“Hosting” (as in “Web hosting”) usually refers to the service of providing space on a Web server for Web sites. (A Web site, of course, can consist of a single Web page or many.) Web servers (and the companies that operate them) have all the technology and connections needed to allow the hosted sites to be accessed directly, by anyone who has the site’s URL (Web address) and an Internet connection. All Web sites have such a host.

In the context of Web use, “posting” usually refers to putting a document or a piece of writing on an existing Web site. (In the case of résumés, these will be online job boards.) That information appears within the Web site. In Web sites that allow free posting, viewing posted information usually involves looking at a lot of advertising, or jumping through a lot of hoops designed to get the viewer to do something that makes money for the host. The person posting the information usually has little or no control over how it is displayed.

Posting a résumé on a job site often means just pasting your plain-text résumé into a form. The information is then added to the site’s database. Employers will find it only when searching for résumés of people with certain qualifications—which means they’ll be looking at other people’s résumés as well as your own. You’ll have no control over how your résumé looks.

Far more people looking for applicants with your qualifications will find your résumé on a job board than on your own website. That’s why people post résumés on job boards. But you should be clear on the differences—and on what you’re not getting when you post your résumé on a job site.

Posting your résumé on a job board is nothing like arranging to have your résumé hosted on your own site. When you post your résumé on a job site, you have much less control over what the reader (the person searching for résumés) will see, access will be much more laborious for the reader, and it will be more complicated, and less reliable for the reader to communicate with you if he or she wishes. It will also be more complicated, and much less reliable, for you to apply for a job via a job board than it would be to apply directly.

In fact, one thing you should never do, except as an absolute last resort, is to apply for a job through a third-party job site. The people who run these sites have their own agenda for any data you send through them, which adds a lot of complications to the way they process your application. This increases the chances that some glitch will leave you in doubt as to whether or not your application even went through—and wondering whether to risk making yourself look silly or desperate by re-submitting. This is not unusual on third-party job sites.

If you see a job you want to apply for, you’re much better off going to the employer’s company site and applying there—or perhaps in some cases, doing some digging to get a direct line to someone in the company. (Employer job sites aren’t always fully functional either. Neither is HR.) If you don’t see any information in the posting that enables you to find the employer, try Googling some distinctive key phrases from the posting, along with the job title. There’s a good chance you’ll find the same posting elsewhere, either on the employer’s site or on a third-party site with information about the employer. If you don’t, wait a few days and try again.

Keep in mind that only a tiny fraction of jobs is filled through third-party job sites like Indeed.com, or Careerbuilder.com, or LinkedIn. Keep in mind also that sometimes there is information that you will want to put on a resume that you hand to selected potential employers, but that shouldn’t go on the public Web.

For much more about on-line job sites, see the On-line Job Sites article in the Tips & Myths section. For some valuable information about choosing an ISP to host your website—and your e-mail—see Choosing an ISP in the article on why you shouldn’t use Outlook.Com, Hotmail, MSN.Com, or Live.Com e-mail addresses for your job search.