Installing the mongocxx driver


  • Any standard Unix platform, or Windows 7 SP1+
  • A compiler that suports C++11 (gcc, clang, or Visual Studio)
  • CMake 3.2 or later
  • boost headers (optional)

We currently test the driver with the following configurations:

  Linux OS X Windows
clang 3.8 7.0 (Apple) -
gcc 4.8, 5.4 - -
VS n/a n/a 14 (2015) Update 3
boost - 1.5.3 1.6.0

Versions older the the ones listed may not work and are not supported; use them at your own risk.

Versions newer than the ones listed above should work; if you have problems, please file a bug report via JIRA.


Step 1: Install the latest version of the MongoDB C driver.

The mongocxx driver builds on top of the MongoDB C driver.

  • For mongocxx-3.2.x, libmongoc 1.7.0 or later is required.
  • For mongocxx-3.1.x, libmongoc 1.5.0 or later is required.
  • For mongocxx-3.0.x, we recommend the last 1.4.x version of libmongoc

Unless you know that your package manager offers a high-enough version, you will need to download and build from the source code. Get a tarball from the C Driver releases page.

Follow the instructions for building from a tarball at Installing libmongoc.

If you need static C++ driver libraries and you are configuring the C driver with the ./configure script, you must pass the --enable-static configure option when building libbson/libmongoc.

Step 2: Choose a C++17 polyfill

The mongocxx driver uses the experimental C++17 features std::optional and std::string_view. To compile the mongocxx driver, you must choose one of the following implementations for these features:

MNMLSTC/core (default for non-Windows platforms) Select with -DBSONCXX_POLY_USE_MNMLSTC=1. This option vendors a header-only installation of MNMLSTC/core into the bsoncxx library installation. NOTE: this will download MLNMLSTC from GitHub during the build process.

Boost (default for Windows platforms) Select with -DBSONCXX_POLY_USE_BOOST=1. This is currently the only option if you are using MSVC.

std::experimental Select with -DBSONCXX_POLY_USE_STD_EXPERIMENTAL=1. If your toolchain’s standard library provides optional and string_view in the namespace std::experimental, you can use this option. Be aware that your standard library’s std::experimental implementation may change over time, breaking binary compatibility in unexpected ways. Note that this polyfill is not recommended and is unsupported.

Most users should be fine sticking with the default. However, if you have an existing application which makes heavy use of one of the available libraries, you may prefer to build the mongocxx driver against the same library.

DO NOT change your project’s polyfill if you need to create a stable binary interface.

Step 3: Download the latest version of the mongocxx driver.

To get the source via git, the releases/stable branch will track the most recent stable release. For example, to work from a shallow checkout of the stable release branch:

git clone \
    --branch releases/stable --depth 1
cd mongo-cxx-driver/build

If you prefer to download a tarball, look on the mongocxx releases page for a link to the release tarball for the version you wish you install. For example, to download version 3.1.3:

curl -OL
tar -xzf r3.1.3.tar.gz
cd mongo-cxx-driver-r3.1.3/build

Make sure you change to the build directory of whatever source tree you obtain.

Step 4: Configure the driver

On Unix systems, libmongoc installs into /usr/local by default. To configure mongocxx for installation into /usr/local as well, use the following cmake command:

(NOTE: The trailing .. below is important! Don’t omit it.)


/usr/local may be replaced with the directory that libmongoc was installed to.

If you need to install mongocxx into a different directory than the directory where libmongoc is installed, you must instruct cmake on how to find the libmongoc installation directory. The procedure for doing so varies between mongocxx versions:

  • Users building mongocxx versions 3.2.x or newer should use CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH to specify the libmongoc installation directory. For example (make sure to replace /your/cdriver/prefix and /your/cxxdriver/prefix with the prefix used for installing the C driver and the desired installation prefix, respectively):
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release \
    -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/your/cxxdriver/prefix \
    -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/your/cdriver/prefix ..
  • Note: If you need multiple paths in CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH, separate them with a semicolon like this: -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH="/your/cdriver/prefix;/some/other/path"

  • Users building mongocxx versions 3.1.x and 3.0.x should specify the libmongoc installation directory by using the -DLIBMONGOC_DIR and -DLIBBSON_DIR options to cmake. See the following example, which assumes that both libmongoc and libbson are installed into /your/cdriver/prefix:

cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release \
    -DLIBBSON_DIR=/your/cdriver/prefix ..

Remember: to select a polyfill, pass the option to cmake. For example, to select the Boost polyfill, substitute the cmake line with the following:

    -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local ..

On Windows, here’s an example of how to configure for MSVC (assuming libmongoc and libbson are in c:\mongo-c-driver as given in the mongoc Windows installation instructions and boost is in c:\local\boost_1_59_0:

'C:\Program Files (x86)\CMake\bin\cmake.exe' -G "Visual Studio 14 Win64"

mongocxx builds shared libraries by default. This is the recommended build setting for novice users.

  • Note for users of mongocxx 3.2.x and newer: advanced users may build static libraries, if desired, by specifying -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=OFF to CMake. Specifying this option will introduce a dependency on the libmongoc static libraries (see step 1 above for details on how to ensure that these are installed). Linking an application against both shared libmongoc and static mongocxx is not supported, nor is linking against both static libmongoc and shared mongocxx.

Step 5: Build and install the driver

If you are using the default MNMLSTC polyfill and are installing to a directory requiring root permissions, you should install the polyfill with sudo before running make so you don’t have to run all of make with sudo:

# Only for MNMLSTC polyfill
sudo make EP_mnmlstc_core

Once MNMLSTC is installed, or if you are using a different polyfill, build and install the driver:

make && sudo make install

On Windows, build and install from the command line like this:

msbuild.exe ALL_BUILD.vcxproj
msbuild.exe INSTALL.vcxproj

Step 6: Test your installation

Save the following source file with the filename test.cpp underneath any directory:

#include <iostream>

#include <bsoncxx/builder/stream/document.hpp>
#include <bsoncxx/json.hpp>

#include <mongocxx/client.hpp>
#include <mongocxx/instance.hpp>

int main(int, char**) {
    mongocxx::instance inst{};
    mongocxx::client conn{mongocxx::uri{}};

    bsoncxx::builder::stream::document document{};

    auto collection = conn["testdb"]["testcollection"];
    document << "hello" << "world";

    auto cursor = collection.find({});

    for (auto&& doc : cursor) {
        std::cout << bsoncxx::to_json(doc) << std::endl;

Compiling with the help of CMake

If you are using CMake for your project, you can use the find_package() directive to enable compiling and linking against mongocxx. The find_package() directive will set variables in the current environment (e.g. LIBMONGOCXX_INCLUDE_DIRS, LIBMONGOCXX_LIBRARIES, etc.) that need to be propagated to your build targets. If you have installed mongocxx or libmongoc to a non-standard location on your system, you will need to set CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH to the library installation prefix (specified at build time with CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX) when running cmake.

In the mongocxx source repository (versions 3.2.x or newer only), see the directory examples/projects/mongocxx/cmake for an example CMake application which uses the shared library (the default option), and an example CMake application which uses the static library (advanced users only).

Compiling with the help of pkg-config

Compile the test program above with the following command:

c++ --std=c++11 test.cpp -o test $(pkg-config --cflags --libs libmongocxx)

Advanced users who are using the static library must replace the libmongocxx argument to pkg-config above with libmongocxx-static (this requires mongocxx 3.2.x or newer).

If you installed to somewhere not in your pkg-config search path, remember to set the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable first:

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="$MY_INSTALL_PREFIX/lib/pkgconfig"

Compiling without pkg-config or CMake

If you aren’t using CMake for your project and you don’t have pkg-config available, you will need to set include and library flags manually on the command line or in your IDE.

Here’s an example expansion of the compilation line above, on a system where mongocxx and libmongoc are installed in /usr/local:

c++ --std=c++11 test.cpp -o test \
    -I/usr/local/include/mongocxx/v_noabi \
    -I/usr/local/include/bsoncxx/v_noabi \
    -L/usr/local/lib -lmongocxx -lbsoncxx

Advanced users only: here is an example expansion on the same system of the compilation line above when static libraries are being used. Note that the preprocessor defines MONGOCXX_STATIC and BSONCXX_STATIC must be defined in all source files that include mongocxx headers; failure to do so will result in difficult-to-diagnose linker errors.

c++ --std=c++11 test.cpp -o test \
    -I/usr/local/include/libmongoc-1.0 \
    -I/usr/local/include/libbson-1.0 \
    -I/usr/local/include/mongocxx/v_noabi \
    -I/usr/local/include/bsoncxx/v_noabi \
    -L/usr/local/lib -lmongocxx-static -lbsoncxx-static
    -lmongoc-static-1.0 -lsasl2 -lssl -lcrypto -lbson-static-1.0 -lm -lpthread

Compiling with MSVC

To compile on MSVC, you will need to setup your project to include all the necessary include paths, library paths, preprocessor defines, and link libraries. To do this, you can set these values either by the UI or by editing the XML .vcxproj file directly. To confirm you have everything setup correctly, here are the PropertyGroup and ItemDefinitionGroup settings for a Debug x64 build as an example:

  <PropertyGroup Condition="'$(Configuration)|$(Platform)'=='Debug|x64'">
  <ItemDefinitionGroup Condition="'$(Configuration)|$(Platform)'=='Debug|x64'">