How to Install and Setup a MongoDB Server on macOS

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MongoDB and macOS make a complementary duo. MongoDB is the perfect storage database for JSON documents. It offers scalability as well as flexibility for indexing and querying. Combine it with the power of macOS and you’ll unleash zooming productivity that will spoil you. Install MongoDB server macOS and there’s nothing stopping your search capabilities.

Setting up MongoDB on your macOS isn’t difficult if you have a streamlined way of getting it done. Two common ways to accomplish this are by using a Tarball archive from the MongoDB website or from the terminal with the Homebrew installer package. The latter is the simplest. If you go that route, be sure to install the brew package manager first. Let’s try both methods. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to install and setup a MondoDB on macOS.

Open a terminal instance

  • The macOS Dock might have the Terminal application anchored. If not, the “Applications” folder is where you want to open a terminal instance. Use the finder to do this.

  • Look for the “Utilities” folder, then open it and you’ll see the terminal application there.

The macOS finder shows an alphabetical listing of apps from left to right. Inside the Utilities folder is the Screenshot of a macOS finder window opening a new terminal window in the Utilities folder

  • Another way to install Homebrew is to run a Ruby script. If you haven’t installed Homebrew yet, use this code. The Git respository is where the Ruby script will run from to install the application.
/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl --insecure -fsSL"

Homebrew is downloaded and installed from a macOS terminal window .Screenshot of a terminal window in macOS Mojave installing Homebrew

Use Homebrew to Install MongoDB

Now, you’re ready to install MongoDB. It’s best practice to update the brew packages first. You want the latest version because you want to take advantage of the latest technology.

brew update
  • To install brew, just “tap” the repository, that is to gain access to the repository after the brew update is completed.
brew tap mongodb/brew
brew install mongodb-community@X.x
# or: brew install mongodb-community@4.0

Use a terminal window to run MongoDB

  • In a terminal window, start the MongoDB and run it as a service.
mongod --config /usr/local/etc/mongod.conf

Also in the terminal window, use nano or another command line editor to edit the configuration file found at /usr/local/etc/mongod.conf:

sudo nano /usr/local/etc/mongod.conf

Great! You’ve got the MongoDB Homebrew server running!

How to Stop the terminal service, MongoDB

  • Press CTRL+C to stop the MongoDB community service and close the terminal window.

Stopping the MongoDB service in a macOS terminal. Screenshot of a macOS terminal starting and stopping the MongoDB service

Use a TAR archive to Install MongoDB

  • We covered how to install MongoDB using Homebrew and that is the simplest way to do it. Now, we’ll show you how to install the MongoDB on macOS using a TAR archive. That’s right from the source.

  • First, download the most the latest stable release of the MongoDB for macOS. It’s the “macOS 64-bit x 64” option under “OS” on MongoDB’s Download Center.

Here, the current release version of MongoDB and the macOS 64-bit x64 options are selected on the MongoDB Download Center’s website.Screenshot of the MongoDB Download Center webpage

  • Open a macOS terminal window and switch to (cd ~/Downloads) Downloads directory.

  • Use the command for tgz archives. The tar xzf extracts the Tarball file. Make sure you have security privileges to make the changes using sudo commands.

  • A simple script installs MongoDB version 4.0.9 for macOS.

sudo tar xzf mongodb-osx-ssl-x86_64-4.0.9.tgz
  • Verify that you have MongoDB database files. At a terminal prompt, type /data/db. It’s not there if you get the No such file or directory response. If this happens, use the command mkdir to make a new directory. Add the -p option. For the path you indicate, create the directory and associated sub-directories with the sudo command.
sudo mkdir -p /data/db
  • Find out the username of the directory. The whoami is the command to use.

  • The directory will need to have the necessary permissions and full ownership given to the user. Give them.

# get the user name:

# give ownership to the user:
sudo chown {SOME_USER} /data/db

# give permissions:
sudo chmod -R 775 /data/

Configure the MONGO_PATH in the .bash_profile shell script

  • Find the hidden directory file .bash_profile in the (cd ~) home directory. Use ls -A to find the hidden file.

  • If the .bash_profile script isn’t there, create it with touch command:

sudo touch .bash_profile
  • If you find the .bash_profile, edit it with a text editor. Use nano if you like or use another text editor if you prefer:
sudo nano .bash_profile
  • Make sure to paste this code at the end of the script:
export MONGO_PATH=/usr/local/mongodb
  • The MongoDB working path is now set. Press CTRL+O to save the changes to the bash_profile shell file, and then press CTRL+X to exit out of nano.

  • Make sure to restart the terminal or use the source ~/.bash_profile command to reload the shell file’s settings and paths.

  • Once the tarball archive is extracted make sure to move its contents to the $PATH directory exported in the shell profile:

sudo mv mongodb-osx-x86_64–4.x.x /usr/local/mongodb

A screenshot of the .bash_profile shell script being edited with the nano text editor:

Screenshot of the Nano terminal-based text editor with the ".bash_profile" file being edited

Start the MongoDB service on macOS

  • In the terminal window, start the service by typing mongod.

  • When you want to stop the MongoDB server, it’s the same as Homebrew. Press CTRL+C.


This tutorial explained how to install MongoDB server macOS. As you have learned, it’s easy to do. There are two common ways to install MongoDB: from the terminal using Homebrew or by way of the MongoDB website where you’ll use a Tarball archive. Together, macOS and MongoDB’s storage capabilities, indexing prowess, and analyzing ingenuity is all you need to propel your productivity day in and day out.

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