Difference between Hard Link and Soft Links
In UNIX, links are general pointers that point to files and directories. The primary difference between these links is that a hard link directly references the file. In contrast, a soft link is a name-based reference to a file. However, a Hard link links files and directories inside the same file system, whereas a Soft link may traverse file system boundaries. In this article, you will learn the differences between the hard link and the soft link. But before discussing the differences, you must know about the hard and soft links.
What is the hard link?
A Hard Link is a copy of the original file that serves as a pointer to the same file, allowing it to be accessed even if the original file is deleted or relocated. Unlike soft links, modifications to hard-linked files affect other files, and the hard link remains active even if the source file is deleted from the system.
On UNIX-based systems, a hard link is just another name for a file that already exists. It's typically found in file systems that allow various hard links to the same file. Hard links have the same Inode value, unlike soft links, but they point to the file location rather than the directory.
What is the soft link?
A soft link is a short pointer file that links a filename to a pathname. It's nothing more than a shortcut to the original file, much like the Windows OS's shortcut option. The soft link serves as a pointer to another file without the file's actual contents. It allows the users to delete or the soft links without affecting the original file's contents.
You may also use soft links to link files across the file system. Generally, the soft link is an alias for the original file or directory. It helps to redirect to the specified file and directory when accessed via the pathname indicated in the soft link's subject.
Main Differences between Hard Link and Soft Link
Here, you will learn the main differences between the hard link and the soft link. Various differences between the hard link and soft link are as follows:
Head-to-head comparison between the hard links and soft links
Here, you will learn the head-to-head comparison between the hard and soft links. Some of the head-to-head comparisons of the hard links and soft links are as follows:
A hard link does not take up more space, and the mat resolves faster, but the modifications made to a hard link are reflected in the original file. On the other hand, soft links take up more space, but any modifications to the soft link don't affect the original file. Unlike hard links, soft links are permitted in directories.