MongoDB is a modern, document-based database that is used by a lot of web software and services. Unlike SQL databases such as MySQL that store data in tables, MongoDB utilizes json documents instead.

Initial Setup

This section covers the base installation of a MongoDB database server; It is highly recommended to follow the steps in further setup.


  • A VPS or local server for self-hosting

  • An installation of Debian 10

  • Basic UNIX knowledge


To install a relatively modern version of MongoDB on Debian, it is recommended to use the MongoDB community edition repositories:

wget -qO - https://www.mongodb.org/static/pgp/server-4.4.asc | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb http://repo.mongodb.org/apt/debian buster/mongodb-org/4.4 main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mongodb-org-4.4.list

Then update your repository database:

sudo apt update

And install MongoDB:

sudo apt install mongodb-org

Systemd Service

The mongodb-org package automatically installs a systemd service that you can run to start, stop or enable MongoDB at launch:

sudo systemctl restart mongodb

Enabling MongoDB at launch:

sudo systemctl enable mongodb


Configuration of the MongoDB daemon can be done in /etc/mongod.conf;
Otherwise, a specific configuration file can be specified with the --config option while using mongod

(Note: It is recommended to run mongod as the user mongodb, which is created when installing MongoDB.)

Further Configuration

There are some further recommended steps to take to ensure secure functioning of the MongoDB database:

Creating a database

To create a database, first access the MongoDB shell:


Then use the use command to create (if not already existing) and begin using a database:


Enabling Authentication/Access Control

MongoDB supports authentication, but it is disabled by default; To enable it, first enter the MongoDB shell and create a user named MyUserAdmin under the admin database:

use admin
    user: "myUserAdmin",
    pwd: passwordPrompt(),
    roles: [ { role: "userAdminAnyDatabase", db: "admin" }, "readWriteAnyDatabase" ]

This will prompt for a password for the admin user; Remember that password!

Now exit the MongoDB shell and edit the daemon configuration file at /etc/mongod.conf and add the following line under the security section:

    authorization: enabled

Restart the daemon with sudo systemctl restart mongod and test authentication:

mongo --authenticationDatabase "admin" -u "myUserAdmin" -p

This will prompt for your password; Enter it, and if you are able to enter MongoDB, you've enabled authentication!

Creating a new user

To create a new user, first specify their authentication database:


(Note: some software may specifically require you to use the admin database to authenticate.)

Then create the user:

    user: "USER",
    pwd:  passwordPrompt(),
    roles: [ { role: "readWrite", db: "DATABASE" },
             { role: "read", db: "reporting" } ]

With this, a user is created.