I've pretty much settled on www.servermatrix.com
/ theplanet.com as my dedicated host. I love their plans and they seem to have a great reputation.
What I want to do is set up a dedicated server on their cheapest plan. I won't be hosting any important sites on the server. What I'll be doing with it is learning how to maintain it, putting my skills to the test and hopefully growing new ones.
Surely they'll allow me to upgrade to a different, faster server later, right? And move all my data for me? It seems like they'd do that for me, anyway.
I have a few questions before signing up with them that maybe some of you experts can answer for me.
1. What is a shared MS SQL server, and, do I need one?
2. Do I need to pay the $50/mo. for their Hardware Firewall? Its something I want, but can't budget for yet. I'm sure I'll offer a firewall service to my clients in the future, but not yet.
3. What are my firewall options? How necessary is a firewall on my server?
4. How are their "managed service plans"? Should I purchase one?
5. They offer server monitoring (for 3 different types of services with the basic package). What are the most critical services to have monitored?, i.e., SSH, FTP, etc. Is it worth purchasing a package that offers up to 12 monitored services?
6. The same goes for process monitoring, i.e., mySQL, Apache, FTP.
7. Should I pay extra for the "On-Demand Vulnerability Assessments"?
8. Should I pay extra for the "Systems Administrative Service"?
9. Should I pay extra for the "Centralized System Event Monitoring"
I know this is a lot of questions and that obviously, I have a lot to learn. But I'm not afraid to ask for help. I wish more web hosts would.
I plan to spend a minimum of 6 months managing my own server before actually placing paying customers on it.
This is stuff that's fascinating to me, so I shouldn't have too many problems figuring it all out.