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Downgrade MongoDB From 3.0 to 2.6

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Due to a Meteor bug (actually it’s a bug from MongoDB nodejs driver, but the bug has already been fixed by the nodejs driver, while the issue is Meteor is referencing an old version of this driver), I have to downgrade MongoDB from 3.0.5 to 2.6.10. Normally this is a trival work, but it cost me a whole afternoon to do this, because there are serveral traps in there, so I decide to write this blog to help other people who meet the same issue with me.

The main problem is MongoDB 3.0 uses a new version of authentication algorithom SCRAM-SHA-1, while 2.6 uses an old version MONGODB-CR. Actually there are other methods besides these two. These two are the default configuration. If one upgrades MongoDB from 2.6 to 3.0, the authentication schema version can be upgraded by authSchemaUpgrade from 3 to 5, and in the same time the authentication algorithom will be upgraded from MONGODB-CR to SCRAM-SHA-1. However, when one downgrades MongoDB from 3.0 to 2.6, you can not use authSchemaUpgrade to downgrade the authentication schema, and it will remain in 5 and the authentication algorithm will remain in SCRAM-SHA-1, which are not supported by MongoDB 2.6. So yes, without additional work, you are not able to log into the database.

This article provides a method to solve this issue, which is not documented by MongoDB official website (and appearantly not documented in anywhere).


First and most importantly, BACKUP all the database. It’s easy for me — just snapshot the Amazon EBS. But if that’s not the case for you, just use rsync to backup all data files, journal files and oplogs after shutting down the database, or use mongodump tool if database is small.

According to MongoDB official site: Once upgraded to MongoDB 3.0, you cannot downgrade to a version lower than 2.6.5., If you upgrade to MongoDB 3.0 and have run authSchemaUpgrade, you cannot downgrade to the 2.6 series without disabling --auth.

So first, choose a version of MongoDB 2.6. I choose 2.6.10 because currently it’s highest in 2.6.

According to official documentation, it’s possible to maintain secondary set one by one, then do the primary set


For each mongoDB instance one by one, do the following steps, in the order of secondary first, primary last.

  1. Backup MongoDB configuration files.

  2. Remove MongoDB 3.0

     apt-get --purge remove mongodb-org mongodb-org-*
     apt-get --purge autoremove

    Type mongo to test if Mongo is really removed. You should see Command not exists.

  3. Install MongoDB 2.6

     sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp:// --recv 7F0CEB10
     echo 'deb dist 10gen' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mongodb.list
     sudo apt-get update
     apt-get install mongodb-org-server=2.6.10 mongodb-org-shell=2.6.10 mongodb-org-mongos=2.6.10 mongodb-org-tools=2.6.10

    Here you should note just run apt-get install mongodb-org=2.6.10 doesn’t work — that will still install mongoDB 3.0 (The author of installing a group of packages must make a mistake here.) Check mongo version:

     $ mongo --version
     MongoDB shell version: 2.6.10
     $ mongod --version
     db version v2.6.10
     2015-07-31T02:38:44.808+0000 git version: 5901dbfb49d16eaef6f2c2c50fba534d23ac7f6c
  4. Pin MongoDB packages version

     echo "mongodb-org-server hold" | sudo dpkg --set-selections
     echo "mongodb-org-shell hold" | sudo dpkg --set-selections
     echo "mongodb-org-mongos hold" | sudo dpkg --set-selections
     echo "mongodb-org-tools hold" | sudo dpkg --set-selections

    Check if mongodb is pinned

     $dpkg --get-selections | grep mongo
     mongodb-org-server     hold
     mongodb-org-shell      hold
     mongodb-org-mongos     hold
     mongodb-org-tool       hold
  5. Restore mongoDB configuration file.
  6. Restart mongoDB


Add firewall rules to ban all access to MongoDB except from local and other repl sets. (This may cause web service down.)

Edit each replication set’s configuration file, comment out the keyFile line, to disable authentication. (Or other authentication method is used, comment out them correspondingly)

Restart all MongoDB instances.

SSH to the primary db, and use mongo tool to log into the mongo shell. Without auth, a sing mongo command should work. No need to input username or password.

rs0:PRIMARY> use admin
switched to db admin
rs0:PRIMARY> db.system.users.find()
{ "_id" : "admin.oplogger", "user" : "oplogger", "db" : "admin", "credentials" : { "SCRAM-SHA-1" : { "iterationCount" : 10000, "salt" : "********", "storedKey" : "******", "serverKey" : "******" } }, "roles" : [ { "role" : "read", "db" : "local" } ] }
{ "_id" : "admin.siteUserAdmin", "user" : "siteUserAdmin", "db" : "admin", "credentials" : { "SCRAM-SHA-1" : { "iterationCount" : 10000, "salt" : "******", "storedKey" : "******", "serverKey" : "******" } }, "roles" : [ { "role" : "userAdminAnyDatabase", "db" : "admin" } ] }

Notice the credential method is SCRAM-SHA-1, first let’s try drop a user and creat a new user.

rs0:PRIMARY> db.dropUser('siteUserAdmin')
2015-07-30T10:03:52.240+0000 E QUERY    Error: User and role management commands require auth data to have schema version 3 but found 5
    at Error (<anonymous>)
        at DB.dropUser (src/mongo/shell/db.js:1186:11)
            at (shell):1:4 at src/mongo/shell/db.js:1186

Oops, not able to drop a user. Why not Drop the collection?

rs0:PRIMARY> db.system.users.drop()
    2015-07-30T10:04:33.715+0000 E QUERY    Error: drop failed: {
        "ns" : "admin.system.users",
            "nIndexesWas" : 2,
            "ok" : 0,
            "errmsg" : "can't drop system ns",
            "code" : 20

Failed again.

Notice the error message: User and role management commands require auth data to have schema version 3 but found 5. So try to use authSchemaUpgrade command to downgrade the schema version:

rs0:PRIMARY> db.getSiblingDB("admin").runCommand({authSchemaUpgrade: 3 });
    "ok" : 0,
    "errmsg" : "Do not know how to upgrade auth schema from version 5",
    "code" : 69

This doesn’t work as well.

So at last the solution I find is:

rs0:PRIMARY> db.system.version.update({}, {$set:{currentVersion:3}})

Then recreate a user:

rs0:PRIMARY> db.dropUser('siteUserAdmin')
rs0:PRIMARY> db.createUser( {
        ...     user: "siteUserAdmin",
        ...     pwd: "******",
        ...     roles: [ { role: "userAdminAnyDatabase", db: "admin" } ]
        ...   });
Successfully added user: {
    "user" : "siteUserAdmin",
        "roles" : [
            "role" : "userAdminAnyDatabase",
            "db" : "admin"

It works.

Recreat all users.

Check rs.status(). Wait for all sync is complete, then shutdown all databases.

Restore the keyFile configuration (Or other auth configuration).

Start all database, and check rs.status().

Restore firewall rule to allow web service to access mongoDB.