(PECL mongo >=0.9.0)

MongoCollection::updateUpdate records based on a given criteria


public bool|array MongoCollection::update ( array $criteria , array $new_object [, array $options = array() ] )



Query criteria for the documents to update.


The object used to update the matched documents. This may either contain update operators (for modifying specific fields) or be a replacement document.


An array of options for the update operation. Currently available options include:

  • "upsert"

    If no document matches $criteria, a new document will be inserted.

    If a new document would be inserted and $new_object contains atomic modifiers (i.e. $ operators), those operations will be applied to the $criteria parameter to create the new document. If $new_object does not contain atomic modifiers, it will be used as-is for the inserted document. See the upsert examples below for more information.

  • "multiple"

    All documents matching $criteria will be updated. MongoCollection::update() has exactly the opposite behavior of MongoCollection::remove(): it updates one document by default, not all matching documents. It is recommended that you always specify whether you want to update multiple documents or a single document, as the database may change its default behavior at some point in the future.

  • "fsync"

    Boolean, defaults to FALSE. If journaling is enabled, it works exactly like "j". If journaling is not enabled, the write operation blocks until it is synced to database files on disk. If TRUE, an acknowledged insert is implied and this option will override setting "w" to 0.

    Note: If journaling is enabled, users are strongly encouraged to use the "j" option instead of "fsync". Do not use "fsync" and "j" simultaneously, as that will result in an error.

  • "j"

    Boolean, defaults to FALSE. Forces the write operation to block until it is synced to the journal on disk. If TRUE, an acknowledged write is implied and this option will override setting "w" to 0.

    Note: If this option is used and journaling is disabled, MongoDB 2.6+ will raise an error and the write will fail; older server versions will simply ignore the option.

  • "socketTimeoutMS"

    This option specifies the time limit, in milliseconds, for socket communication. If the server does not respond within the timeout period, a MongoCursorTimeoutException will be thrown and there will be no way to determine if the server actually handled the write or not. A value of -1 may be specified to block indefinitely. The default value for MongoClient is 30000 (30 seconds).

  • "w"

    See Write Concerns. The default value for MongoClient is 1.

  • "wTimeoutMS"

    This option specifies the time limit, in milliseconds, for write concern acknowledgement. It is only applicable when "w" is greater than 1, as the timeout pertains to replication. If the write concern is not satisfied within the time limit, a MongoCursorException will be thrown. A value of 0 may be specified to block indefinitely. The default value for MongoClient is 10000 (ten seconds).

The following options are deprecated and should no longer be used:

  • "safe"

    Deprecated. Please use the write concern "w" option.

  • "timeout"

    Deprecated alias for "socketTimeoutMS".

  • "wtimeout"

    Deprecated alias for "wTimeoutMS".

Return Values

Returns an array containing the status of the update if the "w" option is set. Otherwise, returns TRUE.

Fields in the status array are described in the documentation for MongoCollection::insert().


Throws MongoCursorException if the "w" option is set and the write fails.

Throws MongoCursorTimeoutException if the "w" option is set to a value greater than one and the operation takes longer than MongoCursor::$timeout milliseconds to complete. This does not kill the operation on the server, it is a client-side timeout. The operation in MongoCollection::$wtimeout is milliseconds.


Version Description

Added the "wTimeoutMS" option, which replaces "wtimeout". Emits E_DEPRECATED when "wtimeout" is used.

Added the "socketTimeoutMS" option, which replaces "timeout". Emits E_DEPRECATED when "timeout" is used.

Emits E_DEPRECATED when "safe" is used.

1.3.4 Added "wtimeout" option.

Added "w" option.

The options parameter no longer accepts a boolean to signify an upsert. Instead, this now has to be done with array('upsert' => true).

1.2.11 Emits E_DEPRECATED when options is scalar.
1.2.0 Added "timeout" option.
1.0.11 Disconnects on "not master" errors if "safe" is set.

Added ability to pass integers to the "safe" option, which previously only accepted booleans.

Added "fsync" option.

The return type was changed to be an array containing error information if the "safe" option is used. Otherwise, a boolean is returned as before.

1.0.5 Added "safe" option.
1.0.1 Changed options parameter from boolean to array. Pre-1.0.1, the second parameter was an optional boolean value specifying an upsert.


Example #1 MongoCollection::update()

Adding an address field to a document.


->insert(array("firstname" => "Bob""lastname" => "Jones" ));
$newdata = array('$set' => array("address" => "1 Smith Lane"));
$c->update(array("firstname" => "Bob"), $newdata);

var_dump($c->findOne(array("firstname" => "Bob")));


The above example will output something similar to:

array(4) {
  object(MongoId)#6 (0) {
  string(3) "Bob"
  string(5) "Jones"
  string(12) "1 Smith Lane"

Example #2 MongoCollection::update() upsert examples

Upserts can simplify code, as a single line can create the document if it does not exist (based on $criteria), or update an existing document if it matches.

In the following example, $new_object contains an atomic modifier. Since the collection is empty and upsert must insert a new document, it will apply those operations to the $criteria parameter in order to create the document.


"uri" => "/summer_pics"),
'$inc' => array("page hits" => 1)),
"upsert" => true)


The above example will output something similar to:

array(3) {
  object(MongoId)#9 (0) {
  string(12) "/summer_pics"
  ["page hits"]=>

If $new_object does not contain atomic modifiers (i.e. $ operators), upsert will use $new_object as-is for the new document. This matches the behavior of a normal update, where not using atomic modifiers causes the document to be overwritten.


"name" => "joe"),
"username" => "joe312""createdAt" => new MongoDate()), 
"upsert" => true)


The above example will output something similar to:

array(3) {
  object(MongoId)#10 (0) {
  string(6) "joe312"
  object(MongoDate)#4 (0) {

Example #3 MongoCollection::update() multiple example

By default, MongoCollection::update() will only update the first document matching $criteria that it finds. Using the "multiple" option can override this behavior, if needed.

This example adds a "gift" field to every person whose birthday is in the next day.


= array('$gt' => new MongoDate(), '$lt' => new MongoDate(strtotime("+1 day")));
"birthday" => $today),
'$set' => array('gift' => $surprise)),
"multiple" => true)

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User Contributed Notes 7 notes

nerds at limeworks dot com dot au
4 years ago
For anyone referencing records by the Mongo _id object, it's important to recognise that it is in fact an object, and not a string.

If you have a record with a Mongo ID of say "4e519d5118617e88f27ea8cd" that you are trying to retrieve or update, you cannot search for it using something like:
= new Mongo();
$db = $m->selectDB('db');
$collection = 'collection';
$db->$collection->findOne(array('_id', '4e519d5118617e88f27ea8cd'));

There is some documentation that mentions simple conversion to string will solve this, but I have found the only reliable way to locate records based on their ID is to first pass it to MondoID(), then use that for reference.

Something like this will be far more reliable:
= new Mongo();
$db = $m->selectDB('db');
$collection = 'collection';
$mongoID = new MongoID('4e519d5118617e88f27ea8cd');
$db->$collection->findOne(array('_id', $mongoID));

This may prove useful for anyone using the ID object like an auto-increment database key would be used in MySQL or similar.
joshuadburns at hotmail dot com
4 years ago
Please note under optional third parameter "options":

While the official MongoDB documentation references the keyword "multi" to flag the use of multiple updates, the PHP implementation uses the key "multiple" instead.

This may cause a little confusion if you're basing your keys on the OFFICIAL MongoDB documentation.
Vasiliy Makogon
2 years ago
if you want emulate on mongoDb "insert on duplicate key update" in SQL notation, you must use flag "upsert" with "$set" in "update" operation.

In this sample uses unique key (user id and product id) and date user visit  product:page. Each execute this code make update 'lasttime' field:

= new \MongoClient(MONGO_DB);
$users = $client->users;
$last_views = $users->createCollection('last_views');
// create unique index
$result = $last_views->ensureIndex(
"user_id" => 1, "warecode" => 1),
"unique" => 1)

$uviews = new \stdClass();
$uviews->user_id = $this->user_id;
$uviews->warecode = $this->warecode;

$res = $users->last_views->update(
'$set' => array('lasttime' => new \MongoTimestamp())),
'upsert' => true)
bronius at bcswebstudio dot com
1 year ago
Re. nerds @ limeworks comment:
Thanks for your helpful tip - right what I was looking for.  One note, though: Instead of comma, it's a => as in:
...->findOne(array('_id' => $mongoID);
jeff at canuckistani dot ca
4 years ago
The return type of update changed in 1.09 if you are using safe => TRUE. It now returns something that looks like the info returned by MongoDB::lastError:

    [err] =>
    [updatedExisting] => 1
    [n] => 1
    [ok] => 1
bradzo0647 at gmail dot com
11 months ago
A need for an app was to add a new entry to the industries collection if it didn't already exist, and pass that "string" _id back to the caller to add it to the businesses collection (as a string also - database design by others.... :))

function GetIndustryID($db, $industry_name_eng, $industry_name_rus) {

// $db is the MongoDB database object
// $industry_name_eng is English of the industry name
// $industry_name_rus is Russian of the industry name

    if ( $industry_name_eng == "" && $industry_name_rus == "" ) {
        return "";
    // lookup russian version
    // of industry name from industries collection and try to return the _id
    // if not found, add this as a new document and return its _id

        // $c_ind = industry collection object
        // "industries" is the collection name

    $c_ind = $db->industries;

// you could use findOne here....
    $cursor = $c_ind->find(array('industry_name.russian' => $industry_name_rus));

    if ( $cursor->hasNext() ) {
        foreach ( $cursor as $document ) {         
            $id = $document['_id'];
    } else {
        // not found here - go add it
        $document = array(
            "industry_id" => "",
            "industry_name" => array("english" => $industry_name_eng, "russian" => $industry_name_rus )
        $id = $document['_id'];   
        // update the industry_id in the industries collection
        // with the id returned - because we just added it, and
        // we need the industry_id the same as the _id
        // see:
        // update ( array $criteria , array $new_object [, array $options = array() ] )

                // note how I cast the MongoID "object" to a string
        $document['industry_id'] = (string)$id;
                // the $id in the next line is the ObjectID, not a string.
        $db->industries->update(array("_id" => $id), $document, array("upsert" => true));
    return (string)$id;

Results: (using RoboMongo)
    "_id" : ObjectId("5427acf7a495dbd420b2e2ea"),
    "industry_id" : "5427acf7a495dbd420b2e2ea",
    "industry_name" : {
        "english" : "Oil and Gas",
        "russian" : "Нефть, Газ, Энергетика"

It took me ages to work this out. Hope it helps someone else.
4 years ago
Do note, for incrementing a value using $inc, typecast the value to an integer before passing the new object to update().

= (int) $votes;
$newData = array('$inc' => array('votes'=>$votes));
$c->update(array("firstname" => "Bob"), $newData);

This is especially noteworthy, if you are taking values from $_GET and pushing them for increment.
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