mongodb cursor id not valid error


I am trying to iterate through this loop:

for doc in coll.find()

I get the following error at the 100,000th plus record.

File "build\bdist.win32\egg\pymongo\", line 703, in next
File "build\bdist.win32\egg\pymongo\", line 679, in _refresh
File "build\bdist.win32\egg\pymongo\", line 628, in __send_message
File "build\bdist.win32\egg\pymongo\", line 95, in _unpack_response
pymongo.errors.OperationFailure: cursor id '1236484850793' not valid at server

what does this error mean?

10/17/2013 8:54:47 AM

Accepted Answer

Maybe your cursor timed out on the server. To see if this is the problem, try to set timeout=False`:

for doc in coll.find(timeout=False)


If it was a timeout problem one possible solution is to set the batch_size (s. other answers).

6/10/2014 1:50:12 PM

  • Setting the timeout=False is dangerous and should never be used, because the connection to the cursor can remain open for unlimited time, which will affect system performance. The docs specifically reference the need to manually close the cursor.
  • Setting the batch_size to a small number will work, but creates a big latency issue, because we need to access the DB more often than needed.
    For example:
    5M docs with a small batch will take hours to retrieve the same data that a default batch_size returns in several minutes.

In my solution it is mandatory to use sort on the cursor:

done = False
skip = 0
while not done:
    cursor = coll.find()
    cursor.sort( indexed_parameter ) # recommended to use time or other sequential parameter.
    cursor.skip( skip )
        for doc in cursor:
            skip += 1
        done = True
    except pymongo.errors.OperationFailure, e:
        msg = e.message
        if not (msg.startswith("cursor id") and msg.endswith("not valid at server")):

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