Persistence Configuration

Document Storage

Mongoid by default stores documents in a collection that is the pluralized form of the class name. For the following Person class, the collection the document would get stored in would be named people.

class Person
  include Mongoid::Document

Model class names cannot end with “s”, because it will be considered as the pluralized form of the word. For example “Status” would be considered as the plural form of “Statu”, which will cause a few known problems.

This is a limitation of the ActiveSupport::Inflector#classify which Mongoid uses to convert from filenames and collection names to class names. You can overcome this by specifying a custom inflection rule for your model class. For example, the following code will take care of the model named Status.

ActiveSupport::Inflector.inflections do |inflect|
  inflect.singular("status", "status")

The collection for the model’s documents can be changed at the class level if you would like them persisted elsewhere. You can also change the database and client the model gets persisted in from the defaults.

class Person
  include Mongoid::Document
  store_in collection: "citizens", database: "other", client: "analytics"

The store_in macro can also take lambdas - a common case for this is multi-tenant applications.

class Band
  include Mongoid::Document
  store_in database: ->{ Thread.current[:database] }

When a document is stored in the database the ruby object will get serialized into BSON and have a structure like so:

  "_id" : ObjectId("4d3ed089fb60ab534684b7e9"),
  "title" : "Sir",
  "name" : {
    "_id" : ObjectId("4d3ed089fb60ab534684b7ff"),
    "first_name" : "Durran"
  "addresses" : [
      "_id" : ObjectId("4d3ed089fb60ab534684b7e0"),
      "city" : "Berlin",
      "country" : "Deutschland"

Persistence Context Attributes

Mongoid provides client_name, database_name and collection_name methods on model classes to determine the client, database and collection names used for persistence:

# => :default

# => "mongoid"

# => :bands


There may be cases where you want to persist documents to different sources from their defaults, or with different options from the default. Mongoid provides run-time support for this as well as support on a per-model basis.

Model-Level Persistence Options

On a per-model basis, you can tell it to store in a custom collection name, a different database, or a different client. The following example would store the Band class by default into a collection named “artists” in the database named “music”, with the client “analytics”.

Note that the value supplied to the client option must be configured under clients in your mongoid.yml.

class Band
  include Mongoid::Document
  store_in collection: "artists", database: "music", client: "analytics"

If no store_in macro would have been provided, Mongoid would store the model in a collection named “bands” in the default database in the default client.

Runtime Persistence Options

It is possible to change the client, database and collection, as well as any of the MongoDB client options, used for persistence for a group of operations by using the with method on a model class or instance:

Band.with(database: "music-non-stop") do |klass|

  band = Band.first


Band.with(collection: "artists") do |klass|


band.with(client: :tertiary) do |band_object|!!

The with method creates a temporary persistence context and a MongoDB client to be used for operations in the context. For the duration of the block, the persistence context on the model class or instance that with was called on is changed to the temporary persistence context. For convenience, the model class or instance that with was called on is yielded to the block.

The temporary persistence context applies to both queries and writes.

Care should be taken when performing persistence operations across different persistence contexts. For example, if a document is saved in a temporary persistence context, it may not exist in the default persistence context, failing subsequent updates:

band = "Scuba")
band.with(collection: "artists") do |band_object|!

# This will not save - updates the collection "bands" which does not have
# the Scuba band
band.update_attribute(likes: 1000)

# This will update the document.
band.with(collection: "artists") do |band_object|
  band_object.update_attribute(likes: 1000)

As of Mongoid 6.0, the with method must always be called with a block, and the temporary persistence context exists only for the duration of the block. This is because a new client is created under the covers with the options passed to with. To ensure that this client is closed and its associated resources are freed, the scope when this client could be used must be well-defined.

Global Override

If you want to switch the persistence context for all operations at runtime, but don’t want to be using with all over your code, Mongoid provides the ability to do this as the client and database level globally. The methods for this are Mongoid.override_client and Mongoid.override_database. A useful case for this are internationalized applications that store information for different locales in different databases or clients, but the schema in each remains the same.

class BandsController < ApplicationController
  before_filter :switch_database
  after_filter :reset_database


  def switch_database
    I18n.locale = params[:locale] || I18n.default_locale

  def reset_database

In the above example, all persistence operations would be stored in the alternative database for all remaining operations on this thread. This is why the after request set the override back to nil - it ensures subsequent requests with no local params use the default option.

Persistence context applies to both read and write operations. For example, secondary reads can be performed as follows:

Band.with(read: {mode: :secondary}) do

Client and Collection Access

If you want to drop down to the driver level to perform operations, you can grab the Mongo client or collection from the model or document instance:


From here you also have the same runtime persistence options using the client’s #with:

client = Band.mongo_client.with(write: { w: 0 }, database: "musik")

You can also override the :read or :write options on the collection using the collections #with:

collection_w_0 = Band.collection.with(write: { w: 0 })