MongoDB > Authentication in replica sets

Had another great question in the M102 forums a few days ago, so wanted to share it, since I didn’t know the exact answer, and Dwight graciously clarified it for everyone.


  • If I have admins and users with read/write or read only access on the primary node, will that info transfer to secondary nodes?
  • Can we have different admins for different nodes of mongo?

My initial thinking went like this:

The user info is stored in the system.users database (where all user credentials are stored), so with replica sets it would be replicated across all nodes and allow access to data from any node. And since the info would be copied across all nodes, I don’t think it’s possible to have different admins for different nodes.

Dwight’s explanation with example:

The auth information replicates, so you either have authorization for the set as a whole, or not. The auth is per database (with authorization on the ‘admin’ database implying you can access all).

So you could do something like this:

$ mongo –host abc8
 use mydb
 $ mongo –host abc9
use mydb

And you should see the same user information (assuming the secondary is caught up to the replication time of the user additions).

The above example is for a standalone replica set; if you are sharded you would connect to the cluster through mongos. Once again your credentials are for the whole cluster, per db.

Additional resources and notes:

More information on authentication:

Note that for replica sets you’ll need to use –keyFile option to specify configuration file that will be used to authenticate between members of the replica sets:

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