Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I understand the differences between symbolic and hard links, but I've never understood why choose one or the other.

share|improve this question
See answers to 'What is the difference between a symbolic link and a hard link?' on StackOverflow: stackoverflow.com/questions/185899/… –  pelms Sep 8 '09 at 18:27

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This has been discussed in some detail on ServerFault.

share|improve this answer

Ronald says, a hard link can have different permissions in two places. This is not right. Both places share the same inode. Permissions are bound to the inode, not the filename. So hardlinks in two places have exactly the same permissions, access times, ...

share|improve this answer

symlinks can cross file systems, hard links can't. If you delete the original file, the hardlink still keeps it alive, a symlink doesn't.

share|improve this answer

A hard link essentially means the file lives in two places, it can have different permissions, you can delete it in on place but not the other.

A soft link is just a pointer to the real thing.

A hard link is two (or more) directory entries pointing at the same file. A soft link is a directory entry pointing at another directory entry.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.