A directory entry, which maps a filename to an inode, number. A file may have multiple names or hard links. The link count gives the number of names by which a file is accessible. Hard links do not allow multiple names for directories and do not allow multiple names in different filesystems
symbolic link or soft link
A special filetype, which is a small pointer file, allowing multiple names for the same file. Unlike hard links, symbolic links can be made for directories and can be made across filesystems. Commands that access the file being pointed to are said to follow the symbolic link. Commands that access the link itself do not follow the symbolic link.