Common Emitter Configuration
Here the emitter terminal is common to both the input and output signal. The arrangement is the same for a PNP transistor. Used in this way the transistor has the advantages of a medium input impedance, medium output impedance, high voltage gain and high current gain.
Common Base Configuration
Here the base is the common terminal. Used frequently for RF applications, this stage has the following properties. Low input impedance, high output impedance, unity (or less) current gain and high voltage gain.
Common Collector Configuration
This last configuration is also more commonly known as the emitter follower. This is because the input signal applied at the base is "followed" quite closely at the emitter with a voltage gain close to unity. The properties are a high input impedance, a very low output impedance, a unity (or less) voltage gain and a high current gain. This circuit is also used extensively as a "buffer" converting impedances or for feeding or driving long cables or low impedance loads.A note about Phase Shifts
In both the the common base and emitter follower configurations, the input and output signals are in phase, but with the common emitter configuration only, the input and output signals are phase inverted, a positive input resulting in a negative output and vice versa. This is also known as phase displacement.bbjt