Do Symlinks use up Inodes?

A question was asked today “Do Symlinks use Inodes when they are created” I didn't know off the top of my head, so I had to go find the answer. Rather than googling I simply used the stat command to answer my question. Which by the way is Yes, but hardlinks do not.

I created a file called file.real, a hardlink to that file called file.hardlink and a symlink called file.symlink.

# stat file.*  
** File: `file.hardlink'**  
 Size: 0  Blocks: 0 IO Block: 4096 regular empty file  
Device: fd00h/64768d **Inode: 23032** Links: 2  
Access: (0664/-rw-rw-r--) Uid: ( 500/ bcane) Gid: ( 500/ bcane)  
Access: 2011-06-30 14:55:23.032068478 -0700  
Modify: 2011-06-30 14:55:23.032068478 -0700  
Change: 2011-06-30 14:55:48.784938406 -0700  
** File: `file.real'**  
 Size: 0  Blocks: 0 IO Block: 4096 regular empty file  
Device: fd00h/64768d **Inode: 23032** Links: 2  
Access: (0664/-rw-rw-r--) Uid: ( 500/ bcane) Gid: ( 500/ bcane)  
Access: 2011-06-30 14:55:23.032068478 -0700  
Modify: 2011-06-30 14:55:23.032068478 -0700  
Change: 2011-06-30 14:55:48.784938406 -0700  
** File: `file.symlink' -> `file.real'**  
 Size: 9  Blocks: 0 IO Block: 4096 symbolic link  
Device: fd00h/64768d** Inode: 39332** Links: 1  
Access: (0777/lrwxrwxrwx) Uid: ( 500/ bcane) Gid: ( 500/ bcane)  
Access: 2011-06-30 14:55:50.574833081 -0700  
Modify: 2011-06-30 14:55:31.079089339 -0700  
Change: 2011-06-30 14:55:31.079089339 -0700

So as you can see a symlink will create a new Inode, however a hardlink will not.

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Benjamin Cane
Principal Engineer, Vice President

Benjamin Cane is Principal Engineer at American Express. He has more than 16 years of experience with roles in both systems and software engineering. He leverages both his systems and software skills to build end-to-end platforms. Platforms, purpose built for performance and resiliency. Benjamin is also the author of Red Hat Enterprise Linux - Troubleshooting Guide (2015, Packt Publishing), and he has published many popular articles on topics such as Linux, Docker, Python, Go and Performance Tuning. Thoughts and Opinions expressed in my articles are my own.

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