while this forum is a great learning resource and most of the time you can get your questions answered... it would be best for you to buy a server management book if you want to go the self taught route or take a class. Its a lot easier to ask specific questions on these boards then to ask broad open ended questions
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If you would like to provide professional hosting service, i think XP is not the best choice. I would prefer Windows 2003 Server with SP2 or a redhat linux as operating sytem.
Linux would be cheaper than setting up a Windows server...
You should first identify what hosting platform you would be requiring, then explore and learn about that particular OS and then try to learn what could be the best hosting server for you and how to run the same.