redis Redis Keys

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The Redis keyspace can be thought of as a hash table or dictionary mapping keys to data structures in the database.

Redis provides a wide range of commands that work with keys to manage the keyspace, including the ability to remove keys, inspect key metadata, search for keys, and modify certain properties of keys.


  • KEYS pattern
  • PERSIST key
  • EXPIRE key seconds
  • EXPIREAT key timestamp
  • TTL key
  • PEXPIRE key milliseconds
  • PEXPIREAT key milliseconds-timestamp
  • PTTL key
  • UNLINK key [key ...]
  • DEL key [key ...]
  • SCAN cursor [MATCH pattern] [COUNT count]


For valid characters in Redis keys, the manual explains this completely:

Redis keys are binary safe, this means that you can use any binary sequence as a key, from a string like "foo" to the content of a JPEG file. The empty string is also a valid key.

A few other rules about keys:

Very long keys are not a good idea, for instance a key of 1024 bytes is a bad idea not only memory-wise, but also because the lookup of the key in the dataset may require several costly key-comparisons. Even when the task at hand is to match the existence of a large value, to resort to hashing it (for example with SHA1) is a better idea, especially from the point of view of memory and bandwidth.

Very short keys are often not a good idea. There is little point in writing "u1000flw" as a key if you can instead write "user:1000:followers". The latter is more readable and the added space is minor compared to the space used by the key object itself and the value object. While short keys will obviously consume a bit less memory, your job is to find the right balance.

Try to stick with a schema. For instance "object-type:id" is a good idea, as in "user:1000". Dots or dashes are often used for multi-word fields, as in "" or "comment:1234:reply-to".

The maximum allowed key size is 512 MB.

Be careful with using the KEYS command against a production system, it can cause serious performance problems. If you need to do a search against the keyspace the SCAN commands are a better alternative.

Got any redis Question?