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How to Create A Symlink From The Command Line in Linux
How to Create A Symlink From The Command Line in Linux
Rapyd Team avatar
Written by Rapyd Team
Updated over a week ago

Symbolic links, often referred to as symlinks or soft links, are a unique type of file in Linux that serve as pointers to other files or directories. Similar to shortcuts, they offer an efficient way to link to files and directories. This guide aims to introduce you to symlinks, demonstrate their creation, and delve into their practical applications.

Introduction to Symlinks

Symlinks offer a practical solution for various tasks like creating shortcuts, mitigating file duplication, and streamlining configuration management across multiple applications.

Basic Syntax of ln

Creating a symlink is straightforward, generally requiring the ln command followed by the -s flag.

ln -s [target directory or file] [symlink]
  • [target directory or file]: The original directory or file you wish to link to.

  • [symlink]: The name you'd like to give to the symbolic link.

Creating Symlinks: Practical Examples

Linking Directories:

To make a symlink called mylink that points to a specific directory, use:

ln -s /path/to/original/directory mylink

Linking Files:

To create a symlink named filelink that points to a specific file:

ln -s /path/to/original/file.txt filelink

Creating Symlinks with Relative Paths:

When you're in the same directory as the target file:

ln -s originalfile.txt filelink

Understanding Hard Links vs. Symlinks

Hard Links:

These are created using ln without the -s option. They point to the file's inode rather than its location. This means the hard link will continue to function even if the original file is moved.

Symlinks:

They point to the file's location. Should the original file be removed, the symlink will break.

Tips for Managing Symlinks

Checking the Destination:

To examine what a symlink is pointing to:

ls -l [symlink_name]

Removing a Symlink:

Symlinks can be deleted like standard files using the rm command.

Conclusion

Symbolic links are a potent tool in the Linux filesystem. They provide an elegant and flexible approach to managing files and directories. Mastering the use of the ln command equips you with the capability to manage symlinks effectively, making them an integral part of your Linux toolkit.

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