What Is BSON Data Type?


Scott Campbell

BSON (Binary JSON) is a binary-encoded serialization format used to store and transmit data in MongoDB. It stands for “Binary JSON” because it represents data in a similar way to JSON, but in a binary format. In this article, we will explore the BSON data type and understand its significance in MongoDB.

What is BSON?

BSON is a binary representation of JSON-like documents. It extends the capabilities of JSON by providing additional data types and efficient storage mechanisms. BSON documents are lightweight, compact, and traversable, making them ideal for use in database systems like MongoDB.

Why do we need BSON?

BSON provides several advantages over JSON:

  • Efficient Storage: BSON uses binary encoding, which allows for efficient storage of data. This reduces the amount of disk space required to store documents.
  • Data Types: BSON supports various data types that are not available in JSON, such as Date, Binary Data, Regular Expression, and more.

    These additional data types enhance the flexibility of MongoDB.

  • Traversal: BSON documents can be easily traversed due to their binary structure. This allows for faster querying and manipulation of data.

BSON Data Types

BSON supports several data types:

1. Double

The Double data type represents double-precision floating-point values (64-bit).

2. String

The String data type represents a sequence of UTF-8 encoded characters.

3. Object

The Object data type represents an embedded document within a BSON document.

4. Array

The Array data type represents an ordered list of values.

5. Boolean

The Boolean data type represents a boolean value: true or false.

6. Null

The Null data type represents a null value.

7. Integer

The Integer data type represents a 32-bit signed integer value.

8. Long

The Long data type represents a 64-bit signed integer value.

9. DateTime

The DateTime data type represents the number of milliseconds since the Unix epoch (January 1, 1970).

10. Binary Data

The Binary Data data type represents binary data, such as images or files, in various formats (e.g., generic, UUID, MD5).


BSON is a powerful and efficient binary representation of JSON-like documents. It extends the capabilities of JSON by providing additional data types and storage mechanisms. Understanding BSON is crucial for working with MongoDB efficiently and effectively.

In this article, we explored what BSON is, why it is needed, and the different BSON data types supported by MongoDB. Now you have a better understanding of how BSON enhances the functionality and performance of MongoDB’s document-based storage system.

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