The Atlas API follows the principles of the REST architectural style to expose a number of internal resources which enable programmatic access to Atlas’s features.

As with changes made through the Atlas web interface, changes made through the API are subject to Atlas billing. If you incur charges, you must have a valid credit card on file with Atlas or risk having your account locked.

The API has the following features:

JSON entities
All entities are expressed in JSON.
Key-based access
Each Atlas user or application needing to connect to Atlas must generate an API key before accessing the Atlas API.
Digest authentication
To ensure that your API key is never sent over the network, API requests are authenticated using HTTP Digest Authentication.
Browsable interface
Using a consistent linking mechanism, you can browse the entire API by starting at the root resource and following links to related resources.
You can only access the API via HTTPS, ensuring all data sent over the network is fully encrypted using TLS.
User Access Control

Each Atlas user’s API capabilities match the permissions granted by their Atlas Atlas User Roles.


A user with the Project Read Only in a Atlas project cannot modify any resource within that project whether through the Atlas UI or the API.

API Network Whitelist

The Atlas API supports a per-user API Whitelist for restricting API access to specific IP or CIDR addresses. For Atlas users with a non-empty API whitelist, all API access must originate from a whitelisted IP address. An empty API whitelist grants access to all API endpoints except those that explicitly require whitelisting for access.

Atlas supports requiring API whitelisting at the organization level, such that any API activity for all projects within that organization must originate from an entry on each respective Atlas user’s API whitelist. To learn more, see Configure Atlas API Access.

HTTP Methods

All resources support a subset of these common HTTP Methods:

Method Purpose
GET Retrieve the JSON representation of a resource.
POST Create a new resource using the provided JSON representation.
PUT Replace a resource with the provided JSON representation.
PATCH Update the specified fields in a resource using the provided JSON representation.
DELETE Remove a resource.
HEAD Returns the response header without the JSON representation of the resource.


All entities are represented in JSON. The following rules and conventions apply:

  • Content Type Request Header

    When sending JSON to the server via POST or PUT, make sure to specify the correct content type request header: Content-Type: application/json

  • Invalid Fields

    Invalid fields are rejected rather than ignored. If, for example, you attempt to create a new entity and misspell one of the fields, or if you attempt to update an existing entity and include a field that cannot be modified, the server responds with a 400 status code and an error message stating which field was invalid.

  • ISO-8601-Formatted Dates

    All dates are returned as ISO-8601-formatted strings designated in UTC. When sending dates to the server (i.e., as query parameters or fields in POST or PATCH request entities), use ISO-8601-formatted dates. If you do not specify a time zone, UTC is assumed. However, it is highly recommended that you include a time zone designator to avoid any ambiguity.

  • BSON Timestamps

    In some cases, a timestamp is returned as a BSON timestamp, most notably in the backup resources. These are represented in JSON documents as an object with two fields: date, which is an ISO-8601-formatted date string in UTC with granularity to the second, and increment a 32-bit integer.

  • Field Names for Fields with Numbers

    Fields that contain numeric values in a particular unit will be named so as to disambiguate the unit being used.

  • Empty Fields

    Fields that do not have a current value are returned with an appropriate default value.

    Fields that do not have a sensible default value are omitted from the entity.

  • Field Order

    The fields in the JSON documents returned by the server are in no particular order, and the order may change. Do not depend on the order of the fields.


Each resource includes one or more links to sub-resources and/or related resources. Links are placed in the links field of an entity, which is an array of link relation objects. Each link relation has two fields:

Field Description
rel Name (or type) of the relation. Many of these are considered Extension Relation Types and are prefixed by
href The target URL.

All entities include at least one link relation called self, which is simply its own URL. When an entity is part of a list, then it only includes the self link relation.

For more information, refer to the Web Linking Specification. Note that although the specification describes a format for including links in the HTTP response headers, doing so is not a requirement. To make the API easily browsable, it includes the links in the response body rather than in the response headers.


Some resources return a list of entities. When a list of entities is expected in a response, the results are returned in batches bounded by the following query parameters:

Field Description
pageNum Page number (1-based). Defaults to 1 if not specified.
itemsPerPage Number of items to return per page, up to a maximum of 500. Defaults to 100 if not specified.
includeCount Specifies whether the response returns the totalCount field. Defaults to true if not specified.

The response entity contains three fields:

Field Description
totalCount The total number of items in the entire result set.
results The result set, which is an array of entity documents.
links Contains one to three link relations: previous for the previous page of results (omitted for the first page); next for the next page of results (omitted for the last page); and self for the current page (always present).

If you make a request for a list of entities and there are no results, then the API responds with a 200 status code and the results array is empty. It does not respond with a 404 in this case, since the list of entities may not be empty at some point in the future. However, if you request a list of entities in a context that does not exist (e.g., the list of hosts for a non-existent project), then this does result in a 404 response status.


Some clients might not be able to access the HTTP response headers and/or status code. In that case, you can request that the response include an “envelope,” which is simply an extra layer of information in the JSON document and contains any relevant details that would normally be in the response headers. By default, the API does not include the response in an envelope. To request one, simply add the query parameter envelope=true.

For responses that contain a single entity, the envelope contains two fields:

Field Description
status The HTTP status code.
content The requested entity.

For responses that contain a list of entities, there is already an envelope that wraps the results, so specifying envelope=true only adds the status field to the existing envelope.

Pretty Printing

By default, extraneous whitespace is stripped from the JSON returned by the server. To ask for pretty-printed JSON, simply append the pretty=true query parameter to any request:

curl --user '{USERNAME}:{APIKEY}' --digest \
  --header 'Accept: application/json' \
  --include \
  --request GET ""

Response Codes

Responses use the standard HTTP response codes, including:

Code Meaning Notes
200 OK The request was successful. This is typically the response to a successful GET request.
201 Created A new resource was created. This is typically the response to a successful POST request.
202 Accepted A request for an asynchronous operation was accepted.
400 Bad Request Something was wrong with the client request.
401 Unauthorized Authentication is required but was not present in the request. Typically this means that the digest authentication information was omitted from the request, the provided credentials are incorrect, or the user associated with the given API key is not allowed to access the requested resource.
403 Forbidden Access to the specified resource is not permitted.
404 Not Found The requested resource does not exist.
405 Method Not Allowed

The HTTP method is not supported for the specified resource. Keep in mind that each resource may only support a subset of HTTP methods.


You cannot DELETE the root resource.

409 Conflict This is typically the response to a request to create or modify a property of an entity that is unique when an existing entity already exists with the same value for that property.
5xx Various server errors Something unexpected went wrong. Try again later and consider notifying Atlas Support.


When a request results in an error, the response body contains a document with additional details about what went wrong. The document contains three fields:

Field Description
error The error code, which is simply the HTTP status code.
reason A short description of the error, which is simply the HTTP status phrase.
detail A more detailed description of the error.

Project ID

Your Project ID is a string value that uniquely identifies a Atlas project.

Atlas projects were previously identified as “groups”. Some Atlas endpoints reference group or {GROUP-ID} as part of the request path, query, or body parameters. For any endpoint that requires your {GROUP-ID}, specify your Project ID instead.

To retrieve your project ID:


Copy the string listed under the Project ID heading.


As previously mentioned, the Atlas API uses HTTP Digest Authentication. The details of digest authentication are beyond the scope of this document, but it essentially requires a username and a password which are hashed using a unique server-generated value called a nonce. The username is the API public key and the password is the corresponding private key.

Keep the following points in mind:

  • The server-generated nonce is used by the client to hash the username and password before sending them back to the server to authenticate a request. The nonce is only valid for a short amount of time as per the digest authentication specification. This is to prevent replay attacks, so you can’t cache a nonce and use it forever.
  • Using digest authentication in combination with HTTPS provides an extra layer of security by ensuring that a password is never transmitted back to the server.
  • Some resource methods require even more security and are additionally protected by user API whitelists that allow access to the resource only from the IP addresses listed. Each user configures their own API whitelist of IP addresses that allow them access to the resource, in combination with their API keys. A user can access a whitelisted resource only when the API key and whitelisted IP address come from the same Atlas user account.
  • Atlas roles allow more fine-grained control of the operations a user is allowed to perform. The API resources enforce the same authorization rules, so the resources and methods that can be accessed by an API key are governed by the roles granted to the associated user.
  • Many resources are tied to a project, as evidenced by URLs of the form .../api/atlas/v1.0/groups/<GROUP-ID>/.... For these resources, the user tied to the API key must be a member of the project. Otherwise the server responds with a 401 error.

Rate Limiting

Certain resources are subject to rate limiting.

For resources that are rate limited, Atlas allows up to 100 requests per minute per project. Keep in mind that an API key is assigned to a user, but that user may access multiple projects.


Consider two users: A and B. User A belongs to project X, and user B belongs to projects X and Y.

  • At 1:00:00pm, User A makes 50 requests to a rate limited resource in project X, all of which are complete by 1:00:20pm.

  • At 1:00:30pm, User B attempts to make 60 requests to a rate limited resource in project X.

    Since User A has already used up 50 requests within the 1:00pm minute for project X, the last 10 requests User B attempts to make are rejected.

    However, User B can make requests to a rate limited resource in project Y, since each project maintains a separate request counter.

  • At 1:01:00pm, requests to project X may proceed, because the request counter used for rate limiting resets each minute.

If you exceed the rate limit, the API returns a 429 Too Many Requests response code.