Enabling Time to Live (TTL) - Amazon DynamoDB

Enabling Time to Live (TTL)

You can use the Amazon DynamoDB console or the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) to enable Time to Live. To use the API instead, see Amazon DynamoDB API Reference.

Enable Time to Live (console)

Follow these steps to enable Time to Live using the DynamoDB console:

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the DynamoDB console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/dynamodb/.

  2. Choose Tables, and then choose the table that you want to modify.

  3. In the Additional settings tab, in the Time to Live (TTL) section, choose Enable.

  4. In the Enable Time to Live (TTL) page, enter the TTL attribute name.

  5. (Optional) To preview some of the items that will be deleted when TTL is enabled, choose Run preview.


    This provides you with a sample list of items. It does not provide you with a complete list of items that will be deleted by TTL.

  6. Choose Enable TTL to save the settings and enable TTL.

Now that TTL is enabled, the TTL attribute is marked TTL when you view items on the DynamoDB console. You can view the date and time that an item expires by hovering your pointer over the attribute.

Enable Time to Live (AWS CLI)

  1. Enable TTL on the TTLExample table.

    aws dynamodb update-time-to-live --table-name TTLExample --time-to-live-specification "Enabled=true, AttributeName=ttl"
  2. Describe TTL on the TTLExample table.

    aws dynamodb describe-time-to-live --table-name TTLExample { "TimeToLiveDescription": { "AttributeName": "ttl", "TimeToLiveStatus": "ENABLED" } }
  3. Add an item to the TTLExample table with the Time to Live attribute set using the BASH shell and the AWS CLI.

    EXP=`date -d '+5 days' +%s` aws dynamodb put-item --table-name "TTLExample" --item '{"id": {"N": "1"}, "ttl": {"N": "'$EXP'"}}'

This example starts with the current date and adds 5 days to it to create an expiration time. Then, it converts the expiration time to epoch time format to finally add an item to the "TTLExample" table.


One way to set expiration values for Time to Live is to calculate the number of seconds to add to the expiration time. For example, 5 days is 432,000 seconds. However, it is often preferable to start with a date and work from there.

It is fairly simple to get the current time in epoch time format, as in the following examples.

  • Linux Terminal: date +%s

  • Python: import time; int(time.time())

  • Java: System.currentTimeMillis() / 1000L

  • JavaScript: Math.floor(Date.now() / 1000)