Use a session for a sequence of operations, optionally with causal consistency. See the MongoDB Manual Entry for Causal Consistency.


Start a session with mongoc_client_start_session(), use the session for a sequence of operations and multi-document transactions, then free it with mongoc_client_session_destroy(). Any mongoc_cursor_t or mongoc_change_stream_t using a session must be destroyed before the session, and a session must be destroyed before the mongoc_client_t it came from.

By default, sessions are causally consistent. To disable causal consistency, before starting a session create a mongoc_session_opt_t with mongoc_session_opts_new() and call mongoc_session_opts_set_causal_consistency(), then free the struct with mongoc_session_opts_destroy().

Unacknowledged writes are prohibited with sessions.

A mongoc_client_session_t must be used by only one thread at a time. Due to session pooling, mongoc_client_start_session() may return a session that has been idle for some time and is about to be closed after its idle timeout. Use the session within one minute of acquiring it to refresh the session and avoid a timeout.

Fork Safety#

A mongoc_client_session_t is only usable in the parent process after a fork. The child process must call mongoc_client_reset() on the client field.


/* gcc example-session.c -o example-session \
 *     $(pkg-config --cflags --libs libmongoc-1.0) */

/* ./example-session [CONNECTION_STRING] */

#include <stdio.h>
#include <mongoc/mongoc.h>

main (int argc, char *argv[])
   int exit_code = EXIT_FAILURE;

   mongoc_client_t *client = NULL;
   const char *uri_string = "mongodb://";
   mongoc_uri_t *uri = NULL;
   mongoc_client_session_t *client_session = NULL;
   mongoc_collection_t *collection = NULL;
   bson_error_t error;
   bson_t *selector = NULL;
   bson_t *update = NULL;
   bson_t *update_opts = NULL;
   bson_t *find_opts = NULL;
   mongoc_read_prefs_t *secondary = NULL;
   mongoc_cursor_t *cursor = NULL;
   const bson_t *doc;
   char *str;
   bool r;

   mongoc_init ();

   if (argc > 1) {
      uri_string = argv[1];

   uri = mongoc_uri_new_with_error (uri_string, &error);
   if (!uri) {
      fprintf (stderr,
               "failed to parse URI: %s\n"
               "error message:       %s\n",
      goto done;

   client = mongoc_client_new_from_uri (uri);
   if (!client) {
      goto done;

   mongoc_client_set_error_api (client, 2);

   /* pass NULL for options - by default the session is causally consistent */
   client_session = mongoc_client_start_session (client, NULL, &error);
   if (!client_session) {
      fprintf (stderr, "Failed to start session: %s\n", error.message);
      goto done;

   collection = mongoc_client_get_collection (client, "test", "collection");
   selector = BCON_NEW ("_id", BCON_INT32 (1));
   update = BCON_NEW ("$inc", "{", "x", BCON_INT32 (1), "}");
   update_opts = bson_new ();
   if (!mongoc_client_session_append (client_session, update_opts, &error)) {
      fprintf (stderr, "Could not add session to opts: %s\n", error.message);
      goto done;

   r = mongoc_collection_update_one (collection, selector, update, update_opts, NULL /* reply */, &error);

   if (!r) {
      fprintf (stderr, "Update failed: %s\n", error.message);
      goto done;

   bson_destroy (selector);
   selector = BCON_NEW ("_id", BCON_INT32 (1));
   secondary = mongoc_read_prefs_new (MONGOC_READ_SECONDARY);

   find_opts = BCON_NEW ("maxTimeMS", BCON_INT32 (2000));
   if (!mongoc_client_session_append (client_session, find_opts, &error)) {
      fprintf (stderr, "Could not add session to opts: %s\n", error.message);
      goto done;

   /* read from secondary. since we're in a causally consistent session, the
    * data is guaranteed to reflect the update we did on the primary. the query
    * blocks waiting for the secondary to catch up, if necessary, or times out
    * and fails after 2000 ms.
   cursor = mongoc_collection_find_with_opts (collection, selector, find_opts, secondary);

   while (mongoc_cursor_next (cursor, &doc)) {
      str = bson_as_json (doc, NULL);
      fprintf (stdout, "%s\n", str);
      bson_free (str);

   if (mongoc_cursor_error (cursor, &error)) {
      fprintf (stderr, "Cursor Failure: %s\n", error.message);
      goto done;

   exit_code = EXIT_SUCCESS;

   if (find_opts) {
      bson_destroy (find_opts);
   if (update) {
      bson_destroy (update);
   if (selector) {
      bson_destroy (selector);
   if (update_opts) {
      bson_destroy (update_opts);
   if (secondary) {
      mongoc_read_prefs_destroy (secondary);
   /* destroy cursor, collection, session before the client they came from */
   if (cursor) {
      mongoc_cursor_destroy (cursor);
   if (collection) {
      mongoc_collection_destroy (collection);
   if (client_session) {
      mongoc_client_session_destroy (client_session);
   if (uri) {
      mongoc_uri_destroy (uri);
   if (client) {
      mongoc_client_destroy (client);

   mongoc_cleanup ();

   return exit_code;