npm, execute npm install mongodb --save in your root directory. This will download the MongoDB Node.js driver and add a dependency entry in your package.json file.

How can you initialize the MongoDB app npm?

To initialize a MongoDB app, create a new directory and move from the current working directory into the newly created directory. Once inside the directory, you can use npm init -y. The y flag automatically accepts the default values for the command.

mkdir node-mongoDB && cd node-mongoDB
npm init -y

How do you install MongoDB in Windows using npm?

To install MongoDB in Windows using npm, execute npm install mongodb --save in your root directory. This will download the MongoDB Node.js driver and add a dependency entry in your package.json file.

How do you install MongoDB on Mac using npm?

To install MongoDB on Mac using npm, execute npm install mongodb --save in your root directory. This will download the MongoDB Node.js driver and add a dependency entry in your package.json file.

Can you use npm MongoDB without downloading from the MongoDB website?

Yes, you can use npm MongoDB by executing the command npm install mongodb. This command downloads the official MongoDB driver for Node.js and the dependencies required for its installation.

How do you run MongoDB with Node.js?

Once you’ve got MongoDB installed, you first want to import MongoClient at the top of your file. Once you’ve imported, create a new MongoClient instance and pass your connection string as a parameter. Then, using your connect method, you can connect and work with your data. For more details, follow this tutorial.

What is Node.js?

MongoDB Node.js driver is an interface through which your Node.js applications can connect and communicate with MongoDB. The driver features an asynchronous API that allows your Node.js applications to work with data.

How do I start MongoDB in Node.js?

Follow these steps to start MongoDB:

  • Install the MongoDB driver, using npm.
  • Import MongoClient at the top of your file.
  • Create a new MongoClient instance and pass your connection string as a parameter.
  • Connect by using the connect method.

    For more details, follow this tutorial.

What does npm stand for?

npm stands for Node Package Manager. npm is an open source project that helps developers easily share packages. It also offers a command-line client that allows developers to install and publish these packages.

What is npm update?

npm update is a command that updates all modules present in package json to their latest versions. Use npm update followed by the package name to update the package. For example, to update MongoDB, you can use npm update mongodb.

What is the difference between npm and Node?

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime built on Google Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine. On the other hand, npm is a tool that allows users to install third-party libraries.

Are npm packages free?

According to the policies, using npm Open Source is free.

Can npm update itself?

To update npm to the latest version, you can run npm i -g npm@latest. To update npm to a specific version, you can run npm i -g npm@x.x.x.

Is npm the same as npm install?

npm is a node package manager, whereas npm install is a command for installing these packages.