Continuous Backups


This feature is not available for M0 (Free Tier), M2, and M5 clusters. For more information, see Atlas M0 (Free Tier), M2, and M5 Limitations.

Atlas continuous backups take incremental backups of data in your cluster, ensuring your backups are typically just a few seconds behind the operational system. Atlas continuous backups allow you to restore from stored snapshots or from a selected point in time within the last 24 hours. You can also query a continuous backup snapshot.

For sharded clusters, the backup service temporarily stops the balancer via the mongos in order to insert a marker token into all shards and config servers in the cluster. Atlas takes a snapshot when the marker tokens appear in the backup data.

Collection Limit for Atlas Continuous Backup.

If the total number of collections across all databases in a Atlas cluster meets or exceeds 100,000, Atlas continuous backup cannot take snapshots of that cluster.

If you need to enable Atlas continuous backup in a project where one or more deployments meets or exceeds the collection limit, click Support in the left-hand navigation bar of the Atlas UI and filling in the requested information to open a support ticket.

Cloud Provider Snapshots do not have a collection limit.

Enable Backup

You can enable continuous backups during the cluster creation or during the modification of an existing cluster.


Atlas only allows one backup method per project. Once you select a backup method for a cluster in a project, Atlas locks the backup service to the chosen method for all subsequent clusters in that project.

For example, in a project where one or more clusters use continuous backups, you cannot enable cloud provider snapshots for any cluster in that project.

To change the backup method for the project, disable backups for all clusters in the project, then re-enable backups using your preferred backup methodology. Atlas deletes any stored snapshots when you disable backup for a cluster.

Consider creating a separate project for clusters where a different backup method is required.

From the the cluster configuration modal, toggle Do you want to enable backup? to Yes. For clusters deployed to Azure, select the Continuous card.

Snapshot Storage Location

Each project has one backup data center location dictated by the first backup-enabled cluster created in that project.

For single-region Atlas clusters created after June 21st, 2017, Atlas stores backup data for an Atlas cluster in a data center specific to the cluster’s geographic region.

For multi-region Atlas clusters, Atlas stores backup data for the cluster in a data center specific to the geographical location of the cluster’s Preferred Region.


All additional backup-enabled clusters created in the project use the backup data center selected during deployment of the project’s first backup-enabled cluster regardless of the geographical location of the cluster region or regions.

To change the data center location of a cluster, you must disable backups for all clusters in the project. You can then enable backups for a cluster whose geographic region corresponds to the data center location of your choice.

Cluster Location Backup Service Location
Germany Germany
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Australia Australia
All other cluster locations Ireland

Atlas retains these snapshots based on the retention policy.

Snapshot Schedule

Atlas has the following snapshot schedule, which determines the frequency and the retention of the snapshots:


If you disable backup for a cluster or terminate a cluster, Atlas immediately deletes the backup snapshots for the cluster.

Snapshot Schedule Default Retention Policy Maximum Retention Setting
Base snapshot every <x> hours 2 days 5 days
Daily snapshot 7 days 360 days
Weekly snapshot 4 weeks 52 weeks
Monthly snapshot 13 months 36 months

By default, Atlas takes base snapshots every 6 hours.

To change a deployment’s snapshot schedule, including the retention policy, go to Backup. For the cluster whose snapshot schedule you wish to modify, click the ellipsis and select Edit Snapshot Schedule menu option.

See also

To modify the schedule using the API, see Snapshot Schedule.