Candida albicans is a commensal coloniser of most people and a pathogen of the immunocompromised or patients in which barriers that prevent dissemination have been disrupted. Both the commensal and pathogenic states involve regulation and adaptation to the host microenvironment. The pathogenic potential can be downregulated to sustain commensalism or upregulated to damage host tissue and avoid and subvert immune surveillance. In either case it seems as though the cell biology of this fungus has evolved to enable the establishment of different types of relationships with the human host. Here we summarise latest advances in the analysis of mechanisms that enable C. albicans to occupy different body sites whilst avoiding being eliminated by the sentinel activities of the human immune system.