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How to install mongodb on mac

how to install mongodb on mac

Relational databases have long been the cornerstone of data management, but the emergence of NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB, has revolutionized how we store and handle data. MongoDB, with its schema-less design, high scalability, and flexibility in handling various data types, has become a popular choice for developers working with modern web applications. This article will guide you through the various methods available to install MongoDB on a macOS system, drawing from personal experiences and industry best practices. Whether you are setting up a development environment or configuring a production server, understanding how to install MongoDB effectively is essential. We’ll cover everything you need to know to get started with MongoDB on your Mac, from using Homebrew to manual installation steps.


Common Scenarios:

Setting up a Local Development Environment

  • Developers frequently need a local instance of MongoDB for application development and testing.
  • Installing MongoDB locally ensures quick access to the database during the coding process.
  • Certain development tools for MongoDB, like MongoDB Compass, work best when used with a local database instance.

Getting Ready for Production Deployment

  • Before deploying an application to production, it’s critical to test the environment with a MongoDB installation that mirrors the production setup.
  • Understanding the installation process helps in troubleshooting potential issues before going live.
  • Working knowledge of installation can aid in custom configurations that optimize performance for specific project requirements.

Exploring NoSQL Databases and Big Data

  • Those learning about NoSQL databases often begin by installing MongoDB to gain hands-on experience.
  • Big Data practitioners may install MongoDB on their Mac to experiment with data modeling and query optimization.
  • Installing MongoDB allows for exploration of its integrations with other big data tools and platforms.

Step-by-Step Guide. How To Install Mongodb On Mac:

Method 1: Installing MongoDB using Homebrew

  • Open the Terminal on your Mac.
  • Type ‘brew tap mongodb/brew’ and hit Enter to add the official MongoDB Homebrew Tap.
  • Next, type ‘brew install [email protected] (or replace 4.4 with the version you want) and press Enter. This step initiates the download and installation of MongoDB.
  • Once installed, start MongoDB with ‘brew services start mongodb/brew/mongodb-community’.
  • To verify the installation, enter ‘mongo’ in the Terminal. If you see a MongoDB shell prompt, the installation was successful.

Note: Replace the version number with the latest MongoDB version if needed.

Conclusion: This method is the simplest and most straightforward way to install MongoDB on a Mac for most users.

Method 2: Installing MongoDB with a .tgz Tarball

  • Download the desired version of MongoDB from the MongoDB Community Download Center.
  • Extract the downloaded tarball using ‘tar -zxvf mongodb-macos-x86_64-4.4.0.tgz’, substituting the filename with the one you downloaded.
  • Move the extracted MongoDB binaries to a directory in your PATH, such as ‘/usr/local/bin/’.
  • Ensure you have the proper data and log directories created with ‘mkdir -p /data/db’ and ‘mkdir -p /var/log/mongodb’, respectively.
  • Start MongoDB by running the ‘mongod’ command, specifying the config file if one is used.

Note: This method requires manual setup of directories and permissions, which can be more complex than using Homebrew.

Conclusion: Useful for users who prefer or need to manage their MongoDB installation and versions manually.

Method 3: Using a Package Manager like MacPorts

  • Install MacPorts for macOS if it’s not already installed, by following the instructions on their official site.
  • Run ‘sudo port install mongodb’ to install the MongoDB package via MacPorts.
  • You may need to execute additional commands to start and enable MongoDB, such as ‘sudo port load mongodb’.
  • Verify the installation with the ‘mongo’ command which should bring up the MongoDB shell prompt.

Note: MacPorts might not always have the latest version of MongoDB available.

Conclusion: This method is suitable for those who are already using MacPorts as their package manager.

Method 4: Running MongoDB with Docker

  • Install Docker Desktop for Mac from the Docker website.
  • Open Terminal and run the following command to pull the official MongoDB image: ‘docker pull mongo’.
  • Start a MongoDB container with ‘docker run –name my-mongo -d mongo’, replacing ‘my-mongo’ with a name of your choice.
  • Access MongoDB via a client or through the Docker exec command: ‘docker exec -it my-mongo bash’, then ‘mongo’ to enter the shell.

Note: Docker allows you to run multiple isolated instances of MongoDB with different configurations and versions.

Conclusion: Perfect for users who work with containerized applications and require the flexibility Docker provides.

Method 5: Using MongoDB as a Service with MongoDB Atlas

  • Open your web browser and create an account on the MongoDB Atlas website.
  • Follow the guided setup process to create a new cluster, choosing the free tier for testing or learning purposes.
  • Once your cluster is ready, connect to it using the provided connection string in your application or MongoDB Compass.

Note: This method doesn’t require local installation of MongoDB, but an internet connection is necessary to access the database.

Conclusion: MongoDB Atlas is excellent for those looking for managed database solutions with minimal setup requirements.


Precautions and Tips:

Ensuring Successful Installation

  • Always check for software compatibility with your Mac’s OS version before attempting an installation.
  • Remember to update Homebrew, Docker, or MacPorts to their latest versions to ensure access to the most recent MongoDB versions.
  • Secure your MongoDB instance by configuring authentication and network access controls, especially if your database will be accessible on a network.

Additional Resources and Tools

When you start working with MongoDB, you may also want to explore some additional tools that enhance your experience. For instance, consider MongoDB Compass, the official GUI for MongoDB, which makes it easier to manage and query your databases visually. You can download MongoDB Compass from MongoDB’s website.

For those interested in learning more about NoSQL databases and MongoDB specifically, the MongoDB University offers free courses that cover everything from basic to advanced topics. It’s a valuable resource for both beginners and experienced developers seeking to expand their knowledge.

Lastly, understanding how data is structured in NoSQL databases and MongoDB’s specific data types is crucial for effective data modeling. Familiarize yourself with the concepts of collections, documents, and the BSON data format that MongoDB uses. To get more in-depth information about these topics, you can refer to MongoDB’s documentation.


By now, you should have a good grasp of how to install MongoDB on a Mac using various methods. Each method serves different needs, from the convenience of Homebrew to the control of a manual tarball setup, the utility of MacPorts, containerization with Docker, or the ease of MongoDB Atlas. Keep in mind that proper configuration and security measures should always follow an installation. Everyone’s journey with MongoDB will be unique, so it’s valuable to explore the method that aligns best with your scenario and skill level. Should you encounter any issues, MongoDB has a robust community and a wealth of resources at your disposal to help troubleshoot and learn. Embrace the power of MongoDB on your Mac, and happy data managing!


To begin, visit the MongoDB Community Edition download page and download the macOS .tgz file.

Install Homebrew if it’s not already, then run brew tap mongodb/brew followed by brew install mongodb-community in the terminal.

Yes, use brew services start mongodb/brew/mongodb-community to start the MongoDB service on your Mac.

Execute mongo in the terminal to connect to the MongoDB server, which confirms the server’s active status if no errors occur.

Absolutely, list available versions with brew search mongodb, then install your chosen version like so: brew install [email protected].

To stop MongoDB, enter brew services stop mongodb/brew/mongodb-community in your terminal.

Typically no additional steps are needed, but you can tweak configuration by editing the /usr/local/etc/mongod.conf file if necessary.

MongoDB Compass isn’t bundled with the server, but it can be downloaded separately from the MongoDB Compass download page.

The official installation guide for Mac is available on the MongoDB website under their documentation section.

By default, MongoDB stores its data in /usr/local/var/mongodb, but this path can be modified via the configuration file.