Legacy Backups

Legacy Backup Deprecated

MongoDB deprecated the Legacy Backup feature. Clusters that use Legacy Backup can continue to use it. MongoDB recommends using Cloud Backups. Effective 23 March 2020, all new clusters can only use Cloud Backups.

Atlas legacy backup takes incremental backups of data in your cluster. Use Atlas legacy backups to restore from stored snapshots or from a selected point in time within the last 24 hours. You can also query a legacy backup snapshot.

For sharded clusters, the backup service temporarily stops the balancer via the mongos 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 Legacy Backup.

Your Atlas cluster can backup or restore clusters with fewer than 100,000 files across all databases. Files include collections and indexes.

If you have one or more deployments that meet or exceed the 100,000 file limit, contact MongoDB Support:

  1. Click Support in the left-hand navigation bar of the Atlas UI.
  2. Complete the requested fields to open a support ticket.

Cloud Backups do not have a collection limit.

Enable Backup

You can enable legacy backups when you:

See also

To learn how to download a Cloud Backup, see the Restore a Cluster from a Cloud Backup page.

From the cluster configuration modal, toggle Do you want to enable backup? to Yes.

Enable Continuous Cloud Backup Restore for Sharded Clusters


This section applies only to sharded clusters running MongoDB with FCV of 4.0 or earlier. If your sharded clusters run FCV 4.2 or later, skip this section.

Sharded clusters running MongoDB with FCV of 4.0 or earlier require enabling cluster checkpoints to support Continuous Cloud Backup restoration from a legacy backup snapshot. Without cluster checkpoints, Atlas can only restore from a snapshot and not from a Continuous Cloud Backup between snapshots. After enabling legacy backups on the cluster, do the following to enable cluster checkpoints:


Set your Snapshot Interval.

  1. Click ellipsis h icon next to your cluster’s name.
  2. Click Edit Snapshot Schedule.
  3. Click the Create cluster checkpoint every: checkbox.
  4. Select an interval from the dropdown menu.
  5. Click Submit to save your changes.


The sharded cluster balancer must pause whenever a cluster checkpoint is created.

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
(30 days if snapshot taken every 24 hours)
Daily snapshot 7 days 360 days
Weekly snapshot 4 weeks 52 weeks
Monthly snapshot 13 months 84 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 Cloud Backup Schedule.