The short answer is that if you are a novice webmaster or if you do not know UNIX commands, you probably do not need to use Telnet or SSH. Instead of using these to administer your web site, you will perform similar functions through the control panel provided by your web host.
Telnet is a protocol that allows you to connect to remote computers over the Internet. By using a Telnet program, you can login to remote computers, such as your Web server. Once you log in, you can virtually perform functions as if you were on a terminal attached to that computer. With Telnet you can run commands on your web server, allowing you to administer your site.
SSH stands for Secure Shell, and is basically a secure version of Telnet. It encrypts the information sent over the Internet to and from the remote computer (i.e. between your computer and the web server.)
If you can use either Telnet or SSH, it is recommended to use SSH to provide security for your password and data.
If you are now ready to choose a web host, go to our Web Hosting Comparison to find a web host that fits your needs. Otherwise, browse the other sections of our web hosting FAQ to learn more about hosting:
If you want to learn more of the basics about hosting in addition to what was covered in our web hosting FAQ, please see our guide on how to Choose a Web Host.